Biden’s team fears the aftermath of a failed Ukrainian counteroffensive
A key air defense system wasn’t working right when a drone killed an American in Syria, pushing the US to retaliate with force
How arming Ukraine is stretching the US defence industry
A $4.4 billion US destroyer was touted as one of the most advanced ships in the world. Take a look at the USS Zumwalt, which has since been called a ‘failed ship concept.’
“Despite their cost, the Zumwalts have been plagued by equipment problems. Soon after its commissioning in 2016, the USS Zumwalt broke down in the Panama Canal. The second ship in its class, the USS Michael Monsoor, failed during sea trials the following year.
As a 2018 report from Military Watch Magazine noted the Zumwalts “suffered from poorly functioning weapons, stalling engines, and an underperformance in their stealth capabilities, among other shortcomings.”
“They have almost entirely failed to fulfill the originally intended role of multipurpose destroyer warships, while the scale of cost overruns alone brings the viability of the program into question even if the destroyers were able to function as intended,” the outlet said.
The Zumwalts lack several vital features, including anti-ship missiles, anti-submarine torpedoes, and long-range area-air defense missiles, the military expert Sebastian Roblin wrote in a 2021 National Interest article. Roblin called the destroyers an “ambitious but failed ship concept.”
And, noted Roblin, their weaponry wasn’t cheap. The ship’s long-range land-attack projectile guided shells cost roughly $800,000 each — about the same price as a cruise missile. The munitions were eventually canceled, considered too pricey to merit producing.
Roblin said the Zumwalt was produced based on “unrealistic” estimates that banked on minimal cost, despite coming in 50% over budget.”
An expert on the dismal state of nuclear treaties
“When the [second] Bush administration came in, they actually used the withdrawal provision to get the country out of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty that had been in place since 1972. That limited what kind of missile defenses both sides could deploy. [The administration] didn’t want to see any limits at all anymore. And ironically, to this day, we have not deployed defenses that are substantially in excess of those limits. In fact, I think with very slight modifications to the treaty — deployment locations, things like that — we could still be inside it. But the point was more to get rid of the treaties, in my view, than it was to actually deploy a working defense.”
Progressives get rolled on Pentagon policy
“Democrats hold power in the House, Senate and White House for the first time in more than a decade, yet the high-profile defense bill got more GOP votes than from Biden’s own party. As progressive lawmakers made their dissatisfaction with the bill’s high price tag clear, centrist Democrats knew they needed Republican support to pass the House and Senate.”
“Bipartisan provisions requiring women to register for the draft, cracking down on Saudi Arabia and imposing sanctions on Russia were nixed; legislation repealing outdated Iraq war authorizations fell by the wayside; reforms to the military justice system and efforts to combat extremism in the ranks were pared back; and a proposal to give Washington, D.C., control of its National Guard was dropped.”
US has already lost to China in AI fight, says ex-Pentagon software chief
“Beijing is heading for global dominance because of its advances in artificial intelligence, machine learning and cyber capabilities, he said. Compared to China’s advancement, US cyber defences in some government departments were at the kindergarten level.
Chaillan blamed the reluctance of Goggle to work with the US defence department on AI. Chinese companies, on the other hand, are obliged to work with Beijing, and were making “massive investment” into AI without regard to ethics, he said to Financial Times.”
There’s a Big Gap in Our Cyber Defenses. Here’s How to Close It.
“The foreign hackers behind the massive cybersecurity failures dominating recent headlines had one critical strategy in common — they leased computers in the United States to burrow into their victim’s networks. Because U.S. cybersecurity systems don’t regard domestic connections as inherently suspect, the attackers were able to hide in plain sight. Like secretive investors deploying a series of shell companies and trusts to mask true ownership, Russia, China and other sophisticated nations effect cyber-maliciousness through a series of intermediary, innocuous-looking internet servers.”
“No government agency — even our powerful spy agencies — currently has a sufficiently agile legal authority to catch foreign cyber malefactors in the act of co-opting U.S. computer networks. The National Security Agency is allowed to surveil only foreign actors; pursuing them on the home front is the job of the FBI. But by the time the NSA notices suspicious foreign activity and hands the case off to the FBI, it’s often too late. The foreign malware might well have been injected into American networks, and the FBI investigation simply confirms that now-dormant internet servers in the U.S. were used by foreigners to stage their attacks.”
“The difficulty lies in resolving deeply felt concerns over any increase in government surveillance authority, no matter how important the purpose. We are also paralyzed by a sense of fatalism that cyber vulnerabilities are simply the price we pay for being online, and an erroneous belief that the Constitution stands in the way of any solution.
Most cybersecurity experts agree an effective public-private cyber information-sharing system is essential in stopping foreign cyber maliciousness before it causes too much damage. But information sharing isn’t enough; it would be hamstrung from the start if the government cannot seamlessly and quickly track malicious cyber activity from its foreign source to its intended domestic victims. If some government agency had that legal power, then it could, for example, quickly check out a domestic IP address after an alert from the NSA that the address was communicating with a suspicious overseas server. If that IP address showed questionable activity, the government and the private sector jointly could take steps to reconfigure firewalls or otherwise curtail the hack. Admittedly, this wouldn’t prevent hacks and attacks that were based on previously unknown software bugs (so called zero-day exploits). But the reality is that most large-scale hacks by foreign countries rely on already known software imperfections and hardware deficiencies.”
In the event of war with Iran, the U.S. Navy’s small, aging force of Persian Gulf-based minesweepers would struggle to locate and disarm Iran’s underwater mines.