Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said he’s considering buying weapons from Russia and China while also ending joint patrols with U.S. forces in the South China Sea. In a televised speech Tuesday before military officers in Manila, Duterte said that two countries -- which he didn’t identify -- had agreed to give the Philippines a 25-year soft loan to buy military equipment. Later, he said that Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and “technical people” in the armed forces would visit China and Russia “and see what’s best.” While Duterte said he didn’t want to cut the “umbilical cord” with his allies, the remarks were the latest to signal a shift away from the Philippine-U.S. defense treaty in place since 1951. Since engaging in a public spat with U.S. President Barack Obama last week, Duterte has denounced American military killings during the early days of colonial rule and called for U.S. forces to leave the southern island … [Read more...] about Duterte seeks arms from China, ends joint patrols with U.S.
U s defense budget
The United States is stepping up its military campaign against Islamic State by sending hundreds more troops to assist Iraqi forces in an expected push on the city of Mosul, the militants' largest stronghold, later this year. U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter made the announcement on Monday during a visit to Baghdad, where he met U.S. commanders, as well as Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and Defence Minister Khaled al-Obeidi. Most of the 560 additional troops will work out of Qayara air base, which Iraqi forces recaptured from Islamic State militants and plan to use as a staging ground for an offensive to retake Mosul, Iraq's second biggest city. Government forces said on Saturday they had recovered the air base, about 60 km (40 miles) from the northern city, with air support from the U.S.-led military coalition. "With these additional U.S. forces I'm describing today, we'll bring unique capability to the campaign and provide critical support to the Iraqi forces at a key moment … [Read more...] about U.S. to send more troops to Iraq ahead of Mosul offensive
Automatic spending cuts postponed at the beginning of the year are likely to take effect as scheduled in March because the Democrats are not willing to accept Republican proposals to avert them, the House of Representatives Budget Committee chairman said on Sunday. "I think the sequester is going to happen," Paul Ryan, chairman of the House budget panel and the GOP 2012 vice presidential nominee, said on the NBC program "Meet The Press." "We think these sequesters will happen because the Democrats have opposed our efforts to replace those cuts with others and they have offered no alternatives," he added. The spending cuts, which will hit both the Pentagon and many domestic programs, were set in motion in the hopes of forcing lawmakers into a large-scale agreement on deficit reduction. If allowed to happen, they would require government spending reductions totaling roughly 1.2 trillion dollars over the next decade. In the debate over how to bring down the deficits, … [Read more...] about U.S. House budget chief says automatic spending cuts likely
U.S. Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work appealed on Wednesday for lawmakers to "end this madness" of across-the-board Pentagon spending cuts, saying they threaten U.S. military readiness and technological dominance at a time of complex global challenges. Work, addressing a think-tank defense conference, said unless Congress is able to provide the Pentagon with greater budgetary stability and certainty, it runs the risk of building a military that "increasingly misaligned with the strategic environment." Work's comments come as the Pentagon, which is under orders to cut nearly $1 trillion in projected spending over a decade, faces another year of budgetary uncertainty. Although the 2015 fiscal year has started, Congress has not yet appropriated funding for the government, including defense, which has a base budget of $496 billion. Instead, the government is funded with a resolution that continues spending based on last year's priorities through Dec. 11. Congress will have to decide … [Read more...] about Pentagon No. 2 urges end to U.S. defense cut ‘madness’
U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Wednesday spelt out military spending cuts for the Congress, saying reduced spending will result in a smaller force that goes to fewer places and does fewer things. In his last scheduled appearance before Congress before his retirement, Gates told the Senate Appropriations Committee's defense subcommittee that the country must acknowledge and accept additional risk in exchange for reduced military spending. … [Read more...] about Gates says spending cuts mean smaller U.S. military