Rapid Fire March 4, 2013: The US Army’s Limited Structure Changes in Europe
- The US Army will continue to adjust its forces in Germany and Italy in the next three years, with some units to be deactivated or return to the US. The US will still have more than 50,000 troops in these two countries 70 years after the end of WWII.
- The US Navy’s response to sequestration includes “negotiating contract modifications to de-obligate efforts for any investment programs for which the remaining unobligated balance will be insufficient after the sequestration reduction is applied. Major programs affected include Virginia-class SSN advance procurement, reactor power units and JHSV 10.”
- Air Force Strategic Studies Quarterly recently featured an article [PDF, see also this expanded version] challenging the pursuit of biofuels for national security purposes. The Department of Energy’s Bioenergy Technologies Office pushes back [PDF] with a number of counter-arguments. If the DoD and DoE acknowledged that their research is speculative and may or may not pan out, they might face less opposition. “Because we’re spending a lot of money now, some unknown future tech will lower our costs by an order of magnitude” is not a very convincing argument.
- US NAVAIR’s Air Warfare Center Weapons division is testing trailer-mounted fuel cells powered by solar panels. Refreshingly their rationale for doing so has direct military value:
“There is a whole logistics challenge associated with the use of fossil fuels, especially in remote areas. Since this system only needs water [DID: and sufficient sunlight, though obviously that's not shippable] to operate, one of its biggest benefits is reducing the logistics requirements associated with fuel convoys, which could save lives.”
- Russia has sold $2.5B worth of weapons to other countries in the first two months of the year reports RIA Novosti, or about the same run rate as in 2012. Meanwhile they say they will develop their own UAVs rather than buy them from Israel.
- Russia’s exports are more successful than they would like, as they even include the United States, reports C4ISR Journal. American efforts to acquire Russian and Chinese weapons received much more publicity than intended when the Department of Justice indicted in October 2011 for bribery several people involved in the deals (they pleaded guilty last week).
- Turkey is another country which initially sourced UAVs from Israel but then decided to develop its own manufacturing capabilities. The Turkish Air Force should soon conclude negotiations with Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) for the purchase of 10 ANKA UAVs, according to the Anadolu News Agency.
- In the latest Naval War College Review: a look at the Senkaku/Diaoyu Island tensions between Japan and China; the implications of China’s Arctic ambitions [PDFs].
- DID’s document stash has been updated with the latest 10-K SEC filings and annual reports from major defense contractors for 2012.