30 September 2013

AUS: NUSHIP Canberra aviation team prepares to be first of class

NUSHIP Canberra Under-Construction (File Photo)

by LEUT Emily Kennedy

The Air Department in the Royal Australian Navy’s first Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD) ship, NUSHIP Canberra, has taken another step towards achieving operational capability following a period with the Royal Navy (RN) developing multi-spot helicopter operating procedures.

NUSHIP Canberra’s Commander Air, Commander Paul Moggach, Lieutenant Commander Flying, LCDR Paul Hannigan, Deputy Lieutenant Commander Flying, Lieutenant Matt Schroder and the Senior Air Traffic Control Officer, Squadron Leader Mark Rowe conducted a two phase visit to the RN which took Canberra another step closer to being ready for next year’s first of class flight trials.

The first phase involved a week at Royal Naval Air Station Yeovilton where the teams examined the theory and courseware used to qualify Flying Control (FLYCO) personnel in safely and effectively controlling multiple aircraft to multi-spot ships. Royal Australian Navy’s Training Authority – Aviation’s training developer Lieutenant Commander Lucito Irlandez accompanied the group during this phase to help develop the RAN’s first LHD FLYCO training program which will be used to train the FLYCO team in the RAN’s second LHD, NUSHIP Adelaide.

USA: Hagel Arrives in Seoul on Third Asia-Pacific Trip

By Karen Parrish
American Forces Press Service

SEOUL, South Korea, Sept. 29, 2013 – Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel arrived here today on a weeklong Asia-Pacific trip that also will include a visit to Tokyo.

Noting that this is his third trip to the region as secretary, Hagel said global and economic trends make the Asia-Pacific region one that will be important in shaping and defining the future.

“So it’s important that the United States pay attention, and continue to strengthen and enhance our relationship here,” he added.

Here, the secretary will celebrate the 60th anniversary of the U.S.-South Korea alliance; participate in the 45th Security Consultative Meeting; preside over the U.S. Forces Korea change of command ceremony and visit U.S. and South Korean troops.

News Story: J-10 aircraft not exported to Pak over license issue - China

BEIJING (PTI): China on Friday said it has not exported any J-10 combat jet to Pakistan as the government has not issued an export license for the third-generation multi-role aircraft.

Reacting to media reports that the J-10 has been exported to Pakistan, a top Chinese official said he can state that not a single J-10 has been shipped to the all weather friend.

The J-10, China's domestically made third-generation jet fighter, has not been exported due to the lack of license issued by Chinese authorities, said Ma Zhiping, vice-president of the state-owned China National Aero-Technology Import & Export Corporation.

Read the full story at Brahmand

News Story: Joint Declaration on Defence co-operation brings India at par with closest US allies

WASHINGTON (PTI): Taking their defence ties to a new level, India and the US have decided to undertake joint development and production of military hardware, involving transfer of high-end technology from America, a move aimed at matching Russia's co-operation with India in this field.

After the summit meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and US President Barack Obama at the Oval Office the two sides on Saturday issued a joint declaration on defence co-operation spelling out the principles of cooperation in this area.

In the declaration, the US expressed its support to India's full membership in the four international export control regimes that would further facilitate technology sharing.

Read the full story at Brahmand

Editorial: The China vs India News War

By Reshma Patil

A look at how Beijing and New Delhi are spinning events across their border.

Once again Beijing finds itself vexed by the raucous Indian press.
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is campaigning against Indian newspapers – which form the world’s largest newspaper market outside China, and combine with hundreds of hypercompetitive news channels. The campaign is driven by the belief in Beijing that it is the media that has emerged as the segment of Indian civil society most hostile towards China.
In August, Global Times released the findings of a unique news survey conducted in 2010-12 on both sides of the disputed frontline that separate Asia’s two largest territorial rivals. Only 1 per cent of Chinese news on India is “negative,’’ the tabloid claimed, compared to 9.5 per cent of Indian news on China. For New Delhi, the Chinese government-run Global Times has itself been seen as Beijing’s most belligerent mouthpiece since 2009, given its reminders of the Sino-Indian War of 1962 and its warnings of the perils of provoking China.
Sino-Indian relations have been strained since a 21-day face-off in April-May, after a unit of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) camped 10-km across the Line of Actual Control in a disputed stretch of Ladakh. Now Chinese officials and diplomats tasked with spinning Indian media are sweating. Unable to come to grips with the role of a free, market-driven press, they have turned to some of the tactics used to gag their own Party-run media with suggestions that Indian media outlets report positive news and reject the example of Western media. As Indian news channels now regularly feature border reports with headlines such as “China’s soft invasion,” the CCP reaction is noteworthy for what it says about Chinese diplomacy toward India.

Read the full 3 page story at The Diplomat

28 September 2013


BERAKAS, Friday, Sept 27, 2013 – The Royal Brunei Armed Forces (RBAF) held a ceremony for the official handover of forty vehicles from a number of local vehicle suppliers at the Parade Ground of the First Battalion Royal Brunei Land Forces (RBLF) in Berakas Garrison this morning.

The Royal Brunei Armed Forces received one Truck Tipper, two Light Dumper Truck, two Truck Water Bowser, a Truck Aircraft Refueller Bowser, a Forklift 10T, sixteen pieces of Land Rover ¾ Ton GS, two Battle Field Ambulance, three Ford Transit for nine passengers and six  Ford Transit for the fifteen passengers and six Inflatable Boat complete with trailers.

Replica keys for the vehicles were handed over to the Commander of the Royal Brunei Armed Forces,  Major General Dato Paduka Seri Haji Aminuddin Ihsan bin Pehin Orang Kaya Saiful Mulok Dato Seri Paduka Haji Abidin by the representatives of the suppliers of these vehicles.

Feature Story: History of Asia’s Maritime Disputes

China’s Maritime Disputes

The East and South China Seas are the scene of escalating territorial disputes between China and its neighbors, including Japan, Vietnam, and the Philippines. The tensions, shaped by China's growing assertiveness, have fueled concerns over armed conflict and raised questions about Washington's security commitments in its strategic rebalance toward the Asia-Pacific region.

Read the full Think Tank Report by the Council on Foreign Relations

27 September 2013

AUS: Australia and United States strengthen friendship and working relationships in Darwin

The second rotation of 200 United States Marines departed Darwin for Hawaii today after a six month deployment to Australia’s Northern Territory. During this time, the Hawaii-based Marines conducted bilateral training with the Australian Defence Force (ADF) and their own Marine-specific training.

Commander 1st Brigade Brigadier John Frewen said Australia and the United States valued the opportunity to learn from each other.

“The second iteration of the US Marine Rotational Force – Darwin has been highly successful in fostering cooperation and inter-operability between our two militaries,” he said.

“Building on the achievements of the first rotation, this rotation of US Marines worked more closely with troops from 5 RAR, pushed their training further afield – including into the Bradshaw Field Training Area for the first time – and developed close ties to the Darwin community.

USA: USS Bonhomme Richard Offloads 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Matthew M. Bradley

<< A landing craft air cushion (LCAC) assigned to Naval Beach Unit 7 departs the well deck of USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) during the offload of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), Sept. 25. (U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Joshua Hammond)

OKINAWA, Japan - The forward-deployed amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) offloaded Marines from the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) after conducting joint-force operations in the U.S. 7th Fleet Area of Responsibility, Sept. 25.

During the patrol Bonhomme Richard and the 31st MEU participated in Exercise Talisman Saber 2013 and Exercise Koolendong 2013 (EK 13) with their counterparts in the Royal Australian military.

"Working alongside our counterparts from the 31st MEU has been great," said USS Bonhomme Richard Commanding Officer Capt. Daniel Dusek. "During this patrol we were able to conduct valuable training with the MEU as well as our Australian allies."

This patrol also featured the first time the MV-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft, assigned to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 265, embarked as part of the ACE for their first forward-deployed patrol with Bonhomme Richard.

Bonhomme Richard ARG reports to Commander, Amphibious Force 7th Fleet, Rear Adm. Hugh D. Wetherald and is currently conducting joint force operations in the U.S. 7th Fleet Area of Responsibility.

USA: Japan-Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) Mission Computing Upgrade (MCU)

Boeing E-767 AWACS (Wiki Info - Image: Wiki Commons)

WASHINGTON, September 26, 2013 – The Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress today of a possible Foreign Military Sale to Japan of an E-767 Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) Mission Computing Upgrade (MCU) and associated equipment, parts, training and logistical support for an estimated cost of $950 million.

The Government of Japan has requested a possible sale of an E-767 Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) Mission Computing Upgrade (MCU) that includes 4 Electronic Support Measure (ESM) Systems, 8 AN/UPX-40 Next Generation Identify Friend or Foe (NGIFF), 8 AN/APX-119 IFF Transponder, and 4 KIV-77 Cryptographic Computers. Also included are design and kit production, support and test equipment, provisioning, spare and repair parts, personnel training and training equipment, publications and technical documentation, U.S. Government and contractor engineering and technical support, installation and checkout, and other related elements of program support. The estimated cost is $950 million.

USA: Hagel Plans Trip to South Korea, Japan

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel (File Photo)

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 26, 2013 – Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel will leave Sept. 28 for a weeklong overseas trip that will take him to South Korea and Japan, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said today.

The secretary will celebrate the 60th anniversary of the U.S.-South Korea alliance, participate in the 45th Security Consultative Meeting, and preside over the U.S. Forces Korea change of command ceremony, Little said. He also will visit U.S. and South Korean troops to thank them for their service and for maintaining a high degree of readiness and cooperation.

On Oct. 2, Hagel will travel to Tokyo to join Secretary of State John F. Kerry for the U.S.-Japan Security Consultative Committee and to meet with U.S. service members stationed in Japan.

He will return to Washington on Oct. 4, Little said.

USA: Secretary Kerry Travel to Japan and Indonesia

Secretary of State John Kerry (File Photo)

Secretary of State John Kerry will travel to Tokyo, Japan and Bali, Indonesia October 1-7, 2013.

In Tokyo October 2-3, Secretary Kerry will join Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel for the U.S.-Japan Security Consultative Committee (SCC) meeting. The last SCC was held in June 2011 in Washington, DC. The meeting represents the next step in further strengthening the U.S.-Japan alliance, providing an opportunity to build on our already broad and comprehensive bilateral relationship.

On October 4, Secretary Kerry will continue on to Bali, Indonesia to lead the Department of State delegation to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Ministerial Meeting (AMM) and to join President Obama for his APEC-related meetings. APEC is the premier forum for facilitating economic growth, cooperation, trade, and investment in the Asia-Pacific region. Promoting trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific remains a key component of the U.S. rebalance policy. The Secretary will participate in a broad range of multilateral and bilateral meetings with officials from APEC member economies.

News Story: Indonesia takes delivery of first Leopard 2A4 tanks and Marder armoured vehicles from Germany

Marder IFV (Wiki Info - Image: Wiki Commons)

The Indonesian Army has had its new primary weapons defense system expanded after receiving four German-manufactured tanks, namely two Leopard 2A4 main battle tanks and two Marder tracked armoured infantry fighting vehicles. “Two Leopard tanks and two Marder infantry fighting vehicles have arrived,” said Army chief of staff Lt. Gen. Budiman in Jakarta on Monday, September 23, 2013, as quoted by tempo.co.

The four combat vehicles arrived at Tanjung Priok Port in North Jakarta on Sunday morning, and are being refurbished and prepared for operations.

Budiman said he was happy with the arrival of the four combat vehicles, which would be used to strengthen Indonesia’s artillery capacity.

“All the tanks purchased are fully functional,” said Budiman.

The Army, he said, now not only had combat tanks but also tanks that offered special functions, such as excavating, bulldozing and minesweeping, as well as support facilities for detachments of army engineers.

Read the full story at Army Recognition

News Story: Lockheed focused on South Korean jet re-tender

Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II (File Photo)

SEOUL, Sept. 26 (UPI) -- Lockheed Martin said it will continue with its bid to land a major South Korean jet fighter contract when the deal is re-tendered.

The deal, in which Seoul required a contractor to deliver 60 jets over five years beginning in 2017, was a race between the Boeing's F-15 Silent Eagle, Lockheed Martin's F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter and EADS' Eurofighter Typhoon.

Lockheed, ahead of EADS, was thought to have been nudged out of the deal by Boeing's Silent Eagle.

But South Korea's military defense procurement agency, the Defense Acquisition Program Administration, announced Tuesday it wasn't completely satisfied with Boeing's offer.

Boeing came close to grabbing the contract with the cheapest offer, but DAPA said it will review its budget for the jet fighter deal and re-tender later this year.

Read the full story at UPI

Editorial: Japan May Help Remove Syria’s Chemical Weapons

By Zachary Keck

The Japanese government is considering the possibility of contributing personnel and other forms of aid to the effort to eliminate Syria’s chemical weapon stockpiles, Kyodo News reported over the weekend.
According to the report, the Shinzo Abe administration has been looking at providing financial aid and members of the Self-Defense Forces (SDF) to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), the agency responsible for eliminating Bashar al-Assad’s chemical weapons.
Already, Tokyo has dispatched six staffers, some of whom are SDF members, to the OPCW, and the government is looking into whether it will be possible to send them into Syria to actually help in the removal effort. The report suggested that the SDF members were personnel who had previously worked at OPCW.

Read the full story at The Diplomat

Editorial: China Says J-31 Fighter Will Compete With F-35 for Sales

By Zachary Keck

A PLA Navy official has confirmed to state-run media outlets that China will export the Shenyang J-31 twin-engine fifth generation fighter jet.
According to the Taiwan-based Want China Times, Admiral Zhang Zhaozhong told the People’s Daily this week that the J-31 was never built with China’s military in mind, and it was highly unlikely that the PLA would ever operate J-31s off of its aircraft carriers. Instead, the J-31 was designed for export to China’s strategic partners and allies, particularly those that couldn’t purchase the F-35.
The J-31, often referred to as the Falcon Hawk, Falcon Eagle, F-60 or J-21, is one of China’s two prototype fifth-generation aircraft, the other being the J-20. It is built by Shenyang Aircraft Corporation, and images of the aircraft first began appearing on the internet around this time last year.

Read the full story at The Diplomat

Editorial: Taiwan’s Navy Shoots Down a Simulated Chinese Drone

A Kidd class Destroyer (Wiki Info - Image: Wiki Commons)
By J. Michael Cole

The Taiwanese Navy conducted a rare Standard Missile 2 (SM-2) launch on September 26 during a live-fire exercise simulating an attack by China, one day after receiving delivery of the first of 12 refurbished P-3C maritime surveillance aircraft from the U.S.
The exercise, which was open to the media, was held 60 nautical miles off the coast of Hualien in northeastern Taiwan. One SM-2 (RIM-66) surface-to-air missile, fired from the 10,500-tonne Kidd-class (Keelung-class) destroyer Makong, successfully intercepted a drone target approximately 80 seconds into flight. This was the first time since the annual Han Kuang exercises in 2007 that Taiwan test-fired the SM-2, the most modern ship-borne air interceptor fielded by the Taiwanese Navy.
Taiwan acquired four Kidd-class destroyers from the U.S. in 2001. Each is equipped with two MK26 SM-2 launchers.

Read the full story at The Diplomat

26 September 2013

USA: CSAF begins counterpart visit in China

<< Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III meets with People's Liberation Army Air Force Commander Gen. Ma Xiaotian Sept. 25, 2013 in Beijing, China. Welsh, along with Gen. Herbert "Hawk" Carlisle and Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James A. Cody will visit with various military leaders as part of a weeklong trip. (U.S. Air Force photo/Scott M. Ash)

BEIJING (AFNS) -- Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III, Gen. Herbert “Hawk” Carlisle, the Pacific Air Forces commander, and Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James A. Cody arrived here Sep. 24 as part of a weeklong visit to China.

On invitation from the Chinese government, Welsh is the first U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff in 15 years to visit the country.

Welsh met with his Chinese counterpart, People's Liberation Army air force Commander Gen. Ma Xiaotian and various other Chinese military officials as part of his first full day in the country and will meet with Vice Chairman of the Central Military Commission Gen. Xu Qiliang Sep. 26.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced the trip earlier this fall as one of several visits by U.S. senior military leadership and reciprocal Chinese military leadership visits to the United States during the remainder of this year and in 2014. 

Hagel said, “The China-U.S. relationship is important for stability and security in the Asia Pacific and achieving security and prosperity for our two nations in the 21st century. A sustained, substantive military-to-military relationship is an important pillar for this strong bilateral relationship.”

USA: USS George Washington, Air Force Units Train Together in Pacific

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Ramon G. Go

<< An F-22A Raptor advanced tactical fighter from the U.S. Air Force 27th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron conducts a supersonic flyby over USS George Washington (CVN 73), Sept. 23. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Ricardo R. Guzman)

PACIFIC OCEAN - The U.S. Navy's forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) and its embarked air wing, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5, completed a large-force exercise with the U.S. Air Force, Sept. 25.

George Washington and CVW 5 coordinated eight days of joint service, air-to-air combat training with the U.S. Air Force's 18th Wing to include 27th Fighter Squadron (27 FS), currently deployed to Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Japan, and the 44th Fighter Squadron (44 FS) stationed at Kadena Air Base.

"Our goal in the exercise is to train our capabilities and tactics against a capable opponent in the U.S. Air Force," said Lt. Jeffrey Drewiske, CVW 5's strike warfare officer. "It's important to train with joint services for an interoperable and mission capable force within the U.S. 7th fleet area of operations."

USA: USS Chosin Arrives in Newcastle

USS Chosin (Wiki Info - Image: Wiki Commons)

By Lt. j.g. Megan E. Miller, USS Chosin Public Affairs

NEWCASTLE, Australia (NNS) -- Forward-deployed Ticonderoga-class cruiser USS Chosin (CG 65) arrived in Newcastle, Australia for a port visit, Sept. 25.

"It is an honor to be afforded the opportunity to represent the United States Navy in a contingent of over twenty international warships that will join the Royal Australian Navy in one of the their most significant commemorative events in 100 years," said Capt. Patrick Kelly, commanding officer of Chosin. "I am especially excited for Chosin's Sailors, as this will be for many, a once in lifetime experience." 

While in Newcastle, Sailors will be preparing for the International Fleet Review to be held in Sydney, Australia Oct. 3-11. The event will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the entry of the Royal Australian Navy's Fleet into Sydney. 

Sri Lanka: SLN and IN Joint Staff Level Talks at Colombo

The joint staff level talks between the Sri Lanka and Indian Navies began at the Navy Headquarters today and will continue till 26th September 2013. A wide range of issues of bilateral importance will be discussed with a view to strengthen the friendly ties between the Navies of the two neighbouring countries.

The three member Indian Navy delegation is led by Rear Admiral Monty Khanna, the Assistant Chief of Naval Staff (Foreign Cooperation and Intelligence) of the Indian Navy. On arrival, the head of the Indian delegation made a courtesy call on the Commander of the Sri Lanka Navy, Vice Admiral Jayanath Colombage.

The Sri Lankan Navy delegation of seven members is led by Rear Admiral NBJ Rosayro, the Director General Operations of the Sri Lanka Navy.

Delegates will focus on operational, Intelligence, training and miscellaneous as well as medical and dental matters concerning the two Navies. They will also share views on preventive measures to curb potential threats of drug trafficking, arms and human smuggling in the Palk Bay and the Palk Straits to enhance maritime security.

News Story: India to Get Refitted Russian Ship in November – Official

RIA NovostiVikramadityaIndia to Get Refitted Russian Ship in November – Official
11:33 25/09/2013 A Russian-built aircraft carrier is to be handed over to the Indian Navy on November 15, and will reach India by February 2014, a senior official at the Russian arms exports monopoly said Wednesday.Read the full story HERE

News Story: Russia Starts Building 2 Frigates for Vietnamese Navy

RIA NovostiThe Russian Gepard (Russia Starts Building 2 Frigates for Vietnamese Navy
17:32 24/09/2013 A Russian shipyard on Tuesday started work on a second pair of frigates for the Vietnamese navy, the shipbuilding company said.Read the full story HERE

News Story: Philippines Gets US Patrol Boats To Fight Militants

SURC (Wiki Info - Image: Wiki Commons)

MANILA — The United States gave the Philippine military six patrol boats Wednesday to be used in a southern region where armed Muslim militants are active, the military said.

The small-unit riverine craft (SURCs) are part of a US programme to train and equip foreign military forces for "counter-terrorism", Philippine Navy chief Vice Admiral Jose Alano said in a statement.

"The SURCs will be deployed to augment our sea-based forces to address terrorism and lawlessness such as the current crisis in Mindanao," Alano added.

For the past three weeks, thousands of elite troops have been battling Muslim guerrillas of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) who occupied several coastal villages in the key southern port of Zamboanga on Mindanao island.

Read the full story at DefenseNews

News Story: Taiwan Receives First US Anti-Submarine Aircraft

P-3C Orion (Wiki Info - Image: Wiki Commons)

TAIPEI — Taiwan on Wednesday received the first of 12 anti-submarine aircraft from the United States, as it beefs up its naval defenses against China, the military said.

Television footage showed the P-3C Orion patrol aircraft landing at an air base in southern Pingtung county. Water was then splashed on the plane in a brief welcome ceremony.

The other 11 planes are scheduled for delivery by 2015, the military said.

Read the full story at DefenseNews

News Story: India, Nepal joint military exercise begins in Pithoragarh

PITHORAGARH, U'KHAND (PTI): Joint exercises in general combat and mountain warfare will form part of the two-week-long 5th Indo-Nepal war games, which began here on Tuesday.

The joint military exercise will also include anti-insurgency operations in hilly terrains and relief and rescue operations at the time of natural disasters.

The military exercise will conclude on October 6, an Indian Army source said.

Read the full story at Brahmand

Editorial: Drone Warfare Version 2.0: Great Power Edition

X-47B (Wiki Info - Image: Wiki Commons)
By Zachary Keck

The first decade of drone and unmanned warfare has been the exclusive domain of nation states like the U.S. and Israel using armed drones to target leaders of non-state actors like al-Qaeda, the Taliban and Hamas.
This type of drone warfare will almost certainly continue into the future, albeit at a reduced pace in the case of the U.S. targeting al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders. Other nation states may decide to make similar use of drones, if reports that China considered using drones to target an international drug trader are any indication.
Meanwhile, a second generation of drone warfare is taking shape: one in which countries employ unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) against other nation states.
X-47B Carrier Launch (Image: Wiki Commons)
As the world's military superpower, it should come as no surprise that the U.S. is taking the lead in this endeavor. In May of this year, the U.S. garnered some headlines when it launched the X-47B drone from the nuclear aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush off the coast of Virginia. Many more heads were turned in July, when the X-47B drone became the first unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to make a landing on the same aircraft carrier.
Last week a X-47B drone marked the 100th flight in the U.S. Navy’s Unmanned Combat Air System Demonstration (UCAS-D) program, which is geared toward maturing the capability to operate combat UAVs from aircraft carriers.

Read the full story at The Diplomat

Editorial: Will Asian Drones Make Conflict More or Less Likely?

By James R. Holmes

Those intellectual swashbucklers from the Center for a New American Security are at it again, this time with an essay over at Foreign Policy detailing the dangers likely to accompany drone operations in Asia. Precipitating their commentary was China's first deployment of an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) over the Senkaku Islands. The overflight took place earlier this month, timed to coincide with the one-year anniversary of Tokyo's nationalization of the archipelago. (So much for Chinese subtlety.) This, they conclude, launches Asia into a brave new world where unmanned aircraft could escalate minor encounters into major conflagrations. Read the whole thing.
I have few quibbles about the CNAS crew's appraisal of the problem. Asia and the international community are indeed entering into undiscovered territory as UAVs of various sizes, shapes, and purposes proliferate in Asian skies. But if I had to comment — and you know I do — here are some rambling thoughts I might add.

Read the full story at The Diplomat

Editorial: The Real North Korean Nuke Threat

By Robert Farley

Over the past week, several news outlets have reported a new Eric Schlosser book that describes the loss of a 4 megaton nuclear bomb near Goldboro, North Carolina in 1961. Although many of the details were already known, the latest information indicates that several safety protocols on the device dropped from a B-52 failed to operate, leaving far too little a margin of error for a nuclear device in a populated area. 
Renewed discussion of this event has helped bring problems of nuclear accident preparedness back to the fore. The Goldboro incident is one of afamily of near-nuclear accidents, situations in which a nuclear weapon came far too close to unintentional release. The Cold War experience of the United States and the Soviet Union with nuclear safety suggests a uncomfortable truth: There is a far greater likelihood that North Korea will accidentally drop a nuclear weapon on itself than on South Korea, Japan, or the United States. Managing this problem requires input from all the stakeholders, including China, and may eventually demand a rethinking of the Western position on North Korea’s nuclear program.

Read the full story at The Diplomat