16 July 2016

Rheinmetall to supply Canadian Navy with decoy ammunition for the next thirty years

By IDR News Network
14 Jul , 2016

At the recent CANSEC show in May 2016 in Canada, the Canadian government and ammunition suppliers Rheinmetall and General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems–Canada signed a licence agreement to produce Omnitrap decoy ammunition for the Canadian Navy. Worth a mid-range eight-figure euro amount over the course of its thirty-year lifetime, the contract encompasses the supply of core components by Rheinmetall for Omnitrap decoy ammunition. Rheinmetall will provide technical assistance in setting up the assembly line at the General Dynamics facility in Repentigny, QC, where final assembly will take place.

In 2009 Rheinmetall won a contract to outfit twelve Canadian Halifax-class frigates with MASS, the Multi Ammunition Softkill System. The automated decoy system offers a unique level of protection against incoming anti-ship missiles. It can be installed on vessels of all types, whether in standalone mode or as an integral part of the ship’s command, control and weapon engagement system. MASS is already in service with the navies of 13 nations. Most Canadian frigates have been equipped with MASS systems along with a basic load of Omnitrap and MASS Dueras decoy ammunition.

In 2015 the Canadian government placed an order for 2,450 Omnitrap decoy rounds with Rheinmetall and General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems–Canada.

After Delay, New Air Force Tanker Successfully Refuels C-17

JULY 13, 2016

The Boeing-made plane, with some new hardware, successfully refueled a C-17 during a test Tuesday night.

LONDON — The U.S. Air Force KC-46 tanker refueled a C-17 cargo plane, something it was unable to do prompting delays to the project, Defense One has learned.

Two Air Force officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, confirmed the successful test, which happened on Tuesday night.

The fix comes after the Air Force said in May that plane-maker Boeing would miss a key Aug. 17 deadline to deliver 18 tankers. At the time, Boeing said it would install new hardware that would enable the tanker’s refueling boom, a pipe that extends from the rear of the tanker, to gas up large aircraft.

Air Force officials said Tuesday that the test used the new piece of hardware.

“I’m encouraged by these results,” Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James said in a statement provided to Defense One. “TheKC-46 program continues to move forward, making important progress that will get this vital capability into the hands of the warfighter.”

New Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein said: “While it took some time, this week’s results confirm my confidence the Boeing team will get this figured out. It’s reassuring to see the program take this important step toward the production decision in August.”


JULY 14, 2016

Innovation is more important now than ever. In a world of fast-paced technological change, America’s international standing is a factor of its ability to adopt new technology and apply it on the battlefield. As authors at War on The Rockshave noted before, emerging capabilities are becoming more accessible to potential enemies as the civilian economy drives down the cost of things like data analytics, cyber technology, and robotics. More states (and non-states) have advanced innovations within their reach.

In the classic 1971 film, Fiddler on the Roof’s Tevye day-dreamed of what he would do were he a rich man. In addition to being a “biddy biddy bum” and building stairways to nowhere “just for show,” he imagined being a problem solver, settling issues so difficult they would “cross a rabbi’s eyes.” Townspeople would seek his counsel, “and it won’t make one bit of difference if I answer right or wrong… When you’re rich, they think you really know.” Tevye’s problem-solving would be the direct result of all his riches.

What does a famous Broadway show have to do with military innovation? Tevye’s problem-solving strategy, a form of innovation, offers a fraction of a lesson to would-be military innovators. He accurately perceived the link between wealth and innovation — money drives solutions — but his definition of wealth was too narrow. The money he had in mind is just one form of “currency.” This may have worked in Fiddler on the Roof, but in a large bureaucracy like the Department of Defense (DoD), potential innovations have costs that go beyond the pocket book, and innovators must deal in three distinct currencies, or forms of capital: budgetary, political, and ideas. Tevye sought “budgetary capital” when he dreamed about money. In the Pentagon, this is the budgetary and manpower capital appropriated by Congress. “Political capital” is the formal power of rank and the informal respect of others. It’s marked by the esteem an individual is accorded by others. In the Department of Defense political capital manifests in the ability to influence decisions through rank or persuasion. “Ideas capital” is a vision for the future and the know-how to produce it. Ideas capital can take the form of new technology, new operating concepts, or new management practices. Each form of capital is necessary to transform an idea into a useful innovation.

15 July 2016

*** Army merging electronic warfare into new cyber directorate

July 12, 2016

The Army has disbanded its electronic warfare division, though this is not the end for its staff or electromagnetic spectrum capabilities. Instead, the Army will incorporate the EW division into a newly established cyber directorate at the Pentagon within the Army G-3/5/7, according to officials at Army headquarters.

The new directorate is moving quickly, reaching initial operating capability in June, and sources say they expect full operational capability in August. Headed by Brig. Gen. Patricia Frost, who's up for promotion to major general, the new directorate will encompass cyber, electronic warfare and information operations.

But Army officials emphasize that they aren’t getting rid of electronic warfare in the move to combine under the directorate. Rather, among the directorate’s chief missions will be handling the policy, strategy and requirements for all three areas. According to a Defense Department source the directorate eventually will comprise five divisions under Frost.

Frost was named to the elevated position in March, according to announcement from the Defense Department.

*** The Online Cyber War Against ISIS

July 13, 2016

Winning: The On Line War On Terror

The American government is taking credit for the recent decline in ISIL (Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant) activity in social media. On Twitter, for example, messages supporting or mentioning ISIL are about half as numerous now as they were two years ago. There is a lot more anti-ISIL commentary and traffic among Arab speaking Internet users. While some of this decline in pro-ISIL activity is due to public opinion turning against ISIL because of their continued attacks on Moslem women and children and any Moslem who does not agree with them there were other trends developing as well. For example Western governments have learned (often by trial and error) how to use the law, popular attitudes among Moslems towards Islamic terrorism and some commonly used Internet marketing and publicity techniques against Islamic terror groups. All these efforts have been underway for years and have reported much progress since 2015.

A lot the basic work was done by U.S. SOCOM (Special Operations Command) which pioneered the use on commercial technology to gain an edge as Islamic terrorists have moved a lot of the combat to the Internet. There Islamic terrorists did a lot of their recruiting, fund raising, training and carrying out attacks or discussing tactics in general. SOCOM used commercial Internet marketing software systems to better (and more quickly) analyze what Islamic terrorists were doing on the Internet. This is nothing new for SOCOM, which has been informally using social networking sites and Internet activity in general to find, monitor and sometimes manipulate terrorist suspects. This has been going on since the late 1990s but as time went on SOCOM found that formal and analytic techniques produced better results.

** As China’s Pakistan Ties Deepen, India Needs a Strategy to Mitigate the Fallout

Much of what we have seen in the strengthened China-Pakistan alignment in the last decade is a reaction to the rise of India. 

An embrace that has tightened as India’s economic and strategic weight has increased. Credit: Sana Nasir 

Andrew Small, a former journalist who is now a fellow at the German Marshall Fund in the United States, has written a detailed and well researched book on a relationship that has received very little attention outside India, but is of increasing significance not just to India but to the region. This is the best account of what is probably the most special and purely strategic relationship in the world. Indeed, this is a book I would recommend to anyone interested in India’s foreign policy and future. 

The book is full of interesting detail on a relationship that both protagonists have done their best to obfuscate, and that is of extreme sensitivity to Pakistan. The great issues are familiar to an Indian: China’s assistance to Pakistan’s nuclear weapon programme and its delivery systems; China’s intricate dealings with Afghanistan and the Taliban over the last 38 years, which are now increasingly independent of Pakistani mediation and preferences; China and Pakistan’s use of jehad; and, the interplay with other powers like India, Russia and the USA. 

The China-Pakistan Axis: Asia’s New Geopolitics

Understanding the Violence in Valley!

By Col Anil Athale
14 Jul , 2016

Insurgencies are like amoeba, constantly changing shape and size. What began as a territorial dispute between India and Pakistan in 1947 has, over time, undergone several metamorphoses. Initially it had socio-economic roots but later became part of a wider Islamic uprising masked by calls for ‘Azadi”. At present it is driven purely by a sense of outrage over impotence and revenge for security forces’ action against the militants.

…ever since the failure of an armed uprising, the domestic elements as well as Pakistan seem to have embarked upon a strategy of making Kashmir valley ungovernable.

Most analysts agree that the ‘insurgency’ in Kashmir began in 1988/89. But such is the close nexus between the proxy war by Pakistan and domestic unrest in Kashmir, that the two are virtually inseparable. The initial impetus was definitely provided by the happenings in Europe (fall of the Berlin Wall, disintegration of the USSR), but a long-term reason was the long cultivated myth of the ‘unique’ Kashmiri identity. This was due to the defensive reaction of the secular Indian State and its cynical exploitation by the West and Pakistan.

During the Cold War period, Kashmir could be used as a pressure point against a pro-Soviet Union India. The Afghan war against the Soviet occupation began winding down in the late 1980s. This was perceived as a victory for Islamist forces and the fighters freed from this war were directed towards Kashmir. Towards the early 1990s, Pakistan sought and got American support for its Kashmir venture as a sort of reward for its role in ousting the Soviet Union from Afghanistan. Insurgency in Kashmir was a virtual certainty in 1988/89.

Will BrahMos Propel India’s Defence Export Drive?

By Radhakrishna Rao
14 Jul , 2016

Everything going as planned, the formidable, Indo Russian supersonic cruise missile, BrahMos, would be exported to Vietnam, with which India’s diplomatic, commercial and strategic relations are on a strong footing .The sale of BrahMos to Vietnam would open up a lucrative market for this high precision, lethal missile system in the countries of South East Asia region. But then, many hurdles would need to be overcome before India actually initiates the export of BrahMos to Vietnam, which is keen on positioning this missile as a counterpoise to possible “Chinese misadventure.”

In fact, way back in 1979, Vietnam had fought a bloody border war with China. And now Vietnam has mounted a serious challenge to the Chinese claim over the resources of the disputed South China Sea region. As it is, the prospect of the BrahMos sale to Vietnam had figured prominently in the bilateral talks between the Indian Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and his Vietnamese counterpart Gen Ngo Xuan Lich in early June 2016. If India’s plan to sell BrahMos to Vietnam assumes a practical shape, it would certainly mark a quantum shift in the strategy of India—currently the largest arms importer—in terms of boosting defence export with an eye on bolstering the defensive and offensive capabilities of its ally while at the same time boosting the domestic revenue.

Pentagon Confirms Terrorist Leader Umar Khalifa Killed In Afghanistan

JULY 14, 2016

The terrorist leader Umar Khalifa was killed July 9 along with four other enemy combatants in a US Forces-Afghanistan airstrike targeting Islamic State-Khorasan Province members in Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province, Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook said in a statement issued Wednesday.

Khalifa was a terrorist leader with the Tariq Gidar Group, Cook said.

Khalifa orchestrated multiple terrorist operations in Pakistan to include the January 2016 attack on Bacha Khan University, the September 2015 Badaber Air Force Base attack, and the December 2014 Peshawar school attack that resulted in the deaths of more than 130 children, Cook added.

While this strike was taken pursuant to US rules of engagement and counter-terrorism interests, the specific relevance it has to Pakistan’s and Afghanistan’s security underscores the common security interests shared by the United States, Afghanistan, and Pakistan on matters of terrorism, Cook continued.

South China Sea: Beijing considers next moves after Hague ruling

An international tribunal sent a pointed message to China on Tuesday — just because you say something is yours doesn't mean it is.

This week's binding decision from the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague, Netherlands, dealt a serious blow to China's claim to most of the South China Sea, a 1.4 million-square-mile body of water that contains the world's busiest shipping lanes. The ruling was rejected immediately by the Chinese Foreign Ministry — as expected — but it has left Beijing in an exceedingly difficult position where it has to balance an angry, nationalistic population against an international community that expects it to back down.
Bullit Marquez | AP
Philippines navy personnel motion toward a Chinese Coast Guard vessel to make way as they block it from entering Second Thomas Shoal in the South China Sea.

"What's at stake here is the question of China's image and China's future — what kind of nation, what kind of country will China be? And how will it be regarded by its neighbors as well as by its people?" Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel Russel told CNBC.

A fear of losing territory, which dates to China's bitter and bloody war with Japan in the 20th century, permeates both the leadership in Beijing and the general population in China. In the eyes of the Chinese, a majority of the South China Sea belongs to them — backed by what Beijing claims are historical documents that support its sovereignty there. The Hague ruling specifically invalidated those historical claims.

So now, the world is watching closely at what President Xi Jinping's course of action will be.

China's South Sea Claims Were Always about Emotion, Not History

July 12, 2016

The South China Sea arbitration award is not just a victory for the Philippines over China; it is a victory for evidence over sentiment. I have spent the past five years digging through the competing versions of the region’s history. In the process, I have learned that China’s claims in the South China Sea were always more emotional than historical. They emerged from the sense of national violation during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and mixed misunderstandings about history with poor translations of foreign maps and an unbending sense of self-righteousness.

The problem for the region is that, despite the arbitration ruling, those misunderstandings and emotions will not easily go away. Far from it: Chinese schools are continuing to inculcate young minds with the same muddled views of the past, and the national media is reinforcing the message for adults. To those Chinese who care about the issue, the arbitration will appear as yet another episode in the story of national humiliation. If we could trust the Chinese leadership to allow the free flow of information and an open debate about history, we could hope for a new understanding to emerge. For the time being, that is about as likely as China dismantling its giant artificial islands.

The Strategic Implications of the South China Sea Tribunal’s Award

July 13, 2016

On July 12, the tribunal hearing the case issued its ruling that can only be described as a huge win for the Philippines. Digesting all 507 pages of the award will take time, allowing only for preliminary judgments to be made. Below, I discuss several strategic implications.

The Scope of Lawful Maritime Claims in the South China Sea

In assessing the Philippine submissions, the tribunal greatly reduced the scope of maritime entitlements that states can claim in the South China Sea. First, the tribunal concluded that China lawfully, under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, claims historic rights to resources within the nine-dash line that appears on Chinese maps. Although China has not clarified the nine-dashed line or even explained officially what it means, the tribunal indicated that one potential explanation, as a claim to historic rights, was inconsistent with the convention. The tribunal reasoned that whatever historic rights or high-seas freedoms China enjoyed were “extinguished” when it acceded to the convention.

Second, the tribunal interpreted Article 121 of the convention, which outlines the “regime of islands.” In particular, the tribunal offered a four-part test for determining what constitutes an “island” and not a rock. This matters greatly because under the convention islands are entitled to a two-hundred-nautical-mile Exclusive Economic Zone, while a mere rock is entitled only to a twelve-nautical-mile territorial sea. The tribunal ruled that none of the naturally formed land features satisfied its four-part test and that no “islands” exist in the Spratlys from which China, or any other claimant state, can claim a two-hundred-nautical-mile EEZ.

The Obama-Clinton Legacy: A More Aggressive China

July 14, 2016

If shots are fired in the wake of the decision of the United Nations Permanent Court of Arbitration to categorically reject China’s expansive territorial claims in the South China Sea, Beijing will have only itself to blame. However, former secretary of state Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama must also share responsibility.

The Clinton-Obama culpability seems to have been totally lost in the current debate over this issue—virtually every pundit focuses on how to respond to China’s next aggressive move. However, this regrettable situation is a poster child of weakness inviting aggression—with all the unintended consequences such aggression can bring—so it is important to frame this crisis in its appropriate historical setting.

This crisis began with China’s forcibly taking Scarborough Shoal from the Philippines in 2012. This shoal is a triangular-shaped chain of reefs, rocks, and small islands barely thirty-four miles in circumference and about 115 nautical miles off the Philippines’ Zambales Province on the western side of Luzon Island. It is well within the Philippines’ two-hundred-mile Exclusive Economic Zone, where an EEZ entitles a country to natural resources like fish and petroleum with it; and only one of its land features, South Rock, is above water at high tide.

China’s taking of Scarborough Shoal began in April of 2012 with an incursion into the shoal by a flotilla of Chinese fishing vessels. Manila attempted to arrest the fishermen. A tense standoff involving paramilitary Chinese Coast Guard vessels ensued.

Why the South China Sea Verdict Is Likely to Backfire

July 13, 2016

On July 12, the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague issued a decision that could greatly impact the ongoing tensions in the South China Sea. Ruling on a case brought by the Philippines in 2013, the decision of the five-judge panel represented an emphatic victory for Manila’s position and a near total repudiation of China’s claims. In its most significant finding, the tribunal flatly rejected China’s argument that it enjoys historic rights over most of the South China Sea. Such a claim, the panel ruled, had no legal basis. The ruling was a sweeping rebuke of Beijing’s conduct, especially its seizure of uninhabited reefs and its construction of artificial islands. Such actions, the tribunal concluded, violated China’s obligations under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

Philippine leaders were ecstatic about the decision. “It’s an overwhelming victory. We won on every significant point,” stated Paul Reichler, Manila’s chief counsel in the case. The overall decision was not that much of a surprise, but the categorical nature of some of the language was surprising even to seasoned regional observers. “It goes much farther than most people expected that this was going to go. It’s really devastating to China,” concluded Bonnie Glaser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Beijing’s reaction was swift and ferocious. President Xi Jinping reiterated that the waters had been Chinese territory since ancient times and this ruling could not invalidate such history. Foreign Minister Wang Yi was more succinct and caustic. “This farce is now over,” he stated. “China opposes and will never accept any claim or action based on those awards.”

China loses to Philippines in South China Sea: What lies ahead?

By Dr Rajeev Kumar
14 Jul , 2016

The United Nations’ arbitration court, in a landmark ruling, has dismissed China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea, saying it has “no historic title” to the vast maritime region which is valuable because of $5 trillion worth of global trade passing through it. The court declared that “although Chinese navigators and fishermen, as well as those of other states, had historically made use of the islands in the South China Sea, there was no evidence that China had historically exercised exclusive control over the waters or their resources”[i]. The tribunal “found that China had violated the Philippines’ sovereign rights in its exclusive economic zone by

Interfering with Philippine fishing and petroleum exploration,
Constructing artificial islands and
Failing to prevent Chinese fishermen from fishing in the zone.

The tribunal also held that fishermen from the Philippines (like those from China) had traditional fishing rights at Scarborough Shoal and that China had interfered with these rights in restricting access. The tribunal further held that Chinese law enforcement vessels had unlawfully created a serious risk of collision when they physically obstructed Philippine vessels”[ii].

Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration’s ruling comes as an answer to a complaint filed by the Philippines in 2013 which had accused Beijing of violating the Annex VII of the UN’s Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) with its aggressive overture on the Scarborough Shoal, a reef located about 225 kilometres off the Philippine coast. Manila asserted that China’s maritime map of the South China Sea was of dubious pedigree. The Permanent Court of Arbitration said Beijing’s claim of virtual sovereignty over nearly all the South China Sea under a so-called “nine-dash line” that stretches from the southern China coast runs contrary to UNCLOS[iii]. It declared large areas of the sea to be neutral international waters. The Hague court also ruled that none of the Spratly Islands granted China an exclusive economic zone, and that its construction activities on Mischief Reef caused “irreparable harm” to the reef’s ecosystem[iv].


Russia And China Learn From Each Other As Military Ties Deepen

by: Charles Clover in Beijing
July 11, 2016 

Analysts detect increasingly common strategy as Moscow and Beijing intensify co-operation

Chinese troops march past a mural showing Moscow’s Red Square: Russia and China’s military leaders are co-operating increasingly closely © Getty

Russia and China staged a bold new series of military manoeuvres last month. Not a single ship left port, nor did any tank fire up its engine. Instead, a team from China’s People’s Liberation Army sat with their Russian counterparts in Moscow, running a five-day computer simulation of a joint response to a ballistic missile attack.

Held in the Central Research Institute of Air and Space Defence in the Russian capital, the drill “was not directed against any third country”, according to Russia’s defence ministry. But few were under any illusion that the “aggressor” in the simulation was anyone other than the US.

The exercise — which analysts note involved sharing information in an extremely sensitive sphere — was highly significant because it indicated “a new level of trust” between the two former adversaries, says Vasily Kashin, an expert on China’s military at the Higher School of Economics in Moscow.

Law Of The Sea: US In, China Out? Dems Push Ratification

China’s new airstrip built over Fiery Cross Reef in the South China Sea (CSIS image)

WASHINGTON: Leading legislators from both parties welcomed today’s UN tribunal ruling against Chinese claims in the South China Sea. But while Republicans focused on China’smisdeeds, Democrats consistently brought up an American omission: The United States has never ratified the very treaty empowering the tribunal to stand up China, the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

UNCLOS has been in contention since the Reagan era. Republicans rejected it primarily for imposing UN bureaucracy, and potentially even taxation, over US activities such as seabed mining. President Clinton signed the implementation agreement in 1994, and the US military abides by it religiously, but the treaty itself has never been ratified by the Senate.

“We are limited in our ability to strengthen international law… if we cannot lead by example,” said Sen. Jack Reed, top Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee, in a rare public divergence from SASC chairman John McCain. ”The United States has not yet ratified UNCLOS, despite calls from our top military leaders who agree it will strengthen our national security. The treaty is the foundation for today’s ruling, and U.S. support for UNCLOS will be critical if we are to be successful in advocating for the rule of law throughout the region.”

Now for the Hard Part: Converting Law into Order in the South China Sea

Declaring the law is one thing, upholding it another thing altogether.

After Tuesday’s landmark ruling from the Permanent Court of Arbitration regarding the South China Sea, the gulf between China and the region has widened. China has busily staked out a position that will be hard to climb down from, while the United States and its allies and partners are hoping to elevate diplomacy backed by defense to help enforce a rules-based order. Whether polarization crowds out integration will hinge largely on responses undertaken by China, the United States and Southeast Asian claimant states in the coming weeks and months.

The South China Sea poses multiple challenges for China: domestically, as a sovereign interest; regionally, as an issue of relations with neighbors; and internationally, as a contest to displace American primacy. Geography, history, rapid military modernization, a centrally controlled narrative and enviable financial clout provide Beijing with several natural advantages.

Yet rather than marshalling these attributes toward soft power and a peaceful way forward, China has instead managed to upset just about every actor in and out of the region. For a nation that arguably invented strategy, China’s foreign policy can appear remarkably obtuse.

Inside ISIS: Quietly preparing for the loss of the ‘caliphate’

By Joby Warrick and Souad Mekhennet 
July 12 2016

This June 26 image — made from Associated Press video — shows Iraqi troops turning the Islamic State flag upside down in Fallujah, Iraq. (Uncredited/AP)

Even as it launches waves of terrorist attacks around the globe, the Islamic State is quietly preparing its followers for the eventual collapse of the caliphate it proclaimed with great fanfare two years ago.

In public messages and in recent actions in Syria, the group’s leaders are acknowledging the terrorist organization’s declining fortunes on the battlefield while bracing for the possibility that its remaining strongholds could fall.

At the same time, the group is vowing to press on with its recent campaign of violence, even if the terrorists themselves are driven underground. U.S. counterterrorism experts believe the mass-­casualty attacks in Istanbul and Baghdad in the past month were largely a response to military reversals in Iraq and Syria.

Such terrorist acts are likely to continue and even intensify, at least initially, analysts say, as the group evolves from a quasi-state with territorial holdings to a shadowy and diffuse network with branches and cells on at least three continents.

Indeed, while the loss of a physical sanctuary would constitute a major blow to the Islamic State — severely limiting, for example, its ability to raise money, train recruits or plan complex terrorist operations — the group’s highly decentralized nature ensures that it will remain dangerous for some time to come, according to current and former U.S. officials and terrorism experts.