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Fighter jets, stealth bombers, attack drones and air-traveling missiles all need to “operate at speed” in a fast-changing great power conflict era. What that means is that “sensor to shooter” time (how fast data can go from a sensor to a war-fighter) needs to be drastically sped up. Without that speed, warfighters won’t be able to react as quickly to threats and it will be harder to win.

When faced with fast, multi-frequency, long-range precision fire from enemy air defenses, air attackers simply must “operate at speed,” according to U.S. Air Forces, Europe Commander General Jeffrey Harrigian, who used the phrase in a discussion with The Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies. 

Harrigian, who is also now the Commander of U.S. Air Forces Africa, ran much of the air campaign during Operation Inherent Resolve against ISIS; he offered a first-hand war perspective in a conversation with retired Lieutenant General David Deptula, Dean of the Mitchell Institute.

NEW AIR FORCE STEALTH BOMBER ARRIVES IN JUST ‘2 YEARS’

The opportunity to operate with air supremacy in uncontested environments is, essentially, over, as joint forces prepare for warfare in high-threat areas against advanced enemy forces, sophisticated air defenses and rival fifth-generation stealth fighters. U.S. forces, of course, enjoyed overwhelming air superiority during the years of counterinsurgency in Iran and Afghanistan, a circumstance enabling most key combat decisions to travel all the way up the echelon into an “air operations center.” Now, warfighters and commanders themselves operating at the edge of combat will need to be empowered to make more decisions independently for a simple reason: the speed of attack.

File photo - A pilot looks up from a U.S. F-22 Raptor fighter as it prepares to refuel in mid-air with a KC-135 refuelling plane over European airspace during a flight to Britain from Mihail Kogalniceanu air base in Romania April 25, 2016.

File photo – A pilot looks up from a U.S. F-22 Raptor fighter as it prepares to refuel in mid-air with a KC-135 refuelling plane over European airspace during a flight to Britain from Mihail Kogalniceanu air base in Romania April 25, 2016.
(REUTERS/Toby Melville)

“Years of operating in uncontested environments provided an opportunity to have some time to make decisions and bring them back into a command center. When troops are in contact and you start targeting in a dynamic environment, you don’t want to over centralize. Let your commanders operate, and trust the guys at the tip of the spear,” Harrigian said.

While pilots and Commanders have of course always had the ability to respond as needed under enemy fire or in intense combat situations, newer threats and advanced, long-range sensor technology will require forward-attackers themselves to operate with even more autonomy.

AIR FORCE TECH STOPS DRONES FROM BEING SHOT DOWN

Advanced command and control technologies, including AI applications and sensor networking are also expected to greatly expedite this kind of tactical approach, as air fighters and commanders on the ground are likely to have a more immediate, informed sense of specific circumstances. Should an enemy fifth-generation fighter or long-range air-attack be incoming, pilots and commanders simply will not have time for a full complement of high-echelon commanders to make a decision regarding counterattack. These combat Tactics, Techniques and Procedures provide key parts of the conceptual inspiration for the Pentagon’s emerging Joint All Domain Command and Control (JADC2) program.

The tactical concept, Harrigian explained, is to “trust the guys at the tip of the spear who understand commanders’ intent.”

“As commanders, we need to do a better job of how we provide intent to support decisions in flight. At the end of the day you need to go from sensor to shooter as quickly as possible,” he added.

During the course of his discussion with Harrigian, Deptula asked about how his experience as an Air Commander fighting against Russian-built air defenses has influenced his tactical thinking. Harrigian specifically cited Russian weapons as an area of particular concern.

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“We don’t want to train every three months. We need muscle memory fighting against air defenses,” he said.

— Kris Osborn is the Managing Editor of Warrior Maven and The Defense Editor of The National Interest –

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Video content on YouTube can have a powerful impact on sales for local businesses as well as global brands. Learn how to leverage YouTube for your business.

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2 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


Hear Startup Story Live speaker Sean Cannell, founder of Think Media, share about the reach and power of YouTube — the second-most popular search engine on the planet — and how Google prioritizes YouTube videos in their search results. With the #1 and #2 search engines synced, it’s obvious why it is critical to consider posting video content as part of your business strategy. 

Cannell explains how leveraging video content on YouTube is not just for global businesses. Video content on YouTube can positively impact local businesses, from the local restaurant to the local counter installer.

Too many small business owners have chalked up YouTube video content as “not applicable” to them, Cannell says. But, in today’s marketplace you need to expand your message’s reach if you wish to capture audience attention.

Cannell reviews his three irrefutable laws of YouTube success, including tips for research, ranking and monetizing through increased sales and other methods.

Learn how to leverage video content on YouTube for your business.

Startup Story Live is an extension of The Startup Story podcast.

Related: How to Kickstart Your Capital Funding

 

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After two decades in power, Vladimir Putin’s approval ratings are at an all-time low as Russia’s economy reels under the impact of the coronavirus epidemic and the slump in oil prices. What better time for him to seek to extend his presidency for potentially 16 more years?

It’s a measure of how tightly Putin has controlled the operation to amend Russia’s constitution that there’s little suspense about the result of a referendum on the changes, despite the economic pain unleashed by the virus. Approval in the vote that concludes July 1 will allow him to seek two more six-year terms after his present one ends in 2024, staying in power until 2036, when he’d be 83.

Still, amid rising public discontent, officials are pulling out all the stops to ensure a high turnout in a vote Putin wasn’t obliged to call. While a simple majority in favor and a turnout exceeding 50% of eligible voters is all that’s required, the Kremlin won’t be happy with anything less than an overwhelming endorsement. It’s sought to woo Russians with populist sweeteners such as an effective constitutional ban on gay marriage.

“People are disenchanted with the ‘presidential republic’ and iron fist they believed in 20 years ago,” said Sergei Belanovsky, a Moscow sociologist who helped to produce polling that predicted the biggest protests of Putin’s rule in 2011-2012 and is now tracking a renewed increase in negative attitudes toward the leadership of the country.

Putin caught even many in his inner circle by surprise in January when he announced plans to carry out the most extensive reform of the constitution since it was adopted in 1993. But the clause allowing him to sidestep term limits didn’t appear until March, even if many officials later suspected that had been his plan all along.

Putin is already the longest-serving leader of the world’s largest country by landmass since Soviet dictator Josef Stalin. After a 2018 backlash over a pension-age increase, the former KGB colonel has found it harder to maintain public support as falling living standards stir increased resentment.

His popularity rating at 59% – though still respectable by western standards – is the lowest since he became president in 2000, and has fallen to the level of regional governors whom Putin routinely used to out-poll, according to the Levada Center, an independent pollster in Moscow.

Putin, who delegated the main responsibility for combating the spread of Covid-19 to regional chiefs, has seen his ratings fall because of people’s unhappiness at the current economic crisis, said Levada analyst Denis Volkov. At the same time, the authorities for now remain in greater control than they were at the time of the mass demonstrations almost a decade ago with most Russians still hopeful the country will emerge from the crisis, he said.

After years of stagnation, Russia’s economy may shrink by 6.6% this year, the worst contraction since 2009 in the wake of the global financial crisis, according to the International Monetary Fund. Growth has averaged under 2% in the past decade, far down on the more than 7% annual expansion that helped incomes soar during Putin’s first two terms as president. The Russian central bank sees little room for improvement in coming years without structural reform.

Real incomes are falling after stagnating over the past six years, while unemployment climbed to 6.1% in May from 4.7% in March.

Putin stirred patriotic sentiments before the referendum with a massive military parade in Red Square on June 24 to mark the 75th anniversary of the defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II, a commemoration delayed by the virus from May 9. He also sought to win over ordinary Russians on the eve of the vote by unveiling fresh cash payments for families and the unemployed and a tax increase for the rich.

Levada’s latest poll conducted late last month showed fewer than half of people support the constitutional reform. State employees are being pressured into voting, according to election monitoring group Golos, which said that the use of large-scale online voting for the first time and the week-long balloting process made it harder for independent observers to uncover any violations.

State pollster VTsIOM puts support for Putin at a much higher level, reporting trust in the president ranging between 66% and 73% in 2020. It published a June 23 forecast showing between 67% and 71% of voters will back the amendments in the referendum.

Sense of security

The authorities’ calculation is that people, whatever their reservations, will mostly rally behind at a time of national crisis out of recognition that the government offers a sense of security, said an official with knowledge of Kremlin political planning.

Belanovsky, the sociologist, said his most recent research of public opinion conducted this month shows that a majority supports aspects of the constitutional changes aimed at upholding traditional values but only a minority backs Putin’s wish to reset his term limits to zero at the end of his current mandate.

Interviews with focus groups from March to May have pointed to a sharp sense of disillusionment both with the president personally and the government as a whole, according to Belanovsky. People are angry about falling living standards, corruption and a lack of help from the authorities to counter the economic fall-out of the lockdown during the pandemic, he said.

VTsIOM’s head Valery Fyodorov dismissed Belanovsky’s research as “pseudo-polling” that is “not based on scientific sampling” in a commentary on Wednesday.

Putin’s rule has become “far less legitimate,” according to Tatiana Stanovaya, head of R. Politik, a political consultancy. “Social dissatisfaction is building up, but we won’t see the consequences until later.”

More must-read international coverage from Fortune:

  • Corporate Germany has a race problem—and a lack of data is not helping
  • George Floyd protests force Britain to reckon with its role in slavery, leading some companies to pay reparations
  • The insurance case that helped end the slave trade
  • George Floyd protests, coronavirus face masks pose challenges for facial recognition
  • From beekeepers to giant pension funds, activist shareholders are being silenced by the coronavirus

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5 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


If you want your own business to grow and prosper as the world reopens and a new sense of normalcy settles in, getting to know TikTok is a good first step. The video-sharing platform has emerged from relative obscurity to become one of the leading social media companies in the world, and one of the most business friendly for entrepreneurs who know how to make it work. 

TikTok is particularly custom-made for personal-brand building, and many entrepreneurs are using it in just that way. By way of example, in a scant three and a half months, one top TikTok chef has amassed an army of more than a quarter million loyalists, all hungry for new content. This rising foodie star is Nadia Caterina Munno, but her quarter million TikTok fans know her simply as The Pasta Queen

The Pasta Queen’s Social Strategy

Always start with the brand backstory, and for Munno, that means being born to cook pasta. She is a true descendant of Rome, and pasta-making is in her blood. In the 1800s, her great grandparents owned a pasta factory just an hour and 20 minutes south of the Italian capital. To this day, Nadia’s family still has the nickname “The Macaronis.”

The online world, however, did not come as naturally. As Munno shares in an interview, “I’ve never been into technology. Honestly, I learned my video editing and uploading mastery by sheer force of will. Today, I edit all of my videos and credit the growth to a combination of drive, purpose and incentive. I truly believe that is where true talent comes from.”

Cynical entrepreneurs may say that the rapid rise of The Pasta Queen and her newfound internet stardom is simply a matter of luck. They may argue that she was simply in the right place at the right time, and that her success will be difficult, or even impossible, to replicate.

What the cynics are missing is that there really is a TikTok formula, one that smart entrepreneurs can adapt to fit their own brands and promote their own products. Those entrepreneurs may not have cooking skills or clever recipes, but they can still learn from others who have found success on the platform and shape the same strategy around their brands.

Related: 3 Reasons TikTok Is Here To Stay

In the internet age, viewers want real actionable information in exchange for their time. Communicating with the larger TikTok world is also critical on the platform. Successful TikTok content can generate thousands of comments and direct messages every single day. The Pasta Queen hears everything from home chefs trying out variations on their recipes to pleas for help from the less culinary talented. Here are several of the ingredients to her success.

Posting Regularly

If you post at least once a day, the TikTok algorithm starts to favor you as a creator and you have an increased likelihood of getting featured on the sought-after “For You” page.

Not Worrying About Your Niche 

Over-analyzing your niche can stifle your content distribution. Munno says to be your authentic self — and let it shine.  

Engaging Your followers 

Engaging your early followers helps build a loyal foundation, which is a critical first step you have to take. 

Going “Live” At Least Once a Week 

By going live, even if you have a small following, you can be discovered on the “For You” page.

Grabbing Immediate Attention 

You have to engage someone from the start and grab them within half a second. People scroll, scroll and scroll almost on automatic — but if they immediately see something impactful or shocking, they’re likely to stick around. 

Incorporating How-Tos

Any time you can teach, educate or inform an audience, the likelihood of traction is significantly increased (views, comments, shares, etc.).

Studying Analytics

You should frequently review your post analytics to see what is working or what can be adjusted. It also helps you understand your audience better to cater content accordingly. 

Keeping it (Relatively) Short 

Munno says 20-30 seconds has been her sweet spot, adding, “It never hurts to leverage a topic which is universally accepted, such as food. I see lawyers giving rapid public-awareness tips, realtors touring homes and accountants giving tips on taxes. You can do anything, as long as it is fast and digestible.”

A Business, Not a Hobby

Overnight growth is not easy, and it can have a dark side for the unprepared. Entrepreneurs and individuals who suddenly find themselves going viral can feel a bit overwhelmed, but they need to stay professional and learn to treat the opportunity with the appreciation it deserves.

That can mean spending half the day shooting, perfecting and uploading videos to the platform, and additional hours answering social media inquiries, responding to questions and engaging with the wider community. The most famous TikTok users are the ones who take the platform seriously and understand its true potential.

Related: The Rise of Social Media as a Career (Infographic)

Leveraging TikTok into a successful brand building operation is no easy task, and there are a lot of roadblocks along the way. There are still misconceptions about what the platform is, who it is designed for, and how it works. Entrepreneurs who hope to achieve the same success they would growing a business should treat it with the same level of respect.

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The U.S. Navy is now operating three aircraft carriers in the Pacific in what appears to be a strong show of force following Chinese movements and comments regarding Taiwan and the South China Sea.

The move, which includes the USS Theodore Roosevelt, USS Nimitz and USS Ronald Reagan, brings an unusually strong U.S. presence. This kind of message has not been seen in recent years, and it signals the fast-increasing significance of U.S. deterrence efforts regarding China. A report in the International Business Times states that a three-carrier mission has not happened in about three years. The development clearly seems to relate to recently increasing tensions between the U.S. and China regarding the coronavirus pandemic and Chinese maritime maneuvers regarding Taiwan and the South China Sea.

Chinese officials, according to a report in Beijing’s Global Times newspaper, cited China’s strong opposition to the movements, saying “China could counter it by holding military drills and showing its ability and determination to safeguard its territorial integrity.”

The Global Times, a Chinese-backed paper, also makes specific reference to China’s well known “carrier killer” DF-21D and DF-26 anti-ship missiles. Much has been discussed regarding these weapons, as they are regularly reported to operate with a range of 900 miles, a distance which some say could force U.S. carriers to operate at much farther standoff ranges. However, while there is possibly not very much known about the technical maturity and guidance systems of these weapons, Navy leaders have been clear that its carriers will operate “anywhere” needed in international waters.

NAVY ‘MOVES-OUT’ ON OPERATING 11 AIRCRAFT CARRIERS

This kind of scenario regularly invites debates, speculation and strategic discussion regarding the sustained functional utility of aircraft carriers. Navy studies consistently explore alternative configurations for future carriers to follow the first three or four Ford-class ships now in development. Perhaps the service will engineer smaller, faster, more agile carriers or continue to expand the use of carrier-launched drones with greater ranges.

An F/A-18F Super Hornet launches from the flight deck of the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt in the Philippine Sea. March 18, 2020 - file photo.

An F/A-18F Super Hornet launches from the flight deck of the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt in the Philippine Sea. March 18, 2020 – file photo.
(U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Nicholas V. Huynh/Handout via REUTERS)

At the same time, carriers are unlikely to go anywhere anytime soon for a number of reasons.

First, the reported range of these kinds of Chinese carrier killer missiles does not present as serious of a threat to closer-in carriers unless it has precision-guidance systems and an ability to hit moving targets. Also, while much is naturally not discussed for understandable security reasons, the U.S. Navy continues to rapidly advance new technologies improving its layered ship defense systems. Carriers regularly travel in strike groups, meaning they are defended by destroyers, cruisers and various airborne surveillance and attack assets.

Second, the Navy continues to make rapid strides arming its surface ships with new laser weapons and advanced EW systems likely to “jam” incoming missiles, stopping them, destroying their trajectory, or simply throwing them off course.

Furthermore, the Navy’s layered defense system not only includes new longer-range aerial, space and ship-based sensors, but deck-fired interceptors continue to receive software upgrades, making them far more accurate. For instance, the Navy’s SM-6 missiles and Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile Block II are now engineered with software and sensor upgrades that enable them to better discern and destroy approaching “moving targets.” SM-6 technical upgrades, for example, engineer a “dual-mode” seeker into the weapon itself, which enables it to better distinguish moving targets and adjust in flight to destroy them.

The ESSM Block II also has a sea-skimming mode that allows the interceptor to destroy approaching missiles flying parallel to the surface at lower altitudes. Some newer, advanced interceptors, by extension, no longer rely purely upon a ship-based illuminator but rather semi-autonomously receive electronic “pings” and make in-flight adjustments to destroy an approaching anti-ship missile.

NAVY MAY ARM NEW DESTROYER WITH CONVENTIONAL MISSILE ABLE TO HIT ANYWHERE ON EARTH IN AN HOUR

New aerial sensors as well, such as advanced drones and the ISR-capable F-35C are likely to be successful in proving an “aerial node” surveillance asset able to help cue surface commanders of approaching missiles. They would also help ships attack and, in some instances, intercept or destroy an approaching anti-ship missile from the air. In fact, this very capability is already deployed by U.S. Navy destroyers; it is called Naval Integrated Fire Control-Counter Air. This is a system that uses an aerial node such as a Hawkeye surveillance plane or even F-35 to detect approaching threats from beyond the horizon, network with ship-based command and control, and enable a well-guided SM-6 interceptor missile to take out the approaching missile at long ranges.

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What all of this means is that, despite Chinese claims that its carrier killer missiles make carriers “obsolete,” there does not seem to be much assurance that carrier groups could not successfully defend against them. This would be particularly true should carriers be flanked by well-armed DDG 51 destroyers. Perhaps these factors may be part of why U.S. Navy leaders continue to say its carriers can successfully operate wherever they need to.

Finally, successful intercept of 900-nautical mile anti-ship missiles may prove to be less pressing with the arrival of the carrier-launched MQ-25 Stingray refueler which, at very least, promises to nearly double the attack range of deck-launched fighters such as the F-35C and F/A-18 Super Hornet.

— Kris Osborn is the Managing Editor of Warrior Maven and The Defense Editor of The National Interest –

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