West 2013

Event eNews: West 2013

The WEST 2013 Online Show Daily

Pivot to the Pacific: What are the Practical and Global Implications?

Day 1: Fiscal Armageddon Is No False Prophesy
The military services are facing potentially crippling constraints if sequestration takes place in March. Defense officials foresee the likelihood of draconian budget cuts being imposed that will cripple the force just as it is being counted on to assume new strategic missions. In most cases, the services will have to choose to sacrifice some capabilities so that others will remain part of the force. In worse-case scenarios, the U.S. military may be unable to meet its obligations when a crisis emerges.

Day 2: Many Issues Cloud the Future for the Military
The defense budgetary crisis is one day closer in time yet no closer to a resolution, but other issues confront defense leaders as they address a major transitional period for the U.S. military. Action items ranging from cybersecurity to personnel retention all require action as the military winds down from a decade of war only to face draconian spending cuts.

Day 3: Cyber, China Challenges Loom Large for U.S. Military
Two separate issues, both on the rise, have become increasing concerns for U.S. military planners. The technology-oriented world of cyber and the geopolitical challenge of a growing Chinese military are dynamic issues that will be major focus points for the U.S. defense community in the foreseeable future.

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Pacific Rebalancing Must Continue, With or Without Funding

Whatever budget cuts are imposed on the U.S. military services, the strategic rebalance toward the Asia-Pacific region must be carried out. Global geopolitical events virtually require that the United States increase its presence to protect national interests in the increasingly dynamic region.

Service Chiefs Fear Loss of Industrial Capability

The U.S. defense industrial base may lose unique elements that could not be reconstituted later. This could deprive the U.S. military of vital capabilities permanently if new companies do not emerge to take their places.

Chinese Navy Leads Country’s Reach Into the Pacific

The People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) is serving as the primary vehicle to extend China’s influence deeper away from its borders. New and improved capabilities have transformed the navy into a force that can take on increasingly complex and distant military roles.

China Behavior Increasingly Troublesome to Neighbors

As the People’s Republic of China grows in economic and military stature, it is generating ill will among neighbors who increasingly fear an expansionist budding superpower. Ironically, the greatest effect this is having on the Asia-Pacific region is that it is driving many nations into the arms of the United States.

This was just one of many observations offered by a panel on China at AFCEA/USNI West 2013 in San Diego. A mix of academics and military officers offered different perspectives on where China might be headed in the coming years.

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Related SIGNAL Articles

NGEN Bidders Offer
 Continuity With Change

The program may be revolutionary, but its product is evolutionary.

Despite its sea-change approach to acquisition, the U.S. Navy’s Next Generation Enterprise Network program is being designed to evolve from its predecessor, the Navy Marine Corps Intranet, in bids submitted by the two teams vying for the multibillion-dollar contract. The two bidders are focusing their efforts on the transition between the two networks, which is a process that will take several years.

Being Number Two Will Not Do for Information Dominance

The U.S. Navy is on a course designed to rule the information arena.

With information operations growing increasingly critical to combat operations, the United States cannot afford to be anything less than number one in the data wars. And the U.S. Navy is implementing several measures to ensure information dominance. Measures include dramatically reducing the number of data centers and legacy networks, further developing the Information Dominance Corps and building an unmanned vehicle capable of being launched from sea

Navy Lab Bridges the Research Bench and the Fleet

A new facility allows scientists to test innovations 
for autonomous and unmanned systems.

A new manmade realm allows robots to learn how to scale sheer cliff walls, go from the ocean to the beach or cross hot, burning desert sands. In this environment, researchers can examine the machines’ every move and how they interact with human warfighters. And one day, these robots also may help save sailors’ lives at sea.

Information Priorities 
in the Asia-Pacific

Cybersecurity remains the foremost concern for the man tasked with overseeing U.S. military communications technology in the Asia-Pacific area as the national defense strategy shifts focus to that region of the globe. New opportunities for technologies and programs are opening, but cyber issues continue to hold top billings in importance, and moves to shore up operations predate the recent official guidance.

Pacific Command Adjusts 
to New Regional Emphasis

The new U.S. strategic thrust toward the Asia-Pacific region is boosting longtime efforts in both coalition building and force projection. Bilateral alliances are evolving into multinational operations, and U.S. forces are increasing their forward deployed presence in quantity and capability.

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