I used to write separate posts about various defense issues. This time, I’ve decided to write one post about several different defense affairs. Enjoy!
1) Photos of an alleged Chinese stealthy 5th generation fighterplane have emerged on the Internet. It isn’t yet known whether this is a photoshop product (which could be made by Chinese aviation enthusiasts) or a picture of a real plane. If it’s real, it isn’t known how did the Chinese figure out how to construct it. Maybe it’s a copy of an F-22 or a Sukhoi PAKFA, or both. But even if it isn’t, it was certainly influenced, at least to some degree, by both of them: the front half of this aircraft is almost identical to that of an F-22, and the rear half resembles that of a PAKFA plane. (http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2010/12/is-this-chinas-first-stealth-fighter/)
2) Those who believe that the USMC is obsolete and unneeded, or that its amphibious vehicles and the Navy’s amphibious ships are, should read this paper written for the MIT in 1976 by General Robert Cushman, a former commandant of the USMC. Back then, as today, many people claimed that the USMC and its amphibious equipment were unneeded. They were wrong. (http://www.jstor.org/pss/2538504)
3) The former USS Gualdalcanal (LPH-7), when it served, participated in de-mining missions and, with its helicopters, captured an Iranian minelaying ship during the 1980s (in 1987). Thus, it proved that amphibious ships can do such missions. Mines are the cheapest acess-denial weapons available, and constitute the single biggest weapon-category threat the US military faces these days. They are so cheap and so easily available that they could be used by state and non-state actors alike. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Guadalcanal_(LPH-7) )
4) Former SECDEF James Schlesinger, a veteran of defense issues, says that a nuclear-weapons-free world is both undesirable and unachievable, and that the US will ALWAYS need a nuclear deterrent. I agree with him.
5) An ignorant Reason.com columnist by the name of Cathy Rodgers wrote earlier this month (on December 7th, 1941, the 69th anniversary of the Japanese aggression against the US) that the START treaty is no big deal. Really? A treaty that commands the US to dramatically reduce its nuclear arsenal and its arsenal of delivery systems, to inadequate levels, allows Russia to add delivery systems, and greatly restricts missile defense, is no big deal? What planet does Cathy Rodgers live on? If that ridiculous statement wasn’t enough, Rodgers claimed that:
“On the opposite side, some conservatives such as Heritage Foundation fellow Peter Brookes and columnist Ralph Peters have argued that START makes dangerous concessions to Russia. The terms of the treaty, they claim, would not only force the U.S. to give up too much of its nuclear arsenal but also undercut our conventional capability and our potential for developing missile defense. Yet a Brookings Institution analysis published last summer suggests that these concerns are vastly exaggerated; some top conservative foreign policy experts such as Max Boot of the Council on Foreign Relations agree. Yet, contrary to the assertions of some STARTers (such as Sullivan), these experts generally don’t regard START as beneficial so much as irrelevant—in Boot’s words, “much ado about nothing.””
The Sullivan referred to by Cathy Rodges is the extremely liberal, extremely ignorant, extremely stupid Atlantic.com blogger Andrew Sullivan. The ridiculous litany of lies published by the Brookings Institution last summer failed to refute any of the claims of us opponents of the treaty. The claims of the HF and Peter Brookes (who works for the HF) are correct, and anyone with a Net connection can verify them by reading the treaty. As for Max Boot, calling him a “top foreign policy expert” is an insult to every real expert. He is not an expert on anything (let alone a top expert), and he’s not a conservative, he’s a liberal masquerading as a conservative. His words about this treaty are exemplary proof. As for the claim that the entire debate about the treaty was “much ado about nothing” and the treaty was irrelevant – it was utter gibberish. The debate was about a treaty deeply unfavorable to the US. One thing Rodgers got right was that the START treaty is, indeed, “a Cold War relic”. Today’s Russia, unlike the Soviet Union, cannot afford to start an arms race against the US. (http://reason.com/archives/2010/12/07/a-cold-war-relic)
CSBA’s Colonel Mark Gunzinger (USAF, ret.) has written a study which, Inter alia, suggests that the F-35C type is a bad choice for the Navy because it has a range of only 650 nm and restricted combat theaters might force the Navy to operate 1,000 miles away from the shore of an enemy country (e.g. China). But that’s no problem if an F-35C refuels twice during an attack mission. Moreover, according to the Colonel’s own study, the F-35C type represents a significant improvement over all previous USN strike aircraft except A-6 Intruders. WW2-era F6F Hellcats, SBF Dauntless Bombers and TBF Avengers had a combat radius of only 400 miles; AD-1s and F9F Panthers, 560 miles; F-4 Phantoms (the worst aircraft flown by the US military since Curtiss fighterplanes), a paltry 367 miles; A-7 Corsairs, 620 miles; A-6 Intruders, 890 miles; F-14 Tomcats, 600 miles; F-18Cs, 325 miles; F-14 Bombcats, 500 miles; F-18E Super Hornets, 500 miles. So F-35Cs’ combat radius will be, if these aircraft are produced, longer than that of any other strike aircraft ever operated by the USN, except A-6s, and twice longer than that of the aircraft they’re designed to replace (F-18Cs). So there’s a good reason to continue the F-35 program, including the F-35C variant. (http://www.csbaonline.org/4Publications/PubLibrary/R.20100914.Sustaining_America/R.20100914.Sustaining_America.pdf)
7) Before the START treaty was passed by the Senate, Republicans managed to include in it some amendments that might slightly ameliorate the treaty. The Weekly Standard has written that:
”With the adoption of amendment 4904 to the New START Resolution of Ratification, the President must certify prior to entry into force of the treaty that it is the policy of the United States to qualitatively and quantitatively improve the US missile defense system. This includes deployment of all four phases of his own Phased Adaptive Approach, with the last phase having a capability against ICBMs that could hold at risk the US homeland, as well as the continued development of the two-stage ground-based interceptors as a technological and strategic hedge to the PAA. The amendment further expressed the position of the United States that the deployment of these systems does not constitute a basis for questioning the effectiveness and viability of the treaty, and therefore would not give rise to circumstances justifying Russian withdrawal from the Treaty. This much more directly confronts the Russian position on the matter, when compared to the feckless unilateral statement issued by the United States at the signing of the treaty. The amendment requires the President to communicate all of this to Russia at the time of the exchange of the instruments of ratification. The amendment also provided an Understanding that the treaty preamble does not impose a legal obligation on the parties, which will be included in the instrument of ratification.
Amendment 4864 was adopted by consent to the Resolution of Ratification, which requires the President to certify prior to entry into force of the treaty that he intends to modernize or replace the triad of strategic nuclear delivery systems, namely a heavy bomber and air-launched cruise missile, an ICBM, and an SSBN and SLBM.
Amendment 4892 was adopted by consent to the Resolution of Ratification, which requires the President to certify prior to entry into force of the treaty that he intends to accelerate to the extent possible the design and engineering phase of the Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement (CMRR) building and the Uranium Processing Facility (UPF); and request full funding, including on a multi-year basis as appropriate, for these facilities upon completion of the design and engineering phase for such facilities.” (http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/12/kentucky_mcconnell_and_the_tem.html; http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/gop-memo-new-start_524867.html)