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Posted by Randy | March 27, 2015
Wanted to highlight a bill for you that I recently cosponsored – The Detaining Terrorists to Protect America Act (H.R. 401) – to push back on what I strongly believe is the Administration’s ill-advised approach towards the remaining detainees at  GITMO.

What this bill does:
  This legislation accomplishes several important priorities: 1) suspends international transfers of high and medium risk detainees; 2) prohibits transfers of Guantanamo detainees to Yemen; 3) extends the current prohibition on transfers to the U.S.; and 4) increases transparency regarding risk assessments of the remaining GITMO detainees.

Bottom line: I believe for the Administration to put politics above national security, and personal priorities above the interests of the American people is beyond shortsighted – it is dangerous.

Recently, I joined Neil Cavuto on the Fox News Channel to discuss the President’s recent comment that he should have closed GITMO on his first day in office. Click here to watch if you missed it.
Posted by Randy | March 25, 2015

Defense isn’t just another line in the budget – it is a constitutional duty. The consequences of getting our national defense wrong are far-reaching and, despite what the Administration will say, far more devastating than getting funding for the EPA wrong, or the IRS. The bottom line is if we get national defense wrong, nothing else matters.

Below is the speech I delivered on the House floor yesterday during the budget debates. Click here, or the image below to watch, if you missed it.

Posted by Randy | March 21, 2015

In case you weren’t able to tune in on Thursday, I wanted to pass along the clip of my discussion with Neil Cavuto on Fox News about the President’s comment that he should have closed GITMO on his first day in office. You can watch the exchange here, or by clicking the image below.

I will continue to push back on the Administration’s actions that put politics above national security, and personal priorities above the interests of the American people.

Posted by Randy | March 20, 2015

Recently, I joined my colleagues in sending a letter to the President, calling upon him to direct Secretary of Defense Carter to develop a plan to field a robust, multi-layered homeland ballistic missile defense system capable of defending the U.S. from the full range of ballistic missile threats.This plan is due to be delivered to Congressional Defense Committees by March 31st.

You can read a copy of the letter, here. The proliferation of missile technology poses threats to the homeland and to our military forces and allies overseas.  I am committed to fully resourcing the development of critically-needed missile defense capabilities and protecting the homeland.

Posted by Randy | March 19, 2015
Real quick – wanted to be sure you had seen this good news. Recently, there was controversy at Robins Air Force Base in Georgia when a complaint was made over Airmen saying "have a blessed day” as part of their greeting to visitors at the security gate entrance.  The phrase was not part of official protocol, but rather a traditional southern phrase offered voluntarily by the greeters.

After review, the Air Force reinforced that the phrase is perfectly acceptable under the new AFI 1-1 policy protecting religious freedom. You can read the Robins Air Force Base’s statement on their facebook page, here.

I will keep working to protect the ability of our men and women in uniform to exercise the very freedoms they are fighting for. To stay up to date on these issues, click here to like my Facebook page.
Posted by Randy | March 13, 2015

As the Navy, Marines, and Coast Guard prepare to release a new Maritime Strategy, I believe we have a unique chance to set a strong course for our sea services in the years ahead. Read my Op-Ed, with former Navy Secretary John Lehman, on what direction the new Strategy should take.

What Navy’s New Maritime Strategy Should Say
By John Lehman and Rep. J. Randy Forbes 
March 11, 2015

After years of ill-considered budget cuts and a focus on large-scale land wars, the U.S. Navy had entered a period of qualitative and quantitative decline, diminished readiness, and a lack of confidence in its own mission and capabilities.

Foreign adversaries seemed ascendant, including a radical theocracy in Iran and an expansionist Russia. Many American political leaders seemed resigned to a significantly reduced global role, and the Navy showed signs of abandoning its historic inclination toward an aggressive, offensive-minded spirit.

We refer not to the present day but rather to the late 1970s and early 1980s. Then, as now, the U.S. Navy faced a deteriorating international security environment, an aging and shrinking fleet, and an administration woefully inadequate to the tasks before it. Ronald Reagan’s ascension to the presidency and determination to reverse the country’s military decline required a new strategy for the Navy.

The 1982 Maritime Strategy offered a unique opportunity to translate Reagan’s vision for resurgent American power and restored national defense into an actionable plan for the Navy and Marines. It refocused the Navy on its offensive mission — to take the fight directly to the Soviet Union rather than to consign itself to simply transporting troops to the fight, as many even in the Navy’s leadership seemed resigned to do.

The document not only helped remind the service of its fighting spirit, but also sent a powerful signal to friend and foe alike that the service remained a force to be reckoned with. The 1982 Strategy would remain the essential blueprint for our Navy through the collapse of Communism and victory in the Cold War.

The release Friday of a new Maritime Strategy offers a similar opportunity to set a clear roadmap for our Navy, Marines and Coast Guard, one that will outlast the current administration and provide the intellectual firepower required to rebuild our sea services for the challenges ahead. To be successful, the new Maritime Strategy must contain four key elements.

Signaling. A key element of the 1982 Strategy was signaling America’s renewed commitment to robust naval power to both our adversaries and allies. The new Maritime Strategy must follow a similar path, clearly conveying to states like Russia, Iran and China our determination to maintain sufficient capacity to ensure access to the global sea-lanes, freedom of navigation, and a stable balance in key regions of the globe. As important, the document should offer allies and potential partners and unambiguous statement of U.S. support in the face of revisionist powers seeking to upend the peaceful, U.S.-backed order of the previous 70 years.

It must also include an expectation that the United States will continue to rely heavily on our allies and partners to provide significant naval contributions, both to regional challenges like Iran and China but also to global efforts like anti-piracy and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.

Budget Coherence. The new strategy must provide high-level thinking to inform the Sea Service’s annual budget proposals, which too often appear to be accounting exercises as much as realistic statements of military requirements. The new Maritime Strategy can lend coherence to the coming years’ budget proposals by clearly stating the nation’s expectations of the Navy-Marine Corps Team. For example, a candid statement of the challenge posed by Anti-Access/Area-Denial (A2/AD) systems can offer important legitimacy for existing and emerging countermeasures and strengthen the hand of those programs’ advocates inside the bureaucracy. A forward-looking approach toward something like unmanned carrier-launched strike assets would similarly assist the services, and Congress, in budget debates that could use a dose of strategic foresight and long-term thinking.

Implementation. The 1982 Strategy was unique in that it was not simply words. Rather, it offered specific guidance that could be easily operationalized and implemented far down the chain of command. Of course, the earlier strategy had important differences from today — for one, the 1982 version was classified, with an unclassified annex intended for public consumption, while today’s will be entirely public.

Nevertheless, the new strategy must convey to our sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen a series of specific guidances that can relate to their operational-level challenges and even be incorporated broadly into advanced training programs like Top Gun. Reiterating the service’s commitment to core competencies like amphibious assaults, anti-submarine warfare and mine warfare, along with a discussion of the challenges and opportunities in those warfare areas, will provide the intellectual foundation our operator’s need to actually execute the missions of the future.

Holistic. Most importantly, the new Maritime Strategy must include all aspects of American naval power to be successful. The 1982 Strategy spoke not only to the role of the traditional sea services: It considered the role of the Air Force’s maritime aircraft and even attempted to account for the Army’s role in any future maritime conflict.

Success in future conflicts will be even more dependent on integrating the strengths of all our military services, from the Air Force’s long-range strike capabilities to the Army’s possible entrance into counter-A2/AD missions with a return to land-based anti-ship missions. The new strategy must reflect this reality and think holistically about the future face of warfare, where domains cannot be easily divided by military service and challenges like cyber-warfare and counter-space operations defy easy bureaucratic organization.

Our maritime services have a unique opportunity to accomplish something far too rare in today’s Washington: to create a lasting document that fully conveys American strategy and purpose to a world that has often been confused by recent U.S. strategic incoherence. The 1982 Maritime Strategy can serve as a useful example of a strategy document that made a significant contribution to the real-world success of U.S. national security policy. While much has changed in the three decades since that strategy was released, the need for a forcefully stated and clearly expressed U.S.  maritime strategy is timeless.

John F. Lehman served as Navy Secretary from 1981 to 1987. Rep. J. Randy Forbes (R-Va.) is Chairman of the House Armed Services Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee.

Read the article here.
Posted by Randy | March 13, 2015

The United States has a choice. We can continue on our current path and provide our military barely enough resources to fight the wars of the past, let alone prepare for future conflicts. Or we can begin the process of restoring the greatest military the world has ever known to meet the challenges of the 21st century. Below is my recent Op-Ed on this subject with former Senator Jim Talent.

America's Self-Inflicted National Security Crisis

Real Clear Defense
By J. Randy Forbes & Jim Talent
March 12, 2015

Over the past several years, knowledgeable witnesses appearing before Congress have testified to an impending crisis in national security. Whether it is the readiness of American personnel, the capability of our ships and aircraft, or the size of the force itself, the warnings have been both frequent and alarming. The Chief of Staff of the Army, General Ray Odierno, is uncertain whether the United States could prevail in a major regional war. General Mark Welsh, Chief of Staff of the Air Force has warned that we can no longer be assured of dominating the air in a future conflict. The Commander of U.S. Pacific Command, Admiral Samuel Locklear, has stated that losing just a few more ships will reduce our Navy from a global to a regional power. They all believe that we are not near a crisis point for the defense of the United States. We have already reached it.

Four years ago, Secretary of Defense Bob Gates offered a plan calling for modest yearly increases in his Department’s budgets over the next ten years. We had serious doubts whether that budget was sufficient to enable the armed forces to recover after ten years of hard fighting and after a history of underfunding -- especially for the modernization accounts -- dating back to the 1990s. But the Gates’ proposal would at least have allowed the Department to maintain its end strength, support a modest increase in shipbuilding, and begin to recapitalize its inventories.

However, within a short time Congress and the President agreed on the Budget Control Act and sequester, which together cut the Gates’ budgets by $1 trillion over ten years. Secretary Leon Panetta said at the time that those cuts were “like shooting ourselves in the head.” He was right; the cuts have forced reductions in personnel, the elimination of modernization programs, and a dangerous decline in day-to-day military readiness.

For example:

-Under sequestration, the Army will be cut to 420,000 soldiers, its smallest size since 1941. Training will be reduced for most units to only platoon and company-level exercises. Modernization will be reduced, forcing the service to rely on equipment purchased during the Reagan build-up;

-Today’s Air Force inventory of fighters, bombers, among others, is the oldest and smallest in the history of the service. Less than half of the service’s combat squadrons are fully ready today. Under the full impact of sequestration, readiness will plummet and the number of fighter, bomber and surveillance units will be reduced again by half. Also affected will be the Air Force’s ability to provide strike, close-air support and surveillance to protect a more vulnerable smaller army;

- The size of the fleet will shrink, per the Chief of Naval Operations, to a regional force of about 250 ships, possibly lower. By 2020, US naval forces assigned to the Western Pacific will total only one-third to one-fourth of the size of China’s growing modern fleet which will be between 325 to 350 ships. Moreover, the ability to reinforce that diminished fleet, as measured by the Navy’s contingency response force, will continue to decline as readiness continues to decline

- The Commandant of the Marine Corps, testified on February 26 that one half of his non-deployed units suffer from shortfalls in personnel, equipment and training under the current limited impact of sequestration. The full impact of sequestration, he explained, would force the Marine Corps “to divest ourselves of people …or to stop training.”

Last year, the National Defense Panel co-chaired by former Secretary of Defense Bill Perry and former Centcom Commander John Abizaid, convened to review the Department of Defense Quadrennial Defense Review plans. In a report, the Panel bluntly, repeatedly, and unanimously condemned the cuts and warned of the nefarious effect they were having on America’s armed forces:

“[T]oday the Department is facing major readiness shortfalls that will, absent a decisive reversal of course, create the possibility of a hollow force that loses its best people, underfunds procurement, and shortchanges innovation. The fact that each service is experiencing degradations in so many areas at once is especially troubling at a time of growing security challenges.” The Panel recommended strongly that the cuts be reversed and the Gates’ 2011 budget be reinstated as the minimum funding necessary to protect American national security.Those recommendations were recently endorsed by a bipartisan group of 85 defense experts who condemned the “cuts [that] are undermining the readiness of our forces today and investment in the critical capabilities they will need tomorrow.

We live in a time of increasing global risk. Russia is invading Ukraine and threatening Eastern Europe, China is engaged in a massive military buildup to support its provocative actions in the Western Pacific, North Korea is increasing its nuclear stockpile, ISIS has established a caliphate, Iran is approaching nuclear capability, and Islamic terrorism is spreading to more and more countries. There is no conceivable world where what amounts to unilateral American disarmament would make sense; but in the world of today it is madness beyond measure.

As we write this, the leaders of Congress are preparing their budget resolution for the upcoming year.  That budget should, as a minimum, incorporate the recommendations of the National Defense Panel by increasing defense spending to at least the Gates’ baseline as soon as possible within the ten-year window; it should also lift defense funding in FY 2016 substantially above the President’s recommendations so that the Department can restore the current readiness of its forces and begin a realistic plan to modernize its inventory of equipment.

America’s armed forces are the foundation of a national security architecture that is designed, in the first instance, to deter aggression against American and its vital national interests. Essentially, the United States uses its power to manage and defuse threats before they rise to the level of uncontrollable armed aggression or conflict. Our servicemen and women have done their part; they continue to show the highest degree of courage and commitment. The least they deserve from their political representatives is a budget that is honestly designed to give them the capabilities they need. That hasn’t happened for four years, and everyone knows it; it must happen now, before another year is wasted, and while there is still time to avert the storms that are gathering around the world.

Representative J. Randy Forbes is Chairman of the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee in the House Armed Services Committee.

American Enterprise Institute (AEI) senior fellow Jim Talent is the director of the National Security Project 2020 at AEI’s Marilyn Ware Center for Security Studies. A former U.S. Senator from Missouri, he was a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and the chairman of the Subcommittee on Seapower.

Read the article here
Posted by Randy | March 13, 2015

A recent Op-Ed in the New York Times contended that our Navy, which is near its smallest size since World War I, is more than large enough for today's world. Needless to say, I strongly disagree. My rebuttal letter was published in today's Times.

Stop the 'Decline of Our Navy,' a Congressman Says
The New York Times
By Congressman Randy Forbes
March 12, 2015

To the Editor:

Re “Our Navy Is Big Enough” (Op-Ed, March 9):

Contrary to Gregg Easterbrook, the Navy has entered a genuine crisis caused by years of dangerous underinvestment and the folly of sequestration. After peaking at nearly 568 ships in 1987, the fleet now numbers 275 ships.

Adm. Samuel J. Locklear III, the commander of the United States Pacific Command, testified that on its current course, the Navy risks becoming merely a regional rather than a global power.

Regarding the challenge posed by China’s rapid military expansion, the Chinese have spent the last two decades investing specifically in areas of perceived American weakness, developing options like antiship missiles, diesel submarines, and sophisticated antisatellite and cyberwarfare capabilities designed to limit American access to disputed waters.

Beijing does not need to match the United States ship for ship to deny our fleet critical access to the Asian Pacific.

Mr. Easterbrook seems willing to accept the loss of open access to global waters like the South China Sea, which China has claimed as its own. I refuse to accept a world where revisionist powers are able to alter the status quo with impunity because America’s Navy is too weak to resist.

Read the article here.

Posted by Randy | January 16, 2015

The United States faces numerous challenges in 2015, from the ongoing threat of Islamist terror to a resurgent, rising China, and a nuclear-obsessed Iran. The U.S. Navy will be at the forefront of all these challenges, requiring new strategies, strong leadership, and increased resources to ensure our national security. Below, I recently shared my thoughts with USNI News on the way forward for our Navy in the coming year.


Interview: HASC’s Forbes on China, Strategy and the Navy’s Year Ahead
By: Sam LaGrone
January 13, 2015
As the chairman of the House Armed Services Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, Rep. Randy Forbes (R-Va.) has been both a booster and critic of the Navy’s quest to build more ships and its modernization efforts across its aviation, surface and submarine portfolios.
Last year, Forbes was highly critical of the Navy’s plan to layup 11 cruisers, the direction of the service’s Unmanned Carrier Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike (UCLASS) program, been vocal about the lack of strategic direction of the service and publically wary of the rise in Chinese and Russian capabilities in the face of declining U.S. defense budgets.
Forbes sat down with USNI News last week to outline the goals for his subcommittee and the direction he’d like to see the Navy move into the future, how he sees China and the service’s strategic direction. 
USNI News: What’s going to be the focus of your year ahead?
Forbes: I think you could lay some dots down from where I’ve been to kind of project where I’m going to go.

One of the real interesting things to watch is going to be whether we have renewed debate among Congress itself about what do with sequestration.

We started down this path when the administration started these [defense] cuts, even before sequestration. Now many of the same people in the administration are screaming and yelling, ‘oh look at all these pitfalls.'

You have those cuts then you have sequestration on top of that and that was before the 2011 Budget Control Act (BCA).

One of the real big things that we’re going to be looking at is, “are we able to get sequestration done away with as it pertains to defense?"

I think the answer to that is going to be yes but I think that’s just one component.

The next part of that is can we begin to turn those [budget] curve lines where they actually need to go.

I say those two big things, because everything else lines up based on those two questions.

Assuming those discussions go reasonably well, then we’re going back and asking what is our strategy across the globe and then what’s it going to take to fulfill that strategy.

USNI NewsHow so?

Forbes: As I look at policy makers, I try to ask then is not, “how much money do you want to spend on defense and what can you get for that money but what do you want to give up?"

If you have nine choke points around the world, which one of those choke points are you willing to give up?

Are you willing to give up the Asia-Pacific area because we’re going to have two-thirds of all of the trade for the next decade are going to go through there? Are you willing to give up the Strait of Hormuz, which would be 30 to 35 percent of the oil in the world? We’re told by the CIA that if we lose it for two weeks gas will go up to $7.50 a gallon.

Then you ask do we want to give up our under water cables which do 95 percent of all international financial transactions which take place in this country every day or do we want to give up any of our sea lanes, which is 85 percent of all of the goods that we’re selling in our stores, if you say, “no, we don’t want to [ give up] any of those” and we want to have this presence around the world.

Do the math and the math simply doesn’t add up to needing only 274 ships.

Eleven of that 274 would have been [Ticonderoga-class] cruisers that they would have beached with the electronics out of and radar of out of taking at least a year and a half, two years to get them back in the water.

Laying all that out… I think we really realize that we need to do these offset strategies.

We believe very strongly in the innovation and the technological component of what we need to be looking at but among that we think it’s vitally important that we keep our carrier fleet, keep them going strong, that we keep our surface combatants. I have yet to hear anyone from the Navy sit [in my office] and tell me that we don’t need those cruisers

We’re going to argue for those. We’ve heard rumblings that the administration might try and take out six destroyers next year. We will certainly fight against that, if that were to take place.

I think we have a great debate that’s going to go on UCLASS. And then we’re looking at our submarine fleet and whether or not two a year is going to be enough to get us where we need to be going.

We’re focused on just China now, but China and Russia because as you know Russia is increasing their capacity and capability every single day. We’ve got to look at how much we want to spend but look at these capacities and capabilities we’re going to be dealing with our near-term competitors and make sure we have the strategies necessary but then the capacity and capability to deal with that.

USNI News:
 What do you think of the Navy’s current strategic posture?

Forbes: We don’t feel like we’ve had the kind of strategic planning and strategic thinking that we have needed out of the Pentagon for the last several years.

I think it’s nationwide. We’ve gotten to where we just react to the next six months or just the next few months.

Now more than ever we got to have a defense strategy that makes sense but also gives us the ability to do our acquisitions… you can’t do it with a 12 page defense guidance and the people in the Pentagon would echo that same [sentiment].

USNI News: What would you like to see from the Navy or the Pentagon as far as a strategy product? Would it be a single document?

Forbes: Strategies are not often a single document, normally they are a group of documents coming together but I would like to see an overall comprehensive strategy that’s greater than 12 pages that says this is how we’re going to deal with these capabilities coming out of China coming out of Russia and what we are predicting for the next decade or more.

The decisions that we’re making with the Navy are decade decisions they’re not a month down the road or 12 months down the road.

USNI News:
 At the Atlantic Council Sean Stackley, assistant secretary of the Navy for Research Development and Acquisition, made a full-throated call for Congress to roll back some legislation that places bureaucratic restrictions on the military. He mentioned specifically the BCA. What’s your take?

Forbes: It makes no sense to have 40 different approval processes for every platform we’re trying to put out there. You have good intentions with the Goldwater–Nichols [Act] but there are ramifications that come from that.

I don’t think any of us here would object to relooking and saying how do we streamline that process and make it more effective. It’s not just a cost increaser but it’s also a time delay. We can literally 22 and a half years from idea and conception from when we actually deploy something. That’s not acceptable in a world where Iran and China can do it seven to nine years.

We don’t win that math.

If we’re talking about how do we streamline that acquisition process and make that more effective we’d welcome that discussion. It wouldn’t even be a debate, it would be a discussion on how we can help bring that about.

But is Congress going to take a hands-off approach and let the Pentagon do whatever they want? We have no intentions of doing that.

That’s different from saying we’re going to continue to layer it down with needless bureaucracy on how we get something built.

One of the keys for us is how we are able to get more innovation in there… It’s not just the big companies. It’s how do we [bring in] the small companies because sometimes the small companies have the creative capabilities to come in and help do those design concepts.

We have to make sure we have room at the table for them.

USNI News: The modified LCS concept is out now. The Office of the Secretary of Defense appears to be satisfied with how that’s moving forward. Sen. McCain said he had more questions about the platform. Do you have a take on the navy’s decision?

Forbes: We haven’t had them come back and make that presentation to us and we need to make sure we allow them to do that.

USNI News:
 You mentioned China and Russia and with few exceptions the Navy doesn’t talk much about the capabilities of China and Russia in detail. Chief of Naval Operations Jonathan Greenert said in June that due to U.S. trade relationships with China it’s not helpful to talk in the open about China’s capabilities. Where are you in that discussion?

Forbes: His quote was a little more staggering than that. But I disagree that we shouldn’t even be discussing it.

That’s one of the things we have been advocating we ought to be looking at. If you look at the best thinkers at the Pentagon now they fully believe that we can’t just look at Chinese or Russian intentions but he have to look at their capabilities because intentions can change so quickly.

If you listen to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, he’s starting to take the tone that’s much more in line with what I’ve been saying for several years now, in terms of China and Russia.

USNI News: What are you looking for in the next budget submission? What are you hoping the Navy has heard from your fellow members, from your committee and the concerns that you have?

Forbes: [Stackley] was pretty pleased with what we were doing in the Navy and some of the steps that we have done. I’m hoping to see them continue forward with that movement. We can’t continue to let the Navy decline. We have to start rebuilding this Navy and we’re hoping we’re going to see that as part of what’s in that budget. If not we will relook and make sure that’s a part of that budget as we did when they tried to take the cruisers out and the carrier out and the Tomahawk missile production out and the amphibious ship. I hope they have gotten the message that Congress isn’t willing to go in that direction.

USNI News:
 Both of the Fiscal Year 2015 defense bills put in money for a 12th San Antonio-class (LPD-17). Do you think that the line should go beyond 12?

Forbes: Our concern is to make sure the Navy [goes in] the direction [of 12 LPDs]. We still have a deficit in funding of that [ship] and [the Navy] is concerned with that funding.

I think our first step is making sure we get that ship built.

USNI News:
 At the Atlantic Council Stackley mentioned capability gaps, like electronic warfare and the lack of a modern anti-ship missile, is there anything else you’re seeing from your position?

Forbes: There’s some he didn’t mention, that’s because they’re of a classified nature.

But I think the anti-ship missile capability is something we’ve been looking at. That’s why we worked on getting something in the budget last year, too. That’s a big concern for us. I think that would be a big concern for probably [U.S. Pacific Command commander Adm. Samuel] Locklear.

Despite the fact we’ve been doing relatively well with our submarines but anytime you do the math and say in eight years they’re going to have over 80 submarines and we’re going to have in the low 30s, that’s math equation isn’t real happy.

I think when you look in the gaps we have in carrier presence, we can’t afford to slide back in what we’re doing there. We think we have some huge concerns with what we might want to be doing with UCLASS, because we see where they might be going. The electronic warfare, cyber, what we do in space in terms of protecting our satellites — all of that is incredibly important because if you lose those capabilities it impacts us overall in terms of our capacity and capabilities.

In the last five years no one was mentioning those deficits no they’re beginning to talk about them and that’s a big turn that I’m excited to see.

It’s not just [Stackley], you hear the Chairman [Dempsey] talking about the same thing in his speeches as well.

USNI News: Talking about UCLASS, apparently the Navy and OSD have reached some type of accord on what that concept is going to be and they’re going to release it as part of the budget submission as to what it’s going to look like. Do you have an inkling what that is or what that looks like?

Forbes: Yes, I have an inkling but no inklings that I can talk about.

I want to be fair in that I think the [DoD] and the Navy in bringing us into that but there’s not much I can talk about.

But I have lines I can’t cross on that, but I’m pleased with the direction they’re now going in.

USNI News:
 Were you satisfied with the Navy’s response with what you asked in your letter to CNO Greenert on strategy?

Forbes: I was pleased and satisfied with the response that they gave with their willingness to really look at these issues and the movement that they are willing to start making.

But in all of these things, the proof is in the pudding but right now I think they have been very responsive.

We’re looking at what they’re doing with strategy and the officers they’re bringing in with that. I don’t know if it would be realistic for me to say they’ve done much more.

It’s been interesting to see the development of Chinese strategy and how that’s evolving — much different from what the Pentagon thought it was four or five years ago but it’s more in line with what we thought four or five years ago.

It’s absolutely accurate, they realize how big this concern is now and it can’t be swept under the rug right now.

USNI News: What do you want to see from the Navy this year?

Forbes: I think a continued partnership with Congress in terms of making sure we’re jointly rebuilding the United States Navy so that we can meet the strategic goals it must meet. Not just in the foreseeable future but in the next one to two to three decades.

I am pleased with movement we’ve seen but I think but we’re going to look to continue that kind of partnership as we go through this year.

If we do, there’s a lot we’ll be able to accomplish.

Read the article here: http://news.usni.org/2015/01/13/interview-hascs-forbes-china-strategy-navys-year-ahead
Posted by The Congressional China Caucus | October 27, 2014

Asia Emerges As Center of Gravity in the International System. As Henry Kissinger and others have observed, Asia is emerging as the center of gravity in the international system. The rapid economic growth that began with Japan during the 1960s spread to South Korea, Taiwan, and Singapore in the 1970s; China in the 1980s; and India in the 1990s. As has become indisputable, throughout history, prosperity brings power in its train. Today, Asian nations account for an increasing share of global military resources and overall economic output. Even though defense budgets and force levels have declined in Europe and North America, Asia’s have expanded. The region is home to five nuclear-armed militaries (China, India, Pakistan, North Korea, and Russia), and their number could increase. Meanwhile, on the conventional side of the weapons ledger, Asian nations have been investing in advanced combat aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles, submarines, and surface vessels and progressively expanding arsenals of both long-range ballistic and cruise missiles. Compared to Europe, Asia has weak international organizations and means of resolving disputes. Moreover, it contains different types of states — from liberal democracies to authoritarian regimes of various stripes and repressive totalitarian dictatorships — with myriad outstanding differences over borders and maritime claims. Asia is also a region in which the domestic politics of many significant players are characterized by strident forms of nationalism. For these reasons, Asia is one region of the world where conflicts among major powers remain plausible and may even be probable. It is also a region where the United States has substantial economic interests, strong alliance commitments, quasi-alliance relationships, and a continuing interest in preserving freedom of navigation across the Western Pacific. http://american.com/archive/2014/october/eye-on-asia

China’s Submarines Add Nuclear-Strike Capability, Altering Strategic Balance. One Sunday morning last December, China’s defense ministry summoned military attachés from several embassies to its monolithic Beijing headquarters. To the foreigners’ surprise, the Chinese said that one of their nuclear-powered submarines would soon pass through the Strait of Malacca, a passage between Malaysia and Indonesia that carries much of world trade, say people briefed on the meeting. Two days later, a Chinese attack sub—a so-called hunter-killer, designed to seek out and destroy enemy vessels—slipped through the strait above water and disappeared. It resurfaced near Sri Lanka and then in the Persian Gulf, say people familiar with its movements, before returning through the strait in February—the first known voyage of a Chinese sub to the Indian Ocean. The message was clear: China had fulfilled its four-decade quest to join the elite club of countries with nuclear subs that can ply the high seas. The defense ministry summoned attachés again to disclose another Chinese deployment to the Indian Ocean in September—this time a diesel-powered sub, which stopped off in Sri Lanka. China’s increasingly potent and active sub force represents the rising power’s most significant military challenge yet for the region. Its expanding undersea fleet not only bolsters China’s nuclear arsenal but also enhances the country’s capacity to enforce its territorial claims and thwart U.S. intervention. http://online.wsj.com/articles/chinas-submarine-fleet-adds-nuclear-strike-capability-altering-strategic-balance-undersea-1414164738

Chen Ziming, jailed leader of China’s 1989 Tiananmen Square uprising, dies at 62. Chen Ziming, an activist branded as one of the “black hands” behind the 1989 pro-democracy uprising in Tiananmen Square, which was crushed by the Chinese government, died Oct. 21 at his home in Beijing. He was 62. The cause was pancreatic cancer, according to Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post. Mr. Chen, who was convicted of sedition in 1991, spent about 13 years behind bars or confined to his apartment. In response to economic pressure from the United States, Chinese authorities released him in 1994 but imprisoned him again in 1995 after he staged a 24-hour hunger strike commemorating Tiananmen. Suffering from testicular cancer and other illnesses, he was allowed to go home, under house arrest, in 1996. Even after his sentence ended, the scholarly but impassioned Mr. Chen was under constant surveillance, he told interviewers. He published political commentaries under 30 pseudonyms. With permission from various government agencies, he started a Web site called “Reform and Construction,” but it was shut down, he said, for no apparent reason. “They just pull the plug on you because they can,” he told Radio Free Asia in 2006. In the years before the Tiananmen Square massacre, Mr. Chen, a biochemist by training, was one of China’s most prominent social scientists. With his longtime colleague Wang Juntao, he founded an influential think tank, ran a dissident magazine called Beijing Spring, published the reform-minded Economics Weekly and started China’s first independent political surveys. http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/chen-ziming-jailed-leader-of-chinas-1989-tiananmen-square-uprising-dies-at-62/2014/10/26/d2caeb82-5c5c-11e4-b812-38518ae74c67_story.html

World Bank president, Obama at odds over China global lending project. The Obama administration-appointed president of the World Bank says he feels in no way threatened by — and instead fully supports — China’s creation of a massive infrastructure investment bank, despite the administration’s tireless behind-the-scenes attempts to smear the project. Jim Yong Kim, a Korean-American who has headed the World Bank since President Obama tapped him for the post in 2012, said he and others at the international lending institution have “been working quite closely” with Chinese officials on the $50 billion Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank. He made the comments Friday, hours after Beijing officially launched the bank, which Chinese officials tout as a fresh well of cash for badly needed loans that developing nations around the globe can spend on telecommunications, transportation, energy and other projects. The catch is that the Obama administration privately stands in firm opposition to China’s project on grounds that it is a calculated attempt by Beijing to undermine American dominance over multilateral international lending since shortly after World War II, when the World Bank was created. With headquarters in Washington, it has always been run by a U.S. citizen. Several major news outlets, including the Financial Times and The New York Times, have carried reports in recent days highlighting the administration’s attempt to convince other world powers to stay away from the Chinese bank for a host of reasons. http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/oct/26/world-bank-president-backs-chinese-counterpart/

China to streamline counter-terrorism intelligence gathering. China will set up a national anti-terrorism intelligence system, state media said on Monday, as part of changes to a security law expected to be passed this week after an upsurge in violence in the far western region of Xinjiang. Hundreds of people have been killed over the past two years in Xinjiang in unrest the government has blamed on Islamists who want to establish a separate state called East Turkestan. Rights groups and exiles blame the government's repressive policies for stoking resentment among the Muslim Uighur people who call Xinjiang home. The Xinhua state news agency said changes to the draft security law going through parliament were aimed at improving intelligence gathering and the sharing of information across government departments, while also enhancing international cooperation. "Our country is facing a serious and complex struggle against terrorism," Xinhua said. "China will set up an anti-terrorism intelligence gathering center to coordinate and streamline intelligence gathering in the field, according to a draft law submitted for reading on Monday," it said. The agency did not elaborate on the proposed intelligence center but said other changes to the law would focus on the "management" of the Internet, the transport of dangerous materials and border controls. http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/10/27/us-china-violence-intelligence-idUSKBN0IG07M20141027

As China Deploys Nuclear Submarines, U.S. P-8 Poseidon Jets Snoop on Them. Swooping down to 500 feet over the western Pacific, Cmdr. Bill Pennington pilots his U.S. Navy P-8 Poseidon surveillance aircraft toward an unidentified vessel off southern Japan. In the back of the plane, a heavily modified Boeing 737, the crew homes in on the vessel using a barrage of surveillance equipment, including radar, GPS and infrared cameras. Further down the fuselage stand rows of tube-shaped sonar buoys that the crew can catapult into the sea and that float for up to eight hours as they track objects underwater. This is a dummy run: Today’s target is a Singaporean container ship, and the P-8 roars by without dropping the buoys. But the aircraft is designed to hunt a far more elusive, and potentially dangerous, quarry: Chinese submarines. http://online.wsj.com/articles/as-china-deploys-nuclear-submarines-u-s-p-8-poseidon-jets-snoop-on-them-1414166686

Underwater Drones Join Microphones to Listen for Chinese Nuclear Submarines. Last November, an unusual experiment took place in the congested waters of Singapore just a few weeks before a Chinese nuclear attack submarine passed through the adjacent Malacca Strait. U.S. and Singaporean researchers used an underwater drone named Starfish to explore ways to monitor subsea activity in an experiment sponsored by the U.S. military and Singapore’s defense ministry, say people involved. The goal of the operation, named Project Mission, was to link a Singaporean underwater surveillance system to an American one that is designed to track potentially hostile submarines. The trial was also part of a broader U.S. effort to use its own underwater drones, combined with data from friendly countries, to enhance a sub-snooping system that dates back to the early years of the Cold War. From the 1950s, the U.S. listened for Soviet subs entering the Atlantic and Pacific oceans by stringing underwater microphones across the seabed around its coast and in strategic chokepoints, such as between the U.K. and Iceland. http://online.wsj.com/articles/underwater-drones-join-microphones-to-listen-for-chinese-nuclear-submarines-1414166607

Japan Builds Response to Chinese Area-Denial Strategy. Japan’s response to Chinese anti-access/area-denial threats rest on three planks: increasingly large helicopter carriers, next-generation 3,300-ton Soryu-class submarines and new Aegis destroyers. This strategy is further enhanced by plans to deploy 20 Kawasaki P-1 maritime patrol aircraft as replacements for the P-3C, and upgraded SH-60K sub-hunting helicopters. When integrated, this will create a much more capable fleet able to expand its role beyond being a simple “shield” to the US Navy’s “spear,” analysts said. Data from AMI International shows that the Izumo-class helicopter destroyers (22DDH) and the Soryu-class submarines are the leading programs for the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF), both in budget and importance to Japan’s maritime security, according to Bob Nugent, affiliate consultant at AMI. Japan unveiled the first of the two planned Izumo-class ships on Aug. 6, 2013 — the largest Japanese warship since World War II — which will be able to carry 15 helicopters. In 2009 and 2011, the Navy also commissioned two new third-generation Hyuga-class helicopter destroyers, each capable of deploying 11 helicopters. http://www.defensenews.com/article/20141026/DEFREG03/310260020/Japan-Builds-Response-Chinese-Area-Denial-Strategy

Pacific Powers Build Capability, Warily Eye Neighbor Countries. Ninety percent of the world’s trade flows by sea and the majority of that through narrow, vulnerable straits such as Malacca, Singapore and Taiwan. This has forced the Asia-Pacific region to outspend all other nations, except the US, in procurement of ships and submarines. The dangers are real. Taiwan Adm. Chen Yeong-kang said regional territorial disputes could disrupt sea lines of communication (SLOC) in the region. The comments were made during the 2014 International Sea Lines of Communication Conference sponsored by the Taiwan Navy on Oct. 15. “Any abrupt armed incident or mass military conflict is possible to impact the SLOC and endanger transport safety.” Due to the tight thoroughfares of many of Asia’s straits and low depths of the South China Sea, many regional countries are procuring fast attack craft, corvettes and coast guard cutters, said Stanley Weeks, an adjunct professor at the US Naval War College. He expects navies and coast guards to procure more fixed-wing planes, including UAVs and refurbished P-3 Orion maritime surveillance aircraft. More P-3s will become available as the US begins retiring its fleet and procuring the new P-8 Poseidon. “The biggest spenders are China and India, the two most rapidly developing navies in the world,” said Guy Stitt, president of AMI International Naval Analysts & Advisors. “These two nations are not only expanding their navies, they are now building some of the most complex naval vessels in any navy’s inventory.” These include nuclear ballistic missile submarines and aircraft carriers. http://www.defensenews.com/article/20141026/DEFREG03/310260019/Pacific-Powers-Build-Capability-Warily-Eye-Neighbor-Countries

China, Vietnam say want lasting solution to sea dispute. China and Vietnam agreed on Monday to use an existing border dispute mechanism to find a solution to a territorial dispute in the South China Sea, saying they did not want it to affect relations. The two countries have sought to patch up ties since their long-running row erupted in May, triggered by China's deployment a drilling rig in waters claimed by the communist neighbors, which lead to confrontation at sea between rival vessels and violent anti-Chinese protests in Vietnam. After a meeting between China's top diplomat, State Councilor Yang Jiechi, and Vietnam Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh in Hanoi, China's foreign ministry said they had agreed to "appropriately handle the maritime problem". The two exchanged smiles and warm handshakes in contrast to Yang's last visit in June, which ended in acrimony with Yang accusing Vietnam of "hyping up" their dispute, which was the worst breakdowns in their relations since a brief border war in 1979. The rapprochement began in late August, a few weeks after Vietnam started courting other countries embroiled in maritime rows with China, including the Philippines and China's biggest investor, Japan, which will provide boats and radar equipment to Vietnam's coastguard. http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/10/27/us-china-vietnam-idUSKBN0IG0Y220141027

Taiwan eyes homegrown submarines after 13-year wait on U.S. deal. Taiwan is moving ahead with plans to build its own submarines, with an initial design to be completed by the year-end, after lengthy delays in getting eight vessels under a 2001 U.S. defense deal and as China's navy expands rapidly. While major obstacles remain, such as overcoming significant technical challenges and what would almost certainly be strenuous objections from Beijing, a political consensus has emerged in Taiwan in recent months that it can wait no longer, officials and lawmakers said. China is Taiwan's largest trading partner and economic ties have warmed since China-friendly President Ma Ying-jeou came to power in 2008. But Beijing regards Taiwan as a renegade province and has never renounced the use of force to bring the proudly democratic island under its control. Taiwan has four aging submarines including two that date back to World War Two, although its military is otherwise considered generally modern. China, however, has 70 submarines alone, along with dozens of surface ships and a refurbished aircraft carrier, although that vessel is not yet fully operational. A recent Taiwanese government defense report said China would be capable of a successful invasion by 2020. http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/10/27/us-taiwan-submarines-idUSKBN0IF0YD20141027