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There's been word of the Army acquiring multiple UAV types from Elbit. This seems to be confirmation of the contract:

Elbit Systems Awarded $153 Million Contract to Provide a Networked Multi-Layered UAS Array to an Army in Southeast Asia

Haifa, Israel, October 06, 2019 – Elbit Systems Ltd . (NASDAQ: ESLT, TASE: ESLT) (“Elbit Systems”) announced today that it was awarded a contract valued at approximately $153 million to supply an Army of a country in Southeast Asia with a comprehensive, multi-layered array of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS). The contract will be performed over a 22-month period.

Under the contract, Elbit Systems will supply a networked multi-layered UAS solution, including more than a thousand THOR Multi-Rotor Vertical Takeoff and Landing (VTOL) mini-UAS, scores of Skylark LEX, Skylark 3 and Hermes 450 tactical UAS as well as Universal Ground Control Stations.

Bezhalel (Butzi) Machlis, Elbit Systems President & CEO , commented: “This contract award underlines our competitive edge as armies increasingly view multi-layered UAS solutions as key to providing superior intelligence while maintaining a high level of operational flexibility.”


Additional Information:
THOR (Brochure)
Skylark I-LEX (Brochure)
Skylark 3 (Brochure)
Hermes 450 (Brochure)

Gulfstream Aerospace, Savannah, Georgia, has been awarded a $31,899,999 firm-fixed-price task order against contract FA8134-19-D-0001 for the Gulfstream aircraft order and contractor logistic support (CLS) for Philippines Air Force. This order is for the purchase of one Gulfstream aircraft, parts, tooling and two years of CLS for sustainment of the aircraft. Work will be performed at Manila, Philippines, and is expected to be completed by May 31, 2022. This award is the result of a sole source acquisition. This contract involves 100% foreign military sales to the Philippines. The total cumulative face value of the contract is $2,070,000,000. Foreign Military Sales funding in the amount of $31,899,999 are being obligated at time of award. The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma, is the contracting activity (FA8124-19-F-2500).

U.S. DoD

China / Academic Discussions on China
« on: May 20, 2019, 10:59:32 PM »
I decided to make a thread for posting academic discussions on China's economy, politics, society, etc.

Carl Minzner, an expert in Chinese law and governance, author of End of an Era: How China's Authoritarian Revival is Undermining Its Rise (2018). He discusses certain trends in China and how these may affect the factors that made its reform period so successful, thus potentially threatening the country's future prospects. (For more information on China's reform period, you can refer to a presentation I made last year, previously posted in the developmentalism thread.

Carl Minzner On The End Of China's Reform Era

Minzner is a lawyer who takes a heterodox approach to examining China in his book, looking at economics, ideology and politics to argue his point. To sum up the proposition of his book: he argues that recent trends in China are putting an end to the major features of the post-1978 reform era.
Specifically he argues that there were three major characteristics of the Reform Era (cultivated with the ruling elite):
1.   Rapid Economic Growth (particularly the inclusive growth)
2.   Outward-looking Ideological Openness and Pragmatism
3.   Political stability and normalization
He argues that recent trends are in confluence to end these pillars of the reform era and are threatening China’s rise:
1.   Slowdown of Economic Growth
2.   Ideologically: A turn inwards towards Chinese nativism (to fill the gap left behind, because socialism is too dangerously anti-establishment to bring up again)
3.   Breaking of Political Norms
a.   Targeting of older members of the elite
b.   Failure to appoint a successor to Xi Jinping
c.   Constitutional revisions
d.   Re-politicization of the bureaucracy (under the Party)
e.   Targeting and repression of groups that are not in accordance with the state ideology. (Hong Kong, Xinjiang, Tibet)
Minzner argues that the core issue that led to these trends and the increase of authoritarianism was the failure to create alternative governance institutions during the reform era, particularly because political liberalization was off the table.

One good sign: No popular mobilization as in the Mao-era Cultural Revolution.

Yukon Huang, formerly the World Bank's country director for China and author of Cracking the China Conundrum: Why Conventional Economic Wisdom Is Wrong (2017), speaks about the cognitive dissonance between the common wisdom of experts on China, and the reality as reflected in empirical data.

Yukon Huang: Debunking Myths About China's Economy

Reform Contradictions Facing China's New Leadership, Yukon Huang

-Europe is the most pro-Chinese continent in terms of favorability and perceptions of China's economic prominence.

-Whereas the Asia-Pacific is most inclined towards the idea of the U.S. being the pre-eminent economic power.

-Russian people are the most pro-Chinese, though the government is wary.

-Trade balance affects public perception: Europe and North America have trade deficits with China, the Rest of the World, however have trade surpluses.

-U.S. Trade Deficit has little to do with Chinese exports. Trade deficits started long before China took off. Yukon ties the trade deficit to the problem of the Triffin Dilemma.

-U.S investment in China is miniscule: the nature of the goods traded (oilseeds & grains, aerospace products, recyclables & scrap, semiconductors & electronic components, automotive ) does not incentivize investment in China.

-American companies in China don't typically own manufacturing facilities, rather they may money from distribution and marketing.

-China's debt problem is not as bad as people think. The rapid rise of China's debt can be attributed to the fact that private property was only allowed relatively recently.

-In terms of property prices, China's are significantly lower than India's, which are nearly twice as much.

-Experts, particularly in the U.S. often hold mistaken notions and conventional wisdom, and therefore develop foreign policy based on false assumptions.

Filipino Potential / The Philippine Public Enterprise Sector
« on: March 24, 2019, 05:02:05 AM »
I decided to start this thread in light of the recent transfer of the Philippine Aerospace Development Corporation (PADC) from the Department of Transportation to the Department of National Defense. Matters of public enterprises have long been a subject of study for me. Unfortunately it is a field that fell out of fashion a couple decades ago, much to my dismay, as the general lack of interest in the subject led a dearth of classes that would have allowed me to specialize on the subject for my post-graduate degree. In fact, in several years of studying at the National College of Public Administration and Governance, I only ever had the opportunity to take two classes on the sub-field. This forced me to pursue my studies on the matter largely by myself. Thankfully I was able to find access to a large, though neglected and somewhat dated body of literature on the matter. In any case, my point is that my personal academic experiences on the matter reflect the general apathy and neglect towards the sub-field of public enterprise studies among the academe today. Which is why I felt the need to share writings and insights on an open forum. Hopefully the following posts will be able to inspire attention and discussion on a topic largely neglected.

My initial series of posts will be a revised version of a paper I had written back in 2011 on the matter of Public Enterprise Reform, with some modifications and updates. I felt it best to start with that instead of waiting to finish making new write ups as it is already complete and contains a fair bit of information for the uninitiated. I felt it particularly pertinent with the disappointing implementation of the GOCC Governance Act under the previous administration and recent indicators of the willingness of the Duterte administration to having the PE sector play a renewed role in the economy. Perhaps this may be able to stir discussion on the prospect for substantive public enterprise reform.

Please note that my posts will be subject to revisions and updates from time to time. For a copy of my original paper in PDF please click here.

Filipino Potential / The case for nuclear energy in the Philippines
« on: March 17, 2019, 12:32:58 AM »
Note: The following is a paper written for a post-graduate class on national security administration. Please bare in mind that I am by no means a subject matter or technical expert on nuclear power or the nuclear sciences. As such the following is a limited scope academic paper looking at nuclear power from the perspective of energy security.

For the accompanying presentation for this paper, please click here to download the .pdf version. I would recommend doing so, as the presentation includes several tables and figures that were included in my original paper but not included in the following text.


   The 2017-2022 Philippine National Security Strategy defines energy security as “the uninterrupted availability of energy sources to all households and economic sectors throughout the country at an affordable price.”

In the same document, energy security is listed as part of the 12-point national security agenda of the country:

“Energy Security - Secure and protect energy supply throughout the country and pursue the sustainment of existing sources and the development of alternative sources of energy to support the demands of economic enterprises and households and contribute to the global efforts to address climate change.”

(National Security Council, 2018)

This inclusion highlights the importance of energy availability to the vital interests of the country and of the people.

In the pursuit of this vital national interest, the Department of Energy (DOE) laid out the Philippine Energy Plan for 2017 to 2040. In the PEP, the DOE sets out a nine-point energy agenda, among which is “the adoption of a technology neutral approach for an optimal energy mix”. This point requires some elaboration:

“Technology neutrality” used in the context of energy policy means that the state will not outline a specific path or technology to achieve a viable energy mix. This is as opposed to a technology-specific approach which determines what exact technologies will be used by a country in the pursuit of its energy agenda. Essentially that all technologies available for energy production are given a level playing field.

This approach to energy policy has been criticized for allowing economically-established fossil fuel-based energy technologies to marginalize promising but less established technologies such as renewables (solar, wind, etc.) in the energy market through a narrow economic or market-based paradigm. (Kuiper)

However, in the current Philippine context, the side-by-side existence of the policy directive of reducing carbon emissions as well as sectoral roadmaps for the expansion and development of both renewable energy (RE) technologies and fossil fuel (oil, natural gas, coal) resource development, seems to indicate a more nuanced policy: while the government has put a clear emphasis on the need to shift towards cleaner, lower-carbon emitting energy sources, it is exploring all options available towards this objective in recognition of a need to remain pragmatic in the pursuit of policy.

A particularly enlightening point on this matter can be found in the DOE’s presentation in the ACD Conference towards Energy Security, Sustainability and Resiliency dated the 8th of August 2017. In it the slide which mentions the need for a technology neutral approach two particular technologies are mentioned: integrated liquefied natural gas & nuclear energy. Both technologies that have significantly lower green house gas emissions than the coal and oil-based sources used in the current energy mix, but may not be as politically or popularly seen as options going forward.

It is the latter of these two technologies that this paper is concerned with and will seek to build a case for as a viable and indeed desirable alternative energy source in the Philippines’ energy mix.

The following section will briefly discuss the history of nuclear power technology in the Philippines from its beginning in the 1960s to the present day. The sections afterward will discuss the rationale for the pursuit of nuclear power as an alternative energy source, the existing challenges for nuclear power, present opportunities and the lessons that can be gleaned from the case study of one of the foremost nuclear energy producing countries (France). Lastly, this paper will conclude and make several recommendations for Philippine nuclear policy based on the body of discussion.

Filipino Potential / Developmentalism and the Developmental State
« on: January 30, 2019, 01:13:03 AM »
I felt it important to share this information in a public forum given the general lack of awareness of the concepts mentioned below among the general populace. As my former professor told me, such concepts are actually heavily discussed in developing countries in Africa and the Middle East, yet are little known by even the academe in the Philippines, despite their great relevance. As such, I will be attempting to summarize nearly a semester's worth of classes on the subject matter in this thread. Please bare with me as I try to make a write up that is understandable to the layman. I can say from the experience of my own class that it was only my prior education in economics and development theory that allowed me to comprehend the subject matter so readily. My classmates took much more time to understand many of the theoretical discussions.

What is Developmentalism?

• A political-economic philosophy or worldview of policymakers about a country's development goals and what role the state should play in achieving these goals. This has influenced a set of institutional arrangements to facilitate the design and implementation of developmentally-oriented industrial policies.

• Essentially a set of ideas about the necessity and desirability of strategically governing the industrial economy for nation-building, accompanied by policy measures in other domains (social, cultural) likely to be shaped by the imperatives of industrial upgrading and innovation.

At its core developmentalism is probably most succinctly defined as economic nationalism, a recognition that in order to strengthen and secure one's nation-state, policies must be set in place to strengthen and secure that nation-state's economy. It is based on a world view that is realist and pragmatic, and so its policy prescriptions are pragmatic and strategic in orientation.

Within the historical context of East Asia, developmentalism arose out of the geopolitical realities of the Cold War: East Asian developmental states were poor countries that found themselves as pawns in the contest of the superpowers. If they were to assert their sovereignty and independence, they needed to strengthen themselves and overcome their poverty. In order to do that, they needed to develop. In order to do that, they needed to industrialize.

And so rather than adopt growth strategies based on either of the two prevailing ideologies of the time, the East Asian states adopted a pragmatic, strategic, experimental and ideologically-agnostic approach to their development strategy.

What is the Developmental State?

The developmental state can be summarized as a political-economic arrangement characterized by the presence of both a capitalist system and an interventionist state where the objective is development through industrialization. Conceptually the developmental state occupies a middle ground in between free-market capitalism and socialist-style central planning, the two major competing political-economic ideologies of the 20th century.

Perhaps the most remarkable characteristic of this concept is its origin: Unlike the capitalist and socialist systems which are based on theories derived from deductive reasoning (Classical/Neoclassical Economics & Marxist Theory), developmental state theory emerged from the study of the real-life practices and historical experiences of states that were able to successfully industrialize and develop, specifically the East Asian economies of Japan, South Korea, Taiwan & Singapore. These countries, also known as the  "2nd wave of industrializing countries" or the "late developing countries", were able to do in a matter of decades what it took the early industrialized countries nearly a century to achieve, leading them to be labelled the "Miracle Economies".

More specifically, developmental state theory can be traced back to the work of Chalmers Johnson in his study of the Japanese Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) and its key role in the Japanese economic miracle. In this seminal work there were two major characteristics of the Japanese country case: (1) a consensus among the country's policy-making elite towards national industrialization and development (2) a capable economic bureaucracy working closely with private enterprise in such a way as to be able to steer the economy towards national developmental objectives, but still remain uncaptured by special interests and able to discipline the private sector.

The growth strategies adopted by these countries can be characterized as capitalist, but not free market, open to trade, but not free trade. Their economies were open in order to leverage demand, knowledge and technology available on the global market, but coupled with protectionist policies aimed at creating a domestic capitalist class that was globally competitive. The creation of which was hoped to reduce reliance on imports, create earnings through exports, overcome poverty through job creation, and increase national strength through the development of a industrialized and diversified economies.

These characteristics were found to apply similarly to the other East Asian countries, though exact policies differed between country cases: Japan and S. Korea for example focused on developing heavy industries via large conglomerates (keiretsus & chaebols), whereas Taiwan focused more on developing small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Japan and S. Korea relied on domestic investments largely through control of capital through financial institutions, whereas Singapore relied on large amounts foreign direct investment.

To be clear, though the developed East Asian economies are the most famous examples of developmental states, the concept is not limited to them alone. In Europe perhaps the most clear example of a developmental state is that of France, which adopted an economic doctrine called Dirigisme during the post-war period, notably nationalizing many strategic industries such as electrical utilities and telecommunications and directing others such as the nuclear and aerospace industries. Neither are these concepts necessarily modern ones, as South Korean economist Ha-Joon Chang argues that the origins of the developmental state can be traced back as far as the 16th century and the Mercantilist economic tradition. In fact many of the today's developed countries such as the Great Britain, the United States had extremely protectionist economic systems in place during their developmental periods, only adopting more free trade stances after achieving industrialization. This last point is particularly pertinent give the free market and free trade policy prescriptions that has been handed down to developing countries since the 1980s.

What are the key characteristics of the Developmental State?

The historical experience of the East Asian developmental states show certain common characteristics:

a. Consensus among policy-making elite

Among the policymakers there was an unwavering commitment to economic growth and development by transforming the industrial structure in order to enhance its international competitiveness. This required active state intervention in the economy (‘plan-rational’).
These policymakers possessed a shared both nationalist ambition and an idea on how to achieve it (e.g., strategic intervention in the market).

b. Competent economic bureaucracy

These states had professional, meritocratic bureaucracies with personnel often recruited from best law, engineering, public administrations schools. (Some even drafted from the military, as was the case in South Korea.) Appointments were made on the basis of merit and, and were unaffected by election results.

Notably there were state organs in the form of pilot or steering agencies concerned with economic development and responsible for planning and coordinating industrial transformation  (e.g., S. Korea’s Economic Planning Board, Singapore’s Economic and Dev’t Board, etc.).

c. State control over finance

By controlling domestic finances, states were able to strategically direct the flow of investments to areas of key interest (strategic industries, etc.) and national priority. This was often applied through the use of state banks and financial institutions. Governments channeled capital (from loans with low interest rates or foreign loans) to business elites to invest in industries aligned with national development plans, and in the process created political interest groups that could be molded into a developmental coalition (South Korea and Japan). This type of relationship is conceptualized by the term embedded autonomy, where state organs would have have close relationships with the private capitalist class ("embedded") but retain their integrity in enforcing state policy and avoiding capture ("autonomy"). Of course, such a relationship involving the trading of privileges with acquiescence to state policy is not without problems (cozy state-business relationships, corruption, moral hazard), but it allowed for the coordination between public and private sectors towards a common developmental goal.

Another way in which the State controlled finance, was through the currency and exchange rate policies. This is important as it has a bearing on repayment of loans from abroad, the price competitiveness of export products and the international balance of trade , which all influence a country’s macro-economy.

Another little-known aspect of this were policies restricting the ability of consumers/business to spend their money in certain ways. For example on luxury imported goods or travel abroad. All to keep limited financial resources directed towards domestic investment.

d. Strict/repressive policies towards labor

Direct or indirect state intervention in labor management relations; labor rights were severely curtailed in exchange for increased productivity. This was particularly true in the autocratic states such as South Korea and Taiwan.

e. Social policies (universal education, healthcare, housing, etc.)

Despite repressive labor policies, education, health, even housing, services tended to be universal as it was needed for  structural transformation; it also gave legitimacy to the state in the eyes of the people. Such policies gave the common man the sense that the state was looking out for their well-being.

From the ideational perspective on the developmental state one can derive a much simpler, broader defining trait that goes beyond the peculiar East Asian experiences: That so long as a state possesses a developmental drive (the political will towards becoming a developed country) and enacts interventionist policies towards such vis-a-vis an open economic strategy, it may count as a developmental state.

Another broader characteristic can be said to be the pragmatic manner in which they have gone about crafting and implementing their development strategies. Not being tied down by any single ideology, developmental states have alternatively used market- and state-centered policies depending on what worked. As Deng Xiao Ping succinctly put it: "It doesn't matter if a cat is black or white, so long as it catches mice." Such an approach is inherently experimental and the history of these states involved a lot of trial-and-error in order to discover what worked.

How is the Developmental State relevant today?

With the end of the Cold War came the succession of neoliberalism to the mainstream of policy circles, economic academe & the international trading regime. Formerly exemplar developmental states such as Japan were eventually forced to adopt mainstream free market/free trade economic policies. This process intensified with the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade and ascendance of the World Trade Organization. At the same time, the wave of democratization at the end of the Cold War led to decline of the types of regimes that were previously able to implement restrictive labor policies and maintain politically-insulated policy-making bureaucracies. The loss of economic policy autonomy on multiple areas (currency exchange, tariffs, state direction of domestic capital, labor policy, etc.) had led some authors to declare the death of the developmental state.

However, others (Wade, 2018) have argued otherwise. They argue that developmental states are more than just a specific growth strategy or set of policy options. They argue that the developmental state, inherently realist and pragmatic as it is, is alive and well, and has merely adopted to the current geopolitical circumstances. Adopting the ideational perspective (mentioned above) they argue that so long as states adopt a development-based societal mission and market‐steering roles well beyond neoliberal limits then it will continue to endure.

Perhaps the biggest exemplar of a developmental state today is the People's Republic of China. While western journalists and think tanks write about the so-called "Beijing Consensus" as a developmental paradigm to challenge the neoliberal "Washington Consensus", in truth nothing in Beijing's approach is particularly new. It is the essentially the same paradigm as was used by Japan and the other East Asian economies, it is the same as was used by the early industrialized countries. The criticisms hurled at China mirror those hurled at Japan during the 1980s and are largely based on the insecurity felt by Western countries (particularly the United States) at the rise of an economic rival.

[For further reading on China's developmental state, here is a link to my presentation on the subject including reference lists for readings and video clips used.]

Of particular interest to the developing world are the lessons of how China, a WTO member with a stake in the international trade regime, manages to balance its domestic economic needs with its international commitments. How it creatively "games" the system, so to speak.

Why is the Developmental State relevant in the Philippine context?

The Philippines is still a developing country. One that is still struggling to industrialize. Historically the country had in fact attempted to follow developmentalist policies during the 1950s to the 1970s. Notable highlights include the Filipino First policy under the Garcia administration in the 1950s, and policies such as the Self Reliant Defensive Posture policy during the Marcos administration. These policies were not continuous, however, with the Filipino First policy having been ended by the succeeding administration, and the policies of the 1970s being reversed by policy concessions required of loans made out by the IMF and World Bank since the late 1970s (the so-called Structural Adjustment Programmes).

These Structural Adjustment Policies (SAPs) were based on the policy prescriptions of the then emergent, now dominant neoclassical school of economics (so-called neoliberalism). At its heart such policies are market-centric and take a dim view of the idea of state intervention in the economy. As such, beginning in the late Marcos administration and solidifying in the first Aquino administration, the Philippines has pursued a characteristically neoliberal economic development strategy. In fact, it was during the Aquino administration that the industrial policy planning arm of the Department of Trade and Industry was abolished as any form of industrial policy is considered taboo under free-market paradigm. In the Philippines, as in many other developing countries, plan-rational and strategic approaches to developmental policy were replaced with market-oriented policies that saw the state retreat from its previous role. It has gotten to the point where it seems that many in policy circles and the academe had lost sight of the core objective of decades past: industrialization.

All is not lost, however, as recent developments seem to indicate that the pendulum might be swinging back the other way: Within the Department of Trade & Industry reformers have been working under the radar on reviving industrial policy, and have in fact been pushing a low-key Filipino First-style policy. The 2017-2022 National Security Strategy outlines the development of domestic strategic industries as a key component. The Department of National Defense seems to have become a  proponent for industrial policy with recent policy recommendations made by the Sec. of Defense on the possible takeover of Hanjin's local shipyard facilities, and the President's receptiveness to said proposal. This last development in particular would have been unthinkable even a few years ago. Another example is the DND's sourcing of pistols from local company Armscor Global Defense for the AFP's pistol tender.

On the private side, local industrialists have been pushing to grow globally competitive companies either on their own or in line with government mandates. A notable example is SteelAsia, whose president Adrian S. Cristobal Jr. was the former Secretary of Trade and Industry, is currently investing in expanding its facilities through out the country, notably seeking to source raw materials by recycling domestic supplies of scrap metal. Improved domestic capacity in steel production would increase self-reliance and reduce imports of steel products.

Only time will tell if such policies can get enough long-term support in order to make an significant impact on the performance of the country's economy.

Further Reading:

• Johnson, Chalmers A (1982). MITI and the Japanese Miracle: The Growth of Industrial Policy, 1925-1975. Stanford University Press. ISBN 0-8047-1206-9.

• Woo-Cumings, Meredith (1999) Introduction: Chalmers Johnson and the Politics of Nationalism and Development in the Woo-Cumings, Meredith (ed) The Developmental State, Ithaca and London, Cornell University Press
• Suehiro, Akira (2008) CATCH UP INDUSTRIALIZATION The Trajectory and Prospects of East Asian Economies, Honolulu, University of Hawai’i Press
• Zhu, Zhiqun (2009) Understanding East Asia’s Economic ‘Miracles’ in Key Issues in Asian Studies No. 3, Ann Arbor, Association for Asian Studies, Inc.
• Wade, R. (2018) The Developmental State: Dead or Alive Development and Change 00 (0): 1-29.DOI:10.1111/dech.12381 International Institute of Social Studies
• Stubbs, Richard (2009) What ever happened to the East Asian Developmental State? The unfolding debate in The Pacific Review, Vol. 22 No. 1, Routledge (Taylor and Francis)
• Thurbon, E. (2014). The Resurgence of the Developmental State: A Conceptual Defence’. Critique Internationale, 63 (April/May): pp. 8, 59-75.

I was surprised to find that neither of these two documents had their own thread of the forum.

Links below:

National Security Policy 2017-2022

National Security Strategy 2017-2022

Some of the salient points:

Quote from: National Security Goals
1. Strengthen public safety, law & order, social justice
2. Sustain and enhance socio-political stability
3. Safeguard territorial integrity & sovereignty
4. Bolster solidarity-based and sustainable economic development
5. Protect and preserve ecological balance
6. Advance cultural cohesiveness
7. Promote moral-spiritual consensus
8.Contribute to international peace

Quote from: 12-point National Security Agenda:
1. Human and Political Security
2. Health Security
3. Economic and Financial Security
4. Food & Water Security
5. Military & Border Security
6. Socio-Cultural Security
7. Environment & Disaster Security
8. Energy Security
9. Maritime & Aerospace Security
10. International Security
11. Informational & Cyber Security
12.Transportation & Port Security

One of the more interesting parts is the identification of key/strategic industries for development.

Quote from: Strategic Industries
1. Agriculture and Aquaculture
2. Aircraft
3. Investment and Banking
4. Biotechnology
5. Construction
6. Disaster Prevention, Mitigation and Risk Reduction and Management/Reconstruction
7. Education
8. Electronics
9. Environment
10. Information and Communications
11. Land Combat Mobility Systems
12. Manufacturing
13. Energy
14. Robotics
15. Satellite Systems and Space
16. Services
17. Shipbuilding
18. Strategic Minerals and Materials
19. Transportation
20. Weapons
21. Tourism
22. Health

Annex B. of the NSS goes into further detail into what sectors are considered important. It's rather interesting because it seems to be the first recognition outside of the Department of Trade and Industry of the need for an industrial policy for the first time in decades. (The 1st Aquino administration abolished the industrial policy planning body, in line with its neoliberal leaning reform agenda.)

With the recent incorporation of more advanced UAV platforms into the PAF, I felt it might be helpful to look at available literature on such matters. I found this 2014 paper on the topic from the perspective of the JASDF, which had pursued drone platforms only relatively recently.

Shirai, R. (2014). Incorporating Unmanned Aerial Systems into the Japan Air Self-Defense Force. The Brookings Institute. (pdf download available)

The study draws lessons from the experiences of multiple services from different countries: United States Army, United States Navy & Marine Corps, United States Air Force, Royal Air Force, French Air Force, German Air Force, Royal Australian Air Force, Israeli Air Force.

I had already shared this report in a previous thread about Trump's proposed "space force", though I feel that this topic probably deserves its own thread. The following are excerpts from the Secure World Foundation's April 2018 report on the counterspace capabilities of states known to either possess them or might be capable of developing them, including: China, Russia, the United States, Iran, North Korea and India.

Of thee states mentioned, it is the United States, China and Russia which have the most developed capabilities.

Counterspace capabilities are classified into several categories:
  • co-orbital ASAT
  • direct-ascent ASAT
  • electronic warfare
  • directed energy weapons
  • cyber counterspace capabilities

Link to the full report here.

Over the last few decades, China has embarked on a sustained national effort to develop a broad
spectrum of space capabilities across the civil, national security, and commercial sectors
. Space
capabilities under development by China include a robust human spaceflight and robotic space
exploration program; remote sensing for weather and resource management; and military
applications such as positioning, navigation and timing and intelligence, surveillance and

China appears to be highly motivated to develop counterspace capabilities in order to bolster its
national security. China is beginning to more strongly assert its regional political, economic, and
military interests, and sees counterspace capabilities as a key enabler. Much has been written about
how reliant the United States is on space capabilities to project global military power, and thus
being able to counter U.S. space capabilities is a key element of China’s ability to assure its
freedom of action and deter potential U.S. military operations in its sphere of influence.

There is strong evidence suggesting that China has a sustained effort to develop a broad range of
counterspace capabilities. Over the last decade, China has engaged in multiple tests of technologies
and capabilities that either are offensive counterspace weapons or could be used as such.
has also begun developing the policy, doctrine, and organizational frameworks to support the
integration of counterspace capabilities into its military planning and operations. That said, it is
unclear whether China intends to fully utilize counterspace capabilities in a future conflict, or
whether the goal is to use them as a deterrent against aggression. There is no public evidence of
China actively using counterspace capabilities in current military operations.

Over the last two decades, Russia has refocused its effort on regaining many of the space
capabilities it lost following the end of the Cold War.
For the first several decades of the Space
Age, the Soviet Union developed a robust set of governmental space programs that matched, or
exceeded, the United States in many areas. While often not quite a technologically advanced as
their American counterparts, the Soviets nonetheless managed to field significant national security
space capabilities.

During the Cold War, the Soviet Union developed a range of counterspace capabilities as part of
its strategic competition with the United States. Many of these capabilities were developed for
specific military utility, such as destroying critical American military satellites, or to counter
perceived threats, such as the Reagan Administration’s Strategic Defense Initiative. Some of them
underwent significant on-orbit testing and were considered operationally deployed. However, the
Soviet Union also signed bilateral arms control agreements with the United States that put limits
on the use of counterspace capabilities against certain satellites. Many of these programs were
scrapped or mothballed in the early 1990s as the Cold War ended and funding dried up.

There is strong evidence that Russia has embarked on a set of programs over the last decade to
regain some of its Cold War-era counterspace capability. In some cases, the evidence suggests
legacy capabilities are being brought out of mothballs, and in other cases the evidence points to
new, modern versions being developed.
In all cases, Russia has a strong technical legacy to draw
upon. Under Putin, Russia also has renewed political will to obtain counterspace capabilities for
much the same reasons as China: to bolster its regional power and limit the ability of the United
States to impede on Russia’s freedom of action.

Unlike China, there is also significant evidence that Russia is actively employing counterspace
capabilities in current military conflicts. There are multiple, credible reports of Russia using
jamming and other electronic warfare measures in the conflict in eastern Ukraine, and indications
that these capabilities are tightly integrated into their military operations.

The United States currently has the best military space capabilities in the world. During the Cold
War, the United States pioneered many of the national security space applications that are in use
today and remains the technology leader in nearly all categories. The U.S. military also has the
most operational experience of any military in the world in integrating space capabilities into
military operations, having done so in every conflict since the 1991 Persian Gulf War against Iraq.

During the Cold War, the United States, like the Soviet Union, had multiple counterspace
programs, ranging from nuclear-tipped missiles to conventional DA-ASATs launched from fighter
jets. Most of these programs were aimed at countering specific Soviet military space capabilities,
such as the ability to use satellites to target U.S. Navy ships with anti-ship missiles. After the fall
of the Soviet Union, the United States briefly considered pushing ahead and developing new
counterspace systems to solidify its space superiority. However, these efforts never fully
materialized due to a range of factors, including domestic budgetary and political pressure, a
deliberate act of self-restraint, and the focus on counterterrorism and counterinsurgency campaigns
following the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Today, the United States fields one acknowledged counterspace system and has an electronic
warfare capability, but it also has multiple other operational systems that could be used in a
counterspace role. There is evidence to suggest a robust debate is underway, largely behind closed
doors, on whether the United States should develop new counterspace capabilities, both to counter
or deter an adversary from attacking U.S. assets in space and to deny an adversary their own space
capabilities in the event of a future conflict.
The impetus for this debate is renewed Russian and
Chinese counterspace development, and the recent conclusion that the United States is engaged in
great power competition with Russia and China.

Iran has a nascent space program, building and launching small satellites that have limited
capability. Technologically, it unlikely Iran has the capacity to build on-orbit or direct-ascent anti
satellite capabilities, and little military motivations for doing so at this point.
Iran has not
demonstrated any ability to build homing kinetic kill vehicles, and its ability to build nuclear
devices is currently constrained by the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. Iran has demonstrated
the ability to persistently interfere with the broadcast of commercial satellite signals, although its
capability to interfere with military signals is difficult to ascertain.

North Korea, officially known as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), has no
demonstrated capability to mount kinetic attacks on space assets; neither with a direct ascent
ASAT nor a co-orbital system.

In its official statements, North Korea has never mentioned anti-satellite operations or intent,
suggesting that there is no clear doctrine guiding Pyongyang’s thinking at this point. North Korea
does not appear motivated to develop dedicated counterspace assets
, though certain capabilities in
their ballistic missile program might be eventually evolved for such a purpose.
The DPRK has demonstrated the capability to jam civilian GPS signals within a limited
geographical area. Their capability against U.S. military GPS signals is not known.
There has been
no demonstrated ability of the DPRK to interfere with satellite communications, although their
technical capability remains unknown.

India has over five decades of experience with space capabilities, but most of that has been civil
in focus. It is only in the past several years that India has started organizationally making way for
its military to become active users and creators of its space capabilities. India’s military has been
developing an indigenous missile defense program that its supporters argue could provide a latent
ASAT capability, should the need arise; this capability has not been tested.
It is possible that India
would move into rapidly testing an ASAT if it felt that the international community was getting
close to creating an international legal regime banning kinetic ASAT tests; otherwise, given how
much investment the Indian military is making in its satellite capacity and the income that Indian
rockets are making launching other countries’ satellites, it is unlikely that they will move to
actively create an official counterspace program.


Philippine National Railways (PNR) General Manager Junn Magno (left) accepts from PT Industri Kereta Api (PT INKA) President Budi Noviantoro a model train unit during the contract signing on the PNR’s purchase of seven train sets from PT INKA on May 28. PHOTO BY ANDREA DE LA CRUZ


PNR General Manager Junn B. Magno signs today a contract for the purchase of Two (2) Diesel Electric Multiple Unit (DMU) amounting to Four Hundred Eighty Five Million Three Hundred Twelve Thousand Six Hundred Pesos (Php 485,312,600.00) with PT. Industri Kereta Api (Persero) “PT INKA” of Indonesia with its President Director Budi Noviantoro.

PNR now embarks another milestone in its 125 years of existence through the robust project of President Rodrigo and under the able leadership of Transportation Secretary Arthur P. Tugade and General Manager Junn Magno. This would be the first after so many years that PNR organically procure its own trains since most are donated cars and/or part of national loan packages.

The DMU project is funded from the 2015 DOTr-GAA funds which was downloaded to PNR and the project was approved by the PNR Board under the leadership of Chairman Roberto T. Lastimoso. It has undergone public bidding in compliance with Republic Act No. 9184 and its 2016 Revised Implementing Rules and Regulations. The project consist of design, manufacture, delivery, testing and commissioning of the DMU trains which is expected to be delivered in the Philippines  on Quarter 3 of 2019 for commissioning and testing.


The two new DMU trains is part of the Reliability and Availability Program of GM Magno which transcends beyond 2018. PNR was granted a budget by Congress through the General Appropriations Act of 2018 for acquisition of trains, thus PNR will have more new trains in 2019. GM Magno’s dream for PNR is to have more frequent and comfortable trips, new commuter lines and more reliable trains. The current fleet will also undergo rehabilitation to better serve PNR passengers. This signing of contract is a baby step towards achieving that goal.

PNR to acquire 7 train sets from Indonesia

May 30, 2018

PHILIPPINE National Railways (PNR) will purchase seven train sets worth more than P2 billion to improve its reliability and serve more passengers.

Under a contract signed with Indonesian government-owned PT Industri Kereta Api (PT INKA) at a Manila hotel late Monday, PNR will acquire four diesel multiple unit train sets worth $21.4 million (P1.13 billion) and three diesel hydraulic train sets worth $26 million (P1.37 billion).

These are expected to be delivered by December 2019.

According to PNR General Manager Junn Magno, who signed the contract with PT INKA President Budi Noviantoro, the reason diesel hydraulic sets were chosen is because these can run through floodwaters.

The PNR, he said, currently operates 11 sets with reliability issues that prevent them from sustaining frequency.

The PNR line, which runs from Tutuban in Manila to Mamatid village in Laguna province’s Cabuyao city, serves about 70,000 passengers daily.

Magno said the new train sets would be used in the Manila-South corridor, while the old ones would be rehabilitated.

“We’ll rehabilitate them in the next months. Perhaps, we could use them to start the Naga-Legazpi commuter service,” he added in Filipino.

The PNR also plans to open a cargo service between Tutuban and the Pier in mid-2019, the general manager said.

[PHOTOS]INKA-PNR contract signing ceremony
[VIDEO] Bandila ABS-CBN News
INKA official website
[INKA] Locomotive for Philippines - product page

Space / President Trump's proposed "Space Force"
« on: June 23, 2018, 03:39:33 AM »
On the 18th of June 2018, the U.S. president made an announcement on the proposal to create a separate branch of the United States Armed Forces dedicated to the realm of space operations:

Trump: Space Force and Air Force will be 'separate but equal'

Washington (CNN) President Donald Trump used a term from US segregationist history to describe the relationship between the Air Force and his newest military branch, the Space Force, calling it "separate but equal."

"We must have American dominance in space. Very importantly, I'm hereby directing the Department of Defense and Pentagon to immediately begin the process necessary to establish the Space Force as the sixth branch of the armed forces. That's a big step," he said in the White House East Room during a meeting of his National Space Council Monday.
"We are going to have the Air Force and we are going to have the Space Force: separate but equal, it is going to be something so important," he said.

Unfortunately, the Internet being what it is, most people seem to have completely missed the point and instead have made it yet another humorous Trump meme.

Much of what passes for discussion that I've seen online is done of out ignorance of the current state of space-based military assets or of emerging space and counterspace capabilities, not to say the least of their significance to modern warfare.

Most don't even seem to be aware that the United States has had and continues to have a command dedicated to its space-based assets. I would wager that even fewer are aware that Russia did in fact have its own separate branch for its space forces, before it integrated its air and space branches into one force, which oversees its air, missile and space assets. Other countries that have commands for their own space assets are China and France.

Other significant parts of the announcement that were completely glossed over by most media coverage were the proposals for a traffic management framework and the aim of reducing the threat of orbital debris. Both of which would be pretty significant for not just the United States, but for all parties with a stake in Earth's orbit.

Ultimately what bothers me is not that people are opposed to the move, but that most seem to be so out of a position of ignorance.

Links and references:
Trump directs Pentagon to create military Space Force
Trump's 'space force': Pentagon tackles call to create 6th military branch
Everything you need to know about Trump's 'Space Force'
Outer Space Treaty
Outer Space Treaty @ Wikipedia
Global Counterspace Capabilities (Full pdf report available on webpage)

Army now equipped with new communication platforms
May 29, 2018

MANILA -- The Philippine Army (PA) is now equipped with platforms that can provide situational capability and secure communication to its units in the field.

The equipment being referred to is the "Blue Force Tracking System" that was developed by the Army Signal Regiment under its situational awareness capability program.

The latter is equipped with a global positioning system, allowing it to provide critical information to ground units, PA spokesperson Lt. Col. Louie Villanueva said in a statement Tuesday.

Aside from its "Blue Force Tracking System", the Army is also equipped with Mobile Command Centers (MCC) 1 and 2, tasked to provide communication support to all field units.

Villanueva said communication capability upgrades, such as MCC 1 and MCC 2, enable the commanders and planners to see the battlefield with real-time picture to come up with comprehensive and accurate plans and timely decisions, particularly during the conduct of focused military operations, and humanitarian assistance and disaster response operations.

Both platforms are capable of communicating through voice and data since they are equipped with dipole and aerial antennas, telephone extender, and satellite dish antenna, with uninterruptible power supply. (PNA)

Alternate sources for the the above story:
Army showcases signal capabilities - (Philippine Army)
New communication platforms on US M939 chassis for Philippine Army (Army Recognition)

Megaprojects prime Visayas for growth

Cebu City — The Visayas is expected to benefit from the big-ticket infrastructure projects that the government will carry out in the region.

Speaking at the Philippine Economic Briefing in this city Thursday, Finance Undersecretary Bayani Agabin said four of the flagship projects under President’s Duterte’s “Build, Build, Build” program due for completion by 2022 are in the Visayas.

The projects have been approved by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), Agabin said.

The projects are the construction of additional facilities and other improvements for the Iloilo International Airport, the New Bohol Airport, and the Bacolod-Silay International Airport and the construction of the new Cebu International Container Port.


In the same briefing, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) shared its major road projects for the Visayas.

Agabin said DPWH will build several large bridges that will interconnect the islands in the Visayas to Luzon and Mindanao.

General Discussion / Surrender of ASG leader Nhurhassan Jamiri
« on: March 30, 2018, 09:23:30 PM »
One of the ongoing stories that was lost in the midst of the outbreak of the Marawi siege was the success of the military's efforts against the Abu Sayyaf Group. In 2017, a large number of ASG members were either killed, captured or most tellingly surrendered to authorities.

Lorenzana hopes surrender of top terror leader leads to Abu Sayyaf downfall

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 29) — Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana says the surrender of a notorious Abu Sayyaf leader and his entire group may signal the eventual collapse of the terror group, and usher in peace and order in Basilan province.

Abu Sayyaf leader Nhurhassan Jamiri and 13 of his followers surrendered to Armed Forces officers in Hadji Muhammad Ajul in Basilan on Wednesday. They also surrendered high-powered firearms, ammunition, and a grenade.

"The surrender of notorious Abu Sayyaf leader Nhurhassan Jamiri and his entire group after successful negotiations and military operations, will hopefully bring the eventual collapse of the ASG in Basilan," Lorenzana said in a statement on Thursday.

The defense chief added that Jamiri unit's surrender was also facilitated by the strong support of local government units.

Jamiri is the overall Abu Sayyaf group commander operating in Tuburan, Albarka, Tipo-tipo, Akbar, Mohamad Adjul, and Lamitan City.

Western Mindanao Command Chief Lieutenant General Carlito Galvez Jr. said the government's diplomatic approach and relentless offensives on the ground has been effective in their pursuit to defeat the Abu Sayyaf bandits.

"Following Jamiri's surrender, we expect the other top leaders of the Abu Sayyaf to do the same in the upcoming days," he said.

President Rodrigo Duterte has emphasized he will give the Abu Sayyaf who surrender the chance at a new life.

"I don't abhor you (Abu Sayyaf members) because I understand the situation. As the president, I want to help you, but first, help me bring peace for the Moros in Mindanao. I am the only president that has a heart for the Muslims. All those who want to surrender are welcome but those who want to fight, know that the government is ready," Duterte said in his visit to Patukul, Sulu on March 26.

This development brings the total number of Abu Sayyaf surrenderers to 216 since January 2018, said Wesmincom.

Discussions about all nations and places / Kamov Ka-60/62
« on: February 12, 2018, 08:52:35 PM »
The Kamov Ka-60 is a twin-engined Russian utility/transport helicopter. sold by Russian Helicopters. It has a MTOW of 6,500 kg, a cabin payload capacity of 2,000 kg (2,500 kg on sling) and a capacity for up to 12 to 15 passengers. Notable features include sliding side doors on either side of the fuselage, 50% composite air frame (and main rotor blades), a glass cockpit and ducted tail fan.

Image source: Wikipedia Commons

The Ka-62 is the civilian variant of the Ka-60, powered by twin Turbomeca Ardiden 3G powerplants. The Ka-64 is a western-certified export model with a five blade main rotor and General Electric engines.

Image source: Russian Helicopters

Kamov Ka-62 @ Russian Helicopters
Ka-60 @ Wikipedia
Kamov Ka-60 @

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