* President Obama announced the US would leave 9,800 troops in Afghanistan in 2015, then cut than number by half the next year.
* US Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO, SAC-D member) sums up the Republican reaction:
“If we are going to leave forces in Afghanistan, we should leave enough people to do the job. The president can’t know what the situation will look like in Afghanistan two years from now. By announcing the next cuts this far in advance, the president’s plan won’t provide the stability that America’s servicemembers and their families, who sacrifice and endure loss of life and health, deserve.”
Tech Sector Dwarfs Defense R&D
* First, information technology companies stepped ahead of defense firms in silicon transistor and chip R&D. Now, they’re just ahead period.
* Bill Sweetman again notes the evasions surrounding the F-35B’s ability to operate from remote airstrips without destroying them. The issue is included in the research section of DID’s F-35 article covering the fighter’s capabilities and controversies in depth.
More Rigged US Logistics Deals
* Timothy S. Miller, the former CEO of ACS Systems and Engineering, was indicted for allegedly paying $50,000 in bribes to contractors at the Military Sealift Command (USTRANSCOM’s maritime arm) to get $1.1M+ in contracts, according to the Virginian-Pilot.
Ships for Egypt
* The Bellona Foundation is worried about nuclear contamination in the Barents sea from sunken Russian submarines.
* Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev ratified the creation of a joint air defense system with Russia.
Israel/US Rocket Defense
* Israel’s Iron Dome system was so far built with US funding support but overwhelmingly manufactured by the local industry. According to a report from the US Missile Defense Agency (MDA) seen by Bloomberg, this is changing with more than half of the US subsidy eventually going back to US contractors (primarily Raytheon) by next year.
Eastern European Air Defense
NATO & Missile Defense
* Today’s video features a discussion hosted by the Atlantic Council on transatlantic missile defense: