4:04 PM, Mar 13, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
Steven Lee Myers and Alison Smale of the New York Times are reporting:
Russia’s Defense Ministry announced new military operations in several regions near the Ukrainian border on Thursday, even as Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany warned the Kremlin to abandon the politics of the 19th and 20th centuries or face diplomatic and economic retaliation from a united Europe ...
In Moscow, the military acknowledged significant operations involving armored and airborne troops in the Belgorod, Kursk and Rostov regions abutting eastern Ukraine, where many ethnic Russians have protested against the new interim government in Ukraine’s capital, Kiev, and appealed to Moscow for protection.
The Russians, evidently, are happy to practice 19th century statecraft with 20th century hardware and disregard lectures from Germany about the boorishness of such behavior. Notice the number of tanks indicated in this chart (h/t Zero Hedge). The Russians like tanks. Always have.
Credit: Zero Hedge
Meanwhile, the U.S. is working on plans to decommission more than 300 A-10 Warthogs, a plane designed to kill tanks. Too 20th century, no doubt.
8:46 AM, Mar 13, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
The A-10 has been designated for retirement in the Pentagon’s quest to downsize. (Not for the first time, either.) According to the plans under review, those few hundred copies still in service will be decommissioned and, presumably, shipped of to some boneyard. Or, perhaps, cut up for scrap. Whatever the fate of the planes, themselves, their mission of close air support of ground troops will not soon go away. Which has led to a campaign to save the A-10 by those who believe in the plane and even love it, in spite of (or, perhaps, because of) its looks and its name – Warthog.
2:45 PM, Mar 10, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
“I think that cutting the defense budget in significant ways right now is a serious mistake. When we’ve cut the budget before at the end of the Cold War, at the end of Vietnam and other times, it’s been because we thought the world was going to be safer place. No one can make that case right now."
That's former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates.
12:31 PM, Mar 9, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
First question asked, supposedly, in situation rooms when there is … well, a situation: Where are the carriers?
Lately, there has been this situation in the Ukraine and now we learn that there is a carrier on hand. In this case the George H.W. Bush, the Navy’s most recently commissioned Nimitz-class carrier.
According to a release written by master chief Jeffrey Madlangbayan the ship’s public affairs department the carrier:
12:02 PM, Mar 3, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
Russia has issued an ultimatum to Ukrainian forces in the Crimea to clear out by 5 a.m. Tuesday or face a "military storm," according to Russian state-run news agency Interfax, which cited a Ukrainian Defense Ministry source.
Talking to Angela E. Stent about her new book on U.S. Russian relations.1:15 PM, Feb 27, 2014 • By LEE SMITH
Russian president Vladimir Putin is everywhere. The former KGB officer has used virtually everything at hand to catapult himself as well as his country, the shell of a once mighty empire, on to the world stage. Whether it’s Putin’s determination to host the Winter Olympics in a semi-tropical climate, his steadfast refusal to turn on his Syrian ally Bashar al-Assad, or his contesting the West for supremacy in Ukraine and the rest of Russia’s near abroad, the man has made himself an indispensable actor—and one almost constantly in competition, if not rivalry, with the Obama White House. Recently, I spoke with Georgetown University professor Angela E. Stent about her new book The Limits of Partnership: U.S.-Russian Relations in the Twenty-First Century to get a sense of where Putin’s Moscow may be heading.
Cutting pay 'an effort to keep them safe.'12:31 PM, Feb 26, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
As Andrew Tilghman at Military Times reports, Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel, is telling the troops that, while they may not be getting much in the way of pay raises, they will be better off for it and that:
7:36 AM, Feb 26, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
News broke this week that under a plan released by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, the United States Army will be reduced to its smallest force since before World War II. Though not directly related to that plan, another announcement this week by the Defense Department gives, perhaps, a taste of what those cuts may look like. Plans are underway for massive cuts to the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization (JIEDDO), the organization that has led military's efforts to combat a weapon of choice among insurgents and terrorists in Iraq, Afghanistan, and around the world. JIEDDO's current staff of 3,000 will be reduced to 1,000 by the end of this fiscal year, and further plans could see the number fall as low as 400 down the road.
7:01 AM, Feb 19, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
The Department of Defense (DOD) has just announced that the public will be invited to vote in a video competition called "Fight the Enemy." In this case, the enemy is tobacco. The innovation office of the military's assistant secretary of defense for health affairs is sponsoring the competition among U.S. service members around the world who were invited to film and submit "tobacco countermarketing" videos.
12:18 PM, Feb 18, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
The Swiss airforce only works during normal business hours. And don't expect it to react between noon and 1:30 -- that's lunch time.
These revelations come after a hijacked commecrial airplane entered Swiss air space.
Jan 20, 2014, Vol. 19, No. 18 • By THE SCRAPBOOK
You would guess that an agreement between the United States and Japan to move a Marine air base from one location to another on Okinawa would be good news. And it is, for three reasons. First, because there has been opposition to relocating the base on the island, and negotiations had stalemated. And second, because the move is endorsed by Okinawa’s governor, who had initially opposed it.
8:41 AM, Dec 16, 2013 • By JERYL BIER
A Request For Information by the defense department's Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) in July 2011 culminated this month in contract awards to seven different companies worth up to $4 billion over the next ten years. The contract awards, posted in a notice entitled Combating Weapons of Mass Destruction Research and Technology Development, went to some well known defense contractors including Raytheon and Northrop Grumman.
4:25 PM, Dec 4, 2013 • By ROGER I. ZAKHEIM and THOMAS DONNELLY
House Armed Services Committee chairman Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon doesn’t look like an insurgent. The quintessential Californian – a man of Reaganesque optimism whose congressional district now includes the Gipper’s presidential library – McKeon has been a steadfast supporter of House speaker John Boehner in turbulent times. Yet, to the green-eyeshade editorialists of the Wall Street Journal, McKeon is leading a “rebellion” of defense hawks, an “act of masochism” threatening the Holy of Holies: the sequestration provision of the Budget Control Act (BCA). McKeon’s crime is that he’s hoping for a 2014 budget deal that would reduce the amount of defense sequestration by half.