The Insider

By John Liang
August 28, 2009 at 5:00 AM

In case you missed it this summer, the Counterproliferation Program Review Committee recently submitted a report to Congress on the government's efforts to counter nuclear, biological and chemical proliferation over the past two years. The panel itself includes officials from the Defense, Energy, Homeland Security and State departments.

While the full report is classified, the committee did release an unclassified executive summary outlining its conclusions and recommendations, which include:

Undertake a broad analysis of U.S. and allied non-kinetic capabilities and technologies, which may have CWMD applications, and determine how they may be better exploited;

Develop, test, and deploy improved capabilities for standoff or remote detection of chemical, biological, nuclear, and radiological (CBRN) materials related to WMD. The improved capabilities should enable detection from a greater distance than current capability provides, and, for biological threat agents in particular, decrease the time between detection and identification of the biological agent to enable effective warning and treatment;

Develop a range of capabilities to improve U.S. abilities to conduct conventional prompt global strike;

Develop better, or improve existing, coordination mechanisms and information systems to support communities of interest (COI) awareness of ongoing security cooperation activities in foreign regional areas of responsibility;

Develop, test, and deploy capabilities for detection, medical countermeasures, decontamination, and protection against Non-traditional ((chemical)) Agents and emerging biological agents;

Create a global community of interest to matrix existing and future international partnerships to share information to more fully understand all ramifications of the present WMD challenge;

Conduct a comprehensive assessment of the future technology requirements of the nuclear weapons arsenal and stockpile, accounting for the fundamental role of deterrence and the importance of maintaining a credible nuclear deterrent;

Develop, test, and deploy capabilities for enhanced consequence management efforts, communications, awareness (i.e., common operational picture), and infrastructure to improve local responders’ capabilities to deal with mass casualties. Continued exercises and education, training more personnel, and dedicating more resources to preparedness are also needed to improve nation-wide CWMD consequence management capabilities;

Improve foreign WMD consequence management (FCM) capabilities by establishing more international cooperative agreements with allied host nation governments in coordination with DOS and accounting for variations in countries organic capabilities. Specifically, these should define roles, responsibilities, and procedures for host nation and U.S. military WMD consequence management;

Develop, test, and deploy capabilities for improved WMD forensics, to include improvements to coordination procedures among relevant national and local agencies;

Improve intelligence gathering, analysis, and dissemination (e.g., information management systems, decision support systems, sensor development, and intelligence support) regarding state and non-state WMD proliferation and development activities; ((and))

Develop, test, and deploy capabilities to understand and predict the motivations, actions, and reactions of an adversary seeking to acquire and employ WMD against the United States, its interests, friends and allies, whether the adversary is a state or non-state (e.g., terrorist cell -- affiliated or non-affiliated) actor.

By Marcus Weisgerber
August 28, 2009 at 5:00 AM

The Senate Appropriations defense subcommittee is expected to mark up the fiscal year 2010 defense spending bill soon after arriving back in Washington from the August recess.

John Bray, a committee spokesman, said in an e-mail today that while there is no official schedule, the Senate panel is expected to review the defense bill in “early” September.

However, multiple sources say the defense subcommittee will mark up the bill on Sept. 9, with the full committee to take it up the following week. The draft legislation would head to the Senate floor the week of Sept. 21.

By Christopher J. Castelli
August 28, 2009 at 5:00 AM

In bilateral maritime security talks that concluded yesterday in Beijing, China urged America to “reduce, and gradually put an end to air and sea military surveillance and survey operations to avoid naval confrontations,” China's official Xinhua news service said Aug. 27.

In a statement quoted by Xinhua, the defense ministry said, "China believes the constant U.S. military air and sea surveillance and survey operations in China's exclusive economic zone had led to military confrontations between the two sides."

Inside the Pentagon reported earlier this week that senior U.S. defense officials went into the meeting seeking “improved procedures” for avoiding dangerous incidents at sea.

The “special” session -- conducted under the 1998 bilateral Military Maritime Consultative Agreement (MMCA) -- began Aug. 26 and concluded Aug. 27. Special sessions are convened to address specific matters of concern. Plans for the meeting emerged after several standoffs between Chinese and American naval ships in recent months, including a collision in May between a Chinese submarine and a U.S. warship’s towed sonar array.

Relations between U.S. and Chinese defense officials cooled off last October after China voiced concern about U.S. arms sales to Taiwan. China postponed a number of high-level talks between the two countries. In late June, however, Pentagon policy chief Michèle Flournoy rekindled bilateral defense ties by conducting defense consultative talks in China.

By Christopher J. Castelli
August 27, 2009 at 5:00 AM

The Navy's 5th Fleet, which operates under U.S. Central Command, released a statement today about Somali pirates' firing on a Navy helicopter:

Yesterday, at approximately 8:00 a.m. local time, Somali Pirates aboard Motor Vessel (M/V) Win Far, fired what appeared to be a large caliber weapon at a U.S. Navy SH-60B Helicopter from Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light (HSL) 49, embarked aboard USS Chancellorsville (CG 62). No rounds of ammunition struck the SH-60B. The SH-60 crew did not return fire. No personnel injuries resulted from the incident.

CBS News reports it was the "first time pirates have shot at U.S. Navy helicopters conducting daily surveillance flights over areas where pirates anchor hijacked vessels and await ransom."

Video of the incident is online.

More than 30 crewmembers remain as hostages aboard the pirated vessel M/V Win Far.

According to a bulletin issued yesterday by the Office of Naval Intelligence, pirate activity is set to increase near Somalia as monsoon season nears its end.

Piracy attacks around the globe more than doubled to 240 from 114 during the first six months of 2009, compared with the same period in 2008, according to ICC International Maritime Bureau’s Piracy Reporting Centre (IMB), which says most of the attacks are against vessels supporting the oil industry .

The trend comes as no surprise to readers of Inside the Navy, which reported a decade ago then-Coast Guard Commandant Adm. James Loy's prediction that all maritime nations would face common security concerns.

"Piracy appears to be a growth industry worldwide,” he warned.

By Sebastian Sprenger
August 27, 2009 at 5:00 AM

U.S. news sources today began picking up a story from the Polish Gazeta Wyborcza, which suggested U.S. officials had pretty much already decided to scrap plans to station missile defense assets in Poland and the Czech Republic.

We asked Missile Defense Agency spokesman Richard Lehner this afternoon if there was any truth to this.

"Nope," he replied in an e-mail.

Of course, the Obama administration's review of the issue, when finished, could very well result in the termination of the Poland/Czech Republic option, or at least a significant tweaking. After all, scientists have called into question the technical feasibility of the undertaking.

But last month, Missile Defense Agency Director Army Lt. Gen. Patrick O'Reilly chose the words "standing commitment" in describing the basing plans for the two countries that were hatched under the Bush administration.

By John Liang
August 26, 2009 at 5:00 AM

The Joint IED Defeat Organization (JIEDDO) announced today that it would host a conference in October to bring government and industry leaders together to discuss new ways to counter improvised explosive devices. According to a JIEDDO statement:

As part of its efforts to defeat the IED as a weapon of strategic influence, JIEDDO will host the 2009 JIEDDO Fall Technology Outreach Conference (JTOC) on October 27-29 in College Park, Maryland.

The JTOC is designed to facilitate innovative cooperation and business opportunities for participating companies and organizations, with the ultimate goal of supporting the warfighter. The fall JTOC provides a forum for representatives from government, industry, academia, and federal laboratories as well as our Coalition partners to network capabilities and expertise in a classified forum.

The three-day event offers conference attendees the opportunity to hear presentations ranging from a Coalition Update to an overview of emerging threats from JIEDDO’s Competitive Strategies Group. In addition to the presentations, attendees can actively participate in comprehensive discussions with JIEDDO program integrators, scientists, warfighters, and intelligence specialists during the panel sessions. Each panel session will focus on JIEDDO’s most urgent technology gaps and highlight the organization’s “Attack the Network” and “Defeat the Device” counter-IED initiatives in various areas.

The panel session topics include:

• Threat Phenomenological Data for Analysis & Experimentation
• Sensor Data & Information Fusion
• Airborne Counter IED Systems
• Roadside IED Defeat
• Signatures Detection
• PBIED & VBIED
• Social Dynamics Analysis: Non-Kinetic Attack
• CREW Update
• Underbelly
• Blasting Cap Defeat
• Predictive Analysis: Advanced Analytics
• SeRF

Attendees can also conduct private meetings with JIEDDO personnel. These 15-minute meetings, held immediately following the panel sessions, are designed to address issues where business confidentiality may be a concern and establish follow-on points of contact. Conference attendees can sign up online and are required to submit a “read ahead” prior to the meeting.

Potential attendees can check out JIEDDO's Web site for more information on the conference.

Click below for InsideDefense.com's recent JIEDDO coverage:

Senate Committee: JIEDDO Funding Belongs in Supplemental Budget

House Authorizers Reallocate, Reduce FY-10 JIEDDO Funding

JIEDDO Moving Forward With Joint Counter-IED Training Stations

JIEDDO, Air Force Developing Sensors to Spot IEDs, Suicide Bombers

By Dan Dupont
August 26, 2009 at 5:00 AM

The death of Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA) leaves a vacancy on the Senate Armed Services Committee -- and, most notably, atop the seapower subcommittee.

Kennedy joined the panel in 1983. With his passing, the seapower subcommittee, which he has chaired, will need a new leader.

Next in line is Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-CT), the chairman of the airland subcommittee. After him comes Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI), who chairs emerging threats and capabilities.

By Marjorie Censer
August 26, 2009 at 5:00 AM

The Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments has plenty of advice for the Army when it comes to the restructured Future Combat Systems program.

In a recent report, CSBA president Andrew Krepinevich and research fellow Evan Braden Montgomery called on the Army to develop a modernization strategy that would "avoid repeating the mistakes of the past."

And today, in a new report, Montgomery warns the service against rushing ahead on the ground combat vehicle effort only to prepare platforms that are outdated by the time they are built.

Montgomery predicts the new GCVs "will almost certainly be larger, more heavily armored, and have V-shaped hulls for better protection against improvised explosive devices."

However, he says "sunk costs and time constraints" might keep the Army from coming up with designs that significantly improve on the previous MGV plans.

He particularly stresses the need to ensure a strong link between the new vehicles and the network. To address this challenge, Montgomery recommends the Army "prioritize developing and testing the components of the network and making sure they work together before any new vehicle designs are completed and production begins."

Yet, he warns that the Army's time line of five to seven years for production poses challenges.

According to the backgrounder, "rushing to judgment on a new generation of ground vehicles makes little sense, because it sharply increases the risk that the Army will not adequately resolve the many problems which led to the FCS program's cancellation."

Montgomery argues the Army may be racing ahead for budgetary reasons -- to ensure it can hold onto its funding -- more than strategic ones.

"Because its advantage in conventional warfare is likely to persist for some time, the Army should prioritize developing a modernization plan correctly rather than quickly," he concludes. "At the same time, ((Defense)) Secretary ((Robert)) Gates should maintain his pledge that funding previously earmarked for the FCS program's manned ground vehicles over the next several years will be reserved for the Army's new vehicle modernization program, while also providing the Army with additional time to develop and refine that program -- especially if the results of its soon-to-be-concluded assessment fall short of expectations."

By Marcus Weisgerber
August 25, 2009 at 5:00 AM

The Air Force last week conducted a successful test of a Lockheed Martin long-range Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile, adding to the weapon's flawless test-flight record, according to a service official.

Unlike the baseline missile, which experienced test issues prompting a retrofit of a fuze cable, the JASSM-ER has flown successfully in all five of its test flights dating back to 2006. The extended-range missile can fly more than 500 nautical miles, or twice as far as the baseline.

“The B-1 landed before the weapon impacted the target successfully,” Col. Michael Fantini, the service's chief of combat force applications at the Pentagon (A5RC), said of the Aug. 20 JASSM-ER test during a presentation at a munitions conference in Vienna, VA this morning.

Last month, the Air Force awarded Lockheed a $23 million contract to build 12 JASSM-ER test missiles. Six of the weapons will be used for the development test flight program, while the remaining six will be used in operational tests.

By John Liang
August 25, 2009 at 5:00 AM

The Defense Department has gone viral.

The Joint Staff released a YouTube video today, calling for questions to be submitted via video to Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen. According to a Pentagon statement:

The chairman intends to use social media to expand the two-way conversation with service members and the public. Mullen expects this conversation to be interactive, similar to the all-hands meetings he conducts in person at bases all over the world.

Those with questions for the Chairman are encouraged to submit videos by visiting http://www.youtube.com/dodvclips. The deadline for video submission is midnight EDT, Aug. 31, 2009. The chairman will answer selected video questions after Sept.1, 2009, through a video podcast posted on YouTube and an interview which will air on the Pentagon Channel.

By Thomas Duffy
August 24, 2009 at 5:00 AM

The Pentagon recently issued the latest request for project nominations for the Coalition Warfare Program, this one covering fiscal years 2011 and 2012.

The idea behind the program is to promote closer working relationships between U.S. and overseas coalition partners through cooperative research and development efforts. The program is looking for projects that address critical needs across the range of conflict, from humanitarian assistance and peacekeeping contingencies to high-intensity combat.

The memo, released Aug. 19 by the office of the under secretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, lays out how the Coalition Warfare Program office will proceed:

The CWP funding element supports coalition interoperability solutions that can be fielded rapidly. CWP is a key part of the Department's Building Partnerships initiatives. The program provided supporting funds on a competitive basis to projects that conduct collaborative RDT&E with foreign government partners. CWP can provide up to $1 million per year over two years to individual projects; however, CWP funding will provide only a portion of the overall investment associated with any given initiative and is limited by fiscal constraints. Proposals must include financial and non-financial (e.g.; manpower, facilities, innovative technology) commitments from the sponsor's Service or agency and other DOD activities along with an equitable contribution from committed foreign government partners(s).

The AT&L office also wants a transition plan for each proposal. This plan should show military service or agency funding for follow-on fielding and sustainment.

The first round of proposals are to be submitted by Jan. 15, 2010. Final nominations are due by Feb. 26, 2010. Notification of those selected will go out in late spring or early summer 2010.

By Sebastian Sprenger
August 21, 2009 at 5:00 AM

White House officials yesterday kicked off the annual data collection effort mandated under Federal Information Security Management Act of 2002.

While the reporting requirements for federal agencies haven't changed much, the mechanisms of submitting data are new this year, according to a memo from U.S. Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra and Office of Management and Budget Deputy Director Jeffrey Zients.

"This year, rather than using spreadsheets, the annual FISMA report data collection will occur via an automated reporting tool," they wrote.

In addition to reporting on the status of their information security programs, agencies must also submit updated plans for eliminating "unneccessary use" of social security numbers and reducing the "holdings" of personally identifiable information, the memo states.

By John Liang
August 21, 2009 at 5:00 AM

The Army announced today a bunch of unit changes that "are a part of the integrated force structure changes that support Army transformation," according to a service statement.

The moves will take place at four installations, including "an increase of 2,440 soldiers at Ft. Riley, KS; an increase of 418 soldiers at White Sands Missile Range, NM; a decrease of 295 soldiers at Ft. Irwin, CA; and a decrease of 376 soldiers at Ft. Carson, CO," the Army statement reads.

The service says it expects to complete the implementation of these changes by September 2011.

Related changes, according to the statement, include:

For unit relocations; the 1st Squadron, 6th Cavalry Brigade will move from Ft. Carson to Ft. Riley and the 70th Engineer Battalion will move from Ft. Riley to White Sands Missile Range and be re-designated as the 2nd Engineer Battalion.

At Ft. Riley, the 1st Brigade, 1st Infantry Division (1/1 ID), will convert to a modular, Heavy Brigade Combat Team (HBCT) formation. The 2nd Battalion, 34th Armored Regiment, Delta Troop, 4th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Battalion, 5th Field Artillery Regiment, 5th Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment, and 101st Combat Support Battalion will convert to modular force structure design to support 1/1 ID HBCT.

At Ft. Irwin, the 79th Ordnance Company will activate, the 557th Maintenance Company will inactivate, and the 669th Maintenance Company will convert to a modular design.

These force structure actions are a part of the integrated force structure changes that support Army transformation. These actions are not expected to change Army civilian authorizations at each installation.

By Sebastian Sprenger
August 20, 2009 at 5:00 AM

Looking for the data about the factions involved in the Angolan civil war of 1975 to 1988? The Center for Army Analysis can probably help out. As we learned recently, the organization has built a database with detailed descriptions of 100-some irregular conflicts since World War II, designed to help defense officials understand the nature of this type of warfare.

Researchers, using data from open sources, have grouped the information about these wars in nine categories: Basic country data, conflict characteristics, force fighting patterns, force availability and force peaks, annualized data, conflict outcomes, incident and casualty totals, narratives and chronology, and list of factions.

Of course, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as the Israel-Hezbollah conflict of 2006, are included in the database.

"The U.S. forces were strong enough to rout the Iraqi army but could not occupy all of the territory they had liberated," reads the narrative of the Iraq war. "Armed groups quickly formed and attacked the occupiers. The U.S. leadership wrote off the early insurgents as 'dead-enders,'" it adds.

The text credits the George W. Bush administration's 2007 troop "surge" with helping to reduce violence. It also acknowledges that “aggressive negotiations" with tribal leaders and local factions helped pacify Sunni areas.

As of May 2008, when the last change was apparently made to the Iraq war data records, the conflict's outcome is listed with “No definitive winner.”

(The same applies to the Afghanistan war.)

The database identifies Hezbollah the "binary winner" of the 2006 Lebanon War, although whoever made the entry acknowledges this assumption as "arguable."

"Unlike the negotiated end of the previous major Israeli incursion in Lebanon, which resulted in Fatah evacuating Lebanon, Hezbollah is still intact and operational in Lebanon, holds seats in the Lebanese legislature and is still a viable threat to Israel. Further, Hezbollah was able to put up a credible defense against the Israeli attack and were never really threatened with destruction, as was Fatah, so achieved something of a propaganda victory as well, the Hezbollah 'David' versus the Israeli 'Goliath'. On the other hand, Israel agreed to withdraw without achieving its end."

International opinion played a big role in the conflict, according to the narrative in the database.

"The large number of civilian casualties (30% children), the use of cluster bombs and the targeting of the civilian infrastructure quickly drew international condemnation against Israel," it reads. "Although some Hezbollah attacks resulted in civilian casualties, the percent of civilian deaths caused by Hezbollah was much lower than Israel’s, drawing less criticism from abroad."

By Christopher J. Castelli
August 20, 2009 at 5:00 AM

The National Governors Association complained again today about efforts to give the Pentagon expanded authorities to respond to domestic disasters.

"Governors remain concerned regarding proposed changes to the military’s authority to engage independently in domestic emergency response situations," the group writes in an Aug. 20 letter to Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-MI) and Ranking Republican John McCain (AZ). The proposal should not be included in the final version of this year's national defense authorization bill, the governors argue.

"We strongly believe the consideration of any such proposals should be preceded by a discussion regarding the tactical control of forces serving inside a state during a disaster response," the letter adds.

On Aug, 7, the group sent a similar letter to Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense and Americas’ Security Affairs Paul Stockton. Both missives urge DOD to quickly establish the Council of Governors, as required by the Fiscal Year 2008 National Defense Authorization Act, to foster talks and coordination on homeland defense and emergency response issues between DOD, the Department of Homeland Security and governors.