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  • The Risk Of Not Moving Quickly To Develop A New U.S. Rocket Motor
  • Last year, as Moscow began its campaign to conquer the Ukraine and relations between the West and Russia deteriorated, the U.S. Senate passed a law forbidding the U.S. military from buying additional launch services from any company using Russian-designed or manufactured rocket engines. It further directed the Air Force to develop a domestic alternative engine by 2019. At the time, [ Read More…]

  • Loren B. Thompson, Ph.D
  • Scout SV Recon Variant Completes Design Review, Setting A New Standard For Tracked Armor
  • Here’s a quick quiz to determine how much you know about technology trends in armored fighting vehicles.  Which U.S. military service is developing a new tracked fighting vehicle that will set the global standard for mobility, survivability and situational awareness?  Is it the Army or the Marine Corps? Actually, that’s a trick question: neither service is. The two U.S. ground services have largely abandoned [ Read More…]

  • Loren B. Thompson, Ph.D
  • Five Reasons The ISIS Fight Isn’t About Islam (From Forbes)
  • There’s a debate going on in Washington about how to characterize the ISIS terrorist group.  President Obama wants to downplay the Islamic character of the organization, arguing as many mainline Muslim groups do that it is “un-Islamic.”  Others say that calling it Islamic is crucial to grasping the true nature of the threat.  Obama is right.  If you simply look [ Read More…]

  • Rapidly Growing Missile Threats Make Robust Defenses An Existential Requirement
  • Consideration of the growing threat posed by ballistic and cruise missiles in the hands of this country’s enemies and competitors reminds me of Winston Churchill’s trenchant observation about this country: “You can always count on Americans to do the right thing – after they’ve tried everything else.” Since the idea of developing a defense against such weapons was raised by President Reagan in 1983, the United States has tried every other way of addressing this threat short of serious missile [ Read More…]

  • Heritage Foundation’s Index Of U.S. Military Power Will Help Change The Discussion
  • Today, the Heritage Foundation rolls out its 2015 Index of U.S. Military Power. Modeled after that institution’s extremely useful and widely cited Index of Economic Freedom, this new document is likely to stand alongside the IISS’s annual Military Balance and SIPRI’s Yearbook as one of the basic sources for information and analysis to support discussions of U.S. national security policy, defense strategy and requisite military capabilities. The core philosophical assumption driving this Index is that U.S. military power matters, that [ Read More…]

  • Ex-Im Bank Death Would Devastate Thousands Of Small Businesses (From Forbes)
  • If Congress does not vote to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank by June 30, America’s sole export credit agency will cease operating — at a time when other countries such as China and South Korea are stepping up their own assistance to exporters (China’s export aid is up over 800% since 2005).  One of the issues that tends to get lost in this debate is how many small businesses benefit from Ex-Im financing.  They don’t get subsidies — the money has [ Read More…]

  • British MoD Again Shows Our DoD How To Transform Defense Procurement
  • In a period of declining defense budgets but growing threats to national security, the Department of Defense (DoD) is struggling to figure out how to do more with less. This is the central challenge facing the new Secretary of Defense, Ashton Carter. It was recently reported that Secretary Carter has been seeking advice from some unusual sources, including billionaire businessman and former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Christine Lagarde, chief of the International Monetary Fund. If the Secretary really [ Read More…]

  • Pentagon Pricing Zealots Put The Screws To Pratt & Whitney (From Forbes)
  • On February 17, Bloomberg News reported the Department of Defense Inspector General had subpoenaed pricing data from engine-maker Pratt & Whitney that the company had “repeatedly refused to turn over” to its Air Force customer.  Coming as it did only a week after the Air Force designated Pratt as one of its best contractors, the story caught many observers by surprise.  It turns out the I.G. has been seeking the pricing data since last Summer and Pratt has been trying [ Read More…]

  • Missile Defense: A Common Kill Vehicle Will Improve Performance And Save Money
  • The Missile Defense Agency aims to develop a common kill vehicle (CKV) to address future ballistic threats in 2025 and beyond. A CKV will take many years to develop, but it will boost the capacity of missile defense systems to neutralize complex threats while increasing efficiency and reducing costs. Kill vehicles have the challenging task of destroying incoming threats in space. The kill vehicle is carried by an interceptor outside the Earth’s atmosphere and then breaks away when in range [ Read More…]

  • Our Enemies Intend To Fight On The Ground And So Should We
  • For years now, the dominant meme in discussion of the future of U.S. national security, generally, and military forces, in particular, has been the challenge posed by adversaries using so-called asymmetric strategies and tactics. At the lower end of the conflict spectrum there are the terrorists and insurgents. At the medium and high ends there are nation states acquiring nuclear weapons, ballistic missiles and anti-access and area denial capabilities. In recent months, the focus of discussion has been on the [ Read More…]

  • F-35 Fighter: Five Reasons Why Slowing The Pentagon’s Biggest Weapon Program Would Backfire (From Forbes)
  • The F-35 fighter program is unique in just about every respect, including the scale of resources required to bring it to fruition.  Unfortunately, that scale makes it an easy target for those who would like to turn it into a bill-payer for other priorities.  However, any attempt to slow the ramp-up of F-35 production to economical rates would backfire badly.  First, each plane would end up costing more as economies of scale are lost.  Second, enemies would find it easier [ Read More…]

  • DoD’s Acquisition Reform Initiatives Are Looking In The Rearview Mirror
  • Why is it so unbelievably difficult to reform the Department of Defense’s (DoD) acquisition system? There have been perhaps a dozen major Pentagon reform initiatives over the past several decades. Only a few have demonstrated any staying power much less ability to improve the system’s performance and reduce costs. The most recent effort, Better Buying Power (BBP), is already in its third iteration. While the Government Accountability Office reported last year some $24 billion in “anticipated savings” due to the [ Read More…]

  • As FAA Relaxes Civilian Drone Rules, Military Drone Plans Falter (From Forbes)
  • The FAA’s decision to loosen rules governing the operation of commercial and recreational drones in civil airspace is good news for a wide array of users.  Political pressure helped to bring about the change.  Ironically, though, political constraints are making it harder for the military to tap the full warfighting potential of unmanned aircraft.  The Air Force says if its doesn’t get relief from congressionally-mandated budget caps, it will have to retire many drones and forego upgrades to others.  The Army [ Read More…]

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