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Archive: July, 2020

July 21, 2020

SECDEF Esper: U.S. Will ‘Keep Up the Pace’ of South China Sea Freedom of Navigation Operations

The U.S. will continue to keep up the pace of freedom of navigation operations in the South China Sea, which hit an all-time high in 2019, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said on Tuesday. Esper, speaking at an online event hosted by the International Institute for Strategic Studies, said the U.S. policy has always been backed up by its actions like FONOps and other presence operations. Last year marked “the greatest number of freedom of navigations operations in the South China Sea in the 40-year history of the FONOps program, and we will keep up the pace this year.”

July 21, 2020

Report to Congress on Emerging Military Technologies

Members of Congress and Pentagon officials are increasingly focused on developing emerging military technologies to enhance U.S. national security and keep pace with U.S. competitors. The U.S. military has long relied upon technological superiority to ensure its dominance in conflict and to underwrite U.S. national security. In recent years, however, technology has both rapidly evolved and rapidly proliferated—largely as a result of advances in the commercial sector. As former Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has observed, this development has threatened to erode the United States’ traditional sources of military advantage.1 The Department of Defense (DOD) has undertaken a number of initiatives in recent years in an effort to arrest this trend. For example, in 2014, DOD announced the Third Offset Strategy, an effort to exploit emerging technologies for military and security purposes as well as associated strategies, tactics, and concepts of operation.2 In support of this strategy, DOD established a number of organizations focused on defense innovation, including the Defense Innovation Unit and the Defense Wargaming Alignment Group.

July 20, 2020

Navy’s Only Directed Energy Lab on a Sea Test Range Breaks Ground at NBVC Point Mugu

Demonstrating that Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) remains open for business despite the pandemic, Navy leaders and private contractors have broken ground at Naval Base Ventura County’s Point Mugu for what will become the fleet’s only dedicated facility to test, fire and evaluate complete laser weapon systems in a maritime environment, the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Port Hueneme Division (NSWC PHD) said in a release.

July 14, 2020

How Significant Is the New U.S. South China Sea Policy?

Yesterday, July 13, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced an important shift in U.S. declaratory policy on the South China Sea. This morning, Assistant Secretary of State David Stilwell elaborated further during remarks at CSIS’s annual South China Sea Conference. The press statement from Pompeo listed specific Chinese maritime claims the United States considers illegal. The statement marks a significant clarification of prior U.S. positions but not a radical break from past policy. It makes explicit things that had been implied by previous administrations. And in that, it sets the stage for more effective diplomatic messaging and stronger responses to China’s harassment of its neighbors. U.S. partners and allies in the region were seemingly briefed in advance—the Philippine defense secretary, for instance, was ready with a positive statement within hours. And the new policy sparked excited, and often hyperbolic, coverage in the press and social media.

July 13, 2020

HASC Chair Smith: Troops ‘Not Ready to Fight’ Without Resource-Informed Strategy

The House Armed Services Committee chairman praised an ongoing review of the combatant commanders’ force posture, saying he worried the military was “flailing” as its resources didn’t align with COCOM requests or the National Defense Strategy. Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), who has served on HASC since 1997 and led it since last year, said he was concerned that the military was crafting budgets and the congressional committees were reshaping those budget without a clear strategy.

July 13, 2020

Navy Announces New NAVWAR Commander, Task Force Commanders

The Navy announced several appointments today for high-level jobs, including a new director of warfare integration and a new commander of Naval Information Warfare Systems Command. Rear Adm. Douglas Small has been selected to receive his second star and will serve as the next commander of Naval Information Warfare Systems Command (NAVWAR), formerly the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR), in San Diego, Calif.

July 11, 2020

133rd Engineer Company completes recertification for reaction force training

The morning began bright and hot as Soldiers from the 133rd Engineer Company formed up and began classroom training outside for their National Guard Reaction Force recertification. The Wyoming Army National Guard partners with the Air National Guard’s 153rd Security Forces Squadron instructors in order to receive recertification.

July 10, 2020

New defense system at Nellis increases security capabilities

The Air Force Security Forces Center selected Nellis Air Force Base as one of three bases to test a new security system called the Pre-emplaced Electric Vehicle Stopper (PEVS). During the testing phase, documentation of the system’s ability to adapt in different climates will be annotated.

July 7, 2020

Some Directed-Energy Weapons Show Promise While Others Slow

Air Force officials are still looking to perfect directed-energy weapons to use against the low-tech threat of small drones before scaling up lasers and microwaves to take out cruise missiles. The Air Force’s high-power microwave weapon known as the Tactical High-Power Microwave Operational Responder, or THOR, is heading to the Army’s White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico for a last system check before it ships overseas for real-life testing, the Air Force said July 8.

July 3, 2020

Pentagon Developing Electric Stun Grenade To Safely Disable Everyone In A Room

Pentagon researchers are working on a weapon to temporarily disable everyone in a room with a TASER-like electric stun effect, making it safer for troops to clear buildings and reducing civilian casualties. The device currently goes by the uninspired name of ‘Multi-Target HEMI System.’ HEMI is short for Human Electro‐Muscular Incapacitation, a technical term for TASERs and similar electric non-lethal weapons. It is being developed by the Pentagon’s Joint Intermediate Force Capabilities Office (JIFCO), formerly the Joint Nonlethal Weapons Directorate.