The 5 Minute Debrief: Patriot Games...
Posted: 01/10/2013 12:00:00 AM EST
1. Patriot games widen divide on Syria conundrum
As Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's proposed peace plan is rejected by most of the world’s powers as an attempt to retain his seat in what is an increasingly serious conflict, Turkey has been granted its request to host Patriot missile systems along its border as a defensive measure. Germany, the Netherlands and the U.S. are all sending batteries to Turkey along with several hundred troops each to operate them. As expected, voices from Moscow and Tehran have criticised NATO’s deployment as being an underhanded attempt to shift the balance of power in the Middle East and to boost protection for Israel. For those who remember, Turkey had been lobbying for its own Patriot system long before the first Syrian scud missiles strayed into its borders in a deal that could still see tenders take over $7bn on the programme.
2. Strange New World: Lasers destroy robots in demonstration
German firm Rheinmetall Defence have successfully demonstrated its new directed energy weapon system that uses a 50kW laser to shoot down fast-moving unmanned aerial vehicles. The systems detected and intercepted UAVs flying at 50m p/s and are also capable of cutting through 15mm thick steel girders from up to 1km away. Rheinmetall hopes to integrate the weapon onto land vehicles and include a 35mm cannon, starting with the TM-170 for initial trials. The company’s next step will be to up the solution to 100kW within the next year. Directed energy weapons have become increasingly advanced across land, sea and air domains, driven by the increase in UAV and missile threats, but as more complex technology is required, ruggedizing them for use in the battlefield is proving to be a challenge.
3. Diaoyus Another Day: Japan increases defence budget to spy on China
Japan looks set to increase its defence budget for the first time in over ten years as the battle for the Senkaku islands steps up a gear. An extra 100 billion yen ($1.15 billion) will be made available to acquire a range of military kit to increase Japan’s surveillance capabilities – in particular an official has outlined that the key requirement will be for further airborne early warning aircraft. With China frequently sailing into the waters surrounding the Senkaku islands (or Diaoyus islands, as they will be called should China eventually win this tussle) the Japanese PM summoned the Chinese ambassador to Tokyo this week to ward off Beijing’s antagonistic tactics. Japan isn’t the only country in the region that is enhancing its airborne early warning and surveillance capabilities in view of an increasingly aggressive China: India is seeking to procure two Israeli-made Phalcon AWACS at a cost of over £500 million and the South Korean military is currently spending 37 billion win to upgrade the AN/TPQ-37 Firefinder Radars which were introduced in the early 1990s.
4. So it turns out the military could be doomed. Sigh (ber)
The UK’s Commons defence committee released a report this week that seriously calls into question the government’s preparedness for a cyber attack against its military assets. “The evidence we received leaves us concerned that with the armed forces now so dependent on information and communications technology, should such systems suffer a sustained cyber-attack, their ability to operate could be fatally compromised,” the report said. In 2010 David Cameron made cyber a priority following his (mostly) successful election to 10 Downing Street by announcing the National Cyber Security Programme, which set aside £650 million to improve cyber defences – £90 million (14%) was allocated to the Ministry of Defence. Should the MoD, which don’t forget guards the country’s most sensitive information for national security, have received a bigger slice of the pie?
5. Someone call a Vet, Obama nominates controversial DefSec
President Obama has formally nominated a new Secretary of Defense in Chuck Hagel, current Chairperson of the President's Intelligence Advisory Board. A Vietnam vet with two Purple Hearts to his name, Hagel has been an advisor to Obama for some time and has experienced warfare from the ground up. Despite being an official Republican, his nomination has been met with criticism from some members of the Republican party who are looking to claim he would be a soft touch on Iran and should be voted down. The party has already eliminated diplomat Susan Rice from consideration but it is felt by the administration that Hagel’s profile could straddle the fence enough to win support from the middle ground. Obama has also nominated anti-terror chief John Brennan to the position of CIA Director, indicating strategic policies remain invested in the War on Terror.
What should the next U.S. Defense Secretary be prioritising? Send opinions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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The 5 Minute Debrief: Patriot Games...
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