WASHINGTON: Long-awaited talks between the world’s six most powerful nations and Iran are set for February 26 in the mountain city of Almaty in Kazakhstan.
The question is, are the two sides ready to bridge the considerable rift dividing them and actually negotiate? This has not happened in a decade of diplomacy that started in 2003 amid fears Iran was secretly building nuclear weapons. Keep reading →
In an exclusive interview in advance of Wednesday’s new US-Canadian agreement on Artic cooperation, Gen. Charles Jacoby – the Army four-star who leads both the US-Canadian NORAD and US Northern Command — spoke to AOL regulars Robbin Laird and Ed Timperlake about the national security aspects of US policy at the top of the world, where global climate change is creating new opportunities for trade, for energy exploration, and for conflict. What follows is Laird and Timperlake’s analysis and extensive excerpts from the interview.
For most Americans — to the extent they even think about the Arctic — the Far North is either an ecological preserve or a energy exploration zone, in either case with security and defense concerns distant considerations. But the Far North is changing fast, and the new reality is that managing security in the Arctic is a sine qua non for resource development, aviation, seaborne trade, and environmental protection. Keep reading →
Since President Obama has declared Syrian use of chemical weapons a “red line” that line should mean something when it has been crossed. And the president better have a clear view of what his options are to change the situation when the “red line” is crossed.
But do we? Keep reading →
The Obama administration is getting ready to change the way the government handles cybersecurity.
The White House is preparing an executive order, a draft of which is currently circulating among federal agencies for approval, mirroring cyber legislation that recently failed to get through a Senate vote. Among other things, the order shunts much of the enforcement and management of cybersecurity issues to federal agencies. We understand that, contrary to some earlier news reports, the classified portion of the order does not contain significant new authorities but details those already existing. Keep reading →
WASHINGTON: The Navy is “on a roll” when it comes to shipbuilding, but the existing fleet remains under stress, the Chief of Naval Operations said today.
“We are on a roll on shipbuilding, [with] ships delivered on or ahead of schedule, on or below budget,” Adm. Jonathan Greenert said at a luncheon hosted by the Association of the US Navy today. “How’d that happen? How about a little bit of predictability” — a reference to his rejection of how the Navy had whiplashed contractors in the past with change orders in mid-construction, most notoriously on the first two Littoral Combat Ships — “and sitting down with industry, working out a multi-year [contract with] a little bit of profit margin…. We have about 30 ships under construction right now.” Keep reading →
The Obama administration’s highly touted “rebalancing” of U.S. military forces to the Asia-Pacific region attracted a barrage of flak during a briefing at an influential Washington think tank Monday.
A group of former senior defense and State Department officials criticized the Pacific tilt at the Center for Strategic and International Studies saying the U.S. lacked a coherent, understandable strategy and failed to adjust the plan in light of shrinking funding and trying to hide the strategy’s aim to counter an increasingly aggressive China. (Of course, some in the national security community praise this “strategic ambiguity,” saying it allows us to manage the relationship with China without as much nationalistic chest-thumping as there might be.) Keep reading →
NATIONAL HARBOR: China‘s air force is laboring mightily to improve both its planes and its personnel — causing much American concern– but it has a long way yet to go.
The People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) is becoming “much smaller but much more technologically sophisticated,” said Phillip Saunders, director of the Center for the Study of Chinese Military Affairs at National Defense University, in a talk Monday afternoon at the Air Force Association’s annual conference here. Keep reading →
UPDATED: Friday Sept. 14, 6:52 p.m.. Keep reading →
This is the second in a series of commentaries defense consultant and author Robbin Laird, a member of the Breaking Defense Board of Contributors, is penning about how the U.S. can and should shape its forces to perform the Asia strategy pivot. As a key part of that, he’ll be looking closely at what he calls “several neglected aspects of a sustainable power projection force for the 21st century.” The Editor.
The Pacific is vast. While some may bridle and note the obvious nature of this, this simple fact is often either not understood and not reflected upon when strategists consider the region’s nature. This is not the Mediterranean; this is not the Indian Ocean; this is not even the Atlantic. Keep reading →
As the Senate reconvenes to debate the cybersecurity bill, President Obama himself has set the stakes in terms of preventing a future catastrophic attack. But some say the real and present danger is what’s happening under our noses right now, in an online theft of intellectual property that Cyber Command chief Gen. Keith Alexander called “the greatest transfer of wealth in history.”
“Don’t wait for something to go boom. It’s happening and it’s happening quietly right now,” said David Smith, director of the Potomac Institute’s Cyber Security Center, in an interview with Breaking Defense. “I don’t think they’re nibbling around the edges; I think the rat’s eating your sandwich.” Keep reading →