July 13, 2013

Stuff that keeps me up at night

YJ-62: Part of China's arsenal.
Yikes. China might be beating the U.S. on the naval warfare front.
...a missile race going on in the Pacific, and one China might be winning.

The most muscular of these new Chinese weapons is the DF-21D anti-ship ballistic missile, which counts a range of over 1,700 miles. If in some future shooting war one of these missiles targets a U.S. warship, there might be no defense against it.

China has also been hard at work developing a navalized version of the DH-10 land-attack cruise missile, which can travel nearly 2,500 miles and strike ground targets such as American bases in Guam and Okinawa...

Beijing’s most powerful foreign-made anti-ship missile is the Russian SS-N-22 Sunburn, a terrifying Mach-3 devastator.

...There’s a destroyer-launched version of the YJ-62 with an operational range of nearly 250 miles, compared to the standard Harpoon’s 77 miles. All things being equal, in a head-to-head fight a Chinese destroyer could get the first shot against a U.S. vessel.

And there’s a big push underway in China to build even newer and better ship-killing missiles. Beijing has been observed ramping-up use of special test-bed ships fitted with new sensors that could be satellite communications or fire control systems, or something else entirely.

All this activity on the other side of the Pacific has put the U.S. off its balance. “Don’t be too surprised if the Navy is scrambling to deploy in a hurry, as [the Americans] are chronically behind in EW system fleet upgrades across all three services, due to funding being diverted into [the global war on terrorism] or whatever label is attached these days,” Kopp says.
That's the kind of thing that keeps me up at night.  They say you have to pick your poison.  In this case America has targeted terrorism ahead of national defense maintenance.  In fact the current administration has picked any domestic pork barrel spending over anything to do with national defense - terrorism or otherwise.  America has been fighting a two front war for over a decade.  Not Afghanistan and Iraq, but rather it has been fighting a war between geo-political national defense and trying to use resources to minimize and mitigate terrorism.

What's the right balance for those two competing needs?  The numbers are pretty clear - the amount spent on Homeland Security that has saved a questionable number of lives (remember jobs saved logic? It's being used here as well) versus keeping the entire nation safe the priority should be on the latter.  After all, the Boston Marathon wasn't prevented despite all of the billions spent on spying on Americans.  That's because you can't prevent everything.  The solution - focus on moving the big rocks.  China is a big rock.  Secondly, in the this-or-that decisioning, it's pretty clear that the public doesn't want to be spied upon anyway.

The decision seems to be pretty straight-forward at this point.  Focus the national defense efforts on China, North Korea, Iran and Russia.  Those are the real dangers.  Yes, terrorism must be dealt with but containing it is simpler if America has international respect as to what it might do to a nation that supports terrorism.  With that respect gone, it's open season on America. By focusing on geo-political foes, America gets a secondary benefit of discouraging support for terrorism.  The reverse case - fighting terrorism helping  contain potential Chinese aggression - is not going to happen.
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