China: Behold the Flying Shark

The Chinese have released new photographs of their J-15 Flying Shark jet fighter, supposedly designed to fly off Beijing’s yet-to-sail aircraft carrier. This is part of a long-standing great-power game of fan-dancing a new capability, in hopes it will instill fear (and perhaps bankruptcy) in potential foes, while helping to keep …

Great Minds &c.

James Dubik makes the same point Tuesday in a New York Times op-ed that I made this morning about the wisdom, or lack thereof, of targeting Gaddafi. He even used the same word: charade. Of course, as a retired Army lieutenant general, he’s leery of airpower’s power:

So far, we have chosen an instrument — airstrikes — that is

Libya: Targeting Charades

Charade is a French word, meaning entertainment. So is Target, at least when my wife shops there (“TAR-jay!”). But why are we engaging in such a charade when it comes to targeting Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi?

“If the regime continues to wage war on its people, those who are involved in those command-and-control assets need to …

Time Sails On…

Last week, the Navy decommissioned the USS Jarrett, a guided-missile frigate. Time spent at sea sears memories, and I well recall the several days I spent aboard Jarrett in 2000, shadowing Commander Kathleen McGrath, the captain …

The Little Engine That Shouldn’t

Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell tweets:

It took 2 SecDefs, 2 Admins & 5+ years, but Extra Engine contract finally terminated, saving taxpayers $1M per day.

The second engine proposal for the F-35 fighter, pushed by a GE-Rolls-Royce team, is finally dead. It shows Congress — when the Administration really fights for …

Nuke Modernization – Wrong Priority

Why should we (and Secretary of Defense Gates in particular) be talking about modernizing all elements of the U.S. strategic triad of nuclear-armed submarines, land-based rockets, and bombers if we (President Obama in particular) have a decent chance of negotiating the total elimination — Global Zero — of all of the world’s nuclear …

CBO On Defense Options

Every year, the green eye-shade crowd at the Congressional Budget Office takes its weed-whacker to the federal budget in its poetically-titled Reducing the Deficit: Spending and Revenue Options. The CBO doesn’t make any recommendations about what its masters — those would be the members of Congress — should do. It simply lists some …

A Trillion Here, a Trillion There

When I started covering the military shortly after the War of 1812, million was a word you heard a lot. Then, once Cap the Knife (for his budget-cutting prowess during his Nixon Administration tenure running the Office of Management and Budget) became Cap the Ladle Weinberger when he ran the Reagan Pentagon, billion became the big …

The Predator Feud Drones On

A peek inside the tensions between Islamabad and Washington over the CIA’s use of armed Predator drones over Pakistan to take out Taliban operatives in safe havens along the Af-Pak frontier, from Time’s Omar Waraich in the Pakistani capital.

Hellfire: Now Debuting Over Libya


So we’ve got up to four AGM-114 Hellfire missiles hanging from a pair of Predators now flying over Libya. The advantage to piggybacking these missiles on drones is that they can loiter over hostile territory for hours, often without people on the ground aware that they’re circling …

Electronic Agent Orange?

Those of you of a certain vintage will recall how the U.S. military dumped dioxin-laced Agent Orange defoliant all over Vietnam in hopes of an instant autumn — stripping leaves from the jungle so the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese couldn’t hide. But the cost of chemical defoliation was so high, and so tragic, that an electronic …

Post Pundit: Thumbs-Down on Drones for Libya

David Ignatius, the hard-core foreign-affairs columnist for the Washington Post, doesn’t think much of Thursday’s announcement that the Obama Administration has approved sending armed Predator drones to attack targets in Libya.

His bottom line:

My quick reaction, as a journalist who has chronicled the growing use of drones, is that

Armed Predators Now Over Libya

Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Thursday that armed U.S. Predator drones have begun flying missions over Libya. It’s a small bump in U.S. military capability in hopes of blunting the expanding political problem caused by Muammar Gaddafi’s continued attacks on civilians despite a U.N. resolution calling for their protection. The …

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