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04 Jun 20. Trump admin ‘deepened and accelerated’ deterioration of China relations. A dossier from the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) says that the deterioration of US-China relations ‘deepened and accelerated’ during the Trump Presidency. In the opening chapter of the think-tank’s dossier ‘Asia-Pacific Regional Security Assessments’ author Bonnie Glaser says that “the causes of the deterioration in US−China relations are structural and deeply rooted”.
Glaser adds that with “with strategic competition now dominating the relationship” between China and US, smaller powers in the region are having to work together more closely to navigate the escalating great power competition between the two powers.
The Asia-Pacific Regional Security Assessment sets out an assessment of defence and security challenges in the APAC region and assesses questions about regional security issues.
Key points for APAC security
In the report, Glaser argues that Taiwan remains the “most dangerous” flashpoint between the US and China. Taiwan has been a sticking point for years, but as China attempts to assert more authority in the region, freedom of navigation and sovereignty of Taiwan have become particularly concerning.
In response to China’s increasing pressure on Taiwan, the Trump Administration has boosted ties with Taiwan and supplied it with military equipment to boost its defensive capabilities.
Despite the increasing militarisation of the Straits, the report argues that while a military crisis cannot be ruled out, it is not inevitable.
IISS also found that while China is likely to resist any attempts to get it to sign up to an Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF)-like treaty, if it were to, its ballistic missile arsenal could shrink by up to 95%.
In another aspect of the dossier, IISS found that the ‘dead-lock’ on the Korean Peninsula is unlikely to be broken in the short term. It found that optimism around dialogue on the peninsula had dissipated since 2019. In this time, IISS noted that China has strengthened its ties with the North Korean regime.
Elsewhere, the dossier notes that increasing ties between Russia and China will present a ‘formidable long-term’ challenge for Europe. IISS found that increasingly strong Sino-
Russian relations will make it more challenging for European countries play a stronger security role in Asia.
Although Europe has typically not focused on China, NATO has pivoted its attention to the rise of China and noted the ramifications of the country’s expansion and the effects this could have on Europe.
European powers pivoting attention towards the rise of China is also evident in the UK’s plans to use the HMS Queen Elizabeth’s first operational voyage to navigate the South China Sea in 2021. In the past, the UK Government has been keen to use the carrier to exert freedom of navigation over the regime. (Source: army-technology.com)
04 Jun 20. USS Theodore Roosevelt departs Guam for Indo-Pacific deployment. The US Navy’s fourth Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) has departed Apra Harbor in Guam to continue its scheduled deployment in the Indo-Pacific region. As per the schedule, USS Theodore Roosevelt will be deployed to the US 7th Fleet area of operations to provide maritime security and promote regional stability.
Prior to this, the vessel left Naval Base Guam to enter the Philippine Sea for the mission.
Upon arrival of the ship to Apra Harbor, a phased and methodical procedure was implemented to address the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak among its crew. The ship with its crew and Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 11 concluded carrier qualifications too.
USS Theodore Roosevelt commanding officer Captain Carlos Sardiello said: “Returning to our mission in the Indo-Pacific after completing carrier qualifications is a significant milestone in Theodore Roosevelt’s conditions-based recovery plan.
“Our mission was to recover the ship and recover the crew. We did not give up the ship and now our focus is on combat readiness, safety, and wellness of the crew.”
Personnel aboard the vessels also underwent newly implemented Covid-19 standard operating procedure.
The guidelines, responsibilities and procedures are implemented to prevent and mitigate Covid-19.
Sardiello added: “The crew humbly prepared to go back to sea, they had a job to do, and they did it without hesitation.
“We greatly appreciate the continued support by Naval Base Guam, US Naval Hospital Guam, and Expeditionary Medical Facility from Camp Pendleton.”
In April this year, hundreds of sailors started moving back on board the CVN 71 from quarantine as the ship prepared to return to sea following a deep cleaning process due to the Covid-19. (Source: naval-technology.com)
05 Jun 20. White House Report Recommends Multi-Pronged Approach to Counter China. China is using government, military, economic, diplomatic and information levers to change the well-tested and beneficial international order, and the United States must have a similar strategy to combat these efforts, according to a White House report.
The White House addressed the whole-of-government approach to counter China — a great power competitor — in a report published last month titled “The United States Strategic Approach to the People’s Republic of China.”
The Defense Department has a role to play in countering China, but it is only one part of the effort. The National Defense Strategy highlights the threat.
“China is leveraging military modernization, influence operations and predatory economics to coerce neighboring countries to reorder the Indo-Pacific region to their advantage,” the unclassified strategy report said. “As China continues its economic and military ascendance, asserting power through an all-of-nation, long-term strategy, it will continue to pursue a military modernization program that seeks Indo-Pacific regional hegemony in the near-term and displacement of the United States to achieve global preeminence in the future.”
According to the report, China is the prime country that has benefited from the existing international order, noting that it has made tremendous progress economically since moving to a market economy. U.S. officials had anticipated that the iron rule of the Chinese Communist Party would loosen as prosperity became more widespread in the nation of more than 1.5 billion people.
But the party maintained — and even tightened — its grip. “Over the past two decades, reforms have slowed, stalled or reversed,” the White House report says. “The PRC’s rapid economic development and increased engagement with the world did not lead to convergence with the citizen-centric, free and open order as the United States had hoped.”
When the United Kingdom handed over Hong Kong to China, Hong Kong was guaranteed semi-autonomous status at least through 2047. The Chinese are backing out of the “One Nation, Two Systems” agreement. China is also building and militarizing islands in the South China Sea and East China Sea in an attempt to assert sovereignty over international sea lanes of communication.
The United States and partner nations in the region and internationally are sailing and flying through these areas in freedom of navigation operations, the report says. The Chinese have massed troops and missiles across the Strait of Taiwan and continually threaten military action and have tied their new-found economic power and diplomacy together in their “One Belt One Road” initiative, which the report calls an umbrella term describing initiatives designed “to reshape international norms, standards, and networks to advance Beijing’s global interests and vision, while also serving China’s domestic economic requirements.”
The “One Belt One Road” projects frequently are “characterized by poor quality, corruption, environmental degradation, a lack of public oversight or community involvement, opaque loans, and contracts generating or exacerbating governance and fiscal problems in host nations,” the report says.
Beijing will probably use these projects to exert undue political influence and gain military access, the report says. “Beijing uses a combination of threat and inducement to pressure governments, elites, corporations, think tanks and others — often in an opaque manner — to toe the CCP line and censor free expression,” it states.
The response to this effort is not solely military. Rather, the report says, it has to be a whole-of-government approach that combines diplomacy, economic leverage, information operations and military partnerships.
China is working to undermine U.S. alliances in the Indo-Pacific region, and “One Belt One Road” is just an arrow in the quiver aimed at subverting American influence in the region, the report says.
Meanwhile, it states, the Chinese Communist Party has no compunction about using economic, political and military power to pressure nations to follow their lead — often to the detriment of their citizens. With no visible opposition, the Chinese Communist Party can be patient, and Chinese leaders look at the competition with capitalist powers as a generational struggle, according to the report.
Capitalist nations have also engaged in generational struggles. The Cold War was a generational struggle against the Soviet Union. U.S. administrations of both political parties agreed to the overall need to confront the old Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, and they followed a long-term strategy against the existential threat the Soviets posed.
It was also a whole-of-government approach, even if it wasn’t called that at the time. It wasn’t enough for troops to just confront the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact at the Fulda Gap between West Germany and East Germany. Intelligence agencies had to stay ahead of the Soviets. Diplomats had to negotiate with them. The people of the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact nations had to see what life was really like in the West.
The result was the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. Now, the formerly captive Warsaw Pact nations are members of NATO.
The National Security Strategy recognizes there has been a return to an era of great power competition, and that China is a competitor. It lays out a U.S. whole-of-government approach that it says must be taken to counter the Chinese Communist Party’s efforts to overturn the international order.
“The United States is responding to the [Chinese Communist Party’s] direct challenge by acknowledging that we are in a strategic competition and protecting our interests appropriately,” the White House report says. “The principles of the United States’ approach to China are articulated both in the [National Security Strategy] and our vision for the Indo-Pacific region — sovereignty, freedom, openness, rule of law, fairness, and reciprocity.”
While China is the main competitor, U.S.-Chinese relations do not determine America’s strategy in the Indo-Pacific region. U.S.-China relations are just part of the overall strategy in the region, the report says.
“By the same token, our vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific region does not exclude China,” according to the report. “The United States holds the [People’s Republic of China] government to the same standards and principles that apply to all nations.” (Source: US DoD)
04 Jun 20. Lawmakers scold Air Force over lack of details on massive battle management effort. A pair of Georgia lawmakers voiced consternation with the Air Force’s Advanced Battle Management System, criticizing the service Wednesday for being late to submit information about the program.
In the fiscal 2020 defense authorization bill, lawmakers demanded that the Air Force submit a report on the ABMS program by June 1. That report — which was to include details about the technologies incorporated into the ABMS family of systems and program requirements — has not been received, according to Republican Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler.
“Without this required documentation, Congress cannot perform its oversight role to ensure on-time, on-budget development of this critical weapon system,” Perdue and Loeffler wrote in a letter to Air Force Secretary Barbara Barrett, dated June 2.
“We support the work of the Air Force as it equips its warfighters of tomorrow, and are proud that Robins Air Force Base will be home to these capabilities vital for success in future combat,” the lawmakers added. “As ABMS plays a pivotal role in implementing the National Defense Strategy, we respectfully request the documentation required to be submitted to Congress as soon as possible.”
Perdue and Loeffler’s letter comes just days after the Air Force awarded contracts — each with a ceiling value of $950m — to 28 vendors for various technologies to enable the Joint All Domain Command and Control concept, or JADC2.
The Advanced Battle Management System is seen as the Air Force’s primary vehicle for executing JADC2. The effort’s goal is to seamlessly connect the military’s sensors with shooters, regardless of which service owns and operates the equipment.
The Air Force says ABMS will accomplish that aim by fielding a suite of new hardware and software that connects existing platforms, creates a cloud network of data, and uses machine learning to push data to the users that need it. However, the service has not solidified a list of traditional requirements and prefers to test new technologies in an ad hoc fashion as they are ready through experiments held periodically throughout the year.
Perdue and Loeffler have a parochial interest in ABMS, which was initially pitched by the Air Force as a replacement for its fleet of E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System airplanes, which provide ground surveillance and tracking information for all the military services. The current JSTARS inventory is based at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia.
Although the Air Force had planned to replace the 17 JSTARS planes with a new fleet of modified commercial aircraft equipped with state-of-the-art sensors, the service opted in 2018 to cancel the replacement program in favor of a family of networked systems known as ABMS, which was seen as more survivable in a war against Russia and China.
Perdue, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, cautiously supported the Air Force plan. In exchange, the service agreed to base a portion of the ABMS mission at Robins.
“The air and space systems that will make up the Advanced Battle Management System will include a command center and associated supporting activities. The new network will also include some remotely piloted aircraft based out of Robins Air Force Base with sensor capabilities to collect and transmit information for the battlefield,” read a June 2018 news release from Perdue’s office.
However, the Air Force’s conception of the ABMS program has become increasingly broad, with officials hesitant to identify the platforms that will become part of the system as well as what new assets will eventually replace the JSTARS based at Robins.
Perdue and Loeffler’s letter could be a sign that Georgia lawmakers are becoming increasingly impatient. During a SASC hearing in March, Perdue asked Barrett to commit to sending reports related to ABMS that were requested in the fiscal 2019 defense authorization act but never received. Barrett responded that she could not make that promise.
“I am not confident that I could commit to it today. We’ll evaluate it, and may I get back with you, even later today?” she said.
“Absolutely. If changes need to be made to the structure of oversight, now’s the time,” Perdue said. “It’s really unacceptable that we don’t get these reports on time.” (Source: Defense News)
04 Jun 20. Under fire from all sides, Esper’s next move may dictate his future. With U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper facing criticism from his boss, Pentagon officials, former defense leaders and outside scholars, there is widespread speculation in Washington that his job security is on shaky ground.
There doesn’t appear to be a decision yet regarding Esper’s fate, but a tumultuous Wednesday, in which he reportedly infuriated President Donald Trump, has raised questions about how long the former Raytheon lobbyist and Army secretary can hold onto the Pentagon’s top job.
Members of Congress moved to bolster Esper’s position in the last 24 hours, with Trump allies Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., showing support for the secretary. On Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., tweeted out a message saying Trump is “very well served” by Esper.
Next week could prove a pivotal one for Esper’s future, as the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash., has requested that both the secretary and Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, appear before his committee.
Esper’s performance in front of the committee, particularly in how he handles skeptical questions from Democrats, may be monitored closely by White House officials — assuming the hearing happens. As of now, Esper has not committed to an appearance, according to Monica Matoush, the HASC spokesperson for the majority.
“Chairman Smith believes it is important for the Committee and the general public to understand Secretary Esper and General Milley’s rationale behind their participation in the events of June 1 in Lafayette Park. While we have not yet received confirmation that they will participate in a public hearing, we remain optimistic that the DoD understands the gravity of this moment,” Matoush said, who added that the committee is considering calling “former senior defense officials” to testify as well.
A senior defense official said on condition of anonymity that the Pentagon is reviewing Smith’s request.
Members of the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday also sent a letter to Esper, among other administration officials, demanding information on the Monday incident in Lafayette Park outside the White House that kicked off a tumultuous week for the defense secretary.
Should Esper be removed from office, the most likely move would be to have Deputy Defense Secretary David Norquist serve as acting secretary. While traditionally the Pentagon is seen as a job that must be quickly filled, Trump has shown a willingness to leaving officials under the “acting” label throughout his administration — including at the Department of Defense, where then-deputy Patrick Shanahan was acting defense secretary for almost six months after the resignation for former Secretary Jim Mattis.
The timing also lines up for Norquist. Under the Vacancies Act, Norquist would be able to fill the spot for up to 210 days. And with 152 days left until the presidential election, leaving Norquist in place would avoid a contentious Senate confirmation process at a time when the legislative body already has only a few work weeks to deal with an already packed schedule.
Expect to see the names of Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark.; national security adviser Robert O’Brien; and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo appear as potential contenders. Whether any of those men, or any number of advisers the president has outside of government, would want to put forth their names before the election is unknown. Cotton, in particular, is up for reelection this November and would seem unlikely to bow out of that race before knowing if Trump will have a second term.
72 hours of criticism
It has been quite the week for Esper, starting with Monday evening, when he and Milley appeared next to Trump at a speech at the White House. Trump then walked to a local church for a photo op, a move that led to police gassing and beating peaceful protesters in Lafayette Park, which is located between the White House and the church. Esper later joined Trump as part of the church photo op.
The actions set off a wave of criticism for the defense leaders, including the public resignation of James Miller, a former top defense official, from his role on the Defense Science Board and including a letter from retired Adm. Mike Mullen, the 17th chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who blasted Esper’s statement on a call with governors in which the secretary said the government must “dominate” the “battle space.”
A number of current and former defense officials, both civilian and uniformed, expressed dismay to Defense News about the actions. Meanwhile, an informal survey by Military Times found little enthusiasm from members of the military for the use of active-duty troops against protesters.
Tuesday evening, Esper attempted damage control in an interview with NBC News in which he claimed he did not know the church photo op was in the works. By Wednesday morning, Esper held a news conference at the Pentagon podium during which he both attempted to clean up that interview and made his first public statements on the death of George Floyd, a Minnesota man who died nine days ago, setting off nationwide protests.
Former Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin, who was recorded pressing his knee on the handcuffed Floyd’s neck for several minutes, faces a charge of second-degree murder, and three other officers at the scene are accused of aiding and abetting a murder.
Most notably, the secretary laid down a line on the Insurrection Act that seemed to contradict Trump, saying: “The option to use active-duty forces in a law enforcement role should only be used as a matter of last resort, and only in the most urgent and dire of situations. We are not in one of those situations now. I do not support invoking the Insurrection Act.”
Esper ended his conference by saying he had to go to the White House, where a frosty reception was already waiting for him. Within an hour of his presser, White House reporters for a number of outlets were reporting that administration staffers were furious with Esper, and they indicated his job was now on thin ice. Bloomberg also reported that Trump directly confronted Esper about his comments.
Asked about Esper’s status later in the day, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany offered a less-than-ringing endorsement: “As of right now, Secretary Esper is still Secretary Esper. And should the president lose faith, we will all learn about that in the future.”
The secretary’s status may have played a part in the reversal of a plan to remove active duty troops who had been flown into the D.C. area, but Military Times reports there is no indication they were brought into the district.
Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy told The Associated Press that he received notice of the Pentagon order to send home about 200 soldiers with the 82nd Airborne’s immediate response force just after 10 a.m on Wednesday, around the time Esper was starting his news conference. After Esper attended the White House meeting, those plans were reversed, McCarthy said, adding that he believes the change was based on ensuring there is enough military support in the region to respond to any protest problems if needed.
The final broadside of the day came in the evening, when Trump’s first defense secretary, Jim Mattis, finally broke his silence about the president in a letter published by The Atlantic.
“Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people — does not even pretend to try,” Mattis wrote. “Instead he tries to divide us. … We are witnessing the consequences of three years of this deliberate effort.”
Mattis also offered implicit criticism of Esper, who served as Army secretary while Mattis was in office.
“Never did I dream that troops taking that same oath would be ordered under any circumstance to violate the Constitutional rights of their fellow citizens — much less provide a bizarre photo op for the elected commander-in-chief, with military leadership standing alongside,” Mattis wrote. (Source: Defense News)
03 Jun 20. Here’s the newest price tag for DoD’s arsenal of equipment. The Defense Department’s portfolio of 121 key defense acquisition programs now has a price tag of $1.86trn, according to a new report by the Government Accountability Office.
The number comes from the GAO’s annual assessment of Pentagon acquisition, delivered to the public on Wednesday. The figure involves a 4 percent increase over the previous year but also factors in, for the first time, 15 major IT investments ($15.1bn) and 13 middle-tier acquisition programs ($19.5bn).
The vast majority comes from 93 major defense acquisition programs, or MDAP, worth $1.82trn. Of those, 85 MDAPs worth a total of $1.8trn are already underway, with the rest expected to enter production in the near future. The $1.8trn figure marks the largest level of investment in MDAPs since 2011, and an increase of $44bn over the department’s 2018 MDAP portfolio.
The current MDAP portfolio has accumulated more than $628bn in cost growth over the life of its programs — or 54 percent more than the projected cost when programs began — with schedule growth overshooting targets by 29 percent at an average capability delivery delay of more than two years.
Over the last year, 42 MDAPs reported a combined total acquisition cost increase of more than $80bn. Nine programs that saw cost estimates increase by over 25 percent made up more than half of that total. While some of that is driven by increased procurement numbers, such as with the Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile for the Air Force, those changed procurement plans are not the major driver of the cost increase.
However, it’s not all bad fiscal news: The remaining 43 MDAPs saw a cost decrease of more than $16bn. And 19 programs that increased procurement managed to drive costs down through those updated plans.
One worrisome trend the GAO highlighted is the lack of factoring in cybersecurity to early development of key performance parameters on MDAPs. The watchdog dug into a sample of 42 MDAPs as a test case, it and found that 25 of those programs had zero cybersecurity factored into the key performance parameters. Another 10 programs had one KPP related to cybersecurity, which is unlikely to be enough in the modern, wired world.
For the middle-tier programs, which are designed for rapid prototyping and fielding, the GAO warned there is “inconsistent cost reporting and wide variation in schedule metrics” across the programs, adding that this poses “oversight challenges for Office of the Secretary of Defense and military department leaders trying to assess performance.” However, the watchdog agency also said the Department of Defense is in the process of addressing those issues.
One notable program challenge identified in the report: The Navy’s presidential helicopter replacement program, known as the VH-92A, has yet to “demonstrate that it can meet the requirement to land on the White House South Lawn without causing damage.”
Parts of the helicopter are too hot, which will damage the lawn under “certain conditions.” As a result, the program is studying everything from lawn surface treatments to changes in aircraft design.
“Due to concurrency in the program, which entered production while simultaneously addressing problems identified during the operational assessment, a design change to address this or other deficiencies discovered in the future may require modifications to units already in production,” the GAO found. (Source: Defense News)
02 Jun 20. Pentagon taps $688m in coronavirus aid for defense industry. The Pentagon plans to spend hundreds of millions of dollars in coronavirus relief funding to support vulnerable manufacturers of submarine torpedo tubes, aircraft engine parts and hardened microelectronics that were hit by closures or other effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The $688m defense-industrial base fund is just one category within the $10.5bn the Department of Defense received from Congress’ $2.1trn CARES Act package. The department submitted its 54-page spending plan to Congress on Friday amid pressure from lawmakers after DoD had spent only 23 percent of that money weeks after it was signed into law in late March.
The Pentagon has thus far obligated $167m of the $1n Congress granted under the Defense Production Act, a Korean War-era law that the president recently invoked, to have industry produce key items such as N95 respirator masks and swabs needed for coronavirus testing, ventilators and other items.
Under the same law, the Pentagon’s spending plan says it would use $688 m to address impacts to the defense-industrial base caused by COVID-19, “by directly offsetting financial distress in the DIB and providing investments to regions most severely impacted to sustain essential domestic industrial base capabilities and spur local job creation.”
The plan calls for $171m for the aircraft propulsion industrial base; $150m for shipbuilding and submarine launch tubes; $150m for the space launch industrial base; $80m for the microelectronics base; $62m for body armor suppliers; and $40m for high-temperature materials used in hypersonic weapons.
The priorities likely overlap with vulnerable industrial base areas previously identified by the Pentagon’s assessment last year, said Wesley Hallman, the National Defense Industrial Association’s senior vice president of strategy and policy.
“It makes sense given what’s going on now economically to ― under the [coronavirus aid] legislation ― reinforce some of the critical vulnerabilities that were identified in that report,” Hallman said.
The Pentagon plans $171m to sustain and preserve the aircraft propulsion industrial base, as many military aviation suppliers have been hard hit from the commercial side by coronavirus travel restrictions. Some would preserve an “essential workforce through support to sustained operations at key repair facility and stabilizing sub-vendors essential to a healthy propulsion industrial base,” according to the department.
What that means is the DoD may have to absorb some of suppliers’ overhead costs to keep vital suppliers in business, said Teal Group aviation analyst Richard Aboulafia. “Commercial aviation is in the worst crisis it’s ever faced, and aviation propulsion aftermarket is the single part of the industry most hit by COVID-19,” Aboulafia said. “It could be [that] if there’s a part like a combustor, DoD could be saying: ‘What do you need by way of guaranteed orders to keep that line open?’”
The department, which relies on a vulnerable network of suppliers for parts for the venerable TF33 engine, hopes to “support initiatives to certify and approve new parts sources for” the engine and “catalyze the sub-tier vendor base and mitigate risk of sub-tier vendors exiting the propulsion business.” Pratt & Whitney hasn’t made the TF33 in more than 40 years, but it’s still used by the B-52 bomber, and no replacement is due for years.
The DoD also planned $150m for the shipbuilding industrial base in areas such as castings, forgings and submarine launch equipment, as well as to support continuous production of essential components such as missile tubes. (Shipbuilding overall has contracted over the last decade, and there were only four suppliers with the capability to manufacture large, complex, single-pour aluminum and magnesium sand castings, according to the DoD’s 2019 industrial capabilities report to Congress.)
The CEO of Virginia-based military contractor BWXT, Rex Geveden, said on an earnings call last year that the company ― which makes missile tubes for the Columbia-class submarine ― was mulling an exit from the missile tube business. The Navy and its Naval Sea Systems Command, he said, were seeking more than one supplier, adding: “We’re not interested in the future orders unless we do have a way to make money on these orders.”
The DoD planned another $150m to maintain a competitive space launch industrial base. DoD relies on a small pool of companies to launch satellites into orbit, but there are numerous companies of all sizes that support those launches, and the DoD has sought to reintroduce more competition over the enterprise in recent years.
The department would also spend $80 m to support several critical suppliers of radiation-hardened microelectronics ― products vital to DoD but with limited commercial applications. The funding would “protect the domestic capacity to ensure radiation hardened microelectronics testing capability, and key subcompacts such as substrates and wafer, are available for DoD weapon systems,” according to the spending plan.
The $40m would protect suppliers of high-temperature materials used in potentially game-changing hypersonic weapons. “An expanded, sustainable domestic production capability for hypersonic systems is essential to the Department achieving its modernization priorities,” the plan states. (Source: Defense News)
01 Jun 20. Pentagon Orders Active-Duty Military Police Unit to DC Region Amid Protests. The Pentagon has ordered an active-duty battalion of military police soldiers from Fort Bragg, North Carolina to deploy to the Washington, D.C. area as the city braces for more violent demonstrations.
CNN was among the first to report the deployment order for between 200 and 250 MPs from Bragg. A Pentagon official confirmed to Military.com that the MPs are from the XVIII Airborne Corps.
The official did not specify what orders the MPs had been given. ABC reported, citing a Defense official, that the troops were being sent into the D.C. region but only on standby capacity, in the event that they are needed. The move comes after the Pentagon on Friday put active-duty MP units from Bragg, Fort Drum, New York; Fort Carson, Colorado; and Fort Riley, Kansas on alert to deploy on short notice to reinforce police dealing with civil unrest in the wake of the death of George Floyd, a unarmed black man who died in police custody May 25.
Demonstrators protesting police brutality have clashed with law enforcement in major cities which led to the deployment of thousands of National Guard troops over the weekend.
Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Mark Milley joined President Donald Trump on a Monday call with governors that was leaked to news outlets. In the call, Trump urged governors to “get much tougher” on protestors. The call followed days of sometimes-violent clashes between protestors and police.
Trump called the protesters “anarchists” who needed to be arrested and tried. He also told the governors, “most of you are weak.”
“They’re going to run you over and you’re going to look like jerks,” Trump said.
Esper added that “we need to dominate the battlespace.”
“I stand ready, the chairman stands ready, the head of the National Guard stands ready to fully support you in terms of how they mobilize the Guard at doing what they need to do,” the defense secretary said.
Trump said Milley was put in charge of the military’s response, though he didn’t elaborate what role the chairman would play. Kayleigh McEnany, the White House press secretary, later told reporters Milley will oversee a command center, but declined to provide additional details, saying, “I’m not going to get ahead of any actions that will be announced.”
The president also on Monday tweeted support for Republican Sen. Tom Cotton’s call to send active-duty soldiers to respond to protests.
The boldness of protestors prompted Cotton to call for the deployment of active-duty combat units such as the 101st Airborne Division, 10th Mountain Division, 82nd Airborne Division, 1st Cavalry Division and 3rd Infantry Division to do “whatever it takes to restore order.”
Meanwhile the National Guard has presented a less aggressive message in talking about the 17,000 Guard troops deployed in 23 states.
“We are here to protect life and property, and preserve peace, order, and public safety,” Gen. Joseph Lengyel, chief of the National Guard Bureau, said in a statement released today. (Source: Military.com)
01 June 20. CRS report details US Navy Light Amphibious Warships plans. A Congressional Research Service (CRS) report has provided details on the US Navy’s plans to procure up to 30 new Light Amphibious Warships (LAW) that would be central to the US Marine Corps pivot to focusing on expeditionary activities in the Pacific.
The new ships would be smaller than Arleigh-Burke class destroyers with a crew of 40 sailors and able to carry up to 75 marines. On board, the ships would have 8,000 sq ft of space for carrying the Marines’ equipment and supplies.
In early planning, the US Navy said the LAW vessels could be adapted from commercial designs and a minimum of 200 feet in length. The CRS said the LAW ships would be a fraction of the size of existing amphibious vessels. In-service Landing Helicopter Docks (LHDs) like Wasp-class ships are 843ft long.
The US Navy plans for the LAW vessels to have a maximum draft of 12 ft, allowing the ships to navigate shallow waters and be brought in close to the shoreline where a stern or bow landing ramp would allow Marines to transit directly from ship to shore and vice versa.
Each ship would have a range of 3,500 nautical miles as part of a task group or operating on its own at a maximum speed of 14 knots. The ships will also be fitted with self-defence weapons
The US Navy is looking to procure 28 LAWs between 2023 and 2026, following a research phase to be funded under the 2021 National Defence Authorisation Act (NDAA). In the bill, the navy has requested $30m in initial R&D funding to develop the concept for the vessels.
A key feature of the ships will be that they will be relatively cheap to procure. The report reads: “The Navy states that it wants the LAW’s unit procurement cost to be ‘several digit millions, not triple-digit millions,’ a suggesting a unit procurement cost of less than or close to $100m.
“By way of comparison, the US Navy’s LHA-type amphibious ship, which was procured in FY2017, has an estimated unit procurement cost in the Navy’s FY2021 budget submission of about $3.8bn, and LPD-17 Flight II amphibious ships being procured by the navy have unit procurement costs of about $1.8bn to $2.0bn.”
The Navy said it received responses to its initial request for information (RFI) from 13 companies, including nine shipyards that would be interested in taking on the programme. (Source: naval-technology.com)
Founded in 1987, Exensor Technology is a world leading supplier of Networked Unattended Ground Sensor (UGS) Systems providing tailored sensor solutions to customers all over the world. From our Headquarters in Lund Sweden, our centre of expertise in Network Communications at Communications Research Lab in Kalmar Sweden and our Production site outside of Basingstoke UK, we design, develop and produce latest state of the art rugged UGS solutions at the highest quality to meet the most stringent demands of our customers. Our systems are in operation and used in a wide number of Military as well as Home land Security applications worldwide. The modular nature of the system ensures any external sensor can be integrated, providing the user with a fully meshed “silent” network capable of self-healing. Exensor Technology will continue to lead the field in UGS technology, provide our customers with excellent customer service and a bespoke package able to meet every need. A CNIM Group Company