The Buzz

How Russia Could Win the Battle for Syria

Some analysts expect that the Russian air strikes in Syria may be more effective than the U.S.-led air campaign for a simple reason, which is that Moscow enjoys close cooperation with the Syrian regime’s ground forces. “The Western campaign against ISIS has failed because there is no human intelligence there,” Royal United Services Institute analyst Kamal Alam said, speaking at an event held at the Center for the National Interest—which is the Washington D.C., foreign policy think-tank that publishes TNI—on Oct. 7. “The Russians are going to be more embedded with the Syrians.”

Why China's Nuclear Subs Are Subpar

Over the past two decades, the People’s Republic of China has made great advances in its military capabilities. However, it still lags woefully behind in developing nuclear-powered submarines. The problem for the Chinese is that they lack the necessary quieting and propulsion technologies to build anything remotely comparable to an American or Russian nuclear submarine.

Russia's Half-Baked Air War in Syria

Russian forces in Syria appear to be using a mix of precision-guided munitions (PGM) and “dumb” unguided weapons over that war-ravaged nation.

While U.S. officials say that the Russian forces are dropping unguided weapons, Russian footage and imagery from Syria shows that at least some of the weapons being dropped are precision-guided. While it is impossible to independently verify what kind of munitions the Russians are using short of being on the ground in Latakia, there may be an explanation for the diverging narratives.

Warning: Iran Could Already Be Gaming the Nuclear Deal

While the world focused on the escalating Russian and Iranian intervention in Syria, the continuing debate in Tehran over adopting the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) has gotten a little lost. But listening to the Iranian parliament argue whether the nuclear deal should be adopted—something the US Congress will not get a chance to do—provides great insight into how the leadership intends to implement the deal. Little of this insight is reassuring.

Russia Could Fly 96 Sorties a Day over Syria

The Russian expeditionary force in Syria could generate as many as ninety-six fixed-wing combat aircraft sorties per day, assuming they have well-oiled logistics and properly trained maintenance crews. But that is a best-case scenario during a “combat surge”; more realistically, the thirty-two Russian jets at Latakia might be able to generate only twenty sorties per day.

This Could 'Sink' the U.S. Navy's New Aircraft Carriers (And it’s Not China)

The Government Accountability Office has slammed the U.S. Navy for badly managing its plans to buy new Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carriers. Too late to do anything about delays and soaring costs, the top government watchdog hopes the boondoggle will at least be a teachable moment.

In 2009, Newport News Shipbuilding started construction of the first ship in the class, the USS Gerald R. Ford, also known as CVN-78. Scheduled to enter service in May 2016, the vessel may not arrive with key gear and is already $2 billion over budget.