MORNING RECON: Safety, Speed, Efficiency; On Raqqa, Questions With Few Answers; Target Rich–N. Korea’s Atomic Archipelago; F-35A Weight Restrictions

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Morning Recon

Good Tuesday morning and welcome to MORNING RECON.  On this day in 1771, the Battle of Alamance, a pre-American Revolutionary War battle between local militia and a group of rebels called The “Regulators", occurs in present-day Alamance County, North Carolina. The Battle of Alamance was the final battle of the War of the Regulation, a rebellion in colonial North Carolina over issues of taxation and local control. In the past, historians considered the battle to be the opening salvo of the American Revolution and locals agreed with this assessment. However, modern historians reject this, since there does not seem to have been any intent to rebel against the king or crown, merely to protest taxation and corrupt local government. 

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Today’s Top Stories

NATIONAL Erdogan Faces Off Against Trump
By Paul D. Shinkman, U.S. News & World Report: “Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is scheduled to visit the White House on Tuesday for a critical meeting with President Donald Trump following a recent U.S. policy change in the war against the Islamic State group that has set the two countries on a collision course." How Trump Can Fix the Army’s Tank Fleet
By Loren Thompson, Forbes: “The last plant in the U.S. that can build tanks is a sad symbol of America’s industrial decline. Located in Lima, Ohio, midway between Dayton and Toledo, it currently produces only one M1A2 Abrams tank per month. During the Reagan years, it turned out 60 per month. Another 60 were built each month at the Detroit Arsenal Tank Plant, but that site was closed during the Clinton years. So now there is only Lima, assembling a mere dozen tanks per year."

Bombshell: President Trump Disclosed Highly-classified Information to Russia?
By Jack Goldsmith, Susan Hennessey, Quinta Jurecic, Matthew Kahn, Benjamin Wittes, Elishe Julian Wittes, Lawfare: “The Post reports that according to U.S. intelligence officials, the “disclosures jeopardized a critical source of intelligence on the Islamic State."  A U.S. official stated that “This is code-word information," and added that Trump “revealed more information to the Russian ambassador than we have shared with our own allies.""

Pentagon’s IG Opens Investigation Into B-21’s Secrecy
By Anthony Capaccio, Bloomberg: “The Pentagon’s inspector general has opened a review into whether the Air Force has imposed excessive secrecy on fundamentals of its $80 billion program to develop and build the new B-21 bomber."

Air Force Picks Textron’s Scorpion and AT-6 for Light Attack Demo
By Valerie Insinna, Defense News: “Textron’s Scorpion jet and AT-6 will be joining the A-29 Super Tucano in the Air Force’s light attack aircraft demonstration this summer, the company confirmed May 15."

U.S. Cyber Command: Russia Hacking “the New Normal"
By Sandra Erwin, Defense Systems: “Admiral Michael S. Rogers, head of U.S. Cyber Command, called Russia’s cyber operations “destabilizing." During recent exchanges on Capitol Hill, Rogers appeared to be in agreement with the U.S. intelligence community that Russia’s election interference is likely to be a new normal."

U.S. Army Testing Saab Camouflage
By Richard Tomkins, UPI: “Saab’s mobile camouflage system is undergoing field evaluation in Germany by the U.S. Army’s 2nd Cavalry Regiment during its operational training."

Navy Advances Ship Missile Defense
By Kris Osborn, Scout Warrior: “The Navy plans to expand its emerging “over-the-horizon" ship-launched cruise missile defense technology to a wider range of airborne sensor platforms beyond an E2-D Hawkeye and Marine Corps F-35B – to possibly include the Navy’s own carrier-launched stealthy F-35C and F/A-18 Super Hornets, service officials said. “

Air Force Asks Airmen to Help Revitalize Squadrons
By Scott Maucione, Federal News Radio: “The crowdsourcing initiative is part of a larger push started by Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein to fundamentally change the service."

Air Force Removes Weight Restrictions on F-35A Pilots
By Valerie Insinna, Defense News: “The U.S. Air Force has lifted flight restrictions on lightweight F-35A pilots and will not pursue qualifying United Technologies’ ACES 5 ejection seat — a major win for Martin-Baker and its US16E pilot escape system, which is used in all variants of the F-35, officials announced Monday."

DARPA Wants Artificial Intelligence That Doesn’t Forget
By Mohana Ravindranath, Defense One: “Biological organisms are pretty good at navigating life’s unpredictability, but computers are embarrassingly bad at it."

Safety, Speed, Efficiency…the First Time and Every Time
By Vic Tambone, RealClearDefense: “The ability to move critical assets via air is essential when speed and quantity are the keys to mission success.  This is true in response to national disasters, war fighting, rescue and humanitarian operations, or business ventures.  Configuring those assets in air transportable packets which are scheduled to arrive at the destination in the proper order for maximum effect and efficiency is the job for the Deployable Automated Cargo Measurement System (DACMS)."   

On Raqqa, Lots of Questions With Few Answers
By Daniel DePetris, RealClearDefense: “After months of internal discussions about the best way forward to recapture Raqqa from the Islamic State, the Trump administration has decided the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF)—a coalition of Kurdish and Sunni Arab fighters—is the best mechanism to expel ISIS from the city in the shortest amount of time. And for the first time since the counter-ISIS campaign began nearly three years ago, the United States will arm the Kurdish component of the SDF coalition directly, something which has our NATO ally Turkey seething."   

Target Rich – North Korea’s Atomic Archipelago
By Todd Crowell, RealClearDefense: “If the United States ever seriously considered making a pre-emptive strike against North Korea’s nuclear weapons and missile assets, it would have plenty of targets to choose from; perhaps too many. Times have changed since former President Bill Clinton contemplated a surgical strike against the Yongbyon nuclear complex to put out of commission the North’s 5MWe reactor, then its only source of plutonium.    

The Challenge of China’s Blue-Water Navy
By Dr. Patrick M. Cronin, Dr. Mira Rapp-Hooper, Harry Krejsa, Alexander Sullivan and Rush Doshi, CNAS: “The United States has enjoyed largely uncontested naval supremacy across the blue waters, or open oceans, for decades. The rapid emergence of an increasingly global People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) suggests that this era will soon come to a close. China’s ability to conduct power projection and amphibious operations around the world will become a fundamental fact of politics in the near future, with significant consequences for the United States and its allies, all of which need to begin preparing for a “risen China" rather than a “rising China," especially in the realm of maritime security."

Code of Conduct (COC) for the South China Sea
By Bonnie Glaser and Matthew Funaiole, AMTI: “In what might be an event soon forgotten by the international community, China’s paramilitary forces once again demonstrated their willingness to use force to intimidate other countries and risk escalation."​

The United States Is Not Ready for a Cyber-Pearl Harbor
By James Stavridis, Foreign Policy: “On May 12, the world witnessed a day that won’t exactly live in infamy but certainly should have a concentrating effect as we collectively grapple with the challenges of cybersecurity. Using a tool set that was “released into the wild" from the National Security Agency, a sophisticated group of hackers launched a “ransomware" scam that eventually penetrated more than 150 nations. It hit the United Kingdom particularly hard in the medical services sector, shutting down the computational ability of dozens of hospitals. Global shipping giant FedEx, Nissan, and many Russian entities were also significantly affected."

Is American Internationalism Dead? ​
By Hal Brands, War on the Rocks: “The U.S. is, for now, out of the world order business," Robert Kagan wrote. After more than 70 years, American internationalism was pronounced politically dead."​

Developing an Effective Missile Defense
By Thomas Karako, The Cipher Brief: “Of the four basic families of U.S. missile defense programs, the Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) program is the only one devoted exclusively to long-range missile threats to the homeland.  Others, like the Aegis Standard Missile, THAAD, and Patriot are tailored to defeat missiles of lesser range, and although some support homeland applications through the larger Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS), they are in the first instance for regional defense or force protection. GMD has a considerably larger defended area than that of any other BMD system."

So You Think the Army Can Avoid Fighting in Megacities
By John Amble & John Spencer, Modern War Institute: “The arguments that the Army need not devote time, manpower, or money to better preparing to operate in megacities are not uniform in their objections. But they do share a series of assumptions on which they’re based, the flaws of which become apparent on closer examination."

Vietnamization and the Advisory Crisis
By Robert J. Thompson, Strategy Bridge: “A key element of the United States’ endgame during the Vietnam War entailed leaving the Republic of Vietnam in a position of self-reliance. Called Vietnamization, the process focused on shifting the responsibility for security squarely onto the shoulders of the South Vietnamese, permitting the return of American personnel to the U.S. What transpired in Phu Yen during 1970 proved Vietnamization impervious to indicators of an unready South Vietnamese state. Largely forgotten since the Vietnam War, the Advisory Crisis, as it became known, damaged the partnership between American and South Vietnamese forces."

New Commercial Analogies for Defense Innovation
By Jacquelyn Schneider, War on the Rocks: “Under former Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter and the third offset strategy, the Department of Defense launched a love affair with Silicon Valley. The relationship was a logical fit for Carter, a former physicist and professor at Stanford University. From the original Silicon-Valley based Defense Innovation Unit Experimental (DIUx) to the Defense Digital Service and the tech-heavy Defense Innovation Advisory Board, Carter’s innovation initiatives under the third offset drew unabashedly from Silicon Valley."

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