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Macron blocks NATO outpost in Japan amid Chinese complaints​



France is holding up a deal to expand NATO’s reach into Asia, opening a split in the Western security alliance on the eve of a vital summit next week.

For months, NATO officials have been discussing plans to open a liaison office in Japan, which would represent the allies’ first outpost in the region at a time of growing tension between the West and China.

Next week’s annual leaders’ summit in Lithuania —taking place against the backdrop of Russia’s war in Ukraine — was earmarked as a moment for making progress on the plan.

But French President Emmanuel Macron has put his foot down, insisting such geographical expansion would risk shifting the alliance’s remit too far from its original North Atlantic focus.

“We are not in favor as a matter of principle,” an Elysée Palace official told reporters on Friday. “As far as the office is concerned, the Japanese authorities themselves have told us that they are not extremely attached to it.”

The French official insisted that NATO is geographically confined to the North Atlantic. “NATO means North Atlantic Treaty Organization,” the official said, adding that Articles 5 and 6, clauses at the heart of the alliance, are “geographic.”

The plan by NATO to open its first Asian office comes amid heightened concern over China’s aggressive maritime and air behavior toward Taiwan and U.S. troops in the region. Like France, China is also opposed to the idea.

“We have seen NATO bent on going east into this region, interfering in regional affairs and inciting bloc confrontation,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said last month. “The majority of Asian countries … oppose the emergence of military blocs in the region. They don’t welcome NATO’s outreach in Asia.”

While some other NATO allies are also said to have concerns over the new office, three European diplomats with knowledge of the ongoing negotiations acknowledge that the strongest opposition comes from France.

Macron has been opposed to an increased NATO focus on China for years. In 2021 he said after a NATO meeting that “we shouldn’t confuse our goals,” arguing that “NATO is a military organization, the issue of our relationship with China isn’t just a military issue. NATO is an organization that concerns the North Atlantic, China has little to do with the North Atlantic.”

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, on the other hand, has promoted deeper connections with Asia-Pacific allies. The leaders of Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand will attend the NATO summit in Vilnius next week for the second year in a row.

“We should not make the same mistake with China and other authoritarian regimes,” Stoltenberg said in February. His comment was seen as drawing a link between Ukraine and Taiwan. “What is happening in Europe today could happen in Asia tomorrow,” he said.


Of course, he does. He sign some contracts with China and would not sabotage this.
 

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@Gary @Nilgiri That looks bad. Just listen to first 30 minutes. (detailed and well presented)
These are direct preparations almost mimicking Russian Federation before the Ukraine Invasion. (But probbaly with better planning and long terms considerations.) Which is more scary tbh.

I just wanna know what the economic impact of full scale US-PRC conflict would be on South and South East Asia. Specially on subcontinent.

Is it too anxious to think our economy would be crippled as a result?
We will be hit hard.

  1. China is our largest export destination, 1/4th of our export goes to China. So big hit to the economy. Because of the eventual blockade.
  2. Malacca strait will be blocked, resulting in economic hardships for not only us, but Malaysia and Singapore (this country will be hit very hard in particular)
  3. Not only shipping could stop,air travel could be suspended as well in huge parts of SE Asia,again another hit to the economy
  4. Negative gdp growth everywhere,from here to Europe as well
  5. I think there will be rationing of food at least here, we imported rice from Viet Nam, Thailand and beef from Oz, shipping could stop with both sides making threats to shipping.
  6. What do I miss ?
I just hope that by the time shit hits the fan,war will be contained in Taiwan and its peripheral. Even though its hard considering China will come here as well.

Maybe its time for me to practice farming and attend survivalist class 😄.
 

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Interesting : Taiwan's investment to China high tech chip sector has fallen, while Warren Buffet has sold all his TSMC stake in May this year.

@Afif something telling me Buffet knows his investment a.k.a gamble wont work if danger is very close
 

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@Gary @Nilgiri That looks bad. Just listen to first 30 minutes. (detailed and well presented)
These are direct preparations almost mimicking Russian Federation before the Ukraine Invasion. (But probbaly with better planning and long terms considerations.) Which is more scary tbh.

I just wanna know what the economic impact of full scale US-PRC conflict would be on South and South East Asia. Specially on subcontinent.

Is it too anxious to think our economy would be crippled as a result?

Didn't get the tag for some reason (I'll be responding to the churchill one elsewhere later btw, havent had time so far).

The economic impact will be devastating and is treated casually by the presenter (along with the ease of measures/sanctions US could do on the economic side as he suggests, given the levers involved on what he calls as "wall street" that are no easy thing to do for the US even domestically).

Contrast what he says in the QnA regarding the economic dimensions and things I have seen on my own end whenever I have interacted with elements of the "establishment" on both sides in this thread for example: https://defencehub.live/threads/chinese-scientists-are-leaving-the-united-states.18065/#post-279004

@Bogeyman @Saithan may find the presentation and QnA part useful as well....at least to observe how things are presented with the interests of promoting an already formed conclusion.

i.e we see same set of things, reach some conclusions the same, but there are key differences too that are presented reductively in one-sided way without due diligence and sufficient consistent introspection on the US side (even w.r.t to its own domestic affairs and economy and how insularity from the power-elitists lead to grave misunderstandings and issues over time).

It is not as easy as he portrays...and the analysis also conveniently leaves out what the West has done from its end (accounting for how CCP factions perceive and respond to certain things, esp w.r.t Taiwan issue)..... that has led to the Xi Jinping faction easily prevailing now versus Hu Jintao and Li Keqiang (looking back, the latter was the critical one that the West should have done all it could to help within CCP if it actually understood what was at play and at stake back then) because what could be scapegoated easily in the power churn.

Instead the West (namely the US) treated the DPP developments on Taiwan w.r.t KMT casually (or even promoted certain things deliberately or spontaneously) like how President Tsai responded in extremely negative way to some fairly standard statements by Xi couple years ago (regarding peaceful unification)....and what this likely represented at deeper layers fewer folks are privy to. West could have put its foot down and smoothed things out there....but it looks like it didnt and now the power ego snowballs and crystallises as policy in CCP....to better have and not need something than need something and not have it (w.r.t known economic and demographic window). That is precisely why CCP foregoes the economic carrot and applies more stick to prepare with what it has bulked....West played its role in this rather than being conservative + realist in more measured way for longer time period compared to the "wall street greed" "kumbaya" approach the presenter identifies with the "liberal niceguy west" etc etc.

I say this as no friend of the CCP (quite the opposite given what they have gone out of their way to deny me and take from me having grown up in HK, and now they pursue in still new other ways, contagions, war flexing and on those I hold dear..... given their size and after the distance I have deliberately cultivated away from them).

It is all somewhat similar to how things went with Ukraine and Russia (and the identity politics churn that the Russian establishment seized upon about halfway) from the 1990s to today....and again exacerbated by NATO's expansion eastwards that present pressures much like the militarisation done off China's eastern seaboard (whatever the individual countries felt and CCP felt respectively, there was some clear misjudgment by the US/West here w.r.t best way to handle and conduct their core interests...... and now it conveniently, relatively overnight, asserts a Frankenstein given the raw size and pressures involved and what is at stake in worst case scenario).

So I feel this is the somewhat metaphysical (insular war hawk) approach to this matter (as seen in the realm at large)....a popular motif in DC in general along with other insular elitist groups there.

i.e a conclusion has been made and evidence has been picked somewhat selectively to fit it, along with the obligatory references to WW1 and WW2 that make the staple of these things. It is driven by opaqueness involved, human psyche involved and the fear and mistrust that grow by this, taken advantage of by those powerful enough.

Accountability is a time consuming, mundane even counterproductive thing for power in the end....so it finds its way to launder its surfeit as it does....when really none of it had to go the way it did.....none of what was squandered by our species had to be....and all we have learned collectively so clearly by this stage.... certainly need not be ignored so continuously so that same mistakes repeated and inflicted, mostly on those that have limited power and privileged insular ability.

I think we are stuck with this dilemma eternally....because power and accountability are disjointed opposed sets in our metaphysical experience.
 

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Lmao, that bozo's gonna sleepwalk into WW3

Fs4PWNMWYAItly1.jpeg
 

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You all can roll as much as you want, but uncle Joe is my guy.
 

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3 QUESTIONS - Navigating tensions in South China Sea​



- The author is a researcher and journalist focusing on conflict and geopolitics in the Middle East and North Africa, primarily related to the Gulf region.

ISTANBUL

In three questions, Jonathan Fenton-Harvey evaluates the significance of the South China Sea, the countries that have territorial claims there, and potential outcomes.

Why is South China Sea important?

As a crucial trade route that hosts an increasingly large bulk of global trade, the South China Sea has garnered attention from both regional and international stakeholders. Connecting the Indian and Pacific Oceans via the Strait of Malacca, its importance has grown in recent years.

Meanwhile, China’s territorial claims and naval expansion in the South China Sea have ignited tensions with its neighbors, including the Philippines, Vietnam, Taiwan, Malaysia, and Brunei. Using historical justifications, Beijing has employed millennia-old records to bolster its regional assertions.

For its economic interests, China is actively seeking to enhance its maritime routes and increase oil imports through the South China Sea. Beyond its role as a vital fishing area, the region is rich in natural resources, including oil. China has notably positioned an oil rig south of the Paracel Islands, a move that sparked concerns among neighboring nations.

A technology rivalry is also occurring. Taiwan, which China claims as part of its own territory, is a significant manufacturing hub for Western nations, especially in semiconductor production. The dispute over Taiwan’s status has become more heated amid the US’ attempts to block China’s access to these advanced chips.

In the broader context of their technology rivalry, there are numerous undersea cables that serve as the backbone of global internet connectivity. This year, China has pursued the development of its own cable network, connecting Asia and Europe, to challenge US tech giants like Alphabet, Amazon, Meta, and Microsoft, which currently control most of these cables.

What’s unfolding in South China Sea?

A recent confrontation between China and the US-backed Philippines has escalated regional tensions. Chinese ships intercepted a Philippine boat heading to resupply troops at Second Thomas Shoal, controlled by Manila but which China also claims. Three Chinese navy corvettes nearby separated a supply boat and fired a water cannon at Philippine coastguard vessels, as per Philippine images and footage.

Showing long-standing tensions, China has ignored a ruling by the Hague brought by the Philippines in 2016, which said China had no historic title to the seas. Vietnam has also had skirmishes with China in recent years. The current Filipino president, Bongbong Marcos, has sought to strengthen military ties with the US in a break from his predecessor, Rodrigo Duterte, who wanted to reduce the Philippines’ reliance on US military assistance.

The US has often condemned China’s actions and sought to deter them through military cooperation with Beijing’s neighbors. European nations such as the UK and France have conducted naval patrols in the South China Sea to ensure freedom of navigation for trade, while attempting to prevent excessive antagonism towards China.

While China is still trying to assert itself regionally, it may also be pushing for the Philippines to abandon US influence, as it has long aimed to eject Washington’s military presence in the region and fulfill its own regional claims. Amid this war of words, China is encouraging the Philippines to engage in dialogue, and talks to find common ground over this contentious issue are expected.

How likely is a conflict in South China Sea?

Both Manila and Beijing have expressed their desire to de-escalate these latest tensions. However, China’s ambitions in the South China Sea and Washington’s attempts to uphold the US-led regional order are clearly salient issues.

Despite territorial disagreements, China has successfully cultivated economic ties with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in recent years, which could complicate US efforts to forge an alliance against China, even though ASEAN states have embraced US military support.

However, concerns persist that the ongoing militarization could inadvertently trigger an accidental conflict. Multiple incidents, such as the US accusing a Chinese navy ship in June of performing “unsafe” maneuvers close to a US destroyer in the Taiwan Strait, have underscored this risk.

Even if a conflict erupted, China and the US would likely work to avoid directly plunging into a full-scale war. Both nations have deep economic interdependence and understand the catastrophic implications of such a conflict.

ASEAN could play a pivotal role in facilitating cooperation among regional states, and China’s dialogue with them may support this. Ultimately, the role of China and the US will shape the trajectory of the South China Sea issue. These developments occur against the backdrop of dialogue this year, as high-level officials from both countries have sought to find common ground on various issues.

Given the increasing competition between the US and China across various arenas, spanning economic leverage to technological competition, it is imperative to engage in more profound dialogues. These dialogues can hopefully nurture trust and find potential compromises over such contentious matters.

 

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im-837178

Water Cannons and Lasers: South China Sea Standoff Around World War II-Era Ship Heats Up​



A World War II-era ship rusting atop a tiny, teardrop-shaped reef in the South China Sea has become the center of a new round of tensions between the Philippines, a U.S. ally, and China.

The Philippines ran the ship aground 2½ decades ago to assert its claim to the reef, known as Second Thomas Shoal. It keeps a small detachment of marines garrisoned aboard.
China also claims the reef—along with much of the highly contested South China Sea—and considers the grounding illegal. In recent years, its coast guard and fishing militia have built up a strong presence around the reef, shadowing and disrupting vessels supplying the dilapidated ship, called BRP Sierra Madre.
Now the dispute is flaring up. On Aug. 5, a Chinese coast-guard ship blasted a water cannon at a resupply convoy, forcing one of two supply boats to turn around and abandon its mission. Manila says the convoy was carrying food, water, fuel and other supplies for the nine marines currently aboard, and has pledged to try again soon.
Any accident or skirmish could escalate into conflict, with the potential to involve the U.S. After the Aug. 5 incident, the U.S. State Department reaffirmed that an “armed attack” on Philippine vessels would invoke its commitments under the two countries’ mutual-defense treaty.

Beijing says the Philippines is repairing and reinforcing the Sierra Madre to permanently occupy the reef, and objects to any such activities. Philippine officials say they have a right to maintain and repair the ship, which is still a commissioned navy vessel that they say serves as a permanent station for a constant rotation of active troops.

“Whatever we do with it is within our rights and jurisdiction,” said Col. Medel Aguilar, a spokesman for the Philippines armed forces, adding that China doesn’t have the right to tell the Philippines what it can take to the Sierra Madre.

When China’s foreign ministry claimed last week that Manila had promised in the past to remove the Sierra Madre from the reef, Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said he wasn’t aware of it.

“And let me go further,” he said. “If there does exist such an agreement, I rescind that agreement as of now.”

The fate of Second Thomas Shoal, which the Philippines calls Ayungin and China calls Ren’ai, has implications for the rest of the South China Sea, where Beijing’s claims overlap with those of half a dozen other governments. In 2016, a landmark ruling by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague dismissed China’s claims as baseless. Beijing rejected the ruling.

China has rapidly expanded its presence across the waterway, through which trillions of dollars in trade transits each year. In the Spratly Islands, site of Second Thomas Shoal, it has built outposts and militarized them with missiles, radar systems and runways. In 2012, China seized a feature called Scarborough Shoal from the Philippines.

Manila grounded the Sierra Madre in 1999—responding to China’s 1995 occupation of nearby Mischief Reef, where Beijing had begun building small structures—and has kept a dozen or so people stationed aboard at any given time.

Since then, China has vastly grown its power in the South China Sea. Mischief Reef is now a military base.

Chinese boats are ever-present around Second Thomas Shoal, routinely intimidating and harassing resupply missions, said Commodore Jay Tarriela, a spokesman for the Philippine coast guard. Sometimes Chinese boats sail dangerously close, or blast warnings through loudspeakers, he said. Occasionally, Chinese interference is more aggressive, forcing the Filipinos to turn back.

“The Chinese coast guard are not really fond of keeping to themselves,” Tarriela said. “They have to make us feel their presence, every single time.”



To avoid escalating tensions, the Philippines makes the supply deliveries—typically monthly—with civilian craft it calls “indigenous boats,” which are made of wood and look like fishing vessels. Chartered and manned by the Philippine navy and escorted by two coast-guard vessels, they are too small to carry large cargo or equipment.

The most recent incident was a David-versus-Goliath face-off.

A video clip shot by a crew member aboard one of the supply boats and shared with The Wall Street Journal by the Philippine armed forces shows a Chinese coast-guard vessel blasting a stream of water toward the convoy. The water hits the boat with a loud thud, causing it to rock.

Another clip, released by the Philippine coast guard, shows a Philippine supply boat bobbing along, dwarfed by a Chinese vessel several times its length tailing closely behind. The camera pans across the horizon to reveal at least four other vessels—two belonging to the Chinese coast guard and two that the Philippine coast guard said belonged to Chinese maritime militia.

Resupply missions have been sporadically disrupted since at least 2014. This year, it has happened twice already. In February, China used what the Philippines said was a military-grade laser that temporarily blinded crew.

Since taking office last year, Marcos has steered the country decisively toward the U.S., a sharp departure from the pro-China policies of his predecessor, Rodrigo Duterte.

While Duterte threatened to rescind Manila-Washington military pacts, such as a visiting-forces agreement that allows American troops and equipment to rotate through the archipelago, Marcos has doubled down on the alliance. In February, the two countries unveiled a major expansion of an Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement, effectively extending U.S. access to nine Philippine military bases, from a previous five.

“Of course China notices the change in tone and policy orientation of the new administration,” said Aries Arugay, professor and chair of the department of political science at the University of the Philippines Diliman. “They’re testing Marcos.”

 
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Gary

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Blind, See, Kill: The Grand Networking Plan To Take On China​


A massive network is being constructed to give everyone from soldiers to allied countries a “single pane of glass” view of the battlefield.
BYTYLER ROGOWAY|PUBLISHED AUG 29, 2023 6:56 PM EDT
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Admiral John Aquilino, commander of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM), offered remarkably detailed comments on what he sees as critical future capabilities needed to fight and win a high-end conflict in his vast area of responsibility — namely against China.
Aquilino's remarks came from the National Defense Industrial Association's Emerging Technologies and Defense symposium in Washington, D.C. yesterday, which The War Zone attended. Joseph Dunford, a retired Marine four-star general and the ex-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, hosted the discussion with the INDOPACOM boss.

Adm. John C. Aquilino, Commander of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, has a very ambitious plan to connect all his forces and allies via a 'single pane of glass' interface. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Anthony J. Rivera)

Adm. John C. Aquilino, Commander of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, has a very ambitious plan to connect all his forces and allies via a 'single pane of glass' interface. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Anthony J. Rivera)

The talk quickly ventured into the topic of how Aquilino is preparing for what could become an unprecedented fight in terms of the speed and the scale that said capabilities will be applied over a vast battlefield. What's clear is that networking and data-fusion remain the centerpiece of America's emerging warfighting strategy in this tense region. At the center of the Admiral's plans is a grand networking scheme that ties everyone in the battlespace together — including regional allies — and offers a single 'pane of glass' God's eye view of the battlefield to everyone from soldiers on desolate windswept islands, to allied warships, to commanders managing the conflict thousands of miles away.
Author's note: Long quotes in a direct transcript fashion were used for this piece as there was no better way to properly convey the complex concepts the Admiral was putting forward, how they relate to one another, and the extra color that his own words could only provide.

"The approach for the United States military... is one piece of the forms of national power that are required, because the PRC [People's Republic of China] problem will require all forms of national power, and it's referred to as 'integrated deterrence' by the Secretary of Defense. I can speak about the military arm. Although we're coordinated with some of the other portions of national defense... our approach is to provide for lethal combat power west of the international dateline that's prepared to respond, that's postured accordingly, that is tied with our allies and partners, and has the right capabilities to be able to deter. And let there be no doubt the goal is to prevent this conflict, not to have it."
"That said, the Secretary gave me a second mission and says if deterrence has failed, then you better be prepared to fight and win... When we talk about the capabilities needed, we talk about it through the lens of 'blind, see, and kill...' The ability to operate in contested space survivably and deliver the effects that we're tasked to do, that's the 'blind' piece. The 'see' piece has to have a persistent understanding of the battlespace, where everything is at every second to a targeting level quality."
"Think, click, and shoot."
The <em>Ticonderoga</em> class cruiser USS <em>Cape St. George</em> launches a Tomahawk cruise missile. (USN)

The Ticonderoga class cruiser USS Cape St. George launches a Tomahawk cruise missile. (USN)

"Then the kill piece is the right weapons with the right numbers of weapons, and the network that links them to be able to affect and close the kill chain. And my argument is all of my geographic combatant commander brothers and sisters want and need that same capability. We refer to it in the terms of 'decision superiority.' And that means first, we have it today, but we need to accelerate it and we need to always stay in front of any adversary."

Dunford then asked Aquilino about the challenges China is putting up to U.S. power projection, and what he feels better or worse about today than five years ago in terms of confronting and overcoming those challenges.

"What I think is they're on their five year [plan], and if you go back three different budgets for them, or four years, over our 20 years in the desert, they focused very clearly on delivering a force capable to take on the United States. And the speed and acceleration that they have shown and they are delivering, right, when you talk about outputs, we all look at the Chinese to understand, truly, where they are, what they're doing. The largest military buildup since World War Two, both in conventional forces and then strategic-nuclear. J-20s are in full-rate production, ships coming off their industrial baseline at numbers that only replicate what we did in the Lehman time and the 600 ship Navy kind of time frame. Again, nuclear build up... is the largest and continuous we've seen. So those are the concerning pieces. And that's what we're walking into."
The massive expansion of China's Navy is one of many concerns for U.S. commanders to deal with. (PLAN)

The massive expansion of China's Navy is one of many concerns for U.S. commanders to deal with. (PLAN)

"Now, on the optimism side, the department focusing on the PRC as the primary security challenger and the defense strategy-based budget that has been pushed forward, certainly is encouraging. The deputy's words on the delivery of outcomes with speed [Deputy Secretary of Defense Hicks' speech earlier in the day which you can read more about here] is encouraging..."
On how allies play into all this, Admiral Aquilino offered these words:

"As we all know, the key, or one of our asymmetric advantages, as we work through this delivery of deterrence is our synchronization, information sharing and work together with our allies and partners. Five treaty allies in the region: Japan, Korea, Philippines, Australia and Thailand. The work that we do together everyday, and it is every day with those allies, is critical — the partners as well [as] the rest of the nations in the region. What you have seen occur is more integration, more multilateral operations and rehearsals, and practice together. It is an asymmetric advantage that we have, whether we're talking about the trilateral relationship between Japan, Korea and the United States, recently described and emphasized by the heads of state. Whether you're talking about the support and the additional sites in the Philippines that we will build out and practice in order for our forces to be able to operate together. The work in Australia with AUKUS tied with the United Kingdom to deliver once-in-a-generation warfighting capability, and then expand from technology and other areas besides submarines, where we can deliver warfighting effects. Again, it's really an asymmetric advantage. And probably... one of the key opportunities that we have to continue exploiting."

"So let me get into a couple of programs now, because the development and the initiation of the programs I'll talk about... First, we talk about a Joint Fires Network. So when I articulate 'blind, see and kill,' the Joint Fires Network is the mechanism by which we would integrate, synchronize, and utilize to deliver effects anywhere in the battlespace, and bring to PACOM [INDOPACOM] — that's over half the globe. Whether they be fires, effects or logistics requirements, and synchronize those actions across the board. And those are applicable to be supported and delivered to our allies and partners as well."

Joint Fires Network will tie forces together via datalinks to provide a common actionable tactical picture. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Sonja Wickard/Released)

Joint Fires Network will tie forces together via datalinks to provide a common actionable tactical picture. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Sonja Wickard/Released)
"Second, is a mission partner environment. Think of that as the transport mechanism to deliver and synchronize, integrate and operate with our allies and partners. Think of a 'single pane of glass' with the ability for login attributes, classification, and FTO requirements to be able to communicate with my partners anytime, anyplace, anyday."

"Third is referred to as the Pacific Multi-Domain Training And Experimentation Capability (PMTEC)... So think about linking ranges from the west coast of the United States, to Alaska, to Australia, to Guam, and to further forward in Japan, and anywhere in the theater. So, if you think about the ability to train together, over the broad space needed, and utilize that range as an experimentation capability with our allies and partners, now you get right after what the deputy was talking about, on how you practice, rehearse, experiment, and ultimately deliver capability."
"And then lastly, we work through what we refer to as Stormbreaker, which is our ability to run through scenarios, to develop CONOPS to assess those CONOPS and plan at a speed that can't be done today, without 'stubby pencil' J5 planners, but to automate that set of capabilities."
Dunford then pushed for more info about the massive amounts of data and the processing, deconfliction, and display of that data under the 'Joint Data Integration Layer.' Dunford also noted that it is designed to overcome issues with interoperability and integration among disparate force elements.
"For us, it's the Assault Breaker Two team that is plugged in on Hawaii. Matter of fact, they have put the virtual team and built a simulation facility in the Pacific for us to use this. Here's the metric for me, 1,000 targets in 24 hours — targeting level quality, persistent, ready to go. Now that's supported by many of the ISR [information, surveillance, and reconnaissance] assets... But really, what we're looking for is 'all source Intel' and the ability to distill it down to that wisdom we discussed. And boy, you're right, we still don't have enough ISR. But what I think this data-informed ability to pull it all together, you know, I go back to the aircraft shoot-down not long ago. And I think you were in the chair, right? How did we find out that the Russians actually shot that airplane down was by a social media post. We all have that data, because it all contributes. And then we have to weed through it to determine what's a value and how does it deliver to the fight."

Under the Admiral's ambitious plan, everything will feed into a deconflicted and refined common battlespace picture, from high-end ISR assets like this MQ-4C Triton to a swarm of unmanned surface vessels to space-based sensing and even data collected by sensors that are forward-deployed by small ground units. The distributed nature of battlefield data collection will be critical to winning a future fight, but parsing and fuzing all of it and transferring it around a vast battlefield will be major hurdles. (USN)

Under the Admiral's ambitious plan, everything will feed into a deconflicted and refined common battlespace picture, from high-end ISR assets like this MQ-4C Triton to a swarm of unmanned surface vessels to space-based sensing and even data collected by sensors that are forward-deployed by small ground units. The distributed nature of battlefield data collection will be critical to winning a future fight, but parsing and fuzing all of it and transferring it around a vast battlefield will be major hurdles. (USN)

Asking for more specificity as to the over-arching network that will enable what could only be defined as a revolution in connected warfighting, Aquilino gave this very clear summary:
"So from the INDOPACOM perspective, we are purely focused on the kill chain and the ability to persist, sustain, and command the fight. So think 'F2T2EA' — find, fix, target track, employ and assess. That is the foundational set of actions that have to occur from the military warfighting capability sense. Now on top of that, the approach is to be able to deliver a common operational picture for every node in the battlespace — the same exact targeting level quality picture for everyone. And in that mesh node of delivery, any fighting formation is able to employ and carry out their responsibilities in the battlespace, whether there's an attempt to impact those command and control nodes. But that mesh allows it to occur. And again, the network that we're talking about, we refer to as the Joint Fires Network."
Project Manager Tactical Network, Program Executive Office for Command Control Communications-Tactical (PEO C3T), conducts Scalable Network Node (SNN) new equipment training for the 51st Expeditionary Signal Battalion (ESB) – converting the unit to a modernized ESB-Enhanced (ESB-E) formation – at Joint Base Lewis McChord, Washington. The SNN provides a significant reduction in the footprint requirements of an ESB-E. (Amy Walker, Project Manager Tactical Network, PEO C3T public affairs)

Project Manager Tactical Network, Program Executive Office for Command Control Communications-Tactical (PEO C3T), conducts Scalable Network Node (SNN) new equipment training for the 51st Expeditionary Signal Battalion (ESB) – converting the unit to a modernized ESB-Enhanced (ESB-E) formation – at Joint Base Lewis McChord, Washington. The SNN provides a significant reduction in the footprint requirements of an ESB-E. (Amy Walker, Project Manager Tactical Network, PEO C3T public affairs)

As to how very ambitious capabilities like the Joint Fires Network, and other emerging high-tech concepts, will go from great sounding ideas to operational realities at scale, Aquilino said the following:
"In the Pacific, we certainly need to scale. Again, I don't know if I tie those two together the emerging technologies and scale. I think what I would say is the emerging technologies in our construction of the Joint Fires Network, Mission Partner Environment, PMTEC and Stormbreaker, I would view it through the lens of pulling those emerging technologies into the open architecture, in places where we provide benefit, and then deliver those capabilities. The scaling of it... when we did our first experiment with the Joint Fires Network, we started with a eight nodes — in exercise Northern Edge Tac (sp?) One. In Northern Edge Tac Two we went up to 20 nodes. So, the key is to both inject emerging technologies that are advancing the capability, and then scaling it at a pace. So, I don't know if I tied the two together, but they certainly are interrelated and I just kind of gave you our approach on how to do this. And then in the next exercise-slash-experiment, we hope to increase that even more, and at some point, we'll pull in and plug one into one of our allies and partners. So the continued growth assessment on what was right, what was not right, and then [the] ability to adjust quickly. I think that's where it fits."

An F-117 aggressor recovers from a Northern Edge sortie, with Pantheon's 727 test jet and an B-1B in the background. Northern Edge is a critical set of test-focused war games that help prove emerging technologies and especially those surrounding networking. (USAF)

An F-117 aggressor recovers from a Northern Edge sortie, with Pantheon's 727 test jet and an B-1B in the background. Northern Edge is a critical set of test-focused war games that help prove emerging technologies and especially those surrounding networking. (USAF)

Finally, the Admiral offered more detail about what it will take, both in terms of diplomacy and technology, to get the U.S. and its regional allies all viewing the same battle 'picture' via advanced networking and communications:

"I think the first thing I would say is the sharing agreements across partner nations, right, all of our agreements are bilateral, and we're talking about a multinational way to link it. So we're gonna have to get to the agreements. We have to make sure that our partners trust that we will protect the things that are critical to them. We have to make sure that it's cyber-safe. We have to make sure that all of those nations understand what we're trying to do, how we're trying to do it, and how it betters the theater. So, the agreements piece is probably the longest pole."

"There are technology pieces that the team is working on... And oh, by the way, we've tried this before. The CENTCOM partner network... 33 nations or so we're trying to get to a single pane of glass ability to synchronize, communicate, coordinate, organize and operate. Right now I have 16 separate networks to do that, and I can't get two of my buddies on the same piece of glass. So it's a huge challenge."
"Technologies is a piece, agreements are a piece, and with all the great work that my team and the department has done on the allies and partner side, we think we can move this pretty quickly too."
Contact the author: [email protected]

 

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