Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Daily on Defense: China’s ‘next way of war,’ Austin meets French MoD, Ukraine wants Patriots and generators, DOD urges Turkish restraint in Syria

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CHINA'S NEXT WAY OF WAR: The Pentagon's annual report to Congress assessing China's military power described the People's Liberation Army's new "core operational concept," called "MultiDomain Precision Warfare," defined as a "system-of-systems that incorporates advances in big data and artificial intelligence to cripple the U.S. command and control by exploiting soft spots."

"The PLA refers to 'systems destruction warfare' as the next way of war," said a senior Pentagon official who briefed reporters on the unclassified version of the 196-page report. "This new concept is intended to help identify key vulnerabilities in an adversary's operational system and then to launch precision strikes against those vulnerabilities, which could be kinetic or nonkinetic."

"Overall, this report really underscores why we talk about China as the pacing challenge," the official said. China "is increasingly clear in its ambitions and intentions" to "amass and expand its national power to transform aspects of the international system to make it more favorable to the political system and its national interests."


TARGET TAIWAN 2027: The report focuses on China's three milestone goals for the years 2027, 2035, and culminating with 2049, when China aspires to field a "world-class" military without peer.

But the near-term goal remains focused on developing the capabilities to seize Taiwan by force, which the official said if realized would give China a "much more credible set of military tools" as it pursues Taiwan unification. "When we look at what they're doing with exercises, certainly we see them trying to do increasingly sophisticated exercises that are relevant to different kinds of Taiwan scenarios."

"Throughout 2021, island-seizure exercises became more frequent and realistic," the report detailed. "The PLA conducted more than 20 naval exercises with an island-capture element, greatly exceeding the 13 observed in 2020. Many of these exercises focused on combat realism and featured night missions, training in adverse weather conditions, and simultaneous multi-domain operations."

"I don't see an imminent invasion. I think what we do see is sort of the PRC establishing kind of a new normal in terms of the level of military activity around Taiwan," the official told reporters. "PLA doing things like the increased crossings over the center line — behavior that appears to be intended to intimidate or sort of wear down Taiwan."

MORE NUKES, BETTER MISSILES: The report also documented the transformation of China's nuclear doctrine from one that embraces the idea of having the minimum number of warheads to deter an adversary to a more expansive goal of building a nuclear force that would rival the United States, including more advanced missiles and delivery systems from a triad of platforms.

The Pentagon estimated that China has roughly 400 operational nuclear warheads and is projecting it will add another 500 by 2030 and 500 more by 2035, for a total of about 1,500.

"They're developing more advanced nuclear delivery systems. So it's not just a question of expanding the size of the force, but they're also really modernizing it qualitatively," the official said, pointing to China's test last year of a "fractional orbital bombardment system" capable of putting a rocket in low Earth orbit and then releasing a highly maneuverable hypersonic glide vehicle to bombard the U.S. from space.

"The July 2021 test, which had the greatest distance flown, about 40,000 kilometers, and longest flight time of any PRC land attack weapon to date — it demonstrated that they do have a technical capability to field the fractional orbital bombardment system," the official said.

"We have watched for some time as the Chinese have increased their arsenal, both nuclear and conventional. We have watched as they have built more ships. We have watched as they became more aggressive and try to integrate their military services to a finer degree than they were before," said National Security Council spokesman John Kirby on CNN. "All this is concerning, which the president has made it clear that China is going to remain a significant challenge for us in the Indo-Pacific."


Good Wednesday morning and welcome to Jamie McIntyre's Daily on Defense, written and compiled by Washington Examiner National Security Senior Writer Jamie McIntyre (@jamiejmcintyre) and edited by Stacey Dec. Email here with tips, suggestions, calendar items, and anything else. Sign up or read current and back issues at If signing up doesn't work, shoot us an email and we'll add you to our list. And be sure to follow us on Twitter: @dailyondefense.


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HAPPENING TODAY: Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin meets with French Minister of the Armed Forces Sebastien Lecornu at the Pentagon at 8:30 a.m. ahead of tomorrow's state visit of French President Emmanuel Macron, the first visit of a head of state since the pandemic.

"It is fitting that France is the first country to receive a state visit. France, of course, is our oldest ally. It is one of our most capable partners and is a critical partner for the United States on the full range of global challenges," said a senior administration official, who told reporters that among the topics that President Joe Biden expects to discuss with Macron is Russia's increased attacks on civilian and energy infrastructure in Ukraine.

"There's a diplomatic effort being led out of the State Department to rally global support for countries to respond to the energy crisis as well," the official said. "And then France, of course, is hosting a conference in Paris in early December to help encourage countries … to develop the resilience of Ukraine going forward."

THE NATO INVITATION STANDS: If Ukraine is able to defeat Russia and expel its invasion forces from Ukrainian soil, its best bet to prevent a repeat attempt by a rebuilt Russian force in the future would be to secure the NATO membership it was first invited to pursue in 2008.

At yesterday's meeting of foreign ministers in Bucharest, Romania, NATO issued a statement doubling down on the invitation: "We firmly stand behind our commitment to the Alliance's Open Door policy. We reaffirm the decisions we took at the 2008 Bucharest Summit and all subsequent decisions with respect to Georgia and Ukraine."

The statement also pledged to "never recognise Russia's illegal annexations," help with Ukraine's "post-war reconstruction and reforms," strengthen its partnership with Ukraine "as it advances its Euro-Atlantic aspirations," and "maintain support for as long as necessary."

PATRIOT MISSILES? 'BATTERIES NOT INCLUDED': "In a nutshell, Patriots and transformers is what Ukraine needs the most," said Ukrainian Foreign Affairs Minister Dmytro Kuleba as he was welcomed to the NATO meeting by Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg.

"We need air defense — IRIS, HAWKs, Patriots, and we need transformers," Kuleba said in requesting America's top-of-the-line missile defense system.

"When we have transformers and generators, we can restore our system, our energy grid, and provide people with decent living conditions, which President Putin is trying to deprive them of," Kuleba said. "When we have air defense systems, we will be able to protect this infrastructure from the next Russian missile strikes, and they are definitely to come."

"I have three words," he said. "Faster, faster, and faster. We appreciate what has been done, but the war goes on."

During a background briefing for reporters at the Pentagon, a senior defense official said "all capabilities are on the table" when it comes to providing air defenses to Ukraine and that "Patriot is one of the air defense capabilities that is being considered."

But later, Pentagon spokesman Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder downplayed the idea, citing the complexity of the systems and the amount of training and logistics support they require. "Right now, we have no plans to provide Patriot batteries to Ukraine," Ryder said. "You're talking about a pretty significant maintenance and sustainment tail, as well as a training tail on those things, so none of these systems are plug and play. You can't just show up on the battlefield and start using them."


RUSSIAN REACTION: On his Telegram channel, Dmitry Medvedev, who is now deputy chairman of the Russian Security Council, reacted sharply to comments from Stoltenberg, who confirmed that delivery of Patriot missile systems, perhaps from a U.S. ally such as Germany, is under consideration.

"If, as Stoltenberg hinted, NATO supplies the Kyiv fanatics with Patriot complexes along with NATO personnel, they will immediately become a legitimate target of our armed forces," Medvedev said, according to the Associated Press. "I hope the Atlantic impotents understand this."

US URGES TURKEY TO SHOW RESTRAINT IN SYRIA: As NATO ally Turkey prepares for what appears to be an imminent ground invasion against Kurdish forces in Syria, which it considers terrorists, the Pentagon is urging restraint, noting that U.S. troops in northern Syria are partnered with Kurdish fighters to battle remnants of the Islamic State.

"We do recognize Turkey's legitimate security concerns regarding terrorist acts that have occurred within its own borders. And we also continue to support the Syrian Democratic Forces in their fight against ISIS," said Ryder at yesterday's Pentagon briefing.

"We do remain deeply concerned about the escalating actions in northern Syria, Iraq, and Turkey, and so we certainly urge restraint," Ryder said. "We have reduced the number of partnered patrols."

Ryder said the U.S. is in "regular communication" with its Turkish allies, adding, "And I can tell you that Secretary Austin will talk to his counterpart in the very near future."


The Rundown

Washington Examiner: Pentagon report details Chinese Communist Party's plans for military expansion

Washington Examiner: China to triple its nuclear arsenal by 2035, Pentagon says

Washington Examiner: US announces more than $53 million in aid to Ukraine for critical infrastructure

Washington Examiner: Russia claims Bank of China in talks to challenge US reserve currency status

Washington Examiner: Chinese communists wonder if 'the whole thing could explode' due to COVID-19 protests

Washington Examiner: US and Israel holding joint air military exercises

Washington Examiner: Oath Keeper founder Stewart Rhodes found guilty of seditious conspiracy for role in Capitol riot

Washington Examiner: Jan. 6 committee to interview former Trump Secret Service agent Tony Ornato

Washington Examiner: Trump's actions around 2020 election not protected by 'absolute immunity,' judge rules

Washington Examiner: Congress weighs path forward on year-end spending bill

AP: Uneasy Calm Grips Ukraine as West Prepares Winter Aid

Washington Post: From a bunker, an acting mayor keeps her front-line Ukraine town alive

Bloomberg: NATO Allies Warn On China With Eye On Beijing's Ties To Putin

USNI News: Pentagon: Chinese Navy To Expand To 400 Ships By 2025, Growth Focused On Surface Combatants

Air & Space Forces Magazine: Northrop Grumman Offers New B-21 Raider Details Ahead of Rollout

Stars and Stripes: Russian Action Deemed Unprofessional In Encounter With USS George HW Bush Strike Group

Reuters: South Korea Scrambles Jets As China, Russia Warplanes Enter Air Defence Zone

New York Times: In Belarus, Foreign Minister's Death And Dissident's Illness Are Unexplained

Air & Space Forces Magazine: Senators Introduce Bill to Give Premium-Free Health Care to Guard and Reserve Members

Air & Space Forces Magazine: Dickinson: US Space Command Is Studying New Ways to Use Existing Satellites

Marine Corps Times: Here's The New Marine Corps Strategy For Training Future Troops

Task & Purpose: No, a former Marine general is not working for an infamous Russian mercenary group

Navy Times: Two Navy Ships Just Got Too Close For Comfort In San Diego Bay Putin's Biggest Fear Could Come True: Ukraine Joins NATO? Would Putin Start a Nuclear War if Ukraine Invaded Crimea? Ukraine Is Desperate for F-15 and F-16 Fighters to Battle Russia Russia's Only Aircraft Carrier Could Make a Comeback Study This Photo: The U.S. Navy Keeps 'Exposing' Its Missile Submarines The B-21 Raider Stealth Bomber Is Almost Here B-21 Raider Stealth Bomber: 10 Facts You Need to Know



10 a.m. — Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies virtual discussion: "future digital environment as it relates to air and space power," with Air Force Chief Information Officer Lauren Knausenberger

7:30 p.m. — Center for Strategic and International Studies JoongAng-CSIS virtual forum: "The Alliance in Turbulent Times," with South Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin; White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan; and U.S. Ambassador to South Korea Philip Goldberg


9:30 a.m. — Foundation for Defense of Democracies discussion: "Rogue Proliferators: Nonproliferation Threats Posed by Iran, Syria, Russia, and North Korea," with keynote remarks by C.S. Eliot Kang, assistant secretary of state for international security and nonproliferation, and panel discussion with Michael Allen, former special assistant to the president and National Security Council senior director for counterproliferation strategy; Anthony Ruggiero, senior director of FDD's Nonproliferation and Biodefense Program and former deputy assistant to the president for national security affairs and NSC senior director for counterproliferation and biodefense; Andrea Stricker, FDD research fellow and deputy director of FDD's Nonproliferation and Biodefense Program; and moderated by Vivian Salama, national security reporter for the Wall Street Journal.

10 a.m. — Arab Center virtual discussion: "Iraq at a Crossroads: Challenges and Prospects Facing the New Government," with former Iraqi Ambassador to the United States Rend al Rahim, president and co-founder of the Iraq Foundation; Marsin Alshamary, nonresident fellow at the Brookings Institution's Center for Middle East Policy; Zeidon Alkinani, nonresident fellow at the Arab Center; and Imad Harb, director of research at the Arab Center

11 a.m. — Stimson Center chairman's forum conversation with retired Chief of Space Operations Gen. John "Jay" Raymond, moderated by retired Air Force Gen. Herbert "Hawk" Carlisle, chairman, Stimson Center Board of Directors


8 p.m. Simi Valley, California — Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute annual Reagan National Defense Forum, full agenda at:


10:15 a.m. Simi Valley, California — Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute annual Reagan National Defense Forum, full agenda at:


8:30 a.m. — Stimson Center forum: "Voices from Japan: Japan's National Security Strategy in the Era of Strategic Competition," Nobukatsu Kanehara, professor, faculty of law, Department of Political Science, Doshisha University; and Yuki Tatsumi, director, Japan Program, Stimson Center

2:30 p.m. 1616 Rhode Island Ave. N.W. — Center for Strategic and International Studies virtual and in-person event: "The Convergence of National Security and Homeland Security: A Conversation with DHS Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas"


9 a.m. 801 Wharf St. S.W. — Aspen Strategy Group's "Aspen Security Forum: D.C. Edition," with Kathleen Hicks, deputy defense secretary; David Turk, deputy energy secretary; Sen. Todd Young (R-IN); Pekka Haavisto, Finnish foreign affairs minister; Zbigniew Rau, Polish foreign affairs minister; Tobias Lindner, German minister of state; Enrique Mora, deputy secretary-general, European External Action Service; Arati Prabhakar, director, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy; and Zoe Baird, senior counselor to the secretary for technology and economic growth, U.S. Department of Commerce


"Faster, faster, and faster. We appreciate what has been done, but the war goes on."
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, speaking at the meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Bucharest, appealing for Patriot missile defense systems and electric generators
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