At the height of the controversy over my recent story in The Diplomat about Special Forces in North Korea, I stepped down from my role as a regular blogger for the Japan-based publication. I did so specifically to draw heat away from a publication I was proud to work for.
Archived posts from category ‘The Diplomat’
U.S. Special Forces have been parachuting into North Korea to spy on Pyongyang’s extensive network of underground military facilities. That surprising disclosure, by a top U.S. commando officer, is a reminder of America’s continuing involvement in the “cold war” on the Korean peninsula – and of North Korea’s extensive preparations for the conflict turning hot.
As Harry Kazianis noted yesterday, the Pentagon’s Congressionally-mandated annual survey of Chinese military capabilities is out. The highlights.
An overwhelming majority of U.S. citizens want deep and immediate cuts in military spending, according to a new poll. The Center for Public Integrity, a Washington, D.C.-based investigative news service, in conjunction with two other groups asked more than 600 Americans from across the country about their perceptions regarding U.S. defense spending. The survey went on to ask whether the respondent favored increasing, holding steady or decreasing military spending.
The U.S. Air Force has struggled for years to develop a new long-range bomber to complement its existing fleet of B-52, B-1 and B-2 bombers dating from the 1960s, ’80s and ’90s, respectively.
The Republican-led U.S. House of Representatives is trying to reverse cuts announced by President Barack Obama earlier this year. The House’s proposed defense bill would reverse some of Obama’s planned cuts to ships, drones and warplanes. “The proposal is designed to put real combat power behind the President’s proposed pivot to Asia,” the House Armed Services Committee stated.
The U.S. military’s more than decade-old effort to produce a hypersonic global strike weapon just took a big step forward and a big step back. On April 20, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or Darpa, published the results of an engineering review of a key hypersonic vehicle test.
Last week, the U.S. Navy released its annually-updated 30-year shipbuilding plan. The document confirms what analysts have expected since the January publication of the Pentagon’s new Strategic Defense Guidance: the world’s leading naval power is no longer planning a major expansion from today’s 285 warships to 313 or more, as was expected as recently as last year. Instead, the U.S. combat fleet will slightly shrink to a low of 276 vessels in 2015 before modestly expanding, peaking at a planned 307 ships in the late 2030s.
The U.S. Coast Guard could finally be on track to acquire a new oceangoing icebreaker to boost its dwindling polar fleet.
Photos posted to the Internet in China last week seem to confirm that the Chinese Navy has installed arrestor gear and other vital equipment on its refurbished Soviet-made aircraft carrier, the ex-Varyag. If genuine, the installations could represent a big step forward for the first-ever seaborne, fixed-wing aviation capability for the People’s Liberation Army Navy.
An early March skirmish in a restive Afghan province illustrates the growing, but still limited, capabilities of one of Afghanistan’s largely-unheralded security forces. On March 9, the U.S.-led International Security Assistance Force reported that an Afghan Provincial Response Company, supported by U.S. Special Forces, had killed three insurgents during a mission to rescue a pinned-down reconstruction team.
The U.S. military just took a big step towards fielding a new, stealthy jet fighter that proponents say will revolutionize U.S. combat power in the Pacific. The U.S. Air Force’s training command reportedly gave approval for a pair of experienced pilots to being flying F-35A stealth fighters on limited missions in the vicinity of Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, home to the 33rd Fighter Wing. The Wing will train Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps pilots on their different versions of the fighter. The test flights, approved on Friday, are meant to pave the way for full-scale training.