Pacific Pivot: What Can the US Really Afford While Japan and Taiwan Keep Small Budgets
- T. X. Hammes, a research fellow at the US National Defense University, asks in the National Interest:
“[T]he discussion of military strategy [in response to Chinese expansionism] should force the deeper and more important discussion of whether or not the United States can afford/accomplish the strategy of dominance we have used in maritime affairs in Asia since WWII.”
- Japan’s latest modest defense budget increase made headlines, but their military spending still amounts to just about 1% of GDP. In that light:
Given China’s rapid economic and military rise, Japan’s and Taiwan’s stagnant defence spending – as well as the recent sequestration in the United States – would seem to be a major cause for concern. Seen from the perspective of traditional realism, the actions of Japan and Taiwan might be seen as dangerously complacent.
- It took months of negotiation but the US and South Korea finally reached an agreement on the amount the Koreans will contribute to their own defense.
- The Chinese air force (PLAAF) is simplifying its complicated organizational structure [PDF].
- According to Reuters, the US Justice Department and DoD’s Defense Criminal Investigative Service are investigating Honeywell’s move to China in 2009 of the production of thermal sensors used in F-35s. The company since then relocated that production to the US.
- Language in the National Defense Authorization Act of 2014 preventing the use of US funds to integrate Turkey’s announced Chinese missile defense system with NATO assets reflects a clever protectionist move, but also valid technology security concerns.
- Turkey wants to ramp up its defense partnerships with Asian countries, from engine co-development to exports. This comes right after smaller-scale military procurement talks with Libya.
- Israel has decided to turn to more communications technology to compensate for reductions in armored units and aircraft, and their Tzayad program will remain a centerpiece. This choice has bitten them before. What changed? Start with a vastly expanded targeting capability.
- The US State Department tried to resolve a row with India following the arrest of one of their diplomats in New York last month, but the incident and India’s response to it have shown there’s a significant rift between the two countries.
- Nuclear weapons may be the ultimate deterrent, but they don’t provide export dollars for favored industrial players, and their ability to help with local “muscular diplomacy” is low. So Russia builds some, but makes them less of a priority.
Ships Chartered by the US Navy
- Military Sealift Command (MSC) recently posted a spreadsheet summarizing the chartered and contracted ships they use.
Meet the New Boss
- In today’s video new US Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James talks about the state of the service: