29 June 2013

Think Tank: Indo US Defence Cooperation: Impetus in Strategic Dialogue

By Rahul Bhonsle

External Affairs Minister of India Shri Salman Khurshid and Secretary of State John F Kerry co-chaired the fourth India-US Strategic Dialogue on June 24, 2013. One of the key elements in the Fourth Dialogue was the track on defence and security cooperation. In the joint media interaction by the Minister/Secretary it was remarked that they, “talked about defence co-development, co-manufacture, co-purchase”. 

As per the Fact Sheet issued on International Security, defense relationship encompasses military-to-military dialogues, exercises, defense sales, professional military education exchanges, and practical cooperation. Special mention was made in the Joint Statement of regular military training exercises, like the Army series Yudh Abhyas, which took place in May 2013, and the naval series Malabar planned for later this year. 

The Joint Statement indicated that both countries are committed to maritime security, unimpeded commerce and freedom of navigation, and the peaceful resolution of maritime disputes in accordance with international law. A particular reference possibly in the context of the ASEAN mechanisms to China’s aggressive behavior in the  South China Sea and reluctance to evolve a common code of conduct for smooth passage of maritime trade. India and the US have consistently mentioned in the past that sea lines of communication are a part of the global commons and thus free for unhindered trade. Towards this end India also welcomed the entry of the United States to the Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Cooperation (IOR-ARC) as a Dialogue Partner in November 2012, and the United States welcomed India’s Observer status to the Arctic Council in May 2013.

USA: U.S. Navy and Marine Corps Complete Successful Dawn Blitz

By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Molly Evans, Commander, U.S. Third Fleet Public Affairs and Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kenan O'Connor, Navy Public Affairs Support Element West

<< A U.S. Navy Assault Craft Unit 5 Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC) and a Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) LCAC wait to unload equipment onto the beach during amphibious assault training as part of exercise Dawn Blitz. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Molly A. Evans/Released)

SAN DIEGO (NNS) - U.S. 3rd Fleet's Expeditionary Strike Group 3 (ESG 3) and I Marine Expeditionary Force's (IMEF) 1st Marine Expeditionary Brigade (1st MEB) along with coalition partners from Canada, New Zealand and Japan completed the multilateral amphibious exercise Dawn Blitz (DB13), June 28.

The two-week exercise, held off the coast of Southern California, provided a vigorous training environment for U.S. Sailors and Marines to increase core amphibious capabilities while strengthening international partnerships.

The culminating training event of Dawn Blitz occurred June 24, when U.S. Navy's Assault Craft Unit 5, Beach Master Unit 1, U.S. Marine Corps' 2nd Battalion 5th Marines and foreign military counterparts led an assault on Camp Pendelton's Red Beach where nearly 70 amphibious assault vehicles (AAV) and six landing craft air cushion (LCAC) vehicles landed on the beach and moved inland for additional training ashore.

USA: Carter Hosts Brunei Darussalam’s Deputy Defense Minister

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 28, 2013 – Deputy Defense Secretary Ash Carter met at the Pentagon yesterday with Brunei Darussalam’s deputy defense minister, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said.

In a statement summarizing the meeting, Little said Carter complimented Dato Paduka Haji Mustappa bin Haji Sirat for Brunei’s ongoing leadership during its chairmanship of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

“The two leaders agreed that ASEAN continues to play a vital role in ensuring a spirit of cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region, which is essential to the promotion of shared security and prosperity,” he said.

Carter congratulated Brunei on having recently concluded a historic multilateral exercise focusing on humanitarian assistance, disaster relief and military medicine, which the two leaders agreed demonstrates ASEAN’s importance as a platform for regional nations to address shared security challenges, enhance interoperability and build trust, the press secretary said.

Carter and Dato Mustappa also discussed ways in which the United States and Brunei are deepening their bilateral relations, he added, and they talked about plans for the ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Meeting-Plus ministerial conference in August, which Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel will attend.

"Deputy Secretary Carter reiterated Secretary Hagel’s offer to host all ASEAN defense ministers in the United States next year, and noted he looked forward to staying in close touch," Little said.

Industry: Chemring Australia awarded AUD3.07m funding by the Australian Government to develop Electronic Warfare capabilities

Chemring Australia has been awarded a AUD3.07m (GST exclusive) Priority Industry Capability Innovation Program Grant by the Australian Government.  The AUD3.07m in matched funding from the Australian Government will support the development of an Australian designed, manufactured and supported Electronic Attack solution for sale in the domestic and international markets.  This capability will interface with, and complement, the existing Electronic Surveillance System ‘Resolve’ developed by Chemring Technology Solutions (‘CTS’), a sister company of Chemring Australia based in the UK.  Chemring Australia will work closely with CTS to achieve these outcomes.

The funding will also support the establishment of an Australian capability to support the design, development, systems integration, manufacture and support of complex electronic systems.  This will initially be achieved by the transfer of skills and technology from CTS.

“The award of this funding is a significant step in the development of Chemring Australia’s capabilities” said Mark Hender, Managing Director of Chemring Australia. “Chemring has already demonstrated a willingness to transfer capabilities to support the Australia Defence Force with the establishment of a state-of-the-art air-launched countermeasures manufacturing facility that was commissioned in 2012.  This funding will allow us to do the same in the electronic warfare domain.”

About Priority Industry Capability Innovation Program

The Priority Industry Capability (PIC) Innovation Program is an Australian Government initiative, providing direct support in the form of repayable, matched grants, to Australian defence companies. The program particularly focuses on assisting small to medium sized enterprises to pursue innovative defence industry projects.

News Story: US Trains Philippines On Drones Amid China Fears

CAVITE CITY, PHILIPPINES — US troops trained their Philippine counterparts how to use surveillance drones Friday, as Manila seeks to boost military ties with Washington and counter what it perceives as a rising security threat from China.

The naval exercises are part of annual training operations between the two defense partners, but they have come under closer scrutiny this year due to simmering tensions between Manila and Beijing over rival claims to the South China Sea.

At a naval base around 13 kilometers (eight miles) southwest of the capital Manila, US Navy SEALs taught Filipino soldiers how to use small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), or drones, launching one from a boat at sea. It circled the base and landed in the water.

Read the full story at DefenseNews

Editorial: Made in China - A US-Japan-Philippines Axis?

By  Zachary Keck

International relations scholars of the Realist persuasion have long held that when faced with a security threat, states balance against it in two ways. The first way is through internal balancing; that is, by strengthening one’s own capabilities. This is the preferred balancing mechanism for states, according to realists, as it doesn’t force states to rely on allies’ goodwill in meeting their commitments, and doesn’t risk the state being dragged into others’ fights.
However, oftentimes the power disparity between a rising state and its adversaries means that internal balancing alone will not suffice in countering it. In these instances, realists contend, states will seek to align with third parties who also view the powerful state as a threat.
Although the social sciences are nowhere near as exact as the natural ones, East Asia over the past few months have largely followed this pattern, especially with regards to the Philippines and Japan—the two states who have been engaged in the most prolonged and intense maritime standoffs with China in recent years.
Thus, after wrangling with China in the Scarborough Shoal last year, the Philippines unveiled a US$1.8 billion military modernization plan that is heavy on weapons acquisition. Similarly, shortly after taking office in December, Shinzo Abe’s administration asked for two increases in in defense spending in January alone, even though Tokyo hadn’t raised military spending since 2002.

Read the full story at The Diplomat

Editorial: America’s Pacific Force Structure Takes Shape

V-22 Osprey (Wiki Info - Image: Wiki Commons)

By Robbin F. Laird

Through new capabilities like the Osprey and F-35, the U.S. and its allies are building a 21st century attack and defense enterprise.

The U.S. Navy-U.S. Marine Corps team is at the heart of a strategic evolution of 21st century U.S. military forces, notably in the Pacific. An inherent characteristic of many of the U.S. military’s new systems is that they are really about presence and putting a grid over an operational area, and therefore they can be used to support offensive strikes or defensive actions within an integrated approach.
In the 20th century, surge was built on the notion of signaling. One would put in a particular combat capability – a Carrier Battle Group, Amphibious Ready Group, or Air Expeditionary Wing – to put down a marker and warn a potential adversary that you were there and ready to be taken seriously. If one needed to, additional forces would be sent in to escalate and build up force.
With the new multi-mission systems, the key is presence and integration able to support offense or defense in a single operational presence capability. What is emerging is a 21st century attack and defense enterprise.
The strategic thrust of integrating modern systems is to create a grid that can operate in an area as a seamless whole, able to strike or defend simultaneously. This is enabled by the evolution of C5ISR (Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Combat Systems, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance). By shaping a C5ISR system inextricably intertwined with platforms and assets – which can honeycomb an area of operation – an attack and defense enterprise can operate to deter adversaries or to conduct successful military operations.
Inherent in such an enterprise is scalability and reach-back. By deploying the C5ISR honeycomb, the shooters in the enterprise can reach back to each other to enable the entire grid of operation, for either defense or offense. 

Read the full 2 page story at The Diplomat

28 June 2013

Think Tank: Has Indonesia welcomed the US pivot?

By Natalie Sambhi

It’s no secret that in the early days of the US pivot’s announcement, there was a split between Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa’s initial caution about US troop presence in Darwin and the President’s more measured response. With more of the pivot revealed since late 2011, it’s worth looking at how Indonesia’s reaction towards it has crystallised—not just towards the military dimension of the pivot but also other elements relating to multilateral engagement, economics and trade, and democracy.

Indonesia continues to be uncertain about what the military elements of the pivot mean for its security. In one sense, there are more opportunities for defence cooperation with both the US and Australia, including military education exchange programs and joint exercises. However, there still remains some hesitation about the presence of Marines close to Indonesia’s shores. As noted by Vice Presidential advisor Dewi Fortuna Anwar, historical suspicions about US interference in Indonesia continue to cast the deployment to Darwin in a negative light.

Yet the more pressing strategic point for Indonesia is the effect of the military rebalance on China. If it was to result in strategic escalation between the US and China and a destabilisation of the region, that wouldn’t be in Indonesia’s interest. Indonesia isn’t a claimant to territories in the South China Sea, although there’s an overlap between the Indonesian claims for the EEZ around the Natuna Islands and China’s maritime claims. As a result, it’s watching with interest the outcomes of China’s interactions with other ASEAN states. As Columbia University’s Ann Marie Murphy pointed out at last week’s ANU–CSIS Jakarta–Weatherhead East Asia Institute conference in Jakarta, ‘Intersections of Power, Politics and Conflict in Asia’, the Philippines effectively lost the Scarborough Shoal after its confrontation with China in December. While the Philippines had hoped the US would come to its aid under the Mutual Defense Treaty, a deal was brokered instead that resulted in Philippines Navy withdrawing but China occupying the area. Indonesia has fewer options to invoke US assistance than the Philippines, and with a navy in dire need of an upgrade, it’s in its interests to keep military confrontations in the region to a minimum.

USA: CARAT Philippines Supports Strong and Enduring Maritime Relationship

From Commander, Task Force 73 Public Affairs

<< Members of the Philippine Navy band greet the guided-missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) as the ship arrives June 27 for CARAT Philippines. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jay C. Pugh)

SUBIC BAY, Philippines - The 19th annual Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) Philippines exercise commenced with an opening ceremony in Subic Bay, June 27.

Continuing through July 2, CARAT Philippines 2013 consists of seven days of shore-based and at-sea training events designed to address shared maritime security priorities, develop relationships, and enhance interoperability among participating forces.

"For the past 19 years, CARAT Philippines has played a major role in the strong and enduring relationship between our naval forces," said Rear Adm. Tom Carney, commander, Task Force 73 and commander, Naval Forces CARAT. "This year's exercise builds on that longstanding foundation, and offers many opportunities to conduct joint and combined training with the Philippine Navy, Coast Guard and Marine Corps."

USA: 7th Fleet Commander Meets with Senior Leaders in Timor-Leste

From U.S. 7th Fleet Public Affairs

DILI, Timor-Leste (NNS) -- The commander of U.S. 7th Fleet met with key government leaders for defense and health in Timor-Leste during a June 24 visit emphasizing partnership and cooperation in the region.

During the visit Vice Adm. Scott Swift also gave a lecture at the National Defense Institute, spoke with members of the media, and hosted a reception in honor of the people of Timor-Leste.

The senior-level meeting participants included Ambassador Judith Fergin, Major Gen. Lere Anan Timor, Minister of Health Dr. Sergio Lobo and Secretary of State for Defense Julio Tomas Pinto. 

Topics of discussion ranged from health care to infrastructure to military proficiency, including cooperative efforts in training Timor-Leste's doctors and health care professionals, construction projects by U.S. Navy Seabees, the desire for more robust military training and proficiency, and review of the Navy's long-term rebalance to the Indo-Asian-Pacific region.

USA: Face of Defense - Australia Rotation Feels Like ‘Welcome Home’

By Marine Corps Sgt. Sarah Fiocco
Marine Rotational Force Darwin

<< Marine Corps Sgt. Ian Polhamus poses in front of an Australian flag June 27, 2013, during his deployment to Marine Rotational Force Darwin in Australia’s Northern Territory. While growing up, Polhamus lived in Australia for seven years. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Sarah Fiocco 

ROBERTSON BARRACKS, Australia, June 27, 2013 – For most Marines who arrived in Australia’s Northern Territory a few months ago as part of Marine Rotational Force Darwin, the local culture has been a foreign concept.

From the accents and wildlife to the traffic laws and climate, it was clear they had traveled far from home.

But for Marine Corps Sgt. Ian Polhamus, a squad leader with 3rd Platoon, Lima Company, 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, this rotation has not felt like a deployment at all. To him, it feels like a welcome home.

News Report: US-Japan war games off the California coast imitate Chinese invasion

US Marines storm ashore during a Military Exercise

The US and Japan are preparing for a possible Chinese invasion of the Senkaku Islands. Using a small island off the coast of California, US and Japanese forces are mimicking an armed invasion and an amphibious assault to prepare for a real-life scenario.
The unprecedented drills, code-named Dawn Blitz, are being conducted on San Clemente Island, which is 75 miles northwest of San Diego, the Christian Science Monitor reports.  They began with an assault led by 80 US Marines and three MV-22 Osprey aircraft, and were followed by a Japanese counterattack using 1,000 troops and two warships. Although Japanese officials claim they are not preparing to target a third country, the exercises have made Chinese officials uncomfortable.
China and Japan have long disputed the Senkaku Islands, which are located in the East China Sea but which the Japanese government purchased from private owners in 2012. The islands are uninhabited, but believed to hold rich oil and gas deposits. The purchase triggered violent protests that tens of thousands of Chinese took part in, and harmed Sino-Japanese relations.

News Story: Philippines Wants To Give US, Japan Access To Bases

MANILA — The Philippines said Thursday it was looking to give the United States and Japan greater access to its military bases as it seeks to counter what it perceives as a rising security threat from China.

The government is initially drafting a plan that would allow US forces to spend more time on Filipino bases, something that could be offered to Japan’s military later, Defence Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said.

“If and when there is agreement on the access, then there will be equipment coming in from the (United) States,” Gazmin told a joint news conference in Manila after meeting with visiting Japan Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera.

“Now as far as Japan is concerned, we do welcome other countries — particularly Japan since Japan is a strategic partner — in accordance with our existing protocols.”

President Benigno Aquino had already stated that the Philippines would welcome an increased US military presence, amid tense disputes with China over competing claims to parts of the South China Sea.

Read the full story at DefenseNews

News Story: Indian Air Force Wants Light Utility Helicopter Purchase Sped Up


NEW DELHI — The Indian Air Force (IAF) has asked the Ministry of Defense (MOD) to speed up procurement of light utility helicopters. The request comes in the wake of a deadly crash of a newly acquired Russian-made Mi-17during a June 25 rescue mission in a region of the Himalayas that has been devastated by floods.

The request for accelerating the procurement of light utility helicopters (LUH) has been conveyed to the MOD, said sources in the IAF.

The IAF has been demanding replacement of its aging Cheetah and Chetak helicopters, which are mostly used for logistics in the upper reaches of northern India.

The $900 million LUH tender issued in 2009 — in which Kamov of Russia and Eurocopter of France are competing — remains undecided by MOD, which has given no reasons for the delay.

Read the full story at DefenseNews

27 June 2013

News Story: New Delhi Issues Surface Surveillance Radar Bid


NEW DELHI — The Indian Ministry of Defense (MoD) has issued tenders to domestic defense companies to supply surface surveillance radars (SSR) valued at more than US $300 million.

The domestic companies in turn have teamed up with foreign firms to acquire necessary technology for the competition.

When asked why the tender was issued only to domestic companies, knowing that most of them will need technological help from overseas defense companies, an MoD official said, “India wants to encourage the domestic defense industry.”

Read the full story at DefenseNews

News Story: Australia seeks Triton superdrones for Indian Ocean overwatch

By Rob Taylor

(Reuters) - Rising Indian Ocean rivalries as China seeks to safeguard key energy lifelines loom behind an Australian push for a $3 billion fleet of maritime superdrones, which will likely boost intelligence sharing with the United States.

With elections looming and pressure for budget savings, the purchase of up to seven MQ-4C Triton unmanned aircraft has emerged as rare point of bipartisan agreement between Australia's Labor government and conservative opponents, but both sides are reluctant to discuss their wider strategic aims.

"There's not a lot of new money in our policy, (but) we are going into Broad Area Maritime Surveillance, the Triton," said conservative defense spokesman David Johnston, who is likely to become defense minister following the September 14 elections.

The Triton, under development by Northrop Grumman, is the size of a small airliner with a 40-metre wingspan. It can cruise at 20,000 meters for up to 30 hours, sweeping a distance greater than Sydney to London with 360-degree radar and sensors including infra-red and optical cameras.

Read the full story at Reuters

26 June 2013

Think Tank: Deal or no deal in the South China Sea

By Graeme Dobell

As the curtain comes down on this series of posts surveying the Asian strategic landscape, the final scene sets us up a lot more drama to come. Southeast Asia’s great fear is that it faces much more of the same pain in the future as it has had for the last five years from China over the South China Sea. ASEAN would love to get the offer Beijing is making Washington of a new strategic relationship. But in view for ASEAN, unfortunately, is the same-old-same-old, applied with renewed vigour by the new leadership team in China.

Indeed, if the legal challenge the Philippines is mounting to China’s territorial claims goes well for Manila, ASEAN might face an even more excruciating version of what it has suffered in the past couple of years. In that case the recent status quo might look more like a plateau of pain that’s about to be surpassed by even more pain.

China’s view of its sovereignty in the South China Sea rests on a view of history—and of righting the wrongs of history—rather than the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. If China’s view of the right bestowed by history were to prevail, as one Jakarta wit observes, then suddenly Indonesia could start claiming quite a bit of northern Australian waters based on centuries of voyages by Bugis fishermen.

The South China Sea narrative involves a lot of discussion about overlapping claims, the attempts at negotiation, the effort to build Codes and now the Manila resort to international law. The problem for ASEAN is that this narrative of negotiation, rules and law is a set of responses, not the driver of events. For China, the South China Sea saga isn’t ultimately about law, it’s about power. Beijing can never fully respond to ASEAN or US calls to explain the legal basis of its sovereignty claims because that would reveal how far it’s overreaching.

Think Tank: Canada and the limits of maritime diplomacy

By David McDonough

Canada has begun to play a more visible role at the Shangri-La Dialogue, and this year’s summit was no exception. Defence Minister Peter MacKay even very publicly broached the issue of participating in the ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting Plus (ADMM-Plus). In some ways, Canada’s request is understandable. Regular, high-level participation at Shangri-La is often seen as necessary for joining ADMM-Plus. As Peter Jennings noted in his recent Strategist post on Canada in the Asia–Pacific, this request was also politely rejected, a reminder that what might be necessary is not necessarily sufficient.

Part of this rejection arose from Canada’s often fleeting attention to the Asia–Pacific region itself. A good case in point is Prime Minister Brian Mulroney’s North Pacific Cooperative Security Dialogue, quickly shelved after only a few short years and raising well-placed concerns about Canada’s staying power (PDF). One can also add Canada’s equally brief funding for the track-two South China Sea Dialogue in the 1990s.

Even Canada’s more regular, high-level appearances at Shangri-La were preceded by several years of relative inattention—a fact that regional leaders will remember when contemplating an invitation to ADMM-Plus, to say nothing of the East Asia Summit.

AUS: Frontline soldiers benefit from Diggerworks

Minister for Defence Science and Personnel Warren Snowdon and the Minister for Defence Materiel Mike Kelly today released a study reinforcing how the Department of Defence’s Diggerworks initiative has vastly improved the way Australian soldiers are equipped for combat.

Diggerworks is a joint initiative between Army, the Defence Materiel Organisation, the Capability Development Group and the Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO) to identify and deliver technology to enhance the fighting capability of our frontline soldiers and tactical unit.

The study undertaken by Danny Samson, Professor of Management at the University of Melbourne and Dr Peter Cebon, former Senior Research Fellow at the University of Melbourne, analysed the the success of the Diggerworks initiative.

India: Commander US Pacific Command Calls on Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee

Adm Locklear (Wiki Info - Image Wiki)

Admiral Samuel J.Locklear, Commander, US Pacific Command called on Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne, Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee and Chief of the Air Staff at Air Headquarters (Vayu Bhawan) today. 

Today's visit saw issues such as - regional security, South China Sea being discussed, besides a review of growing US-India Security and Defence relationship. 

Admiral Locklear is visiting India towards participating in the 4th India- US Strategic Dialogue 

News Story: China's UAVs Could Challenge Western Dominance

Wing Loong (Pterodactyl) UCAV


TAIPEI — Folks wandering past the model of the Pterodactyl UAV at the Paris Air Show last week were probably unaware that this was China’s first unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) on display at an international defense exhibition.

The model, also known as the Wing Loong, could be the first step by the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) to break the West’s grip on the UAV market by providing affordable and reliable alternatives that also bypass US embargoes, sanctions and regulations. This is particularly the case for African and Middle Eastern countries to which the US is legally constrained from selling arms, or in the case of Israel, refuses to do so.

A report issued by Kimberly Hsu, policy analyst for military and security affairs at the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission, “China’s Military Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Industry,” warns China’s inexpensive and multifunctional unmanned aerial systems are poised to steal the international UAV market away from the US and Israel.

Read the full story at DefenseNews

News Story: Asia-Pacific Defense Budgets 'To Outstrip N. America By 2021'

LONDON — Defense budgets in the Asia-Pacific region will overtake the United States and Canada by 2021, according to a study by respected analysts IHS Jane’s published Tuesday.

Weapons spending in China and other Asia-Pacific countries is expected to rise 35 percent above its 2013 level to $501 billion (€383 billion) by 2021, outstripping North America, the “Balance of Trade” study concluded.

Overall, global arms trade — composed of arms imports and exports — bucked the economic downturn to increase 30 percent between 2008 and 2012, from $56.5 billion to $73.5 billion.

“At this rate, defense trade between countries will have more than doubled by 2020,” the study says.

Read the full story at DefenseNews

News Story: US Army Makes Deep Cuts But Keeps Combat Punch; Capitol Hill Restive


WASHINGTON — In a briefing on Tuesday afternoon that has ignited furious debate on Capitol Hill and in communities that depend on nearby military installations as a key part of their economy, Army Chief Gen. Ray Odierno announced a sweeping plan to cut 12 brigade combat teams (BCT) from the active force by 2017.

The announcement adds critical details to how the service will reduce its end strength by 80,000 soldiers by 2017, but could also be merely the first round in a series of even deeper cuts that the force will endure if sequestration remains the law of the land in 2014 and after.

The reduction of BCTs from 45 to 33 doesn’t tell the whole story of what the Army is doing, however, since the service will protect its overall combat punch by retaining 95 out of its 98 combat battalions while taking cuts in headquarters positions across the brigades.

To do this, the service will increase the number of maneuver battalions in each brigade from two to three, while adding engineering and fires capabilities to each unit.

Army leadership has for months been talking about reducing the Army’s 45 BCTs by about eight — it had already identified two heavy brigades stationed in Europe that will stand down by the end of 2013 — as the Army winnows its force structure from more than 560,000 personnel to 490,000 by 2017.

The general called the moves “one of the largest organizational changes probably since World War II” for the service.

Read the full story at DefenseNews

News Story: Avoid further time slippage - Antony on LCA project

NEW DELHI (PTI): Worried over the long delay in the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) project, Defence Minister A K Antony has asked DRDO and HAL to avoid further time slippage and stick to the schedule of achieving final clearance for the indigenous plane by the end of next year.

In a meeting to review the programme, it was decided that efforts would be made by all the stakeholders to attain the Initial Operational Clearance (IOC-2) of the aircraft by November this year and its Final Operational Clearance (FOC) by the end of 2014.

"The Defence Minister stressed upon the necessity to stick to the schedule and for concerted efforts on the part of all stake holders for avoiding further slippage in the programme," Defence Ministry officials said here.

Read the full story at Brahmand

25 June 2013

Think Tank: Kerry in India - Setting the Tone on Security Issues

By Lisa Curtis

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s current visit to India will set the tone for cooperation between the two countries over the next few years, especially in key areas of shared interest, such as managing the security risks associated with China’s rise and the stabilization of Afghanistan.

Focusing on the long-term potential of a strong U.S. relationship with India, Secretary Kerry should seek to forge common ground with Indian leaders on pressing regional security issues and signal U.S. support for India’s growing role in Asia.


Kerry’s visit to India marks the first high-level U.S. visit since the Chinese border incursion in Ladakh in mid-April. Chinese forces had crossed six miles into Indian territory in the eastern Ladakh region and set up tents there for nearly three weeks. The incident angered the Indian public, and New Delhi signaled Beijing that it was prepared to call off a visit by its foreign minister to China in the absence of a resolution to the standoff.

Beijing eventually agreed to pull back its troops, and both sides pledged to restore the status quo ante along the disputed border shortly before Chinese Premier Li Kequiang landed in India for his first overseas visit on May 19.

AUS: 100 days to go until world’s navies arrive in Sydney for Fleet Review

June 24 marks 100 days to go until the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) commemorates the arrival of its first fleet 100 years ago with a spectacular International Fleet Review in Sydneyfrom 3-11 October 2013. 

Ships from more 20 nations comprising around 40 warships and 17 tall ships, plus 8000 naval personnel will help celebrate Navy’s historic event, which is being staged in partnership with the NSW State Government and City of Sydney Council. 

More than 20 nations have confirmed participation by either a warship or tall ship. They include: Australia, Brunei, Canada, China, Colombia, France, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Micronesia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Thailand, Tonga, the United Kingdom and the United States of America. 

“Today is a significant day as it marks 100 days to the International Fleet Review Sydney 2013, an event which will not only celebrate Navy’s centenary in Sydney, but the largest commemorative event the Royal Australian Navy has ever undertaken,” Director of the International Fleet Review Captain Nick Bramwell said. 

AUS: 1000th Mercedes-Benz G-Wagon delivered to Defence

Minister for Defence Materiel Dr Mike Kelly AM MP today announced the delivery of the 1000th Mercedes-Benz G-Wagon under Project LAND 121 Phase 3A.

The new G-Wagons, along with Australian-made trailers, are being rolled out to Army and Royal Australian Air Force units as part of LAND 121 ‘Project Overlander’, a $7.5 billion program delivering more than 7500 protected and unprotected vehicles to the Australian Defence Force (ADF) over the next decade.

“The new G-Wagons will help prepare ADF personnel for operations and provide the flexibility to undertake a wide range of tasks in difficult off-road conditions, while ensuring that Australian soldiers are better prepared and equipped,” Dr Kelly said.

The new variants are used as tactical training vehicles and for a wide range of support tasks. 

“G-Wagon variants include utility, ambulance, surveillance and reconnaissance, mobile command post variants, and even a canine variant to transport military working dogs and their handlers,” Dr Kelly said.

Dr Kelly congratulated Mercedes-Benz on the delivery of the first 1000 G-Wagons, adding that the G-Wagon represents a big step forward for the ADF’s tactical training capability.

“Today’s handover of the 1000th G-Wagon represents an important milestone at the Mercedes-Benz facility in Mulgrave, Victoria,” Dr Kelly said.

“At the Mulgrave facility, modules and tray bodies provided by G.H. Varley in Newcastle are integrated with the vehicles and pre-delivery work is undertaken.”

A total of 2146 G-Wagons are being rolled out to ADF units between July 2012 and June 2016.

AUS: Sale of decommissioned Ships Manoora and Kanimbla

HMAS Manoora & HMAS Kanimbla

Minister for Defence Materiel Dr Mike Kelly AM MP today announced the disposal by sale of the Royal Australian Navy’s (RAN) decommissioned ships HMAS Manoora and HMAS Kanimbla.

Dr Kelly said the Navy vessels would be recycled by purchaser Southern Recycling LLC in the United States in a manner commensurate to the environmental standards the Commonwealth expected of such disposal activities by 2014.

“In June 2012, the Department of Defence released a Request for Tender offering the two former Australian naval vessels for sale for recycling to domestic and international markets,” Dr Kelly said.

The disposal of these vessels required US Government consent in accordance with US International Traffic in Arms Regulations, which has now been achieved.

AUS: Priority Industry Capability Innovation Program to award $9.4 million in its second round

Minister for Defence Materiel Dr Mike Kelly AM MP today announced that five Australian defence companies will be offered a total of $9.4 million in funding through the second round of the Priority Industry Capability Innovation Program (PICIP). 

Dr Kelly said the PICIP provides eligible Australian defence companies with up to $4 million in matched funding to help commercialise innovative technologies that support and enhance Australia’s Priority Industry Capabilities. 

“Four of the five successful applicants being offered funding this round are small to medium enterprises with the grants ranging in size from around $220,000 to $3.4 million,” Dr Kelly said. 

The projects will lead to development in four areas of defence industry identified as Priority Industry Capabilities within the 2010 Defence Industry Policy Statement including electronic warfare and high frequency and phased array radar. 

“These grants will be used by the companies to commercialise their research to produce new technologies and improve their competitiveness both in Australia and in the global marketplace,” Dr Kelly said. 

The five successful companies offered funding this round through the Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO) are: 

  • BAE Systems Pty Ltd  
  • Chemring Pty Ltd
  • Electro Optic Solutions Pty Ltd
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AUS: Life on board an Aussie Warship from an American perspective

HMAS Sydney (Wiki Info - Image: Wiki Commons)

by LEUT Grant McDuling

As part of its embed with the US Navy’s 7th Fleet George Washington Carrier Strike Group, the Royal Australian guided missile frigate HMAS Sydney has exchanged officers with the American Arleigh Burke class destroyer USS Preble as a means to increase understanding, and ultimately interoperability, between the two navies.

Lieutenant junior grade Daniel Menza, USS Preble’s Repair Division Officer, was selected as the ships liaison officer to HMAS Sydney during the ship’s transit to Guam, including Exercise Pacific Bond. Pacific Bond is a multi-national naval exercise designed to advance participating nations’ military-to-military coordination and capacity to plan and execute tactical operations in a multi-warfare environment.

According to Lt Menza, the way the two navies operate on a day-to-day basis is remarkably similar.

USA: Australian, U.S. Sailors Trade Places During Pacific Bond 2013

USS Chung-Hoon (Wiki Info - Image: Wiki Commons)

By Lt. j.g. Mallory K. Tokunaga, USS Chung-Hoon

PACIFIC OCEAN (NNS) -- The Arleigh-Burke class guided-missile destroyer USS Chung-Hoon (DDG-93) swapped 10 crew members with Royal Australian Navy (RAN) guided-missile frigate HMAS Sydney (FFG 03), in support of Pacific Bond 2013, June 23 to enhance operability and foster camaraderie between the two ships.

Cross-decking, temporarily exchanging crew members at sea, provides an opportunity for Sailors to get exposure to different platforms, examine how they operate, and expand their professional experience. 

Each participant spent the day touring the ship and meeting the crew with an emphasis on the command and control stations responsible for conducting underway operations, especially those that play a heavy role in events during Pacific Bond. 

"[The visit] gave us a good look at how our allies operate at sea," said Lt.j.g. Beth Reed, Chung-Hoon's Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) officer, embarked on Sydney. "It helped us to better understand each other when operating in a tactical environment and gave us a look into the culture of the Australian navy."