Friday, January 13, 2012

1/11/12 RD Bulletin: U.S. Removing 2 Combat Brigades from Europe, says U.K.

State of Play

Executive: Speaking with Bloomberg following a meeting with Secretary Panetta, U.K. defense chief Phillip Hammond said the Obama Administration’s forthcoming budget request would seek to remove two combat brigades from Europe.  In an interview with NPR’s Rachel Martin, Secretary Panetta said the recently completed Pentagon strategy review would “go out the window” if Congress failed to prevent $500 billion in automatic spending cuts to the Department of Defense.   Secretary Panetta and Gen. Dempsey responded affirmatively, when asked if economic sanctions presented a better option than military action to combat Iran’s growing nuclear program.  The Pentagon has approved a $5.7 billion plan by the Army to develop anti-missile defenses for its helicopter fleet.  And the United States is sending five military officers to South Sudan following recent outbursts of violence in the nascent country. 

At a CNAS event covering the future of U.S. security policy in the South China Sea, Admiral Jonathan Greenert said that at any given time the Navy has fifty ships deployed in the Asia Pacific region and that this represents the “right proportion” of forward deployed vessels despite the White House’s renewed focus on the region.  White House budget director Jacob Lew, credited as one of the chief architects of last August’s Budget Control Act compromise to raise the debt limit, will be taking over as White House chief of staff when William Daley steps down at the end of the month.  A replacement for Lew has not been announced yet.
Legislative: And speaking of debt limits, President Obama is expected to request from Congress an increase in U.S. borrowing authority limit within “a matter of days.”  The United States officially surpassed its debt limit on January 4; however the Treasury Department has since been tapping into the Exchange Stabilization Fund in order to meet financial obligations. 


The Real News: The Cost of Full Spectrum Dominance
In an interview with Paul Jay, author Catherine Lutz argues that the Pentagon’s new strategic guidance maintains the U.S. military doctrine of overwhelming superiority, and cites Carl Conetta’s recent analysis that the DoD budget will only come down by 4 percent over the next five years.   (1/11/12)

Project on Government Oversight:
New Year, Same Old Pentagon: Three Takeaways from Panetta’s National Security Strategy Presser
Ben Freeman’s three biggest takeaways from the recent Pentagon strategy review are: that the defense budget will continue to grow; that the strategic review does not address the growth in contractor personnel or star creep, and that the White House has signaled interest in reducing the U.S. nuclear arsenal.  (1/9/12)

Congressional Quarterly:
Defense Lobbyists, Contractors Begin to Speculate Where Cuts Will Hit
Frank Oliveri surveys defense analysts’ predictions on how the defense budget will be trimmed, with Charles Knight forecasting “I don’t think we’re at the end of this.”  (1/6/12)

Center for American Progress:
President Obama’s Defense Readjustments Shaped by New Strategic and Fiscal Realities
Dr. Larry Korb and Alex Rothman of CAP opine that the President’s new defense strategy and his goal to cut $450 billion from the defense budget over ten years “presents a responsible step toward regaining control of the defense budget.”  (1/6/12)

Other News and Commentary

Politico: Was $73 of Afghan Aid Wasted?
Because of high overhead costs and corruption, a former SIGAR auditor writes that only 10-15 percent of humanitarian aid provided to Afghanistan by the United States actually reaches its intended target.  (1/11/12)

National Interest:
Why Not to Attack Iran
Elbridge Colby and Austin Long make the case for why a military strike on Iran would be counter-productive, rallying Iranians around their despised leadership and alienating potential allies in the cause against Iran’s nuclear program.  (1/11/12)

Stars and Stripes:
CNO: Don’t Expect More Troops, Ships in the Pacific
Speaking at a CNAS event this week, the head of the Navy, Admiral Jonathan Greenert, said that the Administration’s increased focus on Asia Pacific would not necessary translate into additional ships being deployed to the region.  (1/10/12)

Danger Room:
Almost 1 in 3 U.S. Warplanes Is a Robot
According to a new CRS report obtained by Danger Room, drones now account for 31 percent of all U.S. military aircraft, prompting some analysts to question why the United States is investing so heavily in the F-35 JSF.  (1/9/12)

Stars and Stripes:
Army Sought ‘Universal’ Radio, But Created a Boondoggle
David Axe reports that the Department of Defense spent $6 billion on the cancelled joint tactical radio system and then spent an additional $11 billion fielding conventional radio systems in Iraq and Afghanistan.  However, the Army now estimates that it will have to spend another $12 billion to develop “better radios.”  (1/9/12)

National Interest:
An Insecure America Scapegoats China
Ted Galen Carpenter argues that, because of China’s rising economic prominence and growing ability to counter U.S. military capabilities, the typical election-year scapegoating of the PRC by American politicians may endure beyond November 6.  (1/9/12)

Los Angeles Times:
Obama’s Modest Proposal on Defense
Doyle McManus exposes underlying contradictions in the Pentagon’s strategy review, namely that President Obama wants to be seen as shrinking the defense budget while concurrently reengaging China and maintaining the U.S. military presence in the Middle East.  (1/8/12)

New York Times:
No Need for All These Nukes
More than twenty years after the end of the Cold War, Philip Taubman argues that there’s no national security justification for maintaining a nuclear arsenal of 5,000 warheads, and that 1,500 nuclear weapons are more than enough to keep the United States safe.  (1/7/12)  
Bloomberg: Obama Adopts Bush Plan to Cut U.S. Combat Brigades in Europe, Hammond Says
After meeting with Secretary Panetta last week, the United Kingdom’s defense secretary, Philip Hammond, said the Obama Administration plans on cutting the number of combat brigades stationed in Europe from four to two in its upcoming budget request.  (1/6/12)

Center for Strategic and International Studies:
The New US Strategy: Asking the Right Questions
CSIS’ Anthony Cordesman cautions supporters and critics of the new Pentagon strategic review to hold their judgement, because successive administrations and Congresses will determine the success of the new strategy and its effort to reduce military budgets.  (1/5/12)

Reports and Publications:

Center for a New American Century: Cooperation from Strength: The United States, China and the South China Sea
A new report from CNAS recommends that the U.S. Navy increase its fleet to 346 ships and specifically avoid reducing it to 250 vessels.  (1/9/12)

Center for American Progress:
Defense in an Age of Austerity
Dr. Larry Korb and Alex Rothman provide recommendations for trimming $600 billion from the defense budget over the next ten years, finding savings in personnel, procurement, nuclear weapons, and military healthcare.  (1/6/12)

Congressional Research Service: U.S. Unmanned Aerial Systems (1/3/12)

Congressional Research Service:
U.S. Periods of War and Dates of Current Conflict  (12/29/11)

Congressional Research Service:
The National Security Council: An Organizational Assessment  (12/28/11)

Congressional Research Service:
The Army’s Ground Combat Vehicle Program: Background and Issues for Congress  (12/27/11)  

Congressional Research Service: Director of National Intelligence Statutory Authorities: Status and Proposals  (12/16/11)

Congressional Research Service: China Naval Modernization: Implications for U.S. Navy Capabilities – Background and Issues for Congress  (11/30/11)