Finally! Someone who knows the difference between "ordinance" and "ordnance". Kudos.
I agree. If you think the U.S. isn't aggressively active in both defensive and offensive cyberwar activities, you are naive.
With massive federal cutbacks in spending and subsequent layoffs in defense and everywhere else, a new recession is a downside for everyone.
The Vietnamese are buying 6 Kilos, which will provide a very useful deterrent to Chinese surface warships.
Not to mention what Chinese generals make in graft.
Let's see: 2 years (730 days) to write 30,000 pages? That's 41 pages per day, every day! I ain't buying it. When would you have time to sleep, much less manage a war?
One of China's essential Sea Lines of Communication is through the Indian Ocean to the Middle East. They must have the means to protect their tankers and merchant trade. This is one of the key reasons for the Shi Lang and China's naval buildup. India, one of China's core competitors, is perfectly placed to cut China's SLOC to the oil fields.
Now we know how the Brits feel when they sold us their Harriers to be used as spare parts for the Marines . . .
I would have thought that from the standpoint of the U.S., that including allied vessels would be beneficial and would send a stronger message to Iran. Iran has threatened to close the straits, and knowing that European countries were willing to send naval vessels through in concert with U.S. lets them know it is more than just the "Great Satan" that is determined to keep the waterway open.
So effective close air support is a "niche?"