America’s Military: Death by Sequestration? It’s Possible
During the recent budget battle that brought America to the brink of default, very little was mentioned about cuts to the nation’s military, cuts that have already had an impact on readiness, training practices, and the ability of Washington to react in a crisis. While many politicians have sought to replace the sequester with some sort of common-sense defense planning, the cuts remained in place. They are already being felt and could degrade America’s military edge as nations like China and Iran develop specific anti-access/area-denial (A2/AD) weapons to deny Washington’s access to the commons. And given China’s recent declaration of an ADIZ over the East China Sea, a crisis is no longer inconceivable.
“Sequestration poses the most serious threat to our military’s readiness since the days of the ‘hollow force’ after the Vietnam War” notes U.S. congressman and The Diplomat contributor J. Randy Forbes.Sponsored Ads
“Today, only four percent of our Army brigades are fully ready and available to execute combat operations. Army and Marine units that aren’t scheduled for immediate deployment to Afghanistan have seen their training dramatically reduced. Our Air Force pilots have had their flight hours cut to the bone and only about 39 percent of the Air Force’s combat fleet is now rated as “fully mission ready,” he added.
“Things are growing so dire that the chiefs of all four services recently testified to the House Armed Services Committee that they are currently unable to meet the requirements of the National Defense Strategy- meaning that our readiness has been impaired to such an extent that the basic capabilities of our armed forces have now been called into serious question.”
Burma’s burning ambition to acquire modern missile technology and to upgrade its conventional weapons is no longer a secret and, if left unchecked, could pose a destabilising threat to regional stability.Thailand, its most prominent historical enemy, should be concerned – its military leaders would not like to see a Burma in possession of missiles that could easily lead to a tit-for-tat arms race. Also, of course, there’s the generals’ chronic fear of the West, heightened last year when foreign navy vessels showed up off the Burmese shore in an effort to deliver relief items and water to cyclone victims in the Irrawaddy delta region.Since then, Burmese leaders have increasingly been looking for a source of medium-range missiles and sophisticated anti-aircraft and radar systems to deter imagined external threats.
Nato and Russia have agreed to resume military ties in their first high-level meeting since Russia’s war with Georgia disrupted their relations 10 months ago.
NATO’S outgoing Secretary-General, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, announced that the so-called Nato-Russia Council, a panel set up in 2002 to improve ties between the former Cold War rivals, was operational again.”It was my ambition to leave to my successor an NRC that is up and running,” said Mr de Hoop Scheffer, whose term as ends on Aug. 1.
Military power compilations for 2009 do not necessarily accurately predict relative strengths and weaknesses between 2025 and 2040. This is especially true when the year-to-year moving parts of those compilations could propel cash-rich China and budget-strapped America in opposite directions when it comes to military spending. China’s aggregate table of organization and equipment may very well swell impressively in years to come, while America’s could hold steady or even decline.
NORAD goes from under a mountain to basement. That’s certainly smart just as the Russians are starting cold war II. Sources say a risky situation is only growing more so.
As Sen. Wayne Allard this week declared support for Cheyenne Mountain’s transition to “warm standby,” sources familiar with the surveillance bunker allege U.S. Northern Command is rushing the job, breaking contracting rules and risking homeland security.
“They broke the law with the way they are contracting this,” said one source. “And nobody cares?”
NorthCom has been adamant that bringing North American Aerospace Defense Command, or NORAD, capabilities to the basement of a building on Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs will enhance national security.
As unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs, become a staple of modern military operations, their uses and forms have grown more varied. Today they range from slingshot-launched spybots to global guardians. In fact, the acronym itself may be morphing into UAS (unmanned aerial systems) to indicate that these are not just aircraft, but systems that include ground stations and other elements.
It’s not just the military that uses them — police use the same technology for surveillance, while terrorists build flying suicide bombers. Check out the stealthiest, deadliest and highest flying drones in use today, and the UAVs that are most likely to be making tomorrow’s headlines.
China’s newest attack helicopter is powered by Canadian-built engines, a development military analysts say could spark a backlash against Canada’s aerospace industry from U.S. lawmakers concerned about technology being transferred into the wrong hands.
Other analysts are questioning why Canada would sell engines to a nation that has used its military to crush internal dissent.
The engines built by Pratt and Whitney Canada of Longueuil, Que., are being used to power Z-10 Zhisheng attack helicopters.
The delegation also acknowledged that Russian presence in northern Syria is a counter-balance to US presence in the region and “is a reminiscence of the Cold War era”.
The undersecretary hinted that the Russian military poses threats to the US interests and said the US policymakers are exploring new strategies to counter Russian show of military might.
A Russian military resurgence bolstered by booming oil wealth is raising some concern here about where Moscow is headed, US defense officials and outside experts say.
Threats by Russia to withdraw from key arms control treaties, reaffirmed by President Vladimir Putin last week in Moscow with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Robert Gates, have punctuated the slide in relations.
China’s military forces will speed up their modernization drive over the coming five years, and adopt high-tech battle systems along with an upgraded training programme, Chinese president Hu Jintao said Monday as part of his keynote speech at the opening of the Communist Party Congress. The Congress convenes every five years.