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25 Aug 23. US urged to clarify simultaneous campaign for Russia and China. CNAS has published a report that suggests the current stance of US forces is insufficient to deter both Russia and China. The Center for a New American Security (CNAS) issued new research on 22 August, presenting a framework for how the US might discourage China and Russia from aggression in the short term using current troops and resources.
‘Campaign of Denial: Strengthening Simultaneous Deterrence in the Indo-Pacific and Europe,’ written by Becca Wasser, Senior Fellow for the Defence Programme and director of CNAS’s The Gaming Lab, suggests a new strategy to campaigning that connects US military efforts to warfare principles in order to improve deterrence through denial and react effectively to China and Russia’s threats.
US extended deterrence
As the research sets out, the challenge for the US is unprecedented: to deter, simultaneously, conventional aggression from two adversaries that are nuclear-armed.
To uphold America extended deterrence commitments, the US is required to project power into both the Indo-Pacific and Europe, however CNAS finds that the US is currently unprepared to ‘concurrently meet the challenges posed by both China and Russia.’
But the requirement to act remains.
CNAS examines the concept of peacetime deterrence the Biden administration has outlined, campaigning, but finds it loosely defined and at risk of being counterproductive. The recommendation the authors of the report put forward is to more directly link campaigning to warfare, and to narrow the focus on approaches the US can use to ‘set the theatre in the info-Pacific and Europe.’
‘Campaigning can become that new approach to strengthen the simultaneous deterrence to maintain a favourable balance of power in the Indo-Pacific and Europe in the near-term future… Campaigning provides a way to break from the long-standing reliance on presence and improve capabilities, posture, and activities in order to create a link between peacetime deterrence and war-fighting.’
Simultaneous campaigning for China and Russia
The paper develops campaign strategies to safeguard Taiwan and the Baltic states. The two plans explain how the United States may strengthen military posture and actions in the two zones to guarantee a successful transition from deterrence to battle if necessary. Furthermore, the research assesses the benefits and drawbacks of a two-theatre deterrent approach.
Outlined in the research is a focus on improving the warfare concepts by investing in the forces, posturing next-generation capabilities in locations relevant to the threat from China, lifting the capabilities to be ‘relevant to a high-end conventional fight’. It picks out Australia and Philippines as sites requiring new US base access, and an expansion of base access in Japan.
Within the campaigning framework, the US should seek contingency access to Sweden and Finland, opening up challenges to Russia within the borders of Nato’s newest members.
The authors also explicitly recommend using trainings and exercises as tools to bring forces to theatre where the likelihood of conflict is higher, at ‘key periods of aggression’, so as to serve a dual purpose of bringing forces to threatened locations. Stockpiling critical supplies and munitions in Europe a the Indo-Pacific is also recommended as an accelerant to moving from campaigning to active combat operations as well as signalling US preparation for an extended conflict. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
31 Aug 23. DOD Finance Chief Says Delayed Budgets Present a Challenge. Last year, the Defense Department’s financial management community demonstrated remarkable agility in developing four supplemental budgets — an unprecedented feat — in addition to DOD’s regular, baseline budget.
Those supplemental budgets supported: Operation Allies Welcome, the federal government’s efforts to resettle Afghans; work at the Red Hill fuel storage site in Hawaii; an array of natural disasters; and Ukraine defense.
During DOD’s recent financial management conference, Michael McCord, undersecretary of defense comptroller and chief financial officer, remarked that the effort demonstrated the ability of DOD’s financial management community to meet the needs of the National Defense Strategy.
“The National Defense Strategy outlines our security priorities, defending the homeland, paced to the … growing threat posed by the People’s Republic of China across many domains — from cyber to nuclear weapons,” McCord said.
The NDS also paints Russia as an acute threat, McCord said, and asks the department to deter strategic attacks against the U.S., its allies and partners and to be prepared to prevail in conflict, especially in the Indo-Pacific theater. All of that, he said, demands a remarkable level of agility from agencies within the department, including those in the financial management community.
“Last year, as an example of that agility and responsiveness, we had four supplementals in one calendar year,” McCord said. “I’ve never seen that before — four a year. All of them were done quickly and with broad support from Congress. It speaks to that broad support for what we’re doing. And it also illustrates our need to be agile and our ability to be agile in our community.”
In the future, McCord said, it’s likely there will continue to be more opportunities, such as with Ukraine, for the financial management community to step up to unexpected requirements. There will be more opportunities for the financial management community to continue to demonstrate its agility, he said.
“Ukraine is not going to be the last case of emerging national commitment demanding our assistance,” he said. “In fact, we’re seeing them all over the place … we have to be in a position to move quickly at all times. Conflicts and wars and crises, humanitarian crises, remain common worldwide. Along with allies across the globe, we have to continue to support freedom and human rights as we’ve been doing.”
McCord said that while the president and Congress have increased DOD funding by $100 bn over the past two years, the timing of each budget’s delivery continues to pose problems.
“Support for the top line is great,” McCord said. “Timing and timeliness of that support matter just as much. One thing that is not so great is this pattern of recurring, lengthy, persistent, continuing resolutions. These negatively impact our mission.”
“It’s more difficult to compete — especially with China, who tends to move faster than we think tends to deliver things faster than we thought they would,” he said.
Part of a solution to that problem, McCord said, is increased communication with Congress — and better listening, as well.
“It’s also our job to continue to help remind people and enable our service chiefs and secretaries to remind people on the harm that this dynamic does for us,” he said. “And speaking of communicating, we can’t succeed if we’re not communicating with Congress — both our priorities and hearing their concerns, not just … transmitting. We have to listen.”
McCord said he spent several years working on Capitol Hill and is familiar with how committee work is done and of its importance.
“I have firsthand appreciation for what goes into their work and how seriously our oversight committees take their work,” he said. “Open communication between the administration and the Hill is key to making our process work.” (Source: U.S. DoD)
29 Aug 23. New AUKUS tech announcement coming in fall, Pentagon’s tech chief says. “A path that I proposed is linking that together to show a portfolio of capabilities,” Heidi Shyu said about a new AUKUS announcement. “So that will be coming out soon.”
The White House is set to make a new announcement on the future of the trilateral security pact known as AUKUS sometime later this year, the Pentagon’s chief technology officer said today.
Heidi Shyu, under secretary of defense for research and engineering, said she expected the announcement to come sometime in the “fall.” And while she did not give details about what the announcement would be, her role in the discussions and her technology portfolio means it likely has to do with the so-called Pillar 2 AUKUS track.
“The president will be announcing, so I don’t want to get ahead of him or the [secretary of defense], but I did propose something to [the secretary of defense], which he loved,” Shyu told reporters at the National Defense Industrial Association’s Emerging Technologies for Defense conference today.
“So it will be coming soon, we’re flushing out the details on the critical technology,” she continued. “So it will be more of a portfolio approach rather than here’s, you know, all these technologies on the table, right? Independent technology….A path that I proposed is linking that together to show a portfolio of capabilities. So that will be coming out soon.”
While much of the attention around AUKUS has come from the decision to give nuclear submarine technology to Australia and the development of an AUKUS-class sub for use by both London and Canberra, there has also been quieter discussion around what is known as AUKUS Pillar 2. That involves co-development on technologies such as artificial intelligence, quantum computing, cyber, undersea capabilities, hypersonic weapons, information-sharing and electronic warfare.
The potential for other countries to join up for Pillar 2 — New Zealand has openly discussed the idea, although it is politically sensitive — is seen in Washington as a way to expand US military relations in the region. But while Shyu sounded open to the idea of engaging with new partners in the future, she said DoD needs “time to show success first via” the initiative.
“First of all, it is hard enough to work across — bilat is already hard enough, we’ve got a trilat,” she said. “And now you’re trying to expand even more because each additional layer, a country you’re bringing in, that means you got to share the technology, you have to have the network to be able to share the information so it doesn’t leak, right, into your adversaries hands. So it just complicates things a lot greater.”
(Source: glstrade.com/Breaking Defense.com)
30 Aug 23. Pentagon to release defense industrial strategy in December. The Pentagon is more than a third through preparing a national defense industrial strategy, with the full document set for release in December, according to Halimah Najieb-Locke, the military’s industrial base czar.
The strategy will arrive at a time of increased attention on the defense industry’s capacity. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has shown how taxing a long-term conflict can be, while competition with China demands the Pentagon produce more advanced weapons.
“Across the department, we now have a shift” in approach to the industrial base, said Najieb-Locke, speaking at a conference on defense technology.
The strategy’s goal, she said, is not to change the Pentagon’s buying authorities. Instead, the goal is to better use its existing ones and its relationship to the industrial base. Najieb-Locke, who previously advised the House Armed Services Committee on acquisition reform, said she doesn’t see further reform as necessary.
Since the war in Ukraine began last February, the scarcity of basic munitions, like 155mm artillery rounds, has led military officials to push to bulk up the defense industrial base. The fiscal 2023 defense authorization bill, for example, included $2.7bn in further munition supply.
In the time leading up to the war, many analysts and officials familiar with the industrial base were concerned about its resilience, said Danielle Miller, who works in the Pentagon’s industrial policy office. But until Russia’s invasion, those concerns were abstract.
“Ukraine … actually takes these concepts and makes them very concrete,” said Miller, speaking with Najieb-Locke at the conference.
The strategy will attempt to fill gaps like those seen with the 155mm rounds. Its goals include a ready workforce, resilient supply chains and fair markets. It will include three phases. The first, focused on development, is already complete, said Najieb-Locke, who called this industrial base strategy as the Pentagon’s first ever.
Other issues of focus include managing sole-source suppliers and ensuring the military has a supply of critical components even as technology advances.
On Monday, speaking at the same conference, Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment Bill LaPlante listed three causes for the industrial base’s current state. The first is a lack of planning for longer-term conflicts, like the one in Ukraine. The second is the efficient, but inelastic model of just-in-time manufacturing. And the third is the tendency to balance DoD budgets by skimping on munitions, which over time shrunk the market for munitions overall.
Over time, these forces have shaped the industrial base’s size and flexibility, Miller said.
“For many things, you can’t undo 30 years of policy decisions in a one- or two-year time period,” she added. “We’re going to have to have a consistent, committed effort going forward to achieve these.”
The strategy must also chase a moving target. On Monday, Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks announced a plan to field thousands of drones to better counter China’s industrial advantages. While so far short on details, the program is an example of the Pentagon’s rush to keep pace with its main competitor.
“We have to be able to respond in crisis environments that look like Ukraine,” said Miller. (Source: glstrade.com/Defense News)
28 Aug 23. DOD Will Deploy AI-Enabled Detection System to Monitor D.C. Airspace. An artificial intelligence-powered airspace monitoring system is set to be installed to enhance protection of the nation’s capital with the potential to scale across other Defense Department and U.S. government installations and systems.
The upgraded visual recognition, identification and warning system delivers a tenfold increase in performance capability compared to the 9/11-era system it replaces, said Air Force Lt. Col. Kurtis Engelson, the materiel leader for Battle Control Systems, which oversees the National Capital Region-Integrated Air Defense System program that partnered with the Defense Innovation Unit to utilize its commercial solutions opening solicitation process to rapidly prototype a solution and create a path for the Air Force to procure successful prototypes.
“It’s a cutting-edge surveillance, identification and tracking system that monitors and defends the controlled airspace around Washington, D.C., part of the National Capital Region-Integrated Air Defense System,” Engelson said.
After an 18-month prototype demonstration concluded in April, it was announced that Teleidoscope, a first-time, non-traditional Defense Department vendor, was awarded a $100 m ceiling production contract. Orders for the system are already in progress and fielding is to begin this year, Engelson said.
Initial prototype and procurement funding was provided by the U.S. Air Force, and additional procurement funding was provided by the Accelerate the Procurement and Fielding of Innovative Technologies program as part of its mission to accelerate the procurement and fielding of innovative technologies and help successful prototypes cross the proverbial “valley of death” for prototypes and move technology into production faster.
The new system leverages “market advancements in machine learning and augmented reality features in surveillance cameras that assist air battle managers with their ability to identify flying objects within NCR airspace”, Engelson said.
The production effort focuses on upgrading the cameras and eye-safe lasers used for tracking and visually warning aircraft in violation of the special flight rules within the region. The updates significantly improve air defense operators’ ability to positively identify aircraft and aim warning lasers at much further ranges, Engelson said. Laser Visual Warning System provides those involved with securing the air space over the national capital region, a rapid means of contacting pilots when radio attempts have failed.
The auto-tracking capabilities of the system are applicable to full-motion video feeds, irrespective of the domain, opening the door to augment remotely piloted aircraft video feed tracking capabilities. The software from this prototype has the potential to run on any edge device or cloud-provided, full-motion video feed. The technology has broad national defense applicability across the services for defense against asymmetric and near-peer threats like unmanned aerial systems and cruise missiles, Nick Ksiazek, the DIU program manager for the effort said.
Heidi Shyu, undersecretary of defense for research and engineering, said success and speed in fielding this technology in such a condensed timeframe exemplifies the improvements her office is driving. “We are able to rapidly identify operational needs and materialize them into usable national defense solutions. This saves time and money, but more importantly, the decision advantage gained by technologies like this will save lives,” she said.
The Washington, D.C., area is home to over 6 m people, key military bases, intelligence agencies, and federal, state and local governments.
The skies over the metro area are filled with commercial and military air traffic and an increasing number of privately owned drones.
Protecting this metro area from air threats by terrorists and adversaries is the National Capital Region-Integrated Air Defense System, a component of the North American Aerospace Defense Command.
Should an aerial threat materialize, an integrated air defense system is activated by DOD. (Source: U.S. DoD)
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