Taking NATO To The Woodshed

On his way out the door, retiring U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates lets it fly.

Gates Says NATO Could Face ‘Irrelevance’ in the Future

American Defense Secretary Robert Gates has told NATO members that they need to do more — and spend more — to support the alliance.

ROBERT GATES: “The blunt reality is that there will be dwindling appetite and patience in the US Congress — and in the American body politic writ large — to expend increasingly precious funds on behalf of nations that are apparently unwilling to devote the necessary resources or make the necessary changes to be serious and capable partners in their own defense.”

On Friday, Mr. Gates gave his last policy speech before he retires as defense secretary on June thirtieth. He spoke in Brussels, Belgium, at the headquarters of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. NATO was created in nineteen forty-nine to defend western Europe against the Soviet Union.

See also:
Transcript of Defense Secretary Gates’s Speech on NATO’s Future
Gates rebukes European allies in farewell speech
‘Collective Military Irrelevance’
After Gates’ Blunt Warning, What’s Next for NATO?
US warns Europe over NATO future
Libya, Europe and the future of NATO
NATO’S future at risk, warns Pentagon chief
Gates offers grim account of NATO’s Libya efforts
Gates slams NATO allies over share of combat burden
Where Gates criticizes, Obama celebrates
How long will the U.S. find NATO relevant and affordable?

Just how worthless is NATO? They’ve been battling third rate military power Libya for three months now, NATO’s running out of ammunition, and Moammar Gadhafi is still there. What would NATO do if, say, Russia attacked western Europe? If NATO can’t defeat Libya, how can they possibly defend themselves? It’s more than obvious that NATO has outlived its usefulness and needs to be disbanded. Why should the United States continue to put up the vast majority of funding, troops, and equipment to support Europe’s defense, when Europe refuses to defend itself?

/and why the [expletive deleted] is Turkey a member of NATO, they not only don’t contribute much of anything, they actively work against the other alliance members, how insane is that?

Chinese Stealth?

As usual, it appears that the Chinese have been putting their stolen Western technology secrets to good use. Check out their new J-20 “stealth” fighter, look familiar? While it may be based on stolen Western technology, there’s questions as to how “advanced” it really is. One thing’s for sure, the damn thing is huge, as fighters go!

Chinese J-20 Stealth Fighter In Taxi Tests

China’s first known stealth aircraft just emerged from a secret development program and was undergoing high-speed taxi tests late last week at Chengdu Aircraft Design Institute’s airfield. Said to be designated J-20, it is larger than most observers expected—pointing to long range and heavy weapon loads.

Its timing, Chengdu’s development record and official statements cast doubt on U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates’s 2009 prediction (in support of his decision to stop production of the Lockheed Martin F-22) that China would not have an operational stealth aircraft before 2020.

The debut of the J-20 was announced in a November 2009 interview on Chinese TV by Gen. He Weirong, deputy commander of the People’s Liberation Army Air Force. The general said a “fourth-generation” fighter (Chinese terminology for a stealth fighter) would be flown in 2010-11 and be operational in 2017-19.

The J-20 is a single-seat, twin-engine aircraft, bigger and heavier than the Sukhoi T-50 and the F-22. Comparison with ground-service vehicles points to an overall length of 75 ft. and a wingspan of 45 ft. or more, which would suggest a takeoff weight in the 75,000-80,000-lb. class with no external load. That in turn implies a generous internal fuel capacity. The overall length is close to that of the 1960s General Dynamics F-111, which carries 34,000 lb. of fuel.

See also:
China ‘leaks’ sneak peek of first stealth aircraft going for a test run
A Chinese Stealth Challenge?
China Builds J-20 Stealth Fighter Prototype
China’s stealth jet is no cause for alarm: US
Reports Of China’s Stealth Fighter Come As Pentagon Proposes Cuts
‘Stealth’ Chinese Fighter Jet Photos No Accident
China’s J-20 stealth fighter on film
J-20 Stealth Fighter Jet: 5 Facts About China’s New Stealth Plane
China Uncloaks Stealth Fighter Prototype
China’s J-20 fighter conducts taxiing test in Chengdu; photos+
Chinese Stealth Fighter: J-20 Stealth Fighter vs. F-22 Raptor in 2018?

Well, thank God that Obama and Gates canceled the F-22 Raptor program, eh? We have less than 200 of them and we’re not making any more. Now, some may argue that the J-20 is no match for the F-22. However, as history has shown, what the Chinese lack in quality, they more than make up for in quantity.

/although the exact number of simultaneous targets that the F-22 can track is classified, it’s a large number, but it’s still a finite number, and the Chinese are well known for their indifference to casualties in order to achieve an objective

Modafean Aseman Velayat 3

Iran is at it again, attempting to deter an attack on its nuclear facilities by putting its ancient and pathetic air defenses on display.

Iran begins air defense drills: report

The Iranian Army launched its biggest nationwide air defense drill to prepare against any possible attacks “on public or nuclear sites,” the local satellite Press TV reported on Tuesday.

Arial defense units from the Army and the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) are taking part in the three-stage five-day defense maneuvers dubbed “Modafean Aseman Velayat 3,” (the Guardians of Islamic Skies), the report said.

The nationwide air maneuvers, which kicked off early Tuesday, were held near Iran’s “nuclear and vital landmarks” and include tests of long-range anti-air missiles, according to the report.

The drills aim to enhance response capabilities in countering threats against the county’s populated, vital, strategic and nuclear landmarks.

The Commander of Iran’s Khatamolanbia Air Defense Base Brigadier General Ahmad Miqani said Sunday the drills are part of an annual exercise that will be held with the participation of all air defense units of the country’s armed forces. The specific purpose is to enhance the effectiveness of the country’s anti- cruise electronic detection and weapons systems, said Miqani.

Earlier in the day, Miqani announced Iran would produce an air defense radar system with a range of 3,000 km in radius. The country will also unveil a new generation of domestically developed long-range S-200 air defense missile system by next February.

See also:
Iran opens air defense war games
Iran conducts military exercises near its nuclear sites
Iran Starts Nationwide Air Defense Drills
Iran launches ‘biggest’ aerial drills
Iran to conduct five-day air war games
Iran’s Strengthened Air Defense Capable of Repelling All Enemy Attacks
Tehran to test air-defense systems
Iran launches air defence exercises
Iran starts “biggest” air defense war games
Iran kicks off 5-day air defence war games
Iran Holds ‘Biggest’ Air Defense Drill Yet Over Nuke Sites
Iran Starts Major Defense Drill To Protect Nuclear Sites
Iran launches biggest air defence drill

I’m not sure why Iran even bothers because the Obama administration has no intention whatsoever of attacking Iran’s nuclear sites.

Gates Says Sanctions Cause Iranian Rift, Opposes Military Strike

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates says international sanctions against Iran because of its nuclear program are causing division among the country’s leaders, and are the best way to convince them to abandon the program.

. . .

Secretary Gates said he believes the Iranian leaders are intent on developing nuclear weapons, a charge they have denied. Gates said the only long term solution to the problem is to use sanctions and diplomacy to convince the Iranians that developing the weapons is not in their interest.

“Everything else is a short-term solution, is a two-to-three-year solution,” said the defense secretary. “And if it’s a military solution, as far as I’m concerned, it will bring together a divided nation, it will make them absolutely committed to attaining nuclear weapons and they will just go deeper and more covert.”

See also:
Gates: Iran strike wouldn’t stop nuclear program
Gates sees Iran rift, says strike would unite country
US: Strike can’t stop Iran’s N-program
A military strike against Iran would unite the divided country and ensure Tehran’s unwavering commitment to pursuing nuclear weapons: Robert Gates
Military action won’t stop Iran nuclear program: US
Gates says military strike would unite a divided Iran

I guess militarily stopping Iran’s nuclear program is entirely up to Israel now. Unfortunately, Israel probably doesn’t have enough firepower, by itself, to pull off the successful large scale attack that would be necessary.

/so, say hello to an Iran armed with nuclear weapons, I’m sure they’ll be much more reasonable and easier to deal with at that point

Better Than Nothing

There’s little argument that the reliability of the U.S. nuclear arsenal is questionable and needs to be addressed. All our nuclear warheads are at least 20 years old and some date back to the 1970s. None of them have been tested since 1992. Nuclear warheads are complex systems and, unless it’s certain that they’ll operate as intended, they’re not an effective deterrent.

In my opinion, the Reliable Replacement Warhead (RRW) program is the obvious and preferred solution to the nuclear arsenal reliability question. U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates agrees. However, because of Obama and his administration’s vehement antipathy to nuclear weapons in general, the RRW program is dead in the water. So, for now, I guess we should be grateful that it looks like the Obama administration might be prepared to do something, albeit grudgingly, to address the U.S. nuclear arsenal reliability problem.

2011 U.S. Budget to Fund Refurbishing of Nukes

A reliable replacement for the now-dead Reliable Replacement Warhead program will be funded in U.S. President Barack Obama’s proposed 2011 budget, said the woman most responsible for killing the RRW in 2008.

Ellen Tauscher, undersecretary of state for arms control and international security, said the budget Obama plans to send to Congress Feb. 2 includes “very crucial investment” in the Stockpile Management program. She declined to disclose specific dollar amounts.

Stockpile Management will do what RRW was supposed to do, Tauscher told defense reporters on Jan. 13.

Just three years ago, Tauscher led successful efforts to kill the RRW. At the time, she was a congresswoman from California and chairman of the House Armed Services strategic forces subcommittee. Her subcommittee blocked funding for the program in the 2007 and 2008 Defense Authorization Acts.

Tauscher left Congress and joined the Obama administration last June.

The Stockpile Management program would permit the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) to “refurbish” aging nuclear warheads to ensure that they still work and are safe, Tauscher said. During refurbishment, features could be added to the warheads to make them theft-proof and more environmentally friendly, she said.

But the warheads cannot be “improved” in the sense that they are made into more effective weapons, and they cannot be tested by exploding sample warheads.

That is essentially what was intended with the RRW, Tauscher said.

But the RRW evolved into “a toxic concept” after officials in the Bush administration touted it as a program to improve existing warheads, Tauscher said.

“We don’t want people believing that we expect to go out and build new weapons,” she said. Thus the RRW program became “dangerous” when it came to be perceived as a program to “modernize” rather than “refurbish” warheads.

“We had to get rid of RRW,” Tauscher said. The perception that the United States was improving its nuclear arsenal undermined U.S. efforts to convince non-nuclear countries not to seek nuclear weapons and to encourage nuclear-armed nations to shrink their inventories.

Under the Stockpile Management program, the NNSA would maintain the nuclear stockpile without adding to its capabilities, without testing and “without causing people to be concerned about what we are doing,” Tauscher said.

Stockpile Management would provide for a “safe, reliable and effective stockpile until we can get to nuclear zero,” she said.

Projecting the proper nuclear image is critical to advancing Obama’s nuclear disarmament goals, she said.

See also:
Obama to seek major increase in nuclear weapons funding
Obama to boost spending on maintaining nuclear stocks
Obama Administration to Increase Nuclear Spending
Obama to seek more funds to secure N-arsenal
After pledging to ‘reverse’ their spread, Obama increases nuclear weapons budget
The President’s Nuclear Vision
Biden Sends A Message On Nukes
Debate heats up on Obama’s nuclear agenda
Nuclear Bomb Update Effort Slowed by Posture Review, Science Studies
No Nukes . . . For US

/as Reagan said, trust but verify, let’s see what happens to this modest proposal when Obama’s budget hits Congress

Hacking Back At The Chinese And Russians, The White Hat Cavalry

Gates Creates Cyber-Defense Command

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates issued an order yesterday establishing a command that will defend military networks against computer attacks and develop offensive cyber-weapons, but he also directed that the structure be ready to help safeguard civilian systems.

In a memo to senior military leaders, Gates said he will recommend that President Obama designate that the new command be led by the director of the National Security Agency, the world’s largest electronic intelligence-gathering agency. The current NSA director, Lt. Gen. Keith B. Alexander, is expected to be awarded a fourth star and to lead the cyber-command.

Gates or his deputy had been expected to announce the command in a speech a week ago. Analysts said making the announcement by memo is in keeping with the Pentagon’s effort to tamp down concerns that the Defense Department and the NSA will dominate efforts to protect the nation’s computer networks.

“Is it going to be the dominant player by default because the Department of Homeland Security is weak and this new unit will be strong?” said James A. Lewis, a cybersecurity expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “That’s a legitimate question, and I think DoD will resist having that happen. But there are issues of authorities that haven’t been cleared up. What authorities does DoD have to do things outside the dot-mil space?”

The command will be set up as part of the U.S. Strategic Command, which is responsible for commanding operations in nuclear and computer warfare. Gates directed that the command be launched by this October and be fully operational by October 2010.

In a speech last week, Deputy Defense Secretary William Lynn stressed that the command’s mission would be to defend military networks. However, he said, “it would be inefficient — indeed, irresponsible — to not somehow leverage the unrivaled technical expertise and talent that resides at the National Security Agency” to protect the federal civilian networks, as long as it is done in a way that protects civil liberties.

See also:
Military Command Is Created for Cyber Security
Pentagon approves creation of cyber command
Defense Secretary Orders Cyberspace Command
Gates approves creation of new cyber command
US Creates Military Cyber Command to Defend Computer Networks
Pentagon: New cyber command focuses on military network
US sets up anti-computer-hacking unit
Cyberspace: The New Battlefield
Welcome to the National Security Agency – NSA/CSS
National Security Agency
National Security Agency
U.S. Strategic Command
Strategic Command
United States Strategic Command
Air Force Cyber Command
Air Force Cyber Command (Provisional)
Navy Cyber Defense Operations Command (NCDOC)
Welcome to Fort George G. Meade
Fort George G. Meade
Center for Strategic and International Studies ( CSIS )
Center for Strategic and International Studies

/since you insist on [expletive deleted] with our networks, we’ll [expletive deleted] with yours, and we’re better at it

Obama Plucks The Raptor

Today is a sad day for American military superiority. In addition to cutting several major programs including cutting $1.4 billion from missile defense, Secretary of Defense Gates announced that the Obama administration is also ending the F-22 Raptor program, the world’s most advanced air superiority fighter by an order of magnitude.

F-22 Raptor axed by Pentagon

The Pentagon’s $534 billion budget request for 2009 shoots down future production of the F-22 Raptor, the stealth fighter made by Lockheed Martin Corp.’s Marietta, Ga.-based Aeronautics division.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Monday revealed the Pentagon’s plans to complete its order for 183 Raptors plus four more. But the U.S. Department of Defense will order no more after that. The Air Force had planned to order 20 Raptors in 2010 and 40 more in coming years.

See also:
Big cuts seen for F-22, other big weapon programs
F-22 Raptor to end production in favor of the F-35 JSF
Chambliss, Isakson disappointed in Raptors decision
F-22 Raptor, Seattle jobs, appear doomed
Machinists Denounce F-22 Funding Cut
US weapons cuts could put N.E. jobs in jeopardy
F-22A Raptor Home-The Site of the 21st Century Fighter
F-22 Raptor
F-22 Raptor
F-22A Raptor Advanced Tactical Fighter Aircraft US Air Force , USA
F-22 Raptor
F-22 Raptor
Disarming America

But hey, killing the F-22 frees up all that much more money for more important national defense priorities like community organizing and social welfare programs.

/R.I.P. Raptor, let’s all pray we never have to fight the Chinese or Russians during our lifetimes, because ACORN don’t fly

Disarming America

You just knew this was coming.

Gates Prepares ‘Fundamental Shift’ in Defense Funding Priorities

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates plans to brief congressional leaders and announce Monday a “fundamental shift” in defense spending and priorities, his spokesman said Friday.

The fiscal 2010 funding choices in the announcement will represent the first major defense policy decisions of President Obama’s administration. Specific details of the budget are not expected until the first week of May, but Gates will make the unusual move of announcing several major program decisions weeks ahead of the budget release, according to the spokesman.

“These are not changes to the margins. This is a fundamental shift in direction,” Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said. “And the secretary’s point of view argues for an unconventional approach in explaining that shift to the American people.”

Morrell said that Gates would finalize the decisions over the weekend and brief congressional leaders Monday morning. A press conference will follow.

“The fact of life is that since September 11, 2001, the military has been engaged in irregular warfare activities that require more of our focus, more of our energy, and more of our resources than we have been dedicating to them,” Morrell said. “So Gates is trying to shift between the large scale conventional near peer conflicts that we have to prepare for down the line and the very real conflicts we are engaged in now.”

The timing of the announcement allows Gates to present the strategic rationale for the decisions at once, rather than having individuals criticize the decisions piecemeal as they leak out.

“Gates’ hope is that by revealing it all at once and by explaining it in depth and explaining the strategic rationale for all of these decisions, that people will view it as a whole and not get focused on the individual decisions and not let their parochial interests overcome the fact that it is in our national interests to make these adjustments to the whole of the budget,” Morrell said.

Although Gates repeatedly has warned that no final decisions have been made about specific program cuts, defense officials have noted that some are at serious risk — particularly those that are poor performers or cannot be connected with a current threat.

The programs that many expect to face huge cuts or cancellation include the Army’s Future Combat Systems program; the Transformational Communications Satellite program; the Navy’s DDG-1000 destroyer program; and the VH-71 presidential helicopter program. Some cuts or procurement delays are also expected for the Joint Strike Fighter aircraft program..

Ballistic missile defense, which represents the Pentagon’s largest acquisitions program, also could be on the chopping block. Futuristic missile defense components are at particular risk, including the Airborne Laser Program, the Kinetic Energy Interceptor, the Space Based Interceptor, along with plans to begin construction on two missile defense sites in Eastern Europe.

See also:
Gates Planning Major Changes In Programs, Defense Budget
Defense Secretary Gates to unveil Pentagon budget Monday
Gates to Submit Defense Budget Review
Defense budget plan could be pushed to May
Obama: Pentagon Budget Cuts Needed
Lockheed, Boeing Weapons Are at Risk as Pentagon Shuts ‘Spigot’
Budget cuts concern contractors
Airborne Laser (ABL)
Airborne Laser
Future Combat Systems (FCS)
Future Combat Systems (FCS)
Ballistic Missile Defense
Missile Defense Agency
US Navy DDG 1000, Admiral Zumwalt class destroyer
DDG-1000 Zumwalt / DD(X)
F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF)
F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Lightning II
Kinetic Energy Interceptors
Kinetic Energy Interceptor
Space-Based Interceptor (SBI)
Transformational Communications Satellite (TSAT)
Special Report: The USA’s Transformational Communications Satellite System (TSAT)
VH-71 Kestrel / Marine One
First Production VH-71 Presidential Helicopter Arrives at Lockheed Martin to Start Final Production Phase

Sure, lets cut missile defense, what a great idea! With Iran building nuclear weapons and North Korea test firing long range missiles, why would we possibly need a missile defense program? Why would the Department of Defense want to, you know, defend our country from attack? Of course, Obama is only fulfilling his campaign promise to unilaterally disarm America, so it’s not like we weren’t warned.

Well, at least now Obama will have the money to pay for sex education for kindergartners while we all live under the threat of a missile attack on our own soil.

/there’s a good reason they’ve been keeping this defense budget process a secret, they know Americans, at least the ones who care about national defense, will absolutely freak out when they find out about all these cuts so Gates and Obama need to make it a fait accompli