12:17 PM, Apr 24, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
The time for building ships is when your nation is at peace. Once the shooting starts, it may be too late and playing catch-up is hard. So it is disturbing that, as Christopher Bodeen of the AP reports:
China's navy commissioned 17 new warships last year, the most of any nation. In a little more than a decade, it's expected to have three aircraft carriers, giving it more clout than ever in a region of contested seas and festering territorial disputes.
It will be a long time before China, or any other nation, can match the U.S. Navy.
Still, as Doug Cameron of the Wall Street Journal reports, while China builds:
The U.S. Navy may take a year to decide on the fate of the USS George Washington in a move that could reduce its aircraft carrier fleet to 10, a senior executive at its largest shipbuilder said Tuesday. Pentagon spending constraints could force the Navy to retire the USS George Washington rather than its preferred plan to start refueling the ship in 2016 and extend its life for another 25 years.
Troop levels to fall to below 10,000.12:38 PM, Apr 22, 2014 • By FREDERICK W. KAGAN
Media reports suggest that President Obama is looking to declare victory and withdraw from Afghanistan, as he did from Iraq. The military commander in Afghanistan, General Joe Dunford, has said that he needs 10,000 US troops to accomplish the missions the president has said he wants to accomplish after this year.
7:07 AM, Apr 1, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is "looking" at banning the sale of tobacco at military installations. According to one military publication, Hagel appears to support it.
12:37 PM, Mar 21, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
Iran appears to be constructing a mock-up of the U.S.S. Nimtiz. The ship is not operational. Only 2/3s scale. And not militarily capable of much of anything.
8:02 AM, Mar 17, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
As the war in Afghanistan winds down, commanders face the question of what to do with all that equipment.
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.