US Congressman Chris Van Hollen [D-MD, Budget Committee Ranking Member] introduced his 3rd bill proposal to replace sequestration and make Republicans look bad in the process. “The bill caps discretionary defense spending at the levels the President requested through 2021 rather than at the higher defense caps originally set by Budget Control Act.”
“Xi, then, has ultimately chosen to defend the Communist Party against internal political threats rather than prepare it to face external military threats. There is little doubt the Communist Party has been sharpening its identity in a post-communist world by defining itself against the West, fanning nationalist fervor, and promising a restoration of China’s ancient grandeur. Xi thus has little choice but to keep pumping enormous resources into a war machine if he is to justify his party’s continuing monopoly on power.”
Poland’s strong economy allows it to plan for solid defense modernization in the decade ahead. Russia’s posture and the EU’s weakness may also have something to do with it. They want significant industrial and technological offsets whenever foreign suppliers will be involved. Financial Times.
On May 15/13, the US DSCA announced a pair of official export requests to provide and install Northrop Grumman’s AN/AAQ-24(V) Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures (LAIRCM), for use on Oman and Qatar’s royal flight VVIP jets.
LAIRCM is a defensive system that couples detectors to track incoming missiles, with a laser that locks on to the missile’s seeker. A series of timed laser pulses lead the missile harmlessly astray. That won’t stop a radar-guided S-300, but it isn’t designed to. It’s designed as a defense against the shoulder-fired MANPADS air defense missiles that might be used in a sneak attack, like the one that nailed a DHL airliner over Baghdad in 2003. The specific requests include:
Rear Adm. Richard Breckenridge, the US Navy’s Director of Undersea Warfare, says they have enough SSBNs at the moment to fulfill deterrence goals, and will need at least 10 operational SSBNs to continue to do so in the future. And to do that until the introduction of the new SSBN “we must complete refueling overhauls of all 14 Ohio SSBNs and operate the 12 newest of them to their full 42-year extended life.” On background: 2010 nuclear posture review [PDF] | Finite deterrence.
In mid-May 2013, MBDA signed an MoU with Lockheed Martin that has the potential to shake up the naval missile industry. It sounds innocuous: both companies agree to jointly explore the market for the integration of MBDA naval missile systems into Lockheed Martin’s MK-41 Vertical Launch System, and ExLS VLS/cell insert. They’ll begin with a late 2013 demonstration involving Britain’s new CAMM-M Sea Ceptor missile, but the implications reach far beyond.
Right now, the naval missile market is divided by launcher type, and many of MBDA’s missiles sit in a DCNS banlieue.
The Pentagon’s latest proposition for furloughs of its civilian employees is down to 11 days, spread between July 8 and the end of FY13 on Sept. 30. That’s half of their earliest estimate and the exact number of unpaid days might still get lower. Announcement | Background briefing.
The centrist Stimson Center issued a report [PDF] compiling ideas for defense savings from a wide variety of sources. Whereas the Pentagon tends to point to billions of dollars of imaginary efficiencies lacking any specificity, this document enumerates actual, tangible options.