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Highlights Of OEWatch For February 2020

February 28, 2020

Each month the US Army’s think tank the Foreign Military Studies Office (FMSO) publishes its open source OEWatch magazine as a free download on the APAN Community Network. OEWatch’s February issue runs 73 pages in the usual five section format and editorial duties are shared among Tom Wilhelm, Karen Kaya, and designer Thomas Tolare with input by a large pool of contributing writers.

The highlights under Eurasia are right at the beginning with a two-page rundown on the Russian military’s “achievements” during the previous year. On page 6 is a wonderful profile of the Ka-31 twin rotor naval helicopter and on page 10 is a very welcome analysis of the SA-25 Verba MANPADS the Russian Army is adopting to protect its critical infrastructure.

The Indo-Pacific section stands out for its choice pickings on Chinese military topics. Pages 20 to 21 is a lengthy aside on the PLA’s preparation for a serious role in a coming Arctic maritime trade route. On page 24 is a helpful update on China’s development of aircraft carriers. Adjustments to the PLA’s recruitment efforts, which are now geared towards accepting college graduates, are discussed on page 28. Finally, on page 38, is a brief interlude about Indonesia’s homegrown unmanned aircraft program.

The Middle East, North Africa section is a crowded one. Page 40 gives the reader a broad view of how offshore energy resources in the Eastern Mediterranean are being carved up between regional powers. Israel and Turkey are the most aggressive in pursuing exploration deals. Turkey is again the focus on page 56 where the plans of its “defense industry” are reviewed. Iranian technology programs are discusse don pages 59 and 60.

The Africa section offers the usual overview of rampant insurgency and terrorism. A notable entry, however, is on page 64 and it’s about China’s assistance to Ethiopia’s space program that culminated in a satellite launch in December 2019. Of course, the multi-spectral satellite was assembled with Chinese help and is meant to gather data on Ethiopia’s weather phenomena. The regional chaos in West Africa’s desert countries can’t be ignored though and updates on the conflict are found on pages 61 and 62.

The Latin America section is harmless by comparison. An entry of note is a single page with a brief text about Peru’s new stance on “cyber defense” to protect the government’s data. OEWatch often runs several dozen stories in a single issue. Readers should download their own copies and find content that’s most relevant to their curiosity and interest.

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