Saturday, March 30, 2013

Territorial disputes roil Asia

Territorial disputes roil Asia: The Asia-Pacific region is anything but calm as China continues to flex muscle and agitate over its territorial claims in the East and South China seas.
In recent weeks, China has conducted naval drills at James Shoal, more than 1,000 miles from the Chinese mainland but just 50 miles from Malaysia, which claims sovereignty over it.
A Chinese marine surveillance plane intruded on Japanese air space near two islands in the East China Sea claimed by Japan and caused Japan to scramble jet aircraft. The incident coincided with ships of both countries shadowing each other off the Senkaku Islands.
"Despite our repeated warnings, Chinese government ships have entered our territorial waters for three days in a row," Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Osama Fujimura said. "It is extremely regrettable that, on top of that, an intrusion into our air space has been committed in this way."
China merely shrugged off the protest. The islands, it said, are Chinese territory.
The intrusions are a significant escalation in the dispute over the islands, analysts say. And an unintended incident could occur that could lead to use of arms.

Iraq, Afghan wars to cost US up to $6 trillion: study

Iraq, Afghan wars to cost US up to $6 trillion: study: The Iraq and Afghanistan wars will cost the United States between $4-6 trillion in the long term, constraining the government's budget for decades to come, a study said.
Harvard University scholar Linda Bilmes concluded that the United States will face increasing costs to care for an estimated 2.5 million veterans, and to pay down debt incurred by borrowing to pay for the wars.
"As a consequence of these wartime spending choices, the United States will face constraints in funding investments in personnel and diplomacy, research and development and new military initiatives," said the report released Thursday.
"In short, there will be no peace dividend, and the legacy of Iraq and Afghanistan wars will be costs that persist for decades," it said.
Bilmes, who served in government under former president Bill Clinton, calculated that the United States has already spent nearly $2 trillion directly for the two wars launched by former president George W. Bush.
But Bilmes' study said the biggest cost would be medical care and disability benefits, saying that more than half of the 1.56 million troops discharged from service have already been granted benefits for life.
Bilmes, who called the numbers unprecedented, said that costs will climb over decades.

Rising China disregarding neighbours: Japan study

Rising China disregarding neighbours: Japan study: The rising might of China is causing it to act with increasing disregard towards its neighbours, a Japanese government-funded study said on Friday.
"China, against the backdrop of its rising national power and improvement in its military power, is increasingly taking actions that can cause frictions with neighbouring countries without fear," said the East Asian Strategic Review.
The study, published on Friday by the National Institute for Defence Studies, is an annual venture commissioned by Japan's Defence Ministry, and influences national defence policy.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Northrop Grumman AN/TPS-80 G/ATOR Radar System Demonstrates Ballistic Missile Defense Capability

Northrop Grumman AN/TPS-80 G/ATOR Radar System Demonstrates Ballistic Missile Defense Capability: Northrop Grumman AN/TPS-80 Ground/Air Task Oriented Radar (G/ATOR) successfully detected multiple rocket launches during company-funded testing.
Currently under development for the U.S. Marine Corps, G/ATOR is the first ground-based, multirole radar to be developed for the U.S. Department of Defense.
With its ability to intelligently and adaptively allocate its myriad sensor capabilities, G/ATOR is able to detect and track a wide variety of threats, including manned aircraft, cruise missiles and unmanned autonomous systems, as well as mortar, rocket and artillery rounds.

Taiwan to get US anti-sub aircraft in 2015: report

Taiwan to get US anti-sub aircraft in 2015: report: Taiwan is on track to take delivery of 12 anti-submarine aircraft from the United States by mid-2015, a report said Wednesday, as it seeks to beef up its naval defences against China.
Navy Chief of Staff Vice Admiral Hsu Pei-shan spelt out the timeframe when asked by a lawmaker about a possible delay in the delivery of the aircraft, the state Central News Agency reported.
Washington agreed in 2007 to sell Taiwan the refurbished P-3C Orion patrol aircraft, which reportedly will expand the surveillance range of Taipei's anti-submarine fleet tenfold

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Afghan insurgency will outlast withdrawal: US general

Afghan insurgency will outlast withdrawal: US general: The Taliban insurgency will continue after coalition combat forces withdraw from Afghanistan in late 2014 but the Afghan government will survive, the ex-chief of the NATO-led force said Monday.
"Sometimes this comes as a surprise when I say this, that on January 1st, 2015 there's still going to be fighting in Afghanistan," General John Allen said in a speech to the Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Arms Airlift to Syrian Rebels Expands, With C.I.A. Aid -

Arms Airlift to Syrian Rebels Expands, With C.I.A. Aid - With help from the C.I.A., Arab governments and Turkey have sharply increased their military aid to Syria’s opposition fighters in recent months, expanding a secret airlift of arms and equipment for the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad, according to air traffic data, interviews with officials in several countries and the accounts of rebel commanders.
The airlift, which began on a small scale in early 2012 and continued intermittently through last fall, expanded into a steady and much heavier flow late last year, the data shows. It has grown to include more than 160 military cargo flights by Jordanian, Saudi and Qatari military-style cargo planes landing at Esenboga Airport near Ankara, and, to a lesser degree, at other Turkish and Jordanian airports.
As it evolved, the airlift correlated with shifts in the war within Syria, as rebels drove Syria’s army from territory by the middle of last year. And even as the Obama administration has publicly refused to give more than “nonlethal” aid to the rebels, the involvement of the C.I.A. in the arms shipments — albeit mostly in a consultative role, American officials say — has shown that the United States is more willing to help its Arab allies support the lethal side of the civil war.
From offices at secret locations, American intelligence officers have helped the Arab governments shop for weapons, including a large procurement from Croatia, and have vetted rebel commanders and groups to determine who should receive the weapons as they arrive, according to American officials speaking on the condition of anonymity. The C.I.A. declined to comment on the shipments or its role in them.
The shipments also highlight the competition for Syria’s future between Sunni Muslim states and Iran, the Shiite theocracy that remains Mr. Assad’s main ally. Secretary of State John Kerry pressed Iraq on Sunday to do more to halt Iranian arms shipments through its airspace; he did so even as the most recent military cargo flight from Qatar for the rebels landed at Esenboga early Sunday night.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Israel: Iron Dome shootdown rate disputed

Israel: Iron Dome shootdown rate disputed

Israel showcased its much-vaunted Iron Dome anti-missile system for U.S. President Barack Obama when he visited this week but in recent days the U.S.-funded system's declared shoot-down rate of 84 percent has been challenged by several scientists. The conclusion was the kill rate was "more like 5 to 10 percent." That could have a critical effect on long-term U.S. funding not only for Iron Dome, developed and produced by Israel's Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, but for other systems supported by U.S. aid that Israel's developing for a multilayered comprehensive missile defense shield. The Israeli media reported that Obama, whose first function on arrival Wednesday was to inspect an Iron Dome battery at Ben Gurion Airport, had pledged to continue U.S. funding for the missile defense project, despite serious doubts raised about its stopping power. Whether that's what will happen remains to be seen, given that the Americans are severely reducing defense spending, which could, despite pledges to the contrary, result in cutbacks in U.S. military aid to Israel.

Hagel seeks to reassure Poland on missile defense

Hagel seeks to reassure Poland on missile defense: The United States is dedicated to defending Europe from missile attacks despite a US decision to abandon the final phase of a planned anti-missile system, Pentagon chief Chuck Hagel said Friday.
In a phone call to Polish Defense Minister Tomasz Siemoniak, Hagel conveyed his condolences over the death of a Polish soldier in Afghanistan this week and voiced his "appreciation for Poland's understanding" over changes to a European missile defense plan, a Pentagon spokesman said.
The US missile defense plan for Europe envisages a powerful radar in Turkey, SM-3 interceptors aboard naval ships in the Mediterranean and dozens of interceptors based in Poland and Romania.
But budget pressures and the threat posed by North Korea's missile program led Hagel to announce last week that Washington was scrapping the fourth and final stage of the system, which would have deployed a more advanced version of the SM-3 interceptor in Poland and Romania within 10 years.

Are US Navy's super carriers a relic of wars past?

Are US Navy's super carriers a relic of wars past?: Budget pressures at the Pentagon have renewed a debate about the value of the US Navy's giant aircraft carriers, with critics arguing the warships are fast becoming costly relics in a new era of warfare.
With the Pentagon facing $500 billion in cuts over the next decade, a Navy officer has dared to question the most treasured vessels in his service's fleet, saying the super carriers are increasingly vulnerable to new weapons and too expensive to operate.
"After 100 years, the carrier is rapidly approaching the end of its useful strategic life," wrote Captain Henry Hendrix in a report published this month by the Center for a New American Security, a Washington think-tank with close ties to President Barack Obama's administration. Changes in naval warfare mean that carriers "may not be able to move close enough to targets to operate effectively or survive in an era of satellite imagery and long-range precision strike missiles," Hendrix wrote. Under US law, the military is required to maintain 11 aircraft carriers. Ten are currently in service after the retirement of the USS Enterprise, which is due to be replaced in 2017 with the USS Gerald Ford, the first of a new class of "big decks." The new carrier carries a prohibitive pricetag of $13.6 billion, double the cost of the last aircraft carrier. And that does not count the $4.7 billion spent on research and development for the new class of carriers.

New US commander takes charge of Mideast forces

New US commander takes charge of Mideast forces

An Army general who oversaw the US withdrawal from Iraq assumed command in the Middle East Friday, succeeding an officer who had clashed with the White House over handling tensions with Iran. General Lloyd Austin, 59, who will oversee the pullout of US troops from Afghanistan in 2014, took the reins of the military's powerful Central Command in a ceremony in Tampa, Florida, succeeding General James Mattis, a blunt-speaking Marine who served in three wars. US officials acknowledge that Mattis, a four-star general, had disagreed with White House advisers over policy towards Iran, favoring a more robust approach to Tehran's controversial nuclear program. The friction with the White House prompted speculation that Mattis may have been forced to cut short the customary three-year tenure for the CENTCOM post by several months. But Pentagon officials denied there was any attempt to push him out early.

Tokyo submits US base relocation plan to Okinawa

Tokyo submits US base relocation plan to Okinawa: Japan's central government on Friday formally asked Okinawa's governor to approve plans to build new US military facilities on the island, officials said, a vital step to ending a long-running dispute.
The move is the first in several years aimed at breaking the deadlock between Tokyo, which is bound to the US through a security treaty, and Okinawa, which resents bearing the burden of so many of the country's US bases.
Governor Hirokazu Nakaima received the request from the Japanese defence ministry asking that he give the go-ahead to plans to reclaim land off Henoko, central Okinawa, to build a runway for the US military, a spokesman said. "Our governor will decide on whether to approve or not after looking into details of the request," the spokesman said. Nakaima, who is authorised to approve all landfill projects on the island, is expected to make a decision in six to eight months, Japan's national broadcaster NHK reported. But Nakaima already hinted he could reject the request, which is not backed by local people.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

China Cites Risk of Tension as U.S. Bolsters Missile Defenses -

China Cites Risk of Tension as U.S. Bolsters Missile Defenses - Earlier this month, China backed a United Nations Security Council resolution imposing banking, trade and travel sanctions on North Korea after it held the test on Feb. 12.

China’s warning was in response to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s announcement on Friday that the Pentagon would spend $1 billion to put in place more ballistic missile interceptors to counter the growing reach of North Korea’s weapons.

The 14 new interceptors will be in Alaska, where 26 of the existing 30 are already deployed, and American officials said the decision was meant to show its allies South Korea and Japan that the United States would muster the resources needed to deter the North.

But a spokesman for the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Hong Lei, told reporters in Beijing that the decision risked adding to regional instability.

“Strengthening antimissile deployments and military alliances can only deepen antagonism and will be of no help to solving problems,” Mr. Hong said, in answer to a reporter’s question about Mr. Hagel’s announcement, according to a transcript on the Foreign Ministry’s Web site.

Iraq War Offers Lessons for Syria and Iran -

Iraq War Offers Lessons for Syria and Iran - Mr. Hadley told a small group gathered here to dissect the long-term lessons of the Iraq war that it never occurred to him or his boss, President George W. Bush, to ask: “What if Saddam is doing all this deception because he actually got rid of the W.M.D. and he doesn’t want the Iranians to know?”

Instead, the White House and the intelligence agencies leapt to the conclusion that Saddam Hussein, the Iraqi leader who had pursued so many weapons of mass destruction in the past, must still be on the same quest.

“It turns out that was the most important question in terms of the intelligence failure that never got asked,” Mr. Hadley told a discussion organized by the RAND Corporation and Foreign Policy magazine.

History does not repeat itself, but it does rhyme, Mark Twain once said, and these days Washington is looking for the assonances. The Iraq experience hangs over every major decision Mr. Obama’s foreign policy team grapples with each day. It looms over the daily debate over whether to intervene – with heavy arms or greater covert action – in Syria. And it permeates the discussion about Iran’s nuclear progress, and particularly over whether Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has made a decision to pursue a bomb.

Afghan Villages Rise Up Against Taliban -

Afghan Villages Rise Up Against Taliban - Since early February, when villagers joined with police forces to begin ousting Taliban fighters from this region of rich vineyards and orchards southwest of Kandahar City, hundreds of residents have rallied to support the government. Nearly 100 village elders vowed at a public meeting Monday to keep the Taliban out as the new fighting season sets in, and Afghan flags are flying from rooftops in the villages, residents said.

Isolated uprisings against the Taliban have been reported in several different parts of Afghanistan over the past 18 months. But the revolt in Panjwai is considered significant because it is the first in southern Afghanistan, in the spiritual heartland of the Taliban movement, where the group’s influence had endured despite repeated operations by American and NATO forces.

Though no one is claiming that the Taliban are forever out of the fight even in this district — the insurgents have vowed a vengeful return and in the past week killed two men in the area — the Panjwai uprising has given an example of what can be accomplished when local resentment over bullying by militants is accompanied by reliable government support.

US, Japan review worst-case plans for island dispute

US, Japan review worst-case plans for island dispute: US and Japanese officers are discussing worst-case contingency plans for retaking disputed islands in the East China Sea if China moves to seize them, US officials said Wednesday.
Japan's Nikkei newspaper first reported the talks, which prompted a strong reaction from China.
"We have contingency plans and we discuss them with allies," a US official told AFP speaking on condition of anonymity, saying it was "natural" that the two governments would confer on emergency scenarios given recent tensions.
A Pentagon official, who also asked not to be quoted by name, confirmed the discussions, saying "we're a planning organization."
But both sources said the US government did not want to fuel tensions, and that the contingency planning would be only one of many topics on the agenda when top US and Japanese officers meet in Hawaii later this week.
Admiral Samuel Locklear, head of US Pacific Command, is scheduled to host General Shigeru Iwasaki, chief of the Japanese Self Defense Forces Joint Staff, for Thursday's talks.

Poland vows own shield as US reins in Europe missile defence

Poland vows own shield as US reins in Europe missile defence: Poland said Wednesday it would spend 33.6 billion euros ($43.3 bn) to set up its own missile shield, days after the US announced it was ready to abandon the final phase of the European missile defence system.
"We will create our own air defence system. Our national missile shield, with the American shield, the elements of which will be on our territory by 2018 and will make up part of the NATO system," Poland's Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski told parliament Wednesday in his annual address outlining this EU and NATO member's foreign policy priorities.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Raytheon's Fifth generation hull mounted sonar to enable anti-submarine, undersea warfare

Raytheon's Fifth generation hull mounted sonar to enable anti-submarine, undersea warfare: Raytheon was awarded a sub-contract from Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) to deliver its first 5th generation medium frequency hull mounted sonar system as part of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Anti-Submarine Warfare Continuous Trail Unmanned Vessel (ACTUV) program.
According to the U.S. Navy, 43 nations operate more than 600 submarines; the steady increase in undersea vessels makes tracking a challenge. Raytheon's Modular Scalable Sonar System (MS3) will integrate into SAIC's prototype trimaran vessel as the primary search and detection sonar.
The system is designed to provide search, detection, passive-threat filtering, localization and tracking capabilities without requiring human operation.
MS3 enables anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and undersea warfare with capabilities such as active and passive search, torpedo detection and alertment, and small object avoidance.

Air Force overrides Beechcraft LAS protest

Air Force overrides Beechcraft LAS protest: The U.S. Air Force has apparently rejected Beechcraft's latest protest of the LAS program award and is sticking with Brazil's Embraer.
"When it comes to producing aircraft that will help Americans come home from Afghanistan, the U.S. Air Force today concluded that America's 'best interest' now rests on the shoulders of Brazil," Beechcraft Corp. said. "This decision is very misguided. It will lead to the loss of American jobs and substantially higher costs to American taxpayers."
The LAS program is to provide Afghanistan's air force with an initial 20 light support combat aircraft. The contract was originally given to a partnership between Embraer and the Sierra Nevada Corp. for the A-26 Super Tucano, a turboprop combat aircraft in use by a number of militaries.
The aircraft would be manufactured in Florida and the partner companies highlighted the creation of jobs in the United States as a result of that.

US promises S. Korea all military resources

US promises S. Korea all military resources: US Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter on Monday promised to provide South Korea with every military resource under the US nuclear umbrella at a time of heightened tensions with North Korea.
Carter was in Seoul on the second leg of a four-nation tour of US allies and partners in Asia including Japan, the Philippines and Indonesia.
"We remain steadfast to our commitment to extended deterrence offered by the US nuclear umbrella," Carter said after talks with South Korean Defence Minister Kim Kwan-Jin.
"We'll ensure all of our resources will be available to our alliance," he was quoted as saying by Yonhap news agency.

Russia dismisses US missile defence move

Russia dismisses US missile defence move: Russia said Monday it saw "no concession" in the US decision to abandon the final phase of its missile shield for Europe in favour of deploying new interceptors against a possible attack from North Korea.
The US move was seen in Washington as raising prospects for a revival of arms control talks with Russia.
But Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told the Kommersant business daily: "This is not a concession to Russia and we do not see it as such. Our objections remain."
US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel said Friday that 14 more interceptors would be stationed in Alaska -- increasing by almost half the 30 already deployed along the western coastline. The aim is to have them in place by 2017.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Raytheon's 'Tippy Two' Radar Gets Back In The Budget -- Knock On Wood

Raytheon's 'Tippy Two' Radar Gets Back In The Budget -- Knock On Wood: Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel gave a nod to a high-tech radar, the AN/TPY-2 -- improbably nicknamed "Tippy Two" -- as a key component of America's burgeoning missile defenses. Next week could bring more good news for the radar's manufacturer, Raytheon: Not only will the company announce the delivery of the eighth TPY-2 system to the Army, but Congress is expected to add back a $163 million radar the administration had cut from the program -- that is, if the Senate manages to pass the defense appropriations bill.

Ex-US diplomat rankles Taiwan with defense remarks | Nation & World | The Seattle Times

Ex-US diplomat rankles Taiwan with defense remarks | Nation & World | The Seattle Times: The former top American diplomat in Taiwan has said that the island's declining military budgets have left it vulnerable to Chinese attack and made it easier for mainland spies to penetrate its armed forces, remarks that the defense ministry on Monday called "not entirely objective."

The comments from William Stanton constituted an unusually hard-hitting critique of Taiwan's national security posture, and stood in sharp contrast to repeated assertions of American support for President Ma Ying-jeou's five-year program of seeking to lower tensions with the mainland, from which Taiwan split amid civil war in 1949.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Fly-By-Wire F-15SA makes first flight

Fly-By-Wire F-15SA makes first flight

The U.S. Air Force and its prime contractor Boeing have completed a successful first flight of the new F-15SA advanced fighter aircraft for the Royal Saudi Air Force.

The F-15SA's maiden voyage took place Feb. 20 at the Boeing facilities in St. Louis. The flight went as planned, meeting all test objectives to support the aircraft's on-schedule development.

"The successful first flight of the F-15SA is a tremendous milestone for the program and a testament to the relationship between the (U.S. Air Force), Boeing, and our RSAF partners," said Lt. Gen. C. D. Moore II, the commander of the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center here. "The F-15SA will add critical capability to the RSAF and enhance the security of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia."

The new aircraft is the centerpiece of the Royal Saudi Air Force F-15 Fleet Modernization Program, a wide-ranging $29.4 billion effort that stands as the largest foreign military sale in U.S. history.

The F-15SA brings improved performance, enhanced situational awareness and increased survivability at a lower total life-cycle cost. Avionics advancements include a Digital Electronic Warfare Suite, Fly-By-Wire flight control system, an Infrared Search and Track system and Active Electronically Scanned Array radar. Forward and aft cockpits feature advanced displays and Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing Systems. Two additional weapon stations provide increased payload capacity.

Col. Robert Stambaugh, the Air Force Security Assistance Program Manager for the F-15SA program at Robins Air Foce Base, Ga., highlighted the joint efforts of the program office at Wright-Patterson AFB and the Boeing team.

"Col. Rob Strasser and his program team at (Wright-Patterson AFB) were instrumental in overcoming the hurdles encountered in the march to first flight," Stambaugh said. "Completing this major milestone in less than one year after program implementation was truly remarkable."

The F-15SA flight test program will include three instrumented F-15SAs operating from Boeing facilities in St. Louis and Palmdale, Calif. F-15SA new aircraft deliveries to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia are scheduled to begin in 2015 and conclude by 2019.

Obama reaches out to China's new president

Obama reaches out to China's new president: US President Barack Obama wasted no time in courting China's new President Xi Jinping Thursday, calling him within hours of his elevation, and raising key issues including cybercrime and North Korea.
Obama, beginning his second term as Xi embarks on his first, congratulated his new opposite number in the crucial US-China relationship, and announced the dispatch of two senior cabinet lieutenants to Beijing shortly.
The US president had a cordial yet sometimes frustratingly formal relationship with Xi's predecessor Hu Jintao, and his decision to reach out quickly to the new Chinese leadership may be a sign of intent.

As F-35 costs soar, Boeing enters the fray

As F-35 costs soar, Boeing enters the fray: As international concerns grow over the Joint Strike Fighter F-35 costs, Boeing is offering Canada a rival warplane that the company says can beat Lockheed Martin on price, performance and operational expense.
"In a dogfight of defense contractors, the hunter can quickly become the hunted. It's happening now to the F-35," CBC News said. Canada has been at the forefront of controversy over JSF costs, which have been contested by other prospective buyers elsewhere. Boeing senior executives told CBC the defense manufacturer's F/A-18E/F Super Hornet was "a proven fighter" in contrast to F-35's "paper airplane" and could be available to Canada at half the price tag.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Obama adds voice to accusations of China hacking

Obama adds voice to accusations of China hacking: President Barack Obama entered the fray Wednesday on cyber attacks from China, saying some intrusions affecting US firms and infrastructure were "state sponsored."
The comments appeared to step up the rhetoric against China following similar remarks from other members of the US administration.
"What is absolutely true is that we have seen a steady ramping up of cyber security threats. Some are state sponsored. Some are just sponsored by criminals," Obama said in an interview with ABC News aired Wednesday.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Cyber-attacks a bigger threat than Al Qaeda, officials say -

Cyber-attacks a bigger threat than Al Qaeda, officials say - Cyber-attacks and cyber-espionage pose a greater potential danger to U.S. national security than Al Qaeda and other militants that have dominated America's global focus since Sept. 11, 2001, the nation's top intelligence officials said Tuesday.

For the first time, the growing risk of computer-launched foreign assaults on U.S. infrastructure, including the power grid, transportation hubs and financial networks, was ranked higher in the U.S. intelligence community's annual review of worldwide threats than worries about terrorism, transnational organized crime and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

The startling reappraisal came a day after President Obama's national security advisor, Thomas Donilon, complained of "cyber-intrusions emanating from China on an unprecedented scale" and said China-based digital attacks on U.S. businesses and institutions had become "a key point of concern" for the White House.

Combat Ops Space Cell: Defending critical satellite links

Combat Ops Space Cell: Defending critical satellite links: More than 22,000 miles away, spinning silently through the vacuum of space, is one of the most critical components to air, space and cyberspace superiority today; a satellite.
The mission to defend and protect the operability of that satellite rests a little closer to home, at the U.S. Air Forces Central Command Combined Air and Space Operations Center within the Combat Operations Division's Space Cell.
"We have five priority missions we support," said Capt. Brandon Davenport, the Space Cell chief. "Theater missile warning, personnel recovery support, satellite communications, GPS constellation health and modeling as well as battle space characterization."
One of the biggest threats to satellite communications and GPS missions is its vulnerability to electromagnetic interference, or EMI, which causes the signal to be "jammed."
Jamming, at its most basic level, is denying a satellite the ability to communicate by overwhelming it with energy where it would expect to see the friendly signal. This is basically like someone using a bullhorn to drown out someone else's conversation. This type of occurrence can be intentional, in which case it is considered hostile, or accidental. The most common causes of accidental EMI are easily found and remedied. Hostile jamming, however, can require a more creative solution.

Growing cyber threat to US infrastructure: spy chief

Growing cyber threat to US infrastructure: spy chief: The United States faces a mounting danger from cyber attacks on its infrastructure while digital espionage threatens to undercut the military's technological edge, the intelligence chief said Tuesday.
Citing "increasing risk to US critical infrastructure," National Intelligence Director James Clapper said in an annual report to Congress that "unsophisticated" attacks could penetrate poorly protected computer networks for power grids or similar systems.
The threat of a large-scale digital assault that could cripple a regional power network was genuine but remained a "remote" possibility, the report said.

Friday, March 8, 2013

NAVSEA Receives Record Patent Licensing Fee

NAVSEA Receives Record Patent Licensing Fee

Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) Dahlgren has been awarded $500,000 for the licensing of five patents, the largest in Navy history, NAVSEA announced March 7.

The Navy received $100,000 for the licensing of each patent from Kismet Mgmt Fund LLC. The technology was developed and patented by four NSWC Dahlgren employees and a civilian university professor.

"This historic licensing agreement with private industry is a result of our employees developing technological solutions to the challenges facing our warfighters," said Capt. Michael Smith, NSWC Dahlgren commanding officer. "These five inventions will further our mission as we use the upfront fees for research and development of new technologies to increase the safety of our fleet and forward-deployed warfighters."

All five of the patents contributed to the development of the High Performance Distributed Computing (HiPer-D) system. HiPer-D resource management architecture provides capabilities for real-time monitoring of computers, networks and software applications within a distributed computing environment. The architecture's key feature is the ability to monitor system performance coupled with the ability to dynamically allocate and reallocate system resources as needed.

Although the license to Kismet Mgmt Fund is exclusive, it applies strictly to the commercial sector. The Navy owns the patents and can allow nonprofit institutions to use them for research. The patents' technical transfer may also result in royalty income for the Navy if commercial product sales are made that include these patents.

The process enables the Navy to reward their researchers through licensing agreements. The inventors will receive $130,400 - about 26 percent of the licensing fee. NSWC Dahlgren will apply the remaining $369,600 to fund various licensing activities and research to develop more licensable technologies.

The five NSWCDD inventions are not new patents. The technologies were developed during the last 13 years with the earliest patent issued in May 2006.

"By its very nature performing research and development leads to some technologies being left on the shelf," explained Lorraine Kaczor, NSWC Dahlgren Technical Partnering Office Domestic Outreach lead. "Licensing these technologies to business partners gives them new life to find their place in commercially available products."

Navy technologies can benefit from licensing since the commercial products they are incorporated into are typically less expensive.

"In the final analysis, this benefits the warfighter," said Kaczor. "Our command's investments in these patents are a testament to our commitment in research and development."

The five patents, registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Federal Register, are: U.S. Patent No. 7552438 - Resource management device; U.S. Patent No. 7051098 - System for monitoring and reporting performance of hosts and applications and selectively configuring applications in a resource managed system; U.S. Patent No. 7096248 - Program control for resource management architecture and corresponding programs; U.S. Patent No. 7171654 - System specification language for resource management architecture and corresponding programs therefore; U.S. Patent No. 7181743 - Resource allocation decision function for resource management architecture and corresponding programs.

Top Tester Says F-35A 'Immature' For Training; JPO Says 'Ready For Training'

Top Tester Says F-35A 'Immature' For Training; JPO Says 'Ready For Training': Is. Isn't. That about sums up the latest kerfuffle between the Pentagon's top operational tester -- who Congress watches very closely -- the Air Force and and the program office overseeing the plane's development, known as The Joint Program Office.

"Little can be learned from evaluating training in a system this immature," Michael Gilmore, director of Operational test and Evaluation wrote in "F-35A Joint Strike Fighter: Readiness for Training Operational Utility Evaluation," a Feb 15 report, one which had at least one Pentagon source sputtering with indignation and a touch of exasperation.

On the other hand, the JPO issued this statement:

"The U.S. Air Force conducted the operational utility evaluation for its F-35As and determined its training systems were ready-for-training. F-35 operational and maintenance procedures will continue to mature as the training tempo accelerates. The DOT&E report is based upon the Joint Strike Fighter Operational Test Team report which found no effectiveness, suitability or safety response that would prohibit continuation of transitioning experienced pilots in the F-35A Block 1A.1 transition and instructor pilot syllabus."

Reps. Mac Thornberry, Adam Smith Lead House Push For More Foreign Military Training; Leahy Amendment Targeted

Reps. Mac Thornberry, Adam Smith Lead House Push For More Foreign Military Training; Leahy Amendment Targeted: Sequestration, Continuing Resolution, and snow be damned; the House Armed Services Committee met this morning to wrestle with long-term strategy. In a hearing not only overshadowed but outright interrupted by the House's desperate effort to band-aid the budget crisis, top HASC leaders from both parties argued for expanding the military's authorities to work with foreign forces -- including those accused of violating human rights.
Republican Mac Thornberry, the HASC vice-chairman, held his own hearing last month specifically on expanding training authorities (click here for Thornberry's exclusive interview with AOL Defense). Today, however, it was the committee's ranking Democrat, Adam Smith, who took the lead.

Smith started off by explicitly questioning the landmark Leahy Amendment, named for the Vermont Senator who introduced it in 1997 to restrict US aid to abusive security forces abroad -- historically a cherished Democratic goal. Originally targeted at counter-drug aid to Colombia, the law in its current form applies to all US military and law enforcement assistance worldwide. It includes a requirement for (as one official summary puts it) "human rights vetting for all units and individual members receiving.. training or assistance" -- a policy Special Operations Command (SOCOM) chief Adm. William McRaven boiled down to "poison person, poison unit."

"At first blush, that makes perfect sense," Smith said. "[But] the irony of the Leahy amendment is it forces you out at, perhaps, the time when you're needed most.... Certainly, this was a difficulty in Mali where you weren't allowed to train as much as you would have liked."

Israel, US and Greece launch joint naval exercise

Israel, US and Greece launch joint naval exercise: Israeli, Greek and US warships began a joint two-week Mediterranean naval exercise codenamed "Noble Dina" on Thursday, the Israeli military said.
"Noble Dina, one of the navy's scheduled annual exercises, is part of the security cooperation between the Israeli navy and foreign naval forces," a statement said. Israel's military sees it "as an opportunity for mutual learning and for strengthening of the cooperation with its allies."
For several years, Israel and the US carried out naval manoeuvres with Turkey, but in September 2011 Ankara expelled Israel's ambassador and suspended military cooperation with the Jewish state.
Once-warm ties had reached a low point after Israeli commandos raided a Gaza-bound Turkish aid flotilla in the Mediterranean in May 2010, killing nine Turks on board.
Relations with traditionally pro-Arab Greece have been warming in the meantime, with Israel joining it in naval and air exercises.

Northrop Grumman Demonstrates Joint STARS, Global Hawk Interoperability

Northrop Grumman Demonstrates Joint STARS, Global Hawk Interoperability: Northrop Grumman recently completed a successful exchange of radar data during a flight test involving the U.S. Air Force's E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (Joint STARS) and the RQ-4B Global Hawk Block 40 unmanned aircraft system. The demonstration was conducted Feb. 25.
The exchange is the first collaborative effort to stream ground moving target radar data from a Global Hawk Block 40 to a Joint STARS aircraft. Information can then be relayed from Joint STARS to ground forces.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

US wasted billions in Iraq with few results: inspector

US wasted billions in Iraq with few results: inspector: After invading Iraq ten years ago, the United States spent $60 billion on a vast reconstruction effort that left behind few successes and a litany of failures, an auditor's report said Wednesday.
The ambitious plan to transform the country after the fall of Saddam Hussein has been marked by half-finished projects and crushed expectations, according to the final report of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, Stuart Bowen.
The aid effort was plagued by in-fighting among US agencies and an improvised "adhocracy" approach, with no one clearly in charge of a massive investment that was supposed to put Iraq on a stable footing, said the report to Congress.
"Management and funding gaps caused hundreds of projects to fall short of promised results, leaving a legacy of bitter dissatisfaction among many Iraqis," it said.

Outside View: Iranian spies in our midst

Outside View: Iranian spies in our midst

A new report commissioned by the Pentagon and released by the Library of Congress provides a frightening look into the operations of Iran's Ministry of Intelligence Services right here in the United States. As President Barack Obama's new national security team ponders its options for containing and rolling back Iran's nuclear ambitions, it must factor that before the sanctions have had their full effect, and before a single shot is fired, an aggressive, well-funded intelligence war is evidently well under way. According to the report, the prime targets of the MOIS are the various opposition groups and dissidents seeking to undermine or supplant the regime. These groups have varying degree of sway in the United States but are hated and feared in Tehran. The MOIS has in particular focused on demonizing the People's Mujahedin of Iran, which has emerged as the main voice for a democratic, secular, non-nuclear Iran and the lead player in the National Council of Resistance of Iran, a coalition led by Maryam Rajavi. The 64-page Pentagon report notes that the MOIS has assessed the PMOI as its most serious internal threat and has launched a serious disinformation campaign in the United States and the West designed to drain political and moral support for the group.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Lockheed Martin Receives Long Range Anti-Ship Missile Contract From DARPA

Lockheed Martin Receives Long Range Anti-Ship Missile Contract From DARPA: Lockheed Martin has received a $71 million Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM) modification contract from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to conduct air- and surface-launched flight tests and other risk reduction activities.
Under this contract, an additional air-launched LRASM flight test will be conducted from a B-1B in 2013. There are already two air-launched flight tests scheduled for this year as part of the Phase 2 LRASM contract awarded in 2010.
The contract also includes two surface-launched LRASM flight tests scheduled for 2014. Risk reduction efforts, such as electromagnetic compatibility testing of the missile and follow-on captive carry sensor suite missions, are also included under the contract.
LRASM is an autonomous, precision-guided anti-ship standoff missile based on the successful JASSM-ER, and is designed to meet the needs of U.S. Navy and Air Force warfighters. LRASM is in development with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the Office of Naval Research.

US general wants 13,600 troops to stay in Afghanistan

US general wants 13,600 troops to stay in Afghanistan: The general overseeing US forces in Afghanistan told senators Tuesday that he recommended keeping 13,600 American troops in the country once NATO withdraws in 2014, even as White House officials have pushed for a smaller presence.
It was the first time a senior military leader had revealed his advice on how many troops should stay in Afghanistan as President Barack Obama's administration carries out an internal debate on the size of a future force after 2014.
At a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, General James Mattis, head of US Central Command, was asked by Senator John McCain what he had recommended on future troop levels and he said: "That recommendation is for 13,600 US forces, sir."
And the American troops would be joined by several thousand non-US NATO forces, with "around 50 percent of what we provide," said Mattis, who as Central Command chief presides over troops in the Middle East and Afghanistan.
His comments confirmed speculation that the military prefers a larger troop presence in Afghanistan after 2014 than some senior White House officials, who have leaked proposals for a follow-on force of 6,000-9,000 boots on the ground.

US warning to Iran: don't exploit reduced naval presence

US warning to Iran: don't exploit reduced naval presence: A top commander on Tuesday warned Iran not to test US resolve in the Gulf after Washington scaled back its naval presence in the area, saying no adversary should underestimate American military power in the region.
"I still have one carrier out there, and I would just caution any enemy that might look as an opportunity to take advantage of this situation that that would be very ill-advised if the president orders us into action," said General James Mattis, head of Central Command, in a clear reference to Iran.
"I have what it takes to make it the enemy's longest day and their worst day. And we'll get the other carrier out there quickly to reinforce," Mattis told the Senate Armed Services Committee.

US defense chief seeks to reassure Israel on aid

US defense chief seeks to reassure Israel on aid: The Pentagon's new chief held talks with Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Tuesday and pledged to ensure US budget cuts have no effect on funding for military assistance to the Jewish state, officials said.
With automatic US budget cuts going into effect over the weekend, Hagel sought to reassure Barak that he would work to prevent disruption to Washington's funding for rocket and missile defense programs for Israel. "Secretary Hagel expressed his strong commitment to Israel's security, including maintaining Israel's qualitative military edge and continued US support for missile and rocket defense systems in spite of fiscal constraints," Pentagon spokesman George Little said in a statement. Hagel "is committed to working with members of Congress to ensure that there is no interruption of funding for Iron Dome, Arrow, and David's Sling rocket and missile defense systems, despite the fiscal uncertainty due to congressional inaction" on the automatic budget cuts and a proposed defense budget, said a defense official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.