10 Nov 21. Moscow Should be More Transparent About Activities Near Ukraine. With Russian activities in Eastern Europe increasing, including a buildup of forces near the Ukrainian border, Moscow must be more transparent about what its intentions are there, Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby said.
“What we continue to see is unusual military activity inside Russia, but near Ukraine’s borders, and we remain concerned about that. It’s not exactly clear what the Russian intentions are,” Kirby said during a briefing today at the Pentagon. “We obviously would like to better understand that. And we don’t want to see any action further destabilize what is already a very tense part of the world. And we urge Russia to be clear about their intentions and to abide by their Minsk agreements.”
According to the Ukraine Ministry of Defence in a report published last week on their website, their intelligence service indicated a force of about 90,000 Russian troops concentrated near the Ukraine border. Those troops, the report said, include elements of the Russian Federation’s 8th and 20th armies and parts of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet. Air force elements were also present, the report said.
“It’s unusual because of the size and the scope, and it’s got our attention, no question about that,” Kirby told reporters.
Meanwhile, the U.S. continues to conduct operations in the region as part of being a NATO partner nation, Kirby said — and will continue to do so.
“As a NATO ally ourselves … we will continue to fly, sail and operate in international airspace and international waters as appropriate,” Kirby said. “We’ll continue to do that. There’s a couple of U.S. Navy ships in the Black Sea as we speak. And we believe that’s an important principle to stand up for.”
Kirby said he sees no linkage right now between the operations the U.S. is conducting in Europe as a NATO partner and what the Russians are doing near the Ukraine border.
Still, he said, the U.S. remains supportive of Ukrainian sovereignty.
“As you heard Secretary Austin say many times when we were in Europe just a couple of weeks ago, our support for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine is unwavering,” he said. (Source: US DoD)
08 Nov 21. DOD Focused on Readiness, Instead of Intent Behind Chinese Military Exercises. Media reports have called attention to mock-ups of U.S. aircraft carriers the Chinese have built in the desert, presumably to train their own military for confrontation with the U.S. Navy. But the Defense Department is, instead, focused on its own preparation and readiness and current Chinese behavior with neighbors in the Indo-Pacific region.
“What we’re concerned about … is the increasing intimidation and coercive behavior of the Chinese military in the Indo-Pacific, and also the coercive tactics they’re using, even using economic tools around the world to bend other nations to their will or to their view of what’s in their best interest,” Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby said during a briefing today at the Pentagon.
The U.S. supports a free and open Indo-Pacific region, Kirby said, saying also that the U.S. is going to continue to work with allies and partners toward that end.
“You’ve heard the secretary talk about this many times — he holds as our No. 1 pacing challenge,” Kirby said. “What I can tell you is we’re focused on developing the capabilities, the operational concepts, making sure we have the resources and the right strategy in place so that we can deal with the PRC as the No. 1 pacing challenge.”
Last week, the Defense Department released its annual report on military and security developments involving China, commonly referred to as the China Military Power Report.
“I think makes it very clear what our understanding of their intentions are and their capabilities are and how they’re developing those capabilities and to what ends,” Kirby said. “Clearly, they have invested a lot in particularly air and maritime capabilities that are designed largely to try to prevent the United States from having access to certain areas in the Indo-Pacific. What we’re focused on is that pacing challenge and making sure that we maintain the right capabilities and the right operational concepts to meet our security commitments in that part of the world.”
According to the report, a big part of China’s effort to match the strength of a “strong enemy” — which is understood to mean the likes of the United States — involves major modernization and reform efforts within China’s army. Included there are efforts to achieve “mechanization,” which the report describes as the Chinese army’s efforts to modernize its weapons and equipment to be networked into a “systems of systems” and to also utilize more advanced technologies suitable for “informatized” and “intelligentized” warfare.
Also of significance in the report are Chinese efforts to project military power outside its own borders through the establishment of overseas logistics and basing infrastructure not just inside the Indo-Pacific region, but elsewhere in the world.
U.S. Nuclear Power
The DOD is currently working on a new National Defense Strategy, which is expected to be complete by early next year.
At the same time, the department is working on the NDS, it is also working on the Nuclear Posture Review. The NPR will spell out, among other things, priorities for modernizing the U.S. nuclear triad and ensure that the United States has the right capabilities matched with the national nuclear strategy.
The review will also examine how the United States can take steps to reduce the role of nuclear weapons in its national security strategy while ensuring the strategic deterrent remains safe, secure and effective and that the extended deterrence commitments to its allies remain strong and credible.
Development of the NPR isn’t conducted in a vacuum, Kirby said. The U.S. is soliciting the input of strategic allies in the development of the review.
“Across the review itself, the views and perspectives of our allies and partners are important and consultations with them and hearing them out and their perspectives has been and will continue to remain important as the review continues down the path,” Kirby said. “We are, as appropriate, consulting with allies and partners in the course of this review and certainly remain open to listening to and hearing out their perspectives.” (Source: US DoD)
08 Nov 21. U.S. offers $184m to 158 aviation manufacturing firms. U.S. Transportation Department will announce on Monday it is offering an additional $184 m in payroll assistance to 158 more aviation manufacturing businesses. In September, the department offered $482.3m to 313 aviation manufacturing businesses. The new offers include $17.5m to BAE Systems Controls (BAES.L) and about $13m to both Airbus’s U.S arm (AIR.PA) and Dassault Falcon Jet Corp, according to a release seen by Reuters. The department said it will reopen the application process a final time requiring applications by Dec. 13. Congress earlier this year created a $3bn aviation manufacturing payroll subsidy program that will cover up to half of eligible companies’ compensation costs for as long as six months. The offer requires companies to commit to not conducting furloughs without employee consent or laying off employees covered by subsidies during the six-month period. Companies eligible include aircraft, engine, propeller or component manufacturers and companies that repair or overhaul airplanes and parts. To qualify, a company must have involuntarily furloughed or laid off at least 10% of its total workforce, or have experienced a decline of at least 15% in 2020 total operating revenue.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said the funding “will save thousands of manufacturing jobs, support hundreds of small businesses, and help keep America’s aviation industry strong.” Many of the recipients are small businesses. Of the 469 companies receiving funds in the two rounds, 298 of them, or 63%, had fewer than 100 employees at the beginning of April 2020. (Source: Reuters)
05 Nov 21. US senator moves against Turkish defense exports, Azerbaija. A senior U.S. senator has proposed measures targeting Turkey’s defense sector exports as well as aid to Azerbaijan. New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, also known for these ties to the U.S.’ Greek and Armenian lobbies, on Thursday introduced measures to put Turkey’s drone program under harsh scrutiny and deny any further aid to Azerbaijan. Menendez’ proposed changes to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) seek to tighten US government tracking and reporting on the national security implications of Turkey’s UAV (drone) exports and prevent further exceptions to bypass a 1992 law banning US military assistance to of Azerbaijan. The senator has claimed that Turkey’s drone sales are “dangerous, destabilizing and a threat to peace and human rights.”
Mentioning how Turkish drones played a critical role in Azerbaijan’s fall 2020 liberation of Nagorno-Karabakh from nearly 30 years of Armenian occupation, Menendez pointed out how Poland, a NATO member, Morocco and Ukraine, both allies of the West, also purchased Turkish drones. Several other countries have expressed interest in purchasing Turkish drones, he said, including Angola, Niger, Nigeria, and Rwanda. Menendez’ proposed changes would require the US state and defense departments to probe whether Turkish drones contain US-made parts or technology. They would also require the State Department to determine whether Turkey’s exports are a violation of the Arms Export Control Act or any other U.S. law or sanctions.
On Azerbaijan, Menendez is pushing to stop any more exceptions to a 1992 law banning US military assistance to of Azerbaijan. The 1992 law in question bans most assistance to Azerbaijan “until it takes demonstrable steps to cease all blockades and other offensive uses of force against Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh.”
Relations between the former Soviet republics of Armenia and Azerbaijan have been tense since 1991, when the Armenian military occupied Nagorno-Karabakh, also known as Upper Karabakh, a territory internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, and seven adjacent regions. New clashes erupted on Sept. 27 last year, with the Armenian army attacking civilians and Azerbaijani forces and violating several humanitarian cease-fire agreements. During the 44-day conflict, Azerbaijan liberated several cities and some 300 settlements and villages that had been occupied by Armenia for almost 30 years. Prior to this, about 20% of Azerbaijan’s territory was under illegal occupation. The fighting ended with a Russian-brokered agreement on Nov. 10, 2020 with the cease-fire seen as a victory for Azerbaijan and a defeat for Armenia. Two months later, the leaders of Russia, Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a pact to develop economic ties and infrastructure to benefit the entire region. It also included the establishment of a trilateral working group on Karabakh. (Source: https://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/)
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