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21 janvier 2015 3 21 /01 /janvier /2015 18:20
Renaming Air/Sea Battle a Poor, Parochial Decision

January 21, 2015 by Lazarus - informationdissemination.net

The Pentagon’s 08 January choice to rename the Air/Sea Battle concept is a poor choice that will negatively affect the ability of the Navy and Air Force to modernize their forces for 21st century combat. It is an attempt by the U.S. Army to insert itself into an operational construct for which it is neither equipped nor trained in which to participate. Finally, this decision demonstrates a compelling need to reform the aging Defense Department organization created by the Goldwater Nichols Act in 1986. This reform legislation was designed to empower joint military institutions to make the best decisions for national security outside parochial service concerns. This name change illustrates that service-driven parochialism is alive and well and well in the Pentagon, and is aided and abetted by joint bureaucrats intent on shaping all problems with the same joint tools, whether appropriate or not.

     The U.S. Navy and Air Force are desperately in need of new equipment to wage war in difficult 21st century anti-access/area denial (A2/AD) environments. Both services need new aircraft, (manned or unmanned), to replace aging Cold War platforms. The Navy needs new missiles in order to engage opponents outside A2/AD envelopes. The naval service has conducted an active information campaign to inform members of Congress and the general public as to the importance of seapower in ensuring U.S. economic and physical security. The Chief of Naval Operations’ “SailingDirections” and later "Navigation Plans" specifically identified a need to “communicate our intent and expectations both within and outside the Navy,” and "strengthen alliance relationships and partnerships." The Air/Sea Battle term is one that easily explains service intentions to a wide global audience. Renaming this concept with the awkward joint term “Joint Concept for Access and Maneuver in the Global Commons” (JAM GC) will not resonate with the average U.S. citizen, whose support is vital for continued military funding. Such terms make joint bureaucrats in the deep warrens of the Pentagon’s mezzanine level happy, but will not draw the vital public support necessary for strong legislative action.

     The joint moniker and apparent Army intrusion in an otherwise Naval and Air Force activity represents an unneeded diversion of U.S. Army efforts. The ground force again appears ready to abandon vital lessons learned from a long, hard counterinsurgency campaign in order to preserve its funding relative to the other services. After the Vietnam War the Army quickly disbanded its counterinsurgency (COIN) forces in favor of a return to conventional expeditionary warfare as represented by the Soviet and Warsaw Pact threat on the plains of Germany. Counterinsurgency lessons learned were left in the dustbin of Army history as the service embraced Air/Land battle for both operational relevance and funding concerns. While this doctrinal change was useful in many ways toward developing present, effective expeditionary warfare concepts, its failure to make COIN an institutional part of the Army handicapped the service for wars since 2003. When the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq degenerated into insurgencies, the Army was forced to re-learn lessons very similar to those painfully gained over the course of the Vietnam War. The Army would best serve the nation’s interests in the wake of the Southwest Asian conflicts by solving the 50 year old problem of how to have both effective expeditionary and COIN capabilities in its organizational structure rather than attempting to couple itself to Air/Sea battle.

     Finally, the name change illustrates the increasing need to reform the aging, Cold War- era provisions of the Goldwater Nichols Act. This reform legislation was designed to empower joint organizations to make national security decisions independent of parochial service needs. Now, the need to maintain a “joint” face on all military operations has created its own ossified, parochial structure.  The efforts of one or more services to create solutions to national security needs are stifled and suppressed by joint bureaucrats seeking to preserve their own institutional authority. This situation of “joint uber alles” is just one of the problems with the quarter-century old Goldwater Nichols structure. Its transfer of the business of strategy from central, service-based systems that produced successful products like Air/Land Battle and the 1980’s-era Navy Maritime Strategy to regional Combatant Commanders (COCOMs) may have been permissible in a post Cold War environment free of peer competitors with global reach.  This decentralized system is no longer possible in the 2nd decade of the 21st century. The global impact of post 9/11 terrorism; the rise of China; and the return of a revanchist Russia (among many concerns); make this 1986-era construct a prime candidate for significant Congressional reform.

     Renaming the well-known Air/Sea Battle concept with an awkward, unfamiliar joint term serves no one well. It forces the Navy and Air Force to change their public modernization campaigns. It is a distraction for an Army that should be preparing for its next expeditionary and COIN operations rather than trying to re-enter the coastal defense business. Finally, it shows that both service and joint bureaucratic parochialism persist within the Department of Defense despite the provisions of Goldwater Nichols. Congress should take action to restore easily identifiable names to military concepts in need of public support. It should direct the Army to concentrate on its traditional service requirements rather than compete with the Navy and Air Force in an operational arena for which it is not equipped. Finally, Congress should look at potential reforms to the dated Goldwater Nichols Act of 1986. It should restore the abilities of services to create strategic and operational solutions to global military needs beyond the purview of individual regional commanders.

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20 novembre 2013 3 20 /11 /novembre /2013 17:20
Photo Lockheed Martin

Photo Lockheed Martin


November 20, 2013 By Zachary Keck - thediplomat.com


Plus, the Navy’s top officer is only slightly worried about sequester’s impact on the pivot. Wednesday defense links.


Some Wednesday defense links:

Myriad sources in recent weeks are reporting that South Korea’s military has decided that its country needs the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. According to one report from Reuters, in a meeting on Friday South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff will endorse an “all F-35 buy” of 40 of the aircraft for its FX-III fighter jet competition. The same report said that they will also include an option to purchase 20 additional F-35s in the future. Some notable figures are recommending that Seoul should purchase a combination of F-35s and F-15s.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Navy is looking at purchasing more F/A-18 fighter jets even as it reiterates its commitment to the F-35.

Real Clear Defense’s Dustin Walker has an excellent (and Asia-centric) interview with Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert. In the interview Greenert admits to worrying about being “out-sticked” in the Asia-Pacific due to China’s growing anti-ship capabilities. Nonetheless, Greenert contends that despite sequestration “we are continuing our focus, our priority in that budgetary environment to the Asia-Pacific. And there will be growth in that arena as opposed tojust less reduction.”

Per usual, War on the Rocks has featured some excellent analyses in recent days. One such piece by Matthew Hipple considers how a war between the U.S. and China would start. Frank Hoffman also asks some hard questions about Air-Sea Battle in the context of the new QDR.

As part of its “Asia-Pacific Oversight Series,” the House Armed Services Committee held what Breaking Defense is calling an unprecedented gathering of Asia-Pacific ambassadors last week.

Feng at Information Dissemination runs through some of the new projects the Chinese military is working on.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel are meeting with Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and Defense Minister David Johnston in Washington, DC today for the annual Australia-U.S. Ministerial (AUSMIN).

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14 novembre 2013 4 14 /11 /novembre /2013 08:35
China’s Air-Sea Battle Plan for the South China Sea


November 13, 2013 By  Zachary Keck - thediplomat.com


Last week a senior PLA officer detailed China’s plans for establishing air and sea control over the South China Sea.

In an interview with state media last week, Senior Colonel Du Wenlong was asked what China’s “trump card” was for establishing sea and air control over the South China Sea. In response, Du highlighted the importance of cooperation between China’s fighter jets and airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft would play in allowing to establish “sea and air control” in the South China Sea.

Specifically, he said that cooperation between the J-10 series, J-11 series, J-16, KJ 2000, and KJ 200 “gives China control over enemy targets in an extended airspace through strong air-to-air attack capability.” Once China gained command of the skies, Du noted, it would be able to impose control over the waters in the South China Sea by using aircraft with air-to-sea functions, backed by submarines and surface vessels like advanced destroyers and frigates.

Du went on to emphasize the importance of the J-16 fighter jet because it boasts extraordinary air-to-air, air-to-sea, and air-to-ground capabilities, and can therefore perform multiple roles in the PLA’s South China Sea battle plan simultaneously. The J-16 is a multirole fighter/bomber based off of Russia’s Su-30MK2, which China purchased over a decade ago. Want China Times has reported that China wants to make the J-16 the “fulcrum of its naval fighter force.”

Du also stressed the importance of acquiring more advanced AEW&C aircraft with air-to-sea and air-to-ground reconnaissance and early warning technology that had both greater accuracy and a larger scope than China’s current AEW&C aircraft. In such an environment, Du told reporters, China would control the sea and air over the South China Sea largely through cooperation between AEW&C aircraft and the J-16, working in close cooperation with naval assets. 

Notably, the first photos of China’s next generation early warning aircraft, the so-called KJ-500, appeared online just this week.

In the article, Du Wenlong is only identified as a military expert. However, he is a frequent commentator in China’s media and late last month China’s Ministry of Defense identified him as Senior Colonel Du Wenlong, a senior researcher with the PLA Academy of Military Science (AMS). Bates Gill and James Mulvenon have said that the AMS is the “’national center for military studies’ and is the premier military research organization in the PLA. It is directly subordinate to the Central Military Commission (CMC), but also receives direct tasking from the General Staff Department.”

According to the two scholars, it is the PLA’s largest research institution, and its 500 full time researchers “write reports for the military leadership, ghost-write speeches for top military leaders, and serve on temporary and permanent leading small groups as drafters of important documents like the Defense White Paper.”

Du himself often appears to be hawkish, and prone to bombastic rhetoric. When the PLA Navy’s (PLAN) three major fleets conducted a joint exercise last month, he proudly proclaimed that the first island chain had been “dismembered,” which he later characterized as something that had become quite normal for the PLA. Since fall of last year, when the dispute with Japan over the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands began to escalate, Du has been stressing the importance of China establishing drone bases to use unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to monitor the islands and Japan’s movements along them. His words have apparently been finally taken up by the senior command. Many believe that this has made the standoff over the islands even more unstable.

The fact that Du’s calls for using drones in the East China Sea dispute were eventually heeded raises the possibility that his Air-Sea Battle plan for the South China Sea could become the PLA’s standard operating procedure.

It’s notable that, according to last week’s article, media outlets had asked Du what China’s “trump card” was for establishing sea and air control in the South China Sea. This suggests that the goal of establishing sea and air control was a given, and that the PLA or CCP wanted Du’s views on the subject to be read by ordinary Chinese and the PLA’s foreign military competitors.

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11 juillet 2013 4 11 /07 /juillet /2013 11:20
Glimpse Inside Air-Sea Battle - Nukes, Cyber At Its Heart

11 July 2013 By SYDNEY J. FREEDBERG JR – Pacifi Sentinel


PENTAGON: In intellectual terms, Air-Sea Battle is the biggest of the military’s big ideas for its post-Afghanistan future. But what is it, really? It’s a constantly evolving concept for high-tech, high-intensity conflict that touches on everything from cyberwar to nuclear escalation to the rise of China. In practical terms, however, the beating heart of AirSea Battle is eleven overworked officers working in windowless Pentagon meeting rooms, and the issues they can’t get to are at least as important as the ones they can.
“It’s like being a start-up inside a great, big, rigid corporation,” one Air-Sea Battle representative told me in an exclusive briefing last month. The Air-Sea Battle Office (ASBO) has just 17 staff: those eleven uniformed officers, drawn from all four services, plus six civilian contractors. None of them ranks higher than colonel or Navy captain. Even these personnel are technically “on loan,” seconded from other organizations and paid for out of other budgets. But those 17 people sit at the hub of a sprawling network of formal liaisons and informal contacts across the four armed services and the joint combatant commands.
“Air-Sea Battle has left the building,” said a second officer at the briefing. “We’ve reached the grass roots, and we’re getting ideas from the grass roots.”
So the good news is that the Air-Sea Battle Office isn’t just another big Pentagon bureaucracy, let alone the anti-China cabal it’s sometimes of accused of being (PDF). Instead, in essence, it is an effort to develop compatible technologies and tactics across all four services for a new kind of conflict: not the Army and Marine-led land war against low-tech guerrillas we have seen since 9/11, but an Air Force and Navy-led campaign against “anti-access/area denial” forces that could fry our networks, jam GPS, and hit our planes, ships, bases, and even satellites with long-range missiles. China is the worst case scenario here, but not the only one. 
Read the full story at Breaking Defense
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