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Who Has The Strongest Military In ASEAN?

May 1, 2017

It’s one of the most remarkable geopolitical experiments in recent memory. It was 50 years ago when foreign ministers of Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand endorsed the Bangkok Declaration on August 8, 1967, that created ASEAN–the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

The result of this budding regional alliance are manifest today. Southeast Asian nations are more committed than ever to integrating their economies and cooperating in myriad trans-national projects. To think it all began when Indonesia’s Adam Malik suggested a treaty that would placate his worried colleagues over Jakarta’s expansionist ambitions.

But ASEAN isn’t just about easier travel and fewer tariffs among its 1o member states. Each of its countries, who are enjoying record GDP growth despite facing unique security issues, have militaries that are adopting, acquiring, and inventing new technologies for their own use. This begs the question: Who’s the strongest?

Readers must take heed, though. Any credible manpower figures are estimates at best and these are always changing. There isn’t a single Southeast Asian superpower yet, but at least six contenders can give it a shot if they really tried.

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The First True Chinese Aircraft Carrier Is Finished

April 27, 2017

On Wednesday, April 26, a small if significant event marked China’s undeniable debut among the world’s naval powers. A new aircraft carrier rumored to be under development since 2011 was launched from its dock in Dalian, its flight deck decorated with flags.

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Armored Cars: Nurol Makina Ejder Yalcin

April 20, 2017

Via Nurol Makina.

Here we have another strong addition to Turkey’s impressive stockpile of armored trucks. The Ejder Yalcin manufactured by Nurol Makina is a hefty 4×4 designed for police and military use. This explains its emphasis on protective features, internal volume, and overall size.

The Ejder or “Dragon” began as a concept in 2012 for a vehicular family. The first Ejder debuted at Turkey’s largest arms show in 2013. It immediately received an order and entered production the following year. The Ejder Yalcin marks a further improvement on the original and is a competitive entry in the world of tactical vehicles. The available literature about it avoids specifics on its armor level and subsystems but does mention what it can do.

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South Korea Is The New Arsenal Of Democracy

April 20, 2017

Your social life depends on their phones. Consumer goods everywhere reach markets on their ships. Everyone you know enjoys their food. And their cars are getting better and better.

South Korea’s place in the global economy is assured thanks to its Chaebols, those inscrutable corporate kingdoms fueling its first world momentum. But these same manufacturers serve another essential function: maintaining a vast war machine.

Because ever since the Panmunjon ceasefire South Korea had to exist on a permanent war footing against its militaristic other half and its ruling dynasty. This meant an endless cycle of conscription for South Korean males and an always rising defense budget that totaled $36.5 billion in 2017.

Though still dependent on a security umbrella provided by the US, South Korea’s modern arms industry traces its origins to the Yulgok Plan, or Yulgok Project, in 1974. This document led to the creation of a semi-secret slush fund for buying weapons abroad. At the same time public and private companies were empowered to begin developing modern weapon systems, an effort that continues until today. Thanks to the government’s stewardship, these same weapons can be bought by other democracies.

Take a look at them.

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The Philippines Is Rolling Out A National Cybersecurity Plan

April 8, 2017

The Philippine government is readying a set of strategies to thwart future cyber attacks. It’s called the National Cybersecurity Plan 2022 and its details were revealed by Allan Cabanlong during the recent Protect 2017 conference in late March.

The National Cybersecurity Plan 2022 is a multi-year initiative of the Department of Information and Communication Technology (DICT), a new government bureau established in 2016 whose overarching mission is to improve and help police the Philippine internet.

Cabanlong, who comes from a law enforcement background and is an assistant secretary in the DICT, went to great lengths explaining how the plan comes together. It’s a vital undertaking that should grab the attention of those who consider the internet essential for modern states and, like the US military, believe it’s a domain for modern warfare. For professionals in cyber, it reveals how one Southeast Asian country prepares for the dangers lurking in the web.

Here are its best parts.

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Highlights Of OEWatch For April 2017

April 8, 2017

Each month the US Army’s think tank the Foreign Military Studies Office (FMSO) publishes its open source OEWatch magazine as a free download.

The April 2017 issue of OEWatch runs 60 pages. The cover story is The Chinese Military Deploys: Gaining Ground Through Peacekeeping In The Global Arena, which is the title of the Special Essay on page 56.

The latest issue of OEWatch is divided into six sections with a Special Essay at the end. Russia commands the brunt of the editorial team’s attention but the entries within the Middle East and the Asia-Pacific offer abundant reading material too.

There have been minor changes to the content as well. April’s OEWatch begins with Middle East, North Africa–a fresh designation that covers the entire Arab World–and the MENA region’s active conflicts are examined. Iran does attract much scrutiny with four entries about its armed forces. On page 6 is a very interesting analysis of Turkey’s attempts to acquire the Russian S-400 theater defense system.

The Africa section opens with a scoop on events in Somaliland, where the UAE is attempting to lease out a naval base for its Yemen operations. There’s also an insightful piece about Nigeria’s railroad deal with China that’s worth billions. Latin America’s entries are divided between the usual suspects; transnational crime and the precarious truce with Colombia’s FARC.

China dominates the Asia-Pacific section with five entries devoted to its foreign affairs and technological breakthroughs. The Central Asia, Caucasus is the runt of April, with just three stories. The Russia, Ukraine section almost spans 20 pages on everything connected with Moscow’s military activities.

The Special Essay is a lengthy discussion of China’s increasing role in multinational peacekeeping efforts.

Readers should be warned, however, that for some inexplicable reason the latest issue of OEWatch has a broken download link. Luckily, this has since been fixed.

Here Is The Speaker Schedule For Protect 2017

March 28, 2017

This year’s installment of the Protect conference series is from March 29 to 30 at the SMX Convention Center. Protect 2017 is an annual event focused on security issues specific to the Philippines. Now in its twelfth year the two-day affair offers a packed schedule involving delegates from the public and private sectors.

Protect 2017 is also an exhibition for companies in the security spectrum. These include AON Philippines, ARMSCOR, Boston Home Inc., Competitive Card, Dahua Technology, Hua Yang Electronics, Homescenario Inc., Naffco, Prodatanet, Shellsoft, and Zetos Swift Forensic.

This year’s sponsors are Dahua Technology, Microsoft, FireEye, and Smart–the last being a major player in Philippine telecoms. Supporting organizations include the US-Asean Business Council, ISC2, and CIISCM.

21st Century Asian Arms Race (21AAR) is a media partner for Protect 2017. Here’s the complete speaker schedule.

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Seven Ways China Conquers The Philippines

March 21, 2017

During the latter half of 2016 Chinese ships carried out oceanographic surveys in the waters off Luzon. The largest island in the Republic of the Philippines is both economic heartland and, spread across the rim of fabled Manila Bay, the center of government. It was only in March 2017 when Philippine authorities acknowledged these incursions on the country’s eastern seaboard.

But the suspicious activities on Benham Rise, and the tepid response from Manila, do inspire fresh thoughts of a possible showdown over the South China Sea, where Beijing is fortifying seven artificial islands. A deliberate Chinese presence imposed on Benham Rise and the Philippine Sea goes beyond  a violation of borders–it jeopardizes any future military alliance between Manila and Washington DC, neutralizing sea lanes and airways to Guam, Okinawa, and Hawaii. This leaves the Philippines cut off, encircled, and irrevocably doomed if its Mutual Defense Treaty with the US is never fulfilled.

If fighting erupts between China and the Philippines, the former will possess inordinate advantages when prying disputed waters from Manila’s grasp. Here’s how it might pan out.

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Armored Cars: SDPR BOV M16 Milosh

March 21, 2017

One of the brightest sparks in the European arms industry today just made a bet on a new armored car. As surplus MRAPs are spilling out of the Middle East and Africa in torrential volumes, manufacturers are turning to lighter vehicles with diverse capabilities. The Tawazun Group’s Nimr is a good example of this trend.

With Serbia’s arms industry on a rebound state-owned defense exporter Yugoimport SDPR is dipping its toes in the same tactical vehicle whirlpool. The Milosh was debuted at IDEX 2017 in Abu Dhabi. This is intentional because the region’s chronic security problems makes its countries eager customers for armored cars.

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A Complete Guide To The Kirov-Class Cruiser

March 21, 2017

The Peter the Great battle cruiser being intercepted by a Royal Navy destroyer on its way to the Mediterranean.

Historians may never agree on the exact year that represented the height of the Cold War but it was in 1975 when, for the first time ever, the Soviet nuclear arsenal surpassed America’s in sheer warheads.

Then it began to grow, larger and larger.

The same principle applied to the Soviet Navy. The threat of US carrier battle groups was too great to ignore. The proper response was a radical approach to shipbuilding. Not submarines or aircraft carriers, whose technology the Soviets struggled to grasp, but enormous fighting vessels whose purpose was to travel the oceans and kill entire fleets with a hail of missiles.

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China Is Building Its Own Marine Corps

March 20, 2017

Last week the South China Morning Post broke news of the PLA’s vast expansion of its marines. The report by Minnie Chan cited a gradual 400% jump in manpower for the newly minted branch.

China doesn’t maintain an equivalent to the US Marine Corps. But a 12,000-strong infantry force is attached to the PLAN. There’s a universal consensus the PLAN is deploying abroad soon in full-blown expeditions outside Asia.

The massive complex in Gwadar, Pakistan, and a base in Djibouti for guarding the Red Sea are deemed the likeliest destinations of the marines. These outposts and China’s notorious artificial islands form a maritime highway that’s essential to Beijing’s hegemonic goals.

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HOMSEC 2017: The Spanish Arms Industry Shines

March 17, 2017

Via Grupo Atenea.

For three days in Madrid the crème de la crème of Spanish industry enjoyed their own arms show. Though bereft of the usual pomp and flair associated with DSEi or Eurosatory, the 6th International Exhibition for Security & Defense Technologies or HOMSEC 2017 was an important gathering in its own right.

After all, the scale of participation offered a glimpse into Spain’s role in the broader European defense landscape. 21st Century Asian Arms Race is a media partner for HOMSEC 2017.

Organized by Grupo Atenea and lasting from March 14 to 16, HOMSEC 2017 brought together private enterprise and the national armed forces for an event promoting homeland security and its tools.

This is the sixth installment of HOMSEC, which is held every two years, and total exhibitors for 2017 numbered 195.

The home court advantage allowed Spanish firms and their products to shine in the absence of the familiar French and German heavyweights. The once vaunted local arms industry is now gone, anyway, since these firms have either closed shop or were swallowed up by acquisitions. What replaced them are a collection of medium-sized enterprises specializing in either services or equipment.

Surveying HOMSEC 2017’s modest exhibitor list reveals companies who provide the minutiae of modern warfare and security. These span such quotidian fields as ammunition, aeronautics, border protection, engineering, food, humanitarian aid, software and simulation, surveillance, and vehicles.

The activities in HOMSEC 2017 did reflect current trends found in most arms shows today–the primacy of automation, data software and geomapping, portable unmanned vehicles, surveillance systems, and dual-use technology.

A busy conference agenda was also readied for the duration of HOMSEC 2017. More than 40 speakers were scheduled to hold short seminars on a variety of topics.

Grupo Atenea hasn’t released its post-show figures yet. But the previous HOMSEC in 2015 can give a few helpful benchmarks. In 2015 nearly 13,000 people attended the exhibition, including group visits from 25 countries. Exhibitors hailed from 15 countries and 1,600 guests participated in the scheduled conferences and business presentations.

Two upcoming arms shows were advertised for the duration of HOMSEC 2017. These are the upcoming ISDEF in Israel and Expodefensa in Colombia.