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Military and civilian dignitaries from Europe and the United States were in Belgium on Sunday 15 and Monday 16 December to mark the anniversary of one of the most important battles of World War II: the Battle of the Bulge. "There are times we must say, 'No,'" King Philippe of Belgium said in Bastogne, Belgium. "'No' to the extreme evil perpetrated by a hateful ideology. This is what we did together 75 years ago." The Belgian people remember their American liberators, the king said, pointing to six veterans of the battle who were attending the ceremony. Jim Garamone reports on Defense.gov.

On 16 December, the European Defence Agency published its annual Defence Data report for the year 2018, detailing spending by the 27 EDA Member States. Total defence expenditure stands at €223 billion, representing a 3% increase on 2017 and marks the fifth consecutive year of increased defence spending. EDA’s report also finds that Member States are not meeting spending commitments in key areas.

South Korea and North Korea increase the size and accelerate the pace of modernization of their arsenals in the framework of rising tensions between both countries and with the U.S.A., as easily foreseeable by anybody having a basic understanding of intelligence interpretation.

Even if the report used for the following analysis is more than one year old, its content makes it a remarkable instrument to understand the Russian defense evolution in terms of technical feasibility and financial affordability. Since then, Army Recognition published a lot of information enabling to validate this precious analysis that was carried on by Julian Cooper, Centre for Russian, European and Eurasian Studies, University of Birmingham/Associate Senior Fellow, Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. Extracts of his report addressing Army Recognition’s concerns have been selected hereunder.

“The Marine Corps is not optimized to meet the bold demands of the National Defense Strategy”, Gen. David H. Berger, Commandant of the Marine Corps Headquarters, has declared. “While our ranks are filled with phenomenal marines — warriors who are smarter and more adaptable than ever — the design of our force, how we organize for combat, our equipment, and our warfighting capabilities, are no longer aligned to the potential adversaries America faces. My number one priority as commandant of the Marine Corps is to design a force suited to the reality of the pacing threat as prescribed by the National Defense Strategy”.

The U.S. military presence in Iraq is predicated on permission to be there from the Iraqi government, and U.S. forces will remain so long as the Iraqi government agrees, the undersecretary of defense for policy said. "Our intention is to stay. Do we plan to change the posture of U.S. forces? Not at this time," said John C. Rood, who spoke yesterday during a Defense Writers Group meeting in Washington. "We are very clear that we are there with the permission of the Iraqi government," Rood said. "And that is a necessary condition for U.S. forces to be there."

The NATO leaders’ meeting marking the 70th anniversary of the Alliance wrapped up in London on Wednesday (4 December 2019). After the working session, Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said: “Our meeting has once again demonstrated that NATO remains the only place where Europe and North America discuss, decide and act every day together on strategic issues that concern our shared security”.

Russian President Vladimir Putin chaired the third meeting on the development of the armed forces. "The effectiveness of the Navy and the armed forces, in general, depends on timely information obtained from spacecraft and reliable operation of navigational and communication systems, integration of all information resources, capabilities of artificial intelligence on the battlefield. We shall consider the complicated issues which are closed for the public," the president said.

U.S. forces are reset and repostured in Eastern Syria and have restarted operations with the Syrian Democratic Forces aimed at defeating ISIS, Army Lt. Gen. Robert White, the commander of Combined Joint Operation Inherent Resolve, said last week in Baghdad. Jim Garamone reports on U.S. Army’s website.

On Friday, Nov.29, the German parliament (Bundestag) passed its budget for 2020. At the heart of the budget presented by finance minister Olaf Scholz (SPD) is a massive increase in military spending, Johannes Stern reports on wsws.org. Five years ago, at the Munich Security Conference in 2014, the grand coalition announced Germany’s return to an aggressive foreign and great power policy. The far-reaching consequences of such a policy are increasingly reflected in the current budget.

Pantsir and Tor antiaircraft guns have to down cruise missiles, aircraft and drones. Formally, they need a brief stopover to fire. However, Syrian combat experience showed they have to destroy the attacking force in motion, e.g. if kamikaze drones attack. The assaults are mortally dangerous for marching hardware, the Izvestia daily writes.

Russia is creating intermediate-range missiles, but will not deploy them unless similar US weapons appear in Europe, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said. He added Washington is designing both missiles and "various exotic systems" with parameters banned by the Intermediate-range Nuclear Force (INF) Treaty which was terminated in 2019. Experts believe the arms race is inevitable now and will include a bigger number of countries, the Izvestia daily writes, echoed by TASS.

Robotization of ground forces has been of interest for the military of the world since the early last century. The development of technologies allowed implementing the idea only now. Growing military budgets in the past decade caused a landslide of artificial intellect projects and combat robots. The Izvestia writes about the current state of affairs.

In an interview on the Ekho Moskvy radio station on November 10, 2019, the deputy commander-in-chief of the Russian Aerospace Forces, Lt. Gen. Yuri Grekhov, noted that Russian air-defense systems are being upgraded to focus on UAV threats. In Syria, the Russian military has faced a number of attacks from crude UAVs rigged with explosives, which have caused damage to military installations, including those away from the front lines.

The art of sniping is more than just proper cover, concealment and sight alignment; it demands vigilant situational awareness, flawless timing and solid arithmetic skills. Sgt. 1st Class Shaiyla Hakeem explains on U.S. Army’s website.

Marine brigades of the Russian Navy will be reformed. Each one will get an additional four battalions, including a tank one. The heavy armor will help marines fight autonomously in any part of the world without any support from other arms of troops.