Ukraine conflict: NATO invites Finland and Sweden to become alliance members
30 June 2022
by Nicholas Fiorenza
NATO enlargement from 1952 to the present. (Janes/NATO)
NATO leaders invited Finland and Sweden to become the alliance's 31st and 32nd members on the first day of their 29–30 June summit in Madrid. Speaking to journalists on 29 June, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg described the invitation as a “historic decision”.
It will enable NATO to prepare accession protocols for Finland and Sweden, amending the 1949 Washington Treaty that created the alliance for signature and ratification by allies. For many of NATO's 30 members, ratification requires parliamentary approval, although for some, executive approval is sufficient. Asked by a journalist how long this would take, Stoltenberg responded, “so far this is the fastest accession process ever”, expecting ratification “as soon as possible”.
An artist's impression of the new military Maintenance Support Facility that the New Zealand government is developing at the Burnham Military Camp. (NZDF)
The New Zealand government has started development of a new facility to maintain and sustain military equipment. The proposed Maintenance Support Facility (MSF) is being constructed at the Burnham Military Camp near Christchurch on the South Island.
Marking the start of the MSF construction project, Defence Minister Andrew Little said, “This new state-of-art facility replaces Second World War-era buildings and will enable our defence force to better maintain and repair equipment.”
A spokesperson for the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) told Janes that the MSF will be operational by early 2026. “The facility will take approximately two years to complete and will be finished in the fourth quarter of 2025, with commissioning and interim operating release currently planned for the first quarter of 2026,” the spokesperson said.
The NZDF spokesperson said the MSF will be mainly focused on supporting New Zealand (NZ) Army equipment. “The New Zealand Army's equipment has become physically larger, with more technological components,” the spokesperson said.
US DoD pushes for domestic production of critical, rare earths
15 September 2023
by Carlo Munoz
MP Materials is building a rare earths separation facility in Mountain Pass, California. (MP Materials)
The US Department of Defense (DoD) is pushing for increased domestic production of lithium and nickel, agreeing to funnel a total of USD110.6 million to support the reopening of US-based mining operations for the critical materials.
The USD90 million lithium production initiative is being spearheaded by the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Industrial Base Policy, and funding for the effort was pulled from the Biden administration's Inflation Reduction Act, which was approved by the US Congress in 2022.
As part of the deal, DoD's Manufacturing Capability Expansion and Investment Prioritization (MCEIP) office will provide the finds to North Carolina-based Albemarle Corporation “to support the expansion of domestic mining and production of lithium”, according to an initial 12 September Pentagon statement.
Taiwan outlines requirement for enhanced asymmetric warfare capability
13 September 2023
by Jon Grevatt
Growth in Taiwan's defence expenditure is forecast by JDB to slow down in the next few years. JDB figures include funding for veterans' affairs and other defence funds. (Janes Defence Budgets)
Taiwan's National Defense Report 2023 has highlighted how the country is trying to learn lessons from the Ukraine-Russia war in ramping up its own multidomain and asymmetric military capabilities in preparing for any conflict with China.
The biennial policy paper – published by the Ministry of National Defense (MND) in Taipei on 12 September – also confirms short-term investment in funding for military capabilities that will enhance the sea and air combat resilience of the Republic of China (RoC) Armed Forces.
“[China] is progressively enhancing its capabilities to invade Taiwan,” the report said. “Facing this situation, the RoC Armed Forces have to absorb the lessons learned from the example of asymmetric warfare as shown in the Russia-Ukraine war, exploit geographic advantages in the form of island defence, seek suitable force buildup initiatives, and maintain combat readiness.”
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