7 November 2015

Women in the Combat Zone - An Alternate View

By Brig Deepak Sinha
Issue: Net Edition | Date : 06 Nov , 2015

One must compliment the Chief of Air Staff for having taken the decision to permit women officers to opt for the fighter stream, a decision ratified by the Defence Minister as well. That they have already been flying transport aircraft and helicopters for some decades now is a well- known fact. While increasing legal intervention by the courts may have had something to do with this decision, it is still a positive step forward and will go a long way in enhancing gender equality within the Services.

…while the Air Force can ensure their selective employment on tasks within our borders, the same would not hold true for Naval ships and even more so for the Army.

That women can play an important role in our Armed Forces is not under doubt and the fact that the Services needed to be nudged by Courts to grant women permanent commissions is a sad commentary on existing mind-sets, especially since precedents, even of Indian women, participating in combat exist. We are, off course all familiar with the exploits of Rani Manikarnika or Laxmibai as she is better known, the Rani of Jhansi, who took on the might of the East India Company during the First War of Independence. Less well known may be the fact that Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose also established the Rani Jhansi Regiment as a part of the Indian National Army in 1943. In fact, he was given a Guard of Honour shortly after his arrival in Singapore by selected women volunteers of the INA who then went on to form the core of this Regiment. Though Netaji even envisaged a combat role for the Rani Jhansi Regiment, it needs to be remembered that he was raising a citizen’s army for the liberation of India from the British and the question of women in combat roles continues to be a controversial issue.

Ashwani Datta joins Mistral as Strategic Advisor

By IDR News Network
06 Nov , 2015

The Board of Directors of Mistral Solutions today announced the appointment of Ashwani Datta, Ex-Chairman & Managing Director, Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL), as Board Member and Strategic Adviser to the firm, effective immediately.

As the CMD of BEL, Mr. Ashwani Datta achieved new milestones in terms of growth in order book and profitability with enhanced thrust on focus areas such as new product development, offset business, diversification and contract manufacturing.

“With over four decades of experience in our industry, I believe Mr. Datta will add a valuable perspective to our strategic future plans,” said Anees Ahmed, Chairman and Managing Director, Mistral Solutions. “We appreciate his willingness to serve as a member of the board and look forward to benefiting from his guidance and counsel.”

Mujahid Alam, CEO and Director, Mistral Solutions stated; “We welcome Mr. Ashwani Datta on board and we are sure his vast experience and insight will help guide Mistral’s strategy and vision in the domestic and international Defense Electronics Business. We look forward to his valuable contribution to the organization.”

India slips on Chinese oil in Nepal

By Cdr Kapil Narula
06 Nov , 2015

Nepal, a landlocked country, lies between India and the Tibetan Autonomous Region of China and has strong cultural and political links with India. Both countries share a “special relationship” and grant equal opportunities to each other’s citizens in many ways, including bilateral travel that needs no visa on either side. The Indo-Nepal border is open for people and trade. In 2013-14, Nepal’s bilateral trade with India had reached 66% of Nepal’s total external trade; a fact which highlights both Nepal’s dependence on India and its trust on its neighbour. 

It is expected that China will fulfil at least a third of Nepal’s requirements through the two recently reopened border check points — Tatopani and Kerung.

Nepal’s energy consumption profile

Nepal does not have any domestic commercial sources of energy (oil, gas and coal) and with a per capita annual consumption of around 340 kg of oil equivalent (kgoe) the country has one of the lowest per capita energy consumption in the world. With 75% of people using traditional fuels such as biomass for meeting their cooking needs and 25% of people having no access to electricity, Nepal is one of the most energy poor countries.


NOVEMBER 5, 2015

President Obama recently revealed two changes to Afghanistan troop commitments. He also made another, vaguer commitment has received far less attention. But it is this commitment — to “continue to support President Ashraf Ghani and the national unity government as they pursue critical reforms” — that will determine whether the U.S. troop commitment to Afghanistan has any value.

Obama’s intention to slow the withdrawal of U.S. troops in 2016 and to preserve a force of 5,500 in the country thereafter comes with no change of mission for America’s military. Troops will continue to conduct two tasks: countering terrorist threats and advising Afghan security forces on development and operations. The truth, though, is that these two missions alone cannot save Afghanistan from an unfortunate future.

Terrorist threats in the region are growing: The Islamic State in Khorasan Province, the group’s affiliate in the region, is making strides in parts of eastern and southern Afghanistan. Last week, U.S. and Afghan forces conducted an intense operation to destroy two Islamic State training camps in the south. In addition, the Taliban takeover of Kunduz was a show of strength by that organization’s new leader, seemingly designed to demonstrate his ability to lead his forces to victory. The Taliban campaign in Kunduz is still not over, though Afghan forces have largely beaten back the opposition. Elsewhere in the country, government control is tenuous and, according to United Nations reports, the Taliban now holds greater sway than it has since 2001.


NOVEMBER 5, 2015

President Obama recently revealed two changes to Afghanistan troop commitments. He also made another, vaguer commitment has received far less attention. But it is this commitment — to “continue to support President Ashraf Ghani and the national unity government as they pursue critical reforms” — that will determine whether the U.S. troop commitment to Afghanistan has any value.

Obama’s intention to slow the withdrawal of U.S. troops in 2016 and to preserve a force of 5,500 in the country thereafter comes with no change of mission for America’s military. Troops will continue to conduct two tasks: countering terrorist threats and advising Afghan security forces on development and operations. The truth, though, is that these two missions alone cannot save Afghanistan from an unfortunate future.

Terrorist threats in the region are growing: The Islamic State in Khorasan Province, the group’s affiliate in the region, is making strides in parts of eastern and southern Afghanistan. Last week, U.S. and Afghan forces conducted an intense operation to destroy two Islamic State training camps in the south. In addition, the Taliban takeover of Kunduz was a show of strength by that organization’s new leader, seemingly designed to demonstrate his ability to lead his forces to victory. The Taliban campaign in Kunduz is still not over, though Afghan forces have largely beaten back the opposition. Elsewhere in the country, government control is tenuous and, according to United Nations reports, the Taliban now holds greater sway than it has since 2001.


November 06, 2015

India is considering transferring four Russian-made attack helicopters to Afghanistan to help the government in Kabul battle the ongoing insurgency in the country The Hindu reports.

The Afghan National Security Adviser Hanif Atmar and Afghan Deputy Foreign Minister Hekmat Khalil Karzai will visit New Delhi this weekend to discuss details of the possible weapons transfer, according to an Indian government source interviewed by The Hindu.

The visit of the Afghan delegation is being seen as a “reach out” to India by the Afghan government the source explains. Afghanistan so far has received only limited military aid from India including a number of jeeps, three unarmed Cheetal Helicopters, manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), and periodic training programs for Afghan officers.

The China-Russia-Mongolia Trilateral Gains Steam

November 06, 2015

As Diplomat authors have reported, trilateralism is all the rage these days. Ministerial-level dialogues sprinkle the sidelines of multilateral gatherings, and often set the tone for the more comprehensive leaders’ summits. For the past two weeks all eyes focused on the highly anticipated China-Japan-South Korea leaders’ summit, which concluded this past weekend. But here’s another big trilateral that you probably haven’t heard much about: China-Mongolia-Russia.
As Russian President Vladimir Putin has remarked himself, cooperation between the three countries only makes sense given their geographic proximity. After their first trilateral summit in September 2014, the three leaders met once more in July 2015. The three countries’ three foreign ministers have met twice in the same time frame.

Last week during the first-ever China-Mongolia Expo, the three countries signed a total of ten cross-border tourism cooperation agreements, which were framed as part of ongoing efforts to create an economic corridorlinking the three countries. The agreements, worth approximately $220 million, included projects in tourism personnel training, development of tourist routes, and hotel and resort construction.

After China, India Will Become Second Buyer of Advanced Russian S-400 Missile Defense Systems

November 05, 2015

India has agreed to procure Russia’s advanced S-400 Triumf surface-to-air anti-ballistic missile system in a deal valued at around $10 billion dollars. Once completed, the S-400 deal could represent the largest one ever between New Delhi and Moscow and a major coup for Russia, which has sought to sell its S-400s across the world. According to Indian state media, the S-400 deal was agreed to between Indian Defese Minister Manohar Parrikar and his Russian counterpart Sergei Shoigu during a meeting of a high-level bilateral group on military and technical cooperation. The deal will likely be announced formally during the anticipated state visit by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Russia later this year.

The S-400 is an impressive piece of equipment and is an evolution of the S-300 anti-ballistic missile defense system. The S-400 is manufactured by Almaz-Antey and has been in the service of the Russian military since 2007. The system is particularly well-suited against aircraft, including any fighters and bombers that may conceivably enter Indian airspace with hostile intentions from either China or Pakistan. The S-400 is presumably also capable of intercepting most medium- and short-range ballistic missiles and cruise missiles. The system can engage up to 36 targets simultaneously within a range of 400 km. The system launches three types of missiles and can comprise a layered defense system. Earlier this year, China became the first foreign buyer of the S-400 system.

US Astrategic Ambiguity in the South China Sea?

By Sean P. Henseler
November 05, 2015

Last week, after months of public debate, the U.S. Navy finally conducted a Freedom of Navigation Operation (FONOP) in the South China Sea (SCS) when the USS Lassen sailed within 12 nautical miles (nm) of Subi Reef, a low tide elevation located hundreds of miles from the Chinese mainland and one of seven massive land reclamation projects undertaken by China since late December 2013.

Ostensibly, the purpose of the FONOP was to visibly assert the U.S. government’s stated vital interest in ensuring freedom of navigation around the globe in accordance with international law. For months senior officials repeatedly stated that U.S. military forces would “fly, sail and operate wherever international law allows…and the South China Sea will not be an exception.”

However, according to multiple press reports, the USS Lassen was exercising its rights of “innocent passage”during the FONOP. If so, then the U.S. succeeded in further muddying the waters in the ongoing saga that surrounds China’s ambiguous claims in the SCS and may have unintentionally signaled that Subi Reef is an island deserving of territorial seas, national airspace, and 200 nm Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).


NOVEMBER 4, 2015

The ongoing competition between the People’s Republic of China and the United States in the Pacific is at a low simmer. Despite public friction over the U.S. Navy’s freedom of navigation operations, Chinese island construction in the South China Sea, and massive Chinese cyberespionage, relations between United States and China are not particularly adversarial. The United States has a vested interest in the status quo, a position that some Chinese writersview as an unfair and unrealistic constraint on Chinese ambition. Yet relations have not degenerated into the kind of brinkmanship typical of U.S.–Soviet relations in the 1980s, or even U.S.–Russian relations today. The robust trade relationship between the United States and China dwarfs the limited trade between the United States and the Soviet Union, leading many analysts to conclude that open conflict today is unrealistic because of a presumed equal economic impact on both sides. A cursory analysis reveals that the reality is entirely different: Sino–American economic ties are asymmetrically interdependent rather than mutually dependent. This would strongly favor the United States in any conflict.

Understanding The Maoist Challenge In India (Part 3)

5 Nov, 2015

The far-left Maoist militant movement is one of India’s gravest security threat. Part 3 of our series on Maoism explains the process of intelligence gathering followed by the Communist Party of India (Maoist).
CPI (Maoist)’s Research and Development (R&D)

Earlier, for arms and ammunitions, Maoists primarily depended on snatching the arms and ammunitions from police stations and security forces. The practice still continues. Reportedly, since 2007 up to July 15, 2015, a total of 2208 arms were snatched by the Maoists. However, the then CPI (ML) People’s War, which merged with MCC in 2014 to form the today’s CPI (Maoist), made parallel attempts in the 1990s to develop arms and ammunitions (including area weapons such as Rocket Launchers) to be less dependent on snatching the arms from the security forces.

It aimed at boosting ‘strategic autonomy’ by manufacturing arms compatible with guerrilla/jungle warfare to intensify the People’s Protracted War against the Indian state. With this aim in mind, Technical Development Committee (TDC) was formed in 1994 “to coordinate the technical units producing light articles outside the field/combat zone”. But it seems it failed to perform the functions entrusted to it. After that, according to the National Investigation Agency (NIA), Central Technical Committee (CTC) was formed in July 2001.


NOVEMBER 5, 2015

Turkey’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) exceeded pre-election expectations, winning 49.5 percent of the popular vote, which translates into 317 seats in parliament. One week before the vote, an average of the polls in Turkey suggested that the AKP was on pace to win 42 percent, which would not have allowed for the party to govern without a coalition partner.
After governing with a majority in parliament since 2002, a second consecutive parliamentary defeat would have been a tectonic shift, but the AKP defied nearly everyone’s expectations — this author included. The early datasuggests the AKP managed to woo nationalist voters who had previously voted for the far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and pious Kurdish voters who had voted for the Democratic Peoples’ Party (HDP) in last June’s election. MHP seems to have lost two million votes to the AKP, while the HDP lost 1.3 million. The AKP also benefitted from a slew of smaller, far-right religious parties choosing not to run in this election to expand its vote total by more than four million.

A New, Scarier Phase in the War Against ISIS

Military investigators from Egypt and Russia stand near the debris of a Russian airliner at the site of its crash at the Hassana area in Arish city in northern Egypt, Nov. 1, 2015.

CNN and other media are reporting that U.S. and European intelligence suspect that ISIS or one of its affiliates used a bomb to bring down a Russian airplane over Sinai on Saturday, killing all 224 aboard. The reporting on this is early and it would be wise to withhold judgment until more information comes in, but this could be a very big deal. If confirmed, this attack would mark a major shift by the Islamic State and should force us to rethink the threat that the group poses to the world.

The caricature of ISIS is that its members are all wild-eyed fanatics bent on conquering the world, butchering, raping, and enslaving as they go. Unfortunately the caricature bears a strong resemblance to reality. But there is an important exception: While the Islamic State’s brutality is staggering, its operations have largely been limited in scope. The group seems new because Americans only really began to consider it a serious threat in 2014, after the beheading of journalist James Foley and the group’s sudden and massive incursion into Iraq. But it really began a decade before then in an earlier incarnation as Abu Musab al-Zarqawi’s al-Qaida in Iraq, which emerged after the U.S. invasion in 2003. So while the group’s name has repeatedly changed and it is now led by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, we have a long track record by which to judge it.

Americans Reject Obama's Islamic State Plan

November 5, 2015
Source Link

Americans are souring on President Barack Obama's approach to fighting the Islamic State, according to an Associated Press-GfK poll that also found deep pessimism about U.S. prospects for success in Afghanistan and uncertainty about Obama's plan to leave thousands of troops there when he leaves office.

More than 6 in 10 now reject Obama's handling of the threat posed by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, where Obama has been escalating the U.S. military's involvement in a bid to break a vexing stalemate. Support for his approach has followed a downward trajectory since the U.S. formed its coalition to fight the group in late 2014. Last September, Americans were roughly split, yet disapproval has jumped 8 percentage points just since January.

Those concerns mirror broader trepidation about Obama's management of foreign policy, which garnered approval from just 40 percent of Americans in the AP-GfK poll. They come as Obama struggles to demonstrate progress advancing U.S. interests in the Middle East, where Obama hoped to disentangle the U.S. military after a decade-plus of war but will likely leave three military conflicts ongoing when his presidency ends in 2017.

Middle East: Past, Present, and Future

04 November 2015

It's time for another article because of the recent developments (e.g. Syria air strike: Russian fighter jets bomb targets and Syria: Obama authorizes boots on ground to fight ISIS).

1. The past

The Middle East has long been a very troubled region for two main reasons: 
Religious conflicts for the past 2,000 years at least. 
Oil for the past 100 years. 

Ahead of Paris Climate Talks, How Do Asians See Climate Change?

November 06, 2015

The Pew Research Center has released a fascinating new set of global public opinion data on global attitudes toward climate change. The release is timely as it comes weeks before global leaders convene at the twenty-first session of the Conference of the Parties (COP21) United Nations climate talks in Paris later this month. There, they will be under pressure to come up with a binding set of credible commitments to slow the pace of global climate change. But for many countries, especially democracies, doing so without consideration of public opinion will be impossible.

The new Pew data, which was collected in 40 major countries, shows majorities in all of them citing climate change as a very serious problem to be dealt with. Asia is of particular interest here since several Asian states are major emitters of greenhouse gas. China and India, in particular, come in at first and third place respectively in terms of total emissions.

US in ‘New Normal’ With Asia Under Obama: Top Diplomat

November 06, 2015

The Obama administration’s rebalance to the Asia-Pacific continues to produce significant accomplishments for the United States and the region, the top U.S. diplomat for East Asia told the Asia Society in a speech yesterday.

Since the administration announced its “pivot” – subsequently termed the “rebalance” – to the region in 2009, the United States has strengthened and modernized its alliances, invested heavily in ASEAN-led regional arrangements, established a constructive relationship with China, and built strong ties with other emerging powers like India and Indonesia, Daniel Russel, the Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, said in prepared remarks.

“The result is a ‘new normal’ of relations with the region where big accomplishments have become a regular occurrence,” Russel said.

Wakeup Call

November 4, 2015
Where is the U.S. Army on Cruise Missile Defense?

The provision of antiaircraft defense is one of the most important missions assigned to the Army. We have had this job for some 40 years, during which we have conducted our side of the critical duel between the defensive weapon on the ground and the offensive aircraft in the air. Fortunately, we have always been able to keep a little ahead of the airplane as performances have increased. 

American servicemembers in Rota, Spain can rest easy. Personnel deployed to Camp Lemonier in Djbouti can likewise sleep soundly at night. That’s because those are the only two US bases in Europe and the Middle East that are out of the demonstrated range of recently employed Russian cruise missiles launched from Russian territorial waters. If the Russian Navy lives up to its design potential and leaves its territorial waters, those bases will also be at risk. In the Pacific, the Chinese cruise missile threat can deliver a clean sweep – there is no permanent US base outside of US sovereign territory that cannot be reached by PLA cruise missiles. While recently highlighted by Russian missile strikes in Syria, the cruise missile threat has been proliferating rapidly formore than a decade. And the US Army, which is the DoD component responsible for all ground-based air defense, hasn’t fielded a single system capable of defending US installations against cruise missile attack since the fall of the Soviet Union . The responsibility for short-range air defense (SHORADS) against cruise missiles has been effectively abandoned. Rarely has any service so spectacularly dropped the ball on an issue critical to the defense of deployed forces. Where is the US Army on SHORADS for Cruise Missile Defense?

Obama Should Have Given Weapons to Ukraine, Says Former Pentagon Russia Official

NOVEMBER 4, 2015

Evelyn Farkas, who stepped down last week as the Pentagon’s top policy official for Russia and Ukraine, says the U.S. should open a military base in Eastern Europe to send a message to Vladimir Putin. 

The Obama administration should send Ukraine antitankweapons to fend off Russian-backed separatists in the eastern region of the country, a recently departed top Pentagon official said.

Marcus Weisgerber is the global business reporter for Defense One, where he writes about the intersection of business and national security. He has been covering defense and national security issues for nearly a decade, previously as Pentagon correspondent for Defense News and chief editor of ...Full Bio

Evelyn Farkas, who stepped down Friday as deputy assistant secretary for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia, said she advocated for sending these lethal weapons to Ukraine while at the Pentagon.

US Special ‘Operators’ In Syria Must Be Viewed In Context – Dunford

By Jim Garamone
NOVEMBER 5, 2015

The introduction of special operations forces into northern Syria is just one part of the overall strategy to degrade and defeat the terrorist organization known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said in an interview Wednesday during a multi-day trip to the Asia-Pacific region.

Marine Corps Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr. said people must remember there are nine lines of effort against ISIL, with just two of them the sole responsibility of the military: to build partnership capacity and deny sanctuary.

Special operators are reinforcing the effort to build partnership capacity in Syria, he said. “To my mind, this isn’t doing something new, it’s adding a capability so that what we’re doing is more effective,” Dunford said.

“Is this enough in Syria? No, not in and of itself,” the general said. “That is not what it was intended to be. It’s additive to our effort. It is consistent with the campaign strategy.”

Paradise in Turmoil: What's Next for the Maldives?

November 06, 2015

The citizens of Maldives received a severe jolt earlier this week when the country was placed under a state of emergency for 30 days, during which basic constitutional rights are suspended. This political measure comes just couple of days ahead of a major political rally planned by the main opposition party, the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP). The archipelago has not witnessed a political emergency on this scale since 2004. This is the first time since 2008, when multi-party democracy was introduced to the country, that the rule of law and constitutional provisions have been put under suspension.

Ever since President Abdulla Yameen came to power in 2013 after a bitter presidential contest, the country has been lurching from one crisis to another. Yameen put the main opposition leader, Mohamed Nasheed of the MDP, behind bars for 13 years and has been tampering with different democratic and constitutional rights to consolidate his grip on power.

Pentagon developing lethal-virtual-weapons

November 4, 2015

Under a forthcoming nearly half-billion-dollar military contract, computer code capable of killing adversaries is expected to be developed and deployed if necessary, according to contractors vying for the work and former Pentagon officials.

U.S. troops would have the power to launch logic bombs, instead of traditional explosive projectiles, which essentially would direct an enemy's critical infrastructure to self-destruct.

Lethal cyber weapons have arrived.

As previously reported, an upcoming $460 millionU.S. Cyber Command project will outsource to industry all command mission support activities, including “cyber fires" planning, as well as "cyberspace joint munitions" assessments. 

Unlike traditional espionage malware or even the Stuxnet virus that sabotaged Iranian nuclear centrifuges, cyber fires would impact human life, according to former Defense officials and a recently released Defense Department "Law of War Manual." 

GCHQ Officer on What His Agency Actually Does and Why More Investigatory Power Is Necessary

November 5, 2015 

My work at GCHQ and the surveillance myths that need busting 

Many words about GCHQ have appeared over the last two years – but rarely have they been GCHQ’s own words. We welcome the debate now under way in parliament and among the public about our work. We need public consent for what we do – we wouldn’t want to do our jobs without it. We want the debate to be informed by facts, not half-understood inferences. We do not expect to persuade everyone to support what we do, but GCHQ certainly does bear a responsibility to make sure the discussion about us is based in reality. I want to cover two particular topics frequently misunderstood: bulk interception and encryption. 

The draft bill published on Wednesday responds to three independent reviews carried out into investigatory powers. The reviews were unanimous in their agreement that the powers currently available to the intelligence and security services remain essential. And while the courts have recently confirmed that the bulk interception regime was lawful, the reviewers concluded that the legal framework needed updating. We are confident that the draft bill places our powers on a clearer footing and strengthens safeguards and oversight to a world-leading standard. The draft bill also enables GCHQ and our sister agencies to meet the challenges of technological advances. As the internet grows exponentially, and smartphones create an explosion in information, increasingly tech-savvy criminals and terrorists attempt to hide in the mass of data and the dark recesses of the web.

How will the U.S. Air Force pay for its newest advanced bomber?

November 06, 2015

How will the Air Force pay for Northrup Grumman’s Long Range Strike Bomber? A recent article from Lara Seligman delved into the debate over paying for the bomber, which will eat up an enormous chunk of the USAF’s procurement funds, even if it remains on budget. Seligman suggests that the Air Force may seek to set aside funding for the bomber, outside the normal USAF procurement budget, just as the Navy has sought for the SSBN-X replacement boomer.

The problem goes to the core of how the United States procures weapons. The LRS-B (we all pray for the day we can simply write “B-3”) fulfills joint requirements, but will operate within the United States Air Force. While reforms such as Goldwater-Nichols have improved “jointness” by creating connections between the services, and emphasizing the combatant commands, budgeting has remained tied to service priorities.

And so we have an aircraft that the Air Force believes will play a central role in the joint projection of American power for the rest of the century, but that must come out of the Air Force budget. The Navy, for its part, continues to jealously defend its own procurement priorities, including the CVN-78 aircraft carriers that remain the centerpieces of the future fleet. The potential conflict is particularly relevant to the U.S. force posture in the Asia-Pacific, which requires close collaboration between the Air Force’s long range strike assets and the Navy’s surface and subsurface assets in order to crack China’s robust A2/AD system.

Are Korea and Japan Headed for a Thaw?

November 05, 2015

Are perennially rocky relations between South Korea and its former colonizer Japan in the midst of a thaw? That has been the suggestion in various media since the first official talks Monday between South Korean President Park Geun-hye and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Despite their countries’ close geographic and cultural proximity, the leaders hadn’t formally met one-on-one since taking power, a result of a tense standoff over historical and territorial disputes. At the talks, Park and Abe agreed to work toward a solution to the most contentious of these issues, that of the “comfort women,” the euphemistic term for Korean and other women coerced into prostitution by imperial Japan. South Korea has long demanded compensation and a sincere apology for the victims, while Japan has argued the matter was settled by a 1965 normalization treaty that included monetary restitution and an apology in the early 1990s.

But while the meeting represents progress, a true warming of ties will require a shift in public attitudes in the two nations, said Robert E. Kelly, an associate professor of international relations at Pusan National University.


NOVEMBER 5, 2015

Since the infamous Millennium Challenge 2002 (MC ’02) concept-development exercise, run by the now-defunct U.S. Joint Forces Command (JFCOM), was leaked in the press 13 years ago, strong opinions have been expressed about its failure and lessons. When it was conducted, this exercise was the most ambitious and costly military simulation in American history. It pitted the U.S. military (with capabilities projected five years into the future) against a nameless potential adversary, with outcome intended to inform future strategy and procurement decisions. Controversy immediately arose when the opposition force, or red team, learned that the results were scripted to assure that the U.S. forces would win. Writing in September 2002, New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof warned that it “should teach us one clear lesson relating to Iraq: Hubris kills.” (In that same column, Kristof admitted “I’m a wimp on Iraq: I’m in favor of invading, but only if we can win easily.”) MC ’02 was later popularized in Malcolm Gladwell’s 2005 book, Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, where the leader of the red team opposition force (OPFOR), retired Marine Corps three-star Paul Van Riper was praised for having “created the conditions for successful spontaneity” with a decision-making style that “enables rapid cognition.” More recently, a Marine Corps Gazette essay proclaimed that “JFCOM controllers changed the scenario” of MC ’02 and that the command “failed to understand the utility of the exercise and the feedback it provided.”

Mystery Plane, Challenging Mission

By James Hasik & Rachel Rizzo
November 5, 2015

Is the bomber's target set feasible, or even advisable?

What’s the most important role for the USAF’s planned Long-Range Strike Bomber (LRS-B)? What could it do that fighter-bombers, cruise missiles, and drones couldn’t? Arguably, a big manned bomber offers a unique combination of massive, repeatable, human-on-scene air power at a distance, which is valuable when targets are challenging but plentiful. Already today, hardened targets are plentiful and tough to find. But mobile targets, one of the LRS-B’s planned target sets, while perhaps more plentiful, are near impossible to find. That calculus leaves aside the political questions—even if the LRS-B’s likely targets could be attacked, should they? Policymakers should consider all these questions before endorsing the next bomber.

U.S. Opens Up International Market for Armed Drones

By Jennifer Hunt
November 5, 2015

The US State Department has approved a sale of armed drones to Italy, the first such transaction to be allowed under a new policy. Previously only the UK was allowed to share this technology.

Drones are becoming big business and this sale seems to signal the start of an export strategy for unmanned aerial systems (UAS). In February the State Department noted:

'As the nascent commercial UAS market emerges, the United States has a responsibility to ensure that sales, transfers, and subsequent use of all US origin UAS are responsible and consistent with US national security and foreign policy interests, including economic security.

The estimated contribution of the proposed sale to economic security is $126 million. This amount may pale in comparison to the long term security costs of international proliferation.

According to the Defense Security Cooperation Agency's media release, the proposed sale is for MQ-9 'Reaper' weaponisation kits to Italy, along with 156 Hellfire II missiles and other equipment. While payloads such as missiles and bombs are classified as MDE (major defense equipment), the weaponisation kits for the MQ-9s are not. Rather, they are categorised as 'non-MDE items' and thus subject to less stringent regulations under the US Arms Export Control Act.

5 Actual Reasons You’re Miserable After The Military

November 5, 2015

We reminisce on the past and the things we miss about service rather than move on to the now.

Sea stories and tall tales fill every VFW hall from open to close every day. Veterans tell stories of how much harder things were in the old corps, and that the new corps is nothing but fluff. There are tales of heroism and valor and a million incredible deeds someone else did. These stories are great time killers, but they present a catch. As veterans and service members, we constantly revisit the past, and all we talk about is “back when.” It’s time to cut that shit out now. Your after-service slump is not doing anyone any favors. But if you admit the real reasons why you miss the military, you can find ways to compensate.

Here’s five real reasons you’re miserable after the military:

Can the U.S. Military Halt Its Brain Drain? The Pentagon worries its rigid personnel system is driving away the officers it will need for the conflicts of the 21st century.

When Defense Secretary Ash Carter took the reins of the Pentagon in February, he inherited a Pentagon coming out of two prolonged land wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, navigating a budgetary drawdown threatened by sequestration, and wrestling with how to remain the dominant military in a fast-changing world. As one of his predecessors Robert Gates noted, since Vietnam, “our record has been perfect” about predicting future wars: “We have never once gotten it right.”
His first speech was expected to signal his new priorities as secretary of defense. Some expected a talk in Silicon Valley, or at one of the service academies to showcase his message. Yet for his inaugural speech, Carter chose to return his alma mater, Abingdon Senior High School in Philadelphia, to speak to teenage students. Billed as a talk about the “Force of the Future,” many expected it to be about new technology, the Pentagon’s “Third Offset Strategy,” or the importance of cyber warfare.