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Japan, Indonesia Look at More Assertive Security Stances While Xi Jinping Purges for Power

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* Last week Japan’s cabinet changed its constitutional interpretation of the country’s right to collective self-defense. Ryo Sahashi, a visiting professor at Stanford University, argues that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe still has much convincing to do in order to change a Japanese public opinion that’s deeply averse to the use of force. There are months of legislative work ahead to reflect this change into bills. * East Asia Forum expects a military buildup in Indonesia no matter who wins the forthcoming presidential elections: “Even with modest economic growth projections, an Indonesian military build-up is inevitable. Both candidates, running on nationalist platforms, desire a more powerful Indonesian military that can project its power. The only difference is that Prabowo prefers a powerful — yet stationary — military presence initially and power projection capabilities later on, while Jokowi seems to prefer it the other way around.” * China’s Communist Party under general secretary/president/chairman Xi Jinping is increasingly sounding like it’s in the middle of a full-blown purge, after it expelled former vice-chairman of China’s Central Military Commission Xu Caihou last Monday. See the language of state and party-sanctioned headlines: People’s Daily scolds ousted military leader; Battle against the enemy within. Xu Qiliang, […]

* Last week Japan’s cabinet changed its constitutional interpretation of the country’s right to collective self-defense. Ryo Sahashi, a visiting professor at Stanford University, argues that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe still has much convincing to do in order to change a Japanese public opinion that’s deeply averse to the use of force. There are months of legislative work ahead to reflect this change into bills.

* East Asia Forum expects a military buildup in Indonesia no matter who wins the forthcoming presidential elections:

“Even with modest economic growth projections, an Indonesian military build-up is inevitable. Both candidates, running on nationalist platforms, desire a more powerful Indonesian military that can project its power. The only difference is that Prabowo prefers a powerful — yet stationary — military presence initially and power projection capabilities later on, while Jokowi seems to prefer it the other way around.”

* China’s Communist Party under general secretary/president/chairman Xi Jinping is increasingly sounding like it’s in the middle of a full-blown purge, after it expelled former vice-chairman of China’s Central Military Commission Xu Caihou last Monday. See the language of state and party-sanctioned headlines: People’s Daily scolds ousted military leader; Battle against the enemy within. Xu Qiliang, a former PLA Air Force pilot, replaced Xu Caihou as the CMC’s #3.

* C. Christine Fair from Georgetown University thinks the Pakistani army’s operation against the Taliban in North Waziristan should be met with deep skepticism. Hundreds of thousands of civilians have fled the area… and business has been booming for barbers.

State of Iraq

* The latest situation report from the ISW shows the insurgents focusing on key infrastructure, including ongoing fights for the refinery in Baiji.

* Al-Jazeera provides a well-done time-lapse map of the Islamic State’s recent attacks in Iraq, and if you need to catch up on the overall conflict since ISIS launched its offensive in Mosul, the Economist has a decent recap.

Europe

* Ukraine replaced its defense minister and is taking off the gloves in its efforts to root out pro-Russian insurgents from Eastern cities. The pro-government Kyiv Post seems to think it’s working so far. AP video in Slovyansk.

* German defense minister Ursula von der Leyen is in favor of acquiring combat UAVs, under parliamentary supervision and within a European program. Deutsche Welle | Süddeutsche Zeitung [in German].

The NSA’s Broad Net

* WaPo: “Nine of 10 account holders found in a large cache of intercepted conversations, which former NSA contractor Edward Snowden provided in full to The Post, were not the intended surveillance targets but were caught in a net the agency had cast for somebody else.”

* Good question: why does the government suck so badly at software? Apart from the NSA’s cyber-spying exploits (in both meanings of the word), that is.

A Shiny Future of Self-Repairing Flying Robots

* Nick Colosimo from BAE Systems sees a future where 3D printing is used aboard UAVs so that they can heal themselves in flight, as well as combined aircraft that splits into smaller planes once it has reached destination. Someone has been watching too much UFO Robot Grendizer, but the press loves this sort of stuff. Video below:

But Back in the Real World

* The US Army is firing officers right after moving them to their next assignment. It’s one thing to have to downsize, it’s something else to do it that way.

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