Defense Statecraft

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

The World is a Battlefield

The Republic of Yemen is becoming fertile ground for radical jihadists and the now-year long civil war has cost over 6,000 lives and caused destruction on a massive scale — yes, Yemen remains without a functioning government.  Despite what you may think about this relatively unknown Arab country, Yemen has some strategic value to the United States and the region as a whole.  3 million barrels of oil pass through Yemen’s shipping lanes everyday, feeding the energy hungry East.  Further instability in Yemen may disrupt the global oil market.  More importantly, Yemen is becoming the next Afghanistan.  Terrorist groups are always looking for a failed state to exploit.  AQAP operates out of Yemen and ISIL is making moves.  The United States should be concerned with the direction is Yemen is heading.  If Yemen continues to deteriorate, jihadists will have a safe haven from which to conduct terror on the United States and its’ gulf allies.

In order for the United States to effectively degrade and defeat AQAP, it needs to seek to collaborate with the Saudis, while also relying on U.S.’ intelligence and airpower capabilities.  Sound familiar? Yes, we should once again implement the Afghan model!  By doing this strategy, the United States will avoid its perceived stigma of being an international hegemon that acts unilaterally with impunity.  Counter AQAP will indeed require a holistic approach.  The United States should also partner with NGOs to give Yemen the basic necessities for life that it lacks.  Sound familiar? Yes, we did this in Iraq and Afghanistan.  While the U.S. should rely on the Saudis as the cannon fodder, Washington should look to escalate its role in airpower.  Maybe also send a few special operators to Yemen to train its local security forces? Sound familiar? Yes, this is what we are doing against ISIL. 

In conclusion, the world is a battlefield.  The Middle East is a mess.  The United States has strategic value seemingly in every country of the world — as one should expect in a globalized planet.  Let our millennial generation get use to this new warring world.  The security field looks appealing indeed. 
DIP 750: Defense Statecraft
Final Exam
May 3, 2016
 Please answer one of the three following questions. Send your answer to Dr. Farley by 12:15pm.

  1.  The United States has decided to destroy ISIS primarily through airpower and the use of proxies. What are the advantages and drawbacks of this kind of strategic approach? 
  2. China continues to escalate tensions in the South China Sea. Describe the current military balance between China and the United States, and explain how it matters for events in the SCS. 
  3. Which of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the Long Range Strike Bomber, and the CVN-78 (“Ford”) class aircraft carrier is most important to the future of American defense policy? Can the United States abide the failure of any of these programs?

Back To The Future…Military Redux

If you are a fan of 1980s movies, than you are familiar with the “Back to the Future” trilogy and have wanted a hoverboard ever since. Not to be confused with the Samsung Hoverboard, which is neither a hoverboard (wheels touching the ground would indicate that it is not hovering, and therefore… not a hoverboard), nor reliable, often catching on fire while charging.

“GREAT SCOTT!” Thankfully, a French inventor, Franky Zapata, created his own hoverboard. On April 30, 2016, Zapata demonstrated his hoverboard off the southern coast of France. The demonstration showed the board could travel at least forty miles per hour over more than a mile, propelled by four jet engines controlled by a remote. Zapata claims it can travel up to ten thousand feet high and ninety miles per hour.

Several militaries have reached out to Zapata to work together, and he verbally committed to working with the French military first for search and rescue and counterterrorism. The device could allow police and the military to do their jobs more effectively than before; the boards will allow greater mobility and timely response than conventional transportation. Search and rescue in Maine has already begun to innovate by including a number of different long-range drones. Having a human conducting the search instead of a drone would allow help to arrive to a trapped person at the moment they are found.  The addition of hoverboards will allow police and military to maneuver more like a drone with the control and response of a human, as well as reach narrow and remote locations through the air. 

The United States military announced plans to work with the United Kingdom to develop their own hoverbike in June 2015. The hoverbike is in the development stages and has not conducted a public demonstration. It is unknown if the United States or United Kingdom has taken an interest in the hoverboard, or plan to specialize in hoverbikes.

The real hoverboard will also fare better than McFly’s hoverboard over water…