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The US-South Korean Combined Forces Command (CFC) raised their Watch Condition, commonly known as “Watchcon,” from Level 3 to Level 2 indicating that a vital threat exists. Level 1 is reserved for wartime only...
Washington is strengthen its missile-defense posture in the Pacific in response to Pyongyang’s continual threats to launch ballistic missile attacks against US targets in the region and targets as far away as the US mainland.
North Korea’s enigmatic leader, Kim Jong-un, seems intent on taking tensions on the Korean Peninsula to unprecedented new heights with each passing day. After weeks of bombastic warmongering and public proclamations threatening to destroy the South and annihilate the United States, Pyongyang has now proclaimed that a “state of war” exists between the North and the South.
In response to a 25 March Chinese announcement of a major arm’s deal between Moscow and Beijing, Russia denied the deal ever exist. We can only speculate as to the validity of the Chinese claims that the deal was signed or if the Russian denial is a firm fact, a temporary postponement, or a ruse designed to mislead for unknown reasons.
The latest report on international arm’s trade published by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) places the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in fifth place among the world’s top exporters of weapons. SIPRI’s Trends in International Arm’s Transfers report places China in the fifth spot for the first time since the Institute’s 1986-1990 reporting period.
The People’s Republic of China (PRC) has announced plans to increase defense spending in 2013 by 10.7 percent, to $115.7 billion. Actual spending is believed by some to be as much as 50 percent higher than the numbers publicly announced - amounting to about a third of the annual US defense budget.
Unconfirmed reports are claiming North Korea test fired two short-range missiles that eventually landed in the Sea of Japan on 15 March. The missiles are believed to be North Korea’s short-range KN-02 Toksa (Viper) missiles. The KN-02 is an upgraded variant of the Soviet-designed SS-21 Scarab A developed in the North by reverse-engineering a Syrian SS-21.
Toughened sanctions implemented by the UN dictated member states to inspect DPRK ships and air cargo suspected of carrying banned materials and tighten scrutiny of DPRK officials and institutions engaged in illicit activities.
means of giving the Pentagon some degree of autonomy in dealing with mandatory across-the-board spending cuts mandated under sequestration. Additional funding was also authorized for those military accounts that are likely to suffer the most during sequestration, such as operations and maintenance.
The Japanese government has decided to allow domestic defense contractors to manufacture and export components for the aircraft. It is expected that Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Limited, IHI Corporation, and Mitsubishi Electric Corporation will all have a hand in the production and maintenance of F-35 components. These business entities are expected to contribute to the manufacture of fuselage parts, radar systems, and engine components.
Late in 2012, US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta revealed in public comments that the United States intended to send the first overseas contingent of F-35B Lightning IIs to the Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) at Iwakuni, Japan located in Yamaguchi Prefecture on the southeastern coast of the archipelago’s main island of Honshu.
In a quiet affair without fanfare, President Barack Obama signed into law the $633 billion Fiscal Year 2013 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) on 31 December while vacationing in his home state of Hawaii. While not an appropriations act providing the funding to pay for the provisions contained in the law, the NDAA does outline the specific projects and programs the Department of Defense (DoD) is authorized to pursue. Actual funding authorization will be included in an appropriations bill yet to be finalized.
On 9 January, the Japanese Ministry of Defense (MoD) announced that a far-reaching economic stimulus package will include an additional $2.1 billion in defense spending to be initiated within the next few months. This supplementary funding is in addition to the existing funding previously programmed into the defense budget for 2012-2013, but is separate from an increase in defense spending requested for the next fiscal year that was announced on 8 January.