China’s Military Looks Beyond Taiwan with Network-Centric Developments
- The Pentagon released its annual report to congress on China’s military developments [PDF]. Some highlights:
“Dealing with a potential contingency in the Taiwan Strait remains the PLA’s primary mission despite an overall reduction of cross-Strait tensions [...] However, the PLA also is placing emphasis on preparing for contingencies other than Taiwan, including potential contingencies in the South and East China Seas. [...]
Almost all of the PLA’s 2013 exercises focused on operating in “informationized” conditions by emphasizing system-of-systems operations, a concept that can be viewed as the Chinese corollary to U.S. network-centric warfare. [...]
Many of the organizations in China’s military-industrial complex have both military and civilian R&D functions. This network of government affiliated companies and research institutes often provides the PLA access to sensitive and dual-use technologies or knowledgeable experts under the guise of civilian R&D. [...]
As China’s interests, capabilities, and international influence have grown, its military modernization program has also become increasingly focused on military investments for a range of missions beyond China’s coast, including sea lane security, counterpiracy, peacekeeping, and humanitarian assistance/disaster relief (HA/DR).”
- Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr. has been nominated as the next Commandant of the US Marine Corps. He’s currently commander of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan, and was General Amos’ assistant commandant for 2 years. Given the pace of senatorial confirmations Dunford will probably replace Amos sometime this fall.
- Belgium has begun a process to choose its new fighter [in Dutch]. The F-35 is on the list, alongside the Swedish JAS-39, Boeing’s Super Hornet, France’s Rafale, and Eurofighter. Belgium has a small budget that’s mostly devoted to personnel costs, which may create an opportunity for Saab and Boeing’s low-cost offerings. They also have a close relationships with France (Rafale) and the Netherlands (F-35A).
- Another speech by a senior American official, urging European countries to invest more in defense and warning that future support could be in danger. Meanwhile the US increases near-term support – nothing like B-52 bomber deployments to show the world that everyone’s in the Love Shack together. Countries doing something so far: Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Poland, and the Czech Republic.
- The internationalist CSIS think tank in Washington admonishes NATO, saying it needs “real world strategies” and “European Partners rather than parasites” to properly deter Russia.
- A new report [PDF] by the Deloitte consultancy summarizes global defense spending trends, starting with capital spending in higher-income countries being squeezed between decreasing top-line budgets and increasing spending on personnel.
I’m on An X-Plane
- Sikorsky beats Aurora, Boeing and Karem with a $10M follow-up award to the initial DARPA X-plane contract.
Reacting to Mass Surveillance
- A Reset the Net campaign launched on June 5th, as an alliance of tech firms like Google, Yahoo! and Twitter with left-wing groups and some libertarian organizations. It’s more than an awareness campaign – it comes with tools and instructions to help people adopt more secure computing and telecom. The math is adverse for government surveillance, in that it takes far more resources to beat protected communications than it does to adopt them.
A Controversial Swap
- Former SecDef and CIA director Leon Panetta criticized the conditions of the Administration’s release of 5 Taliban prisoners to obtain release of Sgt. Bergdahl. And Time Magazine quotes “a Taliban commander close to the negotiations” who says that “It’s better to kidnap one person like Bergdahl than kidnapping hundreds of useless people [...] It has encouraged our people. Now everybody will work hard to capture such an important bird.”
- Afghans near Kabul aren’t thrilled either, recalling released commander Mohammed Fazl’s 1999 scorched-earth military campaign that created 300,000 refugees.
- It turns out that Congress was as opposed as the intelligence directors when presidential aides floated the release of the Taliban commanders in 2011 and 2012. Which may help to explain why there was no Congressional notification as the laws demanded. Recent Hill briefings reportedly didn’t help much.
- A rally scheduled to greet Bowe Bergdahl was canceled by his hometown.
D-Day Glider Logistics
- The British Army provides today’s video, with archive footage of gliders being loaded with equipment and guns, and then flown during a training mission ahead of Operation Overlord. Following is another video with veterans from US 29th Infantry Division at Omaha Beach earlier today.