Center for Strategic Assessment and forecasts

Autonomous non-profit organization

Home / Defence and security / / Articles
Military competition, the United States, Russia and China
Material posted: Publication date: 05-03-2017

The Ministry of defense published on 9 February, the draft defense budget for 2017. This project has several features. First, there was increased spending on military actions abroad, the basic budget decreased by 1.9%. Second, the draft lists five threats: Russia, China, North Korea, Iran and ISIS (declared a terrorist organization and prohibited in Russia). At the same time it emphasizes that the main threat will come from China and Russia. It is supposed that there is a rivalry between the superpowers.

Thirdly, the result emphasizes the importance of budget in research and development associated with the Third Offset strategy, in order to obtain military technological advantage over Russia and China in the long run.

Fourth, the priority given to competition with Russia and China, as well as the Third Offset strategy, expresses the strong commitment of the Ministry of defence in the context of his controversy with President Barack Obama.

In this article I would like to perform a Third Offset strategy, which the draft budget is given special attention. This strategy has emerged in response to Chinese strategy of blocking access to the desired regions of A2/AD (Anti-Access/Area-Denial).

We can say that the Third Offset strategy closer to the reality of the latest concept, which appeared at the end of 2014. In the budget for 2017 it is presented as a specific project. I decided to tell you about this strategy because it is extremely important to ensure the security of our country.


Requirements of the defense budget

Chart 1 shows the fluctuations in the defence budget from 2001 to 2017. In 2017, the defense budget will amount to 583 billion dollars. In comparison with the year 2016 it decreased by 0.4%.

The core budget amounts to 523 billion dollars, which is 1.9% less than last year. While the budget for military operations abroad increased by 15.5% and amounted to 58.8 billion dollars. The fact that the Pentagon has increased spending on action against ISIS and Russia's actions in Europe.

In addition, the budget for research and development, which is important for the Minister of defense Ashton Carter (Ashton Carter) in order to ensure military technological advantage over Russia and China, increased by 4%: from 69 to 72 billion dollars. This is due to the need to ensure budget for victory in future wars.

While in a reduced budget, special attention is paid to the salaries that were increased by 1.6%.

Meanwhile, the Pentagon has failed to get enough money to upgrade troops. In particular, this affected the army and Navy, who were forced to reduce the budget for upgrades.

Thus, the defense budget for 2017 a balanced (balance between wages, efficiency, modernization and scale).

Chart 2 shows the organization of the main forces: 96 bombers, and 450 Intercontinental ballistic missiles, 55 tactical squadrons, 287 Navy ships (11 aircraft carriers and 14 nuclear submarines), 56 ground crews.

Budget to increase the combat readiness of the Navy is $ 8.1 billion, cybersecurity 6.7 billion dollars, missile industry of $ 12.8 billion, research and development of 71.8 billion dollars.

This reduction has not affected the budgets for 2016 and 2017, however, the four-year period, which will begin in 2018, threatens to reduce, if not will be made special orders.

Five challenges for the United States

In strategy-based Offset is the awareness of the threat in the long term. The key threat is Russia and China. According to the joint chiefs of staff, came a period when it is extremely difficult to predict the future. In addition, the time has come when American troops can't win a quick and easy victory.

After 9/11 the US for 15 years of fighting with terrorism. ISIS is one of the recent challenges. Also challenged by North Korea and Iran.

However, the main threat comes from the superpowers of Russia and China, so the necessary budget to respond to these challenges. In other words, five calls — Russia, China, North Korea, Iran, and ISIS.

In the report of the Ministry of defense of China followed by Russia. Russia, who annexed Crimea and participating in hostilities in Donbas, is in the first place.

In addition, after Russia annexed Crimea, also actively discussing the Russian threat A2/AD in the Eastern Mediterranean sea.

Conventionally, in order to get the budget for various events, you need to realistically assess the international situation. In this regard, mention not only Russia and China but also North Korea, Iran and ISIS.

However, you have to prioritize. The greatest danger to the vital interests of the United States from the point of view of economic, military and foreign policy, most likely, is China. It is followed by Russia.


North Korea, Iran and ISIS don't represent a direct threat to the United States. The Secretary of defense Carter said the threat is from the superpowers of China and Russia. The Third Offset strategy was specially developed in order to counter the military might of these two countries.

Carter and the defense Department are fighting alone

The draft budget reflects the fact that Carter and the defence Ministry have to fight alone. The reason is in contradiction with President Obama, who is the Supreme commander.

The relationship between President Obama and Minister of defense (Robert gates, Leon Panetta, Chuck Hagel) was not good. Especially tough in his memoirs, Obama criticized gates and Panetta.

They question the ability of President Obama to perform the duties of the Supreme commander. In other words, in a crisis, Obama is starting to doubt, shows no confidence in his own strategy, not expressing solid intentions, trying to delve into the various small details.

However, he shows dissatisfaction with the Ministry of defence and the commanders due to the fact that the military policy is not carried out properly. Foreign policy of the President is based on diplomatic efforts, while the wishes of the Ministry of defence are ignored.

Of course, between President Obama and defense Secretary Carter also had confrontation. This is especially true of measures against China, Russia and ISIS. For example, Carter offers to supply weapons to Ukraine in connection with the annexation of Crimea and the conflict in the Donbass, however, the President is not on it.

In connection with the construction of China's artificial Islands in the South China sea, Carter proposed to carry out a policy of freedom of movement in may 2015, but the President refused to accept this proposal, and it became a reality only on 27 October 2015.

During these six months, China has almost completed the construction of artificial Islands. The indecision of the President negatively affected the spirit of the U.S. Navy. This also applies to the fight against ISIS in Syria and Iraq: the Ministry of defence proposes to use ground forces, while the President is not decided on this.

Carter and Deputy Minister of defense Robert Wark (Robert Wark), mastermind of the strategy of Offset, emphasize that China and Russia pose a threat. Due to the competition between the superpowers they tried to seize the technological and military advantage.

President Obama does not like to declare openly that China and Russia pose a threat. As a result, the Ministry of defence and the President there are tensions.


Obama's term in office ends in a year, so the current draft budget is the last for him. The Ministry of defence don't like what the President and Advisor to the President for national security Susan rice (Susan Rice) start to interfere in the Affairs of the Ministry. It was reported that the defense Ministry attaches particular importance to the Third Offset strategy, which the President and his Advisor have virtually no effect.

The Third Offset Strategy

I'll tell you about this strategy on the basis of materials of the Center for strategic and budgetary assessments (CSBA), which were published in late 2014.

This advanced and revolutionary strategy prepared by CSBA. The Ministry of defence made it more realistic. Changes made by the Ministry of defence, linked to technological and budget constraints.


However, the Offset strategy developed by CSBA, is inextricably connected with the ideas of the Ministry of defence. Its value cannot be underestimated. Therefore, speaking about the strategy of Offset, it is necessary also to tell about the changes that have been made by the Ministry of defence.

What is the strategy to Offset?

It is a strategy that neutralizes the advantage of opponents (Russia and China) with more development of technology. In other words, the US answer to number quality.

This strategy is inseparably connected with innovation in the defense sector, which deals with Robert Wark. The aim of defence innovation is to support and strengthen the military advantage of the United States in the long term. The Offset strategy is an important element of defense innovation.

Why the third (Third Offset)?

In the US there was first and second Offset strategy. The first phase, the passage of which was to achieve superiority over the USSR in nuclear weapons, called "New look" and was developed under President Eisenhower in the 50-ies.

It was followed by a period of "counterweight Strategy" developed by Secretary of defense Harold brown in the late 70-ies and consisting in the combination of precision weapons and new intelligence systems to repel potential aggression of the countries of the Warsaw Treaty Organization (ATS) in Europe.

In 2014 was published the third strategy, which aims to counter the strategy A2/AD, China and Russia, which is blocking access to the desired regions.

Initially, the strategy CSBA mainly focused on China, but after the annexation of Crimea, the Pentagon began to consider a possible threat from Russia, studying Russian A2/AD, in the Mediterranean sea and airstrikes in Syria. Therefore, the object of the Offset strategy are Russia and China.


Five advantages of Third Offset strategy

It is expected that in future A2/AD, the people's liberation army of China will only grow. In this regard, the US needs to secure an advantage in five areas in the long term: unmanned operation, the actions of the aircraft extended range, low-observable air operations, undersea action and complex system engineering and integration.

• Unmanned operation

USA is the leader in the development of unmanned systems, artificial intelligence and Autonomous devices.


In comparison with managed aircraft unmanned systems can significantly reduce costs. Currently mainly being developed for aircraft short and medium range. Furthermore, they do not apply stealth technology.

Development of advanced stealth UAV long duration flight is conducted in three areas:

  1. The class HALE UAV: High-Altitude Long-Endurance.
  2. Family of military unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) class UCAS (Unmanned Combat Air Systems).
  3. UCAS, sea-based.

• "The effects of aviation extended range"

Bombers allow you to quickly and globally to respond to the actions of the enemy, but the crew fatigue limits their ability.

Current developments mainly focus on managed aircraft short range. The development of the Chinese strategy of A2/AD leads to the fact that the effectiveness of the us bases located in the far frontiers (e.g., Okinawa), is reduced. Currently, the U.S. carriers have been targeted by anti-ship ballistic missiles, and therefore increased the importance of actions over long distances.

• "Low-observable air operations"

USA have a huge advantage in the field of design, construction and use of stealth aircraft. These aircraft can inflict massive strikes on enemy territory. The United States attach great importance to the design of aircraft without stealth technology.

The F-35 and F-22 are superior to fourth-generation aircraft, in terms of stealth, but they have a small range. Many experts believe that the F-35 is imperfect even from the standpoint of stealth technology, so the United States needs bombers, stealth which will be improved.


• "Underwater action"

Strategy A2/AD, takes into account nuclear-powered attack submarines, but they are hard to resist. In addition, it requires a lot of time and money.

The Navy should improve the effectiveness of underwater action, but currently he mainly focuses on the development of ships, not submarines. So the United States attaches particular importance to unmanned underwater systems.

• "Complex systems engineering and integration"

A classic example is the system of global surveillance and strike, which involves different types of weapons (aircraft, bombers, aircraft carriers and so on). For this system it is important to create network-based technologies that will help you to combine various weapons.

Weapons and technology that are applied in the Third Offset strategy

The strategy takes into account these types of weapons, like unmanned aerial vehicle long-range (the successor RQ-4 Global Hawk), multipurpose unmanned aircraft sea-based (e.g., X-47B), bombers of distant radius of action (LRS-B), electromagnetic rail gun and laser weapons, the submarine Virginia Payload Module and so on.


Such technologies are of great importance and help to solve various complex tasks (hit the targets located on the territory of China, and also reflect the massive attacks of enemy drones).

Such weapons, especially electromagnetic rail gun and laser weapons, it is extremely important for the defense of Japan.

• Global surveillance and strike

Having superiority in five areas of the Third Offset strategy, it will be possible to establish a system of global surveillance and strike.

This system has the following properties:

  • strength: lack of dependence on bases located close to the enemy, the ability to withstand aerial threat and to act without support from space
  • high efficiency: the ability to strike within a few hours
  • elasticity: the ability to influence various situations around the world.

If deterrence does not work, the system of global surveillance and strike will give an asymmetrical response, dealing damage to the enemy strategy of A2/AD.

The items in the budget for 2017, associated with the Third Offset strategy

Above I spoke about the Third Offset strategy, which was published by CSBA, but how things are going with her discussion of the Ministry of defence? Let's try to analyze the draft budget, however, is quite difficult.

The fact that the items associated with the Third Offset strategy, are hidden in various other articles. So I'll have to use three sources, including Defense News.

The change in strategy Offset

  • CSBA has announced that it will not be used unmanned (LRS-B), and driven bomber of distant radius of action. CSBA also refused unmanned attack aircraft, sea-based and decided to increase the range of the F-35 due to the placement on the aircraft carrier refueling tankers.
  • The Pentagon is inclined to a more realistic event. For example, not only to develop weapons using the latest technologies, but also to upgrade existing weapons: missiles "air-land" SM-6 will be converted into anti-ship, submarines of class "Virginia" will be able to take on Board three times as many rockets, missiles "Tomahawk" can be used also against ships. It will not require a large amount of financial injections, and it is not difficult from a technological point of view.
  • The Offset strategy includes robotic weapons as well as conventional weapons like self-propelled howitzer M109A7 "paladin".
  • To get the latest technologies and talent from Silicon valley, on the initiative of the Minister of defense Carter in Sunnyvale was established the office of Defense Innovation Experimental Unit, with a budget of $ 45 million.

Six key actions in the strategy Offset

The budget for research and development is of 71.8 billion dollars. The Third Offset strategy will spend $ 3.6 billion. In addition, other expenses for the Third Offset strategy is included in the perspective plan defense measures, whose budget is $ 18 billion.

The Third Offset strategy consists of six main activities:

  • A2/AD;
  • the submarine war;
  • the cooperation and collaboration of people and machines;
  • cyber war;
  • protection against guided missiles;
  • the creation of a strategy of warfare.

From $ 18 billion in A2/AD will spend three billion on underwater warfare — three billion, for the interaction of people and machines — three billion, on cyber warfare 1.7 billion to protect from guided missiles — 500 million, the creation of the strategy of warfare — 500 million.

According to Deputy Minister of defense Robert Wark, will focus on the Autonomous deep learning, the interaction of man and machine, this new technology like the exoskeleton, which uses the character in the movie "Iron man," human interaction with unmanned systems and semi-Autonomous weapon systems.

Some of the comments to the Third Offset strategy

  • Despite changes in the strategy of Offset, the good news is that the third version of the strategy as close to reality. Five areas of excellence outlined in the strategy CSBA (UAV, long distances, low profile, underwater operation and interaction of all systems), is necessary in order to counter the strategy A2/AD, China and Russia.
  • The Pentagon refused to some interesting developments CSBA is said that sometimes the American Navy and air force follow its course. Underwater operations of submarines, it is extremely important, but also the required balance between surface and underwater operations. The fact that the Pentagon refused to unmanned attack aircraft, sea-based, suggests that he intends to modernize the military power gradually, without tough reforms. As for BBC, they also do not want to make drastic changes, abandoning the unmanned bomber LRS-B and focusing on upgrading existing systems.
  • It is noteworthy that the Offset strategy is almost non-existent in the army, and this is a problem. Initially, the Third Offset strategy emerged in order to counter Chinese A2/AD in the air and on the sea, so there is no question about ground forces. However, if you think about the possible hostilities on the Korean Peninsula and in Europe, without American ground forces will not do. Therefore, this strategy should also include research and development for land forces.
  • The Ministry of defence has opened an office Defense Innovation Experimental Unit in Silicon valley in order to get their hands on advanced technology and personnel. It is hoped that the Offset strategy will take advantage of such innovations as artificial intelligence, information communication technology and unmanned systems. I would like to ask the Ministry of defense of Japan also discussed the possibility of creating such companies.
  • In order to concretize the strategy of Offset, it is necessary to develop a concept of operations. The development of weapons and concept of operations closely related. In this sense, it is reasonable that the budget for 2017 included funds to develop a concept of operations.
  • Unmanned system using the artificial intelligence, recommended strategy, CSBA, electromagnetic rail gun and laser weapons — equipment that is vital to the defense of our country. It is necessary to follow American developments.


Defense of Japan is impossible without the American-Japanese Alliance. Should continue to make efforts to strengthen it. In the period of the emergence of new competition between the superpowers Japan and the United States, apparently, will often have to make efforts for ensuring peace and stability not only in Asia but throughout the world.

From this point of view, Japan needs to realize the importance of the fact that the US retaliate against Russia and China at the expense of the Third Offset strategy. This applies in particular to the Chinese strategy of A2/AD: not only the US but Japan is also required to consider the response.

Japan needs to have a strategy for military operations in the future and to consider carefully the possibility to develop corresponding equipment.

There is also the possibility that due to the Third Offset strategy, Japan and the United States will engage in joint development and production. However, it is not necessary to forget about competition with the United States in the field of research and development.

I wish Japan made its own all the basic equipment.

To produce advanced equipment, will require technology of the highest level. It is impossible to restrict the import of American technology. Recently, some media reported that one of the Japanese generals proposed to adopt the American anti-missile complex rolling land-based for high-rise natmosphere intercept medium-range missiles (THAAD), and I was surprised.

The defense industry in Japan is able to create missiles that will be better than THAAD. If Japan does not develop its own defense technology, the defense has no future.

Japan is obliged to compete with the US in such fields as aerospace, information and communication technology, artificial intelligence, and unmanned systems. Due to this, the Japan-us Alliance can reach a higher level.

Yoshikazu Watanabe


RELATED MATERIALS: Defence and security
Возрастное ограничение