Taiwan to simulate repelling invasion amid China tensions

https://s3.reutersmedia.net/resources/r/?m=02&d=20180424&t=2&i=1254717178

A Taiwanese flag is seen behind standard Type II missiles on Kee Lung (DDG-1801) destroyer during a drill near Yilan naval base, Taiwan April 13, 2018. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

 

TAIPEI (Reuters) – Taiwan will simulate repelling an invading force, emergency repairs of a major air base and using civilian-operated drones as part of military exercises starting next week, the defense ministry said on Tuesday amid growing tensions with China.

Over the past year or so, China has ramped up military drills around self-ruled and democratic Taiwan, including flying bombers and other military aircraft around the island. Continue reading

Fewer planes are ready to fly: Air Force mission-capable rates decline amid pilot crisis

The F-22 saw an 11.17 percentage point reduction in mission-capable rates in 2017. It was one of several airframes that saw similar dips, contributing to an overall decline in mission-capable rates across the Air Force. (Tech Sgt. Michael R. Holzworth/Air Force)

 

The readiness of the Air Force’s aircraft fleet is continuing its slow, steady deterioration — and this could spell trouble for the service’s effort to hold on to its pilots and its ability to respond to contingencies around the world.

According to data provided by the Air Force, about 71.3 percent of the Air Force’s aircraft were flyable, or mission-capable, at any given time in fiscal 2017. That represents a drop from the 72.1 percent mission-capable rate in fiscal 2016, and a continuation of the decline in recent years.

Former Air Force pilots and leaders say that this continued trend is a gigantic red flag, and warn it could lead to serious problems down the road.

“It scares the heck out of me,” said retired Gen. Hawk Carlisle, former head of Air Combat Command. “It really does.”

Continue reading

Global Strike Command is USAF’s new weapon against China: expert

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A pure bomber command is likely to be established for the first time in US military history after the Air Force made the announcement last week to reassign all its heavy bombers to the Global Strike Command last week, James Hasik, a senior researcher from the Washington-based Atlantic Council wrote in a piece for National Interest magazine. Continue reading

US Military Could Not Handle One Major Theater Operation If Sequester Sticks

“You gentlemen make life and death decisions in the Tank almost every day,” a somber Cooper said at a House Armed Services Committee hearing on the automatic budget cuts known as sequestration, looking straight at Army Gen. Ray Odierno, Adm. Jonathan Greenert, Air Force Gen. Mark Welsh and Marine Gen. James Amos. “We are unwilling to even come up with a budget for America.”

Even the usually partisan HASC Chairman Buck McKeon, after offering a very short defense of the House and GOP’s actions on sequestration, spoke the truth to the Joint Chiefs and the packed hearing room: ”It’s not your fault. It is us.”

How bad will it get if the United States Congress does not reverse the Budget Control Act, the foundation of sequestration?

Three of the four Joint Chiefs told the HASC that they would not be able to execute the most basic strategic requirement of the US military: defeating an enemy in a single major theater operation. Only Gen. Amos, Marine Commandant, said his self-sufficient force could handle one MTO, but could not handle more than that. Continue reading