South Korea’s clone dog army

Thomas E. Ricks By Rebecca Frankel Best Defense chief canine correspondent Chase was South Korea’s best sniffer dog — making headlines as a record-holding service dog until he retired in 2007. Now, Chase’s descendants are in the spotlight for their remarkably keen noses. Which, genetically speaking, are exact replicas of their "father’s" because South Korea … Continue reading

The New Pacific Theater

The United States and its allies take the first steps toward countering a growing China. ROBERT HADDICK The U.S. and Australia try a new military deployment plan for the southwest Pacific This week Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton flew to San Francisco to meet with their counterparts from Australia. The … Continue reading

The Pentagon’s China Syndrome

A new report on the Middle Kingdom’s growing military capabilities could lead to a war … over defense spending. ROBERT HADDICK The Pentagon’s new China report and the coming budget war. Last week, the Pentagon released its annual report on China’s military power. Although required by Congress, many administration officials no doubt view the report … Continue reading

Billions for Missile Defense, Not a Dime for Common Sense

At a time of tight budgets, doubling down on a risky, easily foiled technology is more foolish than ever. BY YOUSAF BUTT James Woolsey — a former CIA chief — and Rebeccah Heinrichs worry that Barack Obama’s administration might inadvertently give away technical secrets in its quest for missile-defense cooperation with Russia. "Should the United … Continue reading

Second Defense Contractor L-3 ‘Actively Targeted’ With RSA SecurID Hacks

Kevin Poulsen An executive at defense giant L-3 Communications warned employees last month that hackers were targeting the company using inside information on the SecurID keyfob system freshly stolen from an acknowledged breach at RSA Security. The L-3 attack makes the company the second hacker target linked to the RSA breach — both defense contractors. … Continue reading

The China Hedge

John Lee China’s just released National Defense White Paper criticizes America for reinforcing anti-Chinese alliances in the region, expanding its military presence, and continuing to sell arms to Taiwan—all while reaffirming that PLA budget increases are for purely defensive purposes. White Papers are meant to offer improved information about strategic and military postures. But like … Continue reading

Old School Jet Retooled to Slay Stealth Fighters

By David Axe It’s been just three weeks since China unveiled its new J-20 stealth fighter, and already the U.S. Air Force has plans well underway to defeat the mysterious plane from Chengdu. No, the Pentagon won’t be buying more F-22 Raptors from Lockheed Martin. Instead, the U.S. military’s main flying branch has turned to … Continue reading

U.S. Had Helo Deal With Ousted Tunisian Dictator

By Spencer Ackerman Check out the #sidibouzid Twitter hashtag and you’ll see real-time updates from a popular coup in Tunisia that’s ousted the kleptocratic dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. Months of unrest over unemployment and rising food prices — pushed along by WikiLeaked disclosures — forced Ben Ali to flee to Paris. As it … Continue reading

Killer Drones, Jamming Jets Win Big in New Pentagon Budget

By David Axe Secretary of Defense Robert Gates’ plan to trim around $100 billion from Pentagon accounts over the next five years — the details of which he announced today — is being billed as a budget cut. Actually, Gates’ latest (and likely last) budget exercise represents a net boost for stuff that flies, swims, … Continue reading

WikiLeaks’ Cash Pledge Hasn’t Reached Bradley Manning’s Support Fund

By Kim Zetter WikiLeaks has failed to deliver on a months-old pledge to contribute financially to the defense of Bradley Manning, according to a group raising money for the imprisoned Army private suspected of providing WikiLeaks its most important U.S. releases. A spokesman for the Bradley Manning Support Network said Wednesday that the group had … Continue reading

Does Washington Need to Fear South Korea More than North Korea?

Ted Galen Carpenter  Since North Korea’s artillery barrage targeting a South Korean island last week, concerns have mounted that the incident could escalate into a full-blown military crisis on the Peninsula. The scenario that most experts fear is that North Korea, facing an uncertain leadership succession as dictator Kim Jong-il grows increasingly frail, may be … Continue reading

Darpa: Now We Know Why Our Mach-20 Ship Crashed

David Axe It took six months, but the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency finally has a handle on what caused its hypersonic weapon prototype to “terminate” itself over the Pacific Ocean back in April. The findings have paved the way for a fresh round of tests for the Mach-20 flier, potentially leading to a new … Continue reading

Defense cuts ‘practically invite’ invasion of Falklands

Joshua Keating In a letter to the Times (firewalled, but here’s a write-up from the Guardian) a group of five fomer British Navy admirals, including the former commander of the fleet, Sir Julian Oswald,  warn of the tragic consequences of David Cameron’s proposed defense cuts, particularly the decision to scrp the aircraft carrier Ark Royal … Continue reading

General Shelton: Rumsfeld was the devil in the form of a defense secretary

By Thomas E. Ricks That’s basically the impression I took away from reading Without Hesitation, the memoirs of retired Gen. Hugh Shelton, who was chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1997 to 2001. Boy is he steamed. There are plenty of other people Shelton pings in the book, most notably John McCain. But … Continue reading

Cold War 1, current threat environment 0

By Daniel W. Drezner  The core of Brooks, Feulner and Kristol’s justification for more robust defense spending: It is unrealistic to imagine a return to long-term prosperity if we face instability around the globe because of a hollowed-out U.S. military lacking the size and strength to defend American interests around the world. Global prosperity requires … Continue reading

Plants use spit of the insects eating them for self-defense

By Yun Xie "Excuse me—this plant called me and asked if I’d be willing to eat you…" Matthey Film A tobacco plant may look like a harmless, tempting feast for herbivores, but it is capable of both direct and indirect chemical warfare. When attacked by hungry insects, the plant releases a complex mix of volatile … Continue reading

The Transformer

Bob Gates never thought he’d be Barack Obama’s defense secretary. Now, in an exclusive interview, the most revolutionary Pentagon leader since Robert McNamara tells FP why he said yes, when he’ll get out of Washington, and what legacy he hopes to leave behind. BY FRED KAPLAN Late in 2007, a year into his tenure as … Continue reading

Clinton: Reports of limits on U.S. missile defense deployments “Dead wrong”

By Josh Rogin. The Obama administration is involved right now in missile defense cooperation talks with Russia, but they are not about setting "limits" on U.S. missile defense deployments… A "framework" or "draft agreement" is being considered, but it only covers future cooperation, not current deployment plans. The draft also includes data sharing, joint radar … Continue reading