MORNING RECON: F-35 Transforming Marine Corps Strike Operations; America’s Great Leap Backwards – What Next?; Can the U.S. Build a 350-Ship Fleet?

11/29/2016 Visit RealClearDefense ( today for more defense new and insight. ** Morning Recon ———————————————————— Good Tuesday morning and welcome to MORNING RECON. On this day in 1950. three weeks after U.S. General Douglas MacArthur first reported Chinese communist troops in action in North Korea, U.S.-led U.N. troops begin a desperate retreat out of North Korea under heavy fire from the Chinese. RealClearDefense Exclusives: * Japan’s New Missile and the Future of U.S.-Japan Defense Relations ( Ben Wermeling * Opinion: America’s Great Leap Backwards – What Next? ( Ehsan M. Ahrari, Ph.D. The Morning Mission Brief: FP ER Podcast: Is Donald Trump’s Cabinet a Cause for Concern? ( Today’s Top Stories NATIONAL Obama Is Expanding Trump’s War-Making Powers ( From Micah Zenko, Foreign Policy: “The scope of war-making authorities and powers available to the Trump administration depends on decisions made by the Obama administration. Two recent news reports shed some troubling light on its approach to the coming transition.” Obama’s Sacred Duty: Visiting the Wounded at Walter Reed ( From Gardiner Harris, The New York Times: “President Obama stood outside the room, rubbed sanitizer on his hands, set his face into a smile and knocked on the door. No one answered. He looked at the hospital floor polished to a sheen and knocked again. Still no answer. So Mr. Obama turned the knob and gently pushed his way inside. “Hello? Jeremy, what’s going on?” Maj. Jeremy Haynes remembers the president saying as he came into his room at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center two years ago.” Obama’s Legacy ( on ( Russia and China: Making the Grade ( From Will Edwards, The Cipher Brief: “When asked recently by The Atlantic about President Barack Obama’s foreign policy legacy with China, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger replied: “I’d say B-plus.” As President Obama wraps up his final days in office, presidential watchers are evaluating how well he performed, wonder what his legacy will be, and how events could have transpired differently. While two revisionist powers—China and Russia— expanded their global influence, the Arab Spring, the Syrian Civil War, and the emergence of ISIS, posed foreign policy challenges that few could anticipate and forced the administration to reconsider its priorities. Despite his efforts to redefine and stabilize U.S. relations with China and Russia, Obama will leave office with these relationships in flux.” Trump’s Best Military Weapon: A Bigger, Badder U.S. Army ( From Daniel Gouré, The National Interest: “Today, the U.S. military is overextended, underfunded and in danger of being outmatched by rivals such as Russia and China. Unless the new President takes seriously his commitment to make the U.S. military so powerful nobody “will mess with us,” he may find himself facing a worst-case scenario, without leverage and unable to fight back.” NDAA to Create New Pentagon Chief Innovator Job ( From Joe Gould & Aaron Mehta, Defense News: “Instead of blowing up the Pentagon chief weapons buyer’s office, lawmakers will consider renaming it and creating a new chief technology officer charged with advancing technology and innovation. Lawmakers negotiating on the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act agreed to the compromise language just as conferees are expected to sign off on the conference report for the legislation this week. It was first reported by Bloomberg on Monday and confirmed to Defense News by a source with knowledge of the talks.” Air Force Averts Deadly Supersonic Mid-Air Crashes ( From Kris Osborn, Scout Warrior: “Algorithms are being specifically developed to automatically give computers flight control of an F-16, once it flies to within 500-feet or less than another aircraft, senior Air Force officials said. The computer systems are integrated with data links, sensors and other communications technologies to divert soon-to-crash aircraft. ” AFSOC’s Secret Training Weapon ( From Aaron Mehta, Defense News: “A vehicle roars out of the back of an MC-130 at high speed, while nearby a man moves around in a virtual-reality headset. Above, winches are lowered and raised on a platform adorned with a Christmas tree. And at the center of it sits a former taco truck, now equipped with a really, really big gun. ” All the Generals Under Consideration or Selected for the Trump Administration ( From Jonah Bennett, The Daily Caller: “As part of his overall strategy to draw from policy experience outside of the narrow “Beltway” establishment, GOP President-elect Donald Trump met with numerous generals for key positions in his upcoming administration. Here are all the generals either under consideration or already selected for top spots. According to Trump’s closest advisers, retired Marine Corps Gen. John F. Kelly is apparently in the running for the position of secretary of state or head of the Department of Homeland Security.” F-35 Transforming Marine Corps Strike Operations ( From Lara Seligman, Aviation Week: “With an eye toward the Asia-Pacific region, operators are finding that Lockheed Martin’s F-35 “Lightning II” is fundamentally changing the way the U.S. Marine Corps thinks about operating from the sea base.” INTERNATIONAL GERMANY: Germany’s New Laser Weapon System ( From Robin Hughes, Jane’s 360: “MBDA Germany has edged closer to fielding a new deployable laser weapon system (LWS) following a series of day/night all-weather trials. Conducted at the Bundeswehr’s military training ground at Putlos on the Baltic Sea from 4-14 October, the trials were specifically designed to test the beam guidance and tracking system of the new LWS demonstrator in a sequence of simulated engagements of airborne targets.” COMMENTARY & ANALYSIS Japan’s New Missile and the Future of U.S.-Japan Defense Relations ( From Ben Wermeling, RealClearDefense: “Although the SSM being planned does not radically alter the military dynamics of East Asia, it is possible that Japan could acquire more aggressive weaponry in the future. For instance, the Japanese government could build on the technology to create a new missile with greater range. Such a weapon would expand Japan’s own A2/AD capabilities while allowing the country to take a greater role in providing for its own security." Opinion: America’s Great Leap Backwards – What Next? ( From Ehsan M. Ahrari, RealClearDefense: “Donald Trump’s victory over Hillary Clinton in the presidential election of 2016 came out of nowhere. It made fools out of dozens of supposedly “very smart” pollsters and pundits. It is very hard for me to get over the fact that someone who manifested so much hatred and contempt for so many Americans, American Immigrants, and so many foreigners can be elected to the highest office in the land. An office meant for a person who, even if not the most qualified, would refrain from hostility towards Americans and much of the world.” Advice to the Trump Administration on the Evolution of War ( From James Hasik, Atlantic Council: “As I wrote earlier this month, Donald Trump’s unpredicted electoral victory has brought the possibility for real change in the enterprise of national security. To borrow Paul Ryan’s phrase, thoroughly rethinking the business of defense could create a military that moves closer to the speed of broadband than the speed of bureaucracy. But if the Trump Administration will be rebuilding the military, it’s worth asking what it’s rebuilding it for." Essays on War: Mattis ( From Stan Coerr, Strategy Bridge: “America knows General James Mattis as a character, Mad Dog Mattis, fount of funny quotes and Chuck Norris-caliber memes. Those of us who served with him know that he is a caring, erudite, warfighting general. And we know that there is a reason he uses the callsign Chaos: he is a lifelong student of his profession, a devotee of maneuver warfare and Sun Tzu, the sort of guy who wants to win without fighting—to cause chaos among those he would oppose.” Can the U.S. Build a 350-Ship Fleet the Navy Actually Wants? ( From Steven Stashwick, The Diplomat: “The incoming Trump administration has stated that one of its goals is to increase the size of the United States Navy from its current 272 ships to 350. Last week, I wrote about the current status of the U.S. Navy, its size, makeup, missions, and distribution around the globe to help give context to the competing wisdom, plans, and advice that has begun to percolate on how that growth can be achieved. Before Trump’s election victory, I had also written about the fiscal challenges that the Navy’s current 308-ship plan faces. Beside the budgetary problems with building a larger fleet, it is unclear whether the U.S. shipbuilding industrial base could construct that larger fleet before President Trump and even one or two of his successors are out of office and there is an open question as to whether the additional ships would necessarily be ones the Navy wants.” Retire the Colors ( From Jon Farr, Strategy Bridge: “I’ve experienced some of the scenarios in the stories. At school events, sports, Scouts, or church, when another parent realizes I’m a veteran, I occasionally feel that click in the conversation. I’ll probably get one of the obligatory surface comments or questions, but I can almost feel the underlying questions or even suspicions. Many probably are genuinely interested, but neither of us knows how to get beyond that initial awkwardness." Elite U.S. Special Operators Build Center for Perpetual War on Terror ( From Kimberly Dozier, The Daily Beast: “Preparing for a multi-generational, international fight against terrorists, U.S. special operations chiefs are launching a new counterterrorist nerve center at an undisclosed location in the Middle East to fight the so-called Islamic State, al Qaeda, and any other terrorist actor.” Has Putin Finally Stepped on His Own Rake in Syria? ( From Stephen Blank, Atlantic Council: “In October 2016 the Russian government made a significant announcement about its Syria policy that Western sources overlooked. Moscow announced that it supported the restoration of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s power throughout the country, something it had not stressed previously. This statement and its consequences merit serious scrutiny by the West because its implications are so negative.” Nuclear Weapons in Russia’s Approach to Conflict ( From Dave Johnson, La FRS: “President Putin has moved nuclear weapons to the foreground of the European security landscape. New risks and dangers arise from the apparent coupling of nuclear weapons capabilities with Moscow’s revanchist and irredentist foreign and defence policies toward its neighbours.” Russia: The Good News and the Bad ( From Joseph S. Nye Jr., The National Interest: “Any American president faces the same basic dilemma. Russia is a country in decline, but it remains a potential threat to the United States and others because it is the one country with enough missiles and nuclear warheads to destroy the United States. A decade of growth based on high oil prices obscured the fact that high-tech exports represent only 7 percent of its manufactured exports, and Russia needs to modernize its economy. Dependent on energy resources, Russia is a “one-crop economy” with corrupt institutions and serious demographic and health problems. Putin’s strategy of intervention in neighboring countries and the Middle East, and his cyber meddling is designed to make Russia look great again, but is making their situation worse in the long run. Declining countries often take more risks and are thus more dangerous—witness the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1914." SEND RCD YOUR INPUT: Please send your tips, suggestions and feedback to ( and follow us on Twitter @RCDefense ( . If you are receiving Morning Recon for the first time and would like to subscribe, sign up here ( . View this email in your browser. ( | Not a subscriber? Sign up here. 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