India Finally Gets a Dedicated Defense Minister
- India’s Prime Minister Modi expanded his cabinet [Reuters] yesterday and finally appointed a dedicated defense minister in the person of Manohar Parrikar, a former Chief Minister in the southern state of Goa whom the Economic Times describes as a “man with impeccable integrity.” Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had managed both ministries since Modi won the general election 6 months ago. DNA summarizes the top challenges facing Parrikar, and that’s an overflowing plate.
- Xi and Abe finally met under the auspices of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, a Star Trek convention for regional leaders, but their first handshake was ice cold [Bloomberg video] in a vivid illustration of the tensions between China and Japan. The pictures showing Presidents Obama and Xi together looks warmer, but the FT, Guardian or NYT all conclude that Xi will consider post-midterms Obama as a spent force. The official multilateral agenda in the region is likely to be contained to economic and administrative matters.
US Army, Contractors vs French Peers
- RAND Corporation released a paper on lessons to be drawn from France’s expeditionary war in Mali that they think could apply to the US Army. The funny part is that it was politically easier to hold up the French as an example than the USMC, which already does many of these things.
“[T]he French […] are adept at quickly fielding small yet highly capable forces tailored for specific needs and objectives and reiteratively task organizing as the situation evolves. […] The French Army also appears to have an operational culture well suited for expeditionary warfare, particularly in austere environments and with limited resources.”
- France is pitching its ships to Canada, but they’re concerned [Defense News] that weapons procurement from US vendors will have a domino effect. Maybe the French should prioritize RIM-162 ESSM quad-pack compatibility with DCNS’ SYLVER VLS systems, instead of offering MBDA-only weapons?
- The Washington Post describes the United Arab Emirates as “Little Sparta” for their enduring commitment to defense cooperation with Western powers.
- SpaceX’ Elon Musk and former Googler Greg Wyler are teaming up [WSJ] to build a network of 700 micro-satellites to deliver Internet access across the world. Manufacturing and launch costs got in the way of previous similar efforts.