The Pentagon is considering a major overhaul of its geographical combatant commands, possibly realigning oversight within hot-button areas of the world and eliminating thousands of military and civilian positions,according to defense sources.. While the plans for combatant command (COCOM) realignment and consolidation are still notional, sources say some options include: Combining Northern Command and Southern Command to form what what some are calling “Americas Command” or “Western Command.” Dissolving Africa Command and splitting it up among European Command and Central Command.
Demand for the use of surveillance drones by law enforcement is growing rapidly, but the rules for their use haven’t yet caught up with that demand, engendering fears of unwarranted searches. Drones are equipped with powerful video cameras and infrared (thermal imaging) devices capable of seeing through roofs, but they can also be fitted with radar speed-cameras and other miniaturized equipment capable of performing chemical analyses, environmental sampling, industrial emission monitoring, radiation detection, and much more.
ShotSpotter, the dominant gunfire detection technology on the market, gathers data from a network of acoustic sensors placed at 30-foot elevation under a mile apart. To cut costs, most cities use the sensors only in selected areas. The system filters the data through an algorithm that isolates the sound of gunfire. If shots are fired anywhere in the coverage area, the software triangulates their location to within about 10 feet and reports the activity to the police dispatcher.
Egypt and her strategic waterways are the heart of the Arab economy. Wars have been waged in the past based upon these important straits. If Egypt falls to militarism or radical Islam like its neighbors Sudan and Libya, numerous Arab and western nations will suffer massive economic loss. You can have unlimited oil and LNG on hand but you need safe shipping routes in which to transport it. With this understanding Egypt is not truly sovereign and that is why it is in a constant state of flux. Israel, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Iran and other actors and countries are in the midst of a covert battle royal to influence Egyptian affairs.
The United States has expressed concern about Japan’s desire to acquire the ability to attack enemy bases in an overhaul of its defense policies pursued by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, a government source said in Tokyo. One of the American officials attending bilateral talks on foreign and defense policy cooperation late last month in Tokyo asked the Japanese side to consider the possible negative fallout on neighboring countries if Abe’s administration embarks on such a policy shift.
Giant submarines filled with small underwater drones to protect the seas. The concept sounds like something out of a science fiction movie or a particularly trippy Sealab 2021 episode, but the U.S. military thinks it is very doable–and that it could help augment American sea power. This week, DARPA announced their new Project Hydra, an early-stage effort to fight the “rising number of ungoverned states, piracy, and proliferation of sophisticated defenses“ through autonomous underwater vehicles. Hydra itself would center around a submarine that discreetly injects unmanned aerial and underwater vehicles into warzones.
Circle of Blue, with the Wilson Center, is looking at what’s probably the most important drama unfolding on the planet today, and that’s this confrontation between water, food, and energy. We created a project called Choke Point: U.S. Then we backed up and said, “Let’s take a look at China.” Our next Choke Point lens is to take a look at India, the world’s second-largest, second-most-populated nation. Keith Schneider: In the ’60s and the ’70s, the policy was to make energy, electricity, and water free to the agriculture sector in a nation that knew serious starvation.
On paper, Japan is a pacifist nation. It ranks 6th on the Global Peace Index, a list tabulated by peace activists at Vision of Humanity. Japan’s constitution makes illegal a traditional standing army. But a recently published defense white paper shows the extent to which the country has one of the most well-equipped “invisible” armies in the world. Japan’s armed forces are euphemistically dubbed the “Self Defense Force” (SDF) — officially it’s an extension of the police. But with the world’s 6th best-equipped troops and a nearly $60 billion defense budget last year, the SDF is not composed of your average beat cops.
The Kyoto governor and Kyotango mayor will allow the U.S. military to set up a facility on the Tango Peninsula facing the Sea of Japan to monitor North Korean missile launches. Kyoto Governor Keiji Yamada and Kyotango Mayor Yasushi Nakayama agreed at a meeting on Aug. 1 to accept the facility, which was part of an agreement reached between the Japanese and U.S. governments to deploy the mobile X-band Radar. The radar will transmit data on ballistic missile launches to warships equipped with Aegis air defense systems and ground-based interceptor missile sites.
The special session of the Bahraini National Assembly held on Sunday Jul. 28 was a spectacle of venom, a display of vulgarity, and an unabashed nod to increased dictatorship. Calling the Shia “dogs”, as one parliamentarian said during the session, which King Hamad convened, the Al-Khalifa have thrown away any hope for national reconciliation and dialogue. The 22 recommendations approved during the session aimed at giving the regime pseudo-legal tools to quash dissent and violate human and civil rights with impunity. All in the name of fighting “terrorism”.
High-ranking U.S. and South Korean armed forces officials on Tuesday discussed plans to return to Seoul command of its own troops during wartime, Yonhap reported. The command transfer is presently planned to happen at the end of 2015. However, Seoul earlier this month requested that it be delayed — for the second time — amid concerns that South Korean military capabilities are not yet at the desired level. North Korea’s rising nuclear and ballistic missile capabilities also are said to have played a role.
Vladimir Putin, now in power for over 13 years, has a history with the United States, his one-time opponent on the global chessboard. He began by mending ties with NATO, broken during the Kosovo conflict, and then actually applying for membership in the alliance that once faced off against the Red Army. In the wake of Sept. 11, Putin not only called George W. Bush, but also gave practical and substantive support to U.S. operations in Afghanistan—and tolerated a large U.S. military presence in former Soviet Central Asia.
The South Korean Defense Ministry last week offered its five-year budget proposal, which includes a major focus — to the tune of tens of billions of dollars — on increasing the country’s ability to thwart possible North Korean missile strikes from reaching their targets. Approximately $26.4 billion is sought for fiscal 2014 to 2018 for the purchase of missile defense-related armaments, including cruise and ballistic missiles, satellites and remotely piloted surveillance aircraft. The spending proposal asks for funding to modernize South Korea’s arsenal of U.S.-made Patriot Advanced Capability 3 missile interceptors and to acquire new PAC-2 missiles.
Mongolia’s fairytale economic boom is developing cracks. The failure of the country’s fifth-largest bank and delays to the development of its giant copper mine underscores fears that its growth potential is built on shaky foundations. Yet greater economic realism may ultimately be welcome. The surprise insolvency of Savings Bank, which controlled about 8 per cent of Mongolia’s banking assets, has rattled the country’s economic cheerleaders. The central bank closed down the lender and transferred its deposits to a state-owned rival after it ran up bad loans worth $109-million (U.S.) – more than twice its capital, according to Fitch Ratings.
Pentagon propaganda websites aimed at countering terrorism in foreign countries would be shut down under a Senate measure sponsored by the chairman of the Armed Services Committee, according to his office. The Pentagon’s Trans Regional Web Initiative (TRWI), a U.S. Special Operations Command initiative, operates 10 websites around the globe. Sen. Carl Levin’s committee voted to eliminate its $19.7 million in funding in the National Defense Authorization Act.
Washington welcomes visits to its nuclear weapons facilities by Japan as a way to provide “firsthand knowledge” of the U.S. nuclear posture and reassurances of its nuclear deterrent, a former senior U.S. defense official says.
“The nuclear umbrella is a centerpiece of the U.S.-Japan security alliance,” Bradley Roberts, a former U.S. deputy assistant secretary of defense for nuclear and missile defense policy, said in a written response to The Asahi Shimbun’s questions in early July.
China’s draconian “one-child” population controls are affecting the country’s military readiness, according to an article circulating in state-run media. The article, originally attributed to Japan’s Asahi Shimbun but picked up by China’s official Xinhua news agency, reflects current thinking in the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), which fears an aging population will shrink the pool of potential military recruits, analysts said. PLA strategists are also concerned that China’s new generation of “little emperors,”.
There are concerns as the political upheaval grows, elements of the former regime of Zein Abidine Ben Ali, driven from power in January 2011, retain considerable influence and maintain ties with the labor unions and the internal security forces and could try to stage a comeback.
The cause of Tunisia’s slide toward anarchy was the assassination Thursday of secular opposition leader Mohammed Brahmi, a member of the 217-seat parliament who represented the central city of Sidi Bouzid, his hometown.
The Philippines plans to relocate major air force and navy camps to a former U.S. naval base northwest of Manila to gain faster access to waters being contested by China in the South China Sea, according to the country’s defense chief and a confidential government report. Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said Sunday that as soon as relocation funds are available the government plans to transfer air force and naval forces and their fleets of aircraft and warships to Subic Bay, which has become a busy free port since the 1992 departure of the U.S. Navy.
The gas from Myanmar, pumped from offshore fields in the Bay of Bengal, is not expected to reach China via the new pipeline until next month or September. But at full capacity, it will deliver 12 billion cubic meters each year of additional supply to China. This is nearly 30 percent of current annual imports and one-twelfth of the country’s 2012 gas consumption. Beijing fears its maritime oil and gas imports could be targeted in a selective blockade of the straits led by the U.S. Chinese leaders call this potential vulnerability their “Malacca Dilemma.”
The Pentagon has documented a sharp increase in military espionage from the Asia-Pacific region that focuses on specialized electronics designed to withstand radiation, such as that caused by nuclear warfare or accidents, according to an official review released last week. For a number of years, foreign entities from East Asia and the Pacific “have demonstrated a strong interest in obtaining export-controlled U.S. rad-hard circuitry,” states the report by the Pentagon’s Defense Security Service
While the possibility of anti-satellite weapons, jamming and cyber-attacks aimed at the U.S. military’s fleets of communication satellites is making them vulnerable to adversaries, declining defense budgets constitute an equal threat to the space architecture the services rely upon, according to a report released July 24. Like the Maginot Line that gave the French a false sense of security prior to the German Blitzkrieg in World War II, the U.S. military has assumed since the end of the Cold War that no one would dare launch an physical attack on its satellites because that would violate international norms.
Nearly three weeks after Egypt’s military forced the country’s President Mohamed Morsi out of office and jailed him and officials of his Muslim Brotherhood party, the explosive reaction on Cairo’s streets has brought death and turmoil—and in another country more than 1,200 miles away, an uneasy sense of loss. Qatar, the tiny gas-rich peninsula in the Arabian Gulf, had poured nearly $5 billion into Morsi’s government in its one short year in office, propping up Egypt’s teetering economy, and investing—or so it thought—in a lasting relationship with the Arab world’s most populous nation.
The top U.S. general has set out five options for military intervention in Syria in a non-classified letter made public Monday. Despite outlining the options, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey stressed that the decision of whether to go to war was one for civilian leaders. In his July 19 letter, he pointed out that the use of the options would be a political decision that should not be carried out lightly and would be, “no less than an act of war.” The options range from nonlethal intelligence and weapons training to a boots-on-the-ground plan to “assault and secure” the Syrian regime’s chemical weapons.
The Hydra program will develop and demonstrate an unmanned undersea system with a new kine of unmanned-vehicle delivery system that inserts UAVs and UUVs. stealthily into operational environments to respond quickly to situations around the world without putting U.S. military personnel at risk. The Hydra large UUV is to use modular payloads inside a standardized enclosure to deploy a mix of UAVs and UUVs, depending on the military situation.
As was the case with the Balkans in 1914, on the eve of the First World War, the Eastern Mediterranean is now a pile of “kindling”, ready to trigger a larger explosion. Similar to the ball which deprived the life of Archduke Ferdinand, nobody can predict what could widen the conflict, but surely the possibility should not be ignored. Conflicts Sunni and Shiite boil. In the old sources of tension have been added and new, mainly for gas deposits claimed by Israel, Cyprus, Turkey, Syria, Lebanon and the Gaza Strip.
The U.S. military is shifting its huge fleet of unmanned aircraft to other hot spots around the world. The move comes as the Obama administration is reducing the number of drone attacks in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen. This next phase of drone warfare is focused more on spying than killing and will extend the Pentagon’s surveillance networks far beyond traditional, declared combat zones. According to the Washington Post, over the past decade, the Pentagon has collected more than 400 Predators, Reapers, Hunters, Gray Eagles and other high-altitude drones that have revolutionized counterterrorism operations.
Here’s what your stockbroker and the media aren’t telling you: the world is more indebted now than it was at the height of the financial bubble in 2007. That’s right. Despite the extraordinary government intervention of the past six years. Despite continuing optimism of a recovery. Despite the reassuring words of central bankers. We’re worse off in debt terms. Interest rates can’t rise above GDP rates, otherwise debt to GDP ratios will climb further. If they do, you can expect more money printing, budget cuts and tax rises.
The first U.S. land-based ballistic missile defense base in Europe is to be constructed in Romania by KBR. The construction contract to build the facility at Romania’s Deveselu Air Base was issued to the Texas-headquartered company by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Europe District, and is worth $134 million. KBR said that under the contract it will re-locate a four-story radar deckhouse structure from the East Coast of the United States to Romania and build various facilities and infrastructure to support the Aegis Ashore weapons system.
On Wednesday Bild published a major scoop, based on a document that was apparently sent by NATO to all the regional commands in Afghanistan back in 2011. This document laid out instructions for cooperation under a program called PRISM, which involved monitoring emails and phone calls, with access regulated by the U.S. Joint Worldwide Intelligence Communications System (JWICS). This document naturally made its way to the Germans, who are somewhat controversially deployed in Afghanistan and, as Bild framed it, this meant the German government is lying about its PRISM ignorance.
The commander of U.S. Strategic Command discussed the mission and future of Air Force Global Strike Command at an all-call here July 15. “The skills that we have for the nuclear deterrence mission will be needed as far into the future as I can see,” Gen. C. Robert Kehler said. “As long as we have nuclear weapons, it’s our job to deter nuclear attack with a safe, secure and effective nuclear force. That’s what we’re here for.” Kehler addressed several topics, including the evolving nature of global security and how it affects the way in which the Air Force must meet new challenges.
A potential nucleus for a Japanese marine force exists in the form of the Ground Self-Defense Force Western Army Infantry Regiment, which was founded in 2002 with 660 troops to deal with emergencies on the islets that dot the ocean between Japan’s main islands and Taiwan and are claimed by rival parties, according to that year’s defense white paper. China has raised its amphibious capabilities, a report by the U.S. Defense Department said in May, with three brigades and two divisions deployed near the Taiwan Strait, while the Chinese navy has 55 large and medium-size amphibious transport and landing ships.
This history of double standards shadows the recent events in Egypt and Washington. When a country’s military sends tanks into the streets, deposes an elected President, suspends the constitution, shuts down television stations, and arrests the leadership of the ruling party, the usual word for it is “coup.” But, in the days since all this came to pass in Egypt, the Obama Administration has gone to great lengths to avoid calling it by its rightful name-Jay Carney, the White House press secretary, said that the events of July 3rd and afterward were under “review”-for the obvious reason that, under the law, it would mean the end of $1.5 billion in U.S. military and economic aid.
The Defense Department’s CIO has called for the enterprisewide implementation of unified capabilities to be fielded to DOD components by fiscal 2016. UC includes a broad set of voice-, video- and data-sharing capabilities that promise to enable unprecedented joint collaboration among the military services, combatant commands and defense agencies. IP-based solutions will enable DOD users to better collaborate via instant messaging, chat and Web-based conferencing, among other applications.
With massive firepower at its command, the Egyptian security forces are armed with a wide range of mostly U.S-supplied weapons, ranging from fighter planes, combat helicopters, warships and missiles to riot-controlled equipment such as armoured personnel carriers, recoilless rifles, sub-machine guns, rubber bullets, handguns and tear gas grenades.Additionally, Egypt receives grants under the International Military Education and Training (IMET) programme, amounting to about 1.3 million to about 1.9 million dollars annually, plus about 250 million dollars annually in economic aid.
The entrance of U.S.military forces could be truncated as a result of a recent verdict from Costa Rica´s Constitutional Chamber. Last July 5th it determined that the General Direction of Civil Aviation violated the “right to peace” of Costa Ricans, since in May of this year it authorized the entrance of U.S Army Blackhawk helicopters. The criterion of the sentence 2013-9122 could be applied to entry permits of U.S military ships to Costa Rican waters and it could fall under the joint patrol agreement.
The Defense Ministry will explain its plans to boost the amphibious and pre-emptive strike capabilities of the Self-Defense Forces. The move underscores the focus the ministry is putting on defending the nation’s outlying islands as tensions with China continue to simmer over the Senkaku Islands dispute. The SDF currently does not have a military branch equivalent to the U.S. Marine Corps. SDF personnel are mainly tasked with landing on enemy-controlled terrain by air or sea ahead of other forces
The Air Force of the future is likely to be slightly smaller and more reliant on remotely piloted aircraft, face growing challenges from the rise of Asia and rapidly increasing space traffic, and struggle to maintain its technological superiority as the United States produces fewer scientists, engineers and other highly skilled graduates. In the report, called “Global Horizons: United States Air Force Global Science and Technology Vision,” Maybury said that the Air Force’s manned air fleet is likely to shrink slightly by 2027. But the Air Force’s fleets of remotely piloted aircraft and their missions are likely to grow.
How much are your private conversations worth to the government? Turns out, it can be a lot, depending on the technology. AT&T, for example, imposes a $325 “activation fee” for each wiretap and $10 a day to maintain it. Smaller carriers Cricket and U.S. Cellular charge only about $250 per wiretap. But snoop on a Verizon customer? That costs the government $775 for the first month and $500 each month after that, according to industry disclosures made last year to Rep. Edward Markey (D., Mass.).
The Commander of the Navy’s Pacific Fleet addressed a recent report Thursday at the Pentagon that outlines a growing Chinese intercontinental ballistic threat that estimates that the Chinese could have over 100 ICBMs able to reach the U.S. in 15 years.
The report in question, called the 2013 Ballistic and Cruise Missile Threat Assessment from the National Air and Space Intelligence Center, called China’s ballistic missile development program the “most active and diverse” in the world.
A British intelligence report said Wednesday that other nations are hiring hackers to launch attacks against their enemies, a trend it described as particularly worrying. The warning over cybermercenaries came in an annual report published by Britain’s Intelligence and Security Committee, a watchdog body of senior lawmakers that oversees Britain’s spy agencies. Citing testimony from British eavesdropping agency GCHQ, the report described the mercenaries as “skilled cyber professionals undertaking attacks on diverse targets such as financial institutions and energy companies.
The first step should therefore be to redefine the scope of Europe’s neighborhood strategy in order to include the Sahel area as a whole. For obvious historical reasons, France will continue to be more involved in the stability of this part of Africa than other countries, but the development of new safe havens for terrorism and transnational crime in the region should be considered a threat to all European national interests, just as instability in the Caucasus should concern Western European countries. At this point, France has neither the political will nor the capacity to assert sole leadership in a vast region stretching from Senegal to the Horn of Africa.
Two U.S. Navy ships patrolling in the Middle East moved closer to Egypt’s Red Sea coast in recent days, the top Marine Corps general said on Thursday, in what appeared to be a precautionary move after the military overthrow of President Mohamed Mursi. “Egypt is (in) a crisis right now,” Marine Corps Commandant General James Amos told the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank. “When that happens, what we owe the senior leadership of our nation are some options,” Amos said. He did not say what the options were.
U.S. and Western weapons have been reaching Iranian-backed Shiite militias fighting to keep Bashar Assad’s forces in power in Syria. Analysts say it’s unclear if the weapons were captured, stolen or bought on the black market in Syria, Turkey, Iraq or Libya. Propaganda photographs from Shiite militias posted on dozens of websites and Facebook pages show the weapons were acquired in new condition, said Phillip Smyth, an analyst for Jihadology.net, a site affiliated with the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
The French government decided to provide the Lebanese army with heavy weapons to boost its military performance, a local newspaper reported on Monday. According to al-Joumhouria newspaper, a recent meeting held between French and Lebanese Defense Ministry officials discussed the matter. France decided in light of the meetings to supply the Lebanese army with anti-tank missiles and sophisticated surface-to-air missiles. Informed sources told the newspaper that Paris is “confident that the Lebanese army command is controlling the institution despite what rumors said.”
On July 1, 2013 Indian Regional Navigational Satellite System (IRNSS) received another boost by the launch of a geostationary satellite. Though the rocket has a presumable reach of 6000 km but this apparently peaceful advancement in space has military potential. For instance, it is a step towards India’s gradually building anti-ballistic missile defense shield and enhancement of its reconnaissance potential. One wonders if this potential militarization of space will ultimately lead to weaponisation and compel New Delhi’s current and future adversaries to respond in letter and in spirit.
Japan has no intention to go it alone in defending its territory or national interests from growing threats in the Asia-Pacific region. But an annual defense review released Tuesday and other recent developments signal an increasing willingness on the part of Japan to go it alone, first.
Japan plans to establish a new National Security Council that would streamline how and when Tokyo would use military force, appoint a senior officer to command troops from all three armed services, and formally designate a Marine Corps-like force to defend its vulnerable southwest islands.
Things are beginning to move on the Pentagon’s plan to build a ground-based missile-defense system in Romania to protect U.S. allies in southern Europe – as well as American troops in the region – from attack by Iranian missiles. The latest sign is this Pentagon solicitation seeking “100mb [megabyte] direct access with internet routable IP addresses for MDA [Missile Defense Agency] contractors onsite” at Romania’s Deveselu air base near Caracal. The U.S. anti-missile base will consist of 430 acres surrounded by base property, and be run by about 200 U.S. military and civilian personnel.
India and South Korea share remarkable common interests – all the more remarkable considering how far apart they are geographically, in area, population, average income, living conditions and climate. And then consider how different are Indians and Koreans in ethnic and linguistic backgrounds, religious beliefs and influences. It’s hard to imagine two such important nations and societies with so little in common, yet so closely bound by security and economic considerations.
How many nuclear weapons and delivery systems does a country need as an effective deterrent against the threats of attack? Finding an acceptable balance is critically important in Asia, where four of the world’s nine nuclear-armed states are located.Asia may be sliding into a nuclear arms race, aggravated by underlying tensions and mistrust. As one nuclear weapons state enlarges its arsenal, other regional atomic powers do the same. SIPRI estimated that China, India and Pakistan had each added about 10 warheads to their operational stockpiles in 2012.
China, Japan and Korea are all exercising increased diplomatic and political thrusts into the Arctic countries, but in different manners. While the visits of Chinese and Korean officials target the Nordic countries to talk Arctic and environmental cooperation, China’s diplomatic representation is actually strongest in Russia. China has five consulates in Russia, the same number as it has in the U.S., perhaps pointing to at least a traditional equivalence in the weight that the U.S. and Russia hold in Chinese foreign policy.
Few outside the intelligence community had heard of activity-based intelligence until December, when the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency awarded BAE Systems $60 million to develop products based on this newish methodology. But ABI, which focuses not on specific targets but on events, movements and transactions in a given area, is rapidly emerging as a powerful tool for understanding adversary networks and solving quandaries presented by asymmetrical warfare and big data.
The top U.S. special operations commander, Adm. William McRaven, ordered military files about the Navy SEAL raid on Osama bin Laden’s hideout to be purged from Defense Department computers and sent to the CIA, where they could be more easily shielded from ever being made public.
The secret move, described briefly in a draft report by the Pentagon’s inspector general, set off no alarms within the Obama administration even though it appears to have sidestepped federal rules and perhaps also the U.S. Freedom of Information Act.
With unrest in Egypt, U.S. military officials looking for insight might test the ties they formed with the Egyptian defense minister, Lt. Gen. Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, when he was a student at the Army War College.
“In this little historical Pennsylvania town, the most important school in the world operates under the radar,” said retired Col. Stephen Gerras, a professor of behavioral science at the Carlisle Barracks.
After Abdiwali Warsame embraced the First Amendment by creating a raucous Web site about his native Somalia. Packed with news and controversial opinions, it rapidly became a magnet for Somalis dispersed around the world, including tens of thousands in Minnesota. The popularity of the site, also attracted the attention of the Defense Department. A military contractor, working for U.S. Special Operations forces to “counter nefarious influences” in Africa, began monitoring the Web site and compiled a confidential research dossier about its founder and its content.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai wants a mutual security pact with the United States that would compel the super power to protect Afghanistan against Pakistan. Under the pact, the U.S., if possible, even take direct military action against Taliban havens on Pakistani soil, the New York Times quoted Afghan sources as saying. According to the newspaper, Karzai was fumed that Washington’s attempt to begin peace talks with the Taliban in Qatar was in reality an attempt to cut him out and make an American deal with the Taliban.
Higa and others admit that few islanders would actually seek independence for Okinawa, the southernmost Japanese island chain, which is home to 1.4 million residents and more than half of the 50,000 U.S. troops and sailors based in Japan. But discontent with the heavy U.S. presence and a growing perception that the central government is ignoring Okinawans’ pleas to reduce it have made an increasing number of islanders willing to flirt publicly with the idea of breaking apart in a way that local politicians and scholars say they have not seen in decades.
You’ve heard of planned obsolescence — tactical nuclear weapons are a case of deferred obsolescence: a weapon that has long ago worn out its welcome in the U.S. arsenal. Politically, however, there are still voices that argue that even a bomb with no military utility is “reassuring” to certain allies, and that storing this artifact in European bunkers and maintaining allied aircraft capable of dropping this bomb is a valuable demonstration of NATO “burden sharing.” Moreover, these proponents are prepared to pay — or rather, have the U.S. pay — $10 billion to modernize and store the B61.
According to a Customs and Border Protection report obtained by the Electronic Frontier Foundation through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, the agency has considered adding weapons to its Predator drones that currently serve as the agency’s eyes in the sky on the lookout for undocumented immigrants and drug trafficking coming across the border.
A section of the heavily redacted 107-page report that deals with the equipment mounted on the drones states that “Additional payload upgrades could include expendables or non-lethal weapons designed to immobilize [targets of interest].”
As Egypt’s President Mohammed Morsi digs in his heels despite calls for him to step down, roughly 500 U.S. Marines deployed to Italy and Spain are poised to react if their presence is needed to calm the brewing violence in the North African country, according to Stars and Stripes. Pentagon spokesman told reporters the Marines were ready, if needed, to respond to a crisis in the region: “We have taken steps to ensure our military is ready to respond to a range of contingencies.” CNN reports that 200 of the Marines in Italy and Spain are poised to be airborne within an hour of getting orders to deploy to Egypt
“The SBIRS program delivers timely, reliable and accurate missile warning and infrared surveillance information to the President of the United States, the Secretary of Defense, combatant commanders, the intelligence community and other key decision makers,” Lockheed Martin said.
The aerospace manufacturer said the system, in addition to enhancing global missile launch detection capability, would support the ballistic missile defense system, expand technical intelligence gathering capacity and bolster situational awareness for fighters on a battlefield.
The Ghana Armed Forces, along with U.S. Army Africa, concluded week one of exercise Western Accord 13 and began a command post exercise at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Center in Accra, Ghana.
Western Accord 13 is a two-part exercise that includes academics and a command post exercise. In part one, participants received classes focused on collective tasks, functional, and staff procedures in support of command and control of a peacekeeping operation based on real world events.
Turkey’s western allies look puzzled by a looming decision by Ankara to select Chinese long-range anti-missile and air defense systems which they think cannot be integrated into the NATO-sponsored early warning architecture currently deployed on Turkish soil.
A NATO ally defense attaché in Ankarasaid that deploying a Chinese air defense system to protect Turkish airspace could have political repercussions. “Questioning Turkey’s geopolitical trajectory would then be legitimate,” he said.
A number of recent developments have raised several important questions related to Romania’s position geostrategic game involved: Traian Basescu decided to thaw relations with Russia? If so, our initiative or movement suggested by the United States?If not, then what looked to Bucharest Nikolai Patrushev, secretary of the Russian Security Council? How will this visit extremely important main issues of contention: Moldova, missile shield, imported high gas prices? We change some parameters of our strategic partnership with the U.S.?
Debt is deadly, and it’s made even worse with rising interest rates that can prevent you from eliminating the load. What happens with rising interest rates is that more of the payments go toward the interest and less to the principal. In fact, it’s what I call a death spiral of debt that worsens as rates move higher.
When individuals face excessive debt, often the solution is to reduce spending and adhere to a strict repayment program. But when governments build up massive debt loads, there is no definitive solution, and it becomes problematic.
The Philippine military has revived plans to build new air and naval bases at Subic Bay, a former U.S. naval base that American forces could use to counter China’s creeping presence in the disputed South China Sea, senior navy officials said.
The bases would allow the Philippines to station warships and fighter jets just 124 nautical miles from Scarborough Shoal, a contentious area of the South China Sea now controlled by China after a tense standoff last year.
The US military has failed to prepare a realistic “plan B” if political turmoil forces the closure of a vital naval base in Bahrain, a naval officer argues in a report released Monday.
The Fifth Fleet headquarters in Bahrain is the most US important maritime base in the Middle East but senior officers have become complacent about its future, Commander Richard McDaniel asserts. “Surprisingly, military leaders have no ‘Plan B’ if strategic access in Bahrain is jeopardized,” McDaniel wrote, in a paper published by the Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank.
Jordan’s prime minister says the country is hosting 900 U.S. military personnel to bolster its defense capabilities against potential threats from the Syrian civil war.
The first Jordanian public official to speak publicly of the numbers of U.S. troops in the kingdom, Abdullah Ensour told reporters Saturday that 200 of the personnel were experts training for how to handle a chemical attack. He said the remaining 700 are manning a Patriot missile defense system and F-16 fighter jets which Washington deployed this month in case the Syrian war worsens.
The continuation of services under the Saudi Arabian National Guard Modernization Program is an evolution of Saudi Arabia as an effective defensive force with the advice, assistance, and training of the U.S. Army. The Modernization Program ensures necessary training, logistics, support, doctrine development and force integration for the continuing expansion and use of their weapon systems. These services will remain the cornerstone of an effort to upgrade and enhance the infrastructure of this organization.
STRIKFORNATO will participate in the U.S. Fleet Synthetic Training-Joint 2013/2 (FST-J 13-2) Exercise as the Combined Force Maritime Component Headquarters on board USS Mount Whitney (LCC 20) later this month.
FST-J 13-2 is a key event in STRIKFORNATO’s training program this year, sharpening its skills to plan and execute the command and control of multiple carrier strike groups in the delivery of joint effects into multiple domains – including land, maritime, air, cyberspace, and space – from the sea.
South Korea is purchasing bunker-busting long-range missiles from a European company, allowing it to hold at risk nuclear and missile sites in North Korea, Yonhap News Agency reported on Thursday.
According to the report, the ROK’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) approved the purchase of Taurus bunker-busting, air-to-ground missiles for the military’s F-15K fighter jets. The missiles are equipped with GPS-guidance and have a range of 500 km while carrying a 480-kg warhead that can penetrate 6 meters of concrete. Its Circular Error Probable (CEP) is 2-3 meters.
The new contingent of Filipino marines replaced troops at the Second Thomas Shoal, where the arrival last month of Chinese ships sparked diplomatic protests from the Philippines.
Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said that the shoal lies within the Philippines’ internationally recognized 200-nautical mile (370-kilometer) exclusive economic zone. China claims almost the entire South China Sea as its own and last year took control of another shoal in the Philippines’ economic zone, prompting Manila to seek U.N. arbitration.
The emergence of China and India as global powers may become inevitable and may have significant implications for the Gulf region and beyond. The U.S. National Intelligence Council in its latest report ‘Global Trends 2030: Alternative Worlds,’ describes a world that will be radically transformed from what we know today. In a tectonic shift, by 2030, the reports says ‘Asia will have surpassed North America and Europe combined in terms of global power, based upon GDP, population size, military spending, and technological investment.’
A Mongolian company has tapped one of the world’s most closed markets by taking a stake in a North Korean oil refinery, to help Asia’s fastest growing economy ease its energy reliance on Russia and China.
HBOil JSC, an oil trading and refining company based in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, said it acquired 20 percent of the state-run entity operating North Korea’s Sungri refinery, according to an e-mailed statement yesterday. It intends to supply crude to Sungri, which won’t be fully operational for up to a year, and export the refined products to Mongolia.
Despite massive spending on Western weapons, the Arab monarchies of the Persian Gulf are “unable to secure themselves from any external threat” — meaning Iran — and are running up huge public and foreign debt, a Gulf think tank says.
The GCC states — Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman — have spent hundreds of billions of dollars on weapons and military equipment from the United States and Europe over the last three decades.
A smartphone app that launches this week gives the health insurance company Aetna access to detailed user health-tracking data. As costs spiral upward, health-care companies could turn to such apps as a way to monitor customers and encourage healthy behavior.
At MIT Technology Review’s Mobile Summit in San Francisco last week, Martha Wofford, consumer platform vice president at Aetna, said the company would launch an app called CarePass to serve as a portal for an individual’s health-related activity and, if he allows it, his medical records, too.
The semi-submersibles are often seen docking at a forward base in waters near the Northern Limit Line in the West Sea, a government source in Seoul said. South Korea and the U.S. are keeping close track of their movements.
The semi-submersibles are normally deployed at a submarine base dozens of kilometers from the NLL. They are about 10 m long and used to carry commandos into enemy territory and can run above the surface of the water at a speed of 70 km/h but submerge 10 to 20 m if necessary. They can slip under the radar even if they run above the water and are equipped with light torpedoes.
A mortar attack on an Iranian dissident camp killed three people in Baghdad on Saturday, police sources said, and the Mujahidin-e-Khalq (MEK) group said Iran was probably to blame, with Iraqi complicity.
MEK said two of the camp’s residents were killed and 40 wounded in the attack. An Iraqi died when a stray mortar round hit a residential complex for Baghdad airport employees nearby. A similar attack on the camp in February killed at least five members of the MEK, which was removed from the U.S. State Department’s list of terrorist organisations last year.
The United States said on Saturday it would keep F-16 fighters and Patriot missiles in Jordan at Amman’s request, and Russia bristled at the possibility they could be used to enforce a no-fly zone inside Syria.
Washington, which has long called for President Bashar al-Assad to step down, pledged military support to Syrian rebels this week, citing what it said was the Syrian military’s use of chemical weapons – an allegation Damascus has denied.
The post-revolutionary Tunisian government may soon find itself inclined to host a major piece of the United States’ international military architecture. The debate over whether Tunisia should accomodate the United States Africa Command, also known as AFRICOM, started when the U.S. declared its intentions to create the command in 2006. At the time, the discussion mainly centered on the possible consequences such a decision could have on Tunisian internal affairs, as well as on the country’s foreign policy.
South Korea will arm its Aegis destroyers with the surface-to-air Standard Missile 6 (SM-6) starting 2016 as part of efforts to bolster its missile defense against North Korean threats, a senior government official said Wednesday. The SM-6, which is suitable for low-altitude sky defense with a maximum range of 320-400 kilometers, is an upgrade of the SM-2 by U.S. defense firm Raytheon. The South Korean military has sought to upgrade its SM-2 missiles deployed on one of its three Aegis destroyers as they are considered ineffective in shooting down North Korea’s ballistic missiles due to their short range.
The security and counterintelligence directorate serves as the NSA’s internal police force, in effect watching the agency’s watchers for behavior that could pose an intelligence risk. It has the authority to interview an NSA contractor or employee’s known associates, and even to activate a digital dragnet capable of finding out where a target travels, what the target has purchased and the target’s online activity. The directorate serves as the NSA’s internal police force, in effect watching the agency’s watchers.
In 2008, the impossible happened. Investors lost money on something they thought they could never lose money on. One of the oldest and most respected money market mutual funds, Reserve Primary Fund, announced that due to losses incurred on its investments (in Lehman Brothers debt) in the midst of the financial crisis, the fund lost money — investors were down (down! in a money market fund!) 3 percent. Five years later, the Securities and Exchange Commission is proposing to do something to make sure that losses in these “safe investments” don’t happen again.
As part of an effort to improve Japan’s amphibious attack abilities, Japanese troops will converge on California’s southern coast in the next two weeks as part of a military exercise with U.S. troops.
U.S. and Japanese military officials said the unprecedented training, led by U.S. Marines and sailors, will help Japan’s Self-Defense Force operate in stronger coordination with the United States, its main ally, and better respond to crises such as natural disasters. China may see it differently, however, given the tensions between Tokyo and Beijing over a long-running dispute concerning islands claimed by both in the East China Sea, according to The Associated Press.
The Chinese company, HK Nicaragua Canal Development Investment Co. Ltd., is working with the Nicaraguan government on a massive canal project experts say could take 11 years to finish, cost $40 billion and require digging about 130 miles (200 kilometers) of waterway.
Canal proponents say the waterway could create 40,000 construction jobs and essentially double the per-capita gross domestic product of Nicaragua, one of the poorest countries in Latin America. The government plans to grant the Chinese company a concession for 100 years.
China has, for the first time, attempted to spell out its strategy and plans to secure its interests in the Indian Ocean in its first “blue book” on the region, released here on Saturday. The blue book makes a case for China to deepen its economic engagements with the Indian Ocean Region’s (IOR) littoral states, but stresses that Beijing’s interests will be driven by commercial rather than military objectives. However, it warns that the Indian Ocean could end up “as an ocean of conflict and trouble” if countries like India, the U.S. and China failed to engage with each other more constructively as their interests begin to overlap.
This is a country standing on the edge of an existential precipice. Now, facing an Iraqi government that lacks the intelligence targeting capabilities of the U.S. government, AQI’s effective successor, the Islamic State of Iraq ( ISI), is wreaking havoc. Waging a campaign of murder against Iraqi Shia, these terrorists want to exacerbate an ongoing government crackdown against Iraqi Sunnis. Their sustaining objective is unambiguous — fostering a cauldron of chaos in which Iraqis detach into base sectarian alliances. In short, they desire a civil war.
The Japanese Self Defense Forces (SDF) will be taking part in a California-based military training exercise led by the U.S., and including Canada and New Zealand, from June 10 until the 26. The Dawn Blitz 2013 will be the first year for Japan to participate, as well as see all the involved nations have their troops take part in amphibious assault training. “The exercise is aimed at improving the integrated operation capabilities of the SDF and maintaining and improving bilateral capabilities with the U.S. military,” said a public affairs official from the SDF Joint Staff Office.
A highly-placed Israeli source informed me that the location of the secret base was Sdot Micha (also known as Tal Shahar), which already houses Israel’s Jericho 3 nuclear missiles. It is located near Beit Shemesh, 15 miles from Jerusalem. The source also informed me that the new facility was to be hardened and underground to withstand a nuclear attack. This means that Israel expects the site to be attacked by Iranian missiles once that country has nuclear capability.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has approved the deployment of a Patriot missile battery and F-16 fighter jet aircraft to Jordan as part of a planned military exercise, but with an understanding that the weapons systems may stay in the country to bolster Jordan’s security as violence from the Syrian civil war spreads.
The deployment, approved by Hagel over the weekend, will send the weapons to Jordan for a multinational training exercise called Eager Lion, which is taking place this month.
As the United States pivots away from the Western world to face the burgeoning Pacific Rim, what wisdom can it carry over from its former stomping grounds to the new cockpit of geopolitics? Perhaps Washington can take a page out of Leopold Kohr’s book. The obscure Austrian philosopher once popularized the slogan “Small is Beautiful” — which has clearly never caught on in the States. Yet his theories on the importance of size in international relations might help Washington manage its decidedly outsized geopolitical challenges in Asia.
When the United States carried out a successful test recently of an advanced high-speed, long-range weapon ostensibly designed to reduce U.S. reliance on nuclear arms in a crisis, it set alarm bells ringing in China. DARPA Has been testing various super-fast unmanned aircraft over the past few years as part of a futuristic program called Prompt Global Strike (PGS). DARPA has been testing an experimental arrowhead-shaped plane, the Falcon Hypersonic Technology Vehicle 2 (HTV-2).
A publicly funded investment arm of the CIA has injected millions into the security industry, making strategic investments in companies that put its development requests to the front of the line, often giving the government’s needs the highest priority.
Investments made by Arlington, Va.-based In-Q-Tel have influenced almost every area of information security, from identity management and data analytics to vulnerability management and malware analysis.
Europe’s grand plan for a gas pipeline from the Caspian Sea that would make its eastern states less reliant on Russia may have been fatally undermined by Russia’s even bigger project.
As Azerbaijan nears a decision on which pipeline to choose for its future exports, the Nabucco plan that was long the European Union favourite could lose out to the more modest Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) across Greece to southern Italy.
China should hit out when necessary to resolve rows over some shoals in the South China Sea that are unlawfully occupied by other countries, a Chinese scholar has urged.
“Diplomacy only leverages when backed by military might,” he said, questioning why China cannot make military moves now that the Renai Shoal and Scarborough Shoal are the sovereign territory of China? Since China’s marine power now is strong enough to protect national interests and rights, China should exercise its diplomatic and military clouts interactively to achieve its aim, he contended.
Pentagon propaganda programs are inadequately tracked, their impact is unclear, and the military doesn’t know if it is targeting the right foreign audiences, according to a government report obtained by USA TODAY.
Since 2005, the Pentagon has spent hundreds of million of dollars on Military Information Support Operations (MISO). These propaganda efforts include websites, leaflets and broadcasts intended to change foreigners’ “attitudes and behaviors in support of U.S. Government” objectives, according to the report by the Government Accountability Office. Some of them disclose the U.S. military as the source; others don’t.
Recent incidents in the Golan Heights continue to cast a shadow on the attitudes of Israeli leaders amid reports that Israel plans to carry out new strikes in Syria. These future attacks would be in fulfillment of Israel’s declared policy of preventing strategic weapons from being transferred through Syria to Hizbullah.
The Israeli leadership is trying to predict Syria’s reaction to any upcoming strikes, though Israeli circles purport that if the state were to carry out any attack, it would certainly be met with a Syrian response. Press reports pointed out that this comes in the context of the current tensions in the occupied Golan Heights, after the Syrian army opened fire at an Israeli patrol in the area.
The streets are so much darker now, since money for streetlights is rarely available to municipal governments. The national parks began closing down years ago. Some are already being subdivided and sold to the highest bidder. Reports on bridges crumbling or even collapsing are commonplace. The air in city after city hangs brown and heavy (and rates of childhood asthma and other lung diseases have shot up), because funding that would allow the enforcement of clean air standards by the Environmental Protection Agency is a distant memory. Public education has been cut to the bone, making good schools a luxury and, according to the Department of Education, two of every five students won’t graduate from high school.
President Vladimir Putin of the Russian Federation has drawn a line in the sand over Syria, the government of which he is determined to protect from overthrow. Not since the end of the Cold War in 1991 has the Russian Bear asserted itself so forcefully beyond its borders in support of claims on great power status. In essence, Russia is attempting to play the role in Syria that France did in Algeria in the 1990s, of supporting the military government against rebels, many of them linked to political Islam.
A top U.S. Federal Reserve official urged the European Central Bank on Tuesday to consider employing a U.S.-style quantitative easing programme to counter slowing inflation and recession in the euro zone.
The ECB has engaged in bond purchases in the past but has always withdrawn an equivalent amount of money from markets to ensure its interventions are neutral for the money supply, fearful of stoking inflationary pressures. St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank President James Bullard recommended the ECB could consider quantitative easing (QE), or printing money for asset purchases.