Thursday, September 06, 2018

U.S. Officials Seek to Boost Arms Sales to India

By Jim Garamone, DoD News, Defense Media Activity

NEW DELHI -- A decade ago, U.S. arms sales to India amounted to virtually nothing. Today, the United States is the second-largest arms supplier to India, and U.S. officials say they hope to increase that business.

Army Lt. Gen. Charles Hooper, the director of the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, spoke to reporters while traveling to India with Defense Secretary James N. Mattis. His agency is responsible for foreign military sales.

India is modernizing its military and the United States would like to compete for those sales, he said. “There are four values that govern our relationship with India, and our relationship with all our partners: … transparency, responsiveness, integrity and commitment,” the general said.

Transparency means the agency shares all the information about systems and associated costs with its partners. This allows other nations to make informed decisions on the types of capabilities they need.

‘We’re Very Confident … They’ll Choose American Systems’

“We’re very confident that, when given all of the information that they need, they’ll choose American systems and American services,” Hooper said.

Responsiveness is another key. The general stays in constant touch with his partners. In India’s case that is the director general for acquisition. “Every time I see him, I provide him with a spreadsheet that updates … the status of all of our systems,” Hooper said. “And we have discussions on how we can better strengthen the partnership.”

Integrity is a key value that separates the U.S. approach to security cooperation from others, he said.

“Integrity means, quite simply, our books are always open,” Hooper said. “We don't charge one penny more than we have to for the finest systems and the finest services in the world. The books are always open, and we can account for every penny that our partners spend.”

The U.S. is committed to providing goods and services at the point of sale, and to forging and strengthening a long-term relationship, the general said.

“We found that when we follow those four values with our Indian partners, it helps to support, to strengthen that relationship,” he said.

Hooper cannot comment on possible sales to India, but he said he believes that no matter the domain, any U.S. system would bring enormous capabilities and be economically competitive. “What I can say is, I expect some very fruitful discussions,” he said. “All of our systems are the best in the world, and I'm sure are very competitive to suit and meet the requirements of our Indian partners.”

India has already bought U.S. C-17 Globemaster III aircraft and AH-64 Apache attack helicopters. One aspect of the current U.S.-Indian talks is the communications compatibility and security agreement. Once signed, a much larger range of U.S. weapons systems would be available to India.

Over the years, first the Soviet Union and then Russia were the largest arms suppliers to India. Russia remains the biggest supplier, mainly because of contracts for legacy systems.

“We're confident that when our partners take a look at the capabilities that we're offering as opposed to whatever capabilities they previously been committed to, that … U.S. capabilities will stand head-and-shoulders above all of them and will become the selection of choice, and we will become their partner of choice,” Hooper said.

U.S.-India Defense Cooperation a ‘Key Driver’ of Overall Relationship

By Jim Garamone, DoD News, Defense Media Activity

NEW DELHI -- U.S.-Indian defense cooperation has emerged “as the most significant dimension of our strategic partnership and as a key driver of our overall bilateral relationship,” Indian Defense Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said at the conclusion of the two-plus-two talks here today.

Sitharaman and Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj hosted Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary James N. Mattis for the talks between India and the United States.

The two nations signed the Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement just before the news conference. Mattis called the agreement a significant step in U.S.-Indian defense cooperation. “The landmark agreement deepens our military-to-military cooperation and our ability to share the most advanced defense technology, making us both stronger,” he said.

“The two-plus-two meeting has helped shared efforts of both sides to promote a whole-of-government approach for our strategic priorities,” Swaraj said at a news conference at the conclusion of the talks.

‘To Cooperate in Every Possible Way’

“The commitment of India and the United States to defend our shared values and common interests is clear and unwavering,” Sitharaman said. “We reaffirmed our intention to cooperate in every possible way, to ensure peace and stability as well as to realize the aspirations of our people for continued economic growth, prosperity and development.”

Both nations have the highest respect for each other’s sovereignty, Mattis said. The result is they are committed to work together “for a safe, secure, prosperous and free Indo-Pacific, one that is underpinned by the rule of law,” he said.

“We appreciate India’s role as a stabilizing force on the region’s geographic frontlines,” Mattis added. “Your nation understands better than many: Peace and prosperity are only attainable when all respect the principles of territorial integrity, freedom of navigation and freedom from coercion -- all of these are fundamental to the rules-based international order.”

During the meeting the leaders spoke to regional and global concerns like Afghanistan, North Korea and terrorism, Pompeo said. He stressed the shared values the U.S. and India possess.

“We have a responsibility to advance those shared values: rule of law; national sovereignty; good governance; the protection of fundamental freedoms, rights and liberties; free, fair and reciprocal trade relationships and peaceful resolutions of territorial and maritime disputes,” he said.

India already has a robust military training and exercise program with the United States, but the leaders agreed to ramp it up.

“To enhance our facilities in this area, we have decided to carry out for the first time a tri-services joint exercise with the United States off the eastern coast of India in 2019,” Sitharaman said. “We are also putting in place an enabling framework for further cooperation between our forces.”

India will continue to work with U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, but will now also work with U.S. Central Command, Sitharaman said.

Following the meeting, the four leaders also met with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

DoD Leaders Emphasize National Defense Strategy at Conference

By Terri Moon Cronk, DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON -- Defense Department military and civilian leaders participated in the Defense News Conference here yesterday to discuss the 2018 National Defense Strategy and how the U.S. military is evolving as it responds to global power competition.

Leaders in attendance included Chief of Naval Operations Navy Adm. John Richardson, Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson, Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment Ellen Lord, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Industrial Policy Eric Chewning, and military deputy to the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, Marine Corps Lt. Gen. H. Stacy Clardy III.

The leaders’ remarks revolved around the three lines of effort of the NDS: optimizing lethality, increasing the number of allies and partners, and reforming the way DoD does business to quickly get technology into the hands of warfighters.

Here are some takeaways from the daylong conference:

-- The Navy must be ready to compete in all arenas of global threats against near-peer competitors such as Russia and China, both of which have growing technology capabilities.

-- DoD readiness ensures it has more tools today than it has had in the past, which allows the services to provide training that’s rigorous and realistic. More importantly, today’s training ensures mastery of skills.

-- A tenet of DoD training is to ensure the services can train and fight with DoD partners and allies.

-- Squadrons are the power base of the Air Force. They are the guts, brains and clenched fist of American resolve, and comprise how the Air Force competes, deters and wins. “We must build a more lethal and ready Air Force that can operate seamlessly across all domains with joint and allied partners,” Wilson said.

-- Industrial-base collaboration with U.S. partners and allies is an important diplomatic tool for DoD.

-- A critical part of the NDS effort to reform business practices in DoD is the priority to get capabilities in the hands of service members downrange quickly.