* The French government released its annual report [PDF, in French] on armament exports. They saw orders grow by almost 43% in 2013 from the previous year, to €6.9B ($8.9B), with more than half of the total accounted by Asian and Middle East customers. This is their 2nd best year in a decade after a relatively lackluster 2012.
Clearing Up Clearances
* The Government Accountability Office reviewed how DoD and DHS revoke the security clearances of employees and thinks this could be tidied up.
* Want China Times relays reports from various Russian and Chinese sources saying China continues to struggle with the production of jet engines that work, which has always been the main bottleneck for them to produce their own advanced fighters.
* US Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Greenert spoke at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace on sources of tension and potential for cooperation with China’s military. He said surveillance conducted by the US in international waters close to China will continue, whether Chinese reporters like it or not [Breaking Defense].
* US National Security Adviser Susan Rice pointed out [McClatchy] during a meeting with President Xi Jinping that an area of potential cooperation between the US and China is the fight against the Islamic State and other insurgents. This is in China’s self-interest, as it has seen its investments in oil infrastructure threatened from Libya to Iraq. They are to send [Reuters] 700 peacekeepers in South Sudan.
Ally Capabilities, post-Afghanistan
* Canada’s Prime Minister Harper wants to send [Canadian Forces] special forces to advise Iraqi and Kurdish forces in their fight against ISIL. They’re less visible to the public than regular forces, and Canada’s projection abilities are now severely limited.
* Mars Attaque features an interesting interview [in French] with Christophe Lafaye on how France’s combat engineering mission unfolded in Afghanistan. The researcher is concerned that France will have a hard time maintaining institutional knowledge and operational equipment to face future conflicts. He also thinks over-specialization can have detrimental effects in operations, with combat engineers so focused on technical skills that they lack vital tactical acumen and infantry versatility.
Cleaning Up Space
* Today’s video shows work done at MIT to gauge the rotation of objects in space by filming them, which could help take control of dead satellites for future orbital clean-ups: