28 February 2014

AUS: Fire onboard Royal Australian Navy submarine

This afternoon HMAS Waller, one of the Royal Australian Navy’s submarines, experienced a fire while on the surface off the West Australian coast. Emergency response actions were taken to extinguish the fire.

There were no casualities. As a precaution, four members of the ship’s crew who were involved in the response to the fire have been landed for observation.

HMAS Waller had recently completed a scheduled maintenance period and was at sea as part of her return to operations.

A full investigation into the incident will be held.

At this stage no further details are available.

AUS: Final Operational Capability for C-17A fleet

The Chief of Air Force, Air Marshal Geoff Brown, AO, today confirmed the entire C-17A Globemaster fleet had achieved Final Operational Capability (FOC).

“I am pleased that this has been achieved within budget and on schedule,” Air Marshal Brown said.

“I am thankful for the efforts by the men and women of the Royal Australian Air Force – as well as the Defence organisation and the Defence Materiel Organisation – who have worked together to achieve this great outcome.

“The Government’s purchase of two additional C-17A Globemasters has greatly increased our ability to respond with strategic airlift in our region, when and where Air Force is needed most.

AUS: Jobs remain in Australia under Hornet contract

Defence Minister Senator David Johnston today announced a multi-million dollar contract extension for the maintenance of the Classic Hornet F404 engine.

The contract, valued at approximately $230 million was awarded to General Electric International Incorporated.

Senator Johnston said the extension followed an announcement by the Chief of Air Force to extend the Classic Hornet’s life out to 2022.

“After successful negotiations between GEII and the Defence Materiel Organisation, we have reached a mutual agreement on the price and requirements of the Classic Hornet contract extension, achieving savings of $36 million,” Senator Johnston said.

USA: Alexander - Laws, Policies Lag Behind Changes in Cyber Threats

By Claudette Roulo
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 27, 2014 – The threat in cyberspace is changing so rapidly that law and policy lag behind, the nation’s top cyber commander said here today.

The gap is one of the “key and fundamental” issues that the nation must address, Army Gen. Keith B. Alexander told members of the Senate Armed Services Committee. Alexander is commander of U.S. Cyber Command in addition to his duties as National Security Agency director.

“How do we protect our nation in this space and through this space, … and how do we do it in such a manner that they know we're protecting their civil liberties and privacy while concurrently protecting this nation?” he asked.

Exploitative and destructive cyberattacks are both on the rise, Alexander said. Exploitative attacks are designed to steal information or money, he explained, while destructive attacks are intended to disrupt or destroy devices or activities.

USA: Acting Under Secretary Rose Gottemoeller Travels to Pacific Command, the Marshall Islands and California

Acting Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Rose Gottemoeller, will travel to Pacific Command, the Marshall Islands and the San Francisco Bay Area February 26 – March 5, 2014.

From February 26–27, Acting Under Secretary Gottemoeller will visit U.S. Pacific Command (USPACOM), where she will meet with Admiral Samuel Locklear, USPACOM Commander, as well as members of his command staff and the leadership of service components. While at USPACOM, she will also visit an Aegis cruiser and discuss ballistic missile defense issues.

From March 1–3, the Acting Under Secretary will be in the Republic of the Marshall Islands for a series of events and meetings. On March 1, she will participate in a series of Nuclear Remembrance Day activities in Majuro. She will also tour the Department of Energy Body Counter Facility and speak with students at the College of Marshall Islands Nuclear Institute.

On March 3, the Acting Under Secretary will join Marshall Islands President Christopher Loeak on a visit to Kili Island. She will participate in a ceremony honoring those residents who originally lived in Bikini Atoll, a site impacted by nuclear testing in the 1940s and 1950s.

On March 4, Acting Under Secretary Rose Gottemoeller will meet with experts at Twitter and Palantir Technologies to discuss the application of new technologies to verification and monitoring of arms control and nonproliferation agreements.



MYANMAR, Tuesday 25 February 2014 - The ASEAN Defence Senior Officials’ Meeting Working Group (ADSOM WG) was held at the Myanmar International Convention Centre, Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar. The Meeting was chaired by Mr Kyaw Thu, Deputy Director General, Ministry of Defence, Republic of the Union of Myanmar / Myanmar’s ADSOM WG Leader.

The Meeting discussed the progress of the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM) cooperation namely: The Use of ASEAN Military Assets and Capacities in Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief; ASEAN Defence Establishments and Civil Society Organizations Cooperation on Non-Traditional Security; ASEAN Peacekeeping Centres Network; and ASEAN Defence Industry Collaboration.

Brunei Darussalam briefed the Meeting on the upcoming activities of the new initiatives on ASEAN Defence Interaction Programmes and Establishment of Logistics Support Framework to be held in Brunei Darussalam.

Industry: Northrop Grumman Australia Completes Acquisition of Qantas Defence Services

FALLS CHURCH, Va. – Feb. 27, 2014 – Northrop Grumman Australia Pty Limited, a subsidiary of Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC), announced that it has completed the acquisition of Qantas Defence Services Pty Limited, now called Northrop Grumman Integrated Defence Services Pty Limited (IDS), a provider of integrated logistics, sustainment and modernization support primarily to Australian Government and military customers. IDS operates as a part of Northrop Grumman Australia and is strategically aligned with the Integrated Logistics and Modernization division of Northrop Grumman Technical Services. The acquisition is not material to Northrop Grumman's 2014 financial outlook.

"Northrop Grumman IDS enhances our in-country footprint and local capabilities, and demonstrates our commitment to the Australian and regional defence markets. We expect this to be an important platform for international growth in our key focus areas of unmanned, cyber, C4ISR, and logistics and modernization," said Ian Irving, Northrop Grumman chief executive for Australia.

Northrop Grumman is a leading global security company providing innovative systems, products and solutions in unmanned systems, cyber, C4ISR, and logistics and modernization to government and commercial customers worldwide. Please visit www.northropgrumman.com for more information.

Note: Statements in this press release, other than statements of historical fact, constitute "forward-looking" information within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Words such as "anticipate," "expect," "intend," "plan," "believe," "estimate," "guidance," "goal" and similar expressions generally identify these forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements speak only as of the date when made, and the Company undertakes no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements after the date of this press release. Forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and inherently involve a wide range of risks and uncertainties that are difficult to predict. Actual results may differ materially from those described or implied in these statements based on a number of factors, including global economic conditions, economic conditions in our industry, government fiscal and budget policies, changes in interest rates and other market conditions. A discussion of these risks and uncertainties is contained in the Company's 2013 Annual Report on Form 10-K and the company's other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. 

Editorial: Are Taiwan’s Days Numbered?

By Zachary Keck

A new essay argues that Taiwan’s least bad option may be to adopt the “Hong Kong strategy.”

new issue of The National Interest is out this week. Of particular interest to Diplomat readers will be John Mearsheimer’s essay pondering Taiwan’s future in light of China’s rise. The piece is based on a speech he gave in Taiwan a few months back.
The article is concerned with the fairly distant future when, assuming continued growth, China’s military and economic power equals if not surpasses the United States’. At this point, Mearsheimer contends, the U.S. will not be able to defend Taiwan conventionally given prevailing geography. He also asserts that the U.S. will not extend its nuclear umbrella to Taiwan because of concerns about precipitating a nuclear war with China.
The article is characteristically thought-provoking and provocative. Mearsheimer makes bold statements throughout like “There was no flashpoint between the superpowers during the Cold War that was as dangerous as Taiwan will be in a Sino-American security competition.” Beyond the Taiwan issue, he outlines his views of more general issues, including how China will act in the broader Asia-Pacific region if its power equals that of the United States. 

Read the full story at The Diplomat

Editorial: North Korea Launches Four Short-Range Missiles

By Ankit Panda

The missile launch follows a naval provocation earlier this week.

Following a naval incursion earlier this week, North Korea continued to provoke the South with the launch of four short-range missiles into the East Sea. The South Korean Defense Ministry confirmed that the launches took place at around 5:42 p.m. Thursday, from the Gitdaeryeong hills on the North’s southeastern coast. An initial Yonhap News report suggested that the missiles were short-range Scud ballistic missiles. The missiles are believed to possess a range of around 200 kilometers. 

Read the full story at The Diplomat

Editorial: Three Hidden Time Bombs in the US-Japan Alliance

By Patrick M. Cronin

The US and Japan need to align their policies on China strategy, deterrence and offensive military capabilities.

The new defense plans emerging from Tokyo and Washington, D.C. offer a high degree of convergence.  In Japan’s December 2013 National Defense Program Guidelines (NDPG) and the United States’ forthcoming 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR), both allies seek to address the short- and long-term challenge of a reemerging China, while placing military forces within a comprehensive framework.  However, there remain at least three hard questions to be answered regarding future alliance cohesion: viz., how to forge a common China strategy, how to sustain extended deterrence, and how to integrate Japan’s increasingly independent capabilities, including offensive strike weapons.  Absent candid and persistent reflection on these issues, what now appear to be acceptable gaps could develop over time into deep fissures. 

Read the full story at The Diplomat

27 February 2014

USA: Bonhomme Richard ARG Embarks 31st MEU

By MC2 Matthew Dickinson

<< A Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC) transfers Marine Corps equipment and personnel aboard USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6), Feb. 24. (U.S. Navy/MC2 Michael Achterling)

WHITE BEACH, Okinawa - The Bonhomme Richard Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) embarked Marines from the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) Feb. 26 to participate in amphibious integration training (AIT) and a certification exercise (CERTEX).

The 31st MEU consists of ground command, air and combat support elements that allow the Bonhomme Richard ARG to conduct amphibious operations from the sea and project power ashore.

"The integration of our Navy-Marine Corps team is an invaluable tool," said the 31st MEU Commanding Officer Col. John E. Merna. "It's exercises like these that keep us the most efficient amphibious fighting force in the Asia-Pacific region."

Sri Lanka: HMAS “Melbourne” Takes part in Passage Exercise with SLNS “Sagara”

View of HMAS Melbourne from SLNS Sagara

The Australian Naval Ship HMAS “Melbourne” which arrived in Sri Lanka on a goodwill visit took part in a Passage Exercise code named “PASSEX” with SLNS “Sagara” in the seas off Galle on 25th February 2014. The ship, Adelaide Class guided missile frigate (FFG) heading home after a successful visit to the Island Nation paved way for the strengthening of bilateral relationships of the two countries and mutual co-operation between the two Navies. The exercise was designed to promote bilateral cooperation and stability, greater interoperability between the two Navies, mainly focusing on the issues related to piracy and illegal human trafficking. It provided opportunity for both Navies to rehearse the concept of joint naval operations and to enhance own skills.

Industry: Third and Fourth Royal Australian Navy MH-60R Helicopters Complete Production, Begin Training

Lockheed Martin, U.S. Navy deliver advanced, next-generation aircraft to support international partnership

OWEGO, N.Y. – Feb. 25, 2014 --The third and fourth MH-60R “Romeo” helicopters take flight from the Lockheed Martin facility in Owego, N.Y., to join the Royal Australian Navy’s (RAN) first pair of helicopters training at Jacksonville Naval Air Station in Jacksonville, Florida.

On Jan. 24, the U.S. Navy officially delivered two Romeos to the RAN, marking a significant milestone for the international alliance between the U.S. and Australia. The advanced, proven helicopters are currently the cornerstone of the U.S. Navy’s anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare (ASW/ASuW) operations, and the RAN will benefit from the next-generation capabilities with a fleet of 24 Romeos.

“The first time we pack a punch now using the Hellfire missile that we've never had before,” said RAN Commanding Officer of NUSQN 725, Commander David Frost, at the Jan. 24 delivery ceremony. “It's been a capability gap that we're now going to be able to fill with this aircraft. It's an aircraft that's jam-packed with sensors the likes of which we've never seen and the US Navy are still coming to grips with. It's an incredible aircraft.”

The entire fleet of 24 aircraft will be delivered to the RAN by 2017.

News Report: Kerry Says There is No Let Up in US Asia Pivot


News Story: Japan moves to relax arms-export ban

TOKYO (AFP): Japan's ruling party wants to loosen self-imposed rules banning arms exports in a bid to boost the country's defence influence, a report said Wednesday, a move that would mark a major shift from its pacifism and could irritate China.

A draft document that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wants approved by his cabinet next month would allow Tokyo to supply weaponry to nations that sit along important sea lanes to help them fight piracy, Kyodo News said, an important step for a country like Japan which depends so heavily on mineral imports.

This would mean nations such as Indonesia, but could also include others around the South China Sea -- through which fossil fuels pass -- such as the Philippines, for example, which has a territorial dispute with Beijing.

Read the full story at Brahmand

Editorial: India - Drawn To The Shanghai Cooperation Organization

By Sanjay Kumar

A recent visit by the Secretary-General of the SCO to India highlights the latter’s interest in joining the SCO.

Dmitry Fedorovich Mezentsev, Secretary-General of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation(SCO), visited New Delhi on a two day visit from February 23 to 25. The visit failed to attract any meaningful media attention. Nonetheless, the visit is significant and highlights the importance of the SCO in India’s larger relations with Central Asia and South Asia.
The trip comes against the backdrop of a momentous change in Afghanistan that will see an almost complete withdrawal of foreign combat troops from the country as uncertainty about the future grows in the landlocked country. The visit also comes at a time when New Delhi is more keen than before to become a full member of the six-member group. India enjoys the status of an observer state at the SCO.
“We have also indicated our willingness to play a more active, more constructive, broader and larger role in the SCO as and when the SCO decides to expand its membership,” the official spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs Syed Akbaruddin said while announcing the arrival of Mezentsev in India. 

Read the full story at The Diplomat

Editorial: India and Saudi Arabia Sign Defense Cooperation Pact

By Ankit Panda

The agreement will lead to expanded defense cooperation between New Delhi and Riyadh.

India and Saudi Arabia signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Defense Cooperation on Wednesday in New Delhi. The MoU is the result of Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz al Saud’s visit to India. al Saud is the crown prince, the deputy prime minister, and the defense minister of Saudi Arabia. His visit to India marks the highest-level visit by a Saudi leader to India since King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al Saud visited the country in 2006.
The agreement was signed between Dr. Nizar Bin Obaid Madani, Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, and Jitendra Singh, Indian Minister of State for Defense. The two sides additionally discussed a range of bilateral issues and intend to deepen their cooperation as part of their strategic partnership. According to Livemint, the MoU “will allow exchange of defense-related information, military training and education as well as cooperation in areas varying from hydrography and security to logistics.” 

Read the full story at The Diplomat

Editorial: North Korean Naval Patrol Boat Enters South Korean Waters

By Ankit Panda

A North Korea patrol boat briefly trespassed into South Korea waters across the Northern Limit Line.

Tensions rose between North and South Korea amid a series of rare family reunions between families separated by the Korean War armistice when a North Korean patrol ship violated South Korea’s maritime border “several times Monday night.” According to Yonhap News, the ship retreated after receiving warnings from the South Korean military. The South Korean defense ministry confirmed that the South warned the patrol boat to retreat at least ten times.
Yonhap’s timeline places the incident as occurring late Monday night into Tuesday morning. The patrol boat crossed the Northern Limit Line (NLL), which demarcates an unofficial maritime frontier between the two Koreas, at around 10:46 p.m. Monday night, and eventually sailed deeper into South Korean waters. The ship ended up approximately 23 kilometers west of Yeonpyeong Island in the Yellow Sea.
South Korean defense ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok said that ”The North Korean ship’s NLL violation is seen as part of military drills or an inspection of (the South Korean military).” He added that the South Korean defense ministry believes that the patrol boat “intended to test the South Korean military.” 

Read the full story at The Diplomat

Editorial: In America, China is Public Enemy #1

By Zachary Keck

A new poll finds more Americans see China as their greatest enemy than any other country in the world.

For the first time ever, more Americans view China as America’s greatest enemy than any other country in the world, according to a new public opinion poll.
According to a recent poll by Gallup, 20 percent of Americans view China as the country’s greatest enemy, slightly more than the 16 percent of Americans surveyed who said the same thing about Iran and North Korea. This is the first time that China has topped the list since Gallup began asking the question in 2001, as well as the first time Iran hasn’t topped the list since 2006.
It should be emphasized that the poll numbers suggest that China became public enemy number one in the U.S. less because of growing hostility toward it than because of reduced anxiety over Iran. Most likely because of the election of Hassan Rouhani as president and the interim nuclear agreement, American views on Iran have improved markedly over the last two years. Indeed, whereas 32 percent of Americans felt that Iran was their country’s greatest enemy in 2012, half that number, 16 percent, said the same thing this year. 

Read the full story at The Diplomat

Editorial: As China Feuds With Japan, Nanjing Takes Center Stage

By Shannon Tiezzi

Nanjing’s World War II legacy has propelled the former capital to center stage in the ongoing China-Japan tensions.

With China-Japan tensions showing no signs of abating, the Chinese government is continuing its plan to gain the moral high ground. China’s strategy centers around reminding the world about Japanese atrocities during its invasion of China. As such, Nanjing has become a focal point in China’s battle for popular international opinion.
Nanjing (romanized as Nanking at the time) was the capital of the Republic of China government during World War II. As such, it was a target for the invading Japanese army. Nanjing was captured on December 13, 1937, and for the next six weeks was the site of murder, rape, and looting by Japanese soldiers — at least, according to China. Some in Japan, most recently NHK Governor Naoki Hyakuta, have denied that the Nanjing Massacre happened. Disagreement over the scale of the atrocities, or whether they occurred at all, is a potent symbol for broader arguments between China and Japan over the legacy of World War II.  Accordingly, drawing attention to the Nanjing Massacre has become shorthand for China’s efforts to discredit Japan on the international stage. 

Read the full story at The Diplomat

Related Story: How History Can Save China-Japan Relations

Editorial: How History Can Save China-Japan Relations

By Mira Rapp-Hooper

Leaders across Asia should use the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII to build a more peaceful future.

Unsettled war memories are once again stirring up tension in Northeast Asia. According to a recent report, Beijing would like to make World War II reconciliation a centerpiece of Xi Jinping’s visit to Germany next month. According to the article, diplomatic sources say that the Chinese government wants to highlight German contrition over its wartime past to shame Japan for what it considers to be insufficient postwar atonement. This report comes just after Tokyo was forced to distance itself from World War II-related comments made by individuals at public broadcaster NHK. Can any good come of engaging sensitive war memories? Yes, according to a recent proposal put forth by scholars from several countries.
In a new column in the Asahi Shimbun, University of Tokyo Professor Kiichi Fujiwara details an innovative plan to help states begin to move towards historical reconciliation. The proposal, which originated at a conference I participated in at the University of Tokyo earlier this month, urges that Japan and China use the 70thanniversary of the end of World War II to acknowledge the wartime atrocities that continue to inform these states’ national narratives so many decades later. The proposal is an important one, and should be seriously considered by officials throughout the region and in the United States. One particular feature of the plan—reciprocity — distinguishes it from other efforts to mend historical fences, and may make this proposal domestically viable for the participants involved. 

Read the full story at The Diplomat

26 February 2014

Think Tank: Shaping the narrative - new Chinese documentary revisits Indonesia and the South China Sea

By Scott Bentley

Several months ago I wrote on The Strategist about a March 2013 incident between Indonesian and Chinese maritime law enforcement vessels in the South China Sea. Local Indonesian news sources confirmed the incident but Indonesian Defense Ministry officials reportedly ‘claimed that the fishing boat incident never took place’. Several weeks after my post was published, Commander Agus Heryana, commander of the Indonesian naval base in Tanjung Pinang, stated that the situation in the South China Sea remained safe despite ‘efforts blowing it out of proportion’, noting that ‘the navies deployed in the area are not operating aggressively’.

The latter part of this statement is undoubtedly accurate: the incident didn’t directly involve any naval vessels from either nation. But one’s left wondering about the veracity of, and rationale behind, the Defense Ministry’s denials about the incident. Taken together, the comments suggest a possible effort to downplay such incidents or to limit their exposure in the media. Like its neighbour Malaysia, Indonesia has preferred to employ quiet diplomacy in regard to the South China Sea disputes more broadly, keeping any confrontations or encounters at sea out of the press for fear of needlessly stoking tensions or damaging its image of neutrality.

USA: DOD Asia Policy Nominee Encourages Close Watch on China

By Nick Simeone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 25, 2014 – The man nominated to be the Defense Department’s top policy official for the Asia-Pacific region said today he believes the United States must do more than just watch and analyze China’s military, and he called for encouraging Taiwan to develop a defense force capable of thwarting Beijing’s efforts to coerce its rival.

“We are paying particular attention to Chinese investments in technology development, as well as what they are fielding,” David Shear said in written answers to questions from the Senate Armed Services Committee, which is considering his nomination to be assistant secretary of defense for Asia and Pacific security affairs, adding that it’s also necessary to understand what is shaping those investments.

He pointed to work by the Defense Department’s Minerva Initiative, designed to help assess future security challenges, which he said can help defense officials understand the social, cultural and historical factors driving China’s strategic priorities.

Industry: Exelis to supply Pakistan with more components for electronic warfare systems

​CLIFTON, N.J., Feb. 25, 2014 – Exelis (NYSE: XLS) has received $9 million from the U.S. Air Force to supply spare components for electronic warfare (EW) technology provided to Pakistan under an existing contract.

The original contract, awarded in December 2011, granted Exelis $53 million to supply Pakistan with ALQ-211 Advanced Integrated Defensive Electronic Warfare Suite (AIDEWS) systems to protect the country’s F-16 fighter aircraft from radio frequency threats. The additional funds provide for the manufacture and delivery of a range of spare AIDEWS components, following successful development and integration flight-testing phases. 

“The AIDEWS pod offers dependable protection against a range of dynamic electronic threats,” said Joe Rambala, vice president and general manager of the Exelis integrated electronic warfare systems business area. “Working with U.S. and allied customers to stay ahead of emerging threats has helped make Exelis a global electronic warfare leader, and we remain committed to advancing this critical mission.”

The AIDEWS components will be produced at the Exelis Electronic Systems (ES) facility in Clifton, N.J., with deliveries expected to be complete in 2016. ES is the lead division for the company’s electronic warfare strategic growth platform and provides advanced, integrated EW solutions to protect and enable customers to perform their critical missions. 

Industry: Northrop Grumman Announces Contracting Awards to Australian Companies

CANBERRA, Australia – Feb. 26, 2014 – Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) has awarded contracts to several Australian suppliers as the company continues to grow its footprint in the country.

"Northrop Grumman's growing business opportunities in Australia are a vital component of our future strategic goals," said Ian Irving, chief executive Australia, Northrop Grumman. "Awards to these outstanding Australian suppliers show the full breadth of our commitment to Australian industry and their development of world class capabilities."

The awards were made in conjunction with the Australian Defence Materiel Organisation's Australian Global Supply Chain Deed program. Companies receiving awards include: Ferra Engineering Pty. Ltd of Tingalpa, Queensland, for work on 58 part types on the F-18 program; Ultra Electronics of Mawson Lakes, South Australia, for a Gap Analysis Study on the Triton program; Sentient Vision Systems of Port Melbourne, Victoria, for a Compatibility Study on the Triton Program; Quintessence Labs of Acton, Australian Capital Territory, for a Capability Verification Activity; iWebgate Technology of Perth, Western Australia, for a Capability Demonstrator Activity; Electro Optic Space System of Weston Creek, Australian Capital Territory, for expanded work to study Space Debris; Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology of Sir Lawrence Wackett Aerospace research Centre, Bundoora, Victoria, for a Triton Airworthiness Study.

Northrop Grumman is a leading global security company providing innovative systems, products and solutions in unmanned systems, cyber, C4ISR, and logistics and modernization to government and commercial customers worldwide. Please visit www.northropgrumman.com for more information.

News Story: New Pilot Training Scheme for New Zealand


WELLINGTON — Beechcraft’s T-6C aircraft has been chosen to provide new pilot training capability for the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF).

New Zealand Defence Minister Jonathan Coleman announced the NZ $154 million (US $127 million) package, which includes 11 T-6C turboprop aircraft, together with simulators, classroom and computer based training packages to complement practical flying experience.

Infrastructure improvements will include a new training/simulation center and an upgraded hangar at the Royal New Zealand Air Force’s (RNZAF’s) Ohakea base.

The capability is expected to produce up to 15 graduate pilots and 12 qualifying flying instructors per year over the next 30 years, Coleman said.

Read the full story at DefenseNews

News Story: (Indian) Defence Ministry defers decision on 4 major purchases

NEW DELHI (PTI): The Defence Ministry has deferred decisions on four major deals expected to be worth over Rs 40,000 crore even as it approved another set of proposals worth over Rs 13,000 crore for procuring weapon systems for the armed forces.

At the meeting of the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) headed by Defence Minister AK Antony, the Ministry on Monday deferred decisions on projects including procurement of 145 Ultra Light Howitzers for the Army, amphibious warship vessels worth over Rs 20,000 crore and multi-role helicopters worth over Rs 6,000 crore for the Navy, Defence Ministry officials said.

The decision on a deal to procure 56 transport aircraft for the IAF has also been deferred as the Ministry felt that there was a need for further deliberations on the issue, they said.

Read the full story at Brahmand

Editorial: Israel’s Asian Defense Presence

By Alvite Singh Ningthoujam

Two recent events highlight Israel’s potential role as an arms supplier to South and Southeast Asia.

Israel has once again enjoyed a very significant presence during the recently concluded Defexpo, held in New Delhi, and Singapore Airshow. Not only did it show off its state-of-the-art weapons systems; the diminutive state was able to clinch a few important deals with countries in the region. The participation of a considerable number of defense firms, both state-owned and private, itself is an indication of Israel’s desire to forge closer military-security cooperation with countries such as India, Singapore and Vietnam.
The Asia-Pacific is looking an increasingly attractive market for Israeli arms manufacturer, especially as other major countries cut defense spending. For instance, major players such as Israel Military Industries reportedly secured contracts with several Asian countries worth $500 million during 2013, mostly for upgrades of military platforms, sales of heavy munitions, and a variety of military systems. Several important joint-ventures are also underway. 

Read the full story at The Diplomat

Editorial: New Report Could Offer Clues to Hillary Clinton’s China Policy

By Zachary Keck

A new report on US-China relations could provide insight into what Hillary Clinton’s China policy would be as president.

A new report jointly issued by a prominent U.S. and Hong Kong think tank could offer clues into what U.S. China policy might look like if Hillary Clinton is elected president in 2016.
The report—entitled U.S.-China Relations: Toward a New Model of Major Power Relationship—was jointly published the Center for American Progress, a highly influential Democratic think tank in Washington, D.C., and the China-U.S. Exchange Foundation, a Hong-Kong-based organization established by Tung Chee Hwa, the first Chief Executive of Hong Kong following its return to Chinese control., to promote closer U.S-China relations.
The report came about as a result of a Track II dialogue of prominent former officials, business leaders, and academics from the U.S. and China. The objective of the report and its accompanying working papers is to describe how the U.S. and China can establish a “new type of major power relations.” 

Read the full story at The Diplomat

Editorial: China Fires Water Cannons at Philippine Fishermen

By Zachary Keck

A top Philippines military officer said China’s Coast Guard fired water cannons at fishermen in the Scarborough Shoal.

On Monday the Chief of Staff of the Philippines Armed Forces accused Chinese maritime vessels of firing water cannons at Philippine fishermen to drive them away from the disputed Scarborough Shoal.
According to multiple media reports, General Emmanuel Bautista told an audience at the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines on Monday that “The Chinese coast guard tried to drive away Filipino fishing vessels to the extent of using water cannon.” He said that the incident first occurred on January 27 but that China still maintains armed maritime vessels at the Scarborough Shoal.
A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson did not specifically address Bautista’s accusations when asked about his comments. However, in response to a question from reporters in Beijing, the spokesperson did say: “I would like to re-emphasize that China has indisputable sovereignty over relevant waters and China’s maritime surveillance fleet are carrying out routine patrols in relevant waters.” 

Read the full story at The Diplomat

Editorial: Why China Isn't Interested in a South China Sea Code of Conduct

By Shannon Tiezzi

A South China Sea code of conduct would threaten Beijing’s interests – so don’t expect much progress in negotiations.

According to Reuters, ASEAN officials say that they will meet with Chinese representatives in Singapore beginning March 18 to try and make some progress on talks to establish a “code of conduct” in the South China Sea. China agreed to discuss a South China Sea code of conduct at the ASEAN forum last July, a move that was widely applauded in the region. The first round of meetings was held in Beijing in September, and concluded with an agreement to seek “gradual progress and consensus through consultations.”
Unfortunately, when it comes to ASEAN, China, and the South China Sea, progress has been slow and consensus almost nonexistent.  Negotiations over a code of conduct are complicated by the simple fact that not every ASEAN member state is involved in the territorial disputes. Of the 10 ASEAN members, Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, and Brunei claim territory that also falls within China’s “nine-dash line.” Even these four states are not on the same page, with Vietnam and the Philippines vocally protesting China’s ‘aggression’ and Malaysia and Brunei keeping a much lower profile. 

Read the full story at The Diplomat

25 February 2014

AUS: Air Force turns exercise into real humanitarian relief mission

RAAF C-130 Hercules (File Photo)

The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) has switched from training to reality to answer a US call for help to move supplies to the island of Rota in the Northern Mariana Islands.

Last week the Governor of the US Territory of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands issued an Executive Order declaring a ‘State of Significant Emergency on Rota’ due to the shortage of food and other goods after dangerous weather conditions made the island’s harbour temporarily inaccessible.

Fortunately, on the nearby island of Guam (also a US Territory), the US Air Force is conducting the multinational exercise Cope North, which includes a significant Humanitarian and Disaster Relief scenario.

The US Air Force quickly called on participating countries to divert their transport aircraft from exercise to reality and add their aircraft to the flotilla that will answer the Governor’s call for food and supplies.

USA: U.S. Navy, Timor-Leste Forces Convene 2nd CARAT Exercise

From Commander, Logistics Group Western Pacific Public Affairs

<< Sailors from USS Kidd (DDG 100) members of the Timor-Leste Defense Force stand in formation during the opening ceremony of CARAT Timor-Leste, Feb. 24. (U.S Navy/MC1 Jay C. Pugh)

PORT HERA NAVY BASE, Timor-Leste - The U.S. Navy and Timor-Leste Defense Force (F-FDTL) commenced the second Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) Timor-Leste exercise Feb. 24, with an opening ceremony at Port Hera Navy Base.

CARAT Timor-Leste is part of an annual bilateral exercise series between the U.S. Navy and the naval forces of Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand. As a longstanding venue in Southeast Asia, CARAT helps regional navies work together to address shared maritime security priorities during a series of cooperative training events and subject matter exchanges.

Capt. Fred Kacher, deputy commander, Destroyer Squadron Seven (DESRON SEVEN) delivered remarks at the ceremony alongside officials from the Timor-Leste Defense Force (F-FDTL) and American Embassy Dili.

USA: Dempsey Stresses Balance in the Fiscal 2015 Budget Request

Gen. Martin Dempsey (Image: Wiki Commons)

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 24, 2014 – Balance is a key word in the fiscal year 2015 defense budget request, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said.

Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey told Pentagon reporters that the budget request he and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel previewed today "represents a responsible and, more importantly, a realistic way forward."

The request, he said, represents both sound national security and fiscal responsibility. "It provides the tools for today's force to accomplish the missions we have been assigned, rebuilding readiness in areas that were, by necessity, de-emphasized over the past decade," he said.

The request also modernizes the joint force, and it ensures the U.S. military is globally networked and can deliver options for the nation, the chairman said. "It reflects in real terms how we're reducing our cost, the cost of doing business, and working to ensure that the force is in the right balance," he added.

The budget request has the money to maintain the world's finest military while transitioning that force to a smaller, more affordable force over time, Dempsey said, noting that the Joint Chiefs have been heavily involved in the process. "The chiefs and I will never end our campaign to find every way to become more effective," he said.

USA: Hagel Outlines Budget Reducing Troop Strength, Force Structure

By Nick Simeone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 24, 2014 – Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has proposed cuts in military spending that include further reductions in troop strength and force structure in every military service in the coming year as part of an effort to prioritize U.S. strategic interests in the face of reduced resources after more than a decade of war.

At a Pentagon news conference today detailing President Barack Obama’s proposed Pentagon budget for fiscal year 2015, Hagel called the reductions -- including shrinking the Army to its smallest size since before World War II and eliminating an entire fleet of Air Force fighter planes -- “difficult choices” that will change defense institutions for years to come, but designed to leave the military capable of fulfilling U.S. defense strategy and defending the homeland against strategic threats.

Under a Pentagon budget that will shrink by more than $75 billion over the next two years -- with deeper cuts expected if sequestration returns in fiscal year 2016 -- Hagel and other senior defense and military officials acknowledged that some of the budget choices will create additional risks in certain areas.

Industry: Raytheon awarded $123 million Phalanx contract from Republic of Korea

Phalanx (Wiki Info - Image: Wiki)

Systems to go aboard FFX-, AOE II-class ships

TUCSON, Ariz., Feb. 24, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Raytheon Company (NYSE: RTN) signed a $123 million contract to deliver nine Phalanx Block 1B Close-In Weapon Systems to the Republic of Korea Navy.

Under the direct commercial sale, the largest ever for the Phalanx program, Raytheon will deliver the Phalanx systems for installation aboard the FFX Batch II frigate-class ships and AOE II-class fast combat support ships.

Deliveries will begin in 2016 and are scheduled to be completed in 2022. The contract was signed during the fourth quarter 2013.

"Phalanx provides the vital protective capabilities needed for the Republic of Korea Navy to achieve its maritime mission requirements in the littorals and high seas in which it operates," said Rick Nelson, vice president of Raytheon's Naval and Area Mission Defense product line. "Phalanx counters sophisticated subsonic and supersonic anti-ship missiles while increasing the outer perimeter for ship self-defense."

About Phalanx 

Phalanx is a rapid-fire, computer-controlled radar and 20 mm gun system that automatically acquires, tracks and destroys enemy threats that have penetrated all other ship defense systems. More than 890 systems have been built and deployed in the navies of 25 nations.