I thought I’d do something like this occasionally. A little news/blog aggregation for your perusal. What do you guys think?
~What is China really spending on defense? As the new focus of our “AirSea Battle” strategy, it would be nice to know:
China’s publicly announced military spending in 2011 was 601.1 yuan ($91.4 billion), representing an annual increase of 13 percent since 1989. But defense experts have long known that China hides its actual military spending. According to the Pentagon’s Annual Report to Congress, China’s real defense budget is likely upwards of$150 billion annually; however, “estimating actual PLA [People's Liberation Army] military expenditures is a difficult process due to the lack of accounting transparency” and the fact that “China’s published military budget does not include major categories of expenditure.”
Still, even the Pentagon’s figures, say military analysts, do not capture the full picture of China’s military spending because they do not take into account the so-called “purchasing power parity exchange rate,” which takes into consideration the relative difference in costs of production and labor between nations. When those factors are accounted for, reports the American Enterprise Institute, China’s actual level of military spending may well be over $300 billion, not China’s officially reported $91.4 billion. While experts agree that the purchasing power parity exchange rate is complex to calculate, when taken into consideration, the combined military spending of the next 10 nations far outstrip America’s defense spending.
~Representative Allen West presents a Vietnam Vet with his medals … including 3 Purple Hearts.
~The chief of the “Skunk Works” talks about future aircraft – manned, unmanned, and my favorite, “optionally manned”:
~Speaking of drones, a very interesting study of their use, future and possible misuse has been released by the Congressional Research Services. Some interesting reading.
~Is it time for the Marines to leave Okinawa?
Hornung says that until recently he was a strong supporter of keeping Marines in Okinawa, but he’s now convinced other forces in the region could do the job.
“What are the Marines on Okinawa for? If you say they are there for deterrence, then you have to ask, deterrence from what? If you are talking about China, then that would be the 7th Fleet. If you are talking about North Korea, then I would say it’s the troops who are (based) in Korea,” Hornung says. “If you pull the Marines out, is that going to hurt Japanese national security or US national security? I don’t think so.
~Speaking of “optionally manned” the Army is developing the specs for its next generation helicopter. Of course whether there will be any funds to build it remains a mystery:
Building a helicopter able to sustain speeds in excess of 170 knots, achieve an overall combat range greater than 800 kilometers (combat radius of 424 kilometers) and hover with a full combat load under high/hot conditions (altitudes of 6,000 feet and 95 degrees F) are among the many capabilities sought after for the JMR.
Plans for the next-generation aircraft also include having a degree of autonomous flight capability or being "optionally manned," successful weapons integration and compatibility, a core common architecture in terms of next-generation electronics, sensors and on-board avionics, manned-unmanned teaming ability and shipboard compatibility.
~Fact checking the President’s claim that our defense spending is the highest in the world. Depends on what you’re using as the measure.
~Administration decides to pull two US Army Brigades out of Europe. Why not all four?
~Iraq: the final handover? US Special Forces prepare to leave.
That ought to keep you busy for a while. More when I gather enough links.