US Considers Using Some War Funds to Help Iraq
- The White House continues to milk its failure to submit a proper Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) FY15 budget for all it’s worth. Two weeks after saying it intended to spend some OCO money to reassure Eastern Europeans, funds previously meant for Afghanistan may now be assigned to Iraq. The Administration has quite a lot of leeway given it has an OCO placeholder bigger than anyone else’s entire defense budget save for China and Russia.
Tough to Compete
- Nexter’s Chairman and CEO Philippe Burtin sees good export opportunities for his firm in several countries from Qatar to India, but notes that competition can be tough when the US sometimes puts second-hand vehicles on the market for close to nothing.
Missile, Ammo Aftermarket
- Raytheon and Thales are working to upgrade the BGM-71 TOW anti-tank missile family’s fuzing and internal workings. New weapons sales like Saudi Arabia’s large TOW buy get a lot of attention, but there’s also a huge installed stock around the world, and good money to be made in upgrades.
- NAMMO has been awarded a 3-year Enabling Agreement by the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) for the demilitarization of old ammunition.
- It’s always commendable to act on front-line advice, and it can be very useful to reduce costs. The Pentagon is doing so for the F-35, and hoping to reach 10-20% savings, but most costs are set in the design stage. The F-35 is estimated to be 40-60% more expensive to operate and maintain than the aircraft it’s replacing.
- The temporary grounding of the US’ entire F-35 fleet because of an oil leak is a minor glitch, in the larger scheme of things, but it is also a warning regarding the consequences of a tri-service, single-engine future fighter fleet. Most planes have already been cleared to resume flight operations.
Of Doctrine and Strategy
- Rear Admiral Thomas S. Rowden explains an important doctrinal shift he recommends for the US Navy to maintain its projection abilities, by applying a more offensive mindset to the surface fleet.
- Julian Lindley-French offers a potent, deeply pessimistic perspective on the tepid reaction of the West’s “hollow” leaders to recent events:
“This is a big strategic moment. This past week Russian T-72 tanks entered Ukraine and Moscow conducted a snap exercise of forty thousand troops in Kaliningrad on the borders of Poland and Lithuania. In Iraq the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant now threatens not just Baghdad but the entire Sykes-Picot system of states set up (for better or worse) in 1916 as they seek to create an anti-state, a Caliphate from which to launch global jihad.
Washington talks vaguely about some sort of action and has sent the aircraft-carrier USS George W. Bush into the Gulf but rules out serious military action. Tony Blair has rightly warned Europeans to wake up but is excoriated for it. Instead, Europeans find ever more complicated ways to ‘understand’ Russian aggression and by and large ignore what is happening across the Mediterranean as the Levant from Lebanon to the Gulf totters in the face of extremism.”
- Today’s video shows the German military’s logistics out of Afghanistan, using a mix of airlift to Turkey and road routes via Central Asia: