Archive for January, 2011

Fighter Gaps: Why the Chinese J-20 Matters for U.S. Air Power

January 27, 2011

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates laid out a comfortable air defense scenario in a July 16, 2009 speech to the Economic Club of Chicago:

“[B]by 2020, the United States is projected to have nearly 2,500 manned combat aircraft of all kinds. Of those, nearly 1,100 will be the most advanced fifth generation F-35s and F-22s.  China, by contrast, is projected to have no fifth generation aircraft by 2020. And by 2025, the gap only widens…”

Mr. Gates went back to China in January 2011.  U.S. and international news sources reported test flights during his trip for a “J-20” fighter, whose external appearance, at least, resembled the U.S. F-22 Raptor.  Old fighter program data and old relative power projections for 2015-2025 may need revision.

The past few weeks have seen a significant re-evaluation of U.S. air power strategy.  The J-20 appears to have caught the U.S. militay by surprise and it is questionable how they will adapt their strategy to meet this new challenge.

William A. Price evaluates the F-22 fighter program in an National Strategy Forum Review: Special Report titled Fighter Gaps.  Mr. Price’s detailed analysis of the F-22 and F-35 strike fighter programs, the U.S. Air Force procurement strategy, and comparisons of aircraft capabilities pose some striking questions.  Is the U.S. adequately preparing for the air superiority challenges of the future?

Fighter Gaps

By William A. Price

Asymmetrical Warfare and International Law in the 21st Century

January 19, 2011

With the rise of non-state actors on the battlefield, conventional militaries are struggling to engage with new asymmetric threats. The current laws of warfare, based on traditional international law, are difficult to apply to non-state actors. As states wrestle with these challenges, the relevance and effectiveness of traditional international law are called into question. The international community should review the rules of warfare to adequately address the complex issues that arise from asymmetrical warfare, some of which include:

  • Is current international law adequate to address the complex issues and threats of today’s asymmetrical warfare?
  • How can new laws be formulated to achieve a balance between law and strategic objectives?
  • How can states and non-state actors be compelled to adhere to international laws of warfare?
  • What would be the markers of success to ensure the effectiveness of international law? (more…)

The Canadian Exemplar: Partnering with the U.S. to Secure North America

January 14, 2011

NSF Event Announcement: February 1, 2011 at the Union League Club of Chicago

The U.S. needs  friends and allies.  Canada, our friend next door, is flourishing while operating under the American public’s radar: it manages its political and economic issues with skill, and keeps its people safe.  In many ways, this is the reason that few Americans pay attention to Canada.  A sound national strategy is both the reason for Canada’s low visibility and the key to its success.  Canada and the U.S. have many things in common, but the comparisons worth focusing on are the ones that provide positive lessons that can be applied to America’s current problems.  What can the U.S. learn from Canada’s experience?  And in what ways are the U.S. and Canada working together to produce a prosperous and secure North America?  There are at least four reasons why Americans should start to pay attention. (more…)

The Panama Canal Treaty-An Update

January 7, 2011

The signing of the Panama Treaty was the first major foreign affairs decision of Carter’s Presidency and it proved to be one of the most controversial.  Polls soon showed that approximately 70% of the American public opposed the transfer of control and ownership of the canal.  The opposition included a rising star in the Republican Party, California Governor Ronald Reagan, who would eventually make this an issue in the 1980 presidential campaign.  Carter encountered considerable opposition in the Senate in 1978 before he finally succeeded in getting the treaty approved by a single vote.

Was the treaty a success?  Has Panama flourished since the treaty was signed in 1977?  What of U.S.-Panama and U.S.-Latin America relations?

Major General Neal Creighton describes the history of the Panama Canal Treaty in this National Strategy Forum Review Special Report.  From 1971-72, MG Creighton served as the Coordinator for the Department of Defense Committee for the Panama Canal Treaty Negotiations.  Click the link below to read the full report.

The Panama Canal Treaty-An Update

By Major General Neal Creighton

Implications of China’s J-20 Stealth Aircraft

January 6, 2011

(Update: William A. Price has written an insightful analysis of the F-22 and J-20 issue.  For more details, read the article: Fighter Gaps.)

The Wall Street Journal ran a front page article yesterday about China’s new stealth plane, the J-20 (picture is from WSJ).  The article, “A Chinese Stealth Challenge?“, describes how the Chinese have made strides in developing a domestically produced stealth fighter plane similar to the F-22.  U.S. officials claim to have had knowledge of this development for some years.  There are three issues to ponder with this revelation.  No doubt analysts will be debating these issues over the coming days and well into the future.