Topic A: Defense
China, Russia to Carry Out Joint Military Drills in South China Sea

The Japan Times reports that "China and Russia will hold joint naval drills in the disputed South China Sea in September, China’s Defense Ministry announced Thursday."  

"The exercises, which the ministry called 'routine,' were not directed at any third party, spokesman Yang Yujun said."  

Analysts Recommend Second US Aircraft Carrier for Far East reports that "Despite the challenges, the Navy should double the number of American aircraft carrier strike groups operating in the Western Pacific, in part to counter China's aggressive expansionism, analysts say.  

"Forward-stationing another carrier west of the international dateline was recommended in a Defense Department-commissioned report, "Asia Pacific Rebalance 2025: Capabilities, Presence and Partnerships," published this year by the Center for Strategic and International Studies.  

U.S. Military Prepares for Biggest Okinawa Land Return Since 1972

Reuters reports that "the United States military said on Friday it was preparing for the biggest land return in Okinawa since 1972, as it faces a surge in opposition to its presence following the arrest of one its civilian contractors for the murder of a local woman."  

"Okinawa is the U.S. military's key base in Asia where it faces an increasingly assertive China. It hosts 30,000 military personnel on bases that cover a fifth of the island."  

Turkey-US Relations Strained by Coup Attempt

The Voice of America reports that "the strategically critical U.S.-Turkey relationship is coming under increasing strain as authorities in Ankara crack down on alleged coup plotters and sympathizers."  

"Washington is caught between expressing alarm about increasingly authoritarian measures being taken under Turkey's state of emergency and showing support for a democratically elected government that fought off a military putsch."  

Rising Seas Present Risk to U.S. Military Bases by 2050

USA Today reports that "military bases along the East and Gulf Coast are at risk of losing large chunks of land as rising sea levels from man-made climate change swamp installations from New Hampshire to Florida."  

"The onslaught of water will come from both tidal flooding and hurricane storm surge and could cause a 2,600% increase in the number of annual flooding events on several bases in the U.S. in coming decades, according to a report released Wednesday by the Union of Concerned Scientists."  

U.S. Military Aids Georgia reports that "the United States will devote more military aid towards arming and equipping the Georgian armed forces, direct more training towards building combat skills, and help Georgia build a local training center oriented towards helping it defend itself rather than only deploying to Afghanistan."  

"The broad contours of the policy shift were laid out in a new agreement between the two countries announced during a visit to Tbilisi by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry earlier this month. On Monday, a U.S. embassy official in Tbilisi provided more details to The Bug Pit."  

No Changes to EUCOM Accompanied Tours, Says Dunford

Stars and Stripes reports that "U.S. military commanders in Europe are tightening security in the wake of terrorist attacks on the Continent but so far see no reason to change rules allowing families to accompany servicemembers on permanent assignments there, the top U.S. officer said Monday."  

"Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, made the comments after a string of attacks across Europe, including three since Friday in Germany. The most recent occurred Sunday when a 27-year-old Syrian exploded a device in Ansbach, killing himself and wounding 15 others."  

Two Female Officers Approved for Army's Green Beret Training Process reports that "two female Army officers have been approved for initial Special Forces training, the first step in the long process to earn the coveted Green Beret, an Army spokeswoman said Monday."  

"The women are the first female soldiers to be accepted into the Special Forces Assessment and Selection and could report to the three-week program at Fort Bragg, North Carolina as early as October, said Maj. Melody Faulkenberry, a spokeswoman for the Army's John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center."  

Joint Chiefs Chair: Cooperation with Russia Must Preserve 'Operational Security'

Military Times reports that "the military’s top officer said Monday that any deal for military cooperation with Russia in the fight against extremists in Syria will have to protect the 'operational security' of the ongoing U.S. mission."  

“'We’re not entering into a transaction that is based on trust,' Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford said at a press briefing at the Pentagon."  

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 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."