Category Archives: National Defense and Military

The Good and Bad News About The FY2015 Defense Budget

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This week, the DOD formally submitted to Congress its proposal of the FY2015 defense budget. The base defense budget would amount to $496 bn, and there would be a roughly $80 bn war supplemental for the final year of the Afghan war, thus bringing the total to around $580 bn, i.e. less than 4% of America’s GDP. In a few years, the war supplementals will be gone, and the base defense budget will shrink further to $493 bn, i.e. below 3% of GDP – the lowest level since before Pearl Harbor.

Already the US spends the smallest amount of money (as a share of its economy) on defense since FY1948, excluding the Clinton years when defense spending plummeted to 3.0% of GDP. Barack Obama’s budget plans would take defense spending even lower, to below 3% of GDP.

But Obama isn’t just content with cutting America’s defense spending; he’s cutting the military’s muscle as well:

  • The Navy will have to mothball half of its entire cruiser fleet – 11 vessels, several of them capable of ballistic missile defense. That’s even more than the Navy proposed to lay up previously (7). These vessels will not return to service until there is money to modernize them. The construction of new ships will also see significant cuts.
  • The Navy must also significantly cut the procurement of its crucial P-8 Poseidon and E-2D Hawkeye aircraft, the former needed to protect the US Navy against hostile submarines (esp. those of China and Iran), and the latter to provide airborne early warning, especially to the Navy’s Carrier Air Wings.
  • The Air Force will have to shed its entire fleet of over 300 A-10 Warthog aircraft. With decent armor, air-to-ground missiles, and a hefty 30mm gun spitting thousands of rounds per minute, that aircraft is ideal for close air support, which troops on the ground have always needed and appreciated. No other aircraft can provide that capability. B-52s, B-1s, F-15Es, F-16s, and F-35s are too vulnerable to damage – even to small arms fire – and too fast to ever be effective in that role. Don’t take my word for it. The father of the A-10, Pierre Sprey, who also contributed to designing the F-16, has openly said that, as much as he’s proud of the work he did on the F-16, he would NEVER claim it is useful for close air support.
  • The Air Force will also have to retire its entire fleet of U-2 spy planes, which, despite being older, can fly higher, have far more powerful aperture and more diverse sensors, and thus much better intel gathering capability, than the drones supposed to replace them (Global Hawks). It will also lose more F-15 air superiority fighters.
  • The Army will have to cancel its Ground Combat Vehicle program (intended to replace the seriously-deficient Bradley infantry fighting vehicle), and the Marines will lose the badly-needed Amphibious Combat Vehicle program, needed to replace the USMC’s Vietnam-War-era amphibious tractors.

The proposed FY2015 isn’t all bad, however:

  • It protects investment in the badly needed Long Range Strike Bomber and KC-46 Pegasus tanker, both of which are crucial to preserving the military’s ability to operate and fight globally.
  • It provides funding to buy more JASSM-ER standoff cruise missiles, which have a range of around 1,000 kilometers and can be launched by any US combat aircraft.
  • It calls for major reforms to the military’s personnel’s pay, pensions, healthcare, and benefits programs, whose costs have gone out of control, and for closure of unneeded bases.
  • It provides funding to harden some of the military’s Pacific bases; to buy more missile interceptors; and to develop a new missile defense kill vehicle and better target discrimination capabilities.

This still does not, however, outweigh the fact that the budget will, overall, weaken America’s defense, which is precisely what Barack Obama wants.

And let’s also recount what isn’t in the budget, but should be:

  • No restart of F-22 Raptor fighter production (killed by Obama in 2009), even though Russia and China have flight-tested, and are developing, a combined of THREE fifth-generation stealthy fighters that will be superior to EVERY fighter on the planet, except the F-22, when deployed later this decade.
  • No major upgrades to the F-15 fleet. Indeed, that fleet, already cut significantly by Obama, will be cut even further!
  • No major upgrades to the F-16 fleet, nor any sale of any F-16s to Taiwan.
  • No restart of the cancelled long-range air to air missile, which will leave US fighters outgunned vis-a-vis aircraft armed with the K-172 Novator.
  • No new AWACS program to replace the USAF’s old E-3 Sentry AWACS aircraft.
  • No funding for any new nuclear weapons – because it doesn’t fit Obama’s fantasy of disarming the US unilaterally.
  • No significant cuts to the DOD’s bloated bureaucracy and army of contractors.
  • No funding for an East Coast missile defense site.
  • No significant funding for alternative airbases in the Pacific or for hardening America’s existing bases in the Western Pacific.
  • No funding for a new ICBM, badly needed to replace the old Minuteman III, first deployed in 1976.

In short, as many conservatives have already stated, Obama’s proposed FY2015 budget would, if enacted, be another step on the way to disarming the US unilaterally, a policy I have warned against my entire life.

The “Reset” Has ALWAYS Been A Total Failure

Vladimir Putin,Hillary Rodham Clinton

As CDN reported earlier, the Democrats are already rushing to defend Hillary Clinton’s and Barack Obama’s utterly failed foreign policy record, including the shameful, disastrous “reset” (read: appeasement) policy towards Russia. Some former Clinton State Department officials, such as P. J. Crowley, defend it on the spurious grounds that “the reset worked when Dmitry Medvedev was President” (i.e. from 2008 to 2012).

But they are dead wrong. The Obama-Clinton “reset” policy NEVER worked, even when Dmitry Medvedev (who was just a puppet of Vladimir Putin’s) was President.

That’s because Putin, throughout the whole time, was the man really in power, while Medvedev was never anything more than a figurehead. In that respect, Russia was, in those years, similar to the China of the 1980s: Deng Xiaoping was really in power, content with “only” the post of Chairman of the CMC, while other politicians held the posts of President, Premier, and CPC General Secretary. But – as with Putin – Deng was really “the power behind the throne.”

Only a fool could have ever thought that Putin had relinquished power for four entire years to Medvedev, and that Medvedev was ever anything more than a figurehead.

So let us recount how the Obama-Clinton “reset” policy has always been an utter failure THROUGHOUT the entire Medvedev years:

1) The New START treaty: Celebrated by the Obama administration and the entire Left as the crowning achievement of the “reset”, it is actually its most disastrous and shameful failure. This treasonous treaty requires the US to cut its deployed nuclear arsenal by an entire third, from the 2,200 warheads allowed by the 2002 Moscow Treaty to just 1,550 warheads, while Russia is allowed to (and has taken many steps to) increase its own arsenal. Today, Russia has 2,800 strategic nuclear warheads, of which 1,500 are deployed and another 50 will be deployed. Russia also wields a huge arsenal of delivery systems: 434 ICBMs, 13 ballistic missile submarines, and 251 strategic bombers (171 of which are not even counted under New START treaty rules).

2) Iran: Russia has agreed only to minimal, symbolic sanctions against Tehran, and has fiercely opposed, and repeatedly vetoed, anything more than the weakest sanctions against Iran. It has also completed the construction of Iran’s first nuclear reactor, is now building the second, and has continued supplying tons of nuclear fuel to Iran. It has also pledged to deliver state-of-the-art S-300 air defense systems to Iran (and Syria). Contrary to the popular myth, Russia has NOT cancelled the delivery of those systems.

3) Syria: When a popular uprising broke out against Syrian dictator (and Hezbollah supporter) Bashar al-Assad, an ally of Iran, he immediately began to attempt to quell this uprising by brute force. And Russia has continually supported him with weapons and diplomatic protection from the start. Even during the supposedly halcyon Medvedev years, it vetoed draft UNSC resolutions aimed at punishing Assad.

4) America’s European allies: Throughout the entire Medvedev years, Russia continued to threaten America’s European allies with nuclear weapons and missiles, especially those who have agreed to host elements of America’s missile defense system – in response to which Russia continued, and continues, to threaten nuclear mayhem and withdrawal from the (useless) New START treaty.

5) The INF Treaty: It was during the supposedly halcyon Medvedev years that Russia began developing and fielding intermediate range missiles (such as the R-500, the Iskander-M, and intermediate range “air defense” missiles) that violate the INF treaty. The Clinton State Department did NOTHING to counter this obvious violation.

6) Missile Defense: Despite cancelling President Bush’s plan to build missile defense installations (intended to protect the US, not Europe) in Poland and the Czech Republic, Obama and Hillary got NOTHING in return from the Kremlin. NOTHING. No concession whatsoever.

7) Bombers Flying Into US Airspace: As early as April and May 2012, when Medvedev was still in office, the Russians began flying nuclear-armed bombers close to and sometimes into US airspace – and said they were “practicing attacking the enemy.” They have also repeatedly flown nuclear-armed bombers into Japanese and Swedish airspace.

So for the entire Medvedev period, and beyond, the Obama-Clinton “reset” (read: appeasement) policy has been an utter, disastrous failure. America has not benefitted AT ALL from this idiotic policy. It has not produced ANY benefits to the US whatsoever.

Therefore, the reset’s defenders are dead wrong: the reset was ALWAYS a failure, even during the Medvedev years. Which is not surprising given that, as stated earlier, Vladimir Putin was always in power before, during, and after the Medvedev years, and still is.

For another superb article on the utter failure of the Obama-Clinton reset policy, see Charles Krauthammer’s excellent column.

Democrats Already Rush To Defend Hillary’s Disastrous Russia Record

Vladimir Putin,Hillary Rodham Clinton

Nobody except Barack Obama himself has been as responsible for the utterly failed “reset” (read: appeasement) policy towards Russia, the disastrous results of which are now available for the entire world to see.

From Ukraine to Iran, to Syria, to Cuba, to the Snowden affair, Vladimir Putin’s Russia has successfully defeated the US and undermined US national interests at every turn while arming and emboldening America’s enemies everywhere. The Russian military now occupies all of the Crimea, a Russian spy ship has docked in Cuba, the Iranian nuclear program is proceeding apace, North Korea is testing ballistic missiles, Bashar al-Assad continues to murder his own people while refusing to turn over his chemical weapons.

These are the disastrous results of the “reset” (read: appeasement) policy towards Russia which Obama and Hillary Clinton, then Obama’s Secretary of State, inaugurated in 2009.

Hardly surprising, then, that Hillary’s supporters are now desperately rushing to defeat Hillary’s utterly failed and disastrous foreign policy record, while simoultaneously denying that there was any serious trouble in the years 2008-2012, when Dmitry Medvedev (Putin’s puppet) was President of Russia.

Just recently, the ridiculously-named “Correct the Record” group (which should be called “Falsify the Record”, because that’s what it actually does), through its communications director Adienne Elrod, falsely claimed that:

“Secretary Clinton worked to successfully secure Russia’s cooperation toward anti-terrorism efforts in Afghanistan, and worked with Russia to secure critical, crippling sanctions against Iran. Not to mention, Secretary Clinton oversaw passage and enactment of the New START Treaty reducing nuclear weapons and making us all safer. This is another case of selective memory lapses by Republican opportunists.”

These are all blatant lies. Here’s an ACTUAL correction of the record – which is badly needed, so that Hillary Clinton does not get away with her treason against the US and her disastrous foreign policy record:

  • The New START  is a disastrous and treasonous treaty which is making America dramatically LESS secure, not more, by requiring dramatic cuts in America’s deployed nuclear arsenal while also constraining America’s missile defense programs (and Hillary has lied to the Congress by claiming the contrary). The only country required to cut its nuclear arsenal under New START is the US – not Russia. Moscow is allowed to GROW its strategic nuclear arsenal under the treaty, and its tactical nuclear arsenal – estimated at up to 4,000 warheads and their various delivery systems – is not covered by the treaty at all.
  • Therefore, Hillary Clinton and her supporters should be deeply ASHAMED of Clinton’s support for New START. Negotiating it and ramming it through the Senate was an act of treason. Lying to the Congress in support of New START was a criminal act.
  • Moreover, the New START is, in any case, utterly useless because Russia has NEVER complied with ANY arms control treaty it has signed. Since 2009, it has tested and/or deployed several types of land-based intermediate range missiles banned by the INF Treaty.
  • As for Iran, Russia never supported (and still opposes) any serious sanctions against that country. No “crippling” sanctions have ever been imposed on the Islamic Republic – whether before, during, or after Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State. Hardly surprising, then, that under Clinton’s tenure, the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program proceeded apace, without interruption – the mullahs’ will was never broken by the pathetically weak sanctions Russia did agree to. This was BEFORE Obama, with a new Secretary of State (John Kerry), lifted the sanctions this year.
  • On Afghanistan, Russia’s cooperation has been very meagre – allowing NATO to use Russian transit lines to that country – and it had been going on long before Clinton arrived at the State Department. It had been going on ever since 2002. Clinton had nothing with this. Russia has cooperated with the US (in a limited way) on Afghanistan because it is in Russia’s own interest to prevent the Taleban’s return – even more so than in America’s interest.

But Hillary’s foreign policy record as SecState is even much worse than that:

  • Under the “reset”, Clinton and Obama made an entire slew of unilateral concessions to Russia, from cancelling plans to deploy missile defense systems in the Czech Republic and Poland (promised to those countries), to ignoring Vladimir Putin’s outrageous human rights abuses, to ignoring repeated simulated Russian nuclear strikes on the US and its allies, to ignoring Russia’s repeated violations of arms control treaties.
  • Hillary has also turned a blind eye to human rights violations everywhere else, not raising a peep in public about this and publicly subordinating human rights to “climate change” in talks with China, one of the worst human rights offenders in the world.
  • Hillary appeased China, not raising a peep about its massive military buildup and increasingly aggressive behavior, either, thus emboldening China to continue this course while worrying America’s allies. Now China claims the entire South China Sea as its internal lake, has declared an ADIZ there, and overtly threatens US allies and partners, including Japan and the Philippines.
  • Hillary has also allowed China to join (as an observer) the Arctic Council, a council of countries having access to the Arctic Ocean, where China does not belong (but wants to be, in order to access the Arctic Ocean’s vast natural resources).
  • Under Hillary, the State Department has resumed funding for the UN Family Planning Fund, which pays for coercive abortions in countries like China. Indeed, as Secretary of State, Hillary campaigned vigorously for “abortion rights” around the world.
  • Under Hillary, the US also loosened sanctions on the criminal regime of Raul Castro, and President Obama personally met with that thug.
  • Under Hillary, the US turned a blind eye to the bloodshed committed by Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad against his own people, starting in 2011 – two years before Clinton left the State Department.
  • Under Hillary, the US did, however, support populist, Islamic fundamentalist revolutions against other Arab dictators, most of whom were America’s friends, including those in Tunisia and Egypt, paving the way for the Muslim Brotherhood to seize the latter country. Egypt has been saved only thanks to its military – which now sees Moscow, not Washington, as its ally. You can thank Hillary and Obama for that.
  • And of course, under Hillary, the US Consulate in Benghazi was attacked, and four Americans, including the US Ambassador to Libya, were murdered with impunity. Clinton never provided any security to that consulate. Then, when testifying to the Congress about the attack, Clinton asked, “What difference does it make?”

In short, during Hillary Clinton’s tenure as SecState, appeasement of America’s enemies, especially Russia and China, combined with America’s unilateral disarmament through treasonous treaties and budgetary defense cuts, became America’s official foreign policy.

This is the policy Hillary advocated before and during her tenure as Secretary of State.

The current Russian aggression against Ukraine is nothing but an inevitable and direct consequence of that disastrous policy. No amount of wishful thinking, liberal lies, or fairytale stories will change that fact.

By advocating and implementing that disastrous, utterly failed policy, deceptively called “the reset”, Hillary and Obama brought about the current crisis and are completely responsible for it. And decent Americans MUST NOT allow Hillary to avoid responsibility for that disaster.

The basic principle on which world politics operates on is quite simple: weakness and appeasement only invite aggression, while building up strength and showing willingness to use it prevent war and guarantee peace. Sadly, the Left will never learn that lesson.

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What Western powers should do in response to Russia’s aggression

 

ReaganPeaceQuoteThe Russian aggression against Ukraine, initiated by President Vladimir Putin, has surprised many but not me, and should have surprised no one.

It is simply an inevitable consequence of the West, and especially America’s, shameless appeasement policy towards Russia combined with a long-running policy of unilateral disarmament (while Russia, under Vladimir Putin, has been arming to the teeth).

For many years, and especially the last five, Western nations have been dramatically cutting their militaries, defense budgets, weapon programs, and ambitions, while Russia has been dramatically expanding its own.

And for the last five years running, this writer has been sounding the alarm about these suicidal policies, warning that they would only lead to Russian intimidation, coercion, excesses, muscle-flexing, and eventually, aggression.

This writer most notably sounded the alarm in May 2009, writing that:

“Unless European states and America suddenly adopt a hawkish foreign policy and strengthen their militaries, Europe will become a mere province of the Russian empire.”

And as usual, this writer was right all along.

Meanwhile, all those who falsely claimed that “the Cold War was over”, “Russia is our friend/partner, not our enemy”, “you are a Cold War dinosaur”, “you need to shed this Cold War mentality”, and “the 1980s are asking to have their policy back” were dead wrong.

All those who claimed Russia was a partner and not a foe, that it should be appeased and accomodated, that Obama’s “reset” policy was right, that the US could afford to cut its nuclear arsenal further – from Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, and the Cato Institute, to the CNAS, Michele Flournoy, Michael McFaul, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Henry Kissinger, and Pat Buchanan – were DEAD WRONG ALL ALONG.

These people should now publicly admit being wrong and shut their ignorant mouths up. But we should be under no illusions that they will.

Now Ukraine, a strategically important country and a weak neighbor of Russia, has been invaded by that country under the utterly false pretext of protecting Russian citizens and ethnic Russians in the Crimea – who were not threatened by Kiev in any way – just like Hitler annexed the Sudetenland in 1938, ostensibly to protect the Sudetenland Germans from the Czechoslovakian government.

In any case, what can and should Western powers do to stop Putin from going any further?

The first and most important thing is to immediately and permanently STOP listening to the advice from the Powell-Kissinger-Flournoy-Clinton school of foreign policy, which has once again (but not for the first time) been proven DEAD WRONG.

This means no more cuts in the West’s nuclear or conventional arsenals, no more “arms control” treaties, no more accommodating of the Russians’ demands. By committing such a blatant act of aggression, they’ve forfeited the right to be heard on any issue and to make any wishes or demands.

But the West must do much more to convince Vladimir Putin that it’s serious. Mere promises of toughness, verbal condemnations, and “dialogue” won’t stop him from committing further aggression.

Therefore, the US, Canada, and European countries should, until such time as the Putin regime collapses:

1) Immediately institute a TOTAL embargo on ALL Russian products except raw minerals.

2) Hasten the deployment of all stages of the European Phased Adaptive Approach to missile defense in Europe, and build an East Coast missile defense site.

3) Immediately withdraw from the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, the Partial Test Ban Treaty, the New START, and the CFE Treaty.

4) Ban the Russian national air carrier, Aeroflot, from flying into US, Canadian, or EU airspace.

5) Warn Russia that any of its military aircraft that venture into US, Canadian, or EU airspace will be shot down without warning.

6) Expel Russian ambassadors from Western countries.

7) Boycott the upcoming G8 summit and Paralympic Games in Sochi.

8) Reverse all defense (budget, programmatic, force structure) cuts undertaken in the last 12 years and start building Western militaries up. In particular, the US should reverse all the cuts in its nuclear arsenal and fully modernize it; revive the MEADS, Airborne Laser, Kinetic Energy Interceptor, and Multiple Kill Vehicle programs; cancel the F-35 program and resume F-22 Raptor fighter production; develop the Reliable Replacement Warhead and the Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator; increase its inventory of MOP bombs; reintroduce S-3 Vikings into service; improve its Navy’s ASW equipment and skills; build a Conventional Prompt Global Strike system; develop ASAT weapons; order more THAAD brigades; speed up naval railgun and laser development and deployment; and make more Aegis-class warships BMD-capable.

9) Lastly, and most importantly, Western countries should strike Russia where it is weakest: its economy. Specifically, Western countries, led by the US, should:

a) Impose total economic sanctions, including a total embargo and asset freezes, on Russia; and

b) Start freeing itself from Russia’s oil and gas domination by opening the Outer Continental Shelf, the ANWR, the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, all shale oil and gas deposits throughout the West, and the reserves in the Everglades; liquifying coal; using methane in lieu of natural gas; cancelling the South Stream pipeline; authorizing the Keystone Pipeline; and building the Nabucco Pipeline instead (and as quickly as possible). In addition, the US, which is already a net oil and gas exporter, should immediately start exporting these fuels to Europe to help it wean itself off Russian hydrocarbons.

The Russian economy is terribly dependent on raw minerals exports; 66% of the Kremlin’s revenue comes from these exports, while manufactured goods exports account for only about 10%. Moreover, Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has already caused significant unrest at the Moscow stock exchange, whose main index has seen a 10% fall (and a 20% decline in the Russian currency’s value to the dollar) just today (as of 8:24AM ET, 18:24 Moscow time).

Moreover, Putin’s totally incompetent interference in the affairs of Gazprom, the Russian gas producing and exporting company, has driven it into a debt of $50 billion – equalling its turnover of one year.

This invasion, and Vladimir Putin’s entire buildup of the Russian military, would NOT have been possible absent the boon provided by high oil and gas prices (oil now stands at $105/barrel) and Russia’s stranglehold on their supplies to Europe. If that stranglehold is broken, and if these prices decline dramatically and soon, Putin will have no choice but to withdraw his troops, and his wannabe Evil Empire Redux will fall like a deck of cards.

Those who advocated the ridiculous policy of appeasement and unilateral disarmament that brought us into this mess in the first place now falsely claim that the only alternative to dialogue with Russia is war with that country. That is completely false.

No one wants war with Moscow. And since the Russian military is already more than strong enough to defeat the US military easily, it would be ill-advised.

But as stated above, Russia has one great glaring weakness – its economy – and as Sun Tzu wisely counseled, the right way to defeat your opponent is to strike his weaknesses, not his strengths.

Just as Ronald Reagan (who was vilified as a warmonger who would cause nuclear war) won the Cold War without firing a shot, the West, if it applies the right policies, can defeat Russia today, also without firing a shot, by pulling the economic lever. It absolutely can do so. The question is whether Western leaders will now have the intellectual courage to acknowledge the utter failure of their appeasement policy.

Vital Roles In Production Of The F-35

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Lockheed Martin has started a video series highlighting suppliers to the F-35 and their vital role in production, as well as how the Joint Strike Fighter program has benefited the company and supported jobs.

“…working on the F-35 has helped Heroux-Devtek become a leader in aerospace technology and manufacturing.”

“GasTOPS president and CEO David Muir speaks about the impact of the F-35 program for the future of the company and Canadian industry.”

Rebuttal of lies about US nuclear weapons and ICBMs

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For decades, leftist politicians, media outlets, and “arms control advocates” (read: advocates of America’s unilateral disarmament) have falsely claimed that the US nuclear deterrent is obsolete, unneeded, and unimportant. They have recently been joined by some pseudoconservative, pseudo-pro-military outlets such as the Air Force Magazine, the press organ of the Air Force Association.

Concurrently, for decades, Washington has carelessly and inexplicably neglected and underfunded the US nuclear deterrent, delaying its much-needed modernization until now, when the can cannot be kicked down the road any longer.

It is for THESE reasons, and not for the reasons the anti-military Left claims, that the US nuclear deterrent, or more specifically, its ICBM force, has witnessed a degrengolade in the last few years, with over 30 officers suspended or fired for cheating on tests (or tolerating cheating by others), a few others arrested for drug usage, and a two-star ICBM general punished for binge-drinking in Moscow.

It is precisely because of over two decades of unceasing leftist propaganda about the supposed obsolence and uselessness of the nuclear deterrent, unceasing Leftist attacks on it and proposals to cut or eliminate it outright, and because of over two decades of underfunding and neglecting the nuclear deterrent, that the ICBM force is showing such rot.

For over two decades, the nation has been (wrongly) telling the young men and women maintaining and operating America’s ICBMs, bombers, and ballistic missile subs that their mission doesn’t exist, their work doesn’t matter, and their tools of trade are useless (which, BTW, couldn’t be further from the truth). Guess what? Those young folks’ morale and motivation for work have collapsed – and consequently, so have their work ethic and standards.

As for drug and alcohol problems, these – like cheating on tests and tolerating cheating by others – are nothing but simple reflections of the American society as a whole. They’re commonplace in the entire US military – which is nothing but a reflection of the society it serves. And that society is, to be blunt, morally degenerate and rotten to the core.

Lexington Institute COO Loren Thompson, Ph.D., who taught nuclear deterrence issues at Georgetown some years back, says the ICBM force’s rot may have something to do with the forementioned dismissal and neglect of the nuclear deterrent.

Excuse me? It has EVERYTHING to do with that dismissal of the need for, and the neglect of, the nuclear deterrent.

The Real Causes of the ICBM Force’s Rot

The Air Force personnel who operate these missiles – the missileers – no longer feel appreciated, no longer believe their mission is vital, and thus, no longer feel the need to perform it to the best of their ability. And they know that these days, in an era of universal deceit, when the entire nation is deluding itself that it no longer needs nuclear weapons, being a missileer is a career killer.

This is a total contrast to the Cold War years, when the Air Force had a Strategic Air Command, controlling all of the nation’s ICBMs, bombers, tankers, and even some escort fighters. It was almost a shadow state within the Air Force, a powerful, awesome, and unstoppable military force all by itself, wielding far more ICBMs and bombers than the USAF does today.

On paper, it was just a part of the Air Force – but it was its most important component by far and THE crown jewel of all military commands. The dream of every missileer and bomber pilot during the Cold War was to end up commanding the SAC. SAC was not just a hugely important command in and of itself – several of its leaders, from Curtis “Bombs Away” LeMay to John D. Ryan to Larry D. Welch – ended up serving as Chiefs of Staff of the whole Air Force.

Thus, the job of a missileer, and of a bomber pilot, carried enormous prestige and gave young officers great career prospects in the Air Force – up to and often including the top position in the USAF.

Leftist anti-nuclear hacks, such as Joe Cirincione and AP reporter Robert Burns, falsely claim that the ICBM force is rotten because it’s “an outdated command wielding outdated weapons” and that its mission no longer exists. The Air Force Magazine’s chief editor, Adam J. Hebert, has also falsely claimed that there is no clear or significant nuclear threat facing the US and that therefore further reductions in America’s nuclear deterrent are “inevitable.”

All of these are blatant lies.

Clear and Present Danger

The nuclear threats facing the US are clear, many, and grave, and thus the need for a large US nuclear arsenal is very real. In fact, that need is now greater than ever.

Russia has 2,800 strategic nuclear warheads (of which at least 1,500 are operationally deployed right now, and the rest could also be deployed at any moment) and 4,000 tactical nuclear weapons – 6,800 nukes in total (the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists estimates Russia’s nuclear arsenal even higher, at 8,800 weapons).

Russia’s ICBM fleet alone can deliver 1,684 warheads to the CONUS; Russia’s 251 strategic bombers (Tu-95, Tu-22M, Tu-160) can deliver well over 1,700; Russia’s 13 ballistic missile subs can deliver another 1,400 to 2,000, depending on the missile type. On top of that, Russia has attack and cruise missile submarines also armed with nuclear-tipped missiles – all of which can also be delivered to the US, and Russian subs have, in recent months, indeed been prowling US territorial waters.

China has at least 1,600, and possibly up to 3,000, nuclear weapons, according to General Viktor Yesin and Dr Philip Karber (the DOD’s chief nuclear strategist under Ronald Reagan, the last time US nuclear policy was made by sane people). To deliver them, China has at least 87 (and probably many more) ICBMs, 6 ballistic missile submarines, 440 nuclear-capable aircraft, over 100 medium-range ballistic missiles, and over 1,200 short-range ballistic missiles, as well as hundreds of ground-launched cruise missiles.

Neither Russia’s or China’s nuclear arsenals are at a standstill. Both are undergoing rapid modernization and expansion.

Russia intends to procure 400 new ICBMs and is currently developing three new ICBM types (the Sarmat, the Rubezh, and the Yars) as well as a pseudo-ICBM (really an IRBM) to evade INF Treaty limits. It has recently tested IRBMs in blatant violation of that treaty. It is also fielding two new submarine-launched ballistic missiles (the Layner and the Bulava, carrying 12 and 10 warheads, respectively), building a new ballistic missile submarine class, and developing a new long-range bomber, the PAK DA.

China is now procuring two new ICBM types (the DF-31A and DF-41), two new MRBM types (the DF-21 and DF-25), building two new ballistic missile submarine classes, and developing a stealthy intercontinental bomber capable of hitting the CONUS, as well as two new, longer-ranged variants of its standard sub-launched missile, the JL-2, whose current range is 8,000-9,000 km; the Chinese want to extend that to 14,000 kms, which will allow their submarines to threaten all of the US while sitting in their homeports.

Not only do Russia and China wield large nuclear arsenals, they’re also quite willing to use them against those whom they perceive as weaker than them. Russia has threatened to aim or launch its nuclear weapons at America or its allies on at least 16 separate occassions in the last 16 years. It has recently deployed Iskander short-range ballistic missiles to Poland’s borders. In the last 2 years, starting in May 2012, it has repeatedly flown nuclear-armed strategic bombers close to and sometimes into US and allied airspace, and even that of neutral countries like Sweden – twice!

China has recently removed any mention of its former “no-first-use” policy from its defense policy papers, and in recent months, OFFICIAL Chinese state media, including the virulently anti-American Global Times, have posted maps of the US showing what deadly nuclear strikes could China unleash upon the US with its JL-2 and DF-31A missiles. Chinese state-owned media gleefully and openly commented on how many millions of Americans would die in Chinese nuclear strikes on the CONUS.

These are the principal adversaries America must confront and deter. No amount of “arms control” or smooth-talking or diplomacy will do. Only a large, diverse, powerful nuclear arsenal, operated by people whose mission is appreciated, can protect America against these threats.

On top of that, the US must also deter North Korea and Iran. The former already has nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them to the CONUS, the latter is well on its way to acquiring that capability.

In fact, the “moderate” Iranian president Rouhani openly claims that the West’s recent deal with Iran signed in  on the subject of the Iranian nuclear program is a “capitulation” to Iran by Western countries. (He’s actually right – the deal is nothing but a shameful surrender.)

Defending America’s Allies is in America’s Own National Interest

On top of that, the US must provide a nuclear umbrella not only to itself, but also to over 30 allies and friends around the world, from Canada, to Israel, to Persian Gulf allies, to Poland, to South Korea and Japan.

Many of these allies will have no choice but to develop their own nuclear weapons if the US continues cutting its nuclear arsenal. They cannot afford to, and will not, bet their security and their very existence on America breaking free of its “disarming ourselves will make us safer” delusion – or on such delusions and constant cuts in the US nuclear umbrella increasing their security.

Already, Saudi Arabia possesses DF-3 missiles bought from China and has ordered nuclear weapons in Pakistan, and 66% of South Koreans want their country to have its own nuclear deterrent. Japan is ready to develop one, too – it has a facility capable of producing enough material for 3,600 nuclear weapons in a year if need be.

That would make the nuclear proliferation problem much worse than it already is.

ICBMs Are Crucial – And Very Cheap

And as for ICBMs supposedly being obsolete and too expensive, they are anything but. They cost the DOD only 1.1 bn dollars to maintain and can, thanks to their large number (450, sitting in hardened siloes) absorb even large nuclear blows and still retaliate against an enemy. Only Russia or China could even attempt to destroy them. They have a readiness rate of 99% and can hit any target in the world.

They contribute mightily to nuclear deterrence and stability, and thus to US, allied, and world security.

If ICBMs are really “obsolete” and “expensive weapons, someone better tell that to the Russians, the Chinese, and the Israelis!

Because all of them possess, and continue to develop and build, such weapons.

How To Restore Order And Excellence In The ICBM Force

So how to restore order and excellence in the ICBM force, and the broader nuclear force? That’s easy – it’s just that Washington politicians are unwilling to do so, and the advocates of America’s unilateral disarmament will be dead set against this. But this must be done nonetheless. US, allied, and global security depends on America taking the following steps:

1. Draw up a proper national defense strategy which will prioritize countering nation state threats, especially those posed by Russia, China, and North Korea, over all other aims, and will designate nuclear weapons as the primary means of deterring and defeating these threats – just like nuclear weapons occupy the central place in Russia’s current military doctrine.

2. Publicly proclaim that maintaining and revitalizing all three legs of the nuclear triad, as well as the warheads and the associated facilities, is and will be one of the DOD’s top priorities, and assign funding accordingly. (It will, in any case, cost only 6-7% of the total US military budget to modernize the nuclear deterrent, at between 31 and 35 bn dollars per year out of a 600 bn total military budget.)

3. Withdraw from the New START treaty and reject any calls for any further cuts in the US nuclear deterrent.

4. Publicly proclaim that any attack by Russia, China, North Korea, or Iran against the US or any of its allies, including Israel and its Persian Gulf allies, will result in a massive nuclear retaliation by the US.

5. Publicly proclaim that service as a missileeer and as a bomber pilot is a very noble and glorious service to the Nation and underline its importance to global security. Award medals for long, distinguished service in those roles.

6. Redesignate the Air Force’s Global Strike Command as the Strategic Air Command and restore the old SAC’s logo and motto. Give missileers and bomber pilots a clear, achievable career path to the positions of SAC Commander, AF Chief of Staff, and Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, so that the job of a missileer and that of a bomber pilot will be a very attractive career (as it deserves to be), and not the career killer it currently is for missileers.

7. Strict discipline through punishments needs to be instituted across the entire military (not just the ICBM force), ESPECIALLY towards senior officers.

In sum, nuclear disarmament advocates’ claims are all blatant lies, as always. The need for a large nuclear deterrent, and for the US nuclear triad, is greater than ever because of the threats from Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran. Advocates of America’s disarmament, in and out of government, have, however, been vehemently denying the existence of these threats, and inexplicably neglected the US nuclear deterrent. THIS is why that deterrent is wearing out – as is the morale and work motivation of USAF missileers.

Rebuttal of British “analysts” global power delusions

A British blogger has recently published a post on the ConservativeHome website wherein he claims, based on rubbish produced by two British pseudo-analysts, that Britain is a global power and the second most important country in the world.

The two pseudo-analysts he borrows his opinion from base their claim on utterly false “reasons.” They claim, inter alia, that the size of a country’s economy and population don’t matter, and that Russia’s and China’s militaries are inferior to those of Britain and France and have nothing but obsolete equipment and poorly trained troops.

All of this is utter garbage, and I’ll show you why.

Firstly, the Russian and Chinese militaries in fact wield very large quantities of modern weaponry – which is as good or, in some cases, even superior to British and French weapons. This is particularly true in the field of submarines, surface combatants, and missiles.

The Russian and Chinese Air Forces are equipped with hundreds of modern, highly-capable Flanker (Su-27/30/35/J-11/J-16) and MiG-29 Fulcrum jets, as well as almost 200 MiG-31 high-altitude interceptors in Russian service. They also have (individually) more tanker and airborne early warning aircraft than Britain or France have. Their ground forces have very modern and potent tanks (Type 98 and T-90), IFVs, APCs, and other ground weapons, and far more reliable rifles (Kalashnikovs) than the standard rifles of the British (SA80) and French (FAMAS) Armies.

The Russian and Chinese navies have large numbers of modern surface combatants such as the Sovremenny and Type 051/052 classes (the latter being called the Chinese Aegis but in fact being far more capable than the US Arleigh Burke, British Daring, or European Horizon class) and their various (Burevestnik, Gorshkov, Jiangwei, etc.) frigate classes. Both Russia and China also have an aircraft carrier, and both plan to build more of these. Both also operate ultra-quiet conventional and nuclear-powered submarines (e.g. the Kilo, Lada, Song, Yuan, Akula, Yasen, and Type 095 classes). China also has more than enough amphibious assault ships to invade Taiwan and any other island in the Western Pacific, and Russia has four modern French Mistral class amphibs on order.

Russia and China also have large quantities of air-, ground-, and sea-launched land-attack cruise missiles of the Kh-55, Kh-101/102, DH-10, CJ-10, and Hongniao families and the platforms to deliver them. They also possess thousands of supersonic Sunburn, Sizzler, and Yingji family anti-ship cruise missiles. One Sunburn or Sizzler would suffice to sink an American supercarrier. They also have thousands of short-range, and over a hundred medium-range, ballistic missiles (DF-11, DF-15, DF-21, DF-25, DF-3, DF-4, Iskander, Yars-M).

Moscow and Beijing both also wield potent ballistic missile defense systems, highly sophisticated and redundant Air Defense Systems (SA-11/17, S-300, S-400, HQ-9), dozens of anti-satellite weapons (which China has tested twice), laser weapons, and a class of arms that neither Britain nor France has or will ever have, and which even the US has only tested and not deployed – hypersonic Prompt Global Strike Weapons like the one China tested on January 9th. These will allow Moscow and Beijing to strike any target anywhere in the world within an hour or less – and the target would be unable to defend itself from such attack, for the missile would be way too fast (flying at 5 or more times the speed of sound!) to intercept.

And that is to say nothing of Russia’s and China’s large, modern, and growing nuclear arsenals, Russia wielding 6,800 nuclear weapons and China between 1,600 and 3,000. Britain’s and France’s nuclear arsenals are so small (200 and 300 warheads, respectively) that both Russia and China could easily destroy these tiny, meager arsenals in a single preemptive strike. It is only because of the US nuclear umbrella that they haven’t done so. Britain’s entire nuclear deterrent consists of 4 ballistic missile submarines, only one of which is ever at sea – and given how noisy those submarines are, they would be quite easy to find. Russian ASW ships and aircraft would have no more trouble finding the single French ballistic missile sub on patrol.

Now, how do European militaries compare? With the partial exception of France, the less is said about European militaries – including that of Britain – the better.

Britain has no maritime patrol aircraft (the last ones, the Nimrods, have been retired, ostensibly on cost grounds), no aircraft carriers, no bombers, no conventional submarines, and no ground-launched cruise or ballistic missiles. It has only 3 amphibious assault ships (one of which is due to be decommissioned in a few years), 7 attack submarines, 6 destroyers, and 13 frigates. That, plus the Antarctic patrol ship Endurance, 15 minesweepers, and auxiliaries, is basically all that’s left of Britain’s once-mighty Royal Navy.

The problems continue with the RAF and the British Army. They have only 160 fighters (all of them inferior to the Flankers), a dozen tankers, a few AWACS aircraft, 200 tanks, and a paucity of artillery pieces.

France’s military fares somewhat better. It has a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, two legs of a nuclear deterrent, deadly transonic anti-ship cruise missiles, and does have maritime patrol aircraft (Atlantique-2 and Falcon). Whenever its aircraft carrier, Charles de Gaulle, sets sail, France can project power anywhere in the world.

But that capability is put on hold whenever the ship returns to port, and otherwise, France’s military has had serious trouble projecting power abroad, as recent French military operations have demonstrated. France is woefully short on tankers, AEW and transport aircraft, and even strike jets (and doesn’t have intercontinental bombers), as demonstrated by its recent ops in Libya and Mali – forcing France to rely on the US on these aircraft and munitions in both cases (except that the US refused to provide strike aircraft in Mali). Yet, the new French White Paper on Defense envisages even more cuts in all these categories of aircraft! The French Air Force is to have no more than 180 fighters and attack jets, and the Navy no more than 45!

In fact, the tragic weakness of the British, French, and other European militaries was revealed for the whole world to see in both Libya and Mali (as well as in Kosovo a decade earlier). European militaries had a shortage of strike, AEW, and tanker aircraft as well as munitions, forcing the US to fill the gap. In Libya, as in Kosovo 12 years earlier, the US had to fly not only the vast majority of combat missions, but also all the AEW, intel-surveillance-recon, and aerial refueling missions.

So no, Britain no longer has any global military capabilities and is absolutely not a global military power any longer.

Don’t take my word for it. Listen to Royal Navy admirals. The late Admiral Sandy Woodward, the man who recaptured the Falklands from the Argentines in 1982, said a few years ago that Britain could not repeat this feat today because of successive governments’ massive defense cuts. Rear Admiral Alan Massey, a former skipper of the now-decomissioned HMS Ark Royal, wrote in an official report in 2008 that the Royal Navy would struggle to repeat its role in the Iraq War! And that was in 2008 – BEFORE the Cameron government’s draconian defence cuts!

So not only is the British military tiny and poorly equipped, it can no longer project power beyond the region of Europe. Therefore, it is not a global military power in any sense of the word.

The two pseudo-analysts whose screed I’m refuting here claim that the UK and France have bases around the world and that makes them global military powers. Firstly, bases are useful only if you have something meaningful to project from them. Secondly, how many military bases does the UK have in North America? How many in East Asia? How many in Africa? How many in the South Pacific? How many in the Persian Gulf? That’s right – zero.

(France does have a number of bases in Africa, as well as some in the Persian Gulf, the South Pacific, the Carribean,  and the Indian Ocean. Once again, France’s military is a better position to project military power than Britain’s.)

So, despite those two British pseudo-analysts claiming that global power projection capabilities, and not raw numbers of tanks, planes, ships, and missiles, are meaningful metrics of military power, Britain has been found badly wanting on this criterion as well.

Moreover, size and quantity do matter, too – and far more than those British pseudo-analysts appreciate. A small or mid-sized country can, if it dedicates enough resources and uses them wisely, become very powerful in its own backyard and punch above its weight in that region. Israel and North Korea are examples of that.

But only big economic and military powers can exercise power GLOBALLY. Currently, only the US, Russia, and China can do that. These are the three most important countries in the world. Britain, France, and others simply do not have the size or the mass to exercise power on a global scale.

And contrary to those pseudo-analysts’ claims, size and quantity have mattered throughout history. They claim France never beat Britain in the 18th or 19th century, despite having a far larger populace and economy. But this is also utterly false: France did beat Britain handily in one war, namely, the American War of Independence. Without French aid, the American Revolution would’ve been quelled by 1780 (and it almost was), because the Americans simply didn’t have the critical mass to defeat the British at that time. Washington’s entire strategy was to keep fighting, or at least keep his army intact, until the French would intervene.

As for France’s eventual defeat in the Napoleonic Wars, it took several coalitions and over 15 years of fighting to accomplish that. And most of the heavy lifting was done by the continental armies of Russia, Prussia, and Austria plus the Spanish guerillas. As Austrian Emperor Francis I said, “The English traffickers of human flesh. They pay others to fight in their place.”

This was after the battle of Austerlitz, where the Austrians and the Russians fought the French because the British Army was too inferior to do a one-on-one battle with the French. So a coalition was formed against France, and the UK government contracted a huge amount of debt to pay the Austrians and the Russians to fight Napoleon… and they still lost to the superior French army, by the way.

In fact, Britain was able to punch above its weight for over two centuries solely because of its mastery of diplomacy and coalition-making, as well as appreciation of the Royal Navy’s importance – all traits that the current UK government sorely lacks.

Throughout history, small and midsized countries have often put up fierce resistance in their independence’s defense, and have sometimes been able to punch above their weight (again, refer to Israel and North Korea). But only big countries with large economies, militaries, and populations can exert global military, economic, and geopolitical influence.

Last but not least, look at who has actually been geopolitically successful in the last two years: Russia and China. Russia has opened a port in the Med, deterred the US from atttacking Syria, sheltered Edward Snowden while daring the US to capture him, clawed Ukraine away before it could begin integrating with the West, bribed Ukrainian oligarchs with 17 billion dollars, set up bases in the Arctic, and tested IRBMs in defiance of the INF Treaty. China has tested a hypersonic global strike weapon and an ASAT missile, declared an ADIZ around the Senkakus and an exclusive fisheries zone around the Spratlys, and shielded Kim Jong-un from any consequences of his provocations while stealing tons of data from US weapon programs.

To sum up, only big heavyweights can exercise global power. Small and midsized countries cannot. And Britain, with its total lack of global military power projection capabilities, is most certainly NOT a global power in any sense of the word.

It’s time for the Brits to stop deluding themselves that the UK is a global power, when it isn’t.

Lockheed Martin Completes Critical Milestone to upgrade the Navy’s Electronic Warfare Defenses

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lockheed_martin_logoSYRACUSE, N.Y., Jan. 14, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] recently completed a milestone test on the U.S. Navy’s evolutionary Surface Electronic Warfare Improvement Program (SEWIP) Block 2 system. This test further validated the system’s ability to protect the Navy’s fleet from evolving anti-ship missile threats.

Under SEWIP Block 2, Lockheed Martin will upgrade the AN/SLQ-32(V)2 system found on all U.S. aircraft carriers, cruisers, destroyers and other warships with key capabilities to determine if adversaries are using electronic sensors to track the ship.

Block 2 obtained a Milestone C decision in January 2013, after which the system began 11 months of land-based testing in preparation for installation on a Navy warship. This test, which successfully completed earlier this month, demonstrated the maturity of the open architecture electronic warfare system by performing full system operation in multiple scenarios.

“We are very proud of the effort the SEWIP team has put into achieving these successes,” said Joseph Ottaviano, director of surface electronic warfare at Lockheed Martin’s Mission Systems and Training division. “Milestone C is a critical step towards delivering these next generation systems to the Fleet, and we are extremely pleased with the progress and results.”

Block 2 is the latest in an evolutionary succession of improvement “blocks” the Navy is pursuing for its shipboard electronic warfare system, which will incrementally add new technologies and functional capabilities. The Navy competitively awarded Lockheed Martin a contract in 2009 to develop SEWIP Block 2 to upgrade the passive detection capabilities of the current SLQ-32 systems. The company recently completed shore-based testing in preparation for ship installation.

Work on the SEWIP program is performed at the company’s Syracuse, N.Y. facility, which houses a new electronic warfare system test facility that simulates the complex environment submarines, surface ships and aircraft could operate in. By performing testing prior to delivery, the company is able to reduce risk and lower costs for the SEWIP program.

Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that employs about 116,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration, and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products, and services. The Corporation’s net sales for 2012 were $47.2 billion.

Rebuttal of leftist lies about US tactical nukes in Europe

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This week, a leftist group called the “Peterson Defense Advisory Committee”, an organization that advocates deep unilateral cuts in America’s nuclear deterrent, will hold a meeting on Capitol Hill intended to propagandize members of Congress, their staffers, and the public into believing that US tactical nuclear weapons are no longer needed in Europe. By their own admission, they also advocate cutting the US nuclear arsenal, and particularly its tactical part, unilaterally.

This will be a treasonous act, as would be the cuts themselves. Cutting the US nuclear arsenal any further – let alone unilaterally – would be utterly suicidal. And cutting the tactical part would be especially idiotic. Here’s why.

US tactical nuclear weapons are the most visible part of America’s extended nuclear deterrent – the nuclear umbrella the US provides to itself and to over 30 allies around the world, from Britain to Poland, to Israel, to the Gulf States, to South Korea and Japan.

The majority of America’s small arsenal of 400 tactical nukes is deployed in Europe as a visible and tangible nuclear umbrella. These weapons could, of course, be redeployed to other allied countries to reassure them (e.g South Korea and Japan) as well – and indeed, over 70% of South Koreans want US tactical nukes to be deployed on the Peninsula. Nothing reassures US allies more than the physical presence of US nuclear weapons on their soil.

Hardly surprising, then, that NATO UNANIMOUSLY reaffirmed the need for US tactical nukes’ presence in Europe in 2010 and 2012, that the Joint Chiefs unanimously support maintaining them there, and that President Obama does as well – his most recent nuclear weapons guidance strongly underlines the need for keeping US tactical nukes in Europe.

Why do America’s allies – European and non-European alike – want to be protected by these weapons, and indeed by the US military in general, so much?

Because they, like America, are facing very real military threats.

Europe is still living under the shadow of Russia’s nuclear threat, magnified in the last 14 by proud KGB thug and Russia’s dictator for life Vladimir Putin. In the last 7 years alone, Russia has threatened to aim or even use its nuclear weapons against Europe and the US on 16 different occassions. Moreover, in its current military doctrine, Russia claims the right to use nuclear weapons first, even against countries that do not have such weapons!

And furthermore, Russia has repeatedly flown its nuclear-armed bombers close to, and sometimes into, the airspace of the US, allied countries, and even neutral countries like Sweden (twice!). In May 2012, when flying nuclear-armed bombers close to Alaska, the Russians declared they were “practicing strikes on the enemy” – their enemy being the US.

Russia has 4,000 nuclear weapons and the means to deliver all of them with a wide variety of systems, from strike aircraft like the Su-24, Su-27/30/35 Flanker and Su-34, to attack and cruise missile submarines armed with nuclear-tipped missiles, to surface ships, to artillery pieces, to IRBMs and SRBMs like the Iskander (SS-26 Stone), the latter recently deployed in the Kaliningrad District on Poland’s border. These missiles enable Russia to target all but the very southernmost part of Poland, one of America’s staunchest and most helpful allies.

America’s Middle Eastern and East Asian allies face very serious nuclear threats as well. Japan and South Korea live in the shadow of the Chinese and North Korean nuclear threats.

China has at least 1,600, and up to 3,000, nuclear weapons, and the means to deliver at least 1,300 of them. Besides its strategic triad of ICBMs, ballistic missile subs, and long-range bombers, China also has 280 tactical nuclear strike aircraft, over 1,200 short-range ballistic missiles, over 120 MRBMs, and hundreds of nuclear-capable cruise missiles such as the DH-10, CJ-10, and HN-3. These missiles and aircraft can strike anywhere in Japan, South Korea, and as far as Singapore, Indonesia, and Guam if need be.

North Korea has a much smaller nuclear arsenal, of a dozen or so warheads, and only a handful of ICBMs capable of reaching the US. But it has over 1,000 SRBMs and hundreds of MRBMs capable of reaching all of South Korea and Japan, and some of its MRBMs can even reach Guam! North Korea, moreover, is run by an extremely aggressive and warlike dictatorship led by a young man held hostage by a clique of warmongering generals.

Little wonder, then, that over 70% of South Koreans want US tactical nukes back on the Peninsula, and 66.5% of them want South Korea to have its own nuclear deterrent as well. Or that Japan has a facility capable of producing enough plutonium for 3,600 nuclear weapons in a year if need be.

America’s Middle Eastern allies, meanwhile, are increasingly worried by the progress of Iran’s nuclear weapons programme, which the recent Munich-style deal will not even slow down, let alone stop. It codifies Iran’s purported “right” to enrich uranium and contains NO restrictions on its ballistic missiles!  Again, unless the US is prepared and willing to carry out massive, crippling bombings of Iran, it has no choice but to provide a credible nuclear umbrella to its Middle Eastern allies – and for that, tactical as well as strategic nuclear weapons are needed.

And the cost, which the PDAC and other leftist groups complain about? The cost of stationing the weapons abroad – the aircraft, bases, and maintenance – are covered by NATO allies. As for the cost of the warheads themselves, modernizing and prolonging the service life of the B61 tactical nuclear bomb will cost only 10 billion over the next decade – i.e. 1 billion per year, out of an annual military budget of 607 bn.

It is utterly false and ridiculous to claim the US cannot afford to invest just one billion dollars a year to maintain and modernize the most crucial part of its nuclear deterrent – that which constitutes its extended nuclear umbrella for its allies, reassures those allies, and is also the main armament of America’s own strategic bombers.

Shame on the PDAC and other leftist groups, as well as the Democrats, for lying so blatantly about US nuclear weapons and advocating unilateral cuts in these. They are traitors.

Rebuttal of Robert Gates and his BS book

Eagle- America Deserves Better

Today,  a book by former Defense Secretary Robert Gates will hit the stores. Already some parts of it have been released to the media, which, depending on their political preferences, have focused on the parts favorable or unfavorable to Obama and the Democrats.

But equally (if not more) important is Robert Gates’ disastrous tenure as Defense Secretary under both Presidents Bush and Obama, which, even before Obama’s arrival at the White House, began to sow the seeds of America’s military and thus geopolitical decline.

Crucial Platforms Killed On False Pretexts

Gates calls himself “a Defense Secretary at War”, even though he has never seen one day of combat, has never been deployed to a war zone, and spent his entire “career in the national security arena” as a bureaucrat in Washington, DC. Most of his book is about how he ran the disastrous and useless wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and I’ll get to that later.

But first, let me tell you how Gates tried to pay for these utterly useless wars that he was singularly obsessed with: by killing the very weapons systems America needs now and will need in the future to deter and if necessary defeat China, Russia, Iran, and other potential aggressors.

Based on his singular obssession with Afghanistan and Iraq, his myopic shortsightedness, and his naive view of China and Russia, Gates killed over 50 crucial weapon programs based on the most idiotic of pretexts.

For example, he stopped the production of the F-22 fighter – the best jet fighter ever built – at a mere 187 copies, whereas the USAF had long said that at least 337 would be needed to maintain US air superiority and defeat advanced Russian and Chinese fighters, and despite clear evidence from experts such as those at the Air Force Association and Air Power Australia that ONLY the F-22 Raptor could meet that requirement.

Gates thus participated in the smear propaganda against the F-22, fired Air Force Secretary Mike Wynne and Chief of Staff T. Michael Moseley (who advocated continuing its production), forced other Air Force F-22 advocates to retire, and advised Obama to veto any defense bill containing funding for F-22 production – a veto threat that sufficed to scare Congress into deleting that funding after it had already been authorized by the House Armed Services Committee, the House and Senate Appropriations Committees, and the full House.

Gates also refused to buy the F-15 Silent Eagle – the newest version of the venerable and combat-proven F-15 Eagle equipped with the newest radar and IRST system, conformal (internal) weapon bays, and stealthy from the front. He put all of America’s airpower eggs into one basket – the utterly failed F-35 program – and killed virtually every alternative to it.

That decision has proven itself to be the most idiotic any defense secretary has ever made, for the F-35 is so well-known for its cost-overruns, delays, bugs, and giant weaknesses that there wouldn’t be enough space even in a dedicated article to list them all, or even to list all references to sources narrating them.

But those cost overruns, delays, bugs, and weaknesses were already well-known in 2009, when Gates killed the F-22 Raptor. Since then, of course, the F-35 Junk Strike Fighter program’s performance has dramatically deteriorated further: the cost overruns and delays have mounted, critical systems have been deleted from the F-35 to reduce cost, and allies are now balking at buying it and looking for alternatives. Which competitors like Dassault, EADS, Saab, and others are all too happy to provide.

(What is the difference between the F-22 and the F-35? The former was designed from the start to do one thing: achieve absolute air superiority. To that end, it is has a tiny radar signature to evade radar detection, is very fast and high-flying, is very agile and maneuverable, has the most powerful fighter radar in the world, and can carry 8 missiles in its stealthy mode – or 12 when enemy air defenses are down. By contrast, the F-35 is not truly stealthy, can carry only 4 missiles, is slow and low-flying, and is so heavy and unmaneuverable that jets from the 1960s could easily defeat it. It is useful neither for air to air nor air to ground combat. It’s not capable or survivable enough for high-tech environments, and is too expensive and overbuilt for counter-insurgency operations.)

The F-22 was but one of the many crucial weapon systems Bob Gates killed, thus leaving the US military unprepared for the current military competition with China and Russia. He killed the stealthy Zumwalt class of destroyers at just 3 ships, supposedly on cost grounds, but ignoring the fact that it was precisely the reduction of planned orders from 32 to 3 ships that caused the price to spike – because economies of scale were lost. He killed the AC-X gunship, a badly-needed replacement for the USAF’s Vietnam-era AC-130 gunships, and the EP-X electronic intelligence plane, a sorely needed replacement for the EP-3. He terminated C-17 production at 221 aircraft, claiming the USAF had ordered enough of these, when the USAF was actually so short on airlifters it had to rent Russian aircraft – at higher prices than what it would pay for BUYING more C-17s.

Most worryingly of all, Gates terminated the Multiple Kill Vehicle, Kinetic Energy Interceptor, and Airborne Laser programs in 2009. The MKV would’ve been a kinetic metal “warhead” designed to shoot down enemy missiles. It was to be kind of a defensive MIRV bus which would’ve released dozens of small “kill vehicles” that would’ve shot down lots of enemy ballistic missiles all at once. (Currently, a single kill vehicle from a single interceptor can kill only one enemy missile.) This would’ve solved the target discrimination problem missile defense critics often complain about – which among the missiles or warheads are real ones and which ones are duds would’ve been irrelevant, because ALL of them would be shot down.

The KEI and the Airborne Laser, for their part, would’ve enabled the US to shoot down enemy missiles in the earliest phase of their flight, when their countermeasures have NOT been deployed yet and their deadly payloads have not yet been released. In other words, when enemy missiles are the most vulnerable. This would’ve come in handy when countering any missiles, especially the hypersonic, high-speed global range missile recently tested by China (as reported by Bill Gertz in the WFB).

But America no longer has that option – because Secretary Gates terminated both of these programs in 2009, even though the ABL program, despite its infancy, was progressing well, having passed 3 out of its 5 tests before being terminated.

So when you read Bill Gertz’s articles in the WFB, the Washington Times, on Fox News, or elsewhere about China’s global range hypersonic missiles, remember America does NOT have defenses capable of stopping those missiles, and that is thanks to Obama and Gates.

Russian and Chinese threats on the horizon

But China’s development as a huge threat to US and allied security, and as a contender to replace the US as the world’s top military power, is nothing new. It was already evident during Gates’ tenure as SECDEF.

Already during Gates’ time, there already was strong evidence that China was closing most gaps with the US military and working to create its own unique advantages. There already was solid evidence China was working to overtake the US militarily and would achieve that objective absent US efforts to maintain an edge over Beijing. Yet, Gates harbored a desire to appease Beijing as well as to drive America deeper into useless wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. So he ignored all that evidence, surpressed the truth and professional advice, lied to the American public, appeased Beijing with word and deed, and killed the very programs needed to counter the People’s Republic’s military buildup.

By 2009, China already had more attack submarines, and almost as many subs in total, as the US – and was steadily replacing old ones with new, ultra-quiet ones. It already had a large nuclear arsenal. It already had two stealth fighters under development. It already had almost as many ships in total as the US Navy, had deployed a dense and modern air defense network, already wielded thousands of missiles capable of targeting all US bases in the Western Pacific, already possessed anti-satellite kinetic and laser weapons, and already had hundreds of advanced fighter aircraft.

Russia was also busy building up its military, increasing its nuclear arsenal, and developing new, cutting edge weapons.

In 2010, Russia’s first stealth fighter, the PAK FA, first flew. This aircraft, when it enters service, will render EVERY fighter in the world except the F-22 Raptor impotent, irrelevant, obsolete, and useless. It will essentially be Russia’s response to the Raptor.

In January 2011, China’s first stealth fighter, the J-20, took to the air – at exactly the time Gates was visiting China. The Gates Pentagon was caught completely by surprise by this development, even though those of us who were clear-eyed about the Chinese threat had been warning for years that the J-20 (J-XX) would soon perform its maiden flight.

At the same time, China and Russia were also protecting America’s enemies North Korea and Iran and shielding them from any consequences of their provocations and illegal nuclear programs.

Also, advanced Chinese and Russian weapons, including the forementioned fighters, will be available to anyone able to pay for them.

But whenever someone dared to call on the US to prepare itself for possible confrontations with China, Gates derided that person as ill with “next-war-itis”, and he ordered the DOD to limit itself to fighting useless “counter-insurgency” wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Under Gates, tens of billions of dollars were thrown away buying mine-resistant vehicles and nonstealthy, short-ranged, poorly armed drones like the Predator and the Reaper – which are useful only for fighting terrorists, but utterly useless against any nation state wielding any advanced weaponry.

Now that the Iraq war is long over, and the Afghan war is coming to an end, all those mine-resistant (MRAP) vehicles and drones will have to be sold to allies, stored, or scrapped.

Thanks to Gates, who stubbornly advocated staying in Afghanistan and Iraq almost indefinitely and throwing hundreds of billions of dollars at them, the US is now dramatically worse off: well over a trillion dollars has been spent fighting those wars, billions more will be spent on caring for veterans of these wars, and over 5,400 brave US troops have died for no good reason.

While Gates attempts to portray himself as a man who stood by military uniformed leaders during crisis times, his tenure in the Pentagon was actually marked by an unrestrained use of political power to surpress the truth and professional military advice in order to fund Gates’ pet projects like the F-35, MRAP vehicles, drones, and, of course, the useless wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Enabling Obama’s unilateral disarmament of the US

As Defense Secretary, Gates has greatly helped Obama gut the US military – and not just through the program killings listed above, but also through his advocacy of arms control agreements that obligate only the US to disarm itself.

Gates supported the treasonous New START treaty, which obligates the US (but not Russia) to cut its deployed strategic nuclear arsenal to just 1,550 warheads and 700 deployed delivery systems – and Obama envisions even more cuts, down to just 1,000 warheads. That will necessitate, among other things, cutting at least 30 ICBMs. Gates lied to the Congress that the treaty would’ve allowed the US to maintain a sufficient nuclear arsenal and, ridiculously, claimed it would “protect” US nuclear modernization programs, which it actually threatens. He and Hillary Clinton also lied to the Congress that the treaty does not constrain US missile defenses, which it actually does.

Gates also supported the Law of the Sea Treaty, which the Reagan Administration rightly rejected and which would’ve cost America its sovereignty, subordinating it to the corrupt UN and its kangaroo maritime dispute courts, and would’ve cost US taxpayers billions of dollars in new contributions to the wasteful, corrupt UN.

Final verdict: an Obama yes-boy and a traitor

Therefore, based on the above facts about Gates’ tenure as SECDEF, an honest person cannot assess him as anything else as an Obama yes-boy, a traitor, and an utter failure as Defense Secretary. No honest person, and especially no Republican, should give him credit for anything – he does not deserve it. Gates deserves, in fact, to be tried, convicted, and executed as a traitor.

CNS and Cirincione are lying; America needs a LARGE nuclear deterrent

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The leftist, California-based “Center for Nonproliferation Studies” and the also leftist, Democrat-run CBO have recently released rigged “studies” claiming that nuclear weapons modernization and maintenance will cost the US $355 bn over the next decade and$1 trillion over the next 30 years.

These figures are wildly exaggerated and not based on any accurate statistics, and their purpose, of course, is to propagandize and mislead the public and the Congress into foregoing the US nuclear deterrent’s modernization – thus allowing it to decay and rust out due to old age. In other words, these leftists want to disarm the US through nonmodernization and nonreplacement of its nuclear deterrent – by simply allowing it to decay without refit or replacement.

Ploughshares Fund president Joe Cirincione, a radical anti-nuke leftist activist whom Frank Gaffney has often humiliated on TV, goes even further and demands deep cuts to America’s nuclear deterrent right now. He falsely claims that the deterrent is still configured to prevent a massive nuclear attack by Russia and not to counter 21st century challenges. He falsely claims further that “configuring” the nuclear arsenal to counter “21st century threats” would permit radical, deep cuts in that arsenal.

All of these are blatant lies. I’ll show you why. I’ll start with why the US needs to maintain a large nuclear arsenal and modernize all of its legs.

So why exactly?

Because the 21st century threat environment – the very environment Cirincione claims to be concerned about – requires a large, modern US nuclear arsenal.

The biggest threats to US security by far are Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran (in that order). Nothing else comes even close to posing as much a security threat as these four hostile dictatorships. Specifically, it is their military buildups, and particularly their nuclear programs, that pose the biggest threat to US, allied, and world security.

Russia and China both have large nuclear arsenals. Moscow has 2,800 strategic nuclear warheads (according to the Federation of American Scientists), of which 1,500 are deployed and 50 further will be soon, and around 4,000 tactical nuclear warheads (many of which can be delivered against the US). To deliver them, Russia has over 410 ICBMs, 13 ballistic missile submarines, 251 strategic bombers, and around 20 attack submarines capable of carrying nuclear cruise missiles anywhere in the world. To deliver its tactical warheads, Russia has those attack submarines plus short-range ballistic missiles, attack aircraft, surface warships, artillery pieces, and IRBMs such as the Yars-M.

China has at least 1,600, and up to 3,000, nuclear warheads, according to former Russian missile force chief Gen. Viktor Yesin and Georgetown Professor Philip Karber (who was the DOD’s chief nuclear strategist under President Reagan). To deliver them, Beijing wields 75-87 ICBMs (and is adding more every year), 120-160 strategic bombers, 6 ballistic missile subs, over 120 MRBMs, over 1,200 SRBMs, and 280 tactical strike aircraft. Note that China, like Russia, is adding more nuclear weapons and delivery systems every year.

Both Moscow and Beijing are now growing and rapidly modernizing their nuclear triads: they are developing, producing, and deploying next-generation ICBMs, ballistic missile subs, and bombers. Both of them are now developing stealthy intercontinental bombers capable of hitting the US, as well as rail-mobile ICBMs.

To cut the US nuclear arsenal any further, let alone deeply, in the face of these aggressive Russian and Chinese nuclear buildup aimed exclusively at the US and its allies, would be utterly suicidal and indeed treasonous. It would openly invite a Russian or Chinese nuclear first strike on the US.

That’s because, in order to be survivable and credible, a nuclear arsenal MUST be large – no smaller than the enemy’s. Otherwise, it will be very easy for the enemy to destroy in a preemptive first strike, and even without one, it will be too small to hold most of the enemy’s military and economic assets at risk.

Moscow and Beijing not only have large nuclear arsenals, they’re quite willing to use them. In fact, in the last 7 years, Russia has threatened to aim or use nuclear weapons against the US or its allies on 16 separate occassions, and in the last 2 years has flown nuclear-armed bombers into or close to US and allied airspace. In May 2012, when its bombers overtly practiced a nuclear strike on Alaska, the Russian Air Force said to the press it was “practicing attacking the enemy.”

Not only that, but in its military doctrine Russia openly claims a right to use nuclear weapons first – even if the opponent does not have any nuclear weapons!

Moreover, the US now has to deter not only Russia and China, but North Korea and Iran as well.

On top of that, the US has to provide a credible nuclear deterrent not only to itself, but to over 30 allies around the world: all NATO members, Israel, Gulf countries, and Pacific allies such as the Philippines, Japan, and South Korea. These allies are watching the state of the US nuclear arsenal closely and will develop their own if the US cuts its umbrella further. Thus making the problem of proliferation – which the CNS and Ploughshares falsely pretend to be concerned about – that much worse.

The truth is that the need for a large nuclear deterrent, and the nuclear triad, has never been greater. America needs them now more than ever. In this 21st century threat environment marked by three (soon to be four) hostile nuclear powers, two of them with large nuclear arsenals, it would be utterly suicidal and foolish to cut the US nuclear arsenal further, let alone deeply so.

OK, but what about the cost?

The cost isn’t – and will not be – nearly as high as the CNS and the CBO falsely claim. It will amount to roughly $200 bn per decade according to the DOD and the Air Force Global Strike Command.

But even if one accepts the CBO’s exaggerated figure of $355 bn per decade, that still amounts to only $35.5 bn per year, out of a total military budget of $607 bn in FY2014. That is a paltry 5.8% of the military budget.

Anyone who claims that America cannot afford to invest 35.5 bn per year – a meager 5.8% of its military budget – in modernizing its nuclear deterrent (its most valuable shield against aggression) – is an idiot or a deceitful, lying bastard.

In fact, even the leftist Center for Nonproliferation Studies admits in its “study” that even at the peak of US nuclear modernization efforts, the US will devote only 3% of its military budget to nuclear modernization. Which means 97% will be spent on non-nuclear programs. And that’s during the peak years of nuclear modernization efforts. The CNS says such proportions would be similar to those seen under Ronald Reagan in the 1980s – the last time the US modernized its nuclear deterrent.

(Indeed, if the cost of nuclear modernization seems great, it is precisely because of the many decades of nonmodernization, neglect, precipitous cuts, and underfunding of the US nuclear arsenal. These many decades of neglect have consequences, and the bill for these three decades of negligence has now arrived.)

Furthermore, the CNS itself admits that the US spends only 8 billion dollars per year maintaining its nuclear triad. This is consistent with USAF figures, according to which ICBMs cost only $1.1 bn, and bombers only $2.5 bn, per year to maintain.

But the CNS and other leftist organizations – such as the ACA and the CLW – still have the nerve to claim that nuclear modernization, and in particular Ohio class submarine replacement, “threatens to jeopardize the rest of the fleet.” This is a blatant lie, considering that by their own admission nuclear modernization, even at peak years, will consume only 3-6% of the total military budget.

The fact is that America’s nuclear weapons budget and modernization programme is, and will certainly remain, way too small to threaten any conventional programs.

On the contrary, it is conventional weapon programs’ escalating costs that are threatening nuclear modernization. For example, the Navy’s newest aircraft carrier, the USS Gerald R. Ford, will cost $12.8 bn by the time it’s completed, and the next carrier, the Kennedy, will cost $10.8 bn. The tri-service F-35 Junk Strike Fighter program will cost an astounding $391 bn to develop and procure!

The Navy could save itself a lot of money, and be able to buy lots of different ships (including new SSBNs) if it ended its obsession with hyperexpensive and vulnerable aircraft carriers, cut its carrier fleet, invested more in submarines, and dramatically cut its internal bureaucracy – ESPECIALLY at Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA), which procures ships.

The fact is that the US nuclear modernization program is perfectly affordable, cheap, and absolutely necessary in light of the nuclear threats posed by Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran. Therefore, the claims of the CNS, the ACA, the CLW, Ploughshares, and other leftist, anti-nuclear organizations are utterly false, as always.

The FY2014 NDAA: setting the record straight

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A few days ago, the Senate passed, by an 85-15 margin, the FY2014 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the bill making policies for the US military on the whole range of military affairs, from sexual assault and military justice to equipment and foreign basing. As is the case every year, this one’s NDAA has been the subject of many lies, so I will refute some of them to set the record straight. I will also tell you what the good and bad news is, as far as the bill’s provisions go.

The bill authorizes, in total, $607 bn for the DOD and the DOE, that is, 3.97% of GDP. Less than four percent of America’s GDP and less than seventeen percent of the total federal budget. Yet, those facts have not stopped extremely leftist anti-defense hack William Hartung of the Soros-funded “Center for International Policy” from lying blatantly that this bill supposedly proves that “defense hawks live in their own alternate reality, with no fiscal constraints.”

But then again, no facts have ever stopped Hartung from lying blatantly on any issue, so it’s not surprising. In any case, it is utterly idiotic and ridiculous to claim that a bill authorizing the expenditure of less than 4% of the nation’s GDP and less than 17% of its federal budget – and much less money than was authorized just 2 years ago – is one unconstrained by fiscal realities or that its craftors “live in their own alternative reality.” The one who lives in his own alternative world is Hartung.

The Soros-funded anti-defense hack makes such claims on the grounds that the bill is $30 bn above the sequester’s defense spending caps. But the sequester’s caps were always woefully too low to begin with, requiring defense spending cuts that – as has been proven by all non-leftist entities and analysts – will gut the US military if not repealed soon. The sequester should’ve never been created in the first place, plain and simple.

TCS President Ryan Alexander, for her part, falsely claims that the bill allegedly continues to authorize gargantuan amounts of money on weapons procurement spending, when it only authorizes $98 bn (less than one sixth of the total) for that purpose. $98 bn is a paltry amount, especially considering the DOD’s vast personnel and O&M costs.

In addition, Alexander objects to any expenditure on the F-35, the LCS, and the Abrams tank.

The F-35 is a deeply flawed airplane and the LCS a deeply flawed warship, that much is true. But they are the only strike jets and small surface combatants, respectively, currently being developed or procured by the USAF and USN, respectively. These services have absolutely no alternatives at all… unless they resume F-22, F-15, and Oliver Hazard Perry class frigate production, respectively. Which they do not intend to.

As for the Abrams tank, Alexander claims the DOD didn’t want the additional tanks and objects to any money being spent on them. But after over 12 years of war in Afghanistan and Iraq, many Abrams tanks have been worn out or damaged, some beyond economical repair. Moreover, the Abrams production line needs to be kept open to maintain crucial industrial capacity and skills – which will be lost of it is closed before Ground Combat Vehicle production begins in 2017 (as the Army foolishly wants to do). The skilled workers who produce and maintain the Abrams tank will leave the defense sector and find high-paying jobs elsewhere – and they won’t come back in 2017 – if the line is closed before then. So a skilled workforce would be lost forever.

Independent research has shown that keeping the Abrams production line open before GCV production begins would actually cost taxpayers LESS in the long term than closing it prematurely. If Alexander were TRULY concerned about taxpayers’ money, she’d be campaigning for keeping the line open.

By the way, we often hear claims that weapon systems should be terminated because “the Pentagon doesn’t want them.” In fact, in 99% of all cases, this is just a pathetic excuse by the opponents of a strong defense – the unilateral disarmament lobby – to kill crucial weapon systems they don’t like when a leftist, anti-defense administration (like the current one) is in power.

In any case, their argument is completely indefensible and irrelevant, because what the Pentagon wants is of little relevance. Why? Because the Constitution says so.

The Constitution assigns the SOLE responsibility for maintaining, equipping, clothing, feeding, paying, compensating, and caring for the military to the CONGRESS, not to the DOD, the generals, the individual services, or the President. It is solely the responsibility of the Congress. The military’s uniformed leaders may, and should, provide their expert advice. They, the DOD as a whole, and the President, may PROPOSE measures they deem necessary or beneficial. But it is the sole prerogative (and duty) of the CONGRESS to make those decisions. See Article I, Sec. 8 of the Constitution:

“The Congress shall have power… to raise and support Armies; but no appropriation of money for that purpose shall be for a term longer than two years;

… to provide and maintain a Navy…”

Similar provisions exist in Art. I, Sec. 8 WRT providing and maintaining military bases, having jurisdiction over them, providing for a military justice system, and maintaining and equipping the militia.

Nowhere in the Constitution is any such responsibility assigned to the Executive Branch.

I repeat: decisions on what the US military should be equipped with and what should it procure are to be made solely by the Congress, NOT the Executive Branch. And the DOD doesn’t have a monopoly on being right on those issues.

Consider that, for example, the Senate (specifically, Sen. Sam Nunn of Georgia) forced the Air Force to buy more F-117s than it wanted, and Congress also ordered the military to arm its Predator drones (which were initially completely unarmed). Those decisions proved, in 20/20 hindsight, to be 100% correct.

The old “weapons the Pentagon doesn’t want/didn’t ask for” meme is a mere excuse used frequently by anti-defense organizations – such as TCS and POGO – to argue against crucial weapon systems the military does need but which the Pentagon – under political orders from the President, who controls it – has not requested. (Remember: the DOD is an agency controlled exclusively by the President. DOD leaders, military and civilian, tell Congress only what the President allows and orders them to say, and are forbidden to say anything contrarian to the President’s line.)

Now, WRT specifics, what are the good and bad provisions of the NDAA?

First, the good news:

1) The overall amount of funding is adequate ($607 bn), yet still very modest in proportion to America’s GDP (3.97%) and the total federal budget (less than one sixth, i.e. less than 20%). The NDAA, if the levels of funding it authorizes are actually appropriated, will restore funding for readiness, including flight hours, tank miles, and ship steaming days. Whether that funding is actually appropriated, though, is doubtful – even under the new budget deal passed recently by Congress, it will not be.

2) It authorizes $9.5 bn for missile defense programs, ranging from new radars to studies on East Coast Missile Defense to cooperation with Israel. It also prohibits Obama from transferring sensitive missile defense tech to Russia and from allowing Russia to set up radar, satnav, and targeting centers in the US (!).

3) It restricts, though not completely eliminates, Obama’s ability to implement the treasonous New START treaty and to eliminate ICBM squadrons.

4) It fully funds the Long Range Strike Bomber, Virginia class, X-47 UCLASS, and cybersecurity programs crucial to countering A2/AD threats.

5) It continues to prohibit Obama from transferring Gitmo detainees to the US.

6) It authorizes some funding for the hardening of base infrastructure at Guam (though it isn’t clear how much and for what infrastructure).

Now, the bad news:

1) This is only an authorization bill, not a budget or appropriations bill. So the actual amounts of money the DOD will be allowed to spend will be determined by the Budget Control Act and the recent Ryan-Murray deal, not by the NDAA. Which means the DOD will have a lot less to spend than the NDAA allows.

2) The NDAA prohibits many crucial personnel cost reforms, including badly needed reforms to the military’s unaffordable health programs like TRICARE – the premiums for which are tens of times lower than for civilian federal workers or for private sector workers, and which covers “children” up to the age of 26. Without these  crucial reforms, personnel cost will consume all of the military budget by FY2039.

3) It prohibits the DOD from even requesting or planning for, let alone conducting, a new base closure round – even though the DOD has many more bases and much more space than it needs.

4) It doesn’t completely prohibit Obama from implementing New START or cutting the US nuke arsenal further.

5) It doesn’t authorize money for the actual construction of an East Coast missile defense site – thus continuing to leave the EC unprotected against ballistic missiles.

6) It does not authorize the Navy to reduce its carrier fleet, even though aircraft carriers are relics of the past and terribly vulnerable while being grotesquely expensive (America’s next aircraft carrier, the USS Gerald R. Ford, will cost $12.8 bn when completed). Indeed, it legitimizes the Navy’s continuing obsession with hyper-expensive and tragically vulnerable aircraft carriers and neglect of the submarine fleet, surface combatants, an ASW and demining platforms and skills.

7) It does nothing to increase the procurement of crucial ASW assets like P-8 Poseidon planes and sonars, or to reinstate the S-3 Viking ASW a/c into service, nor to add minesweeping assets to the Navy, nor to develop reliable anti-cruise missile defense systems.

8) It does not fund the MEADS program, even though the recently successfully-tested MEADS is far, far more capable than Patriot can or ever will be, even with expensive upgrades.

All in all, it’s not a bad bill, but it’s not a good bill, either. Basically, Congress needs to develop its own cadre of defense analysts and assert its Constitutional powers in writing America’s defense policy much more forcefully.

Rebuttal of Robert Burns’ blatant lies about ICBMs

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The leftist Associated Press has recently published (and the military.com foolishly republished) yet  another litany of blatant lies about nuclear weapons by its resident anti-nuclear and anti-defense hack, Robert Burns, whose previous leftist screeds on this issue have already been refuted several times here and once even by the US Air Force.

Burns, like AP itself and the Left in general, aims to mislead the public into believing that nuclear weapons are obsolete and useless, overly expensive, and a Cold War relic, and that Barack Obama will succeed in creating a “nuclear-free world.”

In his latest screet, Burns falsely claims that:

1) America’s ICBM fleet in particular and nuclear weapons in general are useless against the threats of the 21st century, which he claims are “terrorism”, “cyberattacks”, and nuclear proliferation to North Korea and Iran.

2) Nuclear weapons are too expensive as their maintenance & modernization will cost $132 bn over the next decade.

3) There is a “clear trend” of the US doing away with nuclear weapons, including ICBMs, and Obama has laid out a “clear vision” of a world without nuclear weapons.

4) In his latest research paper on the US nuclear triad, Evan B. Montgomery of the CSBA has questioned the ICBM fleet’s usefulness.

5) There is also a true claim in his screed: that America’s ICBM fleet is old, aging out of service, in decline, and service with it is not even appreciated, let alone prestigeous.

Let’s deal with each of his claims in turn.

Ad. 1. Contrary to Burns’ and other anti-nuclear hacks’ lies, nuclear weapons are, and will be, ABSOLUTELY CRUCIAL to confronting the biggest security threats of the 21st century. That’s because the four biggest threats to America’s and allies’ security, and indeed the worlds, are (and will continue to be) Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran – four state actors. The two biggest threats to US, allied, and global security by far are Russia and China – hands down. There are plenty of security threats out there, but none of them come even close to being as grave as Moscow and Beijing – two authoritarian, expansionist, increasingly aggressive and nationalist, and militarist regimes. Just recently, for example, Moscow deployed nuclear-armed ballistic missiles in Kaliningrad, on Poland’s border, while China created an illegitimate ADIZ in the Western Pacific and created a standoff with the US Navy.

B0th Russia and China have large nuclear arsenals – Russia has between 6,800 and 8,800 nuclear weapons (including 2,800 strategic warheads, deployed and nondeployed), and China has between 1,600 and 3,000 (according to General Viktor Yesin and Professor Philip Karber, respectively). Both of them are growing and modernizing, not cutting, their nuclear arsenals.

Russia is now developing or deploying several new multi-warhead ICBM types: the Yars, the Rubezh, the Sarmat (AKA Son of Satan), the Avangard, and a pseudo-ICBM with a notional 6,000 km range. It has also ordered over 200 new SLBMs for its Navy’s ballistic missile subs and is developing a new nuclear-capable bomber.

China is now producing and deploying two new ICBM types, the DF-31A and the DF-41, as well as two new MRBM types (the DF-21 and DF-25), a new SLBM type (the JL-2, with a range of at least 8,000 kms), two new SSBN classes, and is developing an intercontinental nuclear-capable bomber.

Against these adversaries, only nuclear weapons can provide credible deterrence. No amount of conventional weapons and missile defenses (and Barack Obama is cutting both) can substitute for them.

ICBMs, in particular, are very useful as they are by far the most ready (a 99% readiness rate), most responsible, cheapest (annual cost to maintain: $1.1 bn), and a very survivable leg of the nuclear triad (they sit in hardened siloes and a dispersed and many in number, so destroying all of them on the ground would require at least 900 warheads – something only Russia can currently do).

As for North Korea and Iran, one of them is a nuclear power (and a very aggressive one at that, as it proved earlier this year), and the other is well on its way to becoming one. Again, versus such adversaries, ONLY nuclear weapons can provide credible deterrence: conventional weapons and missile defenses never can. Period. So the US now has to deter three (soon to be four) nuclear-armed adversaries, whereas in the Cold War, it had to deter only the Soviet Union. Additionally, the US now has to provide a nuclear umbrella not only to itself and 11 Western European allies, but to over 30 allies who depend on it for their security and survival – many of whom ill acquire their own nuclear weapons if the US nuclear arsenal is cut further.

The truth is that the need for US nuclear weapons – and ICBMs – has never been greater. They are needed and relevant now more than ever. And USAF missileers’ service is important, and deserves appreciation, now more than ever.

Ad. 2. No, nuclear weapons are not too expensive, Quite the contrary; they are cheap. The $132 bn figure that Burns quotes, which comes from the CBO, is a decennial figure, meaning it is spread over a decade. It refers to the cost of maintaining the nuclear triad over a decade. Per one year, this works out to only $13.2 bn – less than 3% of the total military budget and a fraction of the total federal budget (not to mention the economy).

Ad. 3. Obama has not laid out a “vision” of a world without nuclear weapons – only his utterly unrealistic, unachievable, childish fantasy of such a world – which will never exist unless even more powerful weapons are invented. The only country he can verifiably disarm is America itself. Nobody else is disarming themselves – not Russia, China, North Korea, Pakistan, India, Israel, France, or Britain. All of them are modernizing and/or growing (all but France and Britain) their nuclear arsenals. Moreover, Iran and Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest Shia and Sunni Muslim power, respectively, are racing towards the nuclear club. According to the BBC, Saudi Arabia has ordered nuclear weapons in Pakistan.

So only the US, under Barack Obama, is and has been disarming itself – and it’s a foolish, utterly suicidal policy that should be immediately scrapped, not continued.

Ad. 4. Montgomery (a nuclear affairs analyst with the CSBA) has NEVER questioned the utility of America’s ICBMs. Not in his Dec. 5th report. Not ever. Burns is completely misrepresenting what Montgomery wrote.

What the CSBA analyst DID write (and I’ve read his entire report from the beginning to the end; I even have a copy on my Android) was that many people (ignorant people, I might add) are questioning ICBMs’ utility and survivability – but Montgomery is not. In fact, he praises ICBMs for their low cost, their ability to absorb even large-scale nuclear strikes (because America has 450 of them), and their very high (ca. 99%) readiness rate and thus responsiveness in case of any WMD strike on America or its allies.

In fact, in his report, Montgomery (rightly) advocates retaining, modernizing, and replacing ALL three legs of the nuclear triad, including the ICBM fleet.

As a professional liar, Burns has been caught blatantly lying once again – this time, totally misrepresenting what someone else has said.

Ad. 5. The claim that USAF missileers are frustrated and feel unappreciated, and that their occupational specialty is no longer prestigeous, is actually true – and the only true claim in Burns’s article.

But this is wrong. It is wrong and unjust that missileers are treated this way, that they are unappreciated and ignored as if their service didn’t matter. For, as I demonstrated above, their service and their “tools of trade” are more important now than ever before. There hasn’t been a time since the Cuban Missile Crisis when their service could be more crucial to America’s, its allies’, and the world’s security. They, together with Airmen operating the strategic bomber fleet and sailors operating the SSBN fleet, are the free world’s ONLY deterrent against nuclear, chemical, ballistic missile, or large-scale conventional attack; effectively, the free world’s only meaningful deterrent against aggression and coercion. Everyday, they keep the free world safe from two major nuclear adversaries – Russia and China – as well as North Korea and Iran. Their mission – nuclear deterrence – is more important now than ever.

Shame on Burns for lying so blatantly yet again, and shame on the Associated Press for publishing, and on military.com for republishing, his litany of blatant lies.

Rebuttal of China deniers’ understatement of China’s nuke capabilities

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Even as China becomes an ever greater military threat to America, the pro-disarmament lobby in the US is still stubbornly denying that threat. The pro-disarmament lobby does so in order to lull American policymakers and voters into a false sense of security. The goal of this induce them to agree to dramatically and unilaterally cut America’s military power, especially its nuclear deterrent, which the Left outright hates.

Thus, it is not surprising that the Left continues to vastly understate China’s nuclear arsenal’s size and capabilities. Recently, the Left has been desperately denying the threat posed by China’s Jin class of ballistic missile submarines, which have given China a credible sea-based nuclear deterrent capable of striking the CONUS. Most recently, Christian Conroy and Hans Kristensen (a lifelong Danish pacifist who has spent his entire adult lifetime advocating the West’s unilateral disarmament) have denied that the Jin class gives China a credible sea-based deterrent.

Their denials are utterly wrong and are based on several utterly false claims they make. Specifically, China threat deniers falsely claim that:

1) The Jin class is too noisy to be survivable;

2) Its ballistic missile, the Julang-2 (JL-2), doesn’t have sufficient range to hit the CONUS;

3) China’s Central Military Commission has not delegated command-and-control authority over nuclear weapons to the PLA Navy nor authorized loading nuclear weapons on its submarines;

4) China has only three Jin class submarines.

 

Let’s refute each of these claims in turn.

1) The Jin class is NOT too noisy and IS survivable. Data on Chinese submarine noise from the Office of Naval Intelligence or other parts of the DOD has to be treated very skeptically, because the ONI is little more than a propaganda department which has, throughout many decades, routinely overestimated America’s military capabilities and understating those of her adversaries. It excelled in that during WW2.

Most importantly, the USN’s anti-sub warfare capabilities have atrophied so badly during the last few decades that even very noisy and obsolete subs can evade detection by the USN, especially if captained by competent, intelligent skippers.

America’s ASW capabilities today are in shambles, to say it very politely. To say it brutally, they’re almost extinct. The US has not seriously practiced, or devoted any significant resources, to ASW since the CW’s end. The S-3 Viking, a dedicated carrier-borne ASW a/c, has been retired. The Navy’s P-3 Orions are now being used as overland ISR aircraft. P-8 Poseidon production is slow and threatened by sequestration.

But even during the Cold War, when US ASW capabilities were far better than they were today, they were still woefully inadequate – so much so that even obsolete allied and Soviet submarines had no problems sneaking up on, and scoring goals against, USN surface ships and subs – including, yes, the Navy’s much vaunted and supposedly undetectable Ohio class boomers.

To give but one example: in 1981, during routine NATO exercises in the North Atlantic, a Canadian 1960s-vintage diesel submarine sneaked undetected under US ships and “sunk” not one, but TWO American aircraft carriers and took photos of them. The USN didn’t even know what hit them until a Canadian submariner leaked the story to the Canadian press. This was at a time when the Canadian military was dramatically underfunded and Ottawa had arguably the most anti-military government in its history. And in 1985, an obsolete Soviet submarine successfully sneaked upon USN SSBNs several times, again without the USN knowing the adversary was even there.

These days, allied submarines – even obsolete ones – ROUTINELY beat the US Navy and “sink” its much-vaunted carriers and submarines in exercises. It has happened more often than I can be bothered to count, but Professor Roger Thompson has listed some of these occassions here:

http://pl.scribd.com/doc/18023250/Is-the-USN-Obsolete

The USN is so crappy at ASW that even an idiot could sneak a submarine upon its ships and sink at least one of them. Intelligent submarine skippers, such as those of the PLAN, could compensate for the Jin class’s noise by using ocean current temperature changes, for example.

In fact, using the Jin class is a win-win situation for China. If they stay in the noisy waters of the Yellow Sea or the South China Sea, it would be very difficult to find them. If they sail into the open Pacific, it would be even more difficult to detect them as one would have to scan the entire, vast Pacific – the largest ocean in the world – for their subs.

2) The JL-2 submarine-launched ballistic missile DOES have sufficient range to hit the CONUS (though not yet from Chinese territorial waters). While Kristensen and Conroy falsely claim that the JL-2 only has a 7,200-7,400 km range, it actually has a range of at least 8,000, and probably more, kilometers.

GlobalSecurity.org, arguably the most credible military information website on the Internet, says that the JL-2’s range is at least 8,000, and may be up to 9,000, kms:

http://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/world/china/jl-2.htm

Quote from the GS article:

“Most reports agree that the JL-2 will ahve a range of about 8,000 km, while some reports suggest that the missile will have an estimated range at least 9,000 kilometers.”

The DOD itself was saying, as recently as 2008, that the JL-2 had a range of 8,000 kms, not 7,200 or 7,400, and in that year’s report on China’s military, the DOD included this nice map showing the JL-2’s range to be sufficient to strike the entire Pacific Northwest of the US:

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/da/PLA_ballistic_missiles_range.jpg/300px-PLA_ballistic_missiles_range.jpg

PLA_ballistic_missiles_range

So why the downgrade now? In all likelihood, due to the pressure of the Chinese (pro-appeasement) lobby inside and outside the US government, which doesn’t want the American public to know the real magnitude of the Chinese military threat and doesn’t want anyone to interfere with their kowtowing to China. Bill Gertz has already documented how the CIA, the DIA, the DOD at large, and other agencies have, for years if not decades, dramatically understated the Chinese military threat.

But even the Air Force’s NASIC intelligence center, while understating the JL-2’s range, admits that this missile, coupled with the Jin class, will allow China to “target portions of the United States” from waters near China.

Yet, that doesn’t change the fact that the DOD is on the record, saying just a few years ago, that the JL-2 had an 8,000 kms range and the capability to target the entire PNW.

TheDiplomat agrees that the JL-2 has an 8,000 km range:

http://thediplomat.com/flashpoints-blog/2013/07/25/coming-soon-chinas-jl-2-sub-launched-ballistic-missile/

So the JL-2’s range is 8,000 kms, not a mere 7,200 or 7,400.

With that range, the JL-2 still cannot target the CONUS while being in Chinese territorial waters – but it can target anything on the West Coast, including LA and San Diego, if positioned at just slightly east of 150E, i.e. slightly east of Honshu Island. Roughly the same geographic longitude as Micronesia.

If it sails somewhat further into the Pacific, to 160E, it can target any place in the CONUS. I’ve already covered this subject here:

http://zbigniewmazurak.wordpress.com/2012/11/20/dismissing-the-jin-ssbn-class-is-wrong/

And included a nice map here:

http://zbigniewmazurak.files.wordpress.com/2012/11/easia_oceania_92_2.jpg?w=1024&h=710

Of course, if the JL-2’s range is 9,000 kms, as some reports say, the Jin class can target the CONUS from even further afar.

In any case, within a few years, the discussion over the JL-2’s range will become a moot one, because two new JL-2 variants will enter service: the Jia and the Yi. The Jia will be able to carry 6-8 warheads over a distance of 12,000 kms; the Yi, up to 12 warheads over a range of 14,000 kms. Proof:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/JL-2

Both of these missiles will give the Jin class the ability to target any place in the CONUS from Chinese territorial waters or even their homeports.
And as for the oft-repeated idiocy that China has only 250 warheads – it’s also a blatant lie. In fact, China has between 1,600 and 3,000 nuclear warheads, according to estimates by General Viktor Yesin (former CoS of the Russian SMF) and Professor Philip Karber (former DOD chief nuclear strategist), respectively. China’s 3,000 miles of missile tunnels alone prove that China’s nuclear arsenal is far, far larger than a mere 250 warheads – you don’t build such a vast network of tunnels for just 250 warheads. A few hundred miles would have been enough.

There is other evidence China’s nuke arsenal is larger than that. The PLAAF alone has more bombs than a mere 250 for its bomber/striker fleet (H-6s, JH-7s, Q-5s): 440 according to General Yesin. China also has 500 nuclear-armed LACMs and SRBMs, and China’s 100-120 MRBMs (DF-3, DF-21) are quite likely also nuclear-armed, considering the vast majority of them are aimed at Russia and India.

3) There is no evidence that the Central Military Commission has NOT delegated command-and-control authority to the PLA Navy and that China does not load nuclear warheads onto its submarines. In fact, we should assume that the CMC HAS given such authority to the PLAN and that Chinese SSBNs ARE normally loaded with nuclear warheads. Otherwise, it would make no sense at all for China to build all of these submarines and missiles only not to load them with nuclear weapons. In any case, China threat deniers like Conroy and Kristensen have no evidence whatsoever for their claims.

4) The PLA Navy has five Jin class subs, not a mere three, and is building a sixth one. Three Jin class boats is what it had in 2007/2008, when none other than Hans Kristensen spotted the third Jin class sub in a satellite photo of Huludao Shipyard. Evidence here.

Kristensen also desperately denies that any articles boasting of the PLA’s nuclear strike capability against the United States have been published in Chinese state media. He claims this has appeared only on private Chinese websites not connected to the government.

This claim, however, like all other claims of Kristensen, is patently false, however. The article boasting of how China would strike the US with nuclear warheads carried by JL-2 and DF-31 missiles appeared in none other than the Global Times – a state-run, rabidly anti-American newspaper tightly linked to and controlled by the Communist Party of China. As Bill Gertz correctly reported in the Washington Times on Nov. 20th (emphasis mine):

“an alarming report in another newspaper, the xenophobic Communist Party-affiliated Global Times, revealing for the first time the Chinese military’s detailed plans for using submarine-launched and road-mobile nuclear missiles to attack American cities.

The Global Times article included photos of missile systems and maps showing nuclear attacks on downtown Los Angeles, Seattle, New York, and other U.S. locations.

“In general, after a nuclear missile strikes a city, the radioactive dust produced by 20 warheads will be spread by the wind, forming a contaminated area for thousands of kilometers,” the report said.

“Based on the actual level of China’s one million tons TNT equivalent small nuclear warhead technology, the 12 JL-2 [submarine-launched] nuclear missiles carried by one Type 094 nuclear submarine could cause the destruction of five million to 12 million people, forming a very clear deterrent effect.”

*********************

In sum, China threat deniers’ claims are all blatant lies. China DOES already have a credible sea-based nuclear deterrent and its JL-2 SLBMs CAN hit the Continental United States if launched from a position just slightly east of Japan. China has five, not three, modern Jin class submarines, enabling it to provide a continous at-sea nuclear deterrent, and these submarines CAN, without much difficulty, evade detection by the USN.

Let’s face it. China is coming closer to reaching nuclear parity with the US every day – and deploying Jin class subs is a big step in that regard. These subs have given China a very survivable, accurate, deadly, and continous at-sea nuclear deterrent. 

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