Archive for the ‘weapons’ Category

China boosts military, cyberwarfare capabilities

March 26, 2009

A CNN news story on a Pentagon assessment of China’s military says, “China’s military is developing longer-range ballistic and anti-ship missiles that are “shifting the balance of power in the region” and could help Beijing secure resources or settle territorial disputes, a report released by the Pentagon said Wednesday.”

U.S. and Chinese militaries need "resumption of dialogue,"  Adm. Timothy Keating told Congress. 

U.S. and Chinese militaries need “resumption of dialogue,” Adm. Timothy Keating told Congress.

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China is continuing a large-scale military buildup of high-tech forces that includes “disruptive” anti-satellite missiles, new strategic forces, and computer attack weapons, the Pentagon’s annual report to Congress on the Chinese military says.

“China has made steady progress in recent years in developing offensive nuclear, space, and cyber warfare capabilities — the only aspects of China’s armed forces that, today, have the potential to be truly global,” says the report entitled “Military Power of the People’s Republic of China (PRC)” that was released Wednesday.

By Bill Gertz
The Washington Times

While noting that China has limited ability to sustain power far from its shores, the report warns that Beijing’s communist controlled armed forces “continue to develop and field disruptive military technologies, including those for anti-access/area-denial, as well as for nuclear, space, and cyber warfare, that are changing regional military balances and that have implications beyond the Asia-Pacific region.”

Anti-access and area denial weapons include precision-guided ballistic and cruise missiles and submarines that are designed to attack aircraft carriers, the report said. The report also criticized China’s arms sales to countries like Iran, Sudan and Zimbabwe. It noted that Chinese arms supplied to Iran were found to have been transferred to terrorist organizations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

This is a serious issue that the United States continues to monitor, the report said.

Under a section on significant developments over the past year, this year’s report for the first time described China’s efforts to develop and wage computer warfare by attacking networks and electronic infrastructure.

In 2008, numerous computer systems around the world, including those owned by the U.S. Government, continued to be the target of intrusions that appear to have originated within the PRC, the report said.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2
009/mar/26/pentagon-beijing-boostin
g-cyberwarfare/

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China Objects To U.S. View

AP

China is criticizing a newly released U.S. report on Beijing’s growing military power as interference in its internal affairs, and says it could damage military relations between the two nations.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said Wednesday at a regularly scheduled press conference that “China resolutely opposes it and has made solemn representation to the U.S. side.”

A U.S. Defense Department report released in Washington, D.C. said that Beijing continues to develop weapons that threaten longtime rival Taiwan, even though tensions between the two sides have been reduced significantly.

The report also said that China is developing longer range capabilities that could have an effect beyond the Asia-Pacific region.

See also CNN:
http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/asiap
cf/03/25/china.military.report/index.html

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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.


F-22

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:
http://www.boston.com/news/nation/wash
ington/articles/2009/03/17/gates_readi
es_big_cuts_in_weapons/

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

Pentagon Rethinking Strategy, Planning, Budgeting and Weapons-Buying

March 14, 2009

The protracted wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are forcing the Obama administration to rethink what for more than two decades has been a central premise of American strategy: that the nation need only prepare to fight two major wars at a time.

By Thom Shanker
New York Times
.
For more than six years now, the United States has in fact been fighting two wars, with more than 170,000 troops now deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan combined. The military has openly acknowledged that the wars have left troops and equipment severely strained, and has said that it would be difficult to carry out any kind of significant operation elsewhere.

To some extent, fears have faded that the United States may actually have to fight, say, Russia and North Korea, or China and Iran, at the same time. But if Iraq and Afghanistan were never formidable foes in conventional terms, they have already tied up the American military for a period longer than World War II.

A senior Defense Department official involved in a strategy review now under way said the Pentagon was absorbing the lesson that the kinds of counterinsurgency campaigns likely to be part of some future wars would require more staying power than in past conflicts, like the first Iraq war in 1991 or the invasions of Grenada and Panama.

In an interview with National Public Radio last week, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates made it clear that the Pentagon was beginning to reconsider whether the old two-wars assumption “makes any sense in the 21st century” as a guide to planning, budgeting and weapons-buying.

The discussion is being prompted by a top-to-bottom strategy review that the Pentagon conducts every four years, as required by Congress and officially called the Quadrennial Defense Review. One question on the table for Pentagon planners is whether there is a way to reshape the armed forces to provide for more flexibility in tackling a wide range of conflicts.

Among other questions are the extent to which planning for conflicts should focus primarily on counterinsurgency wars like those in Iraq and Afghanistan, and what focus remains on well-equipped conventional adversaries like China and Iran, with which Navy vessels have clashed at sea.

Read the rest:
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/15/washi
ngton/15military.html?_r=1&hp

Obama Agenda Crystal Clear

February 10, 2009

There is a certain irony as the nation celebrates this week the 200th birthday of Abraham Lincoln. Arguably, not since “Honest Abe’s” assumption of the presidency triggered the start of the Civil War has the arrival of a new commander in chief unleashed so many portentous developments for the national security.

By Frank Gaffney
The Washington Times

It is a time-proven axiom that “elections have consequences.” Consider just a few of the consequences likely to flow from the election of another president from Illinois as a result of assorted priorities of the far left promulgated by Barack Obama in his first days in office:

– In the middle of not one but two shooting wars, President Obama has signaled that he intends to slow defense spending. The anti-military chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Carl Levin, gleefully announced that he intends to strip funds for weapon systems from the budget. Likely consequence: The armed services will be unable either properly to “reset” the equipment and capabilities that have been used so intensively over the last seven years or be prepared for the next conflict. History teaches such a posture invites foreign aggression and costs far more than is saved through short-term and shortsighted cuts.

– Team Obama has vowed not to support ballistic missile defenses unless they “work and are cost-effective.” It is an article of faith for the left that neither is true, no matter how many successful tests are conducted of our anti-missile systems. And over the weekend, Vice President Joe Biden left the impression with NATO allies that such a standard would preclude the previously approved U.S. deployment of radars and interceptors in Eastern Europe. (Mr. Levin has already said he would “love to cut missile defense.”) Likely consequence: Friendly governments reliant on American protection from Russian revanchism will be undercut, the Kremlin will be emboldened and the Iranian mullahs – who just demonstrated long-range missile capabilities – will have in the future a free ride in threatening, or even attacking, Europe with nuclear-armed ballistic missiles.

– President Obama has reportedly rejected the advice of his senior commanders in the theater concerning the timing of withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq. Worse yet, he has proposed Ambassador Christopher Hill – fresh from his appalling appeasement of North Korea – to be the U.S. envoy to Baghdad. In that capacity, he would be one of the chief interlocutors with the Iranians in the new dialogue Mr. Obama is intent on having with the mullahs. Likely consequence: Creation of a vacuum of power in Iraq that will unnecessarily destabilize the country and facilitate Iranian efforts to exert hegemony there. The stage will thus be set for the next war in the region, one that will surely be more costly for American personnel and interests than anything we have seen to date.

– Press reports suggest Mr. Obama has engaged octogenarian and erstwhile detentist Henry Kissinger to help fashion a new arms control deal with the Kremlin. Evidently, the president is seeking the Russians’ assent to massive reductions in the two nations’ nuclear arsenals en route to his stated goal of a global ban on all nuclear weapons. There are myriad problems with this initiative: As we are unsure of the actual size of Moscow’s stockpile, Russia could retain a large, covert force. Russia is modernizing its nuclear arsenal, something Team Obama refuses to do for ours. And verification of such cuts, let alone “Global Zero” will be, as a practical matter, impossible. Likely consequence: Russia re-establishes a dominant nuclear posture; China is encouraged to match the United States‘ low numbers and become a peer superpower; and other nations that rely on the U.S. nuclear umbrella decide they need their own deterrent, feeding worldwide proliferation.

– President Obama has nominated Harvard Law School Dean Elena Kagan as solicitor general, a stepping-stone for her appointment to the Supreme Court….

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news
/2009/feb/10/counting-the-consequences/

Obama Orders U.S. Defense Cut 10%

January 31, 2009

The Obama administration has asked the military’s Joint Chiefs of Staff to cut the Pentagon’s budget request for the fiscal year 2010 by more than 10 percent — about $55 billion — a senior U.S. defense official told several newspeople.

For as long as anyone can remember, the Department of Defense built its budget based upon a national strategy that the National Command Authority authorized.  Simply stated, the President and his top advisors told DoD what they would need, say a two simultaneous war strategy in two different threaters, and the Pentagon costed that stategy in terms of manpower, aircraft, ships, etc.

In its starkest terms, building the DoD budget was like asking yourself where you wanted to go, asking the cab driver how much that would cost and then setting aside the money to get you where you needed to be.

When we want to go, say, to church, we give the cab driver the money needed for that trip.

Apparently, in the new era of the Obama Administration, we’ll just give the cab drive $3.00 and ask “How far can we go?”

The Obama administration has asked the military’s Joint Chiefs of Staff to cut the Pentagon’s budget request for the fiscal year 2010 by more than 10 percent — about $55 billion — a senior U.S. defense official told FOX News.

Last year’s defense budget was $512 billion. Service chiefs and planners will be spending the weekend “burning the midnight oil” looking at ways to cut the budget — looking especially at weapons programs, the defense official said.

Some overall budget figures are expected to be announced Monday.

Obama met Friday at the White House with a small group of military advisers, including Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Gen. James Cartwright, vice chairman, and Gen. Jim Jones, National Security Council chairman.

Many will applaud the president for cutting what is widely seen as an over-inflated budget.  But many others will see the way this cut was made as questionable without the strategic thought underpinning the budget number.  And many wives, friends, husbands and family members of service members will want to know if their service people are now more at risk….

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By Tony Capaccio, Bloomberg

U.S. defense budget cuts may target spending on weapons as the Obama administration juggles paying for personnel and wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said.

“The most expensive part of our budget is our people,” Admiral Michael Mullen said in an interview yesterday. “There’s not a lot of flexibility with respect to people, unless you start” reducing forces.

That is unlikely, meaning the weapons procurement budget, which averaged about 20 percent of fiscal 2008 and 2009 defense spending, will come under increased scrutiny, Mullen said.

“We’ve got to fund the wars we are in,” and that “puts an awful lot of pressure” on decreasing spending on weapon modernization and the repair of war-worn equipment, he said.

The largest part of the weapons accounts is tactical aircraft, shipbuilding and ground equipment produced by Lockheed Martin Corp., Boeing Co., Northrop Grumman Corp., General Dynamics Corp., Raytheon Co. and BAE Systems Plc.

Earlier this week, Defense Secretary Robert Gates warned two congressional defense committees that “one thing we have known for many months is that the spigot of defense spending that opened on 9/11 is closing.”

Read the rest:
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20
601087&sid=ar9QVxBv0YIs

Related:
How To Pay For 21st Century Military

Obama Team Wants Pentagon Budget Focused More on Current War, Less on Future Programs

 Obama Told His Actions On Gitmo Could “jeopardize those who are fighting the war on terror”

Obama seeks space weapons ban

January 26, 2009

President Barack Obama‘s pledge to seek a worldwide ban on weapons in space marks a dramatic shift in U.S. policy while posing the tricky issue of defining whether a satellite can be a weapon.

Moments after Obama’s inauguration last week, the White House website was updated to include policy statements on a range of issues, including a pledge to restore U.S. leadership on space issues and seek a worldwide ban on weapons that interfere with military and commercial satellites.

By Andrea Shalal-Esa – Analysis
Reuters

 

It also promised to look at threats to U.S. satellites, contingency plans to keep information flowing from them, and what steps are needed to protect spacecraft against attack.

 

The issue is being closely watched by Lockheed Martin Corp, Boeing Co, Northrop Grumman Corp, the biggest U.S. defense contractors, and other companies involved in military and civilian space contracts.

 

Watchdog groups and even some defense officials welcomed the statement, which echoed Obama’s campaign promises, but said it would take time to hammer out a comprehensive new strategy.

 

Enacting a global ban on space weapons could prove even harder.

Read the rest:
http://www.reuters.com/article/newsOne
/idUSTRE50O15X20090125

Hamas remains defiant despite pounding

January 13, 2009

The Gaza militants embrace ‘heroic role’ as bombardment continues.

By Ilene Prusher
The Christian Science Monitor

Israeli forces continued to bombard the homes of Hamas leaders on Monday as the war in the Gaza Strip entered its 17th day. So far Israel says that at least 300 militants are among the more than 900 Palestinians killed.

But Hamas insists that it has not been significantly hurt – tactically speaking – by the onslaught. Government offices and tunnels have been destroyed. Its leaders are pinned down, unable to move freely or show their faces in public or even communicate on cellphones that can be tracked by the Israeli army. Israel recently killed Amir Mansi, commander of Hamas’s Gaza rocket division, and its stream of Qassams has dropped 50 percent since the assault began. But it is still able to launch rockets at Israel.

Has Israel decimated the Hamas leadership – and eroded its support among Gazans? Are its senior political chiefs based in Syria calling the shots and prolonging a battle that war-weary Gazans would increasingly like to see ended?

Inside Gaza, relief is needed immediately; rebuilding could take five years. Hamas in Gaza sent a three-man delegation to Cairo to work on reaching a deal. But Hamas leaders from abroad have taken a harder line, indicating that it would rather fight until the last man than agree to a cease-fire that doesn’t meet its demands.

Khaled Mashaal, the Syria-based political leader of Hamas and the man who holds more sway than any of the Hamas leadership in Gaza, says that Hamas will only agree to a truce if all border crossings are open. He rejects any new measures to prevent the smuggling of additional weapons into Gaza.

Mr. Mashaal said Monday that Hamas won’t accept “any discussion” about restricting its possession of weapons, adding, “No one has the right to limit the right of our people to look for a rifle to defend ourselves.”

Read the rest:
http://www.csmonitor.com/2009/011
3/p01s04-wome.html

Israel: “This is not a conflict that will end with an agreement”

January 11, 2009

Foreign Minister Tzip Livni said Sunday that Israel’s war with Hamas is not a one-time conflict that will end with an agreement.

Speaking during a joint press conference with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier in Jerusalem, Livni said that, “Hamas regrets the day they decided to intensify the rocket fire on Israel under the assumption that we would show restraint. We need to understand that on the day after [Operation Cast Lead] we must prevent Hamas from rearming, because we cannot allow a scenario in which Hamas understands that it cannot fire, but allows itself to stock up on weapons. The German foreign secretary’s meeting in Egypt was important. The fact that we are engaged in dialogue over the issue of Egyptian sovereignty that can help prevent smuggling, a process that we are now engaged in together, and the international understanding now is that Israel too has the right to defend itself and that a situation in which there a breach in the border cannot be allowed.”

“We are in midst of a struggle against terrorism, and it is not a one-time conflict. This is not a conflict that will end with an agreement….

Read the rest from Haaretz:
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spag
es/1054480.html

Gaza: As Thursday Starts, Israel Pounding Hamas Tunnels

January 7, 2009

Heavy shelling was reported in Rafah on Wednesday night as the IDF stepped up its operations against weapons smuggling tunnels along the Philadelphi Corridor.

From The Jerusalem Post
The army had earlier dropped flyers on Rafah urging residents of the town living near the corridor to vacate the area.

“Because Hamas uses your houses to hide and smuggle military weapons, the IDF will attack the area, between the Egyptian border until the beach road,” the flyer said, according a local UN official. 

After the flyers were dropped, about 5,000 people fled to two UN schools turned into temporary shlter, the official said.

Read the rest:
http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=123116
7286440&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

Gaza: Israel Mulling Cease Fire or Escalation

January 7, 2009

Israel is seriously considering the Sarkozy-Mubarak cease-fire proposal.

But Israel is already also considering an escalation of the fighting in Gaza.

The Jerusalem Post reported Wednesday, “Despite increasing international pressure on Israel to withdraw its troops, a senior official confirmed that plans had been drawn up to move troops into the south as well.”

The Jerusalem Post report had this to say:
According to Israeli officials, the cease-fire proposal is based on the establishment of an international force to prevent the smuggling of weapons from Sinai into Gaza, which would see an increase in the number of US military engineers already on the Egyptian side of the border.

The IDF is conditioning its acceptance of a new cease-fire with Hamas on the establishment of such a supervision mechanism in the Gaza Strip and along the Egyptian side of the Philadelphi Corridor to prevent the smuggling of weaponry and explosives from Egypt.

Egypt said on Tuesday night that it was proposing an immediate cease-fire, followed by talks on long-term arrangements for borders and crossings.

Olmert, on a tour of the South Tuesday, laid out the principles for an end to Operation Cast Lead.

“It will stop when the conditions that are essential for Israel’s security are met,” Olmert said. “First and foremost, all terrorist operations against us must stop. The strengthening of the terrorist organizations via the smuggling of war material from Egypt into Gaza must also stop.”

Meanwhile, Israel said that it has agreed to set up a “humanitarian corridor” to ship vital supplies to the people in the Gaza Strip.

The office of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said in a statement that the humanitarian corridor idea came from the UN Security Council, and he accepted it.

Under the plan, Israel would suspend attacks in specified areas of Gaza to allow the people to receive supplies. The statement early Wednesday said the goal was to “prevent a humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip.”

Herb Keinon, Yaakov Katz and AP contributed to this report

http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1231167289976&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull