* During a trip to Poland President Obama announced he’d seek congressional backing for a “European Reassurance Initiative” worth up to $1B within the FY15 Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) request, which his Administration has yet to submit almost 4 months after the deadline for presidential budget requests. With that money the US intends to mostly increase its exercises, training, and rotational presence in Europe.
* However the US Administration didn’t bother to file a proper OCO request in time last year either, and the amounts requested are arguably too high for what remains of the war effort in Afghanistan. This makes today’s announcement look like budgetary window dressing more than a substantial response to Russia’s “attempted annexation of Crimea” to use the White House’s language. (It’s not clear in what way the annexation is not an actual done deal at this point.) Maybe Mini Me could help make the “one billion dollars” pledge more convincing?
* The White House says it will “build the partner capacity of close friends such as Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine so they can better work alongside the United States and NATO, as well as provide for their own defense” but that part is not fleshed out and may end up amounting to a few gifted satellite phones.
China, Russia to Supply Pakistan
* From the state-run ITAR-TASS news agency: Russia lifts embargo on weapons supplies to Pakistan. The sale of transport helicopters looks to be in the cards. Maybe Russia thinks it has already lost India as one of its top customers, or they’re acting on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s overture to Pakistan during his inauguration (though that gesture of conciliation seems hedged by Modi’s choice of security advisers).
* China appears set to sell Type 039B submarines to Pakistan sometime this year.
Adult Supervision Needed In Israeli Government
* The spat between Israel’s defense and finance ministries escalated with the MoD’s decision to suspend planned acquisitions and further reduce training and operations. They can’t even agree on how much money defense is really receiving. Prime Minister Netanyahu promised to step in and make a decision within coming weeks.
* Hurryiet: “Despite some false starts, Turkish aerospace engineers are moving ahead at full speed with new unmanned aerial vehicles.” TAI is working not just on its Anka MALE, but also an armed version.
India’s VVIP Deal
* Finance minister and interim defense minister Arun Jaitley is about to review the allegations against AgustaWestland in a deal for 12 VIP helicopters. Whether the new government will resolve this matter decisively may provide a preview of what’s to come.
Prizes for Cyber Defense Automation
Testing the JHSV
* Today’s video from USNAVSEA summarizes last year’s post delivery and test trials for the Joint High Speed Vessel, including on/off loading of landing vehicles and Vertical replenishment (VERTREP) from a variety of rotorcraft: