MORNING RECON: Homeland Defense Starts at Hawaii; A Military in Need; China’s Power Projection; A History of Warfare; Multi-Domain Battle Plan

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Morning Recon

Good Monday morning and welcome to MORNING RECON.  On this day in 1980, an ill-fated military operation to rescue the 52 American hostages held in Tehran ends with eight U.S. servicemen dead and no hostages rescued. With the Iran Hostage Crisis stretching into its sixth month and all diplomatic appeals to the Iranian government ending in failure, President Jimmy Carter ordered the military mission as a last ditch attempt to save the hostages. 

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Today’s Top Stories

NATIONAL Trump, Abe Reaffirm Commitment to Deal with North Korea Military Threat
By Reiji Yoshida, The Japan Times: “The phone conference with Abe took place hours before Trump held a similar conversation with Chinese President Xi Jinping. The teleconferences came one day before Pyongyang plans to celebrate the 85th anniversary of the establishment of the Korean People’s Army."

President Trump to Host Unusual Meeting With UN Security Council
By Andrea Mitchell, NBC News: “Diplomatic sources told NBC News the ambassadors are expecting to have coffee at Blair House — also known as the The President’s Guest House — with members of Congress Monday morning and then go to the White House to meet with the President and have lunch."

Trump’s Dangerous Blank Check
By Stephen Holmes, The Korea Herald: “The US Department of Defense’s decision to drop an 11-ton Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb over a remote Islamic State redoubt in Afghanistan does not reflect a coherent counterterrorism policy. As many commentators have pointed out, it was yet another case of tactics swallowing strategy — a mode of policymaking that was auditioned a week earlier in Syria and that could lead to catastrophe if tried on, say, the Korean Peninsula." McCain: Russians Testing Trump in Alaska
By Dan Nowicki, The Republic: “"It’s sort of dangerous. Not real dangerous, but it’s provocative and it’s a violation of the standards of international behavior," McCain said."

Mattis in Afghanistan Amid Calls for Troop Increase
By Shawn Snow & Mackenzie Wolf, Military Times: “U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis arrived in Afghanistan on Monday for meetings with top Afghan and American officials. The visit, which the Pentagon did not previously make public, comes as President Donald Trump’s administration evaluates its next moves in the 15-year campaign."

Staring Down the Shutdown Threat
By Leo Shane III, Military Times: “With a deadline for a new budget deal this Friday, lawmakers will spend the week balancing their negotiations on an immediate fix with their planning for the fiscal 2018 budget." With F-15, Air Force Faces Catch-22
By Travis Tritten, Washington Examiner: “The Air Force has good reason to feel conflicted as retirement talk swirls around its F-15C Eagle fighter jet. The aircraft has a stellar combat record — zero combat losses and 100 enemies shot down worldwide, reportedly."

Navy’s New Mach 6 EM Railgun Almost Ready
By Rich Smith, Motley Fool: “For more than three years now, I’ve been tracking the U.S. Navy’s progress toward building a working electromagnetic railgun prototype — a Mach 6 cannon reputedly capable of striking targets 110 miles away with pinpoint accuracy."

The Army’s New “Dronebuster"​
By Todd South, Army Times: “The newest tool in the Army’s counter-drone arsenal is the “Dronebuster," a 5-pound radar gun-like device that soldiers can use to jam weaponized commercial drones while at remote forward operating bases or on foot patrol." ​

INTERNATIONAL U.S., NORTH KOREA: Twenty-five Million Reasons the U.S. Hasn’t Struck North Korea
By Anna Fifield, The Washington Post: “If the United States were to strike North Korea, Kim Jong Un’s regime would retaliate by unleashing its conventional weaponry lined up on the demilitarized zone that has separated the two Koreas for about seven decades." U.S., GERMANY: U.S., German Air Forces Conduct Close-Air Support Joint-Exercise
By Christopher Diamond, Air Force Times: “From April 10-14, airmen from the Air Force’s 19th Air Support Operations Squadron worked with their German counterparts at Camp Grayling, Michigan. The exercise was intended to strengthen military capabilities between the two countries, given the joint efforts of operations such as the ongoing effort to defeat ISIS, Operation Inherent Resolve."

CHINA: Tracking China’s Second, Indigenous Aircraft Carrier
From China Power, CSIS: “Five years after commissioning its first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, China is now primed to launch its second carrier – the Type 001A. Unlike its Soviet-built predecessor, the Type 001A is China’s first domestically built carrier. Both carriers are similar in size and use a STOBAR (Short Take-Off But Arrested Recovery) system for the launch and recovery of aircraft. Although similar to the Liaoning, the Type 001A features some notable enhancements and represents an important step in China’s developing aircraft carrier program."

RUSSIA, DENMARK: Russia Hacked Danish Defense for Two Years
From Reuters: “Russia has hacked the Danish defense and gained access to employees’ emails in 2015 and 2016, NATO member Denmark’s defense minister told newspaper Berlingske on Sunday."

Weekly Recon – “Buy America" Best for Defense?, Future Frigates . . .
By Blake Baiers, RealClearDefense: “Is “Buy America" Best for Defense? – President Trump signed an executive order on Tuesday, ordering a “150-day audit of all government agencies" purchasing practices to determine if they are sufficiently abiding by so-called “Buy American" laws. Writing for Breaking Defense, Colin Clark characterizes the move as an inane approach to defense acquisition. In fact, it could be to the detriment of U.S. men and women in uniform. As Clark points out, the F-35 is an aircraft built and developed by a consortium of allies and defense partners. All of the T-X future Air Force trainer program competitors include partnerships with foreign companies. Moreover, the Marine Corps is eyeing further adoption of a German made infantry rifle . . . "  

CEO of Iranian Airline to Buy Boeing Jets Has Ties to IRGC
By Emanuele Ottolenghi and Saeed Ghasseminejad, RealClearDefense: “Boeing announced last month it would sell 30 B737 Max aircraft to Aseman Airlines –Iran’s third-largest carrier – in a deal valued at around $3 billion. The deal appears to be permitted under the 2015 nuclear agreement, which lifted U.S. sanctions against the Islamic Republic’s aviation sector. There is, however, a problem: Aseman’s CEO, Hossein Alaei, is a decades-long senior member of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, or IRGC, which remains under U.S. sanctions."  

Homeland Defense Starts at Hawaii
By Kirk Lippold, RealClearDefense: “As the White House and Congress review and reset our defense policy and spending, it is not only important we make greater investments in missile defense, but it is also critical we make the right investments to ensure the supporting architecture meets growing near-term threats, while also looking to advance technology for future threats.  Hawaii is our first line of defense in the Pacific, and we must protect it with proven, available systems." 
A Military in Need
By Mackenzie Eaglen & Gary Schmitt, The Weekly Standard: “While the effort to get a defense appropriations bill for the current year through Congress is long overdue, the military services are in need of an immediate infusion of cash. They can and should be provided with that through an emergency supplemental spending bill for the Pentagon." 
Military Technology and the Multi-Domain Battle Plan
By Gary K. Busch, Lima Charlie News: “Over the last decade, the U.S. has been successful in developing entirely new weapon systems and defences which encompass Hypersonic weapons, Directed Energy Weapons, Electro-Mechanical Pulses and satellite weapons in space. It is these which give the US. a tactical and strategic advantage over others and will be its greatest guarantee of U.S. security." 

A History of Warfare
By Craig Beutel, Strategy Bridge: “Field-Marshal Viscount Montgomery of Alamein led the British Eighth Army across North Africa in pursuit of Rommel. In 1944 he commanded the Allied land armies in the invasion of Normandy, eventually leading the 21st Army Group. Despite this experience, few give him the acknowledgment he deserves as a military intellectual and analyst of history, despite his time teaching at the staff colleges in Camberley and Quetta in the interwar years, or his authorship of the British infantry manual." ​

What It Would Really Take to Sink a Modern Aircraft Carrier
By Robert Farley, Jalopnik: “There’s a lot of consternation about whether or not the United States should even have massive supercarriers anymore. Obviously, the answer here is “depends on how much explosives you’ve got." But while sinking an aircraft carrier is difficult, it’s not impossible. The key is what it’s used for, and who it’s used against. But if you wanted to sink one, here’s what you’d have to do, and what you’d be up against." 

Defeating Russia and China’s Air Defenses
By Sebastien Roblin, The National Interest: “U.S. warplanes flying over Syria today find themselves operating within the range of Russian S-400 surface-to-air missiles. While the U.S. military is unlikely to intentionally attack Russian forces in Syria, the situation highlights the importance of suppressing enemy air defenses—one major tactic U.S. flyers have long relied upon is radar jamming, or saturating enemy radars with “noise" and false signals so that they can’t track and fire upon friendly airplanes." 

China’s Power Projection
By David Shinn, China Brief: “China’s 2015 Military Strategy white paper states clearly that the PLAN will protect the security of strategic sea lines of communication (SLOCs) and overseas interests, and participate in international maritime cooperation so as to build itself “into a maritime power."" ​

The Tar Pits Abroad
By Victor Davis Hanson, Defining Ideas: “As missiles fall on Syria in retaliation for Bashar Assad’s medieval use of chemical weapons—and as voices call for the use of some American ground troops to expedite his removal—we might reflect upon American military interventions in the post-Vietnam era." 

NATO: Assessing the Alliance’s Counter-Terrorism Efforts
By Hajnalka Vincze, Terrorism Monitor: “NATO’s counter-terrorism efforts have been the focus of much attention in recent months.  Faced with a U.S. ultimatum that Washington might “moderate its commitment" to the Alliance, member states have sought ways to demonstrate that the organization plays a significant part in global counter-terrorism efforts and that it could do even more." 

What Are North Korea’s Chemical-Weapon Capabilities?
By Cindy Vestergaard, The Lowy Institute Interpreter: “Since Malaysian authorities identified the nerve agent VX as the cause of death in the assassination of Kim Jong Nam, the half-brother of North Korean’s Kim Jong Un, concerns have been raised over the state’s chemical weapons capabilities. Earlier this month in parliament, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe raised the possibility of North Korean sarin-tipped missiles. So what are North Korea’s capabilities?"

The Problem of Siloed Cyber Warriors
By Levi Maxey, The Cipher Brief: “Cyber capabilities cannot be detached from other domains of warfare, such as electromagnetic, air, land, sea, and space. The future holds two potential battlefields that overlap: one fought between high-tech adversary militaries, and another, between highly specialized military units and insurgent forces in population-dense urban environments. In both situations, cyber capabilities must be integrated into all other domains of warfare."

Options to Evolve U.S. Law Enforcement and Public Safety Training
By The Viking Cop, Divergent Options: “Over the past twenty years the U.S. has seen a major shift in public opinion and media coverage of LE/PS operations.  As a result of this shift, there have been ad hoc changes in LE/PS training on various topics to address a lack of specialized training.  But because LE/PS basic training and advanced training is conducted and designed at a local level, the added training can vary from city to city and state to state.  A look at the basic training of LE/PS is important in the context of how LE/PS organizations are preparing to respond to contemporary changes in U.S. culture and the massive scale of resources and time it takes to train a LE/PS Officer." 

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