Archive for the ‘defense’ Category

Obama Killing Missile Defense in Slickest of Ways

March 18, 2009

By giving only lukewarm verbal support for missile defense, slashing the overall defense budget, and dealing with Russians and others to signal weak support for missile defense, President Obama will curtail the nation’s and allied missile defense efforts drastically without even mentioning the program.

Already he has reportedly offered to eliminate the European missile defense effort in a some kind of deal with Russia in exchange for Russian help with Iran’s nuclear program.

Consequently, European allies see the U.S. as not really interested in missile defnese any more.

And the Administration has backed away from military planners who suggested the U.S. should shoot down the next long range North Korean missile test.

Despite great strides and successes in the military’s missile defense effort — and even a successful test just last night in Hawaii — missile defense is a likely “bill payer” in the president’s budget scheme….and it will not be debated on its merits in this environment….

Czech’s Pull Missile Shield Plan from Parliament

Rookie Mistake With Russia?

 U.S. Intercepts Ballistic Missile in Hawaii Test

 Russia Pressing “Reset,” Medvedev Orders Military To Re-Arm

Gates readies big cuts in weapons

Obama Wasting America’s Strategic World Power; China Surges Despite Economy

Era of Obama, American Weakness Emboldens Russia, China, Iran, North Korea, Terrorists

Russia Sees Obama, U.S., Others As “Weak,” “Naive”

Sun Setting On American Superpower?

 Obama Backs Off, Japan Ready To Shoot Down North Korean Missile

 White House: U.S. Will Not Shoot North Korean Missile


Russian Baragaining Chip Is All Paper

Associated Press

Russian news agencies cited a top defense official Wednesday as confirming that a contract to sell powerful air-defense missiles to Iran was signed two years ago, but saying no such weapons have yet been delivered.

Russian officials have consistently denied claims the country already has provided some of the S-300 missiles to Iran. They have not said whether a contract existed.

The state-run ITAR-Tass and RIA-Novosti news agencies and the independent Interfax quoted an unnamed top official in the Federal Military-Technical Cooperation Service as saying the contract was signed two years ago. Service spokesman Andrei Tarabrin told The Associated Press he could not immediately comment.

Supplying S-300s to Iran would change the military balance in the Middle East and the issue has been the subject of intense speculation and diplomatic wrangling for months.

Israel and the U.S. fear that, were Iran to possess S-300 missiles, it would use them to protect its nuclear facilities — including the uranium enrichment plant at Natanz or the country’s first atomic power plant, which is now being built by Russian contractors at Bushehr.

That would make a military strike on the Iranian facilities much more difficult.

It was not clear why the missiles have not been delivered, but the reports cited the defense official as saying “fulfillment of the contract will mainly depend on the current international situation and the decision of the country’s leadership.”

That could indicate that Russia intends to use the contract as a bargaining chip before next month’s meeting between President Dmitry Medvedev and President Barack Obama.

But the defense official said Russia does not intend to abandon the contract, estimated to be worth hundreds of millions of dollars, ITAR-Tass said,

A prominent Russian analyst, Ruslan Pukhov of the Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies, said the missile contract was seen by the Kremlin as primarily a political rather than commercial matter.

“The S-300 contract, and cooperation with Iran in general, is regarded by Moscow only as an instrument of political bargaining with the West and not as a way of realizing the fundamental defense and commercial interests of Russia,” he was quoted as saying by RIA-Novosti.

Gates readies big cuts in weapons

March 17, 2009

As the Bush administration was drawing to a close, Robert M. Gates, whose two years as defense secretary had been devoted to wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, felt compelled to warn his successor of a crisis closer to home.

By Bryan Bender
The Boston Globe

The United States “cannot expect to eliminate national security risks through higher defense budgets, to do everything and buy everything,” Gates said. The next defense secretary, he warned, would have to eliminate some costly hardware and invest in new tools for fighting insurgents.

What Gates didn’t know was that he would be that successor.

Now, as the only Bush Cabinet member to remain under President Obama, Gates is preparing the most far-reaching changes in the Pentagon’s weapons portfolio since the end of the Cold War, according to aides.

Two defense officials who were not authorized to speak publicly said Gates will announce up to a half-dozen major weapons cancellations later this month. Candidates include a new Navy destroyer, the Air Force’s F-22 fighter jet, and Army ground-combat vehicles, the officials said.


More cuts are planned for later this year after a review that could lead to reductions in programs such as aircraft carriers and nuclear arms, the officials said.

As a former CIA director with strong Republican credentials, Gates is prepared to use his credibility to help Obama overcome the expected outcry from conservatives. And after a lifetime in the national security arena, working in eight administrations, the 65-year-old Gates is also ready to counter the defense companies and throngs of retired generals and other lobbyists who are gearing up to protect their pet projects.

“He has earned a great deal of credibility over the past two years, both inside and outside the Pentagon, and now he is prepared to use it to lead the department in a new direction and bring about the changes he believes are necessary to protect the nation’s security,” said Geoff Morrell, the Pentagon press secretary.

Read the rest:

Russia Pressing “Reset,” Medvedev Orders Military To Re-Arm
Pentagon Rethinking Strategy, Planning, Budgeting and Weapons-Buying

Obama Backs Off, Japan Ready To Shoot Down North Korean Missile

March 13, 2009

Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton said today that “North Korea poses a continuing threat that should trouble us a great deal.”

North Korea is threatening to launch a ballisic missile over Japan and toward the United States.

Today Japan said it could shoot down any missile or object that looked to be a threat to Japan.
“Japan is legally able to shoot down the object to secure safety if it looks like it will fall on to Japan,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Takeo Kawamura said during a news conference.

Sun Setting On American Superpower?

North Korea, China, U.S., Japan: Missiles, Missile Defense, Naval Power At Sea

Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Takeo Kawamura says it has the right to shoot down the satellite.

Above: Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Takeo Kawamura says it has the right to shoot down the satellite.

Bolton said “Japan is sending a signal to Washington not to go soft on North Korea.”

The White House has already said it will not authorize a shoot down of the North Korean missile but could change its mind.  Hillary Clinton said there were “a lot of options.”

“Japan is certainly threatened by North Korea.  North Korea, with its nuclear weapons, is a regional and global threat,” Bolton said.

Even though the U.S. Navy has already demonstrated the ability to destroy an orbiting satellite, the White House says the U.S. will not interfere with North Korea’s missile test.

“Obama’s outreach and engagement with many [including Syria, Iran and the Taliban] is in contrast to Japan’s relationship with North Korea,” Bolton said.

Bolton was interviewed by the Fox News Channel on Friday morning, March 13, 2009.

North Korea remains a trouble spot in the world today only because China allows them to play that role.
This week North Korea threatened war with the United States — a war that would certainly involve Japan and South Korea.  North Korea could not be making such threats and could not even think about testing a long range strategic missile just now unless China consented to this brazen move or at least looked the other way. 
China supplies North Korea with almost all of its food, oil, luxury goods and currency. 
Without China, North Korea would be impotent and meaningless.

One of Japan’s missile defense ships, KONGO



Japan said on Friday it could shoot down any threatening object falling toward its territory, after North Korea said a planned rocket launch would send it across Japanese territory.

North Korea has given notice to global agencies that it plans to launch a satellite between April 4 and 8, presenting a challenge to new U.S. President Barack Obama and allies who see it as a disguised missile test.

“Under our law, we can intercept any object if it is falling toward Japan, including any attacks on Japan, for our safety,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Takeo Kawamura told a news conference.

South Korea’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement any such launch would be in violation of Security Council Resolution 1718.

“If North Korea goes ahead with the launch, we believe there will be discussions and a response by the Security Council on the violation of the resolution.”

Read the rest:


 Obama Wasting America’s Strategic World Power; China Surges Despite Economy

 White House: U.S. Will Not Shoot North Korean Missile

 China Provoked Obama; Now Works To Smooth Situation: Why?
Era of Obama, American Weakness Emboldens Russia, China, Iran, North Korea, Terrorists

Japan Warns North Korea

A U.S. Navy ship launches ballistic missile defense interceptors like those that could be used to counter North Korea’s long range missile launch….Japan also has AEGIS ships with ballistic missile defense systems….

Emerging Obama Doctrine

March 11, 2009

As President Obama carves out his own foreign policy, there are signs that his use of military force overseas will be tempered by his views on the limits of American power.

Mr. Obama is leaning toward a pragmatic approach that limits military deployment of the kind used by former President Bush in the “war on terror,” while remaining open to humanitarian aid and security training, especially in places such as Darfur. This approach departs from Mr. Bush but also synthesizes policy elements from Bush’s later years.

By Gordon Lubold
Christian Science Monitor

“It is a very balanced, pragmatic understanding that America’s interests and her ideals don’t always coincide and so you have to make some trade-offs,” says John Nagl, a former Army officer who now heads the Center for a New American Security, a think tank in Washington.

To a degree, Bush had come round to something resembling that position during his second term, as his administration began to recalibrate US goals amid the realities of two wars.

Obama’s top-to-bottom review of US strategy in Afghanistan and Pakistan, for instance, is expected to yield a downscaled agenda there. And while Obama has established an end date for US combat troops in Iraq – something Bush did not do – he’ll keep those forces there longer than he had initially wanted because of recommendations of the Pentagon, and despite the misgivings in his own party.

Obama has also broken from the previous administration by reaching out diplomatically to countries such as Iran and Syria, which have had fraught relations with the Bush White House.

An Obama doctrine?

In a speech announcing his drawdown plan for Iraq earlier this month, the president painted some broad brush strokes of an “Obama Doctrine” concerning use of force overseas.

The US must not rely on the military alone to achieve its foreign policy ends, he said. And if the US does need to take military action, it must do so only after seeking bipartisan support and after working closely with “friends and allies,” he added.

“We have learned that America must go to war with clearly defined goals,” he told the crowd of marines at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina.

“We have learned that we must always weigh the costs of action, and communicate those costs candidly to the American people.”

“Policymakers and military leaders have learned a great deal about the employment of American power, and the costs and risks of doing so and I think that is reflected in the president’s remarks,” says Nathan Freier, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, another think tank in Washington.

Moreover, in reaching out to Iran and Syria – two countries the Bush administration would not talk to – Obama is not necessarily looking to impose American ideals of democracy and freedom.

“There is business we have to do with those states to keep America safe and so to a certain extent, we hold our nose, we try to nudge them forward on issues of human rights and democracy promotion, but we understand we’re not always going to win that fight and there are other issues on the table,” says Mr. Nagl.

Similarly, despite an escalation of troops in Afghanistan, Defense Secretary Robert Gates has suggested that the US will scale back on their goals there, from achieving a full-fledged stable democracy to achieving a semblance of security.

Read the rest:

Still Work Needed on “Stimulus;” House, Senate Miles Apart

February 8, 2009

While usually a “conference committee” between the House and the Senate on a spending bill irons out differences btween the two chambers on the measure; nothing has been usual about the “emergency relief” or stimulus bill so it may follow that the rules and norms of the confernce will not be norms at all.

The Senate cut out some favorite spending programs of the House — primarily tens of billions of dollars in aid to states and local governments, tax provisions, and education, health and renewable energy programs.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has already vowed to put the money back in — and Republican Senator Susan Collins, who supported the senate version of the stimulus says she has “no obligation to support the bill that come out of the conference committee.”

The competing bills now reflect substantially different approaches. The House puts greater emphasis on helping states and localities avoid wide-scale cuts in services and layoffs of public employees. The Senate cut $40 billion of that aid from its bill, which is expected to be approved Tuesday.

The Senate plan also focuses somewhat more heavily on tax cuts, provides far less generous health care subsidies for the unemployed and lowers a proposed increase in food stamps.

Pelosi and many in the House don’t like those tax cuts and are expected to work to restore items like the health care and food stamp money.

The Senate plan also creates new tax incentives to encourage Americans to buy homes and cars within the next year.

Pelosi called the emerging Senate cuts to the stimulus program “very damaging” and said she was “very much opposed to them.”

In the Senate there are several Republicans waving a Congressional Budget Report that says in the long term the stimulus will slow investment and add to the debt.
“If you knew a bill in the U.S. Senate would cause a recession in 10 years, would you support it?” asked Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Arizona. “That’s what the Congressional Budget Office, the bipartisan office that supports our efforts in the Congress, says about this legislation. … There will be negative [gross domestic product] in this decade as a result of this legislation.”

And there are those like John McCain and Lindsey Graham wondering why there is no defense sepending in the bill.

In a Washington Post Op-Ed Sunday, Tom Donnelly and Gary Schmitt of  the American Enterprise Institute advocate defense spending in the stimulus saying:

“During the transition, the Obama team advanced three principles about stimulus spending: It should be timely (putting dollars into economic circulation rapidly), targeted (of clear value to the nation) and temporary (not a new and permanent entitlement or long-term program that would make the government’s finances even more problematic).

Defense programs more than meet these criteria, as many mainstream economists have pointed out. Compared with infrastructure programs that require lengthy planning, design and approval processes, extending efficient, already running defense procurements would have brief, as the military says, “flash-to-bang” times. And a dollar invested in such programs would not only circulate rapidly but would also have a multiplying effect, sustaining jobs not only among prime contractors but also among their suppliers.”

Plus the pressure will not subside on the lawmakers: from the White House, voters, talking heads, news media and even bloggers.

John E. Carey
Wakefield Chapel, Virginia

Whatever its flaws, the stimulus package could create or save as many as 4 million jobs by the end of next year, helping to offset the 3.6 million jobs lost since the nation slid into recession in December 2007, according to an analysis by Allen Sinai, chief global economist for Decision Economics.

“This is a seismic shift in the role of government in our society,” said  Sinai. “Those who believe the government can be an effective, positive instrument for good will have another chance to try it,” said Sinai, a political independent.

Pelosi responds on bipartisanship

The L.A. Times on the Stimulus:

In Defense of Defense in the Stimulus
Tom Donnelly and Gary Schmitt

Economists on the Stimulus: The Washington Post

Oliver North: Stimulate Defense


This Stimulus Probably Won’t Create Jobs; But Will Make For More Debt

Senate Votes On Economic Stimulus Package 
Independent Sen. Joe Lieberman, from left, Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson, and Republican Sens. Arlen Specter and Susan Collins arrive to talk to reporters about a deal being arranged on the economic stimulus bill. The compromise, negotiated behind the scenes, would slice some $110 billion from the bill, which had grown to $930 billion as amended on the Senate floor.  Photo: Brendan Smialowski, Getty Images

Mayors, Governors of Both Parties Favor Stimulus (Surprised?)

February 4, 2009

“It’s time to stop the bickering and start the tough negotiating to get this bill out to ensure that the American people in our cities get the relief that they need right now.”

That quote is from Los Angeles, California, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, a Democrat.

Most of America’s mayors and governors want the stimulus and they want it now.

Mayors and governors wanting more federal money should be no surprise to anyone.

The stimulus is a gold mine of money for mayors and governors that don’t have to raise taxes to pay for the goodies the stimulus might buy and they have no requirement to repay the federal money.

Giving federal money to mayors and governors is like giving away Christmas presents — few strings are attached.

No surprise that both Democratic and Republican mayors and governors like money with no strings and no re-payment plan.

The case in Vermont is pretty much the case everywhere else.

“As the executive of a state experiencing budget challenges, [Vermont] Gov. Douglas has a different perspective on the situation than congressional Republicans,” said Douglas’ deputy chief of staff, Dennise Casey.

Yup.  Vermont needs money.  The Feds have money.  And Vermont wants to have it “no strings attached.”

But there is some concern that giving away money could be like giving away cocaine: the user never wants to stop.

The U.S. Senate has some worries the average mayor and governor may not stay awake  thinking over.

The Senate does worry that the money give-away will become addictive, even though the president himself said it had to be stimulating and “temporary.”

The Senate will also have to figure how to repay the loans that will finance the stimulus — which will cause a huge increase to the national debt which may cause inflation and other problems.

The Senate also has to come up for the cash for lots of other goodies like social security, health care, defense and on and on.

Mayors and governors are users here: so its a a non-story that they favor the stimulus.  We just don’t want them to become junkies….

Most of the mayors and governors are also Democrats, just as most members of the House and Senate are Democrats.  And the president is a Democrat swept into the White House by a big margin.  So what we have in the stimulus is the very danger of a one-party dominant American system….come true….

Related from CNN:
Mayors Love the Stimulus


Stimulus Congress

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi listens to National Governors Association chairman Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, second from right, during a meeting with National Governors Association vice chairman Vermont Gov. Jim Douglas, left, and Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., right, on Capitol Hill. Photo: Susan Walsh / AP

Mullen: Cash crunch threatens US security, Defense Spending

February 2, 2009

The nation’s top military officer says the global financial crisis is threatening U.S. security options abroad.

Navy Admiral Mike Mullen told reservists Monday that the financial meltdown will force a delicate balance between national security and federal budget cuts. Mullen is chairman of the Pentagon‘s Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The Pentagon will soon send Congress a new budget request, and top officials are signaling that it will reflect belt-tightening because of the poor economy.

The money crunch comes amid what Mullen described as sweeping political changes in Iraq and Pakistan. Stabilizing both nations is crucial to the U.S war on terror.

Obama Orders U.S. Defense Cut 10%

Biggest Beneficiary of U.S. Economic Stimulus?

China Starts to Set Limits On Its Biggest Borrower: Barack Obama and The U.S.

Satellite and space weapon dilemma

January 30, 2009

The column I began writing at 7 a.m. on Sept. 11, 2001, addressed the American military’s reliance on satellites and issues involving “a potential arms race in space.” Of course, by 9 a.m., space militarization became less pressing, as al Qaeda turned jumbo jets into ballistic missiles and murdered 3,000 innocents.

By Ausin Bay
The Washington Times

When China tested an anti-satellite (ASAT) weapon in January 2007, I considered resurrecting the column, but America‘s “surge” in Iraq shoved outer space aside.

The Obama administration has revived the subject – after a fashion. Check the White House Web site on the page detailing defense-related campaign promises. The new administration opposes “weaponizing space” and will “restore American leadership on space issues. …” Restoration means seeking “a worldwide ban on weapons that interfere with military and commercial satellites” and includes “thoroughly” assessing “possible threats to U.S. space assets and the best options, military and diplomatic, for countering them. …” President Obama promises to accelerate “programs to harden U.S. satellites against attack.”

Though the fervent language implicitly suggests this is a dramatic change from the Bush administration, it actually echoes Maj. Gen. James Armor’s congressional testimony of May 2007 during hearings investigating the implications of China’s anti-satellite test. The hearings were the unclassified component of a thorough assessment of a real threat to U.S. space assets, the Chinese ASAT, and a public example of U.S. leadership on space issues.

Gen. Armor (director of the Pentagon’s National Security Space Office) noted that changes in U.S. space policy since the Eisenhower administration “have been evolutionary” (i.e., have changed, based on experience), but “the key tenets have remained remarkably consistent. One such tenet is the compelling need for a strong national security space sector and the inherent right of self-defense to protect U.S. national interests in space.” Yet U.S. space policy, Gen. Armor argued, is “based on a longstanding U.S. commitment to peaceful uses of outer space. …”

Advertising execs know touting laundry soap as “new” or “improved” increases sales, though the “new” product differs little from the old. From Dwight Eisenhower to George W. Bush, administrations have had to balance the “peaceful use” of space against evolving technological threats to its peaceful use. The same dilemma confronts Mr. Obama and will vex his successor, as well.

Read the rest:

Japan Abandons F-22 Aircraft Plan, Cites Obama

December 29, 2008

JAPAN is likely to drop its attempts to buy state-of-the-art US F-22 Raptor stealth fighter planes since it expects the United States to stop producing them, a newspaper reported on Sunday.

The Japanese government had been trying to persuade the United States to sell it F-22 Raptors to replace its own aging F-15 fleet, despite Washington’s reluctance.

Tokyo, however, is now abandoning the plan amid signs that US President-elect Barack Obama’s new administration may halt production of the aircraft, the Daily Yomiuri said, quoting government sources.

‘We have a firm impression that its production likely would be halted,’ a high-ranking official at the defence ministry was quoted by the daily as saying.

US Defence Secretary Robert Gates, reappointed to stay in the post under Obama, has said publicly that he favours halting production of the F-22.

Washington is also said to be skeptical about continuing production of the expensive planes due to the financial crisis and declining tax revenues.

US law prohibits export of Raptors as Congress remains anxious over the possible leaking of details of the Raptor’s state-of-the-art technology. They are built to evade radar detection at supersonic speeds.

Japan’s possible alternatives are the Eurofighter Typhoon, jointly developed by Nato members Britain, Italy, Spain and Germany, said the English version of the Yomiuri Shimbun.

Among other candidates are the US fighter F-15FX and the F-35 Lightning II, produced by the United States, Britain and other countries, it reported.

Some ministry officials favour the F-35, a high-performance fighter with sophisticated bombing capabilities, but this plane has not even been deployed so far by US forces, the daily said.

Japan has been officially pacifist since its defeat in World War II but has one of the world’s largest defence budgets and is gradually expanding its military role. — AFP

Pakistan: Outsiders Need Not Speculate on Terror, Mumbai: “Irresponsible”

December 21, 2008

Pakistan’s foreign minister said it will be “irresponsible” to speculate on the Mumbai attacks before the probe result. He added that Pakistan has the capability to defend itself.  But the Indian foreign minister said Pakistan should be making arrests….


From the Times of India

“We do not want aggression or war and we want peace. But if war is imposed on us, we have the capability and right to defend ourselves,” Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi told reporters in Multan in reply to a question about the tensions between India and Pakistan.

“Pakistan’s defence and security is complete. Pakistan’s government and armed forces are alert. We have every right to defend the country,” he added.

Pakistani fighter jets on Sunday attacked suspected Taliban ... 
Pakistani fighter jets on Sunday attacked suspected Taliban and Al-Qaeda positions in a lawless tribal area on the border with Afghanistan, killing four militants.(AFP/File/Aamir Qureshi)

Noting that it was in the interest of both Pakistan and India to defuse tensions instead of escalating the situation, Qureshi reiterated Islamabad’s offer to cooperate with New Delhi to probe the terrorist attacks on India’s financial hub that killed over 180 people.

“We are ready for cooperation because this is in our interests. We have only one policy how to defend Pakistan’s interests,” he said, adding that Pakistan condemned terrorism across the world.

“It is easy to talk emotionally, but at this time, the whole region needs to act with wisdom and not passion.”

India To Pakistan: “Military Option Still On The Table”

Read the rest:


Indian Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee speaks at a business ... 
Indian Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee speaks at a business meeting in the eastern Indian city of Kolkata December 21, 2008. Mukherjee said Pakistan had enough evidence to take action against suspected Lashkar-e-Taiba gunmen. “We have evidence like the satellite phone conversations, which were intercepted,” Mukherjee told reporters in the east Indian city of Kolkata during a visit on Sunday.