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House Armed Services moving ahead with $640B top line

Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments research fellow Katherine Blakeley noted that Congress has little time left to iron out a federal spending plan, with nominations and an ambitious GOP agenda that includes tax reform and a health care overhaul eating up the legislative calendar. “They’re trying to move with alacrity, but they’re facing down the clock,” she said. The GOP strategy to pass spending measures is a big, open question, Blakeley said. For defense, it’s unclear whether Congress will hew to the Mattis budget request’s emphasis on research and development as well as and operations and maintenance — or upend it by seeking more procurement funding. “Will they shift more money into O&M or will they try to grow the force — which Mattis says the Pentagon is not ready to do, and that they want to prepare to grow in fiscal '19,” Blakeley said. “How fast can the Army responsibly grow?”

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The US Navy may skip an important test so it can get its futuristic new aircraft carrier sooner

"Once the Ford comes online you can have the East Coast carriers essentially cover the Middle East with short gaps and have the West Coast carriers fill the gaps in the Pacific while [the carrier] Reagan is in its spring maintenance availability," Bryan Clark, an analyst at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments told Defense News.

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Investigation into Fitzgerald collision begins

Retired Navy Capt. Jan van Tol, who commanded the destroyer O’Brien and the amphibious assault ship Essex in the same Japanese waters, said he was “puzzled” by the captain’s absence…“That would normally get a CO to the bridge,” he said…Still, destroyers like the Fitzgerald are “the sports cars of the sea,” van Tol said. “They should be able to get out of the way of anything.”

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Scholars, Policymakers, and Surveying Syria

Hal Brands, the Henry A. Kissinger Distinguished Professor of History at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, discusses why academics and policymakers so often disagree—and why that divide may be exaggerated by some.

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Syria conflict: Why are air combat kills so rare?

A report published by the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA) in 2015 found just 59 kills since the 1990s - the large majority of which were in the First Gulf War…But in the modern era, the human eye was quickly replaced. From 1965-1969, guns accounted for 65% of air-to-air kills, the CSBA says…But between 1990 and 2002, they accounted for just 5% of kills - with the rest carried out by some kind of missile.