Some Wednesday defense and security links:
A new report by Strategic Defense Intelligence, a private intelligence firm, says that Asia will be a primary driver of the global submarine market over the next decade. After noting that the Western submarine market has slowed considerably since the Cold War ended, the report— entitled The Global Submarine Market 2013-2023— observes that BRIC countries and Southeast Asia are becoming “financially able to fund a cost consuming submarine capability.” It also singles out China, North Korea, and Pakistan and India as “drivers for the submarine market worldwide.”
Based on commercial satellite imagery, 38 North finds that North Korea has halted construction on its Tonghae Satellite Launching Ground. Pyongyang was building the site to launch larger rockets with heavier payloads but, according to the analysis, halted work near the end of 2012 and hadn’t it resumed it yet as of the end May. The reasons for the stoppage were not clear, 38 North said.
That won’t “stop” Chinese Vice President Li Yuanchao from visiting North Korea later this week to commemorate the 60 year anniversary of the signing of the armistice that ended active fighting in the Korean War. As previously reported on this blog, China announced that it would be sending a then-unnamed high-ranking official to Pyongyang to mark the occasion in early July. News reports say that Li will be the highest ranking Chinese official to visit North Korea since Kim Jong-Un took over power. I argued at the time the trip was announced that Beijing was sending an official as an award for Pyongyang’s recent charm offensive.
U.S.-Chinese mil-to-mil ties have been improving as of late and apparently, the military leaders in both countries may have more in common than previously thought. As Xi Jinping has tried to crack down on PLA leaders’ excess, the Los Angeles Times reports on a new Pentagon study sent to Congress that found the U.S. military’s top brass live in what the paper described as “hundreds of high-end homes, villas and mansions” around the world. The head of U.S. Southern Command, for instance, lives I a Miami, Florida villa that costs US$160,000 a year, with current renovations on the place costing an additional US$402,000.
With U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden in India this week, U.S. cyber experts told Congress on Tuesday that the U.S. needs to partner more closely with India on cybersecurity, citing threats it faces from Pakistan, China, and non-star actors. The testimony was part of the House Foreign Affairs Committee’s Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific’s hearing, “Asia: The Cyber Security Battleground.”
Speaking of the U.S. House of Representatives, the Congressional body is trying to pass its version of the FY 2014 Defense Appropriations Act this week. The Hill reports that it considered amendments on the bill through wee hours on Wednesday.
Among the amendments that failed was one that would have prohibited Pakistan from receiving any funding from the bill. Measures that passed included ones prohibiting any funds from being used to reduce the size of the U.S. nuclear arsenal and their delivery systems to meet Washington’s obligations under START 2010. The Defense Department will also not be allowed to furlough civilian defense employees next year, as a means of reducing its spending as required by sequestration.