Presented by USAA – MORNING RECON: Trump Gives Defense Hawks Upper Hand; 5 Historic Naval Battles; War with North Korea; Fight, Survive, Win

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Morning Recon
Presented by USAA

Good Monday morning and welcome to MORNING RECON.  On this day in 1912, First Lieutenant Alfred A. Cunningham, the first Marine officer to be assigned to “duty in connection with aviation" by Major General Commandant William P. Biddle. Cunningham reported for aviation training at the Naval Aviation Camp at Annapolis, Maryland, and Marine aviation had its official beginning.

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Today’s Top Stories


Trump’s Military Budget Proposal Gives Defense Hawks the Political Upper Hand
By Sandra Erwin, RealClearDefense: “President Donald Trump releases his first budget proposal Tuesday, and the main storyline is that it is politically a nonstarter. The administration’s request of $603 billion for defense, in particular, will be sharply rejected by both sides of the aisle. Chalk up an early victory for the defense hawks."

Trump’s “Historic" Military Buildup Vision Has a Money Problem
By Travis J. Tritten, Washington Examiner: “Trump’s choice to go with a $603 billion defense budget likely stems from OMB Director Mick Mulvaney, a fiscal hawk during his time in the House, and an urge to completely offset the increases to the Defense Department with reductions elsewhere the discretionary budget, such as the State Department, Environmental Protection Agency, and the Labor Department."

Lawmakers Want Better Rifles, Bigger Bullets for Soldiers, Marines
By Todd South, Army Times: “As the Army continues to develop a potential replacement for the M4, for a handful of senators, replacing the carbine and 5.56 mm round with a new bullet and better rifle is a no brainer."

Mattis: Military Response to North Korea Would Be “Tragic"
By Carla Babb, VOA: “U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis said North Koreans probably learned a lot from their latest rocket launch, adding that attempts to resolve the North Korea missile crisis through military force would be “tragic.""

How the Army Is Growing the First Female Enlisted Grunts
By Meghann Myers, Army Times: “Things are looking a little different on Sand Hill these days, and it’s not just the coiled hair or the female drill sergeants screaming at recruit formations."

Boeing Warns Against Long Stealth Fighter Development
By James Drew, Aviation Week: “Boeing has cautioned the U.S. Navy against getting locked into another 20-year aircraft development program as it reaches for F/A-XX, the service’s next carrier warplane."

Pentagon to Accelerate Rail Gun Hypervelocity Projectile
By Kris Osborn, Scout Warrior: “An Army Howitzer is now firing a super high-speed, high-tech, electromagnetic Hyper Velocity Projectile, initially developed as a Navy weapon,  an effort to fast-track increasing lethal and effective weapons to warzones and key strategic locations, Pentagon officials said. “

F-35’s Full Potential yet to Be Unleashed
By Dave Majumdar, RealClearDefense: “To unlock the full warfighting capabilities of the new stealth fighter, the service will need to field the Block 3F configuration of the F-35—which is the fully operational configuration that Lockheed is contractually obligated to deliver. Lockheed is expected to deliver the first of those fully operational Block 3F jets later this year according the Air Force’s Air Combat Command (ACC)."

Who Will Replace the A-10 Warthog?
By Rich Smith, Motley Fool: “Good as the A-10 is, however, even its supporters acknowledge that it must one day be retired. In anticipation of that day, the Air Force has been spooling up a “capability assessment" preparatory to acquiring a new ground attack aircraft that could, possibly, fit the bill."

INTERNATIONAL U.S., SAUDI ARABIA: Boeing Inks Defense Deal With Saudi Arabia
By Adam Shell, USA Today: “U.S. aerospace and defense giant Boeing said Sunday it had reached agreements to sell both military and passenger aircraft to Saudi Arabia, a move it says will strengthen its ties with the Saudis, create jobs and enhance security in that region of the world." VENEZUELA: VVenezuela Holds 5,000 Russian Surface-to-Air (SA-24) MANPADS
By Girish Gupta, Reuters: “North Korea said on Monday it has successfully tested an intermediate-range ballistic missile to confirm the reliability of the late-stage guidance of the nuclear warhead, indicating further advances in the ability to hit U.S. targets."

NORTH KOREA: North Korea Declares Intermediate Range Missle Operational
By Ju-min Park & Jack Kim, Reuters: “North Korea said on Monday it has successfully tested an intermediate-range ballistic missile to confirm the reliability of the late-stage guidance of the nuclear warhead, indicating further advances in the ability to hit U.S. targets."

AUSTRALIA: Aussies Launch Ambitious Shipbuilding Program
By Robbin Laird, Second Line of Defense: “New submarines, destroyers and amphibious ships and associated fleet assets are being built in Australia to shape a new maritime capability for Australia."

Weekly Recon: Afghanistan’s Forever War, Asia’s Submarine Race, Navy’s Disruptive Fleet Plan
By Blake Baiers, RealClearDefense: “Loose lips sink ships, it is said, but they may also help get them built. Chief of Naval Operations Admiral John Richardson spent the week presenting his plan to expand the U.S. fleet to 355 ships and beyond. Richardson believes that there is no time to lose, needing to reach 355 “in the 2020s, not the 2040s." Furthermore stating that the Navy cannot be confined to traditional concepts of acquisition, saying, “Linear approaches are going to get us to this [future] Navy too late.""   

Battlecarrier: Part Battleship, Part Aircraft Carrier
By Kyle Mizokami, War Is Boring: “Schemes to transform World War II battleships would have produced the strangest, most powerful ships ever…"

U.S. F-15 vs. China’s J-10
By Kris Osborn, Scout Warrior: “The Air Force is reving up electronic warfare upgrades for its F-15 fighter as a way to better protect against enemy fire and electronic attacks, service officials said."

North Korea: Regime Evolution
By Dan G. Cox & Bruce Stanley, Strategy Bridge: “A smart, practical foreign policy on North Korea would be devoid of the ideological baggage that usually accompanies strategic decision-making. The risks involved with initiating a conflict with Kim Jong Un are too great to simply frame the North Korean problem in ideological terms."

Warbots: Autonomy and Accountability
By Brian M. Michelson, Strategy Bridge: “Emerging artificial intelligence (AI) technologies offers impressive gains in military effectiveness, yet how do we balance their use with accountability for inevitable errors?"

Multi-Domain Battle: An Emerging Operational Doctrine
By Amos C. Fox, Small Wars Journal: “The 19th century Prussian general and military theorist Carl von Clausewitz defined war in three ways. He postulated that war is a duel, an act of force to compel one’s enemy to do its will, and a collision of living forces. Further, Clausewitz stated that the use of force is the means of war, and that the true aim of war is to render the enemy powerless, “That the grand objective of all military action is to overthrow the enemy – which means destroying his armed forces.""

The Reconnaissance and Security Strike Group: A Multi-Domain Battle Enabler
By MAJ Nathan A. Jennings, Armor Magazine: “When the U.S. Army reorganized its final armored cavalry regiment (ACR) in 2011, it divested its institutional capability to enable corps maneuver with forceful reconnaissance and security (R&S) at the operational level of war."

Fight, Survive, Win – Imagining Multi-Domain Battle
By Mark Olsen, Strategy Bridge: “The United States faces a changing and more uncertain military future. The military dominance that the United States easily assumed following the end of the Cold War – and demonstrated in the Gulf War – is no longer so assured. Potential American adversaries are developing capabilities to challenge American strengths. The American military must develop new concepts and capabilities to continue to guarantee the military supremacy Americans expect. “

Why China Still Can’t Beat the U.S. To Become the World’s Most Powerful Navy
By Minnie Chan, South China Morning Post: “China will eventually become the world’s No 2 aircraft carrier power, trailing only the United States, but its carrier strike group aircrews are still far below international standard, military experts say."

War with North Korea: How the U.S. Would Respond
By Todd South & Jeff Schogol, Military Times: “Military Times has constructed a detailed picture of what war on the Korean Peninsula might look like, based on numerous interviews with current and former military officials, international experts and intelligence assessments of the North Korean military’s capabilities."

5 Naval Battles That Changed History Forever
By James Holmes, The National Interest: “Ranking battles by their importance has been a bloodsport among military historians as long as there have been military historians. Creasy’s classic Fifteen Decisive Battles of the World (1851) set the standard for the genre."

The Higgins Boat: Wood, Steel, and Purpose
By Keith Nightingale, Small Wars Journal: “0430 on the morning of 6 June 1944 was dark, with scudding clouds, stiff winds, misting rain, and choppy seas. Offshore, less than three miles out from the identified five Normandy beaches, more than 4,500 ships began to deposit their charges on small, plywood landing craft named Higgins boats."

Chinese Industrial Spies Cast a Wider Net
By Levi Maxey, The Cipher Brief: “China’s use of the practice first began to strain relations with the U.S. in the early 2000s. By 2011, the scope of Chinese theft forced the issue into the limelight. In 2014, marking the first instance of attaching criminal charges to state hackers, the U.S. Justice Department obtained indictments for five Chinese military officers for stealing trade secrets, such as technical data, and intelligence on trade negotiations."

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