After years of debate and increased involvement in the training and logistical support of Syrian rebel forces, the U.S. government authorized the CIA to begin directly arming opponents of the Bashar al Assad regime. Casualties from Syria’s civil war already number at least 93,000 according to some sources, and millions of Syrians are now refugees or internally displaced.
Meanwhile, the United States now confirms that Syria used chemical weapons in a number of instances, at a small scale that many fear may escalate. Chemical-weapons use provided rhetorical justification to this policy decision, but is not the entire reality of the matter. Internal pressure and Free Syrian Army leadership’s refusal to participate in a new round of negotiations at Geneva without U.S. weapons played a major role. Unfortunately for the United States and the administration, neither the known particulars of the U.S. plan, nor the concept of providing arms to rebel forces generally, appears likely to turn the war’s tide or secure lasting U.S. influence in Syria. Read More
From the introduction from the June Department of Defense Report on the Joint Committee Sequestration for Fiscal Year 2013: This report summarizes the financial impact on the Department of Defense discretionary budget authority in Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 as a result of the Joint Committee Sequestration directed in the Presidential Order of March 1, 2013. Read More
US Marines from Amphibious Assault Vehicle (AAV) Platoon, Battalion Landing Team 3/2, 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), drive their AAVs on April 20, 2013. US Marine Corps Photo.
After ten years of fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S. Marine Corps is retooling and repositioning itself back into its traditional role as a medium-weight maritime force that can operate with agility from the sea. Instead of training almost exclusively to fight insurgents deep inland, the Marines will focus on roles ranging from conventional warfighting, to conducting humanitarian missions, and to training the armed forces of partner nations. In essence, it will be a case of back to the future for the Marine Corps as it shifts back into its traditional role as the nation’s 911 quick-reaction force, former officials and analysts told USNI News. Read More
USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) pulls out of Naval Air Station North Island, Calif. on June, 4 2013. US Navy Photo
The dirty word spreading across the U.S. Navy and the larger defense establishment this year is “sequestration.” It was never supposed to happen, yet today it is the law of the land. Worse still, there appears to be no interest in Congress to repeal this legislation. That’s significant, since the longer this process goes on, the greater will be the cumulative damage on the long-term health and readiness of the U.S. Navy, as well as all of America’s military.
Sequestration was born out of the Budget Control Act of 2011, which stipulated that more than $900 billion in defense cuts over 10 years would begin automatically in 2013 unless Congress passed a long-term deficit reduction plan. This provision was considered so draconian that all agreed at the time that it would never be implemented. Think again. Read More
China has accepted an invitation from the U.S. to join the 2014 Rim of the Pacific naval exercises off of Hawaii.
However, members of Congress have raised questions if the People’s Liberation Army Navy’s inclusion as part of RIMPAC will violate provisions of a 2000 U.S. defense bill that restricts the level of military to military contact the Pentagon can have with its Chinese counterparts.
The following is an April Congressional Research Service report that broadly outlines the history of the defense law and the U.S. military relationship with China. Read More
Third Joint High Speed Vessel Millinocket launches from Austal USA’s mobile shipyard on Wednesday. Austal USA Photo
Austal USA delivered its second Joint High Speed Vessel on Thursday — USNS Choctaw County (JHSV-2) — to Military Sealift Command and has launched the third JHSV from its Mobile, Ala. shipyard.
Choctaw County follows closely behind the lead ship, USNS Spearhead (JHSV-1), which delivered in December. Read More
Four D.C. think tanks took a crack at cutting the Pentagon’s budget under sequestration. CSBA Image
Four D.C. think tanks took a crack at balancing the Department of Defense’s budget if the Pentagon has to weather ten years of ten percent across-the-board sequestration budget cuts sequestration on Wednesday.
The consensus of the four (American Enterprise Institute, Center for a New American Security, Center for Strategic and International Studies and Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessment) was unanimous.
First, cut the Department of Defense’s civilian employees – including shipyard and depot workers. Then reduce the services’ end strength – particularly the Army’s. Read More
Gen. James Amos talks to reporters in 2011 following a demonstration of the F-35B. US Marine Corps Photo
The commandant of the Marine Corps said the service’s short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) variant of the F-35 Lighting II Joint Strike Fighter will reach initial operating capability sometime in the later half of 2015.
Gen. James Amos said that means 10 of the 16 planes assigned to a squadron would be in place with aircrews and maintainers fully trained and shipboard qualified, he said Wednesday at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C. Read More
From the May, 23 2013 House Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee mark:
The committee notes the critical nature of the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS)
program and the importance of the initial deployment of the USS Freedom to the
Republic of Singapore to test and refine operational support and sustainment
concepts. The LCS class takes a unique approach to maintenance which relies
heavily on contractor-provided maintenance in contrast to other Navy ship classes,
which typically use the Navy’s organic capabilities and U.S. shipyards to provide
maintenance. Read More
The following is from the January, 1972 issue of Proceedings.
For 112 years, the Tripoli Monument has stood on the grounds of the U. S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, but its unique and tumultuous history began long before 1860. Read More