Presented by USAA – MORNING RECON: A Tale of Two Allies; Defense Budget Breakdown; Keep Tanks with the MEU; Human-Machine Dream Teams; A-10 Carries On

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Morning Recon 
Presented by USAA

Good Wednesday morning and welcome to MORNING RECON.
 On this day in 1607, Captain Christopher Newport and 105 followers founded the colony of Jamestown on the mouth of the James River in Virginia. They had left England with 144 members, 39 died on the way over. The colony was near the large Indian village of Werowocomoco, home of Pocahontas, the daughter Powhatan, an Algonquin chief.

RealClearDefense Exclusives:

Morning Mission Brief Podcast
NATO & The Balkans
The Cipher Brief’s 15 Minutes with Senator John McCain

Today’s Top Stories

NATIONAL NATO Rolls Out the Red Carpet for Trump
By Lorne Cook, AP: “NATO is not only rolling out the red carpet for U.S. President Donald Trump in Brussels Thursday, but the military alliance — which Trump has declared obsolete — has been busy repackaging its image and is ready to unveil a new headquarters worth 1 billion euros ($1.12 billion)." 

McCain: Trump’s Budget “Dead on Arrival"
By Jordain Carney, The Hill: “"President Trump’s $603 billion defense budget request is inadequate to the challenges we face, illegal under current law, and part of an overall budget proposal that is dead on arrival in Congress," McCain, a frequent critic of the president, said in a statement." 

Daily on Defense: Special Budget Edition
By Jamie McIntyre &Travis Tritten, The Washington Examiner: “IT’S FINALLY HERE: After the teaser trailer that was President Trump’s “skinny budget" blueprint in mid-March, the administration released the full spending plan for fiscal 2018." 

High-End War Capabilities Sneak Into Army’s 2018 Budget
By Sandra Erwin, Breaking Defense: “The budget is in tune with the priorities set by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis: Fix near-term readiness, but also make progress toward a more “modern, capable and lethal force," said Army Budget Director Maj. Gen. Thomas A. Horlander." 

Air Force Requests 4K More Airmen, 46 F-35s, No Bonus Changes
By Oriana Pawlyk, “The Air Force wants to add 4,000 airmen, buy 46 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters and keep bonuses relatively unchanged despite a pilot shortage, according to its fiscal 2018 budget request." 

Navy’s 2018 Budget Addresses Readiness
By Megan Eckstein, USNI News: “2018 may be the Navy’s opportunity to dig out of a massive readiness hole found in its aviation enterprise and at the public shipyards, with the Pentagon’s budget request focusing on maintenance and readiness spending." 

Can Video Games Train Sailors and Marines?
From Seapower Magazine: “Blasting video game zombies, aliens and gangsters might not seem intellectually stimulating, but current research shows these computerized conflicts actually sharpen a range of cognitive skills-including better multitasking, increased attention span, faster reaction time and greater visual acuity, the Office of Naval Research (ONR) said in a May 23 release." 

Marine Corps’ Procurement Gets a Boost 
By Yasmin Tadjdeh, National Defense Magazine: “The total requested budget for the Marine Corps is approximately $27.6 billion, with $26.3 in base funding and $1.3 billion in overseas contingency operations funding. That’s a total increase of roughly $1.5 billion over fiscal year 2017’s enacted numbers. More than half of that increase is going toward procurement, with the administration requesting roughly $2.1 billion in such spending, compared to $1.3 billion in 2017.." 

The A-10 Warthog Isn’t Going Anywhere — Yet
By Jared Keller, Task & Purpose: “If President Donald Trump gets his way, the A-10 Thunderbolt II, lovingly nicknamed the “Warthog" by U.S. Air Force pilots, will remain a crucial part of the Pentagon’s arsenal for years to come." 

Can Next-Gen. Jammer Sustain U.S. Stealth Dominance?
By Kris Osborn, Scout Warrior: “The Navy is engineering a new, more powerful, high-tech electronic warfare Next-Generation Jammer technology designed to allow strike aircraft and stealth bombers to destroy enemy targets without being detected by modern surface-to-air missile defenses." 

The Best And Worst States For Military Retirees
By Sarah Sicard, Task & Purpose: “To determine the best and worst states for military retirement, WalletHub’s analysts compared all 50 states and Washington, D.C., across three dimensions: Economic environment, quality of life, and health care." 

INTERNATIONAL U.S., NATO: Montenegro Needs Help to Fend off Russians
By Senator John McCain, The Cipher Brief: “But there’s no doubt that the Russians recently tried to overthrow the government with a coup. That shows how important they believe Montenegro is." 

PHILIPPINES: Duterte Declares Martial Law in Southern Philippines 
By Jim Gomez & Teresa Cerojano, AP: “Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte warned Wednesday that he’ll be harsh in enforcing martial law in his country’s south as he abruptly left Moscow to deal with a crisis at home sparked by a Muslim extremist siege on a city, where militants burned buildings overnight and are feared to have taken hostages." 


A Tale of Two Allies
By Gary Schmitt, RealClearDefense: “With the NATO summit just hours away, it is useful to assess the state of two key allied militaries: Germany’s and the United Kingdom’s. These two countries have historically been central to the alliance’s strategic credibility—and remain so today—but each faces a gap between what it claims it wants to do and the resources necessary to meet those goals."   

German Defense Spending – A Case Study  – The Peace Peek Story
By John Beckner, RealClearDefense: “The fervor to cut German defense spending from 2008-2010 made the Atlantiques an easy target.  Worldwide, no service chief stands up to defend a joint-service “MoD asset" which has no political support.  For the German Navy, they felt that if neither the other services nor the BND wanted the intel these aircraft provided, they would gladly sacrifice it." 

For Bigger Defense Commitments, Bring NATO Finance Ministers to the Table
By Daniel Kochis, The Daily Signal: “NATO heads of state will gather Thursday in Brussels for a so-called mini-summit (officially a meeting of the North Atlantic Council at the heads-of-state level). But if the alliance wants to attain real progress on increasing European defense spending, then NATO finance ministers should also make the trip to Belgium."  The Six-Day War at 50
By Richard N. Haass, The Strategist (ASPI): “The world is about to mark the 50th anniversary of the June 1967 war between Israel and Egypt, Jordan, and Syria—a conflict that continues to stand out in a region with a modern history largely defined by violence. The war lasted less than a week, but its legacy remains pronounced a half-century later." 

Will the Balkan Tinderbox Ignite, Again?
By David B. Kanin, The Cipher Brief: “The Balkan region – a fluid concept with changing “membership" over the past two centuries – continues to struggle to orient itself in the wake of the collapse of the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in the early 1990s. The shards of that country are going in different directions. Slovenia and Croatia have acceded to the European Union (EU) and now give casual advice to EU and U.S. officials on how to stem the West’s serial failures in the region." 

Tax China for Gray-Zone Infractions
By Sam J. Tangredi, Proceedings Magazine: “The Chinese seizure on 15 December 2016 of unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) operated by the U.S. Naval Service (USNS) vessel Bowditch (T-AGS-62) in international waters was one of the most brazen acts yet in the ongoing gray-zone conflict. To seize the sovereign property of another nation in international waters is a clear violation of international law. The return of the UUV several days later did little to end a continuing and disturbing trend." 

Calming the Waters in the South China Sea: A Win–Win for China
By Michael Vatikiotis, The Strategist (ASPI): “A year ago, there were real fears that contested claims over tiny specks of coral in the South China Sea could spark a war in Southeast Asia involving China, the 10 ASEAN member states and the US. The risks greatly multiplied after a special tribunal convened in The Hague under the Law of the Sea ruled in July 2016 that China’s territorial claims in Philippine waters had no legal basis. What has transpired since then demonstrates the pragmatism of regional states, the limited extent of US influence in Asia, and says a lot about how China intends to wield power." 

Build Human-Machine Dream Teams
By Dale Rielage, Proceedings Magazine: “Artificial intelligence (AI) can examine how air operations patterns fit with maritime patterns using straightforward processing. While none of these patterns represents certainty, computer analysis can offer a cue to analytic examination by the human part of the partnership that might not be found by purely manual analysis." 

Keep Tanks with the MEU
By Martin F. Wetterauer, Proceedings Magazine: “A tank platoon, composed of four M1A1s, is one of the most versatile and valuable assets assigned to a Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU). Tanks “close with and destroy the enemy using expeditionary armor-protected firepower, shock effect, and maneuver in support of the Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF) across a range of military operations." The M1A1 benefits the MAGTF not only in kinetic environments, but also in military operations other than war (MOOTW). A former commanding officer of the 26th MEU stated, “The M1A1 provides mobile, protected firepower unequaled in any armored vehicle today, giving the MEU the survivability and combat power overmatch essential in any enabling force operation."" 

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