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14 Mar 19. Acting SecDef: ‘We Won’t Do Cost-Plus-50.’ Shanahan called the reports of the proposal “erroneous” in his first appearance before Congress as the acting head of the Pentagon.
Acting Defense Secretary Pat Shanahan shot down reports that the White House may ask allies to pay 150 percent of the costs of basing U.S. forces on their soil, a proposal that has been criticized by lawmakers and former senior defense officials as “a colossal mistake” and “pure idiocy.”
Those reports, which emerged late last week, are “erroneous,” Shanahan told the Senate Armed Forces Committee in his first appearance before Congress as the acting head of the Pentagon.
“We won’t do cost-plus-50,” Shanahan said, using a common shorthand for the alleged proposal. “We’re not going to run a business and we’re not going to run a charity. The important part is that people pay their fair share.”
President Trump has long publicly complained about the expense of basing U.S. troops overseas and has insisted repeatedly that allies contribute more towards the hosting them. In February, Washington and Seoul struck an agreement increasing South Korea’s share of maintaining the 28,500 troops on the peninsula by almost 10 percent — far short of what Trump had asked for, but resolving fears, at least for a year, that he would unilaterally order their removal.
Shanahan’s remarks were the Trump administration’s first public denial of the proposal since it was first reported by Bloomberg on Friday, almost a week ago. Senior spokesman Charlie Summers has deferred questions to the White House, while deputy undersecretary for international security affairs Katie Wheelbarger said in a separate hearing on Wednesday that she was not privy to any conversations about such a proposal. “My understanding is that rhetoric came from the conversations from the Pacific,” Wheelbarger said, adding that it was “not a conversation we’ve had in my portfolio.”
Speculation has swirled that the report was part of a White House negotiating strategy aimed at pushing U.S. allies in Europe and elsewhere to foot more of the bill. But if it was a trial balloon, the idea was quickly deflated inside the beltway. Rep. Mac Thornberry of Texas, the top Republican on the House Armed Services Committee, said this week that the proposal, if real, wouldn’t go over well on Capitol Hill. “Some of the allies who host U.S. troops do some of the most to support our joint defense needs,” he said. “So I don’t know how seriously to take such reports.”
“I’m very concerned about this,” Ben Hodges, a retired 3-star general who was the most recent commanding general of U.S.Army Europe, said in an email to Defense One. “It shows either a complete lack of understanding or a complete disregard for the value of the access we get from having bases in Europe.”
Shanahan’s quick denial allowed him to sidestep what otherwise might have become a contentious line of questioning in his first major appearance on the Hill, where lawmakers have been broadly alarmed by Trump’s unusually critical rhetoric of multilateral U.S. alliances overseas. He gave a relatively even performance during just over two hours of questioning, often deferring to Joint Chiefs chairman Joseph Dunford and Pentagon comptroller and acting deputy defense secretary David Norquist.
Still, Shanahan did not escape unscathed. Democrats hammered him repeatedly over the use of military construction funds tucked away in a contingency funding account to pay for Trump’s wall on the southern border. Shanahan testified that it was “correct” that the Pentagon had not yet assessed which projects would be deferred until the following year to free up funds. “Why is that correct? You’ve had a month. Are you testifying that there’s no information you can give us about which construction projects are on the chopping block?” snapped the typically genial Sen. Angus King, I-Maine. Later, Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., said that he felt “completely sandbagged” by the Pentagon, accusing it of withholding information about what projects could be deferred to pay for the wall.
“There has not been a deliberate attempt to withhold any information,” Shanahan told lawmakers. (Source: Defense One)
13 Mar 19. China A Rising Threat to National Security, Say DOD Leaders. China is building up its military in ways that threaten U.S. and allied interests in the Western Pacific and in the South China Sea in particular, the deputy undersecretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment said today. For example, its DF21 and DF26 missiles are capable of targeting ships in the area and land targets, including Guam, a major resupply location for U.S. forces, Alan R. Shaffer said.
Shaffer spoke at the McAleese and Associates-sponsored Defense Programs Conference here, along with Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John M. Richardson, Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. Robert B. Neller and Undersecretary of the Army Ryan D. McCarthy.
China is also building advanced, fifth-generation fighter aircraft and have expanded their navy to around 300 ships, including an aircraft carrier, Shaffer said.
Battle for Digital Supremacy
Much of China’s military and industrial technology was developed through intellectual property theft, he said, noting that there’s a strong resemblance of their J-20 fighter’s canopy and landing gear to the F-35 Lightning II.
The U.S. is in a fierce battle with China for digital supremacy, he said, referring to artificial intelligence, machine learning and quantitative computing. AI has to do with powerful systems that can rapidly crunch a large amount of data, search for patterns, abnormalities and targets, and learn on its own through machine learning algorithms that are programmed into the software.
The power of AI, Shaffer said, is that it quickly delivers warfighting options to commanders that are easily understood. Winning in combat is no longer about “the size of the biceps, it’s about the speed of decision-making,” he said.
For example, an AI-enabled platform could also allow a commander to find and terminate targets faster, Shaffer said.
One area of concern with developing AI in this country is that there are companies who don’t want to work with the Defense Department and would rather sell to China. “That’s a problem,” he said.
China is going forward with a plan to dominate the world in AI in the 2025 to 2030 time frame, Shaffer noted. “They have the people and resources to do that.”
5G Network Warning
China wants to control the world’s 5G network, Shaffer said. A 5G network would allow a rapid transmission of huge amounts of communications data. The problem with using Chinese 5G equipment is that the Chinese could use it to collect data and feed it to their intelligence apparatus, he said. Most Americans probably are unaware of that threat, Shaffer said, and yet it is a national security risk for the U.S and its allies and partners. Other areas the U.S. and China are in competition is in the space and cyber domains, he said.
Dealing with Threats
McCarthy noted other threats from China, such as hypersonics and unmanned aerial systems. The Army eliminated or reduced many programs that did not focus on these threats, resulting in six modernization priorities: long-range precision fires, next-generation combat vehicles, a future vertical-lift aircraft, protecting the network, air and missile defense and soldier lethality. It also changed the way it trains. Three years ago, he said, “if you visited Fort Irwin, you’d think you were in a village in Afghanistan.”
Fort Irwin, California, is the location of the National Training Center, the Army’s premier training site that can host brigade-sized units. Mock villages were built there to resemble those found in Iraq and Afghanistan, the focus of counterinsurgency warfare over the preceding years. But today, McCarthy said, NTC rotations include maneuver force-on-force training, which simulate what it would be like to fight a peer competitor such as China or Russia, he said.
Going Back to the Future
Neller said that over the past 18 years, Marines in Iraq and Afghanistan have not had to deal with an enemy with aircraft, a maneuver force and cyber and space capability. Over that time, he said, deployed Marines were well fed, didn’t worry that their heat or electromagnetic signal would enable them to be targeted and had little worry of being targeted by long-range precision fires.
That would change in a peer fight against the Chinese or Russians, Neller said.
As such, the Marine Corps, like the Army, has changed the way it trains in its premier training site at 29 Palms, California, he said.
Region of Strategic Importance
Richardson noted that fully a third of the world’s trade passes through the South China Sea, an area where there are numerous islands contested by nations in the region. China has occupied a number of those islands and built military installations on them. The Navy is there to ensure trade keeps flowing through the area unimpeded, he said. It’s not just important for the U.S. economy, it’s important for the world economy. (Source: defense-aerospace.com/US Department of Defense)
12 Mar 19. DOD Releases Fiscal Year 2020 Budget Proposal. “Today the Department of Defense rolls out our FY 2020 budget proposal. With the largest research and development request in 70 years, this strategy-driven budget makes necessary investments in next-generation technology, space, missiles, and cyber capabilities. The operations and capabilities supported by this budget will strongly position the US military for great power competition for decades to come.” – Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick M. Shanahan
On March 11, 2019, President Donald J. Trump sent Congress a proposed Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 Budget request of $750bn for national security, $718.3bn of which is for the Department of Defense (DoD). The FY 2020 Budget maintains momentum from the sustained funding increases enacted in FY 2017, FY 2018, and FY 2019 to repair damaged readiness, and the Budget marks a key next step in how we operationalize the 2018 National Defense Strategy. Deterring or defeating great power aggression is a fundamentally different challenge than the regional conflicts involving rogue states and violent extremist organizations we faced over the last 25 years. The FY 2020 Budget is a major milestone in meeting this challenge and resourcing the more lethal, agile, and innovative Joint Force America needs to compete, deter, and win in any high-end potential fight of the future by:
- investing in the emerging space and cyber warfighting domains;
- modernizing capabilities in the air, maritime, and land warfighting domains;
- innovating more rapidly to strengthen our competitive advantage; and
- sustaining our forces and building on our readiness gains.
This budget is about projecting power through competitiveness, innovation, and readiness. It fully recognizes that future wars will be waged not just in the air, on the land, and at sea, but also in space and cyberspace, increasing the complexity of warfare. It modernizes capabilities across all warfighting domains to enhance lethality, including the largest ship building request in 20 years and the largest research and development request in 70 years, focusing on technologies needed for a high-end fight. This budget sustains our forces by funding a 3.1 percent military pay raise, the largest in a decade. Congressional approval of the FY 2020 Budget will help us meet current operational commitments and outpace the threats posed by China and Russia through maintaining our competitive advantage, even as DoD spending remains near a record low as a share of the U.S. economy.
Specifically, the Department’s FY 2020 budget builds the Joint Force’s capacity and lethality by investing in:
- Supports offensive and defensive cyberspace operations – $3.7bn
- Reduces risk to DoD networks, systems, and information by investing in more cybersecurity capabilities – $5.4bn
- Modernizes DoD’s general purpose cloud environment – $61.9m
- Resources the initial establishment of the United States Space Force – $72.4m
- 4 National Security Space Launch (aka EELV) – $1.7bn
- 1 Global Positioning System III and Projects – $1.8bn
- Space Based Overhead Persistent Infrared Systems – $1.6bn
Air Domain ($57.7B)
- 78 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters – $11.2bn
- 12 KC-46 Tanker Replacements – $2.3bn
- 24 F/A-18 E/F Super Hornets – $2.0bn
- 48 AH-64E Attack Helicopters – $1.0bn
- 6 VH-92 Presidential Helicopters – $0.8bn
- 6 P-8A Aircraft – $1.5bn
- 6 CH-53K King Stallion – $1.5bn
- 8 F-15EX – $1.1bn
Maritime Domain: $34.7bn and the largest budget request in more than 20 years for shipbuilding
- COLUMBIA Class Ballistic Missile Submarine – $2.2bn
- 1 CVN-78 FORD Class Aircraft Carrier – $2.6bn
- 3 Virginia Class Submarines – $10.2bn
- 3 DDG-51 Arleigh Burke Destroyers – $5.8bn
- 1 Frigate (FFG(X)) – $1.3bn
- 2 Fleet Replenishment Oilers (T-AO) – $1.1bn
- 2 Towing, Salvage, and Rescue Ship (T-ATS) – $0.2bn
- 2 large unmanned surface vehicles – $447m
Ground Systems ($14.6 bn)
- 4,090 Joint Light Tactical Vehicles – $1.6bn
- 165 M-1 Abrams Tank Modifications – $2.2bn
- 56 Amphibious Combat Vehicles – $0.4bn
- 131 Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicles – $0.6bn
Multi-domain and nuclear triad ($31bn)
- B-21 Long Range Strike Bomber – $3.0bn
- Columbia Class Submarine – $2.2bn
- Long-Range Stand-Off Missile – $0.7bn
- Ground Based Strategic Deterrent – $0.6bn
The FY 2020 Budget funds preferred munitions at the maximum production rate.
- 40,388 Joint Direct Attack Munitions – $1.1bn
- 10,193 Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System – $1.4bn
- 125 Standard Missile-6 – $0.7bn
- 1,925 Small Diameter Bomb II – $0.4bn
- 9,000 Hellfire Missiles – $0.7bn
- 430 Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile – $0.6bn
- 48 Long Range Anti-Ship Missile – $0.2bn
Highlighting the enduring importance of missile defeat and defense, the FY 2020 Budget funds the sustainment of the surge in missile defense investment we undertook in FY 2018 and FY 2019, while also investing in Missile Defense Review efforts at $13.6bn. The missile defeat and defense investments for FY 2020 include:
- 37 AEGIS Ballistic Missile Defense (SM-3) with Install – $1.7bn
- Support for Missile Defense Review (e.g., Land-Launched Conventional Prompt Strike, Extended Range Weapon, Space-based Discrimination Sensor Study) – $1.5 bn
- Ground Based Midcourse Defense – $1.7bn
- 37 THAAD Ballistic Missile Defense – $0.8bn
- 147 Patriot Advanced Capability (PAC-3) Missile Segment Enhancements – $0.7bn
The FY 2020 Budget continues the Department’s emphasis on innovation and technology, which will enhance our competitive advantage. The Budget highlights emerging technology projects including:
- Unmanned / Autonomous projects to enhance freedom of maneuver and lethality in contested environments – $3.7bn
- Artificial Intelligence / Machine Learning investments to expand military advantage through the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center (JAIC) and Advanced Image Recognition – $927m
- Hypersonics weapons development to complicate adversaries’ detection and defense – $2.6bn
- Directed Energy investment to support implementation of directed energy for base defense; enable testing and procurement of multiple types of lasers; and increase research and development for high-power density applications – $235m
The FY 2020 Budget increases the readiness, lethality, and agility of the Joint force by increasing our military end strength.
- Funds readiness to executable levels across services – $124.8bn
- Total military end strength will increase from FY 2019 projected levels by approximately 7,700 in FY 2020
- Active end strength will increase by approximately 6,200 from FY 2019 projected levels to FY 2020, with the largest increase in the Air Force
- Reserve Component end strength will increase by approximately 1,500 from FY 2019 projected levels to FY 2020, with the largest increase in the Army Guard and Reserve
The FY 2020 Budget provides the largest military pay raise in 10 years and robust support to our most valued asset—our military members—and their families. The Budget:
- Provides a competitive compensation package
- Includes a 3.1 percent military pay raise
- Continues to modernize and transform our Military Health System
- Continues family support programs with investment of nearly $8 bn for:
o Spousal/community support
o Child care for over 180,000 children
o Youth programs serving over 1m dependents
o DoD Dependent Schools educating over 76,000 students
o Commissary operations at 236 stores
Facilities investment is a continuing area of emphasis. This funding:
- Supports the National Defense Strategy by investing in key operational and training facilities
- Enables timely maintenance of critical infrastructure
- Improves Quality-of-Life for Service Members and their families
- Provides funding for Marine Corps and Air Force hurricane-related facility repairs at Camp Lejeune and Tyndall Air Force Base
The FY 2020 Budget contains critical funding for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) and an emergency budget request, totaling $173.8 bn, which is subject to the same congressional oversight requirements as the base budget. These pieces of the request are vital to our budget as a whole and our ability to support the National Defense Strategy. The FY 2020 OCO/Emergency request contains four categories:
- Direct War Requirements: Combat or combat support costs that are not expected to continue once combat operations end – $25.4bn
- OCO for Enduring Requirements: Enduring in-theater and CONUS costs that will remain after combat operations end – $41.3bn
- OCO for Base Requirements: Funding for base budget requirements in support of the National Defense Strategy, financed in the OCO budget due to the limits on base budget defense resources under the budget caps in current law – $97.9 bn
- Emergency Requirements: Funding for military construction for emergencies, to include border security and reconstruction efforts to rebuild facilities damaged by Hurricanes Florence and Michael – $9.2 bn
“Long-term strategic competitions with China and Russia are the principal priorities for the Department, and require both increased and sustained investment, because of the magnitude of the threats they pose to U.S. security and prosperity today, and the potential for those threats to increase in the future.”
– 2018 National Defense Strategy
The entire budget proposal and additional material are available at: http://www.defense.gov/cj. (Source: US DoD)
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