Demographics of Germany

Germany is the richest country in Europe. It is the second most populous country in Europe (after Russia). It is the fourth richest country in the world. Its demographic situation is similar to many of its neighbors, which include several nearby large counties of around 60 million people, the United Kingdom, France and Italy. Each are unique, but because of its central position in Europe, this is a perfectly good case to examine.

The population of Germany is almost 83 million (82,800,000 in 2017 estimate). The rate of growth has been slow. In 1939, they had 69 million people (inside current borders: not counting territory and population gains in the 1930s). They still only had 69 million in 1950. Its fertility rate is now 1.59 children born per woman (2016 estimate). This is low, but not as low as Japan. Since the 1970s, the German death rate has exceeded its birth rate. Its fertility rate has been below 2.00 since 1970.

Unlike Japan, there has been significant immigration to Germany. The rate of immigration to Germany, relative to the size of their population has been higher than in the United States. About 7 million of Germany’s residents do not have German citizenship and over 10 million of the people in Germany (12%) were born outside of Germany. They tend to be from everywhere, Turkey, Poland, Russia, Italy, Romania, Greece, Syria, other EU countries, and so forth.

So….the picture is different when it comes to the demographic “pyramid,” although because of the low birth rates, it is still not very pyramidal. Not as bizarre looking as Japan’s, but this clearly still shows a shortage of young labor and a potential burden on the younger generation as the larger older population ages.

In many respects the comparison between Japan and Germany is most interesting, as Japan is a case of a country with low birth rate that does not have significant immigration, while Germany is the opposite. A proper in-depth study of this would look at the macro and micro economic impacts of this, the social impacts, and the long-term strengths and weaknesses these countries develop as a result of this. It is not a task I will be taking on.

As far as what the estimates for German population in 2050, hard to imagine it is going to be significantly different than what is today. It only grew 14 million in the last 80 or so years. A lot of this growth is due to immigration. So the United Nations estimates it will be 79 million in 2050. Sounds perfectly reasonable, although it is dependent on their continued immigration policy.

I have now briefly looked at six countries in the world, Russia, United States, China, India, Germany and Japan. This includes the three most populous counties in the world (followed by Indonesia, Brazil, Pakistan, Nigeria, Bangladesh, Russia, Mexico and Japan). They include five of the six richest countries in the world (with the UK being fifth on the list and France being seventh). I think that will be all for now.

FY2019 Defense Budget

I gather the defense budget for FY2019 is 674.4 billion. This is 17 billion more than 2018.

The bill only funds U.S. defense through 7 December (there is considerable irony in that date), and then they have to pass another bill. So it can all change. Added to that there will be the mid-term elections in November, although the new congress won’t be seated until late January.

The defense budget has gone from a high of 696 in 2010, down to 571 in 2015 and then up to 596 in 2016, 626 in 2017, and 653 in 2018. Source (as everyone seems to have a slightly different set of numbers):

By the way, worth your while to look through the tables on that site.

Also see:

Some Statistics on Afghanistan

Camp Lonestar, near Jalabad, 7 October 2010 (Photo by William A. Lawrence II)

I do have a chapter on Afghanistan in my book America’s Modern Wars. When it came to updating the Afghanistan chapter (as I had to update the book before it was published), I ended up leaning on the Secretary General reports quarterly reports on Afghanistan for my data, as it may be the most trusted source available. Those reports are here:

In Chapter Twenty-One my book I note that in 2013 there were 20,093 security incidences or 1,674 a month. This is a definite increase since 2008 and 2009 (741 and 960 a month respectively) and only a slight improvement (decrease) from 2011 (1,909 incidences a month). See pages 259-261 of my book.

So what are the current statistics?:

              Security           Incidences      Civilian

Year      Incidences       Per Month       Deaths

2013      20,093               1,674               2,959

2014      22,051               1,838               3,699

2015      22,634               1,886               3,545

2016      23,712               1,976               3,498

2017      23,744               1,979               3,438

2018      19,995               1,666               3,384      Estimated


2011 was the worse year of the war as far as incident count until 2016 and 2017. Based upon incident count, the war has been pretty much “flat-lined” for the last nine years (2010: 19,403, 2011: 22,903, 2012: 18,441). Civilian deaths show that same pattern.

At the start of 2013, we still had 66,000 troops in Afghanistan, although we were drawing them down. There were 251 U.S. troops killed in 2012 (310 killed from all causes) and 85 in 2013 (127 killed from all causes). Over the course of 2013, 34,000 troops were to be withdrawn and the U.S. involvement to end sometime in 2015. We did withdrawn the troops, but really have not ended our involvement. According to Wikipeida we have 18,000+ ISAF forces there (mostly American) and 20,000+ contractors. I have not checked these figures. We left behind an Afghan force of over 300,000 troops to conduct the counterinsurgency. That force has not grown significantly in size since then.

As we note in my book “The 2013 figure of 20,093 incidents a year does argue for a significant insurgency force. If we use a conservative figure of 333 incidents per thousand insurgents, then we are looking at more than 60,000 full-time and part-time insurgents.”

Now, we actually never did have a contract to do work on Afghanistan. After we were right on Iraq in 2004 (casualties and duration), we were given contracts to do more data research and analysis of insurgencies, but never given a contract to further refine our predictions for Iraq or do a similar prediction for Afghanistan. So we have never done any in-depth analysis of Afghanistan (you know, the type of work that requires a man-year or more of effort).

Camp Lonestar, near Jalabad, 7 October 2010 (Photo by William A. Lawrence II)



Notes for 2018 estimates:

  1. 15 December 2017-15 February 2018: 3,521 security incidences (6% decrease from previous year).

  2. 15 February-15 May: 5,675 security incidences (7% decrease from previous year).

  3. 15 May – 15 August: 5,800 security incidences (10% decrease from previous year)

  4. First quarter of 2018: 763 civilian deaths.

  5. Mid-year 2018: 1,692 civilian deaths.




Demographics of Japan

There was a time in the 1980s when Japan’s GNP was 60% of the United States and people were talking about Japan’s economy outgrowing the United States by the year 2000, 2010 or 2020…but in our lifetime. Well, I am still alive and they have not. Right now, Japan’s GNP is about 25% of the United States (IMF 2017 figures) and it does not look like they are going into any extended economic boom any time soon. Now, this talk in the 1980s was understandable if one took a straight line of the Japanese economic growth over the previous couple of decades, and compared it the U.S. economic growth of say, the 1970s. And…if you assumed those two lines would continue unchanged for the next few decades, you could get there. That is obviously not what happened. Japan’s place as the booming economic challenger was replaced by the “Asian Tigers” and then by the Peoples Republic of China. Japan’s current GDP is growing at 1.7% a year (2017). One of the several underlying reasons for this slow growth is due to their shortages in workforce, caused by their demographics.

The population of Japan as of the 2017 census is 127 million people (126,672,000). It is the tenth most populous country in the world (just after Russia). They remain the third richest country in the world (3rd in GNP) after the United States and China.

In 1985 their population was 121 million. This is not much growth. Mostly the population is getting older and grayer. In 2012, 24% of the population was over 65 and it is projected to rise to almost 40% by 2050. The good news is that Japan has the second longest overall life expectancy of any country in the world at 83.5 years. Since 2010 Japan has had a net population loss caused by falling birth rates and almost no immigration. Its fertility rate is 1.41 children per woman (2012), which is by far the lowest figure of any of the countries we have discussed. This is an improvement from 2001-2005, when it was 1.32.

Oddly enough, Japan controlled its population in the previous two centuries. Japanese population remained around 30-35 million people for around 150 years, from the early 1700s (their first census was in 1721). This is unusual, extremely unusual as it was not caused by any natural or man-made disaster. It appeared to be caused by a culture of family planning that simply resulted in the population remaining relatively steady. I don’t know enough about Japanese history to know why this developed, but it is trend that you see in almost no other country in the world in the 1800s. Just to make everyone uncomfortable, apparently this population control was helped by “infanticide” (mabiki).

Japan is a country that is not very encouraging for immigration. It is 98.5% Japanese, 0.5% Korean, 0.4% Chinese and 0.6% Other (in 2011). One of those “other” is now Geoffrey Clark, one of our guest bloggers. He has just moved to Japan for work and will be returning to blogging soon.

Japan really had not relied on immigration as part of their response to declining population. This is also unusual. As a result their demographic “pyramid” has developed a really uncomfortable shape. This is about as close as you are going to get to just flipping the pyramid upside down.

In the bigger picture, this shows the impact of controlled de-population on a country’s demographics (and economy). This is the alternative to allowing large scale immigration. Every country will need to address this as their fertility rates drop below 2. It is estimated that in 2050 the population of Japan will be 109 million (2017 UN figures, medium variant). This compares to 402 million for the United States (or 396 million using the 2017 UN medium variant figures). Right now the per capita income of Japan is $38,440 compared to $59,501 for the U.S. (IMF 2017 figures). If the per capita income remains below the United States, then this means the GDP of Japan could well decline to being below a fifth of the United States. This is a very different picture than the estimates that they would economically surpass the U.S. in 2020.

Final thoughts:

                 Japanese             United States           Ratio

Year          Population          Population                U.S./Japan

1860          > 32 million           31 million                  0.97

1900             44 million           76 million                  1.72

1940             73 million            132                          1.64

1980           117                       227                          1.94

2020           127                       334                          2.63

2050           109                       396                          3.63


1860 was 7 years after Commodore Perry entered Edo Bay, which lead to the opening of Japan for trade.

1900 was when the U.S. and Japan were on good terms.

1940 was the year before Pearl Harbor and the U.S. and Japan went to war.


Looking At Recent Reported Combat Loss Rates In Afghanistan

Afghan National Army soldiers simulate clearing a compound with help from their instructors at the 2nd Brigade, 205th Corps ANA Non-commissioned Officer Academy on Forward Operating Base Eagle in Zabul province Jan. 10, 2012 [{Wikimedia]

Last Friday, Rod Nordland published an article in the New York Times alleging that Afghan security forces (Afghan National Army (ANA) and police) had suffered an average of 57 killed in action (KIA) per day during the previous week, up from 22 killed per day in 2016. If true, such reports would indicate a dramatic increase in loss rates over the previous years.

These reported figures should be regarded critically, however. It is not clear how Nordland arrived at the total of 22 KIA per day for 2016. His article cited another article by Thomas Gibbons-Neff, published in the Times on 30 October 2017. This reported Afghan security forces casualties for 2016 at 6,700 KIA and 12,000 wounded in action (WIA), which works out to an average of 18.36 KIA per day (6,700/365), not 22. The total number of KIA + WIA works out to an average of 51.23 per day (18,700/365).

The lede of Gibbons-Neff’s 2017 article was that the U.S. and Afghan governments had stopped providing official strength and loss figures for the Afghan security forces. Citing the last report of the U.S. Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), Gibbons-Neff reported Afghan security forces losses from 1 January-8 May 2017 (126 days) as 2,531 KIA and 4,238 WIA. This works out to an average of 20.08 KIA (2,531/126) and 53.72 KIA + WIA (6,679/126) per day.

Nordland arrived at the figure of 57 KIA per day based on a report of 400 Afghan security forces killed in the week leading up the publication of his article on 21 September 2018. He calculated it by averaging the total over the previous seven days (400/7). Casualty rates in combat have been highly variable, historically. Brief spikes in rates are common. In the same paragraph reporting the 400 KIA total, Nordland quoted senior Afghan government officials stating that the daily average for recent months had been 30 to 40 KIA per day.

It is possible to use the figures cited by Nordland and Gibbons-Neff to make ballpark estimates for Afghan security forces casualties in 2017 and 2018. Even if the weekly loss of 400 KIA for 14-20 September 2018 represents an abnormally high total, it is reasonable to conclude that the Afghan security forces are very likely incurring sharply higher combat losses in 2018 than the previous two years. These figures do not include counts of missing or captured and thus underestimate the actual numbers of battle casualties being suffered by the Afghan forces. It is also possible that the estimates of 30-40 KIA per day apply only to the peak spring-to-autumn fighting season, which would somewhat reduce the overall 2018 KIA and WIA totals.

As Nordland reported, these losses are resulting in an increasing strain on the Afghan forces. His article stated that the strength of the ANA and police in April 2018 was 314,000, 38,000 below the authorized total of 352,000, and that the actual total was likely even lower due to fraudulent reporting and unreported desertions. The ANA suffered a monthly attrition rate of 2.9 percent in early 2017 from combat casualties, desertion, and failed reenlistments, requiring one-third of the overall force to be replaced by new recruits annually. That attrition rate is undoubtedly far higher now and almost certainly not sustainable for long.

In comparison, the Afghan government reported in August that its security forces had killed 42 Taliban fighters per day, or 1,300 per month. For the year ending in March 2018, it claimed to have killed 13,600 insurgent fighters. There has been no independent confirmation of these claims and they should be treated skeptically.

Really Old Stuff

Oldest living animal (558 million years ago):

Oldest human (homo sapien) (300,000 years ago):

Oldest human (homo sapien) outside of Africa (177,000 – 194,000 years ago):


Demographics of India

India is still not thought of by many as a world power, but in the long run, as its economy and population grow, it will join this esteemed company. It is the 2nd largest population in the world and the 6th largest economy in the world. Its economy is about the size of its old colonial master, the United Kingdom. It is a nuclear power, although we gather it has not weaponized many nukes. Still, it is a poor country, with a per capita income of $1,983 per person (per year…IMF 2017 figures).

Unlike China, there was no draconian one-child policy adopted, so Indian population continued to grow at a rate that is about to catapult it past China as the most populous country in the world. This is expected to happen in 2024 or 2030, or whenever. Sometime in the next decade.

The population of India for 2017 is estimated at 1.324 million, or 1.3 billion. This puts the population of the world’s largest democracy around four times that of the United States. It is almost four times what its population was in 1951 (361 million). In the early 1950s China had a population around 60 percent larger than India. Now, they are almost equal, although China has considerable more wealth.

The rapid Chinese economic growth has lead to it having a GDP of $12 trillion compared to the more anemic GDP of India at only $2.6 trillion. Needless to say, there is also a big difference in per capita income.

But while China is growing at a rate of only .59% a year and its population is expected to fall, India is expected to continue growing. Its growth rate in 2016 was 1.19% and its fertility rates are 2.45 children per woman (2016 estimate from CIA World Factbook). The annual growth rate remains at over one percent a year. But, the growth rate of the population appears to be declining, like it is in most areas of the world, developed or developing. India does have some emigration and immigration, but the population is so massive that this does not have a huge impact on population growth rates. The demographic pyramid is actually much more pyramidal that the others we have seen, although it is clear towards that bottom of the pyramid that they are now controlling their population growth rates.

India is truly a multi-ethnic, multi-linguistic and multi-religious society. It has something like more than 2,000 ethnic groups. Forgive me if I don’t list them. About 40% of Indians speak Hindi (an Indo-European language) as their first language, and over half the population can speak it. Over 10% of the population speaks English, making it the second largest English speaking country in the world. Religious affiliation is a little more unified with Hindu’s making up almost 80% of the population. There are Muslims (14% or more), Christians (2.3%), Sikhs (1.7%), Buddists, Jainism and even practitioners of Zoroastrianism (look that one up in your Funk and Wagnells). Keep in mind that 14% of 1.3 billion makes this the third largest Muslim population in the world with over 170 million Muslims.

The Indian population is expected to grow for a while. The United Nations predicts the Indian population will be 1.7 billion in 2050. This compares to 402 million for the United States and 1.36 billion for China estimated in 2050.

India economic growth rate has been around 6% a year for the last two decades. Depending on continued economic growth, this is a country that will slowly and surely take its place among the nations of the world.


Panzer Battalions in LSSAH in July 1943

I was recently reviewing a book called Germany and the Second World War: The Eastern Front 1943-1944. On page 124 it stated that “[On 12 July] In reality, this [the Adolf Hitler SS Panzer] regiment consisted of only one battalion of three companies, to which a heavy armoured company with four operational Tigers had been attached. The other battalion was back in Germany undergoing conversion to Panthers.”

Now, the LSSAH (Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler) Division did send its I Battalion back to convert to Panthers, but I still believe that the tank (panzer) regiment was operating with two battalions and more than three regular panzer companies. They probably had a temporary battalion drawn from elsewhere as had been done for the Das Reich SS Division. The problem is that I do not have a detailed organization chart for the LSSAH Division for June or July 1943. I do have the Das Reich and Totenkopf organization charts for August and July respectively and they both have two battalions with 7 or 8 panzer companies. As the Adolf Hitler SS Division has more tanks than either of them, I assume it also had two panzer battalions. Yet other authors seem to want to imply that somehow the Adolf Hitler SS Panzer Regiment was at half-strength at Prokhorovka, even though it had more tanks than either of the other two SS divisions..

On page 136 of that book it states that “The conclusion is that on 12 July at Prokhorovka 5th Guards Armoured Army fought only against two SS Armoured Infantry Divisions (each with a single armoured battalion), apart from an insignificant skirmish at Rzhavets.”

To start with the LSSAH Division on 4 July had 90 Pz III and IVs, and 9 Pz III Command tanks. There is simply no way to assemble them into a battalion of three companies with a strength of only 22 tanks per company. Even if 5 Pz IIIs are with the 13th Panzer Company (the Tiger company), and another 9 – 13 tanks are with the battalion and regiment headquarters, this leaves at least 81 Pz III and IVs for the II Battalion. With only three companies, they were either operating with 27 or more tanks per company, or there was some other organization. Ribbentrop, the 6th company commander, did state that there were 22 tanks in his company and I don’t recall seeing overstrength tank companies in German organizations before.

So, either the LSSAH had 1) overstrength tank companies, 2) a 4th company in the II Battalion, or 3) a temporary I Battalion.

I do not have an organization chart of LSSAH for June, July or August. I do have the organization chart for the Das Reich on 1 August 1943. There it shows the II Panzer Battalion. In the place of the I Panzer Battalion is an AT Battalion which has three companies reporting to it, a tank company, and two antitank companies (but armed with tanks). It is clear that the Das Reich SS Division had created a temporary I Battalion to handle its tanks. It had done so by I August, and I suspect it had done that before the Battle of Kursk (which started 5 July). If the Das Reich SS Division had done this before Kursk, then I would not be surprised it LSSAH did something similar.

The records I have do reference a I Battalion with the LSSAH on 8 July. In my files is a report from the “Tagesmeldung” for LSSAH for 8/7/43 17.45. It states “Am 8.7.43, 05..00 Uhr, trat verstarktes I.Pz.Rgt.1 aus Prokrowka zum Angriff auf Bol. Majatschki…” (T354, R605, page 577). This was not a simple typo, for the same report is repeated in a “Presentation of Events” that states for 8 July: “05.00 Uhr. Angriff I.Pz:Rgt. “L-SS-AH” gegen Bol. Majatschki.” (T313, R368, note they use the Roman numeral I, which indicates battalion). So, either something or someone was serving as the first battalion of the regiment; or this is an incorrect report broadcast to two sources. This is referenced in my Kursk book on page 622 where the I Battalion of the Adolf Hitler SS Panzer Regiment is attacking at 0500 from Pokrovka towards Bolshiye Mayachki.

Another historian I have been discussing this with has also looked at the LSSAH division history for 1943 by Rudolf Lehmann and mentions an 8th panzer company that may have been created in May/June.

So, we are left with one of three constructs:

1. There are 27 or more Pz III and IVs in each tank company.

     A. This is both unusual and contradicted by Ribbentrop.

2. There is an 8th company in II Panzer Battalion

     A. Also contradicted by Ribbentrop.

3. There is a temporary I Battalion created.

    A. Similar to what Das Reich records on 1 August.

    B. And referenced in two reports on 8 July.


Of course, logic would dictate that the Adolf Hitler SS Division had an arrangement similar to what was done with the Das Reich. If they did not, then it begs the question of how did they command 106 Pz I-IVs with three tank companies. The division had 3 Pz I (one of them a command tank), 4 Pz IIs, 90 Pz IIIs and Pz IVs (79 of them Panzer IV longs), 12 Pz VI and nine Panzer III Command tanks. With 22 tanks per company, and the 12 Tiger tanks in one company, they clearly needed 6 to 8 companies to handle this collection of armor. There are 3 or 4 tank companies in a battalion. On 1 August, the Das Reich SS Division had seven regular tank companies (not counting the Tiger company) which had between them 8 and 21 tanks each, with only one company having as many as 21 tanks (T313, R387). The Totenkopf SS Division had six regular tank companies (T78, R719) throughout this period.

On 15 April I have a status report as of 30 April (not sure how that works) that clearly indicates that LSSAH and DR SS Divisions only have one battalion (see:T313, R366, page 2078). It lists “1 Pz.Abt” for LSSAH and “1 Pz.Abt” and “1 Tiger-Kp.” for DR SS Division. Yet on 1 August the Das Riech SS Division has two battalions, one a temporary battalion created from an AT tank Battalion. I have assumed this was also its organization as of 1 July 1943. At least to me, it makes the argument that both panzer regiments replaced the missing I Battalion with a temporary battalion for Kursk.

The tank status report for Das Reich for 1 May lists the panzer regiment without the 1st Battalion (T313, R387, page 369). The similar tank status report for 1 June lists the panzer regiment but no statement that it is without the 1st Battalion (T313, R387, page 505). Same with the 10 June report (T313, R387, page 560). Is this because something changed? This does lead me to strongly suspect that Das Reich created it temporary I Battalion on or before 1 June. If Das Reich did so, I would assume so to would LSSAH.

So, logic would dictate that the Adolf Hitler SS Panzer Regiment has two battalions, while two similar reports on 8 July 1943 also reference the I Battalion. Is there any documentation I have missed that could further clarify or resolve this issue?

Demographics of China

China is the most populous country/region in the world. In its unified and un-unified forms, it has been forever, so it seems. It certainly has been since the fall of the Roman Empire, although one can argue that the British Empire was larger for a moment. Oddly enough, the pre-eminent position that it has held for over 1,500 years, is about to be surpassed by India. China, in its wisdom brought it population under control decades ago, encouraging smaller families. This has allowed it to further develop and economically grow. Quite simply, if a country’s economic growth is 3% a year, and its population growth is 3% a year, then the average person is basically getting nowhere. This has been the case for many nations in the developing world. China has broken from that pattern.

The population of China (People’s Republic of China) for 2017 is estimated at 1,411 million, or 1.4 billion. This is a staggering figure making it almost five times (4.6 times) as many people as the United States. It is around three times what its population was in 1950. The population in its first official national census taken by the People’s Republic of China in 1953 was 583 million. It was a little hard to determine what the population of China was until the post-war period. Post-war in this case means post-Warlord period, post-Sino-Japanese War, post-World War II and post-Chinese Civil War. The Chinese population was almost four times larger than the United States in 1950/1953, back in the days when we were at war with China in the Korean peninsula. The Chinese population is now growing at a rate of 0.59% percent a year (a half percent a year). This is very low.

The fertility rates in China are 1.62 children per woman (2016) according to National Health and Family Planning Commission (NHFPC) and 1.29 in 2016 according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). Not sure why there is such a difference. Regardless, this is not replacement rate and well below 2.1. It is a birth rate lower that what we see in many developed countries, although China is a still a developing country. This low birth rate was a result of the one-child policy instituted by the Communist Party in 1979. It appears to have not only worked, but it worked too well. In 2015, the government instituted a two-child policy. According to NHFPC, they are expecting the birth rate to grow to 1.8. I guess this is one of the goals of the 13th Five-Year Plan. This is still not replacement rate. China does have some emigration and immigration, but the population is so massive that this does not have a huge impact on population growth rates.

They have classified 91.51% of the population of China as Han Chinese. Still, 8.5% of 1.5 billion creates some significant minorities. This includes the Tibetians, with at least 2.8 million, and the Turkish Uyghurs estimated at 3.6 million. I ate recently at a Uyghur restaurant in Crystal City, VA. I have never seen to one of those before.

Most likely the Chinese population will experience negative population growth by 2030. The United Nations predicts the Chinese population will be 1.36 billion in 2050. This compares to 402 for the United States and 132 for Russian in 2050. Predicting population over 30 years is not that difficult. On the other hand, there is a projection that Chinese population will decline to 1.02 billion by 2100. I would not hang my hat on that last figure.

The population is aging, with its demographic “pyramid” developing a narrowing at the bottom. The demographic “pyramid” from 2015 is below:

These figures do not include Taiwan (Republic of China) or Macau (Macao Special Administrative Region). It does include the city of Hong Kong. Mainland China claims Taiwan is part of China and has had an army posed across the straights ready to invade for almost 70 years. I am guessing if they have not invaded in the last 70 years, they are not going to invade in the next 70, especially as Taiwan is a major trading partner. I do not expect re-unification as long as Taiwan remains democratic (and it has been since 1991/1996) and China remains a communist dictatorship. Taiwan had a population in 2010 of 23.1 million, and it is growing only very slowly. Macau, with a population of 552,300 in the 2010 census, is effectively under Chinese control, as is Hong Kong (7,097,600 in the 2010 census).

U.S. Army Mobile Protected Firepower (MPF) Program Update

BAE Systems has submitted its proposal to the U.S. Army to build and test the Mobile Protected Firepower (MPF) vehicle [BAE Systems/Fox News]

When we last checked in with the U.S. Army’s Mobile Protected Firepower (MPF) program—an effort to quickly field a new light tank lightweight armored vehicle with a long-range direct fire capability—Request for Proposals (RFPs) were expected by November 2017 and the first samples by April 2018. It now appears the first MPF prototypes will not be delivered before mid-2020 at the earliest.

According to a recent report by Kris Osborn on Warrior Maven, “The service expects to award two Engineering Manufacturing and Development (EMD) deals by 2019 as part of an initial step to building prototypes from multiple vendors, service officials said. Army statement said initial prototypes are expected within 14 months of a contract award.”

Part of the delay appears to stem from uncertainty about requirements. As Osborn reported, “For the Army, the [MPF} effort involves what could be described as a dual-pronged acquisition strategy in that it seeks to leverage currently available or fast emerging technology while engineering the vehicle with an architecture such that it can integrate new weapons and systems as they emerge over time.”

Among the technologies the Army will seek to integrate into the MPF are a lightweight, heavy caliber main gun, lightweight armor composites, active protection systems, a new generation of higher-resolution targeting sensors, greater computer automation, and artificial intelligence.

Osborn noted that

the Army’s Communications Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center (CERDEC) is already building prototype sensors – with this in mind. In particular, this early work is part of a longer-range effort to inform the Army’s emerging Next-Generation Combat Vehicle (NGCV). The NGCV, expected to become an entire fleet of armored vehicles, is now being explored as something to emerge in the late 2020s or early 2030s.

These evolving requirements are already impacting the Army’s approach to fielding MPF. It originally intended to “do acquisition differently to deliver capability quickly.” MPF program director Major General David Bassett declared in October 2017, “We expect to be delivering prototypes off of that program effort within 15 months of contract award…and getting it in the hands of an evaluation unit six months after that — rapid!

It is now clear the Army won’t be meeting that schedule after all. Stay tuned.