Germany’s Defense Efforts Fall Short of Recent, More Assertive Rhetoric

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* Germany’s defense minister Ursula von der Leyen might think that “Russia has destroyed a massive amount of trust” and claim that her country “wants to take on more responsibility”, echoing recent declarations from the Germans. But in practice Germany’s role in UN missions is minimalist and its parliament just passed a defense budget down 2.5% to €32.4B ($44.2B). Drone, Mine Doctrine * The center-left Simpson Center released recommendations [PDF] on UAV policy written by Gen. John P. Abizaid (US Army, Ret, former USCENTCOM Commander) and Rosa Brooks, a law professor at the Georgetown University Law Center. They are concerned: “While we do not believe that UAV strikes cause disproportionate civilian casualties or turn killing into a ‘video-game,’ we are concerned that the availability of lethal UAV technologies has enabled US policies that likely would not have been adopted in the absence of UAVs. In particular, UAVs have enabled the United States to engage in the cross-border use of lethal force against targeted individuals in an unprecedented and expanding way, raising significant strategic, legal and ethical questions. We are concerned that the Obama administration’s heavy reliance on targeted killings as a pillar of US counterterrorism strategy rests on questionable assumptions, […]

* Germany’s defense minister Ursula von der Leyen might think that “Russia has destroyed a massive amount of trust” and claim that her country “wants to take on more responsibility”, echoing recent declarations from the Germans. But in practice Germany’s role in UN missions is minimalist and its parliament just passed a defense budget down 2.5% to €32.4B ($44.2B).

Drone, Mine Doctrine

* The center-left Simpson Center released recommendations [PDF] on UAV policy written by Gen. John P. Abizaid (US Army, Ret, former USCENTCOM Commander) and Rosa Brooks, a law professor at the Georgetown University Law Center. They are concerned:

“While we do not believe that UAV strikes cause disproportionate civilian casualties or turn killing into a ‘video-game,’ we are concerned that the availability of lethal UAV technologies has enabled US policies that likely would not have been adopted in the absence of UAVs. In particular, UAVs have enabled the United States to engage in the cross-border use of lethal force against targeted individuals in an unprecedented and expanding way, raising significant strategic, legal and ethical questions.

We are concerned that the Obama administration’s heavy reliance on targeted killings as a pillar of US counterterrorism strategy rests on questionable assumptions, and risks increasing instability and escalating conflicts.”

* The White House confirmed that it is reviewing its land mine policy and adheres – at least in principle – with the goals of the Ottawa Convention. Last week Republicans from the House Armed Services Committee had already sided with CJCS Dempsey in saying that the US uses mines responsibly and that these devices have military value.

Looking for Clarity Above Ground, Under Sea

* The US Army’s RDECOM CERDEC Night Vision and Electronic Sensors Directorate (NVESD) is looking for information on a degraded visual environment system for ground combat vehicles.

* The USMC’s Product Manager Reconnaissance and Amphibious Raids (PdM RAR) will host an industry day on July 22-24 in Stafford, VA, to discuss their Diver Reconnaissance Vehicle (DRV) requirement. “At a minimum, the DRV system shall consist of a propulsion vehicle, navigation, obstacle avoidance, and a hydrographic survey capability that can be deployed from small crafts, US surface and subsurface Naval vessels, and military fixed and rotary wing aircraft.” They hope to finalize an RFP by January 2015, issue a contract 6 months later, and field vehicles by FY18.

Canada’s Catalog of Programs

* Canada released the Defence Acquisition Guide that was promised by the government back in February. As Embassy puts it: “The more than 200 projects aren’t prioritized, the cost estimates are vague, and the government probably can’t pay for most of them anytime soon… anything in the guide can be changed or dropped at anytime.” It’s also a weakly structured set of pages that make it tedious to work with. At least there’s a list with all programs in one place. Had they published data in Excel or CSV format, they might have gotten a C for effort.

Swedish Exports

* Roketsan and Saab signed an MoU to develop a new short-to-medium range anti-tank missile. Roketsan is already developing the medium range UMTAS/ MIZRAK-O. Saab’s direct-fire AT4/ M136 is still drawing customers, and their short-range guided NLAW has a firm base, but their Bill 2 and its optical SACLOS guidance could use an update.

* An opinion poll shows significant opposition to weapons exports among the Swede population. Sweden’s size and budgets mean that if the Green Party gets their way in a future socialist coalition, the country would lose much of its arms industry.

Look, No Hands

* Today’s video shows the 2nd demonstration of the Autonomous Mobility Appliqué System (AMAS) by US Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) and Lockheed Martin. That demonstration was focused on having more vehicles in a convoy, rather than trying to dodge pedestrians in an urban environment:

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