Mad Dog Mattis still working hard during shutdown time

There is new evidence of SecDef Mattis's new strategy in the latest showing of the American flag via a Freedom of Navigation exercise in the Pacific. 

From Fox News:

A U.S. Navy warship sailed close to a contested reef west of the Philippines this week, drawing the ire of Beijing[,] which issued a statement Saturday accusing the U.S. of trespassing in its territorial waters.  China has laid claim to the reef for more than five years.

The incident took place Wednesday, two days before [d]efense [s]ecretary Jim Mattis unveiled a new strategy calling China and Russia the biggest threats to the U.S., not terrorism.  Mattis said the U.S. military advantage over Beijing and Moscow is "eroding."

A U.S. official confirmed the operation to Fox News saying it was merely "innocent passage" when the USS Hopper, a guided[] missile destroyer, sailed within 12 nautical miles of the uninhabited reef, Scarborough Shoal.

It seems that Secretary Mattis is supporting our Philippine allies around Scarborough Shoal.

Also from the WSJ:

Use of low-cost fighter planes would allow deployment of higher-tech jets to areas requiring their advanced capabilities

The most advanced U.S. planes, like the F-35 and F-22, also contain classified communications and network software that Washington is unwilling to share with all allies.  Fielding a low-end plane wouldn't only be more cost-effective[;] it would also allow the U.S. and allies to talk and share data more efficiently.

"The strategy is to drive violent extremism down so local police can manage it," Gen. Goldfein said.  "That is the strategy from the Philippines to Nigeria and everywhere in between.  If that is the strategy, how do we get a platform-sensor weapon we can build into a coalition?"

With American help, the Filipinos defeated ISIS in Mindanao.  More detail on the light attack aircraft program is available from The War Zone here.

Thanks to a newly released briefing, we can now reveal even more information about the pair of OV-10 Broncos that the U.S. Special Operations Command sent to Iraq to hunt ISIS. This includes information about the unique configurations of these Vietnam-era planes, such as their ability to track targets by homing in on cell phone signals and to share data across multiple networks.  We also found out about the extensive testing that preceded their trip to the Middle East and the lessons learned from employing updated light attack aircraft on a modern battlefield. 

In July 2017, the Pentagon's Joint Requirements Oversight Council formally directed U.S. Special Operations Command, or SOCOM, to conduct a "limited objective experiment" to see if a light turboprop aircraft could provide more flexible and responsive close air support and limited strike capabilities both when operating from remote or austere locations – or even an aircraft carrieramphibious shipor sea base – or in support of a larger force, according to the undated presentation, which we obtained via the Freedom of Information Act.  The theory, which is one we have argued for more than once ourselves, was that such an aircraft could be a cost-effective tool for limited conflicts that would also free up far more costly higher-performance or specialized aircraft from having to conduct these missions.

The swamp may be shut down, but Secretary Mattis is hard at work.

There is new evidence of SecDef Mattis's new strategy in the latest showing of the American flag via a Freedom of Navigation exercise in the Pacific. 

From Fox News:

A U.S. Navy warship sailed close to a contested reef west of the Philippines this week, drawing the ire of Beijing[,] which issued a statement Saturday accusing the U.S. of trespassing in its territorial waters.  China has laid claim to the reef for more than five years.

The incident took place Wednesday, two days before [d]efense [s]ecretary Jim Mattis unveiled a new strategy calling China and Russia the biggest threats to the U.S., not terrorism.  Mattis said the U.S. military advantage over Beijing and Moscow is "eroding."

A U.S. official confirmed the operation to Fox News saying it was merely "innocent passage" when the USS Hopper, a guided[] missile destroyer, sailed within 12 nautical miles of the uninhabited reef, Scarborough Shoal.

It seems that Secretary Mattis is supporting our Philippine allies around Scarborough Shoal.

Also from the WSJ:

Use of low-cost fighter planes would allow deployment of higher-tech jets to areas requiring their advanced capabilities

The most advanced U.S. planes, like the F-35 and F-22, also contain classified communications and network software that Washington is unwilling to share with all allies.  Fielding a low-end plane wouldn't only be more cost-effective[;] it would also allow the U.S. and allies to talk and share data more efficiently.

"The strategy is to drive violent extremism down so local police can manage it," Gen. Goldfein said.  "That is the strategy from the Philippines to Nigeria and everywhere in between.  If that is the strategy, how do we get a platform-sensor weapon we can build into a coalition?"

With American help, the Filipinos defeated ISIS in Mindanao.  More detail on the light attack aircraft program is available from The War Zone here.

Thanks to a newly released briefing, we can now reveal even more information about the pair of OV-10 Broncos that the U.S. Special Operations Command sent to Iraq to hunt ISIS. This includes information about the unique configurations of these Vietnam-era planes, such as their ability to track targets by homing in on cell phone signals and to share data across multiple networks.  We also found out about the extensive testing that preceded their trip to the Middle East and the lessons learned from employing updated light attack aircraft on a modern battlefield. 

In July 2017, the Pentagon's Joint Requirements Oversight Council formally directed U.S. Special Operations Command, or SOCOM, to conduct a "limited objective experiment" to see if a light turboprop aircraft could provide more flexible and responsive close air support and limited strike capabilities both when operating from remote or austere locations – or even an aircraft carrieramphibious shipor sea base – or in support of a larger force, according to the undated presentation, which we obtained via the Freedom of Information Act.  The theory, which is one we have argued for more than once ourselves, was that such an aircraft could be a cost-effective tool for limited conflicts that would also free up far more costly higher-performance or specialized aircraft from having to conduct these missions.

The swamp may be shut down, but Secretary Mattis is hard at work.