Sunday, December 29, 2013

US welcomes deal on relocating air base in Japan

US welcomes deal on relocating air base in Japan

Pentagon chief Chuck Hagel on Friday praised a decision by Japanese officials to allow the relocation of a US air base in Okinawa, calling it a "milestone" for relations with Tokyo.
Hagel welcomed the approval of the long-delayed move of the US Marine Corps base, which he said would permit a redeployment of American forces in the area and bolster Washington's strategic "rebalance" to the Asia-Pacific region."Reaching this milestone is a clear demonstration to the region that the alliance is capable of handling complex, difficult problems in order to deal effectively with 21st century security challenges," Hagel said in a statement."Our alliance has helped underwrite regional peace, stability, and prosperity for more than half a century, and resolving these years-long issues will enable us to take our relationship to the next level as we revise the guidelines for US-Japan defense cooperation," he said.After more than 17 years of debate and political wrangling, the local government in Okinawa has given a green light to moving the Futenma air station from a densely populated urban area to a new facility to be constructed on the coast. Hagel said he had told Japanese officials that the Pentagon was "committed to working with the government of Japan to build a strong and sustainable US military presence with less impact on the people of Okinawa."Relocating the controversial air base is part of a plan to cut back the overall US military presence in Okinawa. The Pentagon plans to reduce the number of Marines on the island from 18,000 to about 10,000 in coming years, with some redeployed to Australia and the US territory of Guam.Resolving the future of the air base in Okinawa clears the way for Washington's so-called "pivot" to Asia, with plans to deploy more ships and troops in the Pacific.

New Law All but Bars Russian GPS Sites in U.S. -

New Law All but Bars Russian GPS Sites in U.S. - Tucked into the mammoth defense budget bill that President Obama signed into law on Thursday is a measure that virtually bars Russia from building about a half-dozen monitor stations on American soil that critics fear Moscow could use to spy on the United States or worse.
Russia first broached the idea of erecting the domed antenna structures here nearly two years ago, saying they would significantly improve the accuracy and reliability of its version of the Global Positioning System, the American satellite network that steers bomb-bearing warplanes to their targets and wayward motorists to their destinations.
Congressional Republicans, however, harbored suspicions that Russia had nefarious motives behind its plan, which the State Department supported as a means to mend bruised relations between the two rival nations. The Pentagon and the Central Intelligence Agency sided with congressional critics, concerned about handing the Russians an opening to snoop on the United States within its borders.
The monitor stations have been a high priority of President Vladimir V. Putin for years as a means to improve Moscow’s global positioning network — known as Glonass, for Global Navigation Satellite System — not only to benefit the Russian military and civilian sectors but also to compete globally with GPS.
As the White House sought to reconcile the internal squabbling among government agencies, skeptical members of the intelligence and armed services committees in Congress intervened in recent weeks to deal a near-crippling blow to the prospect of Glonass stations in the United States.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Attack on U.S. Aircraft Foils Evacuation in South Sudan -

Attack on U.S. Aircraft Foils Evacuation in South Sudan - Three United States aircraft flying into a heavily contested region of South Sudan to evacuate American citizens were attacked on Saturday morning and forced to turn back without completing the mission, American officials said. Four service members were wounded, one seriously.

The crisis in South Sudan began last week when its president, Salva Kiir, a member of the majority Dinka ethnic group, asserted that he had uncovered a coup and detained 11 people, including former ministers. Mr. Kiir claimed the coup had been backed by former Vice President Riek Machar, who is a member of the rival Nuer ethnic group.
As the violence grew, Mr. Obama sent 45 American troops to protect the embassy in Juba. The United States also organized evacuation flights that have already ferried at least 450 American Embassy personnel, other Americans and some citizens of other nations out of the country.
As attacks have racked South Sudan, however, there has been mounting concern about the safety of 35,000 civilians who have sought sanctuary at United Nations peacekeeping bases, as well as the safety of the peacekeepers themselves.
Armed youths seized a United Nations base in another town, Akobo, on Thursday, killing at least 13 people, including two United Nations peacekeepers.
About 2,000 armed youths have surrounded the United Nations base in Bor. It has been difficult for American officials to get in touch with local rebel commanders there to establish what areas they might control amid signs that the fighting may be escalating into a broader ethnic conflict.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Lockheed Martin Joint Light Tactical Vehicle Completes Manufacturing Review

Lockheed Martin Joint Light Tactical Vehicle Completes Manufacturing Review: The Lockheed Martin Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) team successfully completed the government's Manufacturing Readiness Assessment (MRA), an important milestone on the path to vehicle production at the company's Camden, Ark., manufacturing complex.

The MRA, which measures manufacturing maturity and assesses technical risk, took place at Lockheed Martin's Camden Operations on Nov. 18 and 19. In October, the company announced plans to produce the JLTV at the award-winning Camden facility, where program officials expect to gain significant production efficiencies and cost reductions.

"We look forward to adding another joint U.S. Army/Marine Corps vehicle-manufacturing program to our Camden Operations," said Scott Greene, vice president of Ground Vehicles for Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control.

"With proven assembly methods, a keen focus on efficiency and a highly skilled workforce, we are confident that the tremendous success we've achieved producing the HIMARS launcher for the Army and Marines will translate to an outstanding JLTV for those very same customers."

The Lockheed Martin JLTV is designed to replace many of the current Army and Marine Corps HMMWV "Humvee" vehicles, providing significant advances in survivability and capability.

Lockheed Martin and the US Navy Strengthen International Alliance with Helicopter Acceptance

Lockheed Martin and the US Navy Strengthen International Alliance with Helicopter Acceptance: The Royal Australian Navy accepted the first two MH-60R helicopters from the U.S. Navy in a ceremony today at the Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] facility in Owego, N.Y.

"The advanced anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare capabilities of the MH-60 Romeo are a game-changer in shifting the advantage from the submarine to the helicopter, which is essential in today's maritime security environment," said Rear Admiral CJ Jaynes, program executive officer for Air Anti-Submarine Warfare, Assault and Special Mission Programs, which oversees the U.S. Navy's H-60 program office.

"We are excited to extend our partnership with the Royal Australian Navy through the delivery of these advanced helicopters."

Manufactured by Sikorsky Aircraft and provided with advanced mission systems and sensors by Lockheed Martin, the MH-60R is already operational and deploying as the primary U.S. Navy anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare system for open-ocean and littoral zones.

The U.S. Navy answered the Australian Defence Force's requirement for a fleet of 24 new-generation, multi-role naval combat aircraft with the proven MH-60R helicopters. The entire fleet will be delivered incrementally by the end of 2016.

Patriot missiles demonstrate field readiness

Patriot missiles demonstrate field readiness

Raytheon's Patriot Air and Missile Defense System test fired nine Patriot missiles at McGregor Range, N.M., during its annual Field Surveillance Program (FSP), successfully engaging inbound and outbound unmanned air breathing targets.
This was the first FSP conducted with the PAC-2 missiles, using the recently launched Post Deployment Build-7 (PDB-7) software and the modernized radar with radar digital processor."All of our Patriot partners participate in the FSP as part of our Engineering Services Program and contribute randomly picked missiles from their inventory to verify the integrity of the missiles in the field through independent assessment," said Ralph Acaba, vice president for Integrated Air and Missile Defense at Raytheon's Integrated Defense Systems business."Having each partner contribute a small number of missiles for testing is a cost-effective way to ensure the field readiness of the worldwide inventory of missiles that the global Patriot family relies on."

Northrop Grumman Reinvents Satellite Communications for Aircraft

Northrop Grumman Reinvents Satellite Communications for Aircraft

In one year, Northrop Grumman took a satellite communications system normally used in space and transformed it into a high-functioning, low-cost communications system that can be used on aircraft.
The satellite communications (SATCOM) system was successfully demonstrated on board the company's Firebird demonstrator aircraft.Until now, no small communications system has been able to send sensor data to a satellite and back to a ground station at such a high rate of transfer."It's a game changer for those that need high-quality, real-time data, but don't want to - or can't - have a large, heavy communications system onboard," said Brett Amidon, director of Technology Development at Northrop Grumman's Aerospace Systems."Our system provides beyond line of sight capabilities in a compact, lightweight, low-profile package."During the demonstration, the SATCOM system rapidly provided full-motion video to the ground. For demo purposes, the system and associated test equipment were housed within a pylon-mounted structure attached to the top of the Firebird fuselage.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Obama Panel Said to Urge N.S.A. Curbs -

Obama Panel Said to Urge N.S.A. Curbs - presidential advisory committee charged with examining the operations of the National Security Agency has concluded that a program to collect data on every phone call made in the United States should continue, though under broad new restraints that would be intended to increase privacy protections, according to officials with knowledge of the report’s contents.
The committee’s report, the officials said, also argues in favor of codifying and publicly announcing the steps the United States will take to protect the privacy of foreign citizens whose telephone records, Internet communications or movements are collected by the N.S.A. But it is unclear how far that effort would go, and intelligence officials have argued strenuously that they should be under few restrictions when tapping the communications of non-Americans abroad, who do not have constitutional protections under the Fourth Amendment.
The advisory group is also expected to recommend that senior White House officials, including the president, directly review the list of foreign leaders whose communications are routinely monitored by the N.S.A. President Obama recently apologized to Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany for the N.S.A.’s monitoring of her calls over the past decade, promising that the actions had been halted and would not resume. But he refused to make the same promise to the leaders of Mexico and Brazil.
Administration officials say the White House has already taken over supervision of that program. “We’re not leaving it to Jim Clapper anymore,” said one official, referring to the director of national intelligence, who appears to have been the highest official to review the programs regularly.

White House to preserve controversial policy on NSA, Cyber Command leadership - The Washington Post

White House to preserve controversial policy on NSA, Cyber Command leadership - The Washington Post

The Obama administration has decided to preserve a controversial arrangement by which a single military official is permitted to direct both the National Security Agency and the military’s cyberwarfare command, U.S. officials said.
The decision by President Obama comes amid signs that the White House is not inclined to impose significant new restraints on the NSA’s activities — especially its collection of data on virtually every phone call Americans make — although it is likely to impose additional privacy protection measures.    
Some officials, including the top U.S. intelligence official, had argued that the NSA and Cyber Command should be placed under separate leadership to ensure greater accountability and avoid an undue concentration of power. The decision also comes despite a draft recommendation by an external review panel appointed by Obama that a civilian head be installed at the NSA, effectively splitting the roles, according to an official familiar with some of the early recommendations.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

U.S. to boost Israel defense missile funding by $173M

U.S. to boost Israel defense missile funding by $173M: U.S. lawmakers have approved boosting funding for Israel's missile defense program by $173 million in fiscal 2014 as the Jewish state's military establishment draws up a new defense doctrine to protect cities from Hezbollah's growing missile arsenal.

The Jerusalem Post reported that Israeli military intelligence now believes that the Iranian-backed Lebanese movement now possesses around 5,000 long-range missiles that can reach Tel Aviv, the country's largest conurbation, and carry warheads packing between 1,300 pounds and one ton of explosives.

On Monday, leaders of the Senate and House of Representatives Armed Services Committees unveiled a cut-down defense authorization bill for the coming fiscal year that would boost U.S. missile defense spending by $358 million to $9.5 billion.

The legislation also authorizes additional funding of $173 million for joint missile defense projects underway with Israel.

Funds for collaborative missile projects with Israel are separate from the $3.1 billion in military aid the United States provides Israel annually.

The bill must now go before Congress for a final vote. The legislation's promoters called for a vote before the Legislature recesses for the end of the year.

Raytheon, Chemring Group complete first live-fire test of CENTURION launcher

Raytheon, Chemring Group complete first live-fire test of CENTURION launcher: Raytheon and Chemring Group have fired a Javelin missile from the multirole CENTURION launcher during testing at the Defence Training Estate on Salisbury Plain in England.

"We're bringing an entirely new dimension to ship self-defense by providing a sea-based, inside-the-horizon platform protection," said Rick Nelson, vice president of Raytheon Missile Systems' Naval and Area Mission Defense product line.

"Chemring's CENTURION launcher, when coupled with Raytheon's combat-proven missiles, offers an evolutionary capability to defeat surface threats with this One System-Multiple Missions technology."

In February, Raytheon Missile Systems and Chemring announced plans to develop a naval anti-surface capability designed for ships ranging in size from small patrol boats to large combatants.

This solution to counter fast inshore attack craft consists of a variety of Raytheon missiles with ranges matched to the intended target. The missiles will be fired from the Chemring CENTURION launcher, with initial target detection, tracking and identification provided by the ship's sensors.

Raytheon demonstrates unparalleled precision in live-fire testing of self-propelled howitzer

Raytheon demonstrates unparalleled precision in live-fire testing of self-propelled howitzer: The U.S. Army and Raytheon have fired 10 precision-guided Excalibur projectiles during the final phase of compatibility testing at Yuma Proving Ground. This live-fire demonstration, funded by the U.S., Germany and supported by Raytheon-funded initial testing, marked the completion of a multi-phase assessment that verified Excalibur's compatibility and performance with the PzH2000 self-propelled howitzer.

During the testing, the PzH2000 fired 10 Excalibur projectiles at targets at ranges from nine to 48 kilometers. Every round delivered precision effects, striking within three meters of the targets, reaffirming warhead lethality and the required three fuze modes.

Average miss distance at 48 kilometers was less than one meter. Additionally, the PzH2000 test demonstrated the projectile's ability to maneuver from the ballistic trajectory to an offset target.

Police Push Into Kiev Square as Crisis Grows -

Police Push Into Kiev Square as Crisis Grows - Battalions of Ukrainian security forces early Wednesday stormed Independence Square, the central plaza in Kiev where protesters had been rallying against the government of President Viktor F. Yanukovich for more than two weeks.

The crackdown by the authorities came hours after a three-and-a-half-hour meeting between Mr. Yanukovich and Catherine Ashton, the European Union’s foreign policy chief.
The diplomatic consequences became apparent almost immediately. “I was among you,” Ms. Ashton said in a statement on Wednesday morning. “The authorities did not need to act under the cover of night.”
And in unusually strong language, Secretary of State John Kerry expressed the United States’ “disgust” with the authorities’ decision to use force. “This response is neither acceptable nor does it befit a democracy,” he said in a statement.
He added: “As church bells ring tonight amidst the smoke in the streets of Kiev, the United States stands with the people of Ukraine. They deserve better.”
Western leaders, including Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., who spoke by telephone with Mr. Yanukovich on Monday, had sternly warned the government against the use of force on peaceful protests. Earlier, on Tuesday, demonstrators had milled about on Independence Square as they have every day since Dec. 1, when it was occupied and barricaded after a huge demonstration that drew hundreds of thousands. That rally was animated by public anger over a brief but bloody crackdown by the police against demonstrators the day before

Friday, December 6, 2013

US seeks to reassure wary Gulf allies over Iran deal

US seeks to reassure wary Gulf allies over Iran deal: Pentagon chief Chuck Hagel holds talks in Bahrain Friday to reassure anxious Gulf allies that the US military will maintain a robust regional presence despite a nuclear deal with Iran.

Defense Secretary Hagel, who flew to Bahrain on Thursday evening, will convey to Gulf leaders at a security conference that the United States remains a steadfast partner and has no plans to scale back its military deployments or weapons sales to the Gulf Arab states, officials said.

"It's a somewhat tense time for the region. There's a lot of questions about US policy, particularly about where things are going in the wake of the Iran interim agreement," a senior US defence official told reporters travelling with Hagel.

In private meetings and in a speech Saturday, Hagel will seek "to reassure our partners here that nothing has changed in our defence posture as a result of the recent negotiation and interim agreement with Iran," said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Less than 90 days: how US will destroy Syria chemical weapons

Less than 90 days: how US will destroy Syria chemical weapons

A ship, two portable treatment plants and less than 90 days: that's the plan the Pentagon unveiled Thursday to destroy "hundreds of tons" of Syria's most dangerous chemical weapons.
After Albania refused to destroy the lethal "priority 1" chemical agents -- including mustard gas, sarin and VX nerve gas -- on its soil, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) turned to the United States.Under an international agreement brokered to avoid US military strikes on the Damascus regime, Syria's most dangerous chemical weapons have to be out of the country by a December 31 deadline.The US proposal aims to take the process off land altogether and into international waters.The Pentagon has already begun loading the necessary equipment on to the MV Cape Ray, a 650-foot (200-meter) cargo ship, part of a reserve fleet, at its Norfolk, Virginia naval base, although it has yet to receive formal orders to carry out the job.The "priority 1" chemical agents, which must be destroyed by April 2014, are on the order of "hundreds of tons" -- or around "150 shipping containers" -- according to a senior US defense official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

LRASM Prototype Scores Second Flight Test

LRASM Prototype Scores Second Flight Test: An unmanned target ship demonstrates the effects of the second successful flight test of a Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM) prototype, conducted November 12 off the coast of Southern California.

The test reinforced the results of LRASM's first successful free-flight transition test (FFTT) on August 27, which verified the prototype's flight characteristics and assessed subsystem and sensor performance.

Both tests achieved all of their objectives after the prototypes used their respective onboard sensors to detect, engage and hit the moving 260-foot target ships with inert warheads.

DARPA and the Office of Naval Research (ONR) are collaborating on the LRASM program, which is developing new approaches and advanced capabilities for surface warfare to support a variety of Department of Defense missions.

USMC Conducts Operational Assessment of GATOR System

USMC Conducts Operational Assessment of GATOR System

The AN/TPS-80 Ground/Air Task Oriented Radar (G/ATOR) system, built by Northrop Grumman for the U.S. Marine Corps, has successfully conducted developmental testing and supported two Weapons and Tactics Instruction (WTI) events at Marine Air Control Squadron (MACS) Yuma over the past 10 months. These events supported the operational assessment of the G/ATOR system for Milestone C.
During the assessment, Northrop Grumman's AN/TPS-80 provided excellent situational awareness by successfully detecting, tracking and identifying a wide range of aerial targets. The radar also demonstrated its ability to extract targets from heavy clutter backgrounds. The radar also exceeded its objective-level operational availability requirement."Under very intense testing conditions, our AN/TPS-80 detected and tracked targets that other systems at the exercise were not able to," said Jeffrey Q. Palombo, Vice President and General Manager of Northrop Grumman's Land and Self Protection Systems Division."We look forward to continuing our strong partnership and collaboration with the Marine Corps on this program as it proceeds to Milestone C."The AN/TPS-80 is the first ground-based, multimission radar to be developed for the Department of Defense. Designed to detect and track a wide variety of threats, the radar is built with an open, scalable architecture to enable digital interoperability and incorporation of new capabilities through software-only updates.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

AF participates in first Israeli Blue Flag exercise > U.S. Air Force > Article Display

AF participates in first Israeli Blue Flag exercise > U.S. Air Force > Article Display

The Air Force participated in the first Israeli Blue Flag exercise at Uvda Air Force Base, Israel, Nov. 24-28.
Blue Flag is the largest multinational aerial warfare training exercise hosted by the Israeli air force. The exercise included forces from the U.S., Israel, Italy and Greece. Its objectives were to improve operational capabilities and combat effectiveness of the participating nations, and to foster combined relations, cultural understanding, and combat experience.
"It was an outstanding experience for the more than 170-person U.S. Air Force team," said Lt. Col. John Orchard, the 492nd Fighter Squadron commander, Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, and the Air Force Blue Flag commander. "The Israelis provided an excellent training environment, which offered us the opportunity to learn from each other and to take advantage of good airspace, surface threat replicators, and challenging scenarios. It was a real pleasure integrating with our Israeli, Italian and Greek partners who all offer unique tactical, strategic and cultural perspectives."
The exercise allowed for the partnering nations to integrate their tactical capabilities to complete a specific mission. It also further strengthened relationships and military partnerships.
"This was a very good opportunity for the participating nations to work on efficiencies, to practice becoming more logistically sound, and how to get our forces from point A, to point B," said Capt. Matthew Kuta, a 492nd Fighter Squadron pilot. "It also provided us training on how to actually operate together to continue to provide stability to the area."
The Air Force deployed F-15E Strike Eagle aircraft and support personnel from RAF Lakenheath, and a combat communications team from Ramstein Air Base, Germany.
Prior to the start of the exercise, the visiting nations had the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the airspace and flying procedures. The training week offered four days of flying and preparation.
"Week one of Blue Flag was dedicated to training and warm-up towards the actual exercise that took place during week two," Kuta said. “The airspace, mission duration, and some of the procedures were a little different to us. After the training week, we were ready to go."
During the exercise, a realistic war scenario was created which employed a friendly, multinational force (Blue Force) against an enemy aggressor force (Red Force). A simulated threat environment was created, which caused the partnering forces to use careful integration and critical analysis to engage the enemy and survive. The exercise included air-to-air and air-to-surface missions.
The Red Force invaded friendly airspace, simulating opposing air forces' tactics, and attempted to engage specific targets and all approaching aircraft. Their actions called for Blue Force to take action and attempt to eliminate the threat. The combined force merged its tactics, techniques, and procedures that effectively terminated attacks by the adversary Red Forces.
"We successfully completed the biggest multinational exercise in Israel's history," said a senior Israeli air force source. “The exercise required many preparations by air and ground crews, long before the partnering air forces landed in Israel. This has helped Israel improve its general air defense capabilities while learning together and cooperating with global allies."
The U.S. Ambassador to Israel, Dan Shapiro, visited the exercise location along with a delegation of observers from different countries. The observers were able to witness some of the action to determine if their country would be interested in participating in future Blue Flag exercises. Israel plans to conduct the exercise every two years.
"Israel lives in a dangerous neighborhood," Shapiro said. "We need the best-equipped, best-trained forces as possible to protect our people and our security. We also need allies and we have great allies here, all training together and reinforcing a partnership that gets stronger with each passing year."
The U.S. armed forces routinely participate in training exercises with NATO and other partner nations to improve interoperability and preparedness.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

X-37B Marks One Year On Orbit

X-37B Marks One Year On Orbit: On December 11, 2013, the secretive X-37B robot spaceplane celebrates one year in orbit. This controversial spacecraft has been out of the limelight for a long time, attracting almost no media coverage for most of its mission. The third flight of one of the most secretive objects in space has been its most elusive mission to date!

What is this all about? The X-37B is a small vehicle that's roughly the size of a small truck. It has wings, tail fins and a stubby nose. There's no cockpit and no crew on board. The X-37B does have a small payload bay with clamshell doors, similar to its older cousin, the retired NASA Space Shuttle.

X-37B is launched and controlled by the US Air Force. It made its first launch in April 2010 on a mission that was largely cloaked in secrecy. 224 days later, it returned to a flawless runway landing. A second X-37B vehicle was launched in March 2011. It remained in space for 469 days.

The latest X-37B mission uses the same vehicle that was launched in 2010, making this the first time that an X-37B spacecraft has been re-used.

US Navy deploys Standard Missile-6 for first time

US Navy deploys Standard Missile-6 for first time

The U.S. Navy is deploying Raytheon's Standard Missile-6 for the first time, marking the initial operational capability milestone for the U.S. Navy's newest, most advanced extended range area defense weapon.
"We're very pleased to achieve initial operational capability on schedule," said Capt. Mike Ladner, Surface Ship Weapons major program manager. "The SM-6, with its ability to extend the battlespace, truly offers improved capability for the warfighter. I'm very proud of the entire STANDARD Missile team on this historic achievement."The SM-6 provides extended range protection against fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles and cruise missiles. The interceptor combines the airframe and propulsion of legacy Standard Missiles with the advanced signal processing and guidance control capabilities of the Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM).

Monday, December 2, 2013

P-8A Aircraft Program Achieves Initial Operational Capability

P-8A Aircraft Program Achieves Initial Operational Capability

The Navy's newest maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft, the P-8A Poseidon, has achieved initial operational capability (IOC) after the first two P-8A Poseidons departed for deployment Nov. 29.

This announcement comes weeks after the completion of the Operational Readiness Evaluation of the first deploying P-8A Poseidon squadron and the commander of Patrol and Reconnaissance Group officially declaring the first P-8A squadron, Patrol Squadron 16 (VP-16), "prepared for deployment" Nov. 4.

"This IOC declaration is the culmination of years of careful planning and coordinated effort by the fleet, resource sponsor, acquisition community, and industry," said Capt. Scott Dillon, program manager for Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft Program Office (PMA-290).

By achieving IOC, the Navy can effectively deploy the P-8A for operational missions and continue to successfully transition from the aging P-3C. The Poseidon program is on track for completing the remaining preparations for the first operational deployment of a P-8A squadron.

"With the P-3 to P-8 transition well underway at Jacksonville, VP-16 is executing an Inter-Deployment Readiness Cycle and is on track to be the first P-8 squadron to deploy. VP-5 has completed their P-8 transition, and VP-45 has commenced P-8 transition after returning from deployment this past summer. In addition to leading the fleet transition process, VP-30 is also producing P-8 qualified replacement personnel for direct accession into P-8 qualified squadrons," said Rear Adm. Matt Carter, Commander Patrol and Reconnaissance Group. "There has never been a greater need for a new patrol and reconnaissance aircraft now that the aging P-3 is nearing the end of its life cycle. The P-8 is a true multi-mission platform, which will continue to provide us invaluable capabilities."

"The number of submarines in the world is increasing rapidly. Other countries are either building or purchasing advanced, quiet, and extremely hard to find submarines and we need to be able to match that technology to be able to detect them. The P-8, along with the Triton, will strengthen the maritime mission and provide greater situational awareness," Carter added.

This year was filled with crucial programmatic milestones for the program office, including the successful completion of Initial Operational Test and Evaluation and the on-going delivery of initial production aircraft in support of the first three P-3 to P-8 squadron transitions. To date, 12 low rate initial production aircraft were delivered to the fleet, and the final aircraft in the second production lot is on-track to deliver ahead of schedule and prior to the end of the year.

The program office along with the P-8 Fleet Integration Team in Naval Air Station (NAS) Jacksonville, Fla., is continuing to support the transitioning squadrons with training by also using the P-8A Integrated Training Center (ITC). The ITC is meeting training requirements of the Fleet Replacement Squadron, VP-30, and the transitioning squadrons.

"We are pleased the P-8A has been, and continues to be, on cost and on schedule," Dillon said. "The program office is continuing to support the needs of the fleet and deliver an aircraft that recapitalizes and improves upon the capabilities of its predecessor; greatly enhancing the effectiveness of the Navy's forward deployed squadrons."

Friday, November 29, 2013

China Patrols Air Zone Over Disputed Islands -

China Patrols Air Zone Over Disputed Islands - China sent fighter jets on the first patrols of its new air defense zone over disputed islands in the East China Sea on Thursday, the state news agency, Xinhua, said.
The patrols followed announcements by Japan and South Korea that their military planes had flown through the zone unhindered by China.
The tit-for-tat flights between China on one side and South Korea and Japan on the other heightened the tensions over the East China Sea where China and Japan are at loggerheads over islands they both claim.
The airspace in the new zone announced by China last week overlaps a similar zone declared by Japan more than 40 years ago. Both zones are over the islands known as Diaoyu in China and Senkaku in Japan.
China has said that noncommercial aircraft entering the zone without prior notification would face “defensive emergency measures.”
China would take “relevant measures according to different air threats” to defend the country’s airspace, Xinhua reported.
In a direct challenge to earlier threats by China that it could take military action against foreign aircraft entering the zone, the United States sent two unarmed B-52 bombers to fly through the airspace for more than two hours overnight Monday. The Chinese military said it had monitored the flight path of the American planes, and China appeared to backpedal from its initial threats of action.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Unlike Netanyahu, Israeli generals go along with Iran deal

Unlike Netanyahu, Israeli generals go along with Iran deal: Despite Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's denunciations of the move toward a U.S.-Iranian rapprochement and efforts by the powerful pro-Israel lobby in Washington to undo the interim agreement reached in Switzerland Sunday, influential former military and intelligence chiefs think the deal is moving in the right direction.

Netanyahu snubbed the landmark deal between the U.S.-led Western powers and Iran, which is valid for six months before talks on a more permanent agreement begin even though it limits Iran's nuclear enrichment program, which the West fears is aimed at producing nuclear weapons.

Tehran denies having nuclear weapon ambitions. But Netanyahu, who sees Iran's nuclear and ballistic missile programs as an existential threat to Israel, branded Sunday's agreement, hailed as a major diplomatic triumph for U.S. President Barack Obama's administration, a "historic mistake" that leaves Iran's military nuclear capabilities largely intact.

But it's becoming clear that other influential Israelis, particularly senior figures in the military and intelligence establishment, view the agreement in a much more favorable light because it slows down Iran's nuclear project even if it doesn't totally dismantle it.

US presses 'concerns' over Chinese air zone

US presses 'concerns' over Chinese air zone: The United States on Wednesday pressed its concerns over China's newly declared air defense zone, a day after American B-52s flew over the disputed area in the East China Sea.

Vice President Joe Biden will confront the Chinese leadership about the controversial issue during a pre-planned trip to Beijing next week, senior administration officials said.

"Clearly, the visit to China creates an opportunity for the vice president to discuss directly with policymakers in Beijing this issue, to convey our concerns directly and to seek clarity regarding the Chinese intentions in making this move at this time," one official told reporters.

"It also allows the vice president ... to make the broader point that there's an emerging pattern of behavior by China that is unsettling to China's own neighbors and raising questions about how China operates in international space and how China deals with areas of disagreement with its neighbors."

China asserts air zone rights despite US B-52 flights

China asserts air zone rights despite US B-52 flights

China has insisted it has the ability to enforce its newly-declared air zone over islands disputed with Japan, despite Beijing's reluctance to intervene after American B-52 bombers entered the area.
The flight of the giant long-range US Stratofortress planes was a clear warning that Washington would push back against what it considers an aggressive stance.While US defence chief Chuck Hagel praised Tokyo's restraint, officials indicated Vice President Joe Biden would personally convey America's "concerns" about the matter during a visit to the Chinese capital next week.Qin Gang, the foreign ministry spokesman in Beijing told reporters Wednesday: "The Chinese government has the will and ability to defend our national sovereignty and security.""We also have the ability to exercise effective control over the East Sea Air Defense Identification Zone," (ADIZ) he said.

N.S.A. Report Outlined Goals for More Power -

N.S.A. Report Outlined Goals for More Power - Officials at the National Security Agency, intent on maintaining its dominance in intelligence collection, pledged last year to push to expand its surveillance powers, according to a top-secret strategy document.
In a February 2012 paper laying out the four-year strategy for the N.S.A.’s signals intelligence operations, which include the agency’s eavesdropping and communications data collection around the world, agency officials set an objective to “aggressively pursue legal authorities and a policy framework mapped more fully to the information age.”
Written as an agency mission statement with broad goals, the five-page document said that existing American laws were not adequate to meet the needs of the N.S.A. to conduct broad surveillance in what it cited as “the golden age of Sigint,” or signals intelligence. “The interpretation and guidelines for applying our authorities, and in some cases the authorities themselves, have not kept pace with the complexity of the technology and target environments, or the operational expectations levied on N.S.A.’s mission,” the document concluded.

Pentagon Releases Strategy for Arctic -

Pentagon Releases Strategy for Arctic - As a shrinking northern ice cap sets the stage for increased competition over natural resources, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Friday released the Pentagon’s first “Arctic Strategy,” intended to safeguard American security interests and the region’s environment.
Speaking at an international security forum in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Mr. Hagel described the challenges facing the world as rising global temperatures shrink the polar ice and as Russia, China and other nations compete for economic opportunities and influence in the region.
He noted that tourism, shipping and commercial fishing might gravitate toward new Arctic sea routes, but he underscored in particular what could happen as nations vied for the region’s vast quantities of oil and gas.
“A flood of interest in energy exploration has the potential to heighten tensions over other issues,” Mr. Hagel said. Multilateral security cooperation will be a priority, he added, as “this will ultimately help reduce the risk of conflict.”

US flies B-52 bombers in China's air defense zone

US flies B-52 bombers in China's air defense zone: Two US B-52 bombers flew over a disputed area of the East China Sea without informing Beijing, US officials said Tuesday, challenging China's bid to create an expanded "air defense zone."

The unarmed aircraft took off from Guam on Monday and the flight was previously scheduled as part of a routine exercise in the area, the defense officials said.

"Last night we conducted a training exercise that was long-planned. It involved two aircraft flying from Guam and returning to Guam," Pentagon spokesman Colonel Steven Warren told reporters.

No flight plan was submitted beforehand to the Chinese and the mission went ahead "without incident," Warren said.

The two aircraft spent "less than an hour" in China's unilaterally-declared Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) and did not encounter Chinese planes, he said.

A defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed to AFP the two US planes were B-52 bombers.

Australia calls in China ambassador over air zone concerns

Australia calls in China ambassador over air zone concerns: Australia said Tuesday it had summoned Beijing's ambassador to voice opposition to China's sudden announcement of an air defence identification zone over the East China Sea.

"The timing and the manner of China's announcement are unhelpful in light of current regional tensions, and will not contribute to regional stability," Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said in a statement.

"Australia has made clear its opposition to any coercive or unilateral actions to change the status quo in the East China Sea."

Bishop said the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade called in China's ambassador on Monday "to convey the Australian Government's concerns and to seek an explanation of China's intentions".

China public backs air defence zone: survey

China public backs air defence zone: survey: The vast majority of Chinese back an air defence zone declared over disputed waters, a survey released Tuesday said, despite the move sharply escalating tensions in the region.

Nearly 85 percent of respondents believe the Air Defence Identification Zone over an area that includes islands administered by Japan would "safeguard (China's) airspace security", according to the poll by the state-run Global Times newspaper.

The newspaper, which is close to the ruling Communist party and often takes a nationalistic stance, said 53.6 percent of respondents believed the zone would help push the dispute over the islands -- known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China -- in Beijing's favour.

Another 39.5 percent felt it would "create a more stable landscape with an even power struggle formed between China and Japan".

Beijing's aircraft carrier heads for South China Sea

Beijing's aircraft carrier heads for South China Sea: China's first aircraft carrier left Tuesday on a training mission to the South China Sea, escorted by missile destroyers and frigates, state media said.

The newly-commissioned Liaoning left its home port of Qingdao accompanied by two missile destroyers, the Shenyang and Shijiazhuang, and two missile frigates, the Yantai and Weifang, the official Xinhua news agency said.

The deployment comes amid heightened tensions between China and its neighbours over disputed waters, with Beijing declaring air defence rights over islands controlled by Japan at the weekend, provoking a furious international reaction.

Peacekeeping Institute paying increasing dividends after 20 years | Article | The United States Army

Peacekeeping Institute paying increasing dividends after 20 years | Article | The United States Army

In an ever-changing world, demand for U.S. involvement in humanitarian assistance and stability operations will increase, said the former Army chief of staff who founded the service's Peacekeeping Institute 20 years ago.

"My experience tells me the world has changed significantly since the end of the Cold War," said retired Gen. Gordon R. Sullivan. "[With] the fragmentation of the world, the globalization of the world, global climate change ... we have an increasing demand ... [for] humanitarian aid and assistance, and a need to be involved in stability operations."

Sullivan served as chief of staff of the Army from 1991 to 1995. Today he serves as the president and chief executive officer of the Association of the United States Army.

The retired general spoke Nov. 25, during an event recognizing the 20th anniversary of the creation of the Army Peacekeeping Institute, which he founded in 1993. The organization, which creates doctrine and conducts training, later changed its name to the Army Peacekeeping and Stability Operations Institute, or PKSOI.

"Today's celebration, this celebration, is very significant in my mind," Sullivan said. "This is the most significant institutional legitimization of PKSOI, and I congratulate all who have been involved in this."

During a keynote presentation at AUSA headquarters in Arlington, Va., Sullivan discussed why, 20 years ago, he decided there was a need for something like PKSOI. Around that time the United States had become involved in providing humanitarian relief support in Somalia. The civil war in that country began in January 1991. The U.S. became involved in peacekeeping operations there in December 1992, as lead of the United Nation's "Unified Task Force."

Sullivan said the focus at the time was "primarily humanitarian assistance."

But he said that as operations continued "it became more apparent that we had not fully prepared ourselves for the challenges of Somalia, the complexities of the battlefield we found, with the humanitarian aid needs, as well as security needs."

He said the United States had done similar, "significant operations" in the past, but the Army had not codified what it had learned about operations such as in Turkey with the resettlement of the Kurdish after the first Gulf War, for instance.

"For some reason we didn't capture a lot of what we learned in what was a huge humanitarian crisis, and stability ... situation," Sullivan said.

The general also cited the 1989 U.S. invasion of Panama to remove Manuel Noriega from power as an example of an initial military success that caught the U.S. off-guard in the aftermath with the necessary stability operations and humanitarian support that would be needed.

"That went off like clockwork," he said. "But the next day ... somebody called and said who's going to feed the Panamanians? We presumed they were going to feed themselves. Wrong answer."

Of Somalia, he said, "the fact of the matter is, we had not prepared ourselves ... we had not prepared the troops as well as we should have for what was a major event."

He said the Army was able to eventually figure out what was needed to operate in what he called a "very alien environment" insofar as humanitarian assistance was concerned.

Making that happen, he said, was also a learning curve. Providing that assistance in Somalia required working with both the United Nations and with non-governmental organizations, known as NGOs.

"The NGOs that were there were really a big 'aha' to all of us," he said.

He said the efforts there supporting the Somalis and working with the U.N. and the NGOs was a "trial-and-error effort" with "bruised egos" on both sides.

"We had to learn some lessons that we probably should have known," he said. "We clearly did not know the actors. We did not know all the U.N. people that were there. We fully didn't understand the complexity of that organization, and certainly some specialized NGOs from the U.S. as well as from around the world. That was a whole new landscape for us."

What was needed, Sullivan said, was guidance for conducting humanitarian, peacekeeping and stability operations.

"I believe and have always believed that doctrine is the engine of change," he said. "We really needed to write some doctrine about what we were doing in these faraway places."

He said there wasn't much doctrine available. There was in some cases, historical accounts, he said. An example involved efforts to support Hurricane Andrew relief in Southern Florida. The Army had been asked by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to construct a "city" to house displaced persons. But the Army didn't have anything to look at on which to base their plans.

Eventually, Sullivan said, the Army turned to archived records of relief work that had been done in San Francisco after an earthquake there to build camps for those displaced by the hurricane in Florida.

"You can find stuff in the history of the Army, but it wasn't readily apparent to everybody on the ground at the time," he said. "I believe military organizations perform better if they have a doctrine ... and people have thought about it ... and [are] trained to do it."

Sullivan said that is why in 1993, he asked the commandant of U.S. Army War College to create the an organization that could capture lessons learned from peacekeeping operations and turn them into doctrine, and to additionally provide training. That organization was the Army Peacekeeping Institute.

"I just happened to be the guy at the top and felt we had to do something about it rather than just discuss it forever," Sullivan said. "Peacekeeping, stability ops, and humanitarian assistance was the issue then, and is the issue today"

As a young officer joining the Army, Sullivan said he hadn't considered that he'd be involved in humanitarian efforts and stability operations like he experienced with Panama, Hurricane Andrew, the resettlement of the Kurds after the first Gulf War, or Rwanda, for instance.

"The Balkans, Haiti multiple times, Afghanistan, Iraq: what have we learned in all those places?" he asked. "All of this work is starting to become codified in very important ways."

Sullivan said the world is changing dramatically now, and will continue to do so. He said with climate change, ethnic and religious conflicts, and international extremism, there is more chance for the United States to be involved in humanitarian relief efforts.

Those efforts will be informed by work already done at PKSOI, he said. And the institute will also codify lessons learned from those efforts for future missions -- as it has done for 20 years now.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

U.S. Flies B-52s Into China’s Expanded Air Defense Zone -

U.S. Flies B-52s Into China’s Expanded Air Defense Zone - Two long-range American bombers flew through airspace that China recently declared it has the right to police in what Pentagon officials described as a routine flight but which sent a clear message that the United States rejects the Chinese claims.
B-52 bombers passed through what is likely to become the most contested area of China’s new “air defense identification zone”: the airspace above islands that are the subject of a tense sovereignty dispute between Japan and China.
The flights over the East China Sea came a week before Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. is scheduled to visit Beijing as part of a weeklong trip that will include stops in Japan and South Korea amid American attempts to revive its “pivot” to Asia. Administration officials said Mr. Biden would raise American concerns about China’s territorial claims with the leadership in Beijing.
The American officials said the United States military would continue to assert its right to fly through what it regards as international airspace by continuing a standard cycle of training flights in the area. United States officials said there had been no Chinese response to Tuesday’s bomber run, which was a roundtrip from Guam.

Monday, November 25, 2013

A new, flying jellyfish-like machine

A new, flying jellyfish-like machine: Up, up in the sky: It's a bird! It's a plane! It's a . . . jellyfish? That's what researchers have built - a small vehicle whose flying motion resembles the movements of those boneless, pulsating, water-dwelling creatures.

The work, which will be presented at the American Physical Society's Division of Fluid Dynamics meeting on November 24 in Pittsburgh, demonstrates a new method of flight that could transport miniaturized future robots for surveillance, search-and-rescue, and monitoring of the atmosphere and traffic.

Many approaches to building small aerial robots try to mimic the flight of insects such as fruit flies. The challenge in that, explained Leif Ristroph of New York University, is that the flapping wing of a fly is inherently unstable.

To stay in flight and to maneuver, a fly must constantly monitor its environment to sense every gust of wind or approaching predator, adjusting its flying motion to respond within fractions of a second.

To recreate that sort of complex control in a mechanical device - and to squeeze it into a small robotic frame - is extremely difficult, Ristroph said.

After some tinkering, he devised a new way of flapping-wing flight that doesn't need any sort of control or feedback system to be stable, and is akin to the swimming motions of jellyfish.

The prototype device, weighing just two grams and spanning eight centimeters in width, flies by flapping four wings that are arranged like petals on a flower. While the up-and-down motion of the wings resembles a pulsating jelly,, the device's ultimate fluttering flight may be more similar to that of a moth. The vehicle can hover, ascend, and fly in a particular direction.

Patriot performance excels in PAC-3 test firing

Patriot performance excels in PAC-3 test firing: Raytheon's Patriot Air and Missile Defense System successfully test fired two Patriot Advanced Capability-3 missiles at White Sands Missile Range, N.M. The mission consisted of two single firings against single tactical ballistic missile representative targets.

"Patriot's successful track record is testament to its continual testing and evolution," said Ralph Acaba, vice president for Integrated Air and Missile Defense at Raytheon's Integrated Defense Systems business.

"Our customers have confidence in the Patriot systems they depend on to protect their nations from evolving threats. This test is just the latest of over 2,500 search track tests and more than 1,000 Patriot missiles that have been flight tested under real world combat and test conditions."

The test firing was part of the Field Surveillance Program (FSP) and, with potential international customers in attendance, is the second successful FSP mission in the span of 12 months.

Raytheon Delivers High-Speed Anti-Radiation Missile Control Units

Raytheon Delivers High-Speed Anti-Radiation Missile Control Units: Raytheon has delivered the first order of High-Speed Anti-Radiation Missile (HARM) Control Section Modification (HCSM) upgrade units to the U.S. Air Force earlier this month.

"HCSM improves mission effectiveness and significantly reduces the risk of collateral damage," said Jack Roosa, HARM program director for Raytheon Missile Systems.

"The HCSM upgrade to the previously fielded HARM inventory adds GPS and improves inertial navigation system capability at a substantial savings compared to other weapons with similar capability."

HCSM features a digital flight computer that merges targeting solutions from navigation and seeker systems.

These enhancements improve the probability of hit, while controlling where the missile can and cannot fly.

Battleship attactica: Soundwave-borne viruses 'can stop fleets'

Battleship attactica: Soundwave-borne viruses 'can stop fleets': The nightmare defeat of fleets disabled by computer viruses, a premise of the popular TV show Battlestar Galactica, is haunting some in the US Navy. Air gap jumping malware may undermine one of the pillars of America's military might.

The concern over potential vulnerability of US warship was voiced last week by retired Capt. Mark Hagerott at the Defense One conference. He cited reports of a new type of computer virus, which may be able to spread using ultrasonic waves emitted by built-in speakers.

If true, it would be the next practical step for malware as compared to jumping from computer to computer through portable USB drives, which was the vector of infection for Stuxnet, the virus that the US and Israel allegedly made to disable Iranian uranium enrichment centrifuges.

Experimental 'Cubesats' Designed for Range of National Security, Science Missions

Experimental 'Cubesats' Designed for Range of National Security, Science Missions: The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Md., introduced a new generation of small satellites with the launch of two experimental "cubesats" designed for a range of national security and space science operations.

On Wednesday, the cubesats were among 29 satellites lifted to orbit aboard a Minotaur I rocket from Wallops Flight Facility, Va., at 8:15 p.m. EST, as part of the U.S. Air Force ORS-3 mission. APL mission operators confirmed radio contact with the two satellites just before 10 p.m.

The shoebox-sized satellites, part of APL's Multimission Bus Demonstration (and designated ORS Tech 1 and ORS Tech 2 for today's launch), represent a new capability for the military and intelligence and science communities - a small satellite that can get to space inexpensively and be tough enough for long-term use.

"The Multimission Bus Demonstration could revolutionize the field of small satellites and their potential uses," says Joe Suter, APL's mission area executive for National Security Space. "There are applications for DoD agencies that want quick access to space, with durable satellites you can launch for a fraction of what it costs to launch larger spacecraft. MBD can be very significant contribution to those missions."

CIA, Pentagon trying to hinder construction of GLONASS stations in US

CIA, Pentagon trying to hinder construction of GLONASS stations in US

The US Department of Defense and Central Intelligence Agency have been trying to persuade the US State Department not to allow Roscosmos to build several GLONASS ground-based measuring stations in the United States, alleging that they could be used for military purposes.
They fear that the structures could help Russia spy on the United States and improve the precision of Russian weaponry, the officials said. These monitor stations, the Russians contend, would significantly improve the accuracy and reliability of Moscow's version of the Global Positioning System, the American satellite network that steers guided missiles to their targets and thirsty smartphone users to the nearest Starbucks.The Pentagon argues that if the State Department sanctions the GLONASS station deployments, Russia might be able to increase the accuracy of its guided missiles and could also use them for intelligence activity from inside US borders. The arguments have prompted the White House to postpone decision-making on the issue until Russia provides further information, according to anonymous sources in the US Administration and Department of State.US congressman Michel Rogers, who earlier requested the Pentagon's estimates of the consequences of deploying GLONASS stations for US national security, said he didn't understand why the US should be interested in encouraging GLONASS, a competitor to the American GPS system, when the use of GPS worldwide gives the US obvious advantages in many respects.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Up to 15,000 foreign troops could stay in Afghanistan: Karzai

Up to 15,000 foreign troops could stay in Afghanistan: Karzai: Afghan President Hamid Karzai gave his backing Thursday to a proposed security pact with the United States that will see up to 15,000 foreign troops stay in the war-torn country.

But he said it would not be signed until after next year's election.

A grand assembly of tribal chieftains, community elders and politicians began four days of debate on the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA), which will shape Washington's future military presence in Afghanistan.

Hours before the meeting, US Secretary of State John Kerry said the two sides had finally agreed the text of the pact after months of difficult negotiations.

A letter to Karzai from US President Barack Obama confirmed an agreement announced by Afghan officials on Tuesday over the vexed question of US forces raiding Afghan homes.

The letter released by Karzai's office said US forces would not enter Afghan homes for military operations "except under extraordinary circumstances involving urgent risk to life and limb of US nationals".

US warns Karzai to sign security pact

US warns Karzai to sign security pact: The United States Thursday warned Afghanistan to sign a new security pact as soon as possible, as top officials hinted that prolonged delays could mean no post-2014 US troop presence.

Washington's latest run-in with President Hamid Karzai was set off by the Afghan leader's statement that the painstakingly negotiated pact should not be signed until after his country's next election in April.

But US officials bristled, saying the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA), which governs conditions of any post-war American counter terrorism and training mission in Afghanistan, must be signed by the end of the year.

"We must move forward as quickly as possible to sign the agreement," said State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki.

The White House said it needed a swift decision from Karzai to start planning the footprint of any US forces, and trying to exert leverage, said Obama had not yet decided on whether to keep US forces in Afghanistan.

"Failure to get this approved and signed by the end of the year would prevent the United States and our allies from being able to plan for a post-2014 presence," White House spokesman Josh Earnest said.

"We have not yet determined whether or not a troop presence will continue in Afghanistan," Earnest said.

Other senior officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, were more blunt, warning that it was not practical for the BSA to await the signature of the next Afghan president.

They said that if there was no BSA in force, there would be no post-2014 US troop garrison in Afghanistan after NATO combat troops leave.

US panel urges punishment for China cyber spying

US panel urges punishment for China cyber spying: A US panel Wednesday called for tougher action against China, including possible sanctions to stop cyber spying, warning that Beijing has yet to be persuaded to end rampant espionage.

In an annual report to Congress, the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission charged that Beijing "is directing and executing a large-scale cyber espionage campaign" that has penetrated the US government and private industry.

"There is an urgent need for Washington to take action to prompt Beijing to change its approach to cyberspace and deter future Chinese cyber theft," said the commission, which was set up by Congress to make policy recommendations.

The report listed proposals aimed at "changing the cost-benefit calculus" for China including banning the import of the manufacturing giant's goods that are determined to include technologies stolen from the United States.

Other possibilities include restricting access to US banks for companies deemed to have used stolen technologies or banning travel to the United States for people involved in hacking.

Next generation USAF satellite goes through compatibility test

Next generation USAF satellite goes through compatibility test

The next generation of Global Positioning System satellites developed by Lockheed Martin has tested successfully for compatibility with previous craft in orbit, a major advance that's set to save costs and improve operability.
The company said its GPS III prototype "recently proved it was backward-compatible with the existing GPS satellite constellation in orbit."Analysts said the backward compatibility element of the product development would save costs for the U.S. Air Force and remove potential obstacles in the interconnectivity of present satellite constellations in orbit and those still being developed and due for launch in the coming years.Keeping communications up to date between ground and orbiting craft is one of the challenges facing not only the U.S. Air Force but also other military establishments worldwide, which points to a steady growth in the global sales potential of this branch of aerospace activity, analysts said.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

US rules out Afghanistan 'apology' in security talks

US rules out Afghanistan 'apology' in security talks

The United States has ruled out apologizing to Afghanistan for "mistakes" made during the 12-year war and denied claims in Kabul that such a mea culpa was being drafted.
The stern comments in Washington came after Afghan leader Hamid Karzai's spokesman said President Barack Obama planned to write a letter acknowledging that American military errors had caused civilian casualties."There is not a need for the United States to apologize to Afghanistan. Quite the contrary," US National Security Advisor Susan Rice told CNN on Tuesday.The State Department also expressed caution on a long-sought bilateral security agreement (BSA), after an official in Kabul said the two sides had reached agreement on key points of the agreement.Aimal Faizi, Karzai's spokesman, said Obama would write to his boss acknowledging US "mistakes in the war on terror" and the suffering of the Afghan people due to American military operations, as part of the BSA.But Rice said "no such letter has been drafted or delivered. That is not on the table."

Monday, November 18, 2013

U-2 modifications reduce decompression sickness > U.S. Air Force > Article Display

U-2 modifications reduce decompression sickness > U.S. Air Force > Article Display

ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. (AFNS) -- Air Force pilots flying the "Dragon Lady" no longer experience decompression sickness during their high-altitude flights, according to officials with the U-2 Program Office here.

Commonly referred to as DCS, decompression sickness is caused by the formation of nitrogen bubbles in the blood and tissue following a sudden drop of air pressure.

For U-2 pilots, who routinely fly missions above 70,000 feet, this has been a major concern.

"Our pilots were seeing an increased number of DCS incidents due to long missions," said Col. Fred Kennedy, the Command and Control, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Division chief. "Air Force senior leaders became aware of the problem, and made fixing it their No. 1 priority for our program."

The fix -- dubbed the Cabin Altitude Reduction Effort, or CARE, program -- beefs up the U-2's structure, replaces the legacy cockpit pressure regulator and safety valve, and includes modifications to the engine bleed schedule. That permits engineers to nearly double the cockpit pressure experienced by a U-2 pilot, from 4.4 pounds per square inch to more than 8 psi.

"What our folks have done is to drop the apparent altitude in the cockpit from 29,500 feet to 15,000 feet - roughly the difference between Mount Everest and Pikes Peak (Colo.)," Kennedy said. " CARE basically eliminates the risk of DCS and allows our U-2 pilots -- who might otherwise have been removed from flying status -- to keep flying."

A total of 27 U-2 airframes have been outfitted with CARE, ahead of schedule and under cost. The total outlay for the program was $8.7 million, officials said.

To date, there have been no reported DCS incidents since the modifications.

"This is a big deal for the U-2 community," Kennedy said. "Healthy pilots mean more missions and more extraordinary ISR capability for our warfighters."        

Lockheed Martin Conducts Second Successful LRASM Flight Test

Lockheed Martin Conducts Second Successful LRASM Flight Test

Lockheed Martin's Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM) recently achieved another successful flight test, with the missile scoring a direct hit on a moving maritime target.
The test was conducted in support of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and Office of Naval Research (ONR) program.Flying over the Sea Range at Point Mugu, Calif., a U.S. Air Force B-1B bomber from the 337th Test and Evaluation Squadron at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, released the LRASM, which navigated through all planned waypoints receiving in-flight targeting updates from the Weapon Data Link. After transitioning to autonomous guidance, LRASM identified the target using inputs from the onboard sensors. The missile then descended for final approach, verified and impacted the target."This test, combined with the success of the first flight test in August, further demonstrates the capabilities and maturity of LRASM," said Mike Fleming, LRASM air launch program manager at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. "The new sensors and legacy JASSM-ER components all performed well during the flight and the missile impacted the target as planned."LRASM is an autonomous, precision-guided anti-ship standoff missile leveraging the successful Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile Extended Range (JASSM-ER) heritage, and is designed to meet the needs of U.S. Navy and Air Force warfighters in a robust anti-access/area-denial threat environment.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

What About US? -

What About US? - It goes without saying that the only near-term deal with Iran worth partially lifting sanctions for would be a deal that freezes all the key components of Iran’s nuclear weapons development program, and the only deal worth lifting all sanctions for is one that verifiably restricts Iran’s ability to breakout and build a nuclear bomb.

But there is something else that goes without saying, but still needs to be said loudly: We, America, are not just hired lawyers negotiating a deal for Israel and the Sunni Gulf Arabs, which they alone get the final say on. We, America, have our own interests in not only seeing Iran’s nuclear weapons capability curtailed, but in ending the 34-year-old Iran-U.S. cold war, which has harmed our interests and those of our Israeli and Arab friends.
Hence, we must not be reluctant about articulating and asserting our interests in the face of Israeli and Arab efforts to block a deal that we think would be good for us and them. America’s interests today lie in an airtight interim nuclear deal with Iran that also opens the way for addressing a whole set of other issues between Washington and Tehran.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Northrop Grumman Wins Enterprise Air Surveillance Radar Study

Northrop Grumman Wins Enterprise Air Surveillance Radar Study

Northrop Grumman has been selected by the U.S. Navy to conduct a study that explores the replacement of the SPS-48 and SPS-49 air surveillance radars currently on board U.S. Navy amphibious ships and aircraft carriers.
The $6 million, 18-month Enterprise Air Surveillance Radar (EASR) Study, sponsored by the Office of Naval Research under its Integrated Topside program, will examine how an existing radar concept can be evolved to meet the EASR requirements. Northrop Grumman will be leveraging the capabilities, affordability and maturity of the existing AN/TPS-80 Ground /Air Task-Oriented Radar (G/ATOR) for the EASR study. The AN/TPS-80 is the first ground-based multimission Active Electronically Scanned Array radar to be developed by the Defense Department, and is planned to replace five of the six existing radar systems used by the U.S. Marine Corps. It is undergoing final government testing and is expected to enter production in early 2014. "The goal of this study is to identify the modifications required for an existing radar to achieve the Navy's requirements. The study's risk reduction activities will demonstrate if the modifications can affordably meet those requirements," said Todd Leavitt, director of Northrop Grumman's Maritime Sensors and Shipboard Integration business unit. "The use of AN/TPS-80 as a starting point proves the scalability and adaptability of the basic system architecture for adjacent mission requirements and enables the Navy to directly leverage more than $500 million in existing investment already made."

Friday, November 8, 2013

New Boeing B-52 Upgrade to Increase Smart Weapons Capacity by Half

New Boeing B-52 Upgrade to Increase Smart Weapons Capacity by Half

Boeing will continue to increase the B-52 bomber's effectiveness and versatility under a new U.S. Air Force contract that calls for the aircraft's smart weapons capacity to expand by 50 percent.
Under the $24.6 million agreement, Boeing will develop a modification to existing weapon launchers so the aircraft can carry smart weapons in the bomb bay, allowing aircrews to use the B-52's entire weapons capacity. "When you combine that ability with the extremely long flying time of the B-52, you have an efficient and versatile weapon system that is very valuable to warfighters on the ground," said Scot Oathout, B-52 program director. "This weapons capacity expansion joins the CONECT program, a comprehensive communication upgrade currently being installed on the aircraft, to give the warfighter even more flexibility." Boeing will produce three prototype launchers for test and evaluation. Initial capability is expected in March 2016, and potential follow-on efforts could add additional weapons and allow a mixed load of different types of weapons. Following the upgrade's first phase, the B-52s will be able to carry 24 500-pound Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM) or 20 2,000-pound JDAMs. Later phases will add the Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile (JASSM) and its extended range variant (JASSM-ER), as well as the Miniature Air Launched Decoy (MALD) and its jammer variant (MALD/J). The bomb bay upgrade will also enable the B-52 to carry weapons internally only, increasing fuel efficiency in flight. The modernization work will use parts from existing Air Force rotary launchers repurposed for conventional missions, as well as hardware and software already developed for the wing pylons.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

US admiral downplays commmand transfer to S.Korea

US admiral downplays commmand transfer to S.Korea: The timing of a planned switch of US wartime command to South Korean forces is "not that important," a top US military officer said Tuesday.
In the case of war with North Korea, current plans call for an American military commander to lead the 28,500 US troops deployed in South Korea as well as that country's 640,000-strong force.
Under an alliance agreement, the United States would transfer full operational control to South Korea in 2015 but Seoul has asked to postpone the transition. A deadline for 2102 was already delayed.
Admiral Samuel Locklear, head of US Pacific Command, which oversees all American forces in the region, sought to play down the significance of the timing at a news conference and did not say if the handover would go ahead as scheduled.
"But as we are moving toward 2015, it will be based on what the conditions are at that time," Locklear said.

Lockheed Martin, MDA and Navy Demonstrate Ashore Missile Defense System

Lockheed Martin, MDA anbd Navy Demonstrate Ashore Missile Defense System: Lockheed Martin, the U.S. Navy and the Missile Defense Agency celebrated the official "light off" of the Aegis Ashore system for Romania on Oct. 24., representing the system's operational readiness.
This system, along with its re-locatable deckhouse, will be deployed to Romania in 2015 as part of the administration's European Phased Adaptive Approach for ballistic missile defense (BMD). The team will be conducting full acceptance testing before shipments to Romania begin next year.
The ceremony marked the second system "light off" in less than six months for the joint team. The first Aegis Ashore system is preparing for its first live test next year at the Navy's Pacific Missile Range Facility in Hawaii.
Aegis Ashore, which uses the newest generation of BMD, known as BMD 5.0, is an evolution of proven sea-based Aegis BMD capabilities and uses innovative adaptations for a land-based environment.

Aerostructures Validate Triton Unmanned Aircraft Wing Strength

Aerostructures Validate Triton Unmanned Aircraft Wing Strength

Northrop Grumman and Triumph Aerostructures - Vought Aircraft Division, a subsidiary of Triumph Group, Inc., have successfully demonstrated the structural strength of the U.S. Navy's Triton unmanned aircraft system (UAS) wing. This is a key capability that will allow the aircraft to descend from high altitudes to make positive identification of targets of interest during surveillance missions.
A team of engineers found that no failures or unacceptable deformations of the wing occurred when it was subjected to a load at 22 percent above the Navy's requirement. "During surveillance missions using Triton, Navy operators may spot a target of interest and order the aircraft to a lower altitude to make positive identification," said Mike Mackey, Northrop Gumman's Triton UAS program director. "The wing's strength allows the aircraft to safely descend, sometimes through weather patterns, to complete this maneuver." Northrop Grumman's wing supplier for its portfolio of high-altitude, long-endurance unmanned aircraft systems is Triumph Aerostructures - Vought Aircraft Division. The testing was conducted at their facility in Dallas. Additional steps needed to certify the wing's life span include flight tests at various weights placed within the wing that simulate various fuel loads and a fatigue test of the entire airframe that will begin in 2017.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Hagel: Six priorities shape future defense institutionsHagel: Six priorities shape future defense institutions U.S. Air Force Article Display

Hagel: Six priorities shape future defense institutions U.S. Air Force Article Display

        In the months since the 2012 defense strategic guidance first reflected a new budget reality, Pentagon officials and military leaders have been working on the department's longer-term budget and strategy, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said here Nov. 5.

In the keynote address before the Center for Strategic and International Studies' Global Security Forum, Hagel said a needed realignment of missions and resources is being undertaken across the department that will require significant change across every aspect of the enterprise.

"I have identified six areas of focus for our budget and strategic planning efforts going forward," the secretary said.

"Working closely with the service secretaries, service chiefs, combatant commanders and DOD leaders," he added. "These six priorities will help determine the shape of our defense institutions for years to come."

The priorities include institutional reform, force planning, preparing for a prolonged military readiness challenge, protecting investments in emerging capabilities, balancing capacity and capability across the services, and balancing personnel responsibilities with a sustainable compensation policy.

During his first weeks in office, Hagel said, he directed a Strategic Choices and Management Review that over several months identified options for reshaping the force and institutions in the face of difficult budget scenarios.

"That review pointed to the stark choices and tradeoffs in military capabilities that will be required if sequester-level cuts persist, but it also identified opportunities to make changes and reforms," Hagel said.

"Above all, it underscored the reality that DOD still possesses resources and options," he said. "We will need to more efficiently match our resources to our most important national security requirements. We can do things better, we must do things better, and we will."

Addressing the six priorities that will shape future defense efforts, the secretary began with a continued a focus on institutional reform.

Coming out of more than a decade of war and budget growth, he said, there is a clear opportunity and need to reshape the defense enterprise, including paring back the world's largest back office. This summer, Hagel announced a 20-percent reduction in headquarters budgets across the department, beginning with the Office of the Secretary of Defense.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Egypt looks to Russia for arms after U.S. cutoff

Egypt looks to Russia for arms after U.S. cutoff

Egypt is reported looking to Moscow to supply it with weapons following U.S. President Barack Obama's decision to suspend a large part of the $1.3 billion in military aide Washington provides Cairo to protest the army's July 3 ouster of President Mohamed Morsi.
Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy has acknowledged relations between the military-backed government in Cairo and the Obama White House are in "turmoil" following the Oct. 9 suspension. He warned Egypt, the Arab world's most populous nation and a longtime U.S. ally, would have to find "other sources" to supply its national security requirements. The Cairo government has had little to say officially on what it plans to do to counter the U.S. action, possibly because it does not want to aggravate a highly sensitive situation. However, Israel's Channel 2 television reports the "other sources" to which Fahmy referred means Russia. It said Cairo is now looking to conclude a major arms deal with Moscow.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Outside View: The wrong war again

Outside View: The wrong war again

Last week, Washington roiled in revelations about the war on terror with reports of drone strikes in Pakistan secretly approved by that government; National Security Agency tapping of the German chancellor's and French president's phone calls along with dozens of other heads of state; and what to do once the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force ends with the 2014 withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Sadly, the contradiction for the Obama administration, as for George W. Bush, is embedded in the misguided phrase "global war on terror." The concept of a "war on terror" isn't only flawed. Worse, it cannot work. Americans have long been subjected to many wars declared against drugs, poverty, crime, illiteracy, racism and, of course, terror. None has worked. The reason is that none of these scourges is a war and treating them as such usually produces solutions directed at symptoms and not correcting actual causes. Terror is a tactic, ploy and tool to achieve larger ends. Lenin understood that. The purpose of terror he asserted was to terrorize. When adversaries don't need nor possess armies, navies and air forces, terror is a highly effective, less costly and more relevant alternative. As the United States learned in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the most powerful military in the world cannot defeat an enemy that owns no army, navy or air force when other instruments required to overcome the fundamental causes that produce insurgencies and terrorism are missing in action. Further, the vocabulary to define properly the "terrorist" adversary along with the associated syntax and grammar to defang this threat is absent. Terms such as Islamic violent extremism or radicalism; jihadism; and other invented phrases confuse not clarify the real issue, which isn't the acts of terror, however dire, but the underlying causes that produce such violence and contribute to the ability of these groups to attract followers. In one sense, creating a conceptual underpinning for waging what has been mistakenly called the war on terror is simple. The issue is recognizing that these acts of violence represent political revolutions albeit ones that incorporate larger religious characteristics and perhaps share more in common with the religious wars of the Middle Ages or the Crusades than 1789, 1848, 1917 and the Cold War but must be dealt with in a broader context.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Obama May Ban Spying on Heads of Allied States -

Obama May Ban Spying on Heads of Allied States - President Obama is poised to order the National Security Agency to stop eavesdropping on the leaders of American allies, administration and congressional officials said Monday, responding to a deepening diplomatic crisis over reports that the agency had for years targeted the cellphone of Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany.

The White House informed a leading Democratic lawmaker, Senator Dianne Feinstein of California, of its plans, which grew out of a broader internal review of intelligence-gathering methods, prompted by the leak of N.S.A. documents by a former contractor, Edward J. Snowden.

In a statement on Monday, Ms. Feinstein, chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said, “I do not believe the United States should be collecting phone calls or emails of friendly presidents and prime ministers.” Ms. Feinstein, who has been a stalwart defender of the administration’s surveillance policies, said her committee would begin a “major review of all intelligence collection programs.”

The White House said Monday evening that no final decision had been made on the monitoring of friendly foreign leaders. But the disclosure that it is moving to prohibit it signals a landmark shift for the N.S.A., which has had nearly unfettered powers to collect data on tens of millions of people around the world, from ordinary citizens to heads of state, including the leaders of Brazil and Mexico.

It is also likely to prompt a fierce debate on what constitutes an American ally. Prohibiting eavesdropping on Ms. Merkel’s phone is an easier judgment than, for example, collecting intelligence on the military-backed leaders in Egypt.

U.S. Disrupts Afghans’ Tack on Militants -

U.S. Disrupts Afghans’ Tack on Militants - A bungled attempt by the Afghan government to cultivate a shadowy alliance with Islamist militants escalated into the latest flash point in the troubled relationship between Afghanistan and the United States, according to new accounts by officials from both countries.

The disrupted plan involved Afghan intelligence trying to work with the Pakistan Taliban, allies of Al Qaeda, in order to find a trump card in a baroque regional power game that is likely to intensify after the American withdrawal next year, the officials said. And what started the hard feelings was that the Americans caught them red-handed.

Tipped off to the plan, United States Special Forces raided an Afghan convoy that was ushering a senior Pakistan Taliban militant, Latif Mehsud, to Kabul for secret talks last month, and now have Mr. Mehsud in custody.

Publicly, the Afghan government has described Mr. Mehsud as an insurgent peace emissary. But according to Afghan officials, the ultimate plan was to take revenge on the Pakistani military.

In the murk of intrigue and paranoia that dominates the relationship between Pakistan and Afghanistan, the Pakistanis have long had the upper hand. A favorite complaint of Afghan officials is how Pakistani military intelligence has sheltered and nurtured the Taliban and supported their insurgency against the Afghan government.

Now, not content to be merely the target of a proxy war, the Afghan government decided to recruit proxies of its own by seeking to aid the Pakistan Taliban in their fight against Pakistan’s security forces, according to Afghan officials.

ARCENT says future hinges on regional alignments | Article | The United States Army

ARCENT says future hinges on regional alignments | Article | The United States Army

U.S. Army Central Command is looking past Afghanistan to conduct exercises and sustain partnerships in 19 other countries under the Regionally Aligned Forces concept.

For instance, Exercise Steppe Eagle in Kazakhstan this summer involved the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team of the 4th Infantry Division, and that was just one of many Regionally Aligned Forces, or RAF, engagements the brigade conducted across U.S. Central Command's, or CENTCOM's, area of resonsibility, said Lt. Gen. James L. Terry, commander of U.S. Army Central Command, known as ARCENT.

"Long before the term RAF was cool," CENTCOM has been building partner capacity, said Col. Thomas Weikert, ARCENT's G-3 chief of staff. He discussed RAF in countries such as Kazakhstan and Oman during a "Warriors Corner" presentation, Oct. 23, at the 2013 Association of the United States Army Annual Meeting and Exposition.

About 20,000 U.S. Soldiers are currently stationed outside of Afghanistan in the CENTCOM area, Weikert said, and they are doing far more than operating supply routes and conducting retrograde operations.

"RAF efforts in U.S. Army Central are all about setting conditions," Weikert said, explaining the engagements build more capable partners "and that translates into better deterrence."

The 20 nations in CENTCOM's area cover 12 million square kilometers, Weikert said. About 540 million people there speak 60 different languages and practice 27 different religions.

ARCENT conducted almost 1,800 training events and symposia over the last fiscal year, Weikert said. Operation Spartan Shield exercises in particular helped build the capacity of partner nations there.

"There's nothing more challenging or rewarding than working with a partner nation and seeing their improvement over time," Weikert said.

The partnerships and exercises build trust and confidence, he said, and that can translate into "access" when it's most important.

This year, the 36th Combat Aviation Brigade, or CAB, of the Texas National Guard participated in 36 partnership engagements in the CENTCOM area, Weikert said. The CAB participated in the inaugural Exercise Desert Talon with the United Arab Emirates. And the brigade conducted a number of partnership activities over the year with the Kuwaiti Air Force.

The 1/4th ABCT, known as the "Raider Brigade," illustrated the level of partnering and variety of missions that RAF forces undertake, Weikert said.

Upon deploying in February, brigade leaders thought they would be working primarily out of Kuwait, but Weikert said the BCT had to expand to cover everything from theater security cooperation engagements to contingency response throughout the region.

The ARCENT Regionally Aligned Forces are allocated to the command and deploy for a year, Weikert said. In a couple of weeks, the 2nd Brigade of 4th Infantry Division, is scheduled to rotate into Kuwait, and that brigade will replace 1/4th to conduct RAF engagements in CENTCOM.

In addition, ARCENT has also assigned units such as the 160th Signal Brigade, and the 4th Battlefield Coordination Brigade, to form partnerships in theater, Weikert said. He added that Military Information and Civil Affairs units also conduct partnerships, which enhance understanding between the U.S. and nations in the region.

ARCENT is also developing a RAF "Community of Purpose," Weikert said. This will provide a "closed-loop learning model" for units that will deploy into theater and provide insights through lessons learned for units that will conduct RAF engagements in the future.

In January, ARCENT units will participate in Exercise Inferno Creek and work with the Royal Omani Reconnaissance Brigaed in Oman.

Units from the 82nd Airborne Division, are scheduled to participate in Exercise Bright Star in Egypt.

In addition, the National Guard continues to conduct state partnership programs, or SPP, with CENTCOM nations, participating in SPP exercises, exchanges and other engagements.

As part of the National Guard's SPP, the Arizona National Guard has been teamed with Kazakhstan, since 1993. Additionally, the Colorado National Guard has a partnership program with Jordan, and has conducted 29 engagements this year, Weikert said.

The Mississippi National Guard has a partnership program with Uzbekistan. The Virginia Guard partners with Tajikistan, and the Montana National Guard has a partnership program with Kyrgyzstan.

Leveraging partnerships is an economical and effective way to pave the path for the future in the CENTCOM area, Weikert said. He said Regionally Aligned Forces will continue to expand in the region.