Topic A: Defense
U.S. Military Pushes for Closer Ties With Chinese Military

The Voice of America reports that "despite Beijing’s rejection of the recent tribunal ruling on the South China Sea issues, the U.S. military keeps pushing for closer ties with the People's Liberation Army."  

"Admiral John Richardson, chief of U.S. naval operations, visited China this past week, while the PLA continues participation in U.S.-led Rim of the Pacific Exercise in Hawaii."  

India, US to Hold Joint Military Exercise in September

The Hindustan Times reports that "The Indian Army and the United States army will participate in a joint military exercise in Uttarakhand in September this year in a bid to share ‘experiences and techniques.'"  

"This year it will be the 12th edition of the exercise in the ‘Yudh Abhyas’ series that started in 2004 as part of US Army Pacific partnership programme, an army official said. It will be held at the Chaubatia Military Station in Ranikhet, where a joint exercise of both the armies was also conducted in 2014."  

U.S. Military to Test New War Vehicles

Jalopnik.com reports that "the U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) has placed an order for militarized Toyota Land Cruisers, Hiluxes and Ford Rangers to use as low-profile but battle-survivable field vehicles. That’s provided the prototypes pass muster in military evaluations, of course.  

Defense contractor Battelle of Columbus, Ohio has been awarded up to $170 million to build “as many as 556 vehicles—396 armored and 160 unarmored—with most of them consisting of the Toyota Land Cruiser models 76 and 79 ,”  Military Aerospace  reports.  

Former Military Leaders Discuss AG/National Security Connection

The High Plains/Midwest AG Journal reports that "the House Agriculture Committee held a hearing July 7 to examine the on-the-ground experiences of former military leaders and the connection between agricultural policy and national security."  

"This is the fifth hearing in the committee’s hearing series focused on national security."  

No ASEAN Consensus on South China Sea

Army Times reports that "Southeast Asia's main grouping apparently failed to reach a consensus Sunday on how to counter China's territorial expansion in the South China Sea, intensifying a diplomatic stalemate despite three rounds of formal and informal talks."  

"The foreign ministers of the 10 countries that make up the Association of Southeast Asian Nations deliberated for several hours during the three sessions, including over lunch, but remained deadlocked because Cambodia didn't want China criticized, diplomats said."  

Chinese Military Unveils New Weapons after South China Sea Verdict

The Times of India reports that "Chinese military has unveiled a range of new weapons, including long-range missiles, amid calls by its top officials to be combat-ready following a landmark verdict by an UN-backed tribunal that struck down China's 'historical rights' in the South China Sea."  

"The Southern Theatre Command of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) which looks after the South China Sea front has unveiled a series of new weapons for sea and air combat during a visit by top military officers."  

U.S. Military's Health Program Consolidates Coverage Regions

Military.com reports that "The U.S. military's Tricare health care program for families and veterans will consolidate its regions from three to two under a new pair of contracts, officials announced Thursday."  

"The system is currently administered in three regions -- North, South and West -- by three separate contractors."  

U.S. Doesn't Want New EU Military Headquarters

The Wall Street Journal reports that "the U.S. is all in favor of more European defense spending—but wants that money to go to more drones, precision munitions, new fighter aircraft or additional naval ships."  

"What it doesn’t want to see is a new European Union military headquarters."  

Top US Admiral Says China Exchanges Conditional on Safety

The Associated Press reports that "the top U.S. admiral said Wednesday that friendly exchanges with China's navy are conditional on safe interactions at sea, an indication of Washington's concern over recent fractious encounters with Chinese forces in and over the disputed South China Sea."  

"On a visit to the northern Chinese port of Qingdao, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson said he backs more exchanges, but added: 'In this area we must judge each other by our deeds and actions, not just by our words.'"  

Joint Chiefs Chair: Military Pressure, Intelligence Sharing Key to ISIL’s Defeat

The U.S. Department of Defense  reports that "Military pressure and intelligence sharing are two key elements in defeating the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a recent interview."   

"'I think the attack in Nice, France, though, just highlights the need to put pressure on ISIL wherever they are,' Dunford told reporters on his plane after concluding a three-day visit to Afghanistan . The U.S. military is targeting ISIL across Iraq, Syria 'and elsewhere, wherever they exist,' he said."  

U.S. Military Base Warns on Pokemon Go

Fox News reports that "the 'Pokemon Go' phenomenon, which has sparked controversy at sites such as the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, has prompted a safety warning from the U.S. military’s sprawling Joint Base Lewis-McChord."  

"The free augmented reality game uses Google Maps and a smartphone to overlay reality with digital creatures, or Pokemon. Players use their smartphones to ‘capture’ Pokemon, at real locations using their smartphones and can also ‘train’ their Pokemon to fight other creatures within the game."  

U.S. Military Leaders See Reduction in Taliban Violence

The Associated Press reports that "after inflicting heavy losses on weakened Afghan security forces a year ago, the Taliban under new leadership have been surprisingly slow to ramp up attacks at the midpoint of the traditional fighting season, senior American military officers said Sunday."  

"In an Associated Press interview, Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said he is cautiously encouraged by a relative slackening of the Taliban's aggressive tactics."  

U.S., Australia Leaders Move to Deepen Military Ties

The Australian reports that "amid growing concerns about Beijing’s assertiveness in the South China Sea, Malcolm Turnbull and US Vice-President Joe Biden have pledged to step up joint military training to deal with 'any challenge' in the region."  

U.S. Army Moves from Android to iPhone

The Telegraph (UK) reports that "the US army is upgrading its fleet of Android phones and replacing them with iPhones."  

"The switch to the iPhone 6s comes after the US Army Special Operations Command found its 'Android Tactical Assault Kit' slow, glitchy and prone to freezing, according to reports."  

U.S. Military Tests Canadian Power-Generating Project

The Toronto Globe & Mail reports that "an idea germinated in a biomedical lab at Simon Fraser University is being tested by the U.S. military in a research project meant to turn foot soldiers into their own power-generating stations."  

"Using a lightweight device that looks like the kind of knee brace a high-performance athlete might wear, soldiers can use the Canadian-designed PowerWalk Kinetic Energy Harvester to produce enough electricity to run their GPS units, night-vision goggles and radios. In the process, they can shed the 20 pounds of batteries they now have to carry into the field."