The Best Defense

The Best Defense

When the Chinese look at the US X-37B, they see the future of space-based attack

By Dean Cheng

Best Defense bureau of Sino-space affairs

The return of the unmanned X-37B space plane last week after nearly two years in space has aroused some curiosity from space observers. It marks the completion of the third mission for the orbital test vehicle (OTV) system, the longest mission, with nearly 22 months of orbital time, and the first reuse of one of the two OTVs. Resembling a miniature space shuttle, the X-37B program has been publicly described by the U.S. Air Force as testing a variety of technologies, including "advanced guidance, navigation, and control; thermal protection systems; avionics; high temperature structures and seals; conformal reusable insulation; lightweight electromechanical flight systems; and autonomous orbital flight, reentry, and landing."

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The Best Defense

Does time favor the defender?: An example from the Battle of Britain

When I was giving a talk at the University of Texas in Austin last winter, we got into an interesting discussion of time as a variable in the conduct of war. I think it needs to be studied more, especially at the strategic level. A good point of departure would be George Marshall's observation that Americans don't like wars that last longer than four years.

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The Best Defense

Do Iraq and Syria no longer exist? (No. 3): Yes. The sooner we realize it, the better

This process has been underway for a while now

Henri Barkey, a professor of international relations at Lehigh University:

"The border between the two has ceased to exist; in fact it had ceased a long time ago. I had a piece back in 2012 arguing this.

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