India Won’t Finalize Rafale Deal Before Its General Election
- Indian Defense Minister AK Antony said that 92% of the ministry’s capital account for the current fiscal year were already spent. That makes sense 11 months into a fiscal year that ends on March 31st, but the Rafale deal won’t be finalized by then. With elections coming in April-May for the Lok Sabha (lower house), this will likely be the next government’s problem. Pervasive corruption is one of the election’s hot issues, and led to the Aam Aadmi Party’s meteoric rise within just a year of its birth.
Chinese Naval Trends
- Thomas Donnelly from the conservative American Enterprise Institute walked the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission through a set of interesting maps and charts [PDF] at a recent hearing, while Jesse L. Karotkin from the US Navy’s Office of Naval Intelligence outlined the main trends [PDF] in China’s naval modernization. Unless China develops access to far-away naval bases, its aircraft carrier program will have limited impact. Efforts to acquire more nuclear-powered submarines and improve their operational proficiency are more likely to provide them strategic reach, if they lead to the sort of continuous sea-based deterrent operated by France or the UK.
- But the Chinese military’s modernization plans, and its public image, are undermined by ostentatious corruption.
- Ditto Russia: criminal group suspected of $30M fraud at shipyard.
- Ditto plenty of other countries, whose citizens are starting to push back.
A Taxonomy of Emerging Markets
- Capital Economics, a British macro research firm, brings necessary nuance to the situation of emerging markets that the media tend to lump together, as they are currently facing heavy turbulence in the financial markets. Some like Turkey or Chile have been living beyond their means but a few years of restrained consumer credit would go a long way to get them back on track. Others like pretty much the whole BRIC club face much deeper structural problems. South Korea (which could arguably be listed among developed economies at this point), Poland, or the Philippines, have a better outlook.
Achievement Unlocked: Tinkering Think Tanker
- AEI, CNAS, CSBA, and CSIS – 4 acronym-loving think tanks which already hosted events together in the past – had another lovefest, this time to roleplay the forthcoming FY15 budget and QDR. A comparison [PDF] of their rebalancing proposals shows they tend to agree in many areas. Here’s a video of the web application they used to simulate procurement and force structure changes. It should come with the sort of achievement system now pervasive in online games:
“Fearless Don Quixote – Provoke congressmen in 50 states with no single successful program cut to show for it.”
DoD Towards More Device Diversity
- This month the US Defense Information Systems Agency is starting to roll out the unclassified mobility capability it announced last year, with support for not just Blackberries but also a wide range of iOS and Android smartphones and tablets. This was somehow confused by a number of media outlets as a large new order for Blackberry, which is not at all the point of DISA’s announcement.
Government Designed, Developed, Tested and Owned
- The US Navy’s Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division touts [PDF] its Spike small missile (not Rafael’s offering of the same name) as a cheap but advanced in-house development that could be used against swarms of small boats.
Royal Netherlands Army Gets a Good Drill
- To one-up their German neighbors (video in German), Dutch infantry troops now benefit from training in a more realistic shooting range. Video below [in Dutch, but you'll get the gist, and Youtube's machine translations never cease to entertain]: