THE RACE IS ON: Just two weeks after withdrawing from the Cold War-era Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, the United States made good on its promise to develop a new class of ground-based cruise missile to match the threat from Russia and China.
The United States has plenty of cruise missiles that can be launched from the air or sea, but since the 1987 INF treaty was signed with the Soviet Union, ground-launched systems with a range between 310 and 3,400 miles have been banned.
Citing years of Russian violation of the treaty with deployment of its SSC-8 missile system, the Trump administration withdrew from the pact and is moving ahead with testing of a land-based variant of its non-nuclear cruise missile.
MESSAGE TO MOSCOW: The Pentagon announced the Sunday test yesterday, posting a slow-motion video of the test of the conventionally configured ground-launched cruise missile from San Nicolas Island, California.
“The test missile exited its ground mobile launcher and accurately impacted its target after more than 500 kilometers of flight,” the Pentagon statement said. “Data collected and lessons learned from this test will inform the Department of Defense’s development of future intermediate-range capabilities.”
“This is an important step in responding to Russia’s treaty violations and toward shoring up conventional deterrence in Europe and Asia,” Matthew Kroenig, deputy director for strategy at the Atlantic Council’s Scowcroft Center, told the Washington Examiner’s Russ Read.
“Critics of INF Treaty withdrawal said that it was a mistake because Russia, but not the United States, possesses missiles in this range, so Russia would disproportionately benefit from the treaty’s demise. Today’s test proved them wrong,” Kroenig said.
PUTIN’S RESPONSE: Russian President Vladimir Putin was in Paris yesterday, meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron. He again denied Russia violated the INF Treaty and said that while Russia will match any U.S. missile capability, he will not deploy new ground-based systems in Europe unless the United States does so first.
“We assume a unilateral commitment on medium- and shorter-range missiles,” Putin said according to a tweet from the Russian Embassy. “If such attack systems are deployed by the U.S., we will also have them, but we will not deploy them anywhere unless U.S. systems like this appear.”
In Moscow, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told TASS the U.S. test is “regrettable” and has set the course for “escalating military tensions.”
“It is noteworthy that the test of an advanced Tomahawk-type missile was conducted just 16 days after the US withdrew from INF, and the treaty was terminated. Perhaps, there can be no clearer and more explicit confirmation of the fact that the United States has been developing such systems for a long time, and preparations for quitting the agreement included, in particular, the relevant research and development,” Ryabkov said, noting the missile had been fired from a “universal launching system” that is suitable for firing SM-3 interceptor missiles and ground-to-ground and surface-to-surface cruise missiles.
“All that is regrettable. The United States has evidently set the course for fomenting military tensions. … We do not give into provocations,” said Ryabkov, adding, “We won’t allow ourselves to be pulled into a costly arms race.”
Good Tuesday morning and welcome to Jamie McIntyre’s Daily on Defense, written and compiled by Washington Examiner National Security Senior Writer Jamie McIntyre (@jamiejmcintyre) and edited by Kelly Jane Torrance (@kjtorrance). Email us here for tips, suggestions, calendar items, and anything else. If a friend sent this to you and you’d like to sign up, click here. If signing up doesn’t work, shoot us an email and we’ll add you to our list. And be sure to follow us on Twitter: @dailyondefense.
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HAPPENING TODAY: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will be in New York today to participate in a United Nations Security Council debate hosted by the Polish mission on challenges to peace and security in the Middle East. While at the U.N., Pompeo plans to meet with Secretary-General António Guterres and Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić.
On Thursday, Pompeo travels to Ottawa, Canada, for meetings with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland.
POMPEO DEFENDS F-16 SALE TO TAIWAN: Brushing aside China’s anger over the planned $8 billion sale of 66 F-16 fighter jets to Taiwan, Pompeo defended the arms deal as “deeply consistent” with the historical relationship between the United States and China.
“Our actions are consistent with past U.S. policy,” he told Fox News Channel host Martha MacCallum. “We are simply following through on the commitments we’ve made to all of the parties.”
The United States is the chief arms supplier to Taiwan under the provisions of the 40-year-old Taiwan Relations Act, under which it is U.S. policy to provide Taiwan “with arms of a defensive character” and “consider any effort to determine the future of Taiwan by other than peaceful means” both a threat to “peace and security” and a “grave concern.”
Last month, the State Department approved a $2.2 billion package of weapons for Taiwan, which included M1A2T Abrams tanks, Stinger missiles, and related equipment.
THE AUSSIES’ DIM VIEW OF AMERICAN PRIMACY: U.S. strategists are confronting “an unprecedented crisis” because of China’s growing military strength in the Indo-Pacific, writes the Washington Examiner’s Joel Gehrke, citing a new report from Australian defense analysts.
“America’s military primacy in the Indo-Pacific is over and its capacity to maintain a favourable balance of power is increasingly uncertain,” researchers at the University of Sydney’s United States Studies Centre warn.
“After nearly two decades of costly distraction in the Middle East, the United States is struggling to meet the demands of great power competition with China and faces the uncomfortable truth that its armed forces are ill-prepared to succeed.”
CHINA’S STRATEGY: The Pentagon’s top intelligence official warns that China wants to leverage the growing data industry and cutting-edge technologies to get an edge on its competitors.
“[I]nformation is how China plans to dominate in the future. That is their strategy,” Army Lt. Gen. Robert Ashley, the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, said at a conference in Tampa, Florida. “That is their strategy, to get behind decision advantage.”
“China already is moving rapidly ahead with digital advances, he said, citing Huawei’s Smart City Intelligent Operation Center, which is using big data, 5G, machine learning and AI to collect, monitor and analyze security, transportation and emergencies, and to track people,” according to a Pentagon report.
POMPEO INSISTS US AFGHANISTAN EXIT WILL BE ‘CONDITIONS-BASED’: In that interview with Fox News, Pompeo said the United States would not abandon the fight against ISIS and al Qaeda in Afghanistan as it draws down troops: “Any reduction that we make will be based on conditions on the ground.”
“Every place we’ve encountered radical Islamic terrorism, whether it was ISIS in Syria or al Qaeda in other places, we’ve done everything we can to continue to decimate them and keep the American people safe, to reduce risk to the United States of America,” Pompeo said. “We’ll continue to do that all across the world, but we’re going to do so in a way that is smart and doesn’t require excess sacrifice on behalf of the American people.”
BAHRAIN ON BOARD: U.S. Central Command announced yesterday that Bahrain, which hosts the headquarters of the U.S. 5th Fleet, will join the United States and the United Kingdom in seeking to deter Iranian threats to international shipping in the Persian Gulf.
Ships from Bahrain will take “an active role in preserving the freedom of navigation, promoting maritime security and de-escalating regional tensions,” according to a statement from U.S. Central Command chief Gen. Frank McKenzie.
“The free flow of commerce throughout international waterways is a linchpin of the global economy, and we appreciate the Kingdom of Bahrain’s leadership and support in preventing aggression from curtailing that freedom,” McKenzie said. “Threats to the free flow of commerce are an international problem requiring an international solution, and we are pleased that the Kingdom of Bahrain will be a part of that solution.”
NEW NDAA REPORT: The Heritage Foundation has a new analysis of how this year’s bipartisan budget deal will affect the Pentagon, and it includes recommendations for fine-tuning the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA.
The report by a team of analysts, “Building an NDAA that Strengthens America’s Military,” concludes while the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2019 is a budget-buster that “demonstrates a lack of financial discipline,” it also “paves the way for more substantive discussion on how to properly leverage the defense resources that will be available for the next two years.”
Among its recommendations:
- Drop the ban on funds for the deployment of a low-yield ballistic missile warhead on U.S. submarines.
- Cut funding for the F-15EX, a previous-generation fighter aircraft that is meant to replace the older F-15C while F-35 production ramps up.
- Remove restrictions that seek to punish Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates by weakening their air-combat capabilities.
ARMY DEATH: The Pentagon announced yesterday that a U.S. soldier died Saturday while supporting Operation Inherent Resolve in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Specialist Clayton James Horne, 23, was reported to have succumbed to wounds sustained by a “noncombat related incident.” Horne was assigned to the 351st Military Police Company, 160th Military Police Battalion, Ocala, Florida.
Wall Street Journal: More Russian Nuclear Monitoring Stations Went Silent Days After Blast, Test-Ban Official Says
New York Times: After ‘Defeat,’ ISIS Rekindles In Middle East
Washington Post: Islamic State remains a potent force in Afghanistan
Reuters: Iran Tanker Heads to Greece, U.S. Warns Against Helping Vessel
Asia Times: Taiwan’s New F-16s Boost Regional Role Of U.S.
Washington Examiner: Former lawyer demands $1M in unpaid fees from Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher
Navy Times: Did SEAL Team 6 Commit Unlawful Command Influence In Catfishing Case?
AFP: U.S. Navy ‘Ready’ For Venezuela Mission: Top Commander
Breaking Defense: Navy Wrestles With Cyber Policy As China and Iran Hack Away
Al-Monitor: Pentagon sees warning for China in Turkey’s F-35 ouster
Newsweek: Turkey threatens new tensions with Russia and Iran in Syria as it tries to make a deal with U.S.
Washington Post: Turkish military convoy hit by airstrike in northern Syria
AP: Afghans restore art shattered by Taliban as peace deal nears
TUESDAY | AUGUST 20
8:00 a.m. 2201 G St. N.W. Defense Writers Group breakfast, with Gen. James Holmes, commander, Air Combat Command. nationalsecuritymedia.gwu.edu
8:40 a.m. 801 Mt. Vernon Place N.W. Digital Government Institute Data, Information, and Knowledge Management conference. Christopher Rinehart, knowledge manager at the Defense Department, delivers remarks on “Authoritative Data Sources – How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love KM.” digitalgovernment.com/events
9 a.m. 900 South Orme Street, Arlington. Institute for Defense and Government Advancement 2019 Counter Unmanned Aircraft Systems Summit with the theme “Defending the Skies: Cutting Edge Counter UAS Solutions.” www.idga.org/events
9:30 a.m. 14th and F Streets N.W. Center for Immigration Studies discussion on “Minimizing the National Security Risks of U.S. Foreign Student and Exchange Visitor Policies,” with Jessica Vaughan, CIS director of policy studies; David North, CIS fellow; and Dan Cadman, CIS fellow. cis.org/Press-Release
WEDNESDAY | AUGUST 21
8:50 a.m. South Orme Street, Arlington. Institute for Defense and Government Advancement 2019 Counter Unmanned Aircraft Systems Summit with the theme “Defending the Skies: Cutting Edge Counter UAS Solutions.” Brian Harrell, assistant infrastructure security director at the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, delivers remarks on “Developing Infrastructure That Can Meet Rapidly Developing Drone Threats.” www.idga.org/events-counteruas-usa
9:50 a.m. South Orme Street, Arlington. Institute for Defense and Government Advancement Multi Domain Battle Management Summit, with Army Brig. Gen. Johnny Davis, commanding general of the Army Joint Modernization Command, delivering remarks on “Modernizing Military Networks in Order to Transfer Information Quickly to Each Service.” www.idga.org/events-multidomainbattlemanagement
11 a.m. 1201 Pennsylvania Avenue N.W. Hudson Institute discussion on “President Trump’s Maximum Pressure Campaign: Rally Allies and Rattle Iran,” with Fatima al-Asrar, co-founder of the Basement Foundation and former senior fellow at the Arabia Foundation; Brian Katulis, senior fellow at the Center for American Progress; Behnam Ben Taleblu, senior fellow at Foundation for Defense of Democracies; Kylie Atwood, national security reporter at CNN; and Michael Pregent, senior fellow at the Hudson Institute. www.hudson.org/events
THURSDAY | AUGUST 22
8:50 a.m. 900 South Orme Street, Arlington. Institute for Defense and Government Advancement Multi Domain Battle Management Summit, with Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Daniel O’Donohue, joint force development director for the Joint Staff, delivering remarks on “Changing the Nature of Warfare in Order to Integrate all Domains.” At 11:15 a.m., James Collins, deputy assistant commissioner for intelligence at Customs and Border Protection, and Phyllis Corley, director of the Office of Director of National Intelligence Advanced Campaign Cell, participate in a discussion on “Leveraging Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning to Enhance Human Decision Making in the Field Operations.” www.idga.org/events-multidomainbattlemanagement
FRIDAY | AUGUST 23
7:30 a.m. 1401 Lee Highway, Arlington. Air Force Association Breakfast Series event with Gen. James Holmes, commander, Air Combat Command. events.r20.constantcontact.com
8:50 a.m. 900 South Orme Street, Arlington. Institute for Defense and Government Advancement Multi Domain Battle Management Summit, with Rear Adm. George Wikoff, deputy director of operations at the Joint Staff National Joint Operations Intelligence Center’s Operations Team Five, delivering remarks on “Synchronization Between all of the Service Branches for Enhanced Organization in Combat.” www.idga.org/events-multidomainbattlemanagement
9 a.m. 300 Army Navy Drive, Arlington. The Pentagon’s Defense Advisory Committee on Investigation, Prosecution, and Defense of Sexual Assault in the Armed Forces meets for an all-day session.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“Every place we’ve encountered radical Islamic terrorism, whether it was ISIS in Syria or al Qaeda in other places, we’ve done everything we can to continue to decimate them and keep the American people safe, to reduce risk to the United States of America. We’ll continue to do that all across the world, but we’re going to do so in a way that is smart and doesn’t require excess sacrifice on behalf of the American people.”
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in an interview Monday with Fox News Channel host Martha MacCallum.