Obama to Nominate Ashton Carter as US Defense Secretary
- The two names on top of President Obama’s short list [AP] to succeed Chuck Hagel as Defense Secretary were former Defense Undersecretary Ashton Carter and current Undersecretary Bob Work. Carter was clearly interested in the job when Hagel was selected instead in January 2013, and ends up being the choice announced by CNN and Bloomberg this morning. However by mid-afternoon this still hadn’t been officially confirmed. If Ash Carter is indeed Obama’s nominee, his senatorial confirmation is unlikely to be an issue.
- Meanwhile Work decries [WaPo] Congress’ inability to pass bills on time and its unwillingness to concede that another round of base consolidation has to happen.
- The chairmen of the US House and Senate Armed Services Committee seem to have reached an agreement on the FY15 defense authorization bill, and were expected to make a joint statement today at noon (ET). Meanwhile appropriations look likely [The Hill] to again be handled through an omnibus bill.
China’s Naval and Aerial Counters
- China commissioned last week Zhuzhou, the 18th corvette in the Jingdao class (Type 056) and the 2nd within the anti-submarine warfare Type 056A variant.
- Bill Sweetman posits in AvWeek that China’s radar and missile work means more than fighters:
“there is a lot of PLA money going into reconnaissance-strike complexes that can hold power-projection forces at risk from far beyond the horizon, and radars that are designed to detect, track and target stealth aircraft.”
- Reuters: Russia announces war games; UK worried by ‘extremely aggressive’ probing of air space.
- Associated Press reports that thousands of businesses in Crimea have been “nationalized”, i.e. seized by masked gunmen without legal justification. Video.
- How low can oil go? This Bloomberg video expands on yesterday’s speculation that oil prices may drop as low as $40 a barrel.
- On one hand, budgeteers at the US Air Force are probably salivating at the perspective of saving a billion dollars or two in yearly jet fuel expenses. On the other hand oil prices at these levels would make the US Navy’s Great Green Fleet experiments look really expensive. But it is the nature of commodity prices to widely fluctuate, and long term strategic plans cannot be made based on spot prices.
- The Atlantic Council recently hosted a panel in Istanbul on nation states vs. non-state actors in the middle east. Video below: