“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Monday, February 01, 2010

Pentagon Strategy Change and Tune-up: Helicopters, Drones, Star Wars, Technology and China

Regardless of the technology and tactics, grand strategies and theories, it always comes down to this tough merciless dirty work:

Review shows dramatic shift in Pentagon's thinking

By Mike Mount, CNN

  • Quadrennial Defense Review will be issued the same day the Pentagon presents its budget
  • New review stresses threat of cyber attacks and threats to surveillance satellites
  • The review puts a priority on helicopters for the rugged terrain in Afghanistan
  • Review also says effects of climate change could be a cause for future conflicts
Washington (CNN) -- The Pentagon will no longer shape the U.S. military to fight two major conventional wars at once, but rather prepare for numerous conflicts and not all in the same style, according to a draft of a new strategic outlook the Pentagon is announcing on Monday.

The new mantra for military planners will replace the almost 25-year-old combat planning style of fighting and winning two major conventional wars in two different locations in favor of a fighting force that is capable of protecting U.S. interests around the world from a range of threats, from terrorism to cyber attacks.

The change will be addressed in the 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review, a congressionally mandated document that looks at future threats and the military's requirements to mitigate them.

"It is no longer appropriate to speak of major regional conflicts as the sole or even primary template for sizing, shaping or evaluating U.S. forces," according to a draft first obtained by Inside Defense.

The review will come on the same day the Pentagon presents its 2011 budget.

According to Pentagon officials, Defense Secretary Robert Gates will be asking for $708 billion, including funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan -- $44 billion more the 2010 budget of $664 billion.

The last major review was released in 2006 and the Pentagon's view of the world has changed dramatically in the four years since.

The 2006 review was heavily focused on the threat of a large-scale conventional war with China and that country's saber rattling over Taiwan. It also stressed the need for more of and a greater role for special forces troops for use in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The 2010 review still stresses the threats from China, but will look at the need to defend against a growing threat of cyber attacks -- without directly tying China to past cyber attacks, according to Pentagon officials -- and China's focus on preemptively striking and crippling an adversary's ability to tell what it will do next ahead of a large attack.

"Prudence demands that future conflicts could involve kinetic and non-kinetic (use of explosive weapons and laser weapons) attacks on space-based surveillance and communications," according to the draft.

The review will put heavy stress on quenching the insatiable need for more unmanned aerial vehicles, including Predator and Reaper, the Air Force's premier UAV's used by the military for both reconnaissance and air strikes. The aircraft are used in Iraq, Afghanistan and over Pakistan and Gates has said the Pentagon needs more.

According to the draft review and U.S. military officials, the Pentagon is looking at building up the number of aircraft in the air over combat zones from about 40 to 50 by 2013 and to 65 by 2015.

The review also stresses learning better and more efficient ways to use the drones by improving operating effectiveness and using new technologies.

The UAV category is just one way the Pentagon is shifting its priorities to position itself for current and future conflicts.

Roadside bombs continue to be the number one killer of U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. The QDR roadmap continues to recognize the need to protect U.S. troops by enhancing training and intelligence.

Intelligence shows that terrorists have plotted to get their hands on biological, chemical or nuclear material to attempt and attack and the Pentagon foresees weapons of mass destruction to be a continued threat in the future and will push better WMD detection capabilities.

"The Department will expand capabilities to counter WMD threats, strengthen interdiction operations, refocus intelligence requirements, enhance and grow international partnerships and thwart proliferation," the draft says.

While special operations forces (SOF) continue to be a priority from the 2006 QDR, the new review places emphasis on improved support for the elite troops.

That support is expected to include new gunship aircraft to protect the troops during combat missions as well as additional support personnel who would improve intelligence and communications for the SOF troops.

The review will also push for more helicopters, something Gates has said the military never can have enough of. A key tool in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to move troops and equipment safely and faster across those countries, they are also a necessity in humanitarian efforts like those after Hurricane Katrina and most recently for the delivery of aid in Haiti.

With the main military effort focused on Afghanistan, the review says a priority will be put on helicopters there.

"As operations in the rugged terrain of Afghanistan grow in scope and intensity, more rotary wing lift capacity will be needed to ensure that coalition and Afghan forces can be resupplied at remote outposts and effectively cover their areas of responsibility," according to the draft.

But as the Pentagon looks to its new planning for future conflicts, the report also says it can be done in an environmentally responsible way by using more solar power, biofuels and overall energy independence as well as pointing out that the Department of Defense, "provides environmental stewardship" at hundreds of bases around the country.

However, a bigger challenge the Pentagon will face is future conflicts fought around and over reduced resources and environmental catastrophes.

The review calls these climate change scenarios, "accelerant of instability" and suggests the military will have to plan on operations where climate (rising sea levels, reduced ice in the Arctic) would be a factor in planning. In addition to what climate change effects could bring in terms of the spread of disease, mass migration and a scarcity of resources.


  1. With all the real problems facing the Pentagon, they still cannot escape the fanciful. From bullet number four at the head of the article:

    Review also says effects of climate change could be a cause for future conflicts

  2. By coincidence:

    The review will come on the same day the Pentagon presents its 2011 budget.

    According to Pentagon officials, Defense Secretary Robert Gates will be asking for $708 billion, including funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan -- $44 billion more the 2010 budget of $664 billion.

    The last major review was released in 2006 and the Pentagon's view of the world has changed dramatically in the four years since.

  3. What happened to the indispensable bazillion dollar Osprey?

    The review puts a priority on helicopters for the rugged terrain in Afghanistan

  4. Climate Change.


  5. Anyone seen my V-22?

    The V-22 Osprey program has become the largest scandal in US military history. Stubborn Marine Corps Generals refuse to admit that dedication and political influence cannot overcome the laws of physics which have proven the complex tilt-rotor design flawed and ultra-expensive. Details can be found in the seven previous G2mil articles about the V-22, which reveal blatant lies about the V-22's performance. This article will cover the V-22's soaring cost, $96.2 million for each MV-22 this year, while the FY2005 defense budget request boosts the price 19% to $114.8 million per aircraft. The US Air Force requests three similar CV-22s in FY2005 for $443.0 million; or a unit cost of $147.7 million each. If the $395.4 million requested in FY2005 for V-22 research, development, evaluation and testing is included in this buy of 11 V-22s, the total cost of each V-22 is $159.7 million.

    The US Army has lost 41 helicopters over Iraq and Afghanistan this past year, with another 24 so badly damaged they are likely to be scrapped. This is proof that employing ultra-expensive V-22s over combat zones is unwise, especially since they are larger than any helicopter in the US inventory. The V-22 weighs twice as much and costs four times more than helicopters with comparable abilities. For example, the Navy's FY2005 budget requests 15 MH-60S helicopters for $400.8 million; or a unit cost of $26.7 million each. This helo weighs one-third as much as the V-22, but can pick up nearly the same payload. It has room for 13 combat equipped Marines, compared to 18 for the V-22. If Congress canceled the V-22 and diverted its $1756.5 million FY2005 request to buy MH-60Ss, this could provide 67 modern helicopters for the Corps, which can also carry machine guns, rockets, and Hellfire missiles, unlike the V-22.

    Marine Generals have evaded questions as to how the Marines can afford 360 V-22s, especially since other critical Marine aviation programs have been delayed as the V-22 is given priority. After a fatal V-22 crash in 2000, the General Accounting Office released a report projecting a V-22 average unit production price of $83 million. However, the Marine Corps insisted they would only cost $40 million. During an April 2000 news conference, a reporter asked the head of Marine Aviation, LtGen Fred McCorkle, to explain:

  6. Drudge is all upset about Ahmadildodumshit, and Feb 11.

    But, the oil markets haven't moved.

  7. What happened to the indispensable bazillion dollar Osprey?

    Rufus nixed it awhile back in a thread...said twas just an expensive ride for officers...Pentagon looked into it.

    Investigation was inconclusive, but they bowed to the Elephant Bar expert, anyhow.

    Goes to show you.

  8. Actually, I said it could be an excellent ride to get a "fast reactiion force" to the party; but they'd have to kick the fat-ass Majors out of them first.

    Something about "rapid reaction forces" being bad for the environment. Leaving all those rotting corpses around, and all.

    Surefire cause of "global warming" them Taliban corpses.

  9. Here is all you need to know and see about the V-22

  10. I have preached forever on the need for more helicopters, though.

    We used helicopters in Vietnam. Vietnam didn't turn out as the magic-unicorn followers had hoped, ergo: No one wanted to talk about heliocoptors.

  11. "Roger that, trying to see the LZ."

  12. So what's a little dust?

    Kinda like layin down a smokescreen.

  13. If a farmer can plant, and plow his fields without leaving the couch the military ought to be able to build a V-22 that can find, and sit down in the LZ. Dust, or no dust.

  14. Probably not a bad idea to take along a couple or three Apache helipcopters and throw in a predator or two to survey the LZ.

    Let the Air Force know we will be landing a V-22, Have them standby.

    Have the Navy ready witha Sea Stallion medivac in case it gets ugly.

    Roger that.

  15. Sir, the Germans are upset about the dust. They don't do dust and are unavailable for support.

  16. Sir, the Polish troops said the dust is no problem. They say it will help them find the LZ.

    Roger that.

  17. Both Rufus and Ex-Helo have heaped high praise on the Osprey.
    I've maintained all along it is an overpriced, short-lived, unreliable POS with minimal lift capabilities compared to 30 year old designs.
    Can't fault Marines for their devotion to the Corps, right or wrong.

  18. Sir, President Barack Obama will forecast a record $1.6 trillion deficit in the 2010 fiscal year, the biggest since World War Two, when he presents his budget today.

    Sir, isn't that twice the amount of the entire defense budget?

    Roger that Lieutenant, how's the V-22 landing going?

  19. Criticized by Republicans as a big spender, Mr Obama used his State of the Union address last week to tell Americans he would dig the country out of a "massive fiscal hole".

    That hole is even deeper than previously believed, according to the estimate by the White House's Office of Management and Budget.

    The estimate for the current 2010 fiscal year that ends Sep 30 is significantly higher than the $1.35 trillion figure forecast by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office last week.


  20. I smell a rat. The CBO consistently over-estimates deficits. It NEVER under-estimates deficits.

    De O is attempting the old "underpromise," Overdeliver" thing. And, you watch; the Pubs are dum enough to fall for it.

  21. Okay, this year is Way too cloudy to get too far out on a limb, and I haven't looked up the first number, Yet, but I'll be giving hand-jobs in the parking lot if the budget comes in -$1.65 T this year.

    The key month will be April. If April slips in with a $200 B surplus, or even $150, the Pubs has been had.

  22. By the way, that asshole topside on the last thread - Chalmers?

    The VA sees very few Gulf War Vets. They're almost all Vietnam, and older. Jes Sayin.

  23. Oh, funny stuff on the V22, Deuce. You sent me to bed chuckling.

  24. My God!
    He's gone into negative IQ Territory Now:

    rufus said...
    And, MY next car will, quite likely, be a Series Hybrid (like the Volt) with a flexfuel range extender.

    Saudi oil is so "last year."

    Hybrids, for most individuals are moronic.
    TurboDiesels can match or exceed their mileage, and don't have a thousand pounds of GD resource intensive batteries wearing out 365 days/year, nor a house's worth of wiring AND an IC Engine to boot

  25. I'm interested in what a Prius is like when the batteries have worn down to 75% power.

  26. As long as jobs keep disappearing, almost nothing the Pubs can do could save the Dems from themselves and their dupe supporters.

  27. “I was just there,” Mr. Ferry said. “And being there, you see things.”

    When it was time for coffee, the newspaper director — a bit embarrassed — had to apologize to the guests assembled in his offices in Cartagena.

    “I wish I could bring you your coffee right now,” he told them, “but there are eight highly armed men attacking the building at this moment. And they are stealing the payroll. But that should blow over in half an hour, and the coffee man will be able to get in.”

    So it was that Stephen Ferry, one of the guests, got his first taste of the real in magic realism, on his first trip to Colombia in 1995.

  28. Trish,
    Think you mentioned relief from the stress, or some such.

    Would appreciate a little fleshing out of some of the sources of that stress.

  29. "No, the response will be to invert the “no-fly list” so that if you are a bearded male, with a stinky left index finger, between the ages of 18-35, come from the Dar al-Islam and have a name like Baraq Mohammad Ashir Hussein Faisal ibn al-Obama, you have to jump through the same sort of hoops you need to do to get a security clearance."

    I really think that stinky left index finger comment is a bit over the top, PC-Wise, Ms T, not to mention overly hilarious!

    Hope WIO concurs.

  30. Harry the Helo Pilot

    Afterwards the prince, who also made an undisclosed personal donation to the Haiti relief effort, quipped: 'There goes my credibility.'

    Harry had hoped to visit to the disaster zone at the end of his Barbados visit but the trip has been postponed until later in the year.

    It has been a packed weekend for the prince, who has conducted a series of engagements on only his second official foreign visit, including visiting a local children's hospital and attending a garden party for youngsters.

    Last night he flew back to England to continue with his training as an Army Air Corps helicopter pilot.

    He was told last week that he has passed the latest stage of his gruelling year-long course and hopes to progress to the Lynx aircraft later this year, possibly returning to Afghanistan in two years time.

  31. Of 150 IDF investigations opened, 36 referred for criminal investigation; 2 top officers disciplined.

    Military Police investigations into allegations of crimes by IDF personnel during Operation Cast Lead have uncovered evidence that could lead to indictments against officers and soldiers, a top officer said on Sunday.

    Military Advocate-General Maj.-Gen. Avichai Mandelblit will make the final decision on whether charges will be brought against the soldiers.

    On Friday, Israel released a 46-page paper documenting the steps it had taken to investigate Operation Cast Lead operations while stressing that its military judicial system was independent and under civilian review.

    The document revealed that disciplinary action had been taken against two top officers – Brig.-Gen. Eyal Eizenberg, commander of the Gaza Division, and Col. Ilan Malka, commander of the Givati Brigade during the operation – for permitting artillery fire near a UN compound in the Tel al-Hawa neighborhood of southern Gaza City. According to the report, OC Southern Command Maj.-Gen. Yoav Galant decided to sanction the officers after they “violated the rules of engagement prohibiting use of such artillery near populated areas.”

  32. In the province’s lower Nawa District, many conventional missions for now are a low priority. Airstrikes and high-explosive artillery fire are in disfavor. Even mortar fire is rare. Instead, in places where it is able, the infantry is sending patrols to enter into development contracts with local men. The ambition is to use local labor to build bridges over canals, shore up irrigation systems, repair water gates or small dams and, in the most determined contest of influence against the Taliban, renovate mosques.

    The effort rests on a simple premise: to fight the Taliban, money may be more effective than guns. “We’re trying to buy a little peace,” said Capt. Paul D. Stubbs, commanding officer of Company W, First Battalion, Third Marines, which operates in this area...

    More at The New York Times.

    allen's desire to see the 'enemy' dead, stacked like cordwood, by the Marines, in Afpakistan, not going to come to fruition.

    Not in this cycle, anyway.

    Nor in the next.

    This does exemplify the culmination of his forty years of military service, though.
    Peace through payoffs, the Marine Corps Way for the 21st century.

    Not peace through superior firepower, but through tribute payments.

    What a way to run a global mercantile empire.

    One reason the American Empire is unlike any other, our method of foreign asset exploitation has not required the use of imperial administrators, on the ground.

    We use Adam Smith's "hidden hand" and a dozen carrier task groups on overwatch.

    Our global fiat currency is our replacement for a local imperial governor.

  33. “We’re trying to buy a little peace”

  34. If I could elaborate I would have done so at least a year and a half ago. Believe me, I would've.

    Sources, in the most general terms: Congress, DIA, and our somewhat unique position and circumstances.

    Some of it's just inevitable; some of it's absolutely, hair-raisingly not.

  35. OK,
    I thought you were refering to Colombia.

  36. Anybody here up for a "hand job" from Rufus?

  37. If that happened in California...

    The pilot said all went well as he lined up over a straight stretch of road and glided in over traffic heading his direction. But, just as he flared for touchdown on the three lane section of highway, commuters attempted to pass him on the right and the left sides...

  38. My sister in law and her husband are pilots and own their own plane. I always worry about them, in a case like that. She said, she would rather be in a small six seater than a commercial airline if something were to go wrong. If you know what you're doing there's a greater chance to navigate and glide to safety, just like that man did on the the turnpike.

    Unless there's a mountain in your way.

  39. It's celebrate children's authors and illustrators week. One of my all time favorite is Eric Carle

  40. In my email this AM from the BBC:

    "Man and woman fined four buffaloes and a pig for adultery"

    BTW, I heard that the pig says it didn't know the buffaloes were married.

  41. Why do you get all the good email? All I get is advertisements on penile enlargement...and I'm a woman.

  42. MeLoDy said:

    "Why do you get all the good email? All I get is advertisements on penile enlargement...and I'm a woman."

    I subscribe to the BBC world news service as well other news organizations.

    I, also, get things I hadn't subscrobed to e.g. pics of naked women and ads for breast enlargement.

    Oh well. I guess you can't get one with the other.


  43. Meanwhile, unlike Afghanistan, all is peace and love with the U.S.'s southern neighbors.

    "The media is barely covering the bloody situation in Mexico, but the war against the drug lords there should be of the utmost concern to Americans. As high levels of violence and corruption continue to plague Mexican society, the U.S. needs to brace for a flood of narcotics, arms, and people seeking refuge crossing the border.

    The drug war has resulted in about 17,000 deaths over the past three year. To put that in perspective, about 1000 American soldiers have died fighting the war in Afghanistan since 2001. About 4400 Americans have died in Iraq since 2003.

    January of 2010 has doubled the previous January as having the record of the highest number of murders in Tijuana with 70 people having lost their lives.

    January 10 made the record for the bloodiest single day in the conflict, with 69 assassinations in nine states, beating the previous number of 57. Ciudad Juarez has been named by the Citizen Council for Public Security as the most violent city in the world, with an average of 191 murders per 100,000 residents.

    The affects of the war in Mexico are not limited to that country. It is spreading to El Salvador, which is considering establishing a curfew, a mandatory closing time for businesses, and allowing the searching of homes without warrants. A dozen people on average were killed every day in the tiny country in 2009. The other Central American countries are experiencing a similar rise in criminal and violent activity.

    It also affects the War on Terror. It is now known that the Colombian narco-terrorist group known as FARC, with Venezuelan backing, has partnered up with Al-Qaeda elements in West Africa.

    This internal strife should cause Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair and Senator John Kerry to reconsider their assurances in March of last year that Mexico was “in no danger of becoming a failed state.” The conflict is becoming closer to resembling a guerilla war, and if the drug lords succeed in carving out mini-states for themselves, the U.S. will see the chaos and criminal activity they cause spill over the border." - Frontpage Mag

    Meanwhile, also, our northern neighbors in Vancouver just had their second murder this year. Yet the screening at immigration is just as arduous on the northern border as it is for the southern one. All in the name of treating all of our strategic partners equally.

    Re: our policies with regard to Afghanistan, Mexico, Canada. Does anyone in the Obama administration know what they are doing?

    Truly, it is amateur hour.