The following is a Monday open letter to Pentagon leaders and Congress from a bi-partisan group representing ten D.C. think tanks that focus on national security issues. The groups are calling for reform on the most politically sensitive defense expenditures: Military compensation, closing excess military facilities and the size of the Pentagon civillian workforce. The letter appeared as an advertisement in The Hill newspaper.
Dear Secretary Hagel, Chairman Levin, Ranking Member Inhofe, Chairman McKeon, Ranking Member Smith,
Chairman Durbin, Ranking Member Cochran, Chairman Young, and Ranking Member Visclosky:
A striking bipartisan consensus exists today across the think tank community on the need for Pentagon and Congressional leaders to address the growing
imbalances within the defense budget that threaten the health and long-term viability of America’s volunteer military.
It is our shared belief that the Department of Defense urgently needs to close excess bases and facilities, reexamine the size and structure of the DoD civilian
workforce, and reform military compensation. While we do not all agree on the best approach to reform in each case, we agree that if these issues are not addressed, they will gradually consume the defense budget from within. Read More
Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel addresses the crew of the USS Freedom (LCS 1) in Singapore on June 2, 2013. Department of Defense Photo
U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel spoke highly of the Littoral Combat Ship program and forward deployment over the weekend despite reports that the Government Accountability Office will advise Congress to slow procurement of the ships and mission packages, according to a Friday report from Bloomberg.
“We appreciate your good work,” Hagel told the crew of USS Freedom (LCS-1) said. “What you represent to our country and our partnerships in the Asia-Pacific I don’t think can be overstated. You are really defining a new era of partnership.”
Over the weekend Hagel praised the planned forward deployment four LCS as part of the Pentagon’s rebalance to the Pacific as part of the International Institute for Strategic Studies Asia Security Summit — also known as the Shangri-La dialogue. Read More
USS Yorktown after a series of torpedo strikes in 1942. Naval Institute Archives
The following ran in Proceedings in May 1968:
The tension in I-168’s conning tower had been steadily building up for six and a half hours. In the cramped command post, I stood, palms out, waiting to grip the rising periscope’s handles. We were all perspiring heavily. My torpedo petty officer was scanning his switch panel, and a nervous helmsman wiped clammy hands frequently on his pants. Lieutenant (jg) Nakagawa, pencil in hand, mopped his damp brow between looks at the compass and speed indicator. But my gunnery officer, Ensign Watanabe, seemed almost unconcerned. Of the five, his job was by far the simplest. Our submarine was creeping straight toward the crippled American aircraft carrier Yorktown. There were no ballistics problems for Watanabe to work out-the range was point-blank, and target speed was nearly zero.
The whine of the periscope’s lift motor died away as I sighted through the eyepiece. I had been allowing myself a maximum of five seconds on each sight check and I didn’t intend to change the tactic. One quick glance would give me the range, and I could give the order to fire torpedoes.
Image of the Spanish Navy’s planned S-80 diesel attack submarine. Navantia Photo
General Dynamics Electric Boat has been asked by the U.S. Navy to help correct problems with the Spanish Navy’s S-80 submarine to correct design flaws, several sources have told USNI News.
Setup through the U.S. Foreign Military Sale office, EB will consult in assisting the Spanish Navy and shipbuilder Navantia correcting problems with the S-80 that could prevent the submarine from surfacing after it dived. Read More
From the Pentagon’s May, 12 2013 Air-Sea Battle Concept outline:
While ASB is not a strategy, it is an important component of DoD’s strategic mission to project power and sustain operations in the global commons during peacetime or crisis. Implementation of the ASB Concept, coordinated through the ASB office, is designed to develop the force over the long-term, and will continue to inform institutional, conceptual, and programmatic changes for the Services for years to come. The ASB Concept seeks to provide decision makers with a wide range of options to counter aggression from hostile actors. At the low end of the conflict spectrum, the Concept enables decision makers to maintain freedom of action, conduct a show of force, or conduct limited strikes. At the low end of the conflict spectrum, the Concept enables decision makers to engage with partners to assure access, maintain freedom of action, conduct a show of force, or conduct limited strikes. At the high end of the conflict spectrum, the Concept preserves the ability to defeat aggression and maintain escalation advantage despite the challenges posed by advanced weapons systems. Read More
Naval Sea Systems Command’s Electric Ships Office released its May roadmap to develop improved electrical systems in the U.S. Navy’s current fleet and future ship designs. The document outlines the types of technologies available today and explores future concepts powering not only onboard systems but the drive trains of ships themselves. 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
US National Security Adviser Tom Donilon with General Fan Changlong, vice chairman of China’s Central Military Commission in Beijing, on May, 28 2013. Voice of America Photo
The commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet and a senior leader of China’s People’s Liberation Army vowed to increase naval cooperation, during a Tuesday meeting in Beijing.
Lt. Gen. Qi Jianguo, PLA’s deputy chief of the general staff, vowed to establish military ties based on “equality, mutual benefit and win-win cooperation,” with a meeting with Adm. Cecil Haney, commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, reported Xinhua news service. Read More
The U.S. Marine Corps version of the F-35 Lighting II Joint Strike Fighter. A Pentagon report alleges F-35 designs were among those stolen by China in a cyber espionage scheme. US Navy Photo
The Pentagon attempted to allay fears Tuesday it had lost an edge in technology development following a Monday revelation China had hacked more than two dozen weapons programs from the U.S.
“Suggestions that cyber intrusions have somehow led to the erosion of our capabilities or technological edge are incorrect,” Pentagon spokesman George Little said in a Tuesday statement. Read More