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Hagel Seeks to Expand US-India Defense Relations

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel arrived in New Delhi today on his first trip to India as defense chief for what he described as get-acquainted meetings with the new government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi while seeking to expand common interests and renew a defense framework agreement set to expire next year.

“I’m going to listen and I’m going to learn, and find if I can more ways where we can develop opportunities to work together,” Hagel told reporters aboard his plane en route to New Delhi from Germany.

Up for discussion, he said, are a number of specific projects covered by the Defense Trade and Technology Initiative, part of ongoing efforts by the Obama administration that began two years ago aimed at taking U.S.-India defense cooperation to a new level.

“We are doing more than we’ve ever done military to military with India with joint exercises. We want to continue to build on those exercises. It’s a high priority for me to continue to build on progress that we’ve made in the past.”

During meetings with Indian leaders tomorrow, Hagel is expected to discuss areas in which the interests of both countries can be expanded.

“One is to see if I can help advance a renewal of the defense framework agreement,” the secretary said. “Second, to see if we can make some progress on getting a better understanding from the Indians what specific projects they may have interest in that fit within the framework of the Defense Trade and Technology Initiative.”

Issues include a civil nuclear agreement the United States signed with India in 2005. “The promise, the potential, of that nuclear agreement with India was not fulfilled to its full potential certainly as quickly as the United States had hoped, and I suspect India had hoped,” Hagel said.

Security issues affecting the subcontinent and how they affect the U.S.-India relationship also are on the agenda.

China, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Southeast Asia, [the Association of Southeast Asian Nations], Pacific Asia — all those realities will come up,” the secretary said.

Hagel’s trip to New Delhi comes just a week after a visit by Secretary of State John F. Kerry. Both visits are intended to prepare for a White House visit by Modi next month.

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US Should Fix Missile Defense, Not Expand It

The next test of the U.S. Ground-Based Interceptor (GBI) system will occur “very soon,” Admiral James Winnefeld, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said May 28. And if that test is a success, he said, the Pentagon plans to add 14 interceptors to the 30 deployed in Alaska and California by 2017, increasing the total by almost 50 percent. This expansion will cost about $1 billion.

But the next test, even if it hits, should not be used as justification to expand the system. As Philip Coyle, former director of operational test and evaluation at the Department of Defense, said in February, “Not another dime should be spent on more bad GBIs at Fort Greely [in Alaska] or anywhere else. Instead, a new GBI/EKV must be designed, built, and successfully tested to replace the old design.”

The Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle (EKV) is supposed to collide with an enemy warhead in space. But the kill vehicle to be tested this month, called the CE-II, has been tested only twice before, and missed both times. If it hits in June, the test record would be one-for-three. Batting .333 may be great in baseball, but in missile defense it is simply inadequate.

That’s not all. Last summer the other fielded kill vehicle, the CE-I, also missed its target in a test. This failure came as a surprise, because this interceptor had a better test record. After $40 billion spent and faced with failures of both the CE-I and CE-II, the Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency (MDA) decided to make major changes to the kill vehicle. But these changes will not be ready by 2017, so expansion will go ahead without them.

Given the widely accepted need–on both sides of the aisle–to redesign the system, plans to expand it before it is reworked make little sense. It would be like buying a car just after it has been recalled, before the problem is fully corrected.

Why the rush? It is easy to say that “we must stay ahead of the threat,” and yes, the United States needs to be ready in case North Korea or Iran actually tests and deploys a long-range ballistic missile that could reach North America. But neither nation has done this, and if they do there are already 30 GBI interceptors fielded on the West Coast.

Fortunately, these missile programs are not progressing as swiftly as many had feared, and deterrence still plays a role. As Adm. Winnefeld said May 28, neither North Korea nor Iran “yet has a mature [long-range ballistic missile] capability, and both nations know they would face an overwhelming U.S. response to any attack.”

The Pentagon should prioritize upgrading the kill vehicle, a process that will take a few years, and not expand the system beyond the current 30 GBIs until the new interceptor is proven to work.

As a result, the Obama administration should not follow through with plans to deploy 14 additional interceptors in Alaska by 2017, nor should it heed Republican calls to build a new East Coast site.

“Bad Engineering”
There have been serious concerns about the GBI kill vehicle ever since the system was rushed into service by the Bush administration in 2004. Of primary concern is that the system’s test record is getting worse with time, not better. Overall, out of 16 intercept attempts from 1999 to 2013, the system hit 8 times, or 50%. For the first 8 tests, the system had 5 hits, or 62%. But in the last 8 tests, the system has hit only 3 times, or 37%. This is not progress.

In January, J. Michael Gilmore, the Pentagon’s current director of operational test and evaluation, wrote that recent test failures raise concerns about the system’s reliability and suggested that the missile’s kill vehicle be redesigned to assure it is “robust against failure.”

“We recognize the problems we have had with all the currently fielded interceptors,” Frank Kendall, the undersecretary of defense for procurement, said in February. “The root cause was a desire to field these things very quickly and really cheaply.”

“As we go back and understand the failures we’re having and why we’re having them, we’re seeing a lot of bad engineering, frankly, and it is because there was a rush” to deploy the system, Kendall said. “Just patching the things we’ve got is probably not going to be adequate. So we’re going to have to go beyond that.”

In March, the MDA announced that it would make significant changes to the EKV, and plans to spend $740 million over the next five years to do so. If it works, the new kill vehicle could be fielded around 2020. According to the fiscal 2015 Pentagon budget request, the new kill vehicle “will improve reliability, be more producible and cost-effective, and will eventually replace the [kill vehicles] on the current GBI fleet.”

Vice Admiral James Syring, director of the MDA, said in March about the decision to rush deployment in 2004: “Everybody knew that [the EKVs] were prototype in nature, and that decision was made to field the prototypes because some defense now is better than defense much later.”

But we now know how premature, unreliable and expensive “some defense” turned out to be. Ten years later, the North Korean long-range missile threat is still not imminent. The last three intercept tests of the GBI system have failed–two tests in 2010 and one last year. And efforts to correct these problems will cost MDA more than $1.3 billion, according to an April 30 Government Accountability Office report.

Next Test Will Not Justify Expansion
The next GBI test will not be of a redesigned EKV; that will not occur until 2018 or later. The June test will involve ‘patching’ the CE-II.

Since 10 CE-IIs are already deployed in Alaska, the problems with this EKV need to be addressed. If the next test is successful, the deployed CE-IIs should be modified. But this EKV, according to officials, is inherently flawed and based on a “prototype” design. Why would we want to field additional kill vehicles of a flawed design? We should not.

Therefore, if successful, the next test could help ‘patch’ the CE-IIs that are already in the field, but the numbers should not be increased until an upgraded EKV is ready. It’s bad enough that the United States already has 30 interceptors deployed that are unreliable; we should not rush to add more at the cost of $1 billion.

If the Pentagon succeeds in developing a new kill vehicle that works reliably in ‘cooperative’ tests, which are scripted and unrealistic, the system would still need to prove that it could work in an actual attack, in which the enemy would seek to evade the defense.

In this case, the ability to differentiate real targets from fake ones is critical because an attacker’s warheads would likely come surrounded by debris and decoys. In congressional testimony last year, the Pentagon’s Gilmore said, “If we can’t discriminate what the real threatening objects are, it doesn’t matter how many ground-based interceptors we have; we won’t be able to hit what needs to be hit.”

Throwing good money after bad at missile defenses that may not defend is no solution. “Patching” inherently unreliable interceptors is not the same thing as redesigning them so they will work. The United States should not field additional long-range missile interceptors on either coast until the current system is redesigned and–most importantly–tested rigorously against realistic targets.

The Arms Control Association (ACA) is an independent, membership-based organization dedicated to providing information and practical policy solutions to address the dangers posed by the world’s most dangerous weapons.

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US Army continues to expand body armor analysis work to protect Soldiers

Researchers from the U.S. Army Research Laboratory, or ARL continue to expand body armor analysis work to protect Soldiers – not only protecting their lives, but also their daily life functions after treatment and recovery.

The team of researchers, who work in the Warfighter Survivability Branch of ARL’s Survivability Lethality Analysis Directorate, implement methodology to better understand and analyze the protective capability of body armor, both in terms of mitigating injury and life changing outcomes. For example, eye injuries have a low level on the threat to life scale but are very significant in terms of quality of life and the Soldier’s ability to perform military tasks. The addition of new injury outcome metrics provides a method of scoring and quantifying protection in multiple meaningful dimensions.

“Current ballistic protection continues to excel at protecting our Soldiers,” said Rebecca VanAmburg, electrical engineer. “So there has been a paradigm shift not just to focus on threat to life, but other dimensions of injury as well. By performing survivability analysis that examines the multiple dimensional aspects of trauma, we can best continue to optimize how we protect and also very importantly, how we communicate these protection levels in meaningful ways.”

Soldiers’ quality of life is a major piece.

“We are using the models we already have and characterizing injury and classifying them,” said Patrick Gillich, personnel methodology team leader. “We always care about Soldiers’ threat to life – injury and loss of life, but what about quality of life and daily function? We are focusing on the simple things we all take for granted – the simple daily function tasks.”

There are four steps in the body armor analysis process. First, they look at the physical body armor and how it fits on the Soldier. Then the armor is modeled on their human model. Next, the human model fitted with body armor is modeled in a threat environment. As the final step, they perform analysis to determine the armors effectiveness in a threat environment.

Team member Latrice Hall enhanced the Army’s current methodology for performing personnel vulnerability methodology by incorporating quality of life measures. She proofed the implementation of this new analytical capability and has communicated it to DoD’s test and evaluation community.

“I implemented the metrics Rebecca uses and performed studies to help us understand the impact that the addition of new dimensions have on our analysis,” said Hall. “It’s important to perform comprehensive testing to check the quality of the outcome to ensure it’s accurate.”

The importance of this research is to continually communicate the protective capability of body armor to developers in a manner that easily quantifies the differences between systems. With their analysis, small area of coverage changes can be shown to have a significant increase in quality of life outcomes.

These analyses have been used in the decision to field Army plate carriers, neck protection, and urogenital protection.

“The reason why we do this is we want to be able to help the Soldier stay in his or her job and help them go back to their daily lives after they are injured,” said Gillich.

The team continues to focus on protecting other parts of the body, which may limit lower level injuries that have a significant effect on quality of life.

“We are also looking at other parts of the body – such as the urogenital region and the forearm,” said VanAmburg. “When evaluating the need for additional body armor we determine which metric most effectively evaluates the injuries sustained in that body area. For instance, when evaluating the need for ballistic undergarments, it was important to not only assess the injuries sustained in that body region, but also how those injuries affect the Soldier’s quality of life.”

The goal of every researcher at ARL is to ensure the Army’s Soldiers are the best trained and most lethal and well protected in the world. VanAmburg supports that goal and said, “We are using our expertise to quantify the protective capability of body armor that protects Soldiers. We are able to assess several dimensions of injury to provide meaningful analysis to the body armor community.”

ARL is part of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, which has the mission to develop technology and engineering solutions for America’s Soldiers.

RDECOM is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Materiel Command. AMC is the Army’s premier provider of materiel readiness–technology, acquisition support, materiel development, logistics power projection and sustainment–to the total force, across the spectrum of joint military operations. If a Soldier shoots it, drives it, flies it, wears it, eats it or communicates with it, AMC provides it.

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China, Indonesia Expand Military Cooperation

Chinese C-705 medium anti-ship missile.

China and Indonesia have started talks on the local production of C-705 anti-ship missiles, as part of Indonesia’s efforts to achieve independence in weapons production. The initial talks were conducted as part of the first China-Indonesia defense industry cooperation meeting held in Jakarta on Wednesday, July 25, 2012.

According to sources in Indonesia, a seaside site for the production plant and open sea testing has already been located. The Indonesian Navy already received C-705 missiles and has recently conducted a successful firing test in the Sunda Strait.

Indonesia is currently negotiating three levels of cooperation – local assembly of C-705 missiles from kit supplied from China, partial production of kit elements in Indonesia and collaborative research and development regarding future missile programs.

Indonesia and China have tightened their military cooperation in recent months, culminating in the recent “Sharp Knife” joint Special Forces exercise in China, involving Chinese and Indonesian special forces. China has also invited ten Indonesian Air Force pilots to train using a Sukhoi fighter flight simulator in China.

Indonesia has already embarked on similar international cooperationIn 2011 Jakarta embarked on a joint development with South Korea, eying the development of an advanced, yet affordable stealth fighter. A similar cooperation is eying the development and construction of Korean designed submarines. Jakarta is cooperating with the Netherlands on building the SIgma class frigates while Spanish based Airbus Military selected Indonesia as its regional hub for building C-295 transport medium transport planes.

“We have allocated Rp 150 trillion [US$15.8 billion] to modernize our weapons-defense system from 2010 to 2014. It would be wasteful paying such a huge amount to foreign defense industries without any attempt to improve our own.” Chairman of the Indonesian House of Representatives’ Commission I on defense issues, Mahfudz Shiddiq.

Chinese C705 boosted into cruise flight on a firing test.

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