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04 Mar 22. First B-21 bomber enters ground testing, ‘on track for first flight.’ The first B-21 Raider bomber has entered the ground test phase, paving the way for its expected rollout this year and subsequent first flight. Northrop Grumman now has six of the stealthy, next-generation aircraft in various stages of production, Darlene Costello, principal deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition, technology and logistics, said in a Friday roundtable with reporters at the Air Force Association’s Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, Florida.
Tom Jones, Northrop’s Aeronautics Systems president, also confirmed in a statement that the first Raider is now undergoing ground tests.
Costello said that with the start of testing on that B-21, “we are on track for first flight [and] we’re holding to our schedule.” She would not go into further detail on plans for the B-21.
In another roundtable with reporters at the conference, Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall said he’s satisfied with the B-21′s progress so far.
“At least at this stage of the game, the B-21′s moving forward really well,” Kendall said.
During the ground test phase at Air Force Plant 42 in Palmdale, California, where Northrop is building the B-21, testers will turn the B-21′s power on, test its subsystems, test its structural integrity, and apply coatings and paint.
The next step will involve getting the B-21 ready for flight. This includes carrying out engine runs as well as low-speed and then high-speed taxiing.
After that, the actual first flight from Plant 42 to Edwards Air Force Base in California will take place. Formal flight testing will be held at Edwards.
Jones said Northrop’s B-21 team performed extensive work in the laboratory to reduce risk and ensure no surprises pop up during the test program.
“With the first [B-21] test aircraft in formal ground test, software and hardware are coming together,” Jones said. “The phase we’re in now will further prove out our design on our way to first flight.”
The Air Force has been tightlipped for months about plans for the B-21 as its anticipated rollout draws closer — including when that debut might take place.
In September, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. CQ Brown said it is likely the service will “do something special,” such as a ceremony for the aircraft’s unveiling or for the first flight that will follow.
The Air Force last unveiled a new bomber in November 1988, also at Palmdale, when the Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit was first shown publicly. That bomber took its first public flight months later, in July 1989. (Source: Defense News)
03 Mar 22. US Air Force not concerned about Russia’s decision to halt rocket engine sales, support. The secretary of the U.S. Air Force said Thursday he’s not concerned about Russia’s decision to cut off the United States’ access to more RD-180 rocket engines.
“I have not been informed at this point of any major launch concerns associated with that,” Frank Kendall told reporters during a media roundtable at the Air Force Association’s Air Warfare Symposium.
The head of Roscosmos, Russia’s space agency, said Thursday the country would no longer sell the RD-180 to the U.S. or provide support for launches powered by the Russian-made engine.
“In a situation like this we can’t supply the United States with our world’s best rocket engines,” Dmitry Rogozin said in an appearance on Russian state television, Reuters reported. “Let them fly on something else, their broomsticks, I don’t know what.”
The United Launch Alliance — one of two launch providers certified to fly national security space launches — carries the RD-180 on its Atlas V rocket, which the company is set to retire in 2025. The company has said it has enough engines on hand to power the remaining scheduled Atlas V launches.
Asked to respond to Rogozin’s threats, which began on Twitter earlier this week, ULA CEO Tory Bruno said the company has “developed considerable experience and expertise” to troubleshoot any unexpected engine issues without help from Russia.
The United States has in recent years weaned itself from the RD-180, developing an assured access to space strategy to invest in domestic launch vehicle suppliers and ensure at least two companies are certified to launch national security space payloads. The new strategy was driven by a 2016 congressional directive to eliminate reliance on the Russian-made propulsion system by 2022.
Since then, the Air Force has introduced competition into its space launch program, certifying military space launch newcomer SpaceX to fly national security missions and awarding the company, along with long-time provider ULA, a five-year contract for launch services through fiscal 2027. The service has also invested in domestic launch vehicle development, providing early funding for ULA’s Atlas V replacement, the Vulcan Centaur.
Despite some recent schedule setbacks, ULA plans to fly Vulcan for the first time this year.
Kendall noted that the purpose of DoD’s strategy — which he played a significant role in crafting in his former role as Pentagon acquisition chief — was to eliminate dependencies on Russia.
“The whole point of the program we put in place several years ago was to work our way off of the RD-180,” he said. “Other suppliers like SpaceX, for example, have come on board. ULA is moving towards a different solution that doesn’t involve the [RD-180]. I think our launch needs will be met.” (Source: Defense News)
04 Mar 22. National Defense Strategy Includes Lessons Learned From Past 6 Months. The Defense Department is learning from the experiences of the past six months as Russia built up troops around Ukraine and then invaded the country, Press Secretary John F. Kirby said at a Pentagon press conference today. Those observations are being incorporated into the National Defense Strategy, he said. The National Defense Strategy is still being crafted, along with the National Security Strategy. Both documents are based on President Joe Biden’s interim national security guidance.
Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III said in Poland on Feb. 18, that many aspects of the strategy are already in play in regards to efforts with Russia. “The secretary was clear that it will reinforce his notion of an integrated deterrence and it will certainly recognize that China remains the pacing challenge for the department,” Kirby said.
But the document also recognizes that other nation-state threats are out there: And that includes Russia, he said.
“As we’ve been writing it, … we’ve watched Russia over the last couple of months build up this massive military force around Ukraine’s borders,” Kirby said. “So, it would be foolish for us to think the crafting of it wasn’t also informed by what we’ve been seeing Russia do.”
Kirby also discussed the deconfliction line that has been set up between U.S. European Command and Russia’s Ministry of Defense. “It is basically … a phone connection to the Russian Ministry of Defense,” Kirby said. “As I understand it’s basically staffed by staff level officers at European Command … and it’s being administered as a bilateral U.S. to Russia deconfliction channel.”
Kirby said they have tested the line. “When we tested it, they did pick up the other end and acknowledge that they got the call,” he said.
Kirby said U.S. officials believe it is valuable to have such a direct line at the operational level to “reduce the risks of miscalculation and to be able to communicate in real time if need be.” This is particularly important because the airspace over Ukraine is contested by both Russia and Ukraine. The contested airspace abuts NATO countries. (Source: US DoD)
04 Mar 22. Integrated Deterrence at Center of Upcoming National Defense Strategy. With China, Russia, Iran and North Korea all pursuing advancements in their own nuclear capabilities, and both China and Russia developing advanced hypersonic weaponry and space capabilities, the United States will continue to rely on nuclear weapons as a central part of its own strategic deterrence. But there will need to be more than just nuclear weapons if the U.S. is to maintain its own security, said Sasha Baker, the deputy under secretary of defense for policy.
Right now, a new National Defense Strategy is in the works, and Baker said the new NDS, when released, will include the Missile Defense Review and the 2022 Nuclear Posture Review nested within it.
“As directed by the president, the NPR has examined opportunities to reduce the role of nuclear weapons while maintaining a safe, secure and effective nuclear deterrent and a credible extended deterrence,” Baker said. “In order to do so we will continue to sustain and modernize U.S. nuclear capabilities. And as we develop and implement integrated deterrence, nuclear weapons will continue to serve a unique role in our defense strategy.”
At the core of the National Defense Strategy will be “integrated deterrence,” which Baker said is a framework for working across warfighting domains, theaters and the spectrum of conflict, in collaboration with all instruments of national power, as well as with U.S. allies and our partners.
Right now, Baker told lawmakers, potential U.S. adversaries are modernizing and expanding their own strategic capabilities
China, she said, is expanding its own nuclear forces and is investing in a nuclear triad like that of the United States — which includes land, sea and air-based delivery of nuclear weapons.
“The PRC is investing in a triad, implementing a launch-on-warning posture with advanced command and control architecture and increasing its stockpile,” she said.
In space, China remains the primary, long-term competitor for the United States and seeks to exploit U.S. reliance on space and space systems.
Army Gen. James H. Dickinson, commander of U.S. Space Command, told lawmakers that in January, China demonstrated the capabilities of its SJ-21 satellite, for instance.
“The recently launched SJ21 ‘Space Debris Mitigation’ satellite docked with a defunct PRC satellite and moved it to an entirely different orbit,” he said. “This activity demonstrated potential dual-use capability in SJ-21 interaction with other satellites. U.S. Space Command is committed to deterring the use of these types of capabilities for nefarious purposes within the framework of the Department of Defense’s integrated deterrence initiative.”
Russia also continues to modernize its nuclear, space and hypersonic capabilities, Baker said, while North Korea demonstrates advancements in both nuclear capabilities and delivery systems pose in both Asia and the U.S. homeland.
Navy Adm. Charles A. Richard, commander of U.S. Strategic Command said he previously said that the U.S. must be able to deter two adversaries at the same time, but now that need is “an imperative.”
“I’ve said this before and I think it’s worth repeating: every operational plan in the Department of Defense and every other capability we have, rests on an assumption that strategic deterrence and in particular nuclear deterrence is holding. And if strategic or nuclear deterrence fails, no other plan and no other capability in the Department of Defense will work as designed,” he said.
Richard said the strategic security environment is now a three-party reality. “Our existing nuclear forces are the minimum required to achieve our national strategy,” he said. “We must modernize and recapitalize the nation’s nuclear triad, nuclear command and control, nuclear complex and supporting infrastructure to meet presidential objectives.” (Source: US DoD)
03 Mar 22. Addressing DOD’s Tech Focus Areas Requires New Approaches. Earlier this year, the Defense Department’s chief technology officer, Heidi Shyu, released a list of 14 technology areas deemed most critical for investment, including biotechnology, advanced materials, trusted artificial intelligence and microelectronics. A handful of products related to those focus areas — such as hypersonics and directed energy weapons — are almost exclusively military-related, but the majority are already being developed for the commercial market by private companies that may not have done business with the federal government. Those innovations include next-generation wireless communications, microelectronics, and human-machine interfaces. For DOD to have its needs addressed by the private sector with or without DOD involvement, the department will need to do a better job of engaging with those companies. DOD’s Defense Innovation Unit is one segment of the government already on board with locating companies involved in the development of critical technologies and helping them become suppliers.
“We’re really trying to look at what all of the innovative companies are doing around the country … because most of what we need to do to modernize the Defense Department is led by industry now; it’s commercial technologies,” Mike Brown, director of the DIU, said during a discussion Wednesday at George Mason University’s Center for Government Contracting in Northern Virginia.
“We have to be harnessing what the private industry is doing if we’re going to be giving our warfighters the capability that they need,” Brown said.
DIU, Brown said, has been working to accelerate adoption of commercial technology using “other transaction authority,” which is different from classic procurement contracts and is instead used for things like research or prototyping.
The approach DIU uses is called “commercial solutions open,” and Brown said this includes things like agile work statements, modular contracts and working at commercial speeds.
“We don’t start with requirements, which often dictates how the department might start to bring in a new capability — a process that’s well-honed if you’re going to build a new aircraft or tank,” Brown said. “If you’re going to look at commercial technology, you don’t need to start with requirements. The commercial market has already built that.”
When DIU was looking at counterdrone technologies, Brown said, it didn’t need to specify requirements because the commercial market had already developed things DOD could use.
With modular contracts, he said, comes the flexibility to bring in different vendors and have them work together and go from a successful prototyping effort directly into production.
Finally, modular contracts can limit the challenging requirements for intellectual property that might delay the transition of a capability from the private sector into warfighter hands, he said.
“We’re trying to get companies on contract in 60 to 90 days, in commercial terms — that means no onerous IP requirements for companies that we work with,” Brown said.
Budgeting is also an issue, Brown said. Traditional budgeting requires planning as much as two years in advance before dollars can be spent.
“That’s not the agile process we need to compete with China in technology,” he said. “We need to be able to move not the whole $750 billion defense budget, but we need some flexibility at the edges to respond to emerging threats and plug in new commercial technology solutions that address those threats.
The Commission on Planning, Programming, Budgeting, and Execution Reform, as directed in the 2022 National Defense Authorization Act, is looking now at better solutions to budgeting so that the department can be more agile in the technology it procures. That’s something Brown said he’s glad to see. (Source: US DoD)
03 Mar 22. Generals Say Integrated Deterrence Is Key to Protecting U.S., Allies, Partners. Strategic competitors China and Russia have watched the Defense Department’s way of projecting power for at least two decades, if not longer, the commander of U.S. Northern Command said.
“They understand if we’re allowed to project that force forward, that won’t turn out well. So, they’ve developed capabilities below the nuclear threshold to hold us at risk with the idea that they can delay, disrupt our force flow, or destroy our will, so that we don’t project power into their regional crisis or regional conflict,” Air Force Gen. Glen D. VanHerck said today at the 2022 Air Force Association Warfare Symposium.
“My concern with that is they’re eroding our decision space and our deterrence options for the homeland especially. And it’s decreasing our senior leaders’ decision space,” he said.
The threat today demands that that the United States must think differently about how it’s going to defend the homeland, he said.
That doesn’t necessarily mean putting air and missile defense batteries all over the place, he said. “It’s figuring out what we must defend that could bring us to our knees in a crisis or conflict.”
That’s a policy decision that DOD has been working on for a while, and that’s a broad decision that must be made across agencies. It requires significant analysis and determination of what key critical infrastructure areas need to be protected, he said, mentioning finance, energy and economics as critical infrastructure.
The key strategy for DOD is integrated deterrence, which creates options for decision-makers. Integrated deterrence involves every combatant command in every domain, the whole of government, and allies and partners, he said.
“Integrated deterrence is a whole of government approach,” said Army Gen. James H. Dickinson, U.S. Space Command commander.
Unlike during the Cold War, the threat is no longer clear and consistent, Dickinson said. It’s important to leverage all levers of national power to improve capabilities, understand regional security, and grow partnerships as part of integrated deterrence.
Dickinson also mentioned the importance of space capabilities — not only for military use, but also for the economic well-being of the world economy.
It is troubling that China and Russia have employed weapons that threaten the space domain, such as space vehicles that can be used to grapple and disable other satellites, he said.
Spacecom supports both Northcom and the North American Aerospace Defense Command by providing early, rapid and accurate missile-warning data via on orbit assets as well as with radars and electro-optical sensors around the world, he noted. (Source: US DoD)
03 Mar 22. Navy upping its aircraft goals beyond former defense secretary Mattis’ 80% readiness challenge.
The U.S. Navy didn’t sit tight when it reached a Pentagon goal to make 80% of its F/A-18E-F Super Hornets mission-capable.
It raised the bar.
The Navy previously held up 341 as its north star for Super Hornet fleet readiness. This was based on the 80% challenge from former Defense Secretary James Mattis, but it didn’t include aircraft in certain phases of maintenance or in certain squadrons that don’t directly contribute to warfighting.
Now, Commander of Naval Air Forces Vice Adm. Kenneth Whitesell told Defense News that the Navy is holding itself accountable to keep 360 Super Hornets mission-capable.
The reason for the new number, he said, was to ensure the production of ready aircraft matches the needs of a potential fight the Navy could be called for.
Whitesell said the service created two separate models that led them to the 360 figure: one was the toughest operational plan, and the other was the Joint Staff readiness tables.
Whereas the 341 figure was a good start, but not based on a transparent methodology, Whitesell said 360 is “a standardized set of numbers that, number one, was approved by the combatant commanders, and number two — with any mission-capable number, there’s money attached to that because you got to maintain [the readiness rate] — so now we’ve found something … that [the chief of naval operations’ staff] could agree with, because they’ve got to pay for it.”
Asked how well the Navy had been able to maintain this newly recalculated 80% mission-capable rate, Whitesell said in a Feb. 15 interview it’s been coming and going.
“We’re pushing up in the 350s, the high 340s to 350s. And we’ve touched 360 about nine times since we changed the number to 360,” he said.
This new level of readiness comes after a decade of struggles. Vice Chief of Naval Operations Adm. William Lescher told lawmakers in a March 3 hearing that the Navy had just 250 mission capable jets from 2008 through 2018.
“The mission capable rate in 2018 was 55% because the inventory was over 500,” he said, noting how far the Navy had come in even getting to 341 mission capable Super Hornets, let alone the new goal of 360.
The Naval Sustainment System-Aviation (NSS-A) process itself is working, Whitesell said, but too many jets are caught up in a backlog either in Boeing’s Super Hornet Service Life Modification program or waiting to be inducted into that program. (Source: Defense News)
04 Mar 22. Ukraine conflict: Invasion will boost US defence budget, lawmaker says. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will spur the US to spend more on defence than previously thought, according to the chairman of the US House Armed Services Committee. Although Representative Adam Smith, a Washington state Democrat, has not decided what the fiscal year (FY) 2023 defence budget top line should be, he believes the US Department of Defense (DoD), “without question”, will need more resources to help protect US allies in Eastern Europe.
“The Russian invasion of Ukraine fundamentally altered what our national security posture and what our defence posture needs to be,” Smith told the Washington, DC-based American Enterprise Institute (AEI) on 3 March. “It made it more complicated and it made it more expensive,” he added.
Smith said that any FY 2023 increase should be accompanied by steps to make the overly bureaucratic DoD more efficient to ensure the money it receives is well-spent. The Biden administration is expected to send its FY 2023 budget request to Congress as early as this month. (Source: Janes)
03 Mar 22. White House Announces Additional Sanctions on Russia and Belarus. The White House has announced the following new additional sanctions against Russia and Belarus:
- Sweeping restrictions on Belarus to choke off its import of technological goods in response to its support of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Specifically, Commerce/BIS will be imposing a policy of denial on sensitive items that support Belarus’s defense, aerospace, and maritime industries. The rule also adds Belarus to the two new Foreign Direct Product (FDP) rules put in place on Russia last week as part of Commerce’s Russia sanctions rule, with a near-total ban on exports of items to both Russian and Belarusian military end users (the “Russia/Belarus MEU FDP rule”) and adds two entities, including the Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Belarus (this listing encompasses the national armed services, including the army, navy, marine, air force, or coast guard; national guard and police; and government intelligence or reconnaissance organizations of Belarus), to the Department of Commerce’s Entity List with a footnote 3 designation.;
- Full blocking sanctions on Russian defense entities. The Department of State will designate 22 Russian defense-related entities will be designated, including firms that make combat aircraft, infantry fighting vehicles, electronic warfare systems, missiles, and unmanned aerial vehicles for Russia’s military.
- Export controls targeting Russian oil refining. Commerce/BIS will impose restrictions on technology exports that would support Russia’s refining capacity over the long term.
- Targeting entities supporting the Russian and Belarusian military. Commerce/BIS will add entities that have been involved in, contributed to, or otherwise supported the Russian and Belarusian security services, military and defense sectors, and/or military and defense research and development efforts to the Entity List.
- Banning Russian aircraft from entering and using domestic U.S. airspace. This includes revoking all Russian airlines’ – both passenger and cargo – ability to operate to and from U.S. destinations, as well as refusing entry of any Russian-operated aircraft into U.S. airspace.
For further details, see this White House Fact Sheet, this Commerce/BIS press release, and Commerce/BIS’ upcoming March 8 Fed. Reg. notice implementing its part of the new sanctions. (Source: glstrade.com)
03 Mar 22. BIS Formally Implements Feb. 24 Sanctions Against Russia.
(87 Fed. Reg. 12226) – As expected, The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) has now published its final rule implementing the sanctions it announced last week against Russia. These sanctions impose new Russia license requirements and licensing policies to the EAR. Specifically, they:
- Impose new Commerce Control List (CCL)-based license requirements for Russia;
- Add two new foreign “direct product” rules (FDP rules) specific to Russia and Russian “military end users”;
- Specify a license review policy of denial applicable to all of the license requirements being added in this rule, with certain limited exceptions;
- Significantly restrict the use of EAR license exceptions;
- Expand the existing Russia “military end use” and “military end user” control scope to all items “subject to the EAR” other than food and medicine designated EAR99, or ECCN 5A992.c and 5D992.c unless for Russian “government end users” and Russian state-owned enterprises (SoEs);
- Transfer forty-five Russian entities from the Military End-User (MEU) List to the Entity List with an expanded license requirement of all items subject to the EAR (including foreign-produced items subject to the Russia-MEU FDP rules);
- Add two new Russia entities and revise two Russia entities to the Entity List;
- Imposes comprehensive export, reexport and transfer (incountry) restrictions for the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) and Luhansk People’s Republics (LNR) regions of Ukraine (“Covered Regions of Ukraine”) and makes conforming revisions to export, reexport transfer (in-country) restrictions for Crimea Region of Ukraine provisions.
This rule became effective on February 24, 2022. (Source: glstrade.com)
03 Mar 22. OFAC Issues New Public Guidance to Strengthen Compliance With Russia-Related Sanctions. The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has issued Russia-related General License 9A, General License 10A, General License 13, and General License 14. In addition, OFAC has published new Frequently Asked Questions and updated several Frequently Asked Questions. This new public guidance to cut off avenues for potential sanctions evasion by the Central Bank of the Russian Federation. This guidance makes clear that there should be no loopholes for Russia to evade the unprecedented prohibitions by the United States to lock up Russia’s war chest – Central Bank of the Russian Federation, National Wealth Fund of the Russian Federation, and Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation – that were imposed this week. In the past two days, Russia has taken steps to use exporters to act as their agents and help them raise resources to prop up their currency and fund their priorities. The new guidance makes clear that such actions on behalf of Russia’s Central Bank are prohibited, closing off attempts to access the U.S. financial system. ecent actions have closed off many of the funds of the Central Bank of the Russian Federation, among others, Treasury remains committed to permitting energy-related payments — ranging from production to consumption for a wide array of energy sources — involving specified sanctioned Russian banks. To help protect Americans, partners, and allies from higher energy prices that would drive more resources to Russia, Treasury swiftly issued and updated Russia-related guidance to allow U.S. financial institutions to continue processing these transactions and underscore that such activity is not prohibited by sanctions. While current circumstances and the dangers from Russia’s war in Ukraine may lead entities and individuals to make their own risk assessments and business decisions, Treasury is making clear that sanctions will not block energy payments. OFAC is reiterating through FAQs that energy payments can and should continue. General License 8A permits what are commonly known as “U-turn transactions,” where payments related to energy are processed through non-sanctioned, third-country financial institutions, enabling the continuation of transactions that support the flow of energy to the market. For example, a company purchasing oil from a Russian company would be able to route the payment through a non-sanctioned third-country financial institution as an intermediary for credit to a sanctioned financial institution’s customer in settlement of the transaction. (Source: glstrade.com)
03 Mar 22. Justice Dept. Assembles Task Force to Enforce New Russian/Belarus Sanctions. The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has announced the launch of Task Force KleptoCapture, an interagency law enforcement task force dedicated to enforcing the sweeping sanctions, export restrictions, and economic countermeasures that the United States has imposed, along with allies and partners, in response to Russia’s unprovoked military invasion of Ukraine. Task Force KleptoCapture will be run out of the Office of the Deputy Attorney General and staffed with prosecutors, agents, analysts, and professional staff across the Department who are experts in sanctions and export control enforcement, anticorruption, asset forfeiture, anti-money laundering, tax enforcement, national security investigations, and foreign evidence collection. It will leverage all the Department’s tools and authorities against efforts to evade or undermine the economic actions taken by the U.S. government in response to Russian military aggression. The mission of the Task Force will include:
- Investigating and prosecuting violations of new and future sanctions imposed in response to the Ukraine invasion, as well as sanctions imposed for prior instances of Russian aggression and corruption;
- Combating unlawful efforts to undermine restrictions taken against Russian financial institutions, including the prosecution of those who try to evade know-your-customer and anti-money laundering measures;
- Targeting efforts to use cryptocurrency to evade U.S. sanctions, launder proceeds of foreign corruption, or evade U.S. responses to Russian military aggression; and
- Using civil and criminal asset forfeiture authorities to seize assets belonging to sanctioned individuals or assets identified as the proceeds of unlawful conduct.
The Task Force will be fully empowered to use the most cutting-edge investigative techniques — including data analytics, cryptocurrency tracing, foreign intelligence sources, and information from financial regulators and private sector partners — to identify sanctions evasion and related criminal misconduct. Arrests and prosecution will be sought when supported by the facts and the law. Even if defendants cannot be immediately detained, asset seizures and civil forfeitures of unlawful proceeds — including personal real estate, financial, and commercial assets — will be used to deny resources that enable Russian aggression. Where appropriate, information gathered through Task Force investigations will be shared with interagency and foreign partners to augment the identification of assets that are covered by the sanctions and new economic countermeasures. (Source: glstrade.com)
02 Mar 22. Congress scrutinizes U.S. arms export policy amid Ukraine invasion. Congress held a hearing on Tuesday to examine U.S. arms export policy after years of permissive exports under then-U.S. President Donald Trump. The hearing came amid pressure on President Joe Biden’s administration and allies to supply anti-tank and antiaircraft weapons to Ukraine as it battles a Russian invasion.
During a U.S. House of Representatives Armed Services Committee hearing, Jessica Lewis, the State Department’s assistant secretary of state for political-military affairs, who oversees weapons deals, said the Biden administration’s philosophy is to lead with diplomacy, but nevertheless provide “urgently needed ammunition and Javelin anti-tank missiles” to Ukraine while simultaneously authorizing transfers of U.S.-origin military technology from NATO allies.
Javelin anti-tank missiles are made by Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N) and Raytheon Technologies Corp (RTX.N).
Over the weekend, Biden’s administration approved up to $350m worth of additional weapons transfers from U.S. stocks to Ukraine, including antiaircraft systems, anti-armor munitions, small arms, body armor and various munitions. Over the past year, the United States has committed more than $1bn in security assistance to Ukraine.
At the hearing Mike Rogers, the top Republican on the committee, criticized the Biden administration’s arms transfers as “too little, too late.”
Biden’s administration overhauled the U.S. arms export policy last year to increase an emphasis on human rights when evaluating deals. When the new conventional arms transfer policy is made public, it will formalize the departure from Trump’s prioritization of the economic benefits of arms sales. Sales of U.S. military equipment to foreign governments fell 21% to $138bn in fiscal 2021, according to State Department figures. (Source: glstrade.com/Reuters)
01 Mar 22. Defense Official Says U.S. Is Watching China While Supporting Ukraine. Russia and China seek to expand their military influence both regionally and globally, with Russia having invaded Ukraine and China seeking to wrest control of Taiwan.
Officials discussed the United States’, allies’ and partners’ efforts to counter those ambitions during a House Armed Services Committee today.
“The United States is at a pivotal moment with our allies and partners in meeting the challenges of today and tomorrow,” Mara Karlin, assistant secretary of defense for strategy, plans and capabilities, said, referencing Russia and China.
“Security cooperation is an important tool that helps key allies and partners strengthen their defense and enhances our ability to rely on one another in a time of need,” she said.
The forthcoming National Defense Strategy will emphasize how the department will strengthen these alliances and partnerships to advance national security through integrated deterrence, she said.
Today, cooperation with allies and partners includes military-to-military engagement, capacity building, education and training activities, humanitarian assistance activities, and robust exercises with key partners, she said.
“While the department has implemented reforms through meaningful improvements to security cooperation, more remains to be done to seize the opportunity for further change,” she said.
In Asia, the U.S. has been strengthening its partnerships with India, Australia, Japan and nations in Southeast Asia, she said.
“Our support for Taiwan is rock solid,” she said, referencing the Taiwan Relations Act. The U.S. has provided $18bn to them in security assistance and will continue to ensure they have the appropriate asymmetric defense capabilities, she said.
In Europe, Germany has stepped up in a big way to aid Ukraine and bolster its own defenses, she said.
Since September, there’s been a wide range of U.S. support to Ukraine, she said. That support includes stinger missiles, Javelin missiles, antitank rocket systems, grenade launchers, and more than 2,000 tons of ammunition — including mortar and artillery rounds and small arms.
Karlin also emphasized the role of the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development, along with the DOD, for promoting global peace and security. (Source: US DoD)
01 Mar 22. U.S. Stands With Ukraine, Biden Says in State of the Union. In his first State of the Union address since taking office more than a year ago, President Joe Biden inspired bi-partisan applause for the determination of the Ukrainian people against the Russian onslaught and said the United States stands with Ukraine in its struggle. The president used the first part of the State of the Union address to a stress that America will stand against dictators.
“Six days ago, Russia’s Vladimir Putin sought to shake the foundations of the free world thinking he could make it bend to his menacing ways, but he badly miscalculated,” Biden said. “He thought he could roll into Ukraine and the world would roll over. Instead, he met a wall of strength he never imagined: He met the Ukrainian people.”
Biden praised the Ukrainian people for their “fearlessness, their courage, their determination.” He said their stand against the Russian invaders “inspires the world.”
The halls of Congress were brightened by representatives, senators and guests wearing the colors of the Ukrainian flag. It was truly a bipartisan moment when Biden asked the assembled legislators to applaud the courageous stand of the Ukrainian people.
“Throughout our history we’ve learned this lesson: When dictators do not pay a price for their aggression, they cause more chaos,” the president said. “They keep moving. And the costs and the threats to America and the world keep rising.”
This was why the allies founded the NATO alliance in the ashes of World War II. The defensive alliance was to bring stability and peace to a war-ravaged continent, where millions died in the insanity of Hitler’s war.
NATO is still relevant. It is unified against Putin and his invasion. “It matters,” Biden said. “American diplomacy matters. American resolve matters.”
Biden condemned Putin’s latest premeditated attack on Ukraine and said the Russian leader rejected repeated efforts at diplomacy. “He thought the West and NATO wouldn’t respond,” Biden said. “And he thought he could divide us at home. Putin was wrong. We were ready.”
In the battle between democracy and autocracy, democracies are rising to the moment, and the world is clearly choosing the side of peace and security.”
The president told the legislators that America and its allies were ready for Putin. “We spent months building a coalition of other freedom-loving nations from Europe and the Americas to Asia and Africa to confront Putin,” he said. “I spent countless hours unifying our European allies.”
The United States and its allies and partners shared with the world “what we knew Putin was planning and precisely how he would try to falsely justify his aggression. We countered Russia’s lies with truth,” he said. “And now that he has acted the free world is holding him accountable.”
The United States, the nations of the European Union, the United Kingdom, Japan, Australia, Canada, Korea, New Zealand and even historically neutral Switzerland are acting against Putin.
“We are inflicting pain on Russia and supporting the people of Ukraine,” Biden said. “Putin is now isolated from the world more than ever.”
The allies are enforcing sanctions against Russia that have already had effects. “We are cutting off Russia’s largest banks from the international financial system,” he said. “We are choking off Russia’s access to technology that will sap its economic strength and weaken its military for years to come.”
Russian oligarchs and corrupt leaders will suffer from these sanctions as the United States joins with European allies “to find and seize your yachts, your luxury apartments, your private jets. We are coming for your ill-begotten gains,” the president said.
The president announced another sanction. “We will join our allies in closing off American air space to all Russian flights — further isolating Russia — and adding an additional squeeze on their economy,” he said. “The ruble has lost 30 percent of its value. The Russian stock market has lost 40 percent of its value and trading remains suspended. Russia’s economy is reeling, and Putin alone is to blame.”
The United States and its allies will continue to provide support for Ukraine. Military, economic and humanitarian aid will flow into the country, he said.
Biden also spoke about the American forces deploying to Europe to reassure NATO allies. “Our forces are not going to Europe to fight in Ukraine, but to defend our NATO allies — in the event that Putin decides to keep moving west,” Biden said. “For that purpose we’ve mobilized American ground forces, air squadrons and ship deployments to protect NATO countries including Poland, Romania, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia.”
He made it clear that the United States takes the NATO Treaty seriously and that an attack on one NATO ally is an attack on all. “I have made crystal clear the United States and our allies will defend every inch of territory of NATO countries with the full force of our collective power,” he said.
The Ukrainian people will suffer at the hands of Putin. Economic sanctions will take weeks or months to take effect. In the meantime, Russia has unleashed more than 100,000 troops into Ukraine. “Putin has unleashed violence and chaos,” the president said. “But while he may make gains on the battlefield — he will pay a continuing high price over the long run.”
Putin’s war on Ukraine will leave Russia weaker and the rest of the world stronger, the president said.
“We see the unity among leaders of nations and a more unified Europe, a more unified West,” Biden said. “And we see unity among the people who are gathering in cities in large crowds around the world even in Russia to demonstrate their support for Ukraine.
“In the battle between democracy and autocracy, democracies are rising to the moment, and the world is clearly choosing the side of peace and security,” he said. “This is a real test. It’s going to take time. So let us continue to draw inspiration from the iron will of the Ukrainian people.” (Source: US DoD)
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