Friday, November 28, 2014

Process converts human waste into rocket fuel

Process converts human waste into rocket fuel: Buck Rogers surely couldn't have seen this one coming, but at NASA's request, University of Florida researchers have figured out how to turn human waste -- yes, that kind -- into rocket fuel.

Adolescent jokes aside, the process finally makes useful something that until now has been collected to burn up on re-entry. What's more, like so many other things developed for the space program, the process could well turn up on Earth, said Pratap Pullammanappallil, a UF associate professor of agricultural and biological engineering.

"It could be used on campus or around town, or anywhere, to convert waste into fuel," Pullammanappallil said.

In 2006, NASA began making plans to build an inhabited facility on the moon's surface between 2019 and 2024. As part of NASA's moon-base goal, the agency wanted to reduce the weight of spacecraft leaving Earth. Historically, waste generated during spaceflight would not be used further.

NASA stores it in containers until it's loaded into space cargo vehicles that burn as they pass back through the Earth's atmosphere. For future long-term missions, though, it would be impractical to bring all the stored waste back to Earth.

Dumping it on the moon's surface is not an option, so the space agency entered into an agreement with UF to develop test ideas.

Eight measurements of the body can identify anyone on earth | The Lead

Eight measurements of the body can identify anyone on earth | The Lead: USING data from 4,000 United States armed services personnel, a forensic anatomist has found that people are more easily and accurately identified by their body measurements than their facial features - even through clothing.

Teghan Lucas, University of Adelaide PhD student, says that 'body recognition', using just eight measurements, can reduce the chance of finding someone with duplicate measurements to one in a quintillion.

This technique would be useful for criminal and missing persons cases - and requires less data points than facial recognition to be accurate.

"There's been a lot of work conducted over the years on facial recognition. This makes sense - humans have evolved to recognise faces, which is part of our survival mechanism, and the face contains some very distinctive features," Lucas says.

Problems arise when the face is covered during a criminal act, or video evidence is of a low quality. The larger measurements of the body are easier to make out and quantify than finer details on the face. Facial expressions can also alter perceptions and measurements of facial features.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

U.S. Adds Planes to Bolster Drive to Wipe Out ISIS -

U.S. Adds Planes to Bolster Drive to Wipe Out ISIS -

The United States is shifting more attack and surveillance aircraft from Afghanistan to the air war against the Islamic State, deepening American involvement in the conflict and presenting new challenges for the military planners who work here in central South Carolina, far from the targets they will pick for those aircraft.

A dozen A-10 ground-attack planes have recently moved from Afghanistan to Kuwait, where they are to start flying missions supporting Iraqi ground troops as early as this week, military officials said. About half a dozen missile-firing Reaper drones will also be redeployed from Afghanistan in the next several weeks.
Perhaps nowhere outside the Middle East do the additional aircraft have a more direct impact than at this Air Force base, which has become a leading symbol of the military’s ability to carry out global operations from afar.
But while the Air Force personnel who help plan airstrikes against the Islamic State from here will have more firepower to bring to bear, they face an unusual enemy, a hybrid between a conventional army and a terrorist network, that has not proved to be an easy target for American air power.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Michèle Flournoy Takes Herself Out of Running for Top Pentagon Job

Michèle Flournoy Takes Herself Out of Running for Top Pentagon Job

Michèle Flournoy, widely seen as the front-runner to replace Chuck Hagel as the next secretary of defense, abruptly took herself out of the running for the job Tuesday, complicating what will be one of the most important personnel decisions of President Barack Obama's second term.

Flournoy, the co-founder and CEO of the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), a think tank that has served as a farm league for future Obama administration officials, would have been the first female secretary of defense had she risen to the position. The news of her decision to withdraw was first reported by Foreign Policy.

But in a letter Tuesday to members of the CNAS board of directors, Flournoy said she would remain in her post at the think tank and asked Obama to take her out of consideration to be the next secretary of defense. Flournoy told the board members that family health considerations helped drive her decision and the fact that two of her children are leaving for college in the next two years.

"Last night I spoke with President Obama and removed myself from consideration due to family concerns," reads the letter, first obtained by FP. "After much agonizing, we decided that now was not the right time for me to reenter government."

Flournoy's decision means that only one of the three widely rumored names for the post remains under consideration: Ashton Carter, the former deputy secretary of defense. When Hagel's departure was announced Monday, speculation had immediately turned to Flournoy, Carter, and Democratic Sen. Jack Reed of Rhode Island, a former Army Ranger. But Reed took himself out of the running shortly after Hagel announced his resignation.

The decision by both Flournoy and Reed to pre-emptively turn down the job underscores the immense challenges facing the next secretary of defense and raised immediate questions about whether senior officials and lawmakers were scared off by the prospect of taking a post that would require dealing with a White House that has centralized much of the policymaking and strategic decisions in the West Wing. Both of Hagel's predecessors, Bob Gates and Leon Panetta, complained about administration meddling and overreach in their respective memoirs. "Despite everyone being 'nice' to me, getting anything consequential done was so damnably difficult," wrote Gates.  

Beyond the bureaucratic issues, the next secretary will also have to manage the war against the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria, find a way to close the U.S. prison facility in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, competently execute a U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, and right-size the nation's military as Congress attempts to lift the across-the-board defense cuts known as sequestration.

The new Pentagon chief will also face a Congress fully controlled by Republicans devoted to battering the administration for missteps, real and perceived. That will mean having to make repeated trips to Capitol Hill to face angry questioning by incoming Senate Armed Services Committee chairman John McCain of Arizona, who is salivating at the chance to push the next secretary to agree that stronger steps need to be taken against the Islamic State and that military force should remain on the table if the Iran talks break down.

Hagel's replacement could face rough confirmation

Hagel's replacement could face rough confirmation: Whoever accepts the nomination to replace Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel should not expect a warm welcome on Capitol Hill.

Republicans will take over the Senate in January, and likely will use a confirmation hearing of the new Pentagon leader as one of their first opportunities to pick apart the White House's foreign policy and defense spending plans. Although scuttling the pick is unlikely, uncomfortable accusations about President Obama's defense priorities are a given.

On Monday, just after Hagel's resignation was made public, Republicans offered praise for the former GOP senator from Nebraska and poured contempt on Obama's policies.

China Military Advance in South China Sea to Test US Outreach

China Military Advance in South China Sea to Test US Outreach: China has allegedly boosted its military presence in the disputed area of Spratly Islands in the South China Sea by building an artificial island spacious enough to host an airstrip, thus raising security concerns of a key US ally in the region, the Philippines, as well as several other nations, including Republic of China in Taiwan, Malaysia, Vietnam and Brunei.

Several recent satellite images of the South China Sea, as disclosed by the British open-source intel publisher IHS Jane's, have shown that China is building an 3,000 m long and 200-300 m wide island on Fiery Cross Reef, near the contested area of the mineral-rich Spratly islands.

The artificial island is being constructed using multiple-operated dredging engines, which allow for quick terrain-generation. The machinery used by China is clearly visible on the pictures dated November 14, with harbor seabed sediment being piped towards the newly-created segments of terrain. The shots were made by Airbus Defence and Space, according to Jane's.

Raytheon demonstrates self-powered radar jammers | C4ISR

Raytheon demonstrates self-powered radar jammers | C4ISR: Raytheon and the U.S. Navy have tested a new, integrated electronic attack system.

The demonstration involved active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, a digital, open, scalable receiver and techniques generator, and a self-powered pod. The equipment was mounted on the underside of a Gulfstream business jet during flight tests at Naval Air Weapons Station, China Lake, California.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

U.S Navy sending Aegis-equipped destroyers to Japan

U.S Navy sending Aegis-equipped destroyers to Japan: Two U.S. Navy destroyers with ballistic missile defense capabilities are being forward deployed to Japan, the U.S. Navy announced.

The ships with Aegis systems are the USS Benfold (DDG 65) and USS Milius (DDG 69), both of which are currently homeported in San Diego, Calif.

The two ships will become part of the Forward Deployed Naval Forces based at Yokosuka, Japan.

The USS Benfold will deploy to Japan next summer, while the USS Milius will make the move in the summer of 2017.

"The move directly supports the announcement made by Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel in April of this year that the Navy would commit to sending two additional BMD-capable ships to the defense of Japan by 2017," the Navy said in reporting the re-basing.

The Navy said the two destroyers will have completed all midlife modernization before the change. They will be equipped with the latest Aegis Baseline 9 combat system, which includes state of the art air defense, ballistic missile defense, surface warfare and undersea warfare capabilities. Other upgrades will include a fully-integrated bridge, improved machinery, damage control and quality of life improvements, an advanced galley and commercial-off-the-shelf computing equipment.

Warfighting capacity at increasingly worrisome levels, says Army planner

One of three things that the Army chief of staff worries about most is the possibility that at some point a combatant commander will request forces that are either not properly trained or are simply nonexistent, said his planning and operations point man.

Of 36 brigade combat teams, only about one-third of them have a level of readiness necessary to deploy, said Maj. Gen. Gary Cheek, assistant deputy chief of staff for Operations and Plans, G-3/5/7.

There are 10 brigades now deployed, and a major contingency could require about 20 additional brigades, so there's a discrepancy between what's available now and what would be needed, he added.

Cheek and other senior Army leaders spoke at the Veteran and Military Service Organization quarterly summit at the Pentagon, Nov. 20.

He elaborated further.

Today, command-and-control elements of five of the Army's 10 divisions are deployed overseas, and there have been more than 50 requests from combatant commanders around the world asking for forces that include Soldiers, he said, so with the force already stretched thin, a conventional conflict would exacerbate the Army's ability to effectively respond.

What's driving all of this is sequestration, which already has forced manning levels down to 508,000 active now and 490,000 by next October. Should sequestration continue, that would result in 420,000 by 2019, he said.

At 420,000, the current 36 brigades would be cut to 27. As it stands now, the Army is in the process of inactivating six brigades.

Getting back to the chief's first worry, he's uncomfortable even now with a force of 508,000, saying it's already shallow with no margin for error and that discussions with Congress over manning levels took place before events unfolded in Ukraine, West Africa and the Levant, Cheek said.

With a force that's now beginning to hollow out, what would happen if a war were added to all of the other crises Soldiers are currently respon

Symantec Discovers 'Regin' Spy Code Lurking on Computer Networks -

Symantec Discovers 'Regin' Spy Code Lurking on Computer Networks - Security researchers say they have discovered a sophisticated piece of malicious code spying on researchers, governments, businesses, and critical telecommunications infrastructure since 2008.

The malware, called Regin, was first discovered by Symantec, the antivirus company, which released a white paper describing its findings on Sunday. On Monday, The Intercept, a digital magazine started by the journalist Glenn Greenwald, reported that the Regin malware is part of a decade-long joint operation by the National Security Agency and its British counterpart, the Government Communications Headquarters, or G.C.H.Q. The Intercept report is based in part on disclosures from former N.S.A. contractor Edward J. Snowden.

“In the world of malware threats, only a few rare examples can truly be considered groundbreaking and almost peerless,” Symantec wrote. “What we have seen in Regin is just such a class of malware.”

Symantec found evidence that the malware has been used on targets in 10 countries, primarily Saudi Arabia and Russia, as well as Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, Mexico, Ireland, Belgium and Austria. The Intercept reported Monday that the malware had been used to spy on companies in the European Union, notably Belgacom, a partly state-owned Belgian phone and Internet provider.

Top Candidates to Succeed Hagel Are Longtime National Security Specialists -

Top Candidates to Succeed Hagel Are Longtime National Security Specialists - President Obama, working to shift his team’s focus in confronting a raft of national security crises, is considering two former Defense Department officials as successors to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, administration officials said Monday.

Even before Mr. Obama appeared with Mr. Hagel at the White House to announce the Pentagon chief’s departure, officials inside and outside the administration were speculating that Michèle A. Flournoy, a former under secretary of defense who would be the first woman to head the Pentagon, and Ashton B. Carter, a former deputy secretary of defense, would be top candidates for the job.

Both are seasoned national security professionals whose credibility among members of both parties and Defense Department experience would be considered assets in managing the threat from the Islamic State, budget cuts and other challenges.

Hagel Resigns Under Pressure as Global Crises Test Pentagon -

Hagel Resigns Under Pressure as Global Crises Test Pentagon -

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel resigned under pressure on Monday after President Obama determined that he had to shake up his national security team in the face of escalating conflicts overseas and hawkish Republicans reasserting themselves on Capitol Hill.

It was a striking reversal for a president who chose Mr. Hagel two years ago in part to limit the power of Pentagon officials who had repeatedly pushed for more troops in Afghanistan and a slower drawdown of American forces from Iraq. But in the end, Mr. Hagel’s passivity and lack of support in Mr. Obama’s inner circle proved too much for an administration that found itself back on a war footing.
Aides said Mr. Obama made the decision to remove his defense secretary on Friday after weeks of rising tension over a variety of issues, including what administration officials said were Mr. Hagel’s delays in transferring detainees from the military prison in Guantánamo Bay and a dispute with Susan E. Rice, the national security adviser, over Syria policy.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Afghanistan Quietly Lifts Ban on Nighttime Raids -

Afghanistan Quietly Lifts Ban on Nighttime Raids - The government of the new Afghan president, Ashraf Ghani, has quietly lifted the ban on night raids by special forces troops that his predecessor had imposed.

Afghan National Army Special Forces units are planning to resume the raids in 2015, and in some cases the raids will include members of American Special Operations units in an advisory role, according to Afghan military officials as well as officials with the American-led military coalition.

That news comes after published accounts of an order by President Obama to allow the American military to continue some limited combat operations in 2015. That order allows for the sort of air support necessary for successful night raids.

Continue reading the main story


Night raids were banned for the most part in 2013 by President Hamid Karzai. Their resumption is likely to be controversial among Afghans, for whom any intrusion into private homes is considered offensive. Mindful of the bad name that night raids have, the American military has renamed them “night operations.”

American military officials have long viewed night raids as the most important tactic in their fight against Taliban insurgents, because they can catch the militant group’s leaders where they are most vulnerable. For years, the Americans ignored Mr. Karzai’s demands that the raids stop.

GOP leaders: Hagel successor must be part of new ISIS strategy | TheHill

GOP leaders: Hagel successor must be part of new ISIS strategy | TheHill: Republican congressional leaders are warning that President Obama's next nominee to lead the Department of Defense needs to be cooperate with Congress and be part of revamped Obama administration strategy to defeat Islamic extremists.

“It is imperative that the next Secretary of Defense possess a sharp grasp of strategy, a demonstrated ability to think creatively, and the willingness and ability to work with Congress,” incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said. “And it is critical that the president consider these qualifications and challenges as he considers such an important nomination.”

McConnell said Secretary Chuck Hagel’s replacement has a laundry list of problems ahead of him, such as confronting challenges posed by Russia, China and the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
“It’s important to remember that Secretary Hagel’s departure comes at a moment of great peril for our country,” McConnell said Monday. “All of these challenges come at a time when the all-volunteer force faces a shortage of resources and investment.”

New chairmen poised to challenge Obama on national security | TheHill

New chairmen poised to challenge Obama on national security | TheHill: Senate Republicans are preparing to use their new majority to press President Obama on a number of national security challenges.

The newly empowered incoming Republican chairmen are vowing to make the case for a more robust agenda from reversing sequestration cuts at the Pentagon to boosting the U.S.-led military campaign against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and protecting intelligence programs.

At the top of their list is limiting looming budget cuts under sequestration.

“My top priority is to try to repeal sequestration and get the Armed Services committee functioning in its proper of policy, determining budgets rather than budgets determining policy,” says Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who is poised to chair the Senate Armed Services Committee.

DoD Shifts Acquisition, Tech Efforts Toward Major Powers | Defense News |

DoD Shifts Acquisition, Tech Efforts Toward Major Powers | Defense News | After spending 13 years fighting non-state actors in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria, the US Defense Department is shifting its institutional weight toward developing a new acquisition and technology development strategy that focuses more on major state competitors, the Pentagon’s No. 2 told Defense News on Nov. 21.
Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work said that at the top of the agenda are powers like China and Russia, both of whom have “regional and global aspirations, so that’s going to increasingly take a lot of our attention.”
Next come regional states that want to become nuclear powers, such as Iran and North Korea, and finally are transnational terrorist groups and their myriad offshoots.
“Layered on top of all three are technological advancements that are happening at a very rapid pace,” Work said, which has given rise to a global competition for the latest in stealth, precision strike, communications and surveillance capabilities over which the United States no longer holds a monopoly.
The new Defense Innovation Initiative that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel recently announced is “really focused on state actors,” Work said, “and looking at the capabilities that could potentially hurt our nation the most and how [the Pentagon can] prepare to address those capabilities and deter their use.”
A major part of this push is the new “offset” strategy, which is looking to identify new technologies that the United States can use in order to deter or defeat those threats.
But whereas previous offset initiatives in the 1950s and 1970s focused on nuclear, stealth and precision technologies with the Soviets, the threats of today are more diffuse.

4-star talks LCS, new deployment plan and more

4-star talks LCS, new deployment plan and more: In his two years leading the fleet, Adm. Bill Gortney grappled with the budget cuts that canceled deployments, fast-tracked the fleet's new flame-resistant coveralls and developed a new deployment plan that's had a shaky start.

Gortney, an aviator who's moving on tolead U.S. Northern Command, spoke about his time at FFC, his views on the littoral combat ship, the challenges that a fleet boss faces, and more in a Nov. 19 sit-down with reporters. Questions and answers have been edited for brevity.

Corps' aviation plan calls for armed Ospreys

Corps' aviation plan calls for armed Ospreys: The Marine Corps' most unique aircraft is going to get a bigger punch.

A Marine Corps planning document shows that officials want to arm the MV-22B Osprey with more weapons so the aircraft can support the service's new crisis response forces that carry out missions like embassy evacuations.

An "enhanced weapon systems is in early development to increase all-axis, stand-off, and precision capabilities," according to the service's recently-released 10-year aviation plan.

Officials at Headquarters Marine Corps said the aircraft's flexibility and versatility lets the service add capabilities, and they are considering arming the Osprey with "a greater weapons capability than currently installed."

Special Ops medical team advises Ukrainian soldiers

Special Ops medical team advises Ukrainian soldiers: About a dozen medical specialists from Special Operations Command Europe deployed earlier this week to Western Ukraine to coach Ukrainian soldiers on basic battlefield medical procedures, European Command officials announced Friday.

The announcement comes the same day the White House released a statement honoring the memory of millions of Ukrainians starved to death during the "Holodomor," between 1932 and 1933 under Stalin's regime.

The SOCEUR team from Stuttgart, Germany, deployed to support nearly 600 Ministry of Defence personnel and in response to Ukrainian government requests, according to a statement from U.S. European Command spokesman Navy Capt. Greg Hicks.

Assessments over the last several months identified a need for enhanced individual medical capabilities, the statement said.

"This initial mission will take no more than 30 days but we are prepared to stay longer if directed based on the need for additional courses as identified by the Ukrainian Government/Military," EUCOM spokesman Lt. Col. David Westover told Military Times.

"This is another example of the U.S. Government supporting the Ukrainian Government and our partners in the region as a part of Operation Atlantic Resolve," he said in an email.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

US troops to stay in Poland, Baltics through 2015: general

US troops to stay in Poland, Baltics through 2015: general: US troops will remain in Poland and the Baltic states through 2015 "to deter Russian aggression", the top US commander for Europe said on Sunday.

"There are going to be US army forces here in Lithuania as well as Estonia and Latvia and Poland for as long as it's required to deter Russian aggression," said Lt. General Ben Hodges, commander of US Army Europe.

"We have planned rotations out through next year. Units are designated that will continue to do this," he told reporters in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius.

The United States sent about 600 troops in April to the ex-Soviet Baltic states and former Warsaw Pact member Poland in response to tension with Russia over the war in Ukraine.

European NATO allies have also deployed hundreds of troops for exercises in recent months. The alliance has also boosted its airforce presence in the region.

Hodges said NATO should guard its unity at a time when Russia is "trying to intimidate" it's neighbours with military drills and frequent violation of their airspace.

"The discipline, unity of the nations is really very important at this point, so that a small incident doesn't lead to something that didn't have to happen," the general said.

US delivers anti-mortar radars to Ukraine: Pentagon

US delivers anti-mortar radars to Ukraine: Pentagon: The US military has delivered three radars to Ukraine designed to detect incoming mortar fire, the Pentagon said Friday, amid appeals from Kiev for Washington to send weapons to help fight pro-Russian rebels.

The counter-mortar radar systems were flown to Ukraine in a C-17 cargo plane that accompanied US Vice President Joe Biden, who paid a visit to Kiev on the first anniversary of protests that unleashed a year of upheaval.

A total of 20 counter-mortar radar systems were due to be delivered over the next several weeks, and Ukrainian troops would undergo training on the radars starting in mid-December, Pentagon spokesman Colonel Steven Warren said.

The radars detect incoming mortar rounds and then calculate the origin of the mortar fire. The systems can be hooked up to mortar or artillery batteries which then return fire.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Company Developing Hybrid Energy Motorbike For Special Operators

Company Developing Hybrid Energy Motorbike For Special Operators

As the nature of warfare changes, it’s likely special operators will need
increasingly stealthy ways to penetrate remote, hard-to-reach locations. That is
one of the reasons Logos Technologies is developing a hybrid-powered offroad
motorbike for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Wade Pulliam, the
company’s manager of advanced concepts, stated in an email.

The company
received a small business innovation research grant earlier this year to design
the bike and expects that DARPA will approve further funding to make a
prototype, he said. The vehicle will be lighter and easier to handle than the
Kawasaki M1030M1 currently in use.

“It is capable of near-silent
operation as well as extended range,” he said. “We believe the bike can easily
maintain a range of 100 miles between refuels … sufficient to satisfy an
existing military capability gap.”

The motorbike can run on multiple
fuels, including JP-8, gasoline or diesel. Logos expects that it will improve on
the M1030M1’s fuel efficiency by at least 10 percent, Pulliam said. Its battery
can also be used as an auxiliary power supply.

To develop the vehicle,
Logos partnered with BRD Motorcycles, which designed a militarized version of
its RedShift MX electric motocross bike. It will be powered by a hybrid-electric
propulsion system that Logos developed for an unmanned aerial vehicle, Pulliam

The biggest challenge for the team is integrating the vehicle with
the propulsion system.

“What we’re doing is putting [a] multi-fuel
hybrid-electric power system on an all-wheel drive motorcycle, something that
hasn’t been done before. There is significantly less real estate available on
the motorcycle, so finding space for all of the systems that must be added is
much more difficult than on a car,” he said.

U.S. Air Force 'pretty optimistic' about SpaceX certification | Reuters

U.S. Air Force 'pretty optimistic' about SpaceX certification | Reuters: A top U.S. Air Force official on Wednesday said she is "pretty optimistic" that privately held Space Exploration Technologies will eventually be certified to launch U.S. military satellites into orbit but declined comment on the timing of such an action.

The Air Force is working closely with the company, also known as SpaceX, to satisfy a series of requirements that would allow it to compete to launch costly and sensitive U.S. military and intelligence satellites.

Lieutenant General Ellen Pawlikowski told reporters she could not provide a detailed comment on the SpaceX certification process since a competition for one of those launches is already under way. A contract award for the launch is due in December.

SpaceX was permitted to submit a bid for that specific launch, even before it was certified, but it must meet the Air Force's requirements to win the contract.

Northrop Grumman announces new Viper anti-missile laser

Northrop Grumman announces new Viper anti-missile laser: A new laser for use on all directed infrared counter-measure systems on military aircraft has been introduced by Northrop Grumman's Laser Systems business unit.

The new Viper 2.1, part of the company's Viper family of lasers, is the result of five years of development and testing, the company said.

The laser features increased power and efficiency, simplified optical path alignment, reduced weight, and reliability enhancements. It can be used in a variety of configurations of DIRCM system suites.

"The value of performance of our DIRCM systems stem from our intentional design approach toward a modular open systems architecture," Jeffrey Q. Palombo, vice president and general manager, Land and Self Protection Systems Division, Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems. "Viper 2.1 can be used in forward-fit or back-fit applications, simultaneously enabling increased survivability, reliability and cost savings."

DIRCM systems protect aircraft from heat-seeking missiles. Earlier variants of the company's Viper are installed on some 55 different types of military helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft.

Viper 2.1 will soon be ready for full production, Northrop Grumman said.

Scientists turn handheld JCAD into a dual-use chemical, explosives detector | Article | The United States Army

Scientists turn handheld JCAD into a dual-use chemical, explosives detector | Article | The United States Army

Scientists at the U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center proved it is possible to teach an old dog new tricks by adding the ability to detect explosive materials to the Joint Chemical Agent Detector.

The original JCAD was developed and fielded to U.S. Forces nearly 25 years ago to serve as a portable, automatic chemical warfare agent detector. Currently there are approximately 56,000 CWA detecting JCADs in service within the Department of Defense.

Recent needs have required scientists to find ways to create a similar portable technology to detect explosive materials.

According to the Army, "Future Army forces require the capability to provide support to unified land operations by detecting, locating, identifying, diagnosing, rendering safe, exploiting, and disposing of all explosive ordnance, improvised explosive devices, improvised/homemade explosives, and weapons of mass destruction."

Funded through an Army Technology Objective program starting in 2010 under the requirement to assess which existing detectors could also detect explosives, ECBC's Point Detection Branch began to research different options.

Since so many JCADs are already in the hands of warfighters across all four services, the team explored the possibilities with that technology. ECBC Point Detection Branch handled the technical evaluation of the unit in collaboration with Smiths Detection, who is building the parts for the new capability.

"The JCAD is already fielded and in the hands of our warfighters, so that made it a good candidate to start with," said Gretchen Blethen of ECBC's Point Detection Branch.

While working to make the JCAD an explosives detector, the team had to overcome several challenges. On a programmatic level, the ATO requirement had restrictions against modifying the existing JCAD hardware. Also, the JCAD needed to maintain its original CWA detector purpose.

Aside from the ATO requirements, making a CWA detector into an explosives detector had some scientific challenges. The original JCAD is designed to detect vapors. However, explosive materials are usually low vapor pressure solids. ECBC scientists had to figure out how the JCAD could detect solid explosive materials, without changing the hardware or original intent of the detector. Given these parameters the scientists sought to determine how to modify this detector while essentially keeping it the same.

"Many of the emerging chemical threats and explosives share the challenge of presenting little to no detectable vapor for sampling. By conducting research into the detection of solid explosive residues, we have learned valuable lessons that are equally important for detecting nonvolatile solid and liquid chemical agent residues as well," said Dr. Augustus W. Fountain III, Senior Research Scientist for Chemistry.

The add-on pieces are a new JCAD Rain Cap with a Probe Swab and an inlet. Within the JCAD itself, scientists added two on-demand vapor generators: a calibrant and a dopant. The dopant changes the chemistry of the detector so that it can detect explosives easier.

To make an ordinary JCAD a JCAD Chemical Explosive Detector, the existing rain cap is replaced with one with a new inlet. Once in place, scientists wipe any surface using the probe swab, which then retracts back into inlet. With a simple button push, the probe swab tip with the explosives sample heats up to a certain temperature, vaporizing the explosive residue. These additional features allow an ordinary JCAD to now have the role of a portable, automated explosives detector.

"Within the Army, there is no other automatic, near real-time explosives detector at this time. There are many explosives detectors, but not ones that are dual-use and automatic," said Charles Harden, Ph.D., a Leidos contractor to ECBC's Point Detection Branch.

"The best part is that the technology is already out in the field, and warfighters have been trained on this equipment," Harden said. "All we're doing is introducing small add-ons that will have a big impact."

The swab allows users to pick up often-invisible residue from any surface and analyze it. The explosive residue can be transferred and easily detected using the instrument. JCAD CED can already detect roughly a dozen compounds including TNT, RDX and EGN. Future efforts could increase the number of detectable compounds.

"There are several advantages with the improved JCAD CED system. First, its dual-functionality accurately detects vapors as well as explosive residue. Second, scientists successfully modified the system with easy-to-use add-ons, and the upgrade is cost effective and reduces the need for yearly maintenance," said Blethen.

Scientists plan to determine the amount of explosives that can be detected and develop a concept of operations. Other goals include developing a methodology for detecting homemade explosives, and reaching a technology readiness level 6. JCAD CED will be demonstrated in a Fiscal Year 2015 military utility assessment.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Sick Air Force officer back from Africa being monitored at Fort Bliss - News - Stripes

Sick Air Force officer back from Africa being monitored at Fort Bliss - News - Stripes: An Air Force officer is being monitored at William Beaumont Army Medical Center at Fort Bliss, Texas, after returning sick on Tuesday from deployment to a mission fighting Ebola in West Africa, military officials said.

But the airman, a major who is not being identified, did not have an elevated temperature and has symptoms that medical personnel say are more in line with food poisoning or stomach flu, Fort Bliss spokesman Lt. Col. Lee Peters said.

A Defense official speaking on the condition of anonymity said the servicemember, who arrived on a planeload of 68 troops returning from Africa, was ill when he boarded the plane, but had been tested and found not to have Ebola before leaving.

Officials said the airman had had no contact with potentially infected locals. Since the operation began in September, military leaders have said U.S. troops are deploying primarily to help with command and control and logistical matters, and would not be involved in treating patients.

Navy Starts Design Work On Next Generation Amphibious Warship - USNI News

Navy Starts Design Work On Next Generation Amphibious Warship - USNI News: Early design work on the Navy’s next generation amphibious warship — based on the San Antonio-class (LPD-17) hull — has begun ahead of a planned 2020 procurement, Navy officials said on Wednesday.

The design work for the LX(R) after a longer-than-usual back and forth on the analysis of alternatives (AOA) discussion for the future class of 11-ships with a request for proposal to industry due out in 2017, said Capt. Erik Ross with Office of the Chief of Naval Operations amphibious warfare division (OPNAV N95).

The Navy’s effort to replace the aging Whidbey Island and Harpers Ferry 16,000-ton landing ship docks (LSD-41/49) is focused on driving cost out of the new class at the direction of the Navy’s chief shipbuilder, Sean Stackley, Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development & Acquisition (RDA), Ross said.

“The whole reason the AoA was paused was for us to get smarter on cost estimates earlier,” Ross told reporters during NDIA’s Expeditionary Warfare Conference.
“Historically ship building programs they go along and they cost more and the [Chief of Naval Operations] and Mr. Stackley said, [no].”

The lead ship of a San Antonio derived LX(R) would cost about $1.64 billion with follow-ons costing about $1.4 billion for a total of 11 ships, according to information from the service.

HASC Chair-elect Thornberry Envisions Two-Year Focus for New Agenda | Defense News |

HASC Chair-elect Thornberry Envisions Two-Year Focus for New Agenda | Defense News | The incoming US House Armed Services Committee chairman says he will set the panel’s new agenda with a two-year focus, work that will ramp up in January.
HASC Chairman-elect Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, spoke with reporters Wednesday morning after emerging from a House Republican caucus meeting where his colleagues approved his ascension from vice chairman.
“I don’t think you have top priorities for January. I think you have areas of emphasis for the next two years,” Thornberry said. “Our job is not to manage the day-to-day tactical use of the military. It’s to help provide the capability that the military needs to deal with the huge array of threats in the picture.”
Asked if there are specific Pentagon programs on which he intends to focus, the incoming chairman replied: “You’d like to say all of them.”
“Of course there have to be areas of emphasis,” he said. “But, right now, you got to worry about getting organized and basic kinds of stuff. Probably in January we’ll talk more about moving forward.”

Dempsey Lays Groundwork for Larger 2016 Defense Budget | Defense News |

Dempsey Lays Groundwork for Larger 2016 Defense Budget | Defense News | The top US military official on Wednesday made the case for growing the base defense budget significantly over the $535 billion spending cap imposed by Congress for fiscal 2015.
While the 2015 budget has not yet been passed by Congress, drafts of the 2016 request are being passed back and forth between the Pentagon and White House, and the final top line number “is still moving,” said Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey.
But the one thing the two sides are convinced of is that “we need additional top line [funds] for the emerging new requirements” faced by the US military, he said.
There has been some talk that the Pentagon has suggested budgets as high as $60 billion over the $535 billion spending cap.
When Pentagon leadership began drawing up the budget to fund 2016 earlier this year, Russia had not yet annexed Crimea and invaded Ukraine, the Pentagon was not deploying 3,000 troops back to Iraq and thousands more to West Africa to help fight the Ebola outbreak, and leadership had not yet identified capability gaps in the nation’s space and nuclear profiles, Dempsey told an audience at the Defense One summit in Washington.

Odierno: With Commitments Up, US Must Rethink Cuts to Army End Strength | Defense News |

Odierno: With Commitments Up, US Must Rethink Cuts to Army End Strength | Defense News | The US Army’s top general wants to redo a decision to cut end strength from 490,000 to 450,000, saying it was made before Russian aggression towards the Ukraine and Europe, the fight with the Islamic State group in the Mideast and deployments to Africa to fight Ebola.
“We made assumptions that we wouldn’t be using Army forces in Europe the way we used to, we made assumptions that we wouldn’t go back into Iraq — and here we are back in Iraq, here we are worried about Russia again,” said Gen. Raymond Odierno, speaking at the Defense One Summit here Wednesday. He called for a discussion of what the Army will be doing over the next five years.
There are 1,500 US soldiers in Iraq, with plans to send another 1,600 in a month; 55,000 soldiers in Afghanistan; and 80,000 in other countries around the world, Odierno said. “So, our commitments have actually gone up in the last year,” he said.

USAF Official: Boeing 'Challenged' by KC-46 Schedule | Defense News |

USAF Official: Boeing 'Challenged' by KC-46 Schedule | Defense News | The US Air Force’s top military acquisition official says Boeing is being challenged by integration of its KC-46A Pegasus tanker, and warned that further slips may imperil key target dates.
“Boeing has struggled, from my past experience, on probably the most challenging part of any program, which is the integration and test piece,” Lt. Gen. Ellen Pawlikowski, military deputy for acquisition, told reporters Wednesday morning. “They had the issue with the wiring and that has proven to be more challenging for them to overcome than I think they originally anticipated.
“So we are continuing to see them being challenged by their near-term schedules.”

2016 US Defense Budget Could Be $60B Over Spending Caps | Defense News |

2016 US Defense Budget Could Be $60B Over Spending Caps | Defense News | As the White House and Pentagon pass drafts of the fiscal 2016 defense budget back and forth before submitting it to Congress early next year, the base budget request possibly could exceed congressionally mandated spending caps by as much as $60 billion, according to a former defense official with knowledge of the discussions.
Administration and defense officials have said for months that the 2011 Budget Control Act (BCA), which limits how much the Pentagon can spend, wouldn’t fully constrain the 2016 request. But a source with knowledge of a meeting between President Barack Obama and the Joint Chiefs of Staff said the chiefs have pushed for an increase of $60 billion over the $535 billion cap for defense, with another $10 billion for Department of Energy programs.
While the number might appear high, Pentagon and administration plans to push past the cap are no surprise.

Socom leaders interested in cloaking technology |, The Tampa Tribune and The Tampa Times

Socom leaders interested in cloaking technology |, The Tampa Tribune and The Tampa Times: In its never-ending search for ways to give commandos an edge in combat, U.S. Special Operations Command is looking to take a page out of the Harry Potter playbook.

Socom, headquartered at MacDill Air Force Base, is looking to research and development groups, academia, industry and individuals for technologies that can cloak, as much as possible, the electronic “signatures” coming from commandos and their equipment in the field. The harder it is for commandos to be found, the easier it is for them to do their job safely and come home.

To that end, Socom has issued a request for information for “multispectral signature reduction for the individual soldier and his equipment including materials or technologies that reduce the likelihood of detection/identification/targeting of SOF operators and vehicles,” according to the request, put out on the FedBizOps website.

Would-be Dumbledores whose ideas are accepted will get to put them in the hands of commandos at a week-long technical experimentation event taking place in February at Camp Blanding, the sprawling Florida Army National Guard joint training complex in Starke. The idea is to have the commandos help determine which technologies merit further investigation and possible “government/Industry collaboration for development of USSOCOM technology capabilities.”

U.S. Navy says looking at possible further orders of Boeing jets | Reuters

U.S. Navy says looking at possible further orders of Boeing jets | Reuters: The U.S. Navy is looking at possible additional orders of Boeing Co's EA-18G electronic attack planes, or Growlers, as it shapes its fiscal 2016 budget request, the Navy's top uniformed officer said Saturday.

Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Jonathan Greenert told Reuters the Navy was reviewing its inventory of tactical aircraft, including Growlers and strike fighters, to ensure its electronic attack needs were met.

Congress, responding to an "unfunded priority" list submitted by the Navy earlier this year, is poised to approve orders for 12 more EA-18G Growlers in the fiscal 2015 budget, which will help Boeing extend the production line for the jets in St. Louis through 2017.

The Navy did not request funding for the jets in its 2015 budget, but did add 22 EA-18G jets to its unfunded priorities list.

Greenert did not comment specifically on whether the Navy would request funding for the jets in its fiscal 2016 core budget, or a new unfunded priorities list, but said the Navy's electronic attack capabilities were being evaluated as part of the overall tactical aircraft budget.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Navy Information Dominance Forces Support Bold Alligator 2014

Navy Information Dominance Forces Support Bold Alligator 2014

As the Navy operates forward to support real-world events, so does the Information Dominance Type Commander (ID TYCOM), as was evident during Exercise Bold Alligator 2014 (BA14), Oct. 29 - Nov. 10.

The ID TYCOM provides Naval commands with intelligence, imagery and strike capabilities. Fleet Intelligence Detachments (FIDs) and Fleet Intelligence Adaptive Forces (FIAFs) are the Navy's enablers that fill this increased demand.

FID and FIAF personnel assigned to the Navy's newest TYCOM, Navy Information Dominance Forces (NAVIDFOR), recently supported multiple commands throughout BA14. This year's Bold Alligator blue-green team involved 19 nations and 18 U.S. Navy and coalition ships, and roughly 14,000 U.S. and international marines and sailors. The exercise featured Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 2 and 2d Marine Expeditionary Brigade (MEB).

In previous years, Bold Alligator tested the ability of the Navy-Marine Corps and coalition partner teams to conduct a full-scale amphibious landing in a medium-threat environment. BA14 exercised the ability to conduct crisis response operations in a complex maritime environment, with realistic scenarios that are relevant to current operations. Crisis response operations like Tomadachi in Japan and Unified Response in Haiti illustrate the need for rapid, reliable and ready amphibious forces provided by the Navy-Marine Corps team and coalition partners.

FID personnel typically provide specialized intelligence capabilities to deploying carrier strike groups and amphibious ready groups, and support underway training, deployment and surge requirements. FIAF personnel serve as the primary source for meeting fleet obligations for intelligence individual augmentation missions, provide enhanced intelligence capacity to maritime operations centers around the globe, and serve to augment ad hoc fleet and operational intelligence requirements.

During BA14, both FID and FIAF teams helped man the ships' Joint Intelligence Center and Expeditionary Plot for daily intelligence operations. Embarked personnel trained to perform the same duties they would execute during a standard deployment. These intelligence professionals provided background intelligence support to exercise staff and assisted with evolution grading and White Cell activities.

Fabrication Begins on the Navy's First Ship to Shore Connector

Fabrication Begins on the Navy's First Ship to Shore Connector

Textron, Inc. began fabrication of the Navy's first Ship to Shore Connector (SSC) at its New Orleans facility Nov. 17.

In October, the Navy approved Textron to start production following the SSC Production Readiness Review during which the Navy evaluated the design maturity, availability of materials, and industry's ability to start and sustain fabrication.

"It's an exciting time," said Capt. Chris Mercer, program executive office ships program manager for amphibious warfare. "Starting production on this next generation Landing Craft, Air Cushion (LCAC) is a significant milestone for the Navy and Marine Corps. The craft benefits from a mature design and sound production process, paving the way for many more craft to follow. Once delivered, these craft will fill a critical need to recapitalize the Navy's surface connectors."

The SSC will serve as the evolutionary replacement for the existing fleet of LCAC vehicles, which are nearing the end of their service life. The SSC will use more corrosion-resistant aluminum in the hull than LCAC as well as composites in the propeller shroud assembly and shafting to increase craft availability and lower life-cycle maintenance costs.

The SSC will be a high-speed, fully-amphibious landing craft capable of carrying a 74-ton payload traveling at speeds of more than 35 knots. An enclosed personnel transport module can be loaded aboard that can hold up to 145 combat-equipped Marines or 108 casualty personnel. The SSC will incorporate an improved skirt design, the advanced skirt, in place of the LCAC's deep skirt, reducing drag and craft weight.

The SSC supports rapid movement of Marine Expeditionary Forces from the sea base to shore and can tactically deliver personnel and heavy equipment to trafficable terrain well beyond the beach, with the built-in reliability to operate in the harshest littoral environments. With 73 craft planned, the SSC will significantly enhance the capability of Navy and Marine Corps teams to execute a broad spectrum of missions, from humanitarian assistance and disaster response to multidimensional amphibious assault.

As one of the Defense Department's largest acquisition organizations, PEO Ships, a Naval Sea Systems Command affiliated program executive office, is responsible for executing the development and procurement of all major surface combatants, amphibious ships, special mission ships, support ships, and special warfare craft. Currently, the majority of shipbuilding programs managed by PEO Ships are benefiting from serial production efficiencies, which are critical to delivering ships on cost and schedule.

F-35C Completes Initial Sea Trials aboard Aircraft Carrier

F-35C Completes Initial Sea Trials aboard Aircraft Carrier

 The F-35C Lightning II carrier variant Joint Strike Fighter completed its first phase of developmental test (DT) aboard an aircraft carrier Nov. 14, three days ahead of schedule aboard USS Nimitz (CVN 68).

During the DT-I event, F-35C Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) the F-35 Lightning II Integrated Test Force (ITF) from Air Test and Evaluation Squadron 23 (VX-23) located at Naval Air Station (NAS) Patuxent River in Patuxent River, Maryland, tested the carrier suitability of the aircraft and its integration with carrier air and deck operations in the at-sea environment, achieving 100 percent of the threshold test points.

The aircraft demonstrated exceptional performance throughout its initial sea trails, accelerating the team's progress through the DT-I schedule and enabling them to conduct night operations - a milestone typically achieved during the second at-sea phase of developmental tests, as evidenced by the test schedules of the F/A-18 Hornet and F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet.

"We had such confidence in how the plane is flying that we lowered the weather minimums to what the fleet is actually using, knowing that when I lower my hook and come into the groove I'm going to trap," said Lt. Cmdr. Ted Dyckman, Navy test pilot. "That says a lot for the airplane. So, when it came time for night traps, we said the plane is ready and we launched it. It flew very well behind the ship. Even on the darkest night - pretty much as dark as you can get behind the boat. Two hook-down passes and two traps and that says it all right there. It's unheard of to conduct night ops on the first det."

"The engineers responsible for the aircraft's control laws at Pax (Patuxent) River and Fort Worth have done a phenomenal job designing a carefree aircraft from the pilot's perspective," said Cmdr. Tony Wilson, DT I Team Lead. "The F-35C's performance on the ball was revolutionary, providing carefree handling on approach. The Integrated Direct Lift Control (IDLC) allows ball control like no other aircraft. The control schemes of the F-35C provide a tool for the below average ball flyer to compete for top hook. And, Delta Flight Path is an innovative leap in aircraft flight controls - this command enables the F-35 to capture and maintain a glideslope, greatly reducing pilot workload, increasing safety margins during carrier approaches and reducing touchdown dispersion."

The cadre of DT-I test pilots logged a total of 39.2 flight hours as they conducted 33 flights featuring 124 catapults, 222 touch-and-go landings, and 124 arrestments. There were zero unintentional hook-down bolters, or missed attempts to catch an arresting wire on the flight deck. (Two hook-down, intentional bolters were conducted as part of the DT-I test plan.)

Successful carrier landings of the F-35C also point to an effective re-design of the once-troubled tailhook. Initial testing shore-based testing pointed toward tailhook design issues and the Atlantic Test Range (ATR) at NAS Patuxent River captured critical measurement data with their precision photogrammetric technology and modeling capabilities. The re-design collaboration between Lockheed Martin and Fokker Technologies of the Netherlands - with insight and participation by Navy airworthiness engineers - has yielded a preponderance of three-wire landings during DT-I and firmly established the success of the redesign.

The goal of DT-I, the first of three at-sea test phases planned for the F-35C, was to collect environmental data through added instrumentation to measure the F-35C's integration to flight deck operations and to further define the F-35C's operating parameters aboard the aircraft carrier. A thorough assessment of how well the F-35C operated in the shipboard environment will advise the Navy of any adjustments necessary to ensure that the fifth-generation fighter is fully capable and ready to deploy to the fleet in 2018.

Friday, November 14, 2014

3-D Printed Engine Parts Withstand Hot Fire Tests

3-D Printed Engine Parts Withstand Hot Fire Tests: Today's innovations in science and technology are being driven by new capabilities in additive manufacturing. Also known as 3-D printing, this approach is changing the speed, cost and flexibility of designing and building future machines for space and earth applications.

NASA's Game Changing Development Program in the Space Technology and Mission Directorate has been actively funding research in 3-D printing and co-funded a recent groundbreaking test series with Aerojet Rocketdyne (AR) at NASA's Glenn Research Center.

Recently, AR in partnership with NASA, successfully completed the first hot-fire tests on an advanced rocket engine thrust chamber assembly using copper alloy materials.

This was the first time a series of rigorous tests confirmed that 3-D manufactured copper parts could withstand the heat and pressure required of combustion engines used in space launches.

In all, NASA and AR conducted 19 hot-fire tests on four injector and thrust chamber assembly configurations, exploring various mixture ratios and injector operability points and were deemed fully successful against the planned test program.

NASA tests new shape changing aircraft flap for the first time

NASA tests new shape changing aircraft flap for the first time: NASA's green aviation project is one step closer to developing technology that could make future airliners quieter and more fuel-efficient with the successful flight test of a wing surface that can change shape in flight.

This past summer researchers replaced an airplane's conventional aluminum flaps with advanced, shape-changing assemblies that form seamless bendable and twistable surfaces. Flight testing will determine whether flexible trailing-edge wing flaps are a viable approach to improve aerodynamic efficiency and reduce noise generated during takeoffs and landings.

The Adaptive Compliant Trailing Edge (ACTE) project is a joint effort between NASA and the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), using flaps designed and built by FlexSys, Inc., of Ann Arbor, Michigan.

With AFRL funding through the Air Force's Small Business Innovative Research program, FlexSys developed a variable geometry airfoil system called FlexFoil that can be retrofitted to existing airplane wings or integrated into brand new airframes.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Pentagon seeks aircraft-based drones for future missions

Pentagon seeks aircraft-based drones for future missions: The Pentagon is looking for ways to base multiple unmanned drones aboard larger aircraft, from which the drones will depart and return after they fly intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions in hard-to-reach areas, according to a new request from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

The request for information released over the weekend seeks drones that would be based on larger aircraft, such as B-52 or B-1 bombers or C-130 transport planes, to cite a few examples. The smaller drones would then fly from the larger planes, conduct their missions and return to the aircraft, which would then be able to fly away from potentially contested airspace.

"The agency envisions a large aircraft that, with minimal modification, could launch and recover multiple small unmanned systems from a standoff distance," the request for information says.

Drones are continuing to play a larger role in U.S. military and intelligence operations, including flights over Africa and the Middle East in search of terrorist groups.

DARPA's latest request is part of a series of research programs aimed at developing aircraft and weapons that will enable U.S. forces to cover large distances to get to coastal and other regions that are often protected by rival forces.

Wanted: Ideas for Transform Planes into Aircraft Carriers in the Sky

Wanted: Ideas for Transform Planes into Aircraft Carriers in the Sky: Military air operations typically rely on large, manned, robust aircraft, but such missions put these expensive assets-and their pilots-at risk. While small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) can reduce or eliminate such risks, they lack the speed, range and endurance of larger aircraft.

These complementary traits suggest potential benefits in a blended approach-one in which larger aircraft would carry, launch and recover multiple small UAS. Such an approach could greatly extend the range of UAS operations, enhance overall safety, and cost-effectively enable groundbreaking capabilities for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) and other missions.

To explore and expedite the possible development of these potential benefits, DARPA has issued a Request for Information (RFI) ( seeking technical, security and business insights addressing the feasibility and potential value of an ability to launch and recover multiple small unmanned air systems from one or more types of existing large manned aircraft, such as C-130 transport planes.

Monday, November 10, 2014

AFSBn-Germany issues European Activity Set equipment to Combined Resolve III troops | Article | The United States Army

AFSBn-Germany issues European Activity Set equipment to Combined Resolve III troops | Article | The United States Army

 The Army Field Support Battalion-Germany in Grafenwoehr, Germany conducted the second equipment issue from its newly established European Activity Set to Soldiers from the 2-12th Combined Arms Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division.

As part of the U.S. Army's European Rotational Force, the troops are in Germany to participate in Combined Resolve III, a multi-national training exercise involving 18 nations, designed to enhance the brigade's ability to operate successfully with NATO allies.

"Just a few shorts weeks earlier, equipment was issued to the 1st Cavalry (Division), and each and every piece of equipment was in stellar shape, and useable immediately," said Col. John DiGiambattista, commander of the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, based at Fort Hood, Texas.

The action initiated an Army plan to regionally align forces with geographic combatant commands around the world. Under the plan, EAS will support two annual eight-week European rotations for stateside brigades. These rotational forces will help offset the inactivation of two Europe-based BCTs and strengthen U.S. participation in the NATO Response Force, which is charged with responding to humanitarian and disaster relief missions and other contingencies.

"The EAS provides a modernized, combat-ready Combined Arms Battalion equipment set for designated CONUS forces to use in support of NATO operations," said Robin Dothager, the 405th AFSB's Support Operations chief for EAS. "EAS equipment must be maintained at Army 10/20 standards and be ready for issue at any time the Army directs."

"The equipment issued to us was 'right out of the box,' and I was very impressed with the state of the art and the almost seamless task of issuing this equipment," said 1st Lt. Crockett Colbert, 2-12th Cav.

Col. Todd Bertulis, commander, 405th Army Field Support Brigade, said he was in awe of the EAS operation and is confident this equipment will put the troops in the right position for success on future deployments.

Taking the lead on coordinating the EAS issue was Curtis Dabney, the battalion S4 (Logistics), who was later promoted to support operations officer. When EAS equipment was dispatched by AMC from locations around the world and began arriving on the battalion's doorstep, the EAS workforce was not yet in place, Mike Printer, deputy, AFSBn-Germany, said. Dabney coordinated with tenant units for help in downloading, receiving, inspecting and bringing to record the Class VII major end items, such as launchers, tanks, mobile machine shops, and vehicles as well 82,000 spare parts.

Among many other contributions, Dabney also ratcheted up coordination to transfer three motor pools with seven buildings from U.S. Army Garrison-Bavaria, Installation Management Command-Europe Headquarters and U.S. Army Europe to Army Field Support Battalion-Germany.

U.S. Army Europe provided about 70 percent of EAS equipment stocks from inactivated BCT's in Europe, and Army Sustainment Command pulled the remaining stocks from its APS sources in CONUS, Korea, Italy, Afghanistan and Kuwait, except for the Abrams tanks and Bradley fighting vehicles which were shipped to Europe from Fort Hood. AFSBn Germany took accountability of the equipment, issued the military vehicles and assorted small "basic-issued items" to the rotational force, while the 16th Sustainment Brigade, Baumholder, Germany, also provided technical and force protection support.

Stationing EAS at Grafenwoehr allows the regionally-aligned force to conduct multinational-level training events with its NATO allies and partner nations, stated Lt. Col. Steven Schultz, Commander, AFSBn Germany.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Navy’s LCS Tests Counter-Mine, Anti-Submarine Technology | DoD Buzz

Navy’s LCS Tests Counter-Mine, Anti-Submarine Technology | DoD Buzz: The Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship recently searched for submarines and sailed through a dummy mine-field off the coast of San Diego, California, to assess whether the vessel’s anti-submarine and mine-countermeasure technologies could find enemy submarines and successfully detect and destroy underwater mines, service officials said.

The anti-mine developmental and operational tests this past summer took place on board the USS Independence, or LCS 2. The tests involved many aspects of the LCS’ Mine-Countermeasures mission package, a collection of integrated mine-detecting technologies engineered to swap on and off the platform.

“The real purpose of the test was to stress the operational tempo. This is the first time we’ve really done end to end missions on the ship,” Capt. Casey Moton, LCS mission modules program manager, said.

Navy Looking to Expand Range, Speed of Unmanned Underwater Vehicles - Blog

Navy Looking to Expand Range, Speed of Unmanned Underwater Vehicles - Blog

The Navy wants unmanned underwater vehicles that are faster, with better target identification and data transmission capabilities, officials told industry Nov. 6.

The caveat: They have to be inexpensive enough for the service to afford in a constrained budget environment.

“If you’ve got a piece of kit out there right now, and you want to see if we like it and we’ll use it, give me what you’ve got now, and then we’ll work together" to modify it, Capt. Eric Wirstrom, director of Navy Expeditionary Combat Command’s maritime operation center, said in a speech at he Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International’s program review.

However, “I need it cheap,” he stressed

Rob Simmons, assistant program manager for PMS 408, the Navy’s program office for acquiring explosive ordnance disposal technologies, said the service wants to buy vessels that are “good enough,” not expensive developmental technologies.

“We want to field the 80 percent solution with … open architecture hooks” that allow the service to upgrade systems with new software and sensors further down the road, he said. UUVs must be operationally available for use, reliable and transportable.

The Navy’s expeditionary force only recently begun to use UUVs to detect explosives under the water’s surface, Wirstrom said. “When it comes to requirements generation and development, we are figuring that out and we’re getting faster and better.”

The undersea environment ascribes limitations to UUVs that their airborne and terrestrial brethren do not have to deal with. For instance, pilots can remotely control a drone via a satellite link, but since that is impossible underwater, UUVs rely much more on autonomy. That also keeps many underwater vehicles from being able to transfer data in real time to human operators.

Wirstrom laid out a wishlist of capabilities he would like industry to bring him, including smaller, man-portable systems and UUVs that can be launched and recovered from aircraft, surface ships and submarines.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Boeing demos use of anti-jamming system with existing satellite

Boeing demos use of anti-jamming system with existing satellite: Boeing reports that its anti-jamming communications, using a protected tactical waveform, can be used with existing satellites and ground terminals.

The capability was demonstrated recently done in a test conducted under a U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center contract that was supervised by the U.S. government.

The anti-jam technology proved it could shield transmitted communications signals from interference.

Boeing demos use of anti-jamming system with existing satellite

Boeing demos use of anti-jamming system with existing satellite: Boeing reports that its anti-jamming communications, using a protected tactical waveform, can be used with existing satellites and ground terminals.

The capability was demonstrated recently done in a test conducted under a U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center contract that was supervised by the U.S. government.

The anti-jam technology proved it could shield transmitted communications signals from interference.

Russia snubs US on nuclear summit

Russia snubs US on nuclear summit: Russia has confirmed it will not attend the 2016 Nuclear Security Summit, a gathering championed by President Barack Obama, accusing Washington of seeking to play first fiddle on matters of nuclear safety.

In another sign of the growing chill between the former Cold War rivals, Moscow claimed the organisers wanted to accord special rights to the United States along with South Korea and the Netherlands, which hosted previous summits, while discriminating other participants.

"We shared with our American colleagues our doubts regarding the added value of a forum that is planned to be held in the United States in 2016," the Russian foreign ministry said.

It took issue with the fact that the final documents of the Washington summit would set the agenda for international organisations including the United Nations, the International Atomic Energy Agency and Interpol.

Boeing demos use of anti-jamming system with existing satellite

Boeing demos use of anti-jamming system with existing satellite: Boeing reports that its anti-jamming communications, using a protected tactical waveform, can be used with existing satellites and ground terminals.

The capability was demonstrated recently done in a test conducted under a U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center contract that was supervised by the U.S. government.

The anti-jam technology proved it could shield transmitted communications signals from interference.

US could delay troop withdrawal from Afghanistan: officials

US could delay troop withdrawal from Afghanistan: officials: US commanders are weighing a delay in the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan after the country's protracted election set back preparations for the transition, Washington defense officials said Wednesday.

Under the current plan outlined by President Barack Obama, the US force will dwindle to 9,800 troops by January along with roughly 2,000 allied forces, and all American soldiers will be out by the end of 2016.

But after a months-long electoral dispute that postponed the signing of a crucial US-Afghan security agreement, there are questions about the readiness of Afghan forces and whether allied governments will have arrangements in place for their troops to deploy by 2015, officials said.

Pushing back the timeline is "an option" that is being looked at, but no decision has been made, said one Pentagon official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

US could delay troop withdrawal from Afghanistan: officials

US could delay troop withdrawal from Afghanistan: officials: US commanders are weighing a delay in the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan after the country's protracted election set back preparations for the transition, Washington defense officials said Wednesday.

Under the current plan outlined by President Barack Obama, the US force will dwindle to 9,800 troops by January along with roughly 2,000 allied forces, and all American soldiers will be out by the end of 2016.

But after a months-long electoral dispute that postponed the signing of a crucial US-Afghan security agreement, there are questions about the readiness of Afghan forces and whether allied governments will have arrangements in place for their troops to deploy by 2015, officials said.

Pushing back the timeline is "an option" that is being looked at, but no decision has been made, said one Pentagon official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Better bomb-sniffing technology

Better bomb-sniffing technology: University of Utah engineers have developed a new type of carbon nanotube material for handheld sensors that will be quicker and better at sniffing out explosives, deadly gases and illegal drugs.

A carbon nanotube is a cylindrical material that is a hexagonal or six-sided array of carbon atoms rolled up into a tube. Carbon nanotubes are known for their strength and high electrical conductivity and are used in products from baseball bats and other sports equipment to lithium-ion batteries and touchscreen computer displays.

Vaporsens, a university spin-off company, plans to build a prototype handheld sensor by year's end and produce the first commercial scanners early next year, says co-founder Ling Zang, a professor of materials science and engineering and senior author of a study of the technology published online Nov. 4 in the journal Advanced Materials.

The new kind of nanotubes also could lead to flexible solar panels that can be rolled up and stored or even "painted" on clothing such as a jacket, he adds.

Republicans will push for US military spending boost

Republicans will push for US military spending boost: By winning full control of Congress, the Republicans have the chance to pile political pressure on President Barack Obama over national security issues and possibly push through an increase in military spending at the expense of social programs.

The following is a look at how Tuesday's election result could affect national security policy:

Counter-IED training center opens in Europe

Counter-IED training center opens in Europe: European soldiers now have a facility in the Netherlands for training in technical exploitation techniques to help combat improvised explosive devices.

The facility -- the Joint Deployable Exploitation and Analysis Laboratory -- is located in the Netherlands and is sponsored by the Netherlands and the European Defense Agency.

EDA said the facility focuses on providing the skills needed for technical exploitation of IEDs, including the recording and analyzing of information related to events, scenes, technical components, and material used in IED attacks.

Techniques to be taught include biometric analysis to recover latent fingerprints on a device; chemical analysis; and mechanical exploitation.

Part of the instruction will involve the use of equipment and knowledge gained from the Counter-IED Technical Exploitation Laboratory deployed with the International Security Assistance Force in Kabul, Afghanistan.

New Republican Congress could counter Obama on Iran

New Republican Congress could counter Obama on Iran: After the election drubbing suffered by his Democrats, President Barack Obama will face a Republican-controlled Congress critical of his foreign policy -- and which could rebel against any eventual Iran nuclear accord.

Aside from the war against the Islamic State (IS) group in Iraq and Syria, Tehran's nuclear program is undoubtedly the top foreign policy issue before Congress, with negotiations between the Islamic republic and world powers coming down to a November 24 deadline.

Until now, the Obama administration has essentially had a free hand in its handling of the negotiations.

Through his Democratic allies in the Senate, the president has managed to squelch any expansion of punitive sanctions against Tehran -- measures introduced by lawmakers skeptical of Iran's efforts.

But the new Republican-controlled Senate likely will not show the same deference as Democrats, should Obama agree to extend the talks.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

After Election Day, Familiar Faces in New Places on Senate Defense Committees | Defense News |

After Election Day, Familiar Faces in New Places on Senate Defense Committees | Defense News | Votes were still being counted in Alaska and Virginia on Wednesday morning, meaning the Republican majority technically could reach 54. But that’s still well short of the 60 votes required in the chamber to end debate on legislation like annual Pentagon spending and authorization bills and move to a final vote.
Political scholars and analysts say there is a chance congressional Republicans and the Democratic president with whom they so staunchly disagree, Barack Obama, could reach accords quickly on issues like immigration and tax reform, fast-track trade authority and national security issues.
But on other issues — like finally stitching together a fiscal package that would lessen or replace the remaining defense and domestic sequestration cuts — those experts are predicting continued stalemate in Washington.
“After Election Day, getting anything done in America’s increasingly polarized Congress will be very difficult,” said Craig Volden, a politics professor at the University of Virginia.

John McCain Poised to Control Senate's Defense Policy -

John McCain Poised to Control Senate's Defense Policy - One of the president's chief critics could soon lead the Senate's main military committee.

With Republicans gaining the majority in the upper chamber in Tuesday's midterm elections, Sen. John McCain is widely expected to become the next Armed Services Committee chairman in January.

McCain, the Republican Party's presidential nominee in 2008, has decades of experience in foreign policy and defense issues in the Senate, where he was first elected in 1986. He also served in the Navy, and he spent more than five years as a prisoner of war after his plane was shot down during the Vietnam War.

As committee chairman, McCain would have an influential role in spearheading defense policy from Capitol Hill. That includes the Senate's version of the National Defense Authorization Act, an annual bill that outlines defense policy and tells the Pentagon what it can and can't spend money on. He'll also gain a megaphone to voice his frequent opposition to the Obama administration on military and national security issues.

On Tuesday, Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby downplayed any concerns over McCain gaining the top spot, but, at least publicly, the senator's relationship with the Pentagon has been rocky.

Election 2014: What's Next for Defense? - Blog

Election 2014: What's Next for Defense? - Blog: The results of election 2014 carry high stakes for the national security policy establishment and industrial complex. With Republicans poised to increase their majority in the House and take over the U.S. Senate, the defense industry is viewed as one of the beneficiaries of the power shift.

A big question on the minds of Pentagon officials and defense industry CEOs is whether the new balance of power in Washington will mark a turning point after four years of fiscal turbulence fueled by partisan warfare. Analysts have predicted that a Republican majority will tip the scales in favor of larger military budgets and possible relief from the 2011 law that set strict spending caps.

Another unknown is whether the new Republican leadership will change course on defense and foreign policy issues given voters' unhappiness with President Obama's management of international crises. GOP defense hawks will seize on voters' discontent and the perception of American weakness to push for higher military spending. They will face resistance, though, from hardcore anti-spending Republicans and from outside groups that don't believe the Pentagon deserves a get-out-of-sequester free card.

U.S. Pilots Say New Chinese Stealth Fighter Could Become Equal of F-22, F-35 - USNI News

U.S. Pilots Say New Chinese Stealth Fighter Could Become Equal of F-22, F-35 - USNI News: China’s new Shenyang J-31 stealth fighter — making its debut next week at the Zhuhai international airshow — could eventually become more than a match for American stealth fighters in battle, several U.S. military and industry officials told USNI News.

The J-31 is China’s latest crack at developing a modern so-called fifth-generation stealth fighter — equivalent in ability to Lockheed Martin’s F-22 Raptor or F-35 Lighting II Joint Strike Fighter.

“They’re still in the glossy brochure phase of development, so they still look ten feet tall and bulletproof,” one senior U.S. fighter pilot familiar with the F-35 program told USNI News.
“I think they’ll eventually be on par with our fifth gen jets — as they should be, because industrial espionage is alive and well.”

SEALs Reminded Not To Seek Fame or Money | Defense News |

SEALs Reminded Not To Seek Fame or Money | Defense News | The head of US Naval Special Warfare Command and its senior enlisted sailor have reminded SEALs and other special operators to stay out of the limelight.
The Oct. 31 letter from Rear Adm. Brian Losey and Force Master Chief Michael Magaraci to Naval Special Warfare sailors stresses that they should strive for the respect of their colleagues, not public acclaim. The Tampa Tribune first reported about the letter on Sunday.
“At Naval Special Warfare’s core is the SEAL ethos,” according to the letter, which was obtained by Navy Times. “A critical tenant of our ethos is ‘I do not advertise the nature of my work, nor seek recognition for my actions.’ Our ethos is a life-long commitment and obligation, both in and out of the service. Violators of our ethos are neither teammates in good standing, nor teammates who represent Naval Special Warfare.”

Newsflash to the New Congress: Tiered Readiness Is Here Now | RealClearDefense

Newsflash to the New Congress: Tiered Readiness Is Here Now | RealClearDefense: The modern day version of “tiered readiness” has arrived for the U.S. military. While the news has yet to sink in the minds of Washington leaders, the state of affairs across the force speaks for itself.

During the defense drawdown in the 1990s, this concept was instituted with units preparing to deploy at peak readiness while the majority of the remaining forces stateside, especially those in the Reserve Component, were not. This was sanctioned by Pentagon leaders as a way to produce savings while (supposedly) preserving force structure and modernization where possible. While the idea was eventually rejected, budget cuts combined with a relentless pace of operations have resurrected “tiered readiness” for those in uniform.

What does today’s tiered readiness look like? For many Navy F/A-18 fighter pilots currently not flying given aircraft equipment shortages, it is a situation described as one of “haves” and “have nots.” Pilots in a conflict zone or high-tension area are getting the staff and parts needed to keep jets in the sky. But those not deploying anytime soon are forced to sit idle alongside their parked aircraft and wait.

Obama Seeks Update to Military Force Rules | Defense News |

Obama Seeks Update to Military Force Rules | Defense News |

President Barack Obama has invited the head of the US Central Command to brief
congressional leaders at the White House on Friday afternoon — the first step
toward updating the rules for the authorization to use military force

Gen. Lloyd Austin will give a presentation “on how our fight against [Islamic
State] is proceeding,” Obama said in a press conference to discuss the
Republican party’s Nov. 4 victories across the US.

Responding to a question about his plans to take a fresh look at the AUMF
that was passed just a week after the 9/11 attacks, Obama said “the idea is to
right-size and update whatever authorization Congress provides to suit the
current fight rather than previous fights.”

The Obama administration has come under fire from some in Congress over its
continued use of the expansive language in that 2001 AUMF to guide military
action in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Somalia and elsewhere, often against groups that
had nothing to do with the core al-Qaida group that launched the attacks on the
United States.

“We now have a different type of enemy,” Obama said. “The strategy is
different in how we partner with Iraq and the [Arabian] Gulf countries,” and the
United States needs to rethink the document so that it “reflects what we
perceive [the threats] to be, not just over the next two or three months, but
for our strategy going forward.”

Speaking earlier in the afternoon in Manhattan, Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen.
Martin Dempsey said US troops will likely be required to stay in Iraq to train
the local army “over the next several years.”

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

F-35C Completes First Arrested Landing aboard Aircraft Carrier

F-35C Completes First Arrested Landing aboard Aircraft Carrier

The Navy made aviation history Nov. 3 as an F-35C Lightning II carrier variant Joint Strike Fighter conducted its first arrested landing aboard an aircraft carrier off the coast of San Diego.

Navy test pilot Cmdr. Tony Wilson landed F-35C test aircraft CF-03 at 12:18 p.m. aboard USS Nimitz's (CVN 68) flight deck.

The arrested landing is part of initial at-sea Developmental Testing I (DT-I) for the F-35C, which commenced Nov. 3 and is expected to last two weeks.

"Today is a landmark event in the development of the F-35C," said Wilson, a Navy test pilot with Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 23. "It is the culmination of many years of hard work by a talented team of thousands. I'm very excited to see America's newest aircraft on the flight deck of her oldest aircraft carrier, the USS Nimitz."

Commander, Naval Air Forces, Vice Adm. David H. Buss, was aboard Nimitz to witness the milestone event.

"What a historic day today is for Naval Aviation. With the first traps of the F-35C Lightning II aboard an aircraft carrier, we begin the integration of the next generation of warfighting capability into our carrier-based air wings," said Buss. "This important milestone is yet another indicator of Naval Aviation's ongoing evolution to meet future threats and remain central to our future Navy and National Defense Strategy."

DT-I is the first of three at-sea test phases planned for the F-35C. During DT-I, the test team from the F-35 Lightning II Pax River Integrated Test Force (ITF) has scheduled two F-35C test aircraft from Naval Air Station Patuxent River in Patuxent River, Maryland to perform a variety of operational maneuvers, including various catapult takeoffs and arrested landings. ITF flight test operations also encompass general maintenance and fit tests for the aircraft and support equipment, as well as simulated maintenance operations.

As with the initial testing of any new aircraft, the goal is to collect environmental data through added instrumentation to measure the F-35C's integration to flight deck operations and to further define the F-35C's operating parameters aboard the aircraft carrier.

The ITF test team will analyze data obtained during flight test operations, conduct a thorough assessment of how well the F-35C operated in the shipboard environment, and advise the Navy to make any adjustments necessary to ensure that the fifth-generation fighter is fully capable and ready to deploy to the fleet in 2018.

"Our F-35 integrated test team has done an amazing job preparing for today. This will be one landing out of thousands more that will happen over the next few decades," said Lt. Gen. Chris Bogdan, F-35 Program Executive Officer. "For months, we've been working with the Nimitz crew, Naval Air Forces, and our industry partners, Lockheed Martin and Pratt & Whitney, as well as their suppliers, to prepare and train for this event. We plan on learning a lot during this developmental test and will use that knowledge to make the naval variant of the F-35 an even more effective weapons platform."

The F-35C combines advanced stealth with fighter speed and agility, fused targeting, cutting-edge avionics, advanced jamming, network-enabled operations and advanced sustainment. With a broad wingspan, reinforced landing gear, ruggedized structures and durable coatings, the F-35C is designed to stand up to harsh shipboard conditions while delivering a lethal combination of fighter capabilities to the fleet.

The F-35C will enhance the flexibility, power projection, and strike capabilities of carrier air wings and joint task forces and will complement the capabilities of the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, which currently serves as the Navy's premier strike fighter.

By 2025, the Navy's aircraft carrier-based air wings will consist of a mix of F-35C, F/A-18E/F Super Hornets, EA-18G Growlers electronic attack aircraft, E-2D Hawkeye battle management and control aircraft, MH-60R/S helicopters and Carrier Onboard Delivery logistics aircraft.

The successful recovery of the F-35C represents a step forward in the development of the Navy's next generation fighter and reinforces Navy-industry partnership goals to deliver the operational aircraft to the fleet in 2018.

Greenert Discusses U.S. Maritime Strategy Shift

Greenert Discusses U.S. Maritime Strategy Shift

The Chief of Naval Operations discussed the U.S. rebalance to the Asia-Pacific region during a presentation at the Brookings Institution, Nov.4.

Adm. Jonathan W. Greenert said the new strategy should be out by the end of the year and he spoke about the need for changes and gave a short status report on his service's rebalance to the Asia-Pacific region.

The last maritime strategy report was issued in 2007.

Extraordinary Changes

"The compelling need for the revision ... is [that] obviously the security and fiscal changes since 2007 have been extraordinary," Greenert told the members of the think tank.

In 2007, the United States entered a recession, the admiral observed, noting that change was brewing in Asia, the Indian Ocean areas and North Africa. And, he added, U.S. forces were in the midst of a troop surge in Iraq.

Seven years later, there is a different set of issues and the maritime services -- the Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard -- must plan for them, Greenert said. These, he said, include the hotspots of the world and the cyberworld.

"Our principles will be the same: the value of presence," the admiral said. The three maritime services, he added, need to be "where it matters, when it matters."

The strategy will address deterrence, power projection, sea control, maritime security and matters of access, he said.

Greenert addressed critics who say that with all the problems in the world -- most notably in the Middle East and Europe -- that the rebalance to the Asia-Pacific region should not happen.

U.S. Long-range Interests in Asia-Pacific Region

"Despite current events, the long-range interests of [the United States] are in the Asia-Pacific," the admiral said.

He cited some statistics:

-- Fifty percent of the world's shipping tonnage passes through the straits of Southeast Asia;

-- One-third of global oil and half the world's natural gas traffic move through the South China Sea;

-- Five of America's top-15 trading partners are located in the Asia-Pacific region; and

-- Five U.S. treaty allies -- Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, Australia and Thailand -- are located in the region.

Rebalance to Asia-Pacific Will Continue

"We have been engaged for more than 70 years in the Asia-Pacific region and with significant presence in the area. We will continue with this rebalance," Greenert said.

The rebalance means the Navy has been shifting and will continue to shift forces to the region, the admiral said. This shift is not limited to the number of ships, he added, but also capabilities.

The newest, most-capable vessels are moving to the Asia-Pacific/Indian Ocean region, Greenert said. The newest aircraft -- the P-8 -- has already deployed there three times. When the F-35 is ready, it, too will deploy to the region.

U.S., China Economically Intertwined

Also, the admiral said, the United States and China are the world's largest economies and are intertwined. "The mutual prosperity of both of us is in our collective best interests," he said.

Military relations between the United States and China play a part in the overall relationship, Greenert said, noting he's met several times with his Chinese counterpart. The two nations, he said, are looking at where the differences are and how to increase cooperation. China participated in the Rim of the Pacific exercise near Hawaii this past summer. And, the two nations' navies cooperated in the hunt for the missing Malaysian jet.

Seeking Increased American-Chinese Cooperation

Chinese and American leaders are looking for ways to expand the scope of the relationships and have agreed to have exchange officers at their war colleges and service academies, Greenert said.

"With this rising navy in China, we have ... opportunity," he said. "The challenge is to get rid of unneeded, unfounded and unprofessional cases in the interactions we are inevitably going to have at sea."

As a Pacific power, the United States is committed to security in the region, Greenert said.

"The alliances are strong and we will honor our treaties," he said. "The engagement is increasing bilaterally and multilaterally and it's really part of the rebalance."