Operation Barkhane, Mali.
Operation Barkhane, Mali.

“One of the serious problems in planning the fight against American doctrine, is that the Americans do not read their manuals, nor do they feel any obligation to follow their doctrine.” – From a Soviet Junior Lt’s Notebook (Apocryphal)

Dear Readers,

The withdrawal by the United States and NATO forces from Afghanistan this year and the confirmation on 10 June by French President Emmanuel Macron of a drawdown of French forces battling Islamist militants in Mali in the Sahel region of Africa is recognition that military force alone cannot defeat the surge in Islamic extremism and its links to international terrorism experienced in recent decades.

Unfortunately this is very unlikely to solve the long-term problem. Extremism succeeds where there is weak political power or even a power vacuum. Where people who have little are promised something better, they will be prepared to listen. The means of communicating such extremism is now easily spread through social media.

The COVID crisis has meant that the attacks on civil society has not been possible, at least in the West, due in the main to public shielding. This does not mean that terrorist attacks will not come back, for that is likely. The spread of extremism is also likely to continue which will result in more displaced migrants seeking a safer and better life away from their home countries.

If weak states do not have the finances, training or commitment to find off extremists, how many other countries are likely to be targets for extremist takeovers? And how long will it be before a u-turn will be required and troops deployed once again into a historical or new region with no particular framework for success.

Best to all,







Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III and Army Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, testify to the Senate Appropriations Committee regarding the fiscal year 2022 budget for the Defense Department, June 17, 2021. (DoD Photo by Chad J. McNeeley)

President Biden’s FY2022 Defense Budget request comes to a total of $752.9 billion for national defence, of which the Department of Defense (DoD) would receive $715 billion.
Driving the budget, according to Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III, is the “challenge from the People’s Republic of China”, the need to modernise strategic capability to meet the “advanced threats of tomorrow”, as well as addressing issues including climate change, pandemics and extremism.

The US Navy and US Air Force will receive “additional investments to address strategic competition with China”, while the withdrawal from Afghanistan means that: “For the first time since 11 September, 2001, DoD direct war and enduring operation costs are included within the base budget request, rather than as a separate Overseas Contingency Operation (OCO) request.” This channels funding from the Afghanistan and Iraq type “forever wars” back into the strategic challenge from near-peer global rivals.

A total of $245.6 billion is allocated to Procurement and Research, Development, Test,
and Evaluation (RDT&E), comprising $133.6 billion for Procurement and $112 billion
for RDT&E.

From the total, $73.3 billion will be allocated to 85 Major Defence Acquisition Programs (MDAPs), of which 82 are under the Military Departments – 15 with the Army, 39 with the Navy, and 28 with the Air Force. The remaining three are specific to F-35, missile defence, and chemical demilitarisation.

Although the non-MDAP individual programmes account for 70 percent of the total ($172.3 billion), these are smaller in value than the MDAPs, and are focused on the “development of future technologies and procuring a wide assortment of equipment, munitions, vehicles, and weapons needed by combat forces.”

Funding is broken down into mission category areas with funding allocated accordingly: Aircraft and Related Systems – $52.4 billion; Command, Control, Communications, Computers, and Intelligence (C4I) Systems – $12.7 billion; Ground Systems – $12.3 billion; Missile Defence Programmes – $10.9 billion; Missiles and Munitions – $20.3 billion; Shipbuilding and Maritime Systems – $34.6 billion; Space Based Systems – $16.7 billion; Science and Technology – $14.7 billion; and Mission Support Activities – $71 billion.

In order to boost those serving in the US military there will be a 2.7 percent increase in pay for both military and civilian personnel with extra funds committed to construction, family housing and facilities sustainment/modernisation.


Taken by Andrew Drwiega, 2014.

The 15th Hot Blade exercise, organised by the European Defence Agency’s (EDA) Helicopter Exercise Programme (HEP), is currently under way running from 16-30 June at Beja airbase in Portugal and hosted by the Portuguese Air Force.

Having attended this exercise several times, it is designed to increase coordination and understanding of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) between national assets that could potentially be called to operate together in a Composite Air Operation (COMAO). In such a case the components would use common helicopter Tactics, Techniques and Procedures (TTPs) that will be practiced during the Hot Blade exercise.

According to the EDA, there are 15 helicopters and eight fixed wing aircraft together with 550 personnel involved from five countries – Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands, Slovenia and Portugal. Italy, Serbia, Slovakia, Switzerland and several international organisations are also sending observers.

As has become standard over the years, a range of COMAO missions will be flown during the day and night, to include Air Assault (AA), Special Operations Aviation (SOA), Combat Service Support (CSS), Close Air Support (CAS) including Urban CAS and Emergency CAS, Convoy/helicopter escorts, Reconnaissance and Surveillance, Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR), Personnel Recovery (PR), Medical Evacuation (MEDEVAC) and Casualty Evacuation (CASEVAC).

A mentoring team comprising eight instructors from Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, and Sweden trained in EDA’s Helicopter Tactics Instructors Course (HTIC) will help to guide the course.

US MAJOR ARMS SALES (Defence Security Cooperation Agency – DSCA).

No further announcements since last week.


Highlighting a selection of $100 million+ government awarded contracts awarded between 12-17 June 2021 and Foreign Military Sales contracts.

17 June
Advanced Technology Construction; Environet; I. E. Pacific; Sea Pac Engineering; Shape Construction; and Veterans NW Construction, are each awarded an IDIQ multiple award construction contract for projects located primarily within the Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command (NAVFAC) Northwest area of responsibility (AOR). The maximum dollar value combined is $240 million. Types of projects include new construction, repair, alteration, demolition and renovation of commercial and institutional facilities, administrative and industrial facilities, housing facilities, warehouses, hangars and fire stations. Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command is the contracting activity.

Insitu is awarded a $12.5 million modification IDIQ contract to provide additional air vehicles, support equipment and spares in support of the RQ-21A Blackjack Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UASs) and ScanEagle UAS for the Navy and Foreign Military Sales customers. The Naval Air Systems Command is the contracting activity.

Weatherhaven Resources, has been awarded a $200 million IDIQ contract for commercial shelters. Using military services are Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency, Troop Support.

16 June
Parsons Government Services is being awarded a $2.2 billion contract to provide support that includes: engineering and technical support; studies, analysis, and evaluations; and management and professional services. The Missile Defense Agency is the contracting activity.

Mobius Parsons Solutions is being awarded a $566 million contract to provide test support services. The Missile Defense Agency is the contracting activity.

Lockheed Martin, Rotary and Mission Systems, has been awarded a $191 million contract for the US and United Kingdom to provide strategic weapon system Trident SSI Increment 8 production of inertial navigation systems and associated inertial spares for the Ohio and Columbia ballistic missile submarine shallow water submersible platforms for the fleet ballistic missile program. Strategic Systems Programs is the contracting activity.

Vazquez Forgen JV; Graham County Land; LRG Construction JV; and Orion-Brice LLC JV, will compete for each order of the $99 million contract to facilitate time-sensitive disaster, infrastructure and construction related activities. US Army Corps of Engineers is the contracting activity.

15 June.
Applied Research Associates; Gryphon Technologies; HII Mission Driven Innovative Solutions; ISPA Technology; Leidos; Oasis Systems; Peraton; Science Applications International; and Serco, are awarded a $118 million IDIQ multiple-award contract for technical support including specification and design, fabrication, installation, test and evaluation, fielding, maintenance, training, and configuration and program management of hardware and software in support of surface and subsurface unmanned maritime systems engaged in waterborne and underwater mine countermeasures. Naval Information Warfare Center Pacific is the contracting activity.

Raytheon Missile Systems received a $20.3 million modification contract for procurement of Excalibur 155mm Increment Ib projectiles. Fiscal 2021 Foreign Military Sales (Netherlands) funds in the amount of $20.3 million were obligated at the time of the award. Raytheon Missile Systems also received two similar awards, a $9.1 million modification for Foreign Military Sales (India) funds and a $9.1 million modification from Foreign Military Sales (Spain) funds. US Army Contracting Command is the contracting activity.

14 June
Cisco Systems was awarded an IDIQ contract of $1.1 billion for brand name Cisco Smart Net Total Care and Software Support Services for users across the Department of Defense. The Defense Information Technology Contracting Organisation is the contracting activity.

Cole Engineering Services was awarded a $192 million contract for the Synthetic Training Environment-Information System Training Simulation Software/Training Management Tool. US Army Contracting Command, Orlando, Florida, is the contracting activity.

Raytheon has been awarded a $78.1 million modification contract for contractor logistic support for the Qatar Early Warning Radar for a period of five years. Foreign Military Sales funds are being obligated at the time of award in the amount of $69.5 million. The cumulative face value of the contract is $1.2 billion. Air Force Life Cycle Management is the contracting activity.


7-10 September, 2021- MSPO, Kielce, POLAND
According to the organisers, the Polish Government made a decision on 6 June to allow the exhibition to go ahead. The Polish Armaments Group is the expo’s strategic partner.


  1. The Westland WS-51 Dragonfly helicopter was built by Westland Aircraft and was a licence-built version of the American Sikorsky S-51.
  2. The Mi-2 was produced exclusively in Poland, in the WSK “PZL-Świdnik” factory in Świdnik, making this the only Soviet-designed helicopter to be built solely outside the Soviet Union.
  3. The Platt LePage XR-1 was the winner of a design competition for a contract for the United States Air Force. This was the very first helicopter flown by the USAAF. This prototype flew in 1941 but was retired from flight testing in 1945 due to malfunctions and instability.

Andrew Drwiega
Andrew Drwiega, Editor-in-Chief, Armada International / Asian Military Review.

Best wishes,

Andrew Drwiega

Armada International / Asian Military Review