Australia’s Air Warfare Destroyers

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As Australia’s Defense Minister suggested in his Foreword to that nation’s Defence White Paper: “One of the fundamental responsibilities of any Australian Government is to protect and defend our people and protect and enhance our national security interests. This requires making complex strategic judgments about risks and opportunities in the international strategic environment. It means providing for an effective and efficiently run Australian Defence Force which is able to make its contribution to meeting strategic challenges.”

The Air Warfare Destroyer, modeled after the U.S. Navy Aegis system on its cruisers and destroyers represents the most technologically-advanced the RAN has ever produced. Read More Here.

The Air-Sea Battle Concept and Its Antecedents

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As we talked about in an earlier post, the Air-Sea Battle Concept had antecedents in the Air-Land Battle Doctrine. Given that the 20th century was essentially a European-focused period and the Cold War was a largely land-focused arena with the penultimate battleground the Fulda Gap, it is easy to see why the Air-Land Battle Doctrine was a natural response to the overwhelming Soviet forces in Central Europe. And today, with this century being widely-described as the “Asia-Pacific Century” and with the Pacific being a maritime theater, it is also readily seen how and why the Air-Sea Battle Concept was a natural – and necessary – concept.

Read more about the Air-Sea Battle Concept and its antecedents on the Defense Media Network website post.

A Wide-Range of National Security Challenges

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In his May 1, 2014 article in the Wall Street Journal, “Playing Politics with Military Readiness in a Dangerous World,” former CIA Director and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta captures the breathtaking scope of threats the United States must deal with. In his words:

Three years later, the world is just as dangerous—maybe more so. While a mood of withdrawal and restraint is spreading in both political parties, recent events suggest that the U.S. may need to address crises around the world that threaten our national security. Our military must be prepared to respond if necessary. Consider the threats we face:

• Russia is threatening further military incursions into Ukraine. The U.S. may have to bolster both military and humanitarian aid to our NATO allies and others in the region.

• Syria remains a humanitarian catastrophe. It may require further U.S. involvement, including military aid and training the opposition.

• Al Qaeda is again on the rise in Iraq, Syria and North Africa. U.S. intelligence and special operations forces will be necessary to prevent an attack on the homeland.

• An unpredictable and nuclear-armed North Korea and an assertive China demand a continuing and strengthened U.S. presence in the Pacific.

• Iran’s drive for a nuclear capability and continuing political turmoil in the Middle East require a strong U.S. force in the region to deal with any contingency.

• U.S. military assistance to nations in Latin America, Africa and elsewhere is essential to building alliances to fight terrorism, drug trafficking, cyber-attacks and other transnational threats.

Read the full article here:

In his May 1, 2014 article in the Wall Street Journal, “Playing Politics with Military Readiness in a Dangerous World,” former CIA Director and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta captures the breathtaking scope of threats the United States must deal with. In his words:

Three years later, the world is just as dangerous—maybe more so. While a mood of withdrawal and restraint is spreading in both political parties, recent events suggest that the U.S. may need to address crises around the world that threaten our national security. Our military must be prepared to respond if necessary. Consider the threats we face:

  • Russia is threatening further military incursions into Ukraine. The U.S. may have to bolster both military and humanitarian aid to our NATO allies and others in the region.
  • Syria remains a humanitarian catastrophe. It may require further U.S. involvement, including military aid and training the opposition.
  • Al Qaeda is again on the rise in Iraq, Syria and North Africa. U.S. intelligence and special operations forces will be necessary to prevent an attack on the homeland.
  • An unpredictable and nuclear-armed North Korea and an assertive China demand a continuing and strengthened U.S. presence in the Pacific.
  • Iran’s drive for a nuclear capability and continuing political turmoil in the Middle East require a strong U.S. force in the region to deal with any contingency.
  • U.S. military assistance to nations in Latin America, Africa and elsewhere is essential to building alliances to fight terrorism, drug trafficking, cyber-attacks and other transnational threats.

Read the full article here

The U.S. Rebalance to the Asia-Pacific: China – The “Other” Major Pacific Power

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Volumes have been written about the rise of China and we won’t even begin to attempt to replicate the scholarly work and analysis that has gone into enhancing our understanding of China’s rise. Suffice it to say that China’s stunning economic rise has happened much faster than most predicted. Further, China’s economic growth – now predicted to enable it to overtake the United States as the world’s largest economy this year – has had beneficial spillover effects for the entire Asia-Pacific region. And to be sure, in spite of some speed bumps along the way, due to globalization and a host of other factors, China’s economy and that of the United States have become more intertwined over the years.

Any understanding of the U.S. Rebalance to the Asia-Pacific must be juxtaposed against China’s dramatic rise. Read more about how China’s rise impacts this U.S. rebalance on the Defense Media Network website post.

Tectonic Shifts Shaking Our World

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Step back and think about major tectonic shifts that are – and will continue to – change our world in profound ways. While we all have our opinions, the collective vision of the United States Intelligence Community suggests there are seven of these tectonic shifts. Getting ahead of them may well spell the difference between success and failure for individuals, for businesses, and for governments. These tectonic shifts are:

  • Growth of the Global Middle Class: Middle classes most everywhere in the developing world are poised to expand substantially in terms of both absolute numbers and the percentage of the population that can claim middle-class status during the next 15 to 20 years.

  • Wider Access to Lethal and Disruptive Technologies: A wider spectrum of instruments of war – especially precision-strike capabilities, cyber instruments, and bioterror weaponry – will become readily accessible.

  • Definitive Shift of Economic Power to the East and South: The U.S., European, and Japanese share of global income is projected to fall from 56 percent today to well under half by 2030.

  • Unprecedented and Widespread Aging: Whereas in 2012 only Japan and Germany have matured beyond a median age of 45 years, most European countries, South Korea, and Taiwan will have entered the post-mature age category by 2030.

  • Urbanization: Today’s roughly 50-percent urban population will climb to nearly 60 percent, or 4.9 billion people, in 2030. Africa will gradually replace Asia as the region with the highest urbanization growth rate. Urban centers are estimated to generate 80 percent of economic growth.

  • Food and Water Pressures: Demand for food is expected to rise at least 35 percent by 2030, while demand for water is expected to rise by 40 percent. Nearly half of the world’s population will live in areas experiencing severe water stress.

  • U.S. Energy Independence: With shale gas, the United States will have sufficient natural gas to meet domestic needs and generate potential global exports for decades to come.

Read more about these Tectonic Shifts in this on the Defense Media Network website post.

Missile Defense: A Wicked-Hard Challenge

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Rogue nations possessing ballistic missiles armed with WMD are one of the most vexing and wicked-hard challenges the United States must deal with today. For some, it is a new challenge. But for the U.S. Navy, dealing with air and missile threats has been something it has been dealing with for seven decades. And in many ways, the U.S. Navy has been a leader in evolving effective responses to air and missile threats.

For anyone younger than those of the baby boomer generation, it is impossible to fully understand the urgency the Cold War brought to building and deploying the U.S. Navy’s missile fleet.  Once the Berlin Wall went up and the spectre of the Soviet Empire crushing the West – and especially the United States – began to sink in during the early 1950s, spending on defense became a compelling urgency.  Few can forget the phrase famously attributed to Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev while addressing Western ambassadors at a reception at the Polish embassy in Moscow on Nov. 18, 1956, “We will bury you!”

Read more here on the Defense Media Network website

Megatrends – What are They and What Do They Mean?

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At the heart of Global Trends 2030 are four megatrends that it identifies as the most significant trends that will affect the world looking out over a decade-and-a-half into the future. Previous editions of Global Trends have also identified megatrends, and if there is one part of GT2030 that is the most “mature” and well-developed, it is this mega-trends aspect of the report.

Trends mean just that; extrapolation of things happening today that, if left largely alone, will continue along the path they are on and result in a “tomorrow” that while not “predictable” represents a projection of a future state that is more likely than not. For this edition of Global Trends, four megatrends dominate the landscape. These four megatrends are:

  • Individual Empowerment
  • Diffusion of Power
  • Demographic Patterns
  • Food, Water, and Energy

Read more about these megatrends that dominate our world in this Defense Media Network article.

The AirSea Battle Concept: Defeating the anti-access/area denial threat

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In a previous post we talked about the United States rebalance to the Asia-Pacific region. This shift encompasses many aspects: political, diplomatic, economic and military. From the military perspective, the AirSea Battle Concept operationalizes this shift.

The Air-Sea Battle Concept, modeled after the Army-Air Force Air Land Battle Doctrine of a previous generation, has been heralded by some as the answer to compelling strategic and operational challenges facing the U.S. military today.

From its inception, the U.S. military has continuously adapted itself to meet evolving threats. At its core, the Air-Sea Battle Concept is about reducing risk and maintaining U.S. freedom of action and reflects the services’ most recent efforts to improve U.S. capabilities. Similar to previous efforts, the concept seeks to better integrate the services in new and creative ways. It is a natural and deliberate evolution of U.S. power projection and a key support component of U.S. national security strategy for the 21st century.

Read more here on the Defense Media Network website.

You don’t have to be as prescient as the late Tom Clancy to know what the future will hold.

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Tom Clancy, the most well-known military writer in a generation was universally hailed as being prescient about regarding the future of intelligence, technology and military operations in his books seemed to come to pass five, ten, or more years later.

Not all of us are so prescient about what our future world will look like. But there is a source – and an open source – available to all of us that looks deep into the future in the areas of international affairs, i.e. what our world will look like in the ensuing decades, technology and military operations.

While many organizations – inside and outside of government – of necessity look to the future to attempt to discern what the future security environment portends, the National Intelligence Council represents the “Pros from Dover,” in this regard. The NIC supports the director of national intelligence in his role as head of the intelligence community (IC) and is the IC’s focal point and governing organization for long-term strategic analysis.

Among the projections in its groundbreaking report, Global Trends 2030: Alternative Worlds:

  • China’s economy is set to overtake that of the United States in the 2020s, but China will not challenge the United States’ preeminence or the international order;
  • Asia will become more powerful than both North America and Europe combined (based on population, GDP, military spending, and technological investment);
  • The United States will achieve energy independence with shale gas, and;
  • Wider access to disruptive technologies – including precision-strike capabilities, cyber instruments, and bio-terror weaponry – could increase the risk of large-scale violence and disruption.

Read more about Global Trends 2030 and looking to the future on the Defense Media Network Website here.

There is only one existential threat to the United States: Ballistic missiles armed with weapons of mass destruction

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North Korea armed with nuclear missiles. Iran developing nuclear weapons they can put on a variety of missiles. Troubles with Russia over the Ukraine and fears Russia might flex its muscles with missiles armed with nuclear warheads. The question many are – and should be – asking is this: What capability does the United States have to deal with this kind of existential threat.
While all the U.S. military services have a stake in ballistic missile defense the U.S. Navy is now in the lead in this important warfare area. This journey is a remarkable success story – and one not yet told. Over a period of sixty years, the U.S. Navy has evolved the most versatile, and most successful, naval air and missile defense system in the world.  However, it is a journey that has been fraught with difficulty, advancing not in linear fashion, but in fits and starts, always pushing the edge of the technological envelope until it arrived where it is today.
Read more about this here at Defense Media Network.