Some Thursday defense and security links:
Despite the program’s recent string of successes, War is Boring still thinks that the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is basically the worst plane… ever. Among WiB's complaints: “It doesn’t really matter how smoothly Lockheed and the government’s work on the new warplane proceeds. Even the best-manufactured JSF is a second-rate fighter where it actually matters — in the air, in life-or-death combat against a determined foe.”
Meanwhile, over at The National Interest, The Center for Naval Analyses’ Elbridge Colby and National Defense University’s T.X. Hammes continue their war over how the U.S. should conduct war against China. While pundits tend to criticize without offering any solutions of their own, Hammes is the kind of class-act that couples his harsh criticism of AirSea Battle (ASB) with a well-developed alternative strategy, offshore balancing, that he graciously outlined last year on The Diplomat.
Duck of Minerva blogger Stacie Goddard weighs in with a post wondering what exactly is the purpose of an operational concept that is divorced from a larger strategy. She also wonders if America's refusal to call ASB a strategy makes it seem any less threatening to China.
Hindustan Times reports that the tragic submarine explosion in Mumbai that killed 18 Indian sailors this week is part and parcel of India’s submarine fleet, which faces an increasingly grim future outlook. Pratyush's got more on this over at The Pulse.
The new issue of The Atlantic has a number of features on U.S. drone policy, including a cover story by Mark Bowden—author of such classics as Black Hawk Dawn, Killing Pablo, Guests of the Ayatollah, and The Finish (which "Zero Dark Thirty" is based on)—on whether drones have made it too easy for the U.S. president to kill. Gregory Johnsen, author of the definitive book on al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, also has a piece in the issue that tells the story of an 8-year old child the U.S. and Yemen may have used as a spy to locate a suspected al-Qaeda leader (who incidentally was also a Yemeni military officer) so he could be targeted for a drone strike.
Australian, NATO, and Afghan forces have killed Mohammed Rooz, an Afghan soldier it has been spent months try to track down after he shot and killed three Australian and two fellow Afghan soldiers.
If you’re wondering what the U.S. Navy is trying to accomplish with its part of the rebalance to Asia, Rear Adm. Michael Smith, currently the director for Strategy and Policy Division in the USN, gives a nice overview in the most recent issue of Proceedings Magazine.