The long-awaited Missile Defense Review was released last month, and there are important considerations for U.S. industry to bear in mind as contractors decide how to respond to or influence new requirements, and support the strengthening of the U.S. missile defense posture. This white paper examines key elements of the Missile Defense Review, analyzes the implications of proposed policies, and outlines key questions for industry to consider as it looks to capture upcoming opportunities and understand customer readiness on new program and technology pursuits.
Late August of this year, the Russian tanker Christophe de Margerie became the first merchant ship to sail across the Arctic Sea without the aid of an icebreaker. It arrived successfully at a South Korean port after a record voyage between Europe and Asia of less than three weeks, about 30 percent faster than the Suez Canal route. The Daewoo ship completed the Northern Sea Route – the northernmost part of the trip between two remote Russian ports – in a record-breaking six-and-a-half days. The 80,000 deadweight vessel is an ice-class Arc7, the highest rating among marine transport vessels, with an icebreaking capability of up to 2.5 meters thick. The Christophe de Margerie is the first out of 15 ice-class tankers being produced by South Korea’s Daewoo with each vessel having the capacity to transport 170,000 cubic meters of liquid natural gas (LNG).
Ever since the mid-70s and the NKC-135 Airborne Laser Lab laser has been the technology ‘10 years in coming’. After many years, many theories, and many experiments, it appears the ‘10 year clock’ has finally started to tick. But even as more fiber based lasers take to the field, there is yet another twist in the plot that could change everything … again. The Diode Pumped Alkali Lasers (DPAL) represents a potential disruption in the future of laser weapons in the US and the UK. While the majority of current efforts have been focus on fiber related lasers, DPALS has been over coming physics challenges that now portends very high power lasers at very low size, weight and power (SWaP). As the industry moves forward on many directed energy approaches, understanding the DPALS threat and/or opportunity is critical to US laser providers.
Revitalizing Silk Road Relationships
On March 16, 2017, Saudi Arabia’s King Salman visited China’s President Xi Jinping and came out with approximately $65 billion in memorandums of understanding and letters of intent. This comes as part of the monarch’s grand tour of Asia to strengthen ties with the region and hedge against trade and military dependence on the United States. Oil and gas related investments underpinned the deals, but cooperation was the overarching theme of the day. It is easy to imagine that the meeting was an innocuous get-together of major world players. However, given current arms trade restrictions between the U.S. and the KSA, the country’s history of significant arms deals with China, and The Kingdom’s continued purchase of sophisticated Chinese defense systems, Salman and Xi’s meeting points towards a more significant trend with larger implications for the American defense industry. If U.S. vendors do not acknowledge the influx of Chinese products in the KSA (the United States’ top importer at 10% of all American arms sales), they may be surprised to find their market share in the purse of the PRC. Furthermore, if U.S. trade regulations maintain their staunch objection to sales of cutting-edge weapons systems to non-western allies, American vendors can expect the encroachment of Chinese hardware beyond the KSA in the long term.
Sino-Saudi cooperation may seem peculiar given each country’s diplomatic and military stances concerning the conflict in Syria and relationships with Iran – essentially, China supports Bashar al-Assad and Iran, while the KSA would like nothing more than to topple those two regional players. Nevertheless, security ties between Saudi Arabia and China have gradually increased in the past few years. The two countries reached the pinnacle of their relationship in 2016 when President Xi’s special envoy, Meng Jiangzhu, visited King Salman in Riyadh and the two sides birthed a five-year plan for security cooperation. The arrangement included joint military drills and counterterrorism efforts targeted towards China’s ISIS-related Uighur group.
Strategy is the matching of resources to objectives. In this case 59 Tomahawk Cruise missiles matched against a global message that the United States is no longer a paper tiger. That may be the primary message which is ringing in the ears of leadership in Syria, Moscow, Iran, North Korea and China. Interestingly, this strike occurred hours after the summit President Trump held with Premier Xi Jinping, the only superpower with significant influence over North Korea. If Trump wanted to make clear to both regimes that there was a new, less tolerant, more action prone administration, he couldn't have timed it better.
As for American Allies, this action likely sent a message to those who were concerned about America’s willingness to back up our policy. Finally, we should be proud as Americans that President Trump stood up for peaceful Muslims who were unjustly and horrifically struck in what is simply and directly a war crime. It is worthy of note that even as the US Navy destroyers moved into position last night, Mrs. Clinton when addressing the Syrian Sarin gas attack at the Women’s World Summit called for this same sort of strike against the Syrian Air Force. No matter your position on the President, this should be seen as a positive move for him and his administration.
DOD and Intel agencies are expanding their focus on cyber and electronic warfare in order to operate in contested spectrum operations and take advantage of networked systems. This paper explores the intersections of the Cyber and EW, identifies areas of convergence between the two domains, and speaks to objective capabilities in this market area.
As the U.S. continues to draw down active-duty troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, one area of DOD spending that is threatened is training and simulation dollars. These activities are traditionally funded through operational tempo funding, which is set to decrease significantly as we shift away from combat operations in the Middle East. In order to capture future training dollars with the Army customer, industry must invest in solutions that allow the Army to train soldiers in a more flexible and cost-effective way. Technologies such as training simulation, improved virtualization, and simulation networking will be increasingly important moving forward.
Across the aisle, missile defense remains a significant spending priority despite high costs, significant program risk, and geo-political challenges. President Obama and Governor Romney are each BMDS advocates, intending not to appear weak on foreign policy, which can be harmful in the eyes of the American voting public.
In a climate of tightened spending and shifting priorities, acquisition is becoming more attractive as an avenue to drive and sustain growth for diversified top-tier defense primes. Acquisitions are increasingly pulling large defense primes into new areas.
This white paper explores attractive areas of demand supported by the Japanese reconstruction budget, particularly in the industrials and high-tech industries. It introduces the companies most involved in Japan's reconstruction, and presents key questions your business should be asking to unlock growth opportunities and capture value in the Japanese reconstruction market.
With votes cast, Congress will be at greater liberty to reach across the aisle and develop a bipartisan plan to avert sequestration. Consequently, although defense industry participants will not likely face the 9.4% sequestration cuts currently slated to take effect on the 1st of the New Year, a bipartisan plan to avoid the fiscal cliff may still result in a leaner DOD budget.
The human and financial costs of the Tohoku earthquake will not be fully understood for some time. As Beacon prepares this white paper one month after the disaster, search and rescue efforts are still ongoing in the areas struck by the tsunami.