Category Archives: Military

Why Kansas City – NR

Why Kansas City?In a recent letter to the editor following Allen C. Guelzo’s informative piece “The Great War’s Great Price” (November 12), Colin Calhoon pointed out that a memorial does exist in Washington, D.C., honoring District of Columbia residents who bravely served during the war. In his response, Mr. Guelzo commented that a national World War I memorial also “oddly” exists in Kansas City, Mo. To briefly shed light on this fact: The National World War I Museum and Memorial is located in Kansas City because the citizens of this region possessed the willingness to build it.

Why Kansas City?

Shortly after the Great War’s conclusion, residents made a commitment to build a museum and memorial to those who served — similarly to residents in thousands of cities and towns across the world. In this case, the difference was that in a span of ten days, more than 83,000 residents contributed to a fund totaling about $2.5 million (more than $35 million today). Following two years of construction, in 1926, President Calvin Coolidge addressed a crowd of more than 150,000 people at the opening ceremony of this majestic museum and memorial.

Since then, the National World War I Museum and Memorial has amassed the most comprehensive World War I collection in the world and has been designated by Congress as the official U.S. World War I museum and memorial. A self-sustaining nonprofit organization that receives no federal funding, the museum and memorial annually welcomes more than 500,000 people from all 50 states and more than 80 nations in its mission to remember, interpret, and understand the Great War and its enduring impact.

Matthew Naylor
President and Chief Executive Officer
National World War I Museum and Memorial
Kansas City, Mo.
via Letters | National Review.

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General Mattis

Backbone… finally.
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WSJ 2/7/2018

Congress spent Tuesday working on a budget deal to avoid another government shutdown, and one adult on Capitol Hill was Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, who ripped America’s representatives for failing to provide reliable funding for the military.

Mr. Mattis testified at the House Armed Services Committee about the 2018 defense strategy, among other topics, but noted with some acidity: “Congress mandated, rightfully mandated, this National Defense Strategy—the first one in a decade—and then shut down the government the day of its release.” Without “sustained, predictable appropriations, my presence here today wastes your time,” he added.

Mr. Mattis said that stumbling into another year-long continuing resolution would mean: not recruiting 15,000 Army soldiers and 4,000 Air Force airmen to fill shortfalls;

grounding aircraft thanks to a lack of maintenance and spare parts; and worse. “Let me be clear,” he said, “as hard as the last 16 years ofwar have been on our military, no enemy in the field has done as much to harm the readiness of the U.S. military than the combined impact of the Budget Control Act’s defense spending caps, worsened by operating for 10 of the last 11 years under continuing resolutions of varied and unpredictable duration.”

All of this should rattle Members obsessing over funding for this or that domestic account as a precondition for a deal that gives the military stable funding. Credit to Mr. Mattis for exposing this pathetic budget exercise, which has withheld resources from servicemembers who have signed “a blank check payable to the American people with their lives.”

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America’s Alarmingly Archaic Arsenal

No surprise here, folks… WSJ has been raising this for years..
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WSJ 1/4/2018 By Mark Helprin

The Trump administration’s recently unveiled National Security Strategy is an excellent and overdue statement of intent. But unless it is ruthlessly prioritized, political and budgetary realities will make it little more than a wish list. And in regard to nuclear weapons, it hardly departs from the insufficient Obama-era policy of replacing old equipment rather than modifying each element of the nuclear triad to meet new challenges.

National survival depends on many factors: the economy, civil peace, constitutional fidelity, education, research, and military strength across the board. Each has a different timeline and resiliency. Nuclear forces, on the other hand, may have a catastrophically short timeline combined with by far the greatest immediate effect. Alone of all crucial elements, the failure of America’s nuclear deterrent is capable of bringing instant destruction or unavoidable subjugation, as the deterrent’s unarrested decline will lead to either the opportunity for an enemy first strike or the surrender of the U.S. on every foreign front and eventually at home.

Believers in total nuclear abolition fail to recognize that if they are successful, covert possession of just a score of warheads could mean world mastery. And though they, like everyone else, are routinely deterred (from telling off the boss or driving against the flow of traffic), they fail to extend their understanding to nuclear deterrence. They seem as well not to grasp that whereas numerical reduction from tens of thousands of warheads would reduce the chances of accident, below a certain point it would tempt an aggressor by elevating the potential of a successful first strike. Nor do they allow that Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran— which have through their conduct of war and in suppressing their populations callously sacrificed more than 100 million of their own people— subscribe to permissive nuclear doctrines and thresholds radically different from our own.

The Obama administration understood nuclear rejuvenation to mean merely updating old systems rather than changing the architecture of the deterrent to match Russia’s and China’s programs, as well as advances in technology. Given that short of abject surrender the sole means of preventing nuclear war is maintaining the potential to inflict unacceptable damage upon an enemy and/or shield one’s country from such damage, what are our resources, and against what are they arrayed?

The “nuclear triad” commonly referred to is rather a pentad, its land, air, and sea legs joined by missile defense and the survivability of national infrastructure. America’s land leg comprises static, silobased missiles, which (other than in the potentially catastrophic launchon- warning posture) are vulnerable not only to nuclear strike, but, with soon-to-come millimeter accuracy, even to conventional warheads. Russia, China, and North Korea have road-mobile missiles (and Russia, additional rail-based ones), making their land legs more survivable and in the case of tunnel systems— of which we have none and China has 3,000 miles—unaddressable and uncountable.

The U.S. air leg consists of ancient bombers and outdated standoff cruise missiles, both vulnerable to Russian and Chinese air defense, along with only 20 penetrating bombers, the B-2. To boot, the planes are concentrated on only a handful of insufficiently hardened bases.

Our sea-based nuclear force, the least-vulnerable leg, for many years included 41 ballistic-missile submarines, SSBNs. These dwindled to 18, then 14, and, with the new Columbia class set to enter service beginning only in 2031, a planned 12. A maximum of six at sea at any one time will face 100 Russian and Chinese hunter-killer subs. At the same time, the oceans are surrendering their opacity to space surveillance and Russian nonacoustic tracking.

The U.S. nuclear deterrent has kept the peace for years. If it withers, it will keep the peace no longer. Even a deeply running sub disturbs the chemical and sea-life balance in ways that via upwelling leave a track upon the surface.

Russia is moving to 13 SSBNs with high-capacity missiles that carry many maneuverable warheads; China, with 4 SSBNs, is only beginning to build. A possible new dimension is Russia’s announced, but as yet unseen, autonomous stealth undersea nuclear vehicle, capable of targeting the high percentage of U.S. population, industry, and infrastructure on the coasts. We have no such weapon and Russia presents no similar vulnerability.

American ballistic-missile defense is severely underdeveloped due to ideological opposition and the misunderstanding of its purpose, which is to protect population and infrastructure as much as possible but, because many warheads will get through, primarily to shield retaliatory capacity so as to make a successful enemy first strike impossible— thus increasing stability rather than decreasing it, as its critics wrongly believe. Starved of money and innovation, missile defense has been confined to midcourse interception, when boost-phase and terminal intercept are also needed.

Merely intending this without sufficient funding is useless. As for national resilience, the U.S. long ago gave up any form of civil defense, while Russia and China have not. This reinforces their ideas of nuclear utility, weakens our deterrence, and makes the nuclear calculus that much more unstable.

Beyond these particulars are the erosion of the American nuclearweapons complex and the larger defense- industrial base; the dangerous mismatch of nuclear doctrines and perceptions; the sulfurous fuse of North Korea and Iran; Russian “tactical” nuclear weapons that outnumber U.S. counterparts 10 to 1; Russian programs suggesting that it is working toward the capacity for nuclear “breakout”; 2,600 currently deployed Russian strategic warheads as opposed to America’s 1,590; and consistent and brazen Russian treaty violations.

The addition of China as a major nuclear power now presents an analogy to the three-body problem in physics, in which three variables acting upon one another create an unpredictable and unstable system. That is but one reason why China must either be brought into an arms-control regime with the U.S. and Russia or forced by its refusal to show its hand for all the world to see. It is inexplicable that the U.S. government and arms-control enthusiasts have both failed to address the fact that China, the third major nuclear power, is totally unconstrained.

All the above is only a précis of a long-developing peril that, though difficult to see upon the surface, day by day strengthens the chances of Armageddon or capitulation. The only way to face it is objectively and without fear, and the only solution (requiring just a tiny fraction of gross domestic product) is to correct the shortcomings and right the balances.

America’s powerful deterrent has kept the nuclear peace all these years. If it withers, it will keep the peace no longer. The nuclear problem has no adequate superlatives. As great as all other concerns may be, they must yield to it. For the force to be confronted is the breaker of nations and the destroyer of worlds.

Mr. Helprin, a senior fellow of the Claremont Institute, is author of “Paris in the Present Tense” (Over-look, 2017

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A Space Corps?

Another area that certainly needs more attention than it has gotten – similar to “Internet Warfare”.
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WSJ 12/22/2017     By Taylor Dinerman

America’s military satellites— tens of billions of dollars worth of equipment—are utterly defenseless. An adversary using swarms of antisatellite weapons could rapidly destroy U.S. communications, early-warning, navigation and surveillance spacecraft, leaving the military blind, deaf and lost. Without these space systems, the armed forces—on land, in the air and at sea—would find it hard to “move, shoot and communicate,” in the Army phrase.

This longstanding weakness in U.S. military posture is only beginning to be addressed. National security adviser H.R. McMaster announced in October that his team will rewrite the Obama-era rules of engagement for space warfare. To judge by President Trump’s record in Afghanistan and the Middle East, the new rules probably will give commanders more authority to respond quickly if an enemy attacks U.S. satellites. But that may not be enough to handle the threats in space, which grow more dangerous all the time.

What’s needed is a new, independent organization focused on regaining— and then keeping—military superiority in space. The House version of this year’s National Defense Authorization Act provided for the creation of a new Space Corps— a separate military service carved out of existing operations and placed under the Air Force secretary, just as the Marines are under the Navy secretary. That would have been a good step, since the new service would’ve had the single-minded focus necessary to take up the challenge of fighting beyond the atmosphere.

But the White House and the Pentagon opposed the idea, arguing that the Space Corps would represent a new layer of unneeded bureaucracy. In the end, Congress removed the provision before the bill passed. Instead Congress passed a set of reforms that strip the Air Force secretary and staff of much of their power over space-systems procurement and gives it to the deputy undersecretary of defense for space and to Air Force Space Command. Lawmakers hope that these changes will force the Pentagon to focus its efforts better.

For years the Pentagon has paid lip service to the need to do something more to protect America’s space assets. Since 2007, when China conducted its first hard-kill test of an antisatellite weapon, it has been obvious that the U.S. needs to prepare for the possibility of war in space. But for various budgetary and ideological reasons, the Air Force as a whole has done little to prepare. The Obama administration’s approach was characterized

An adversary using swarms of antisatellite weapons could leave the U.S. blind, deaf and lost.

by wishful thinking and half-baked, unfunded proposals—such as the idea that attacks on U.S. spacecraft could be deterred by international public opinion, or that “disaggregated” arrays of smaller satellites would be hard to shoot down.

The 2010 National Space Policy promised that the U.S. would “defend our space systems and contribute to the defense of allied space systems and, if deterrence fails, defeat efforts to attack them.” Yet the Obama administration did almost nothing to back up these words. It also did nothing to develop offensive capacity in space, a logical part of any deterrent. Even worse, since the Clinton administration canceled the space-based part of Ronald Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative in 1993, the U.S. has failed to develop orbiting weapons that can defend the homeland from ballistic missiles.

The Obama administration’s ideological hostility to American space power was evident. It diverted resources away from military space programs, especially long-term research and development. It tried to use the arms-control process, particularly the Space Code of Conduct, to ensure that the U.S. (and, in theory, other countries) would be forever constrained from developing space weapons.

Even the Obama administration however, could not bring itself to dismantle the small Ground-Based Midcourse Defense system put in place by the George W. Bush administration— notwithstanding the Democrats’ insistence, going back to Reagan, that missile shields were both impossible and undesirable. That’s all the more reason to establish the Space Corps while Republicans still hold Congress and the White House. Once the U.S. has the capability to fight and win in space, future Democratic administrations will have to accept it.

President Trump’s new National Security Strategy acknowledges that some nations think “the ability to attack space assets offers an asymmetric advantage and as a result are pursuing a range of anti-satellite (ASAT) weapons.” Mr. Trump promises that if U.S. spacecraft are attacked, America will respond “at a time, place, manner and domain of our own choosing.” Strong words, especially absent the capacity to back them up. In the end only a dedicated new force can develop the systems, doctrines and tactics needed to make deterrence credible.

Mr. Dinerman writes on space policy and national security.

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