Thursday, April 28, 2016

GXV-T revs up research into smarter armored ground vehicles

Today's ground-based armored fighting vehicles are better protected than ever, but face a constantly evolving threat: weapons increasingly effective at piercing armor.
While adding more armor has provided incremental increases in protection, it has also hobbled vehicle speed and mobility and ballooned development and deployment costs. To help reverse this trend, DARPA's Ground X-Vehicle Technology (GXV-T) program recently awarded contracts to eight organizations.  more

Joint Multi-role Demonstrators in Race to Starting Line

 In West Palm Beach, Florida, and Amarillo, Texas, two different aircraft are coming together in a sprint to the starting line of the Army’s much anticipated flight demonstrations of future helicopter concepts in 2017.
The Army plans to design and field a future vertical lift aircraft and is expected to kick off that program of record in the 2019 time frame. The expectation is to buy a new family of helicopters through a competition and field the new aircraft at some point in the early 2030s, although the Army has talked about speeding up that fielding timeline to the late 2020s.
But first the Army plans to demonstrate Joint Multi-Role (JMR) air vehicle capability at a 2017 flight demonstration in order to help the service fully define requirements for the Future Vertical Lift (FVL) program.
A Bell Helicopter and Lockheed Martin team is mating the entire wing -- which is one big part -- onto the fuselage in Texas of its advanced tiltrotor concept the V-280 Valor, according to Vince Tobin, Bell’s vice president for advanced tiltrotor systems.
Sikorsky and Boeing have all of its Defiant coaxial helicopter parts in fabrication, some have already been delivered to the final assembly facility in Florida, Pat Donnelly, Boeing’s program director, said. Notably, the fuselage is in California being assembled and the team plans to conduct flight loads verification before shipping it to Florida.  more

Meet the Army's first female infantry officer

Capt. Kristen Griest, one of the first women to earn the coveted Ranger tab, will once again make history by becoming the Army’s first female infantry officer.
Griest is expected to graduate from the Maneuver Captain's Career Course on Thursday wearing the distinctive blue infantry cord, officials confirmed to Army Times.
"Like any other officer wishing to branch-transfer, Capt. Griest applied for an exception to Army policy to transfer from military police to infantry," said Bob Purtiman, a spokesman for the Maneuver Center of Excellence and Fort Benning, Georgia. "Her transfer was approved by the Department of the Army [on Monday] and she's now an infantry officer."
More women are expected to follow in her footsteps; the Army earlier this month announced that it had approved requests from 22 female cadets to enter as second lieutenants in the infantry and armor branches. Thirteen of the new officers will enter into the armor branch, the other nine will go infantry. After commissioning, the new officers must successfully complete branch-specific training before they will qualify as infantry and armor officers.  more

House panel advances $610 billion spending plan with bigger pay raise, more end strength

House Armed Services Committee members advanced a $610 billion defense policy bill early Thursday that supporters say will fully fund the military’s needs and critics blasted as another budgeting gimmick that creates more problems than it solves.
The annual defense authorization bill draft passed the panel by a 60-2 vote after a 16-plus-hour marathon markup session involving dozens of defense priority and regulation amendments. It includes a 2.1 percent pay raise for troops next year, 27,000 more troops than the White House requested and a massive overhaul of the defense medical care system.
It also includes $18 billion more in funding for things like additional F-18s, F-35s, littoral combat ships and Army Tactical Missile Systems. It dramatically boosts ship and aircraft depot maintenance and adds 900 Javelin missiles to the Pentagon's formal request.  more

Friday, April 22, 2016

4-star: Women will excel in the military's toughest jobs

There’s not a military job that a qualified woman can’t do, the Pentagon's No. 2 general said.
The challenge will be in recruiting and retaining those women, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Paul Selva explained at the annual Officer Women’s Leadership Symposium outside Washington, D.C., and how the military carries out its integration of women into its newly opened specialties, from the Army Rangers to the Navy SEALs.
“I am absolutely convinced — we haven’t got a single job in the military that a woman can’t do as well as a man,” Selva told the audience of about 200 service academy, active-duty and veteran women.
He doesn’t expect, however, that opening the last combat jobs will create a flood of women into the services or to those specialties.
“The decision this year to open all career fields to both men and women means that in theory we could recruit 50 percent of our force as women,” he said. “It won’t happen. My prediction is the best we’ll get is 20 percent.”  more

Autonomous warships get smarter

2016 is shaping up to be the year of the robot warship.
Two trends are converging: the development of highly autonomous unmanned surface ships that can function individually, and the development of swarm control systems that enable flotillas of unmanned ships to operate as a cohesive formation, again with minimal human intervention.
The first of these occurred in April in Portland, Oregon, when the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the Navy christened a large robotic submarine hunter called the Anti-Submarine Warfare Continuous Trail Unmanned Vessel. ACTUV is a 132-foot-long unmanned surface vessel designed to detect and track ultra-quiet diesel submarines.
In September comes a demonstration of Unmanned Surface Vessel Swarm, an Office of Naval Research project to create groups of small boats that can function as a team. The first demonstration was held in August 2014 on the James River in Virginia when five small, unmanned boats showcased the Control Architecture for Robotic Agent Command and Sensing (CARACaS) system. The CARACaS-controlled boats escorted a high-value naval target and swarmed any remote-controlled "enemy" vessels that approached the convoy.  more

Paul Ryan puts his stamp on GOP foreign policy

Speaker Paul Ryan is putting his stamp on Republican foreign policy, a departure for a GOP leader who for much of his career has been focused on domestic policy.
Ryan just completed his first foreign trip as Speaker, visiting Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Egypt.
The trip amplified a foreign policy vision that will compete with the one coming from Donald Trump, the frontrunner for the GOP’s presidential nomination.
Ryan didn’t run away from that comparison when he returned to the United States and spoke to reporters about his trip, saying global leaders specifically thanked him for pushing back against Trump's call for a temporary ban on all Muslims coming to the U.S. 
“It shouldn’t be my job...but when you see our beliefs, our values and conservatism’s principles being disfigured, you have to speak out for it if you’re a party leader,” Ryan said. 
The 46-year-old Speaker is much better known for his work on the budget, entitlements and taxes that foreign policy. As chairman of the House Budget Committee and House Ways and Means Committee, Ryan rarely entered the fray of foreign policy.
An exception, and one that draws another contrast with Trump, is his longtime support for free-trade policies, which Trump argues has led to the outsourcing of U.S. jobs.
Trump has broken with Republican foreign policy orthodoxy in just about every area, calling for an end to oil shipments from Saudi Arabia, arguing the U.S. should consider leaving NATO and suggesting that Japan and South Korea go nuclear.
The suggestions have unnerved leaders around the globe, who have raised questions about Trump and his agenda to Ryan as well as President Obama. more

Forbes Pushes F-22 Revival

 Facing a competitive election battle in a new district, US Rep. Randy Forbes is leading a popular, if improbable, charge to restart production of Lockheed Martin’s F-22 stealth fighter jet.
The longtime Virginia Republican recently spearheaded a proposal for this year’s defense policy bill that would urge the Air Force to look into restarting the F-22 Raptor production line. Although Forbes does not sit on the House Armed Services tactical air and land forces subcommittee, the chairman incorporated Forbes’ language into the subcommittee’s markup, released Tuesday. more

Top general wants more soldiers in Europe

The general nominated to lead U.S. European Command said Thursday the Army should move another combat brigade to Europe to counter Russian aggression and also consider a range of military options that “keep everything on the table.”
U.S. Army Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti told lawmakers that he supports proposals to boost the U.S. Army’s permanent presence in Europe beyond the current force of two brigades despite the strain that might put on the Army and the Pentagon's global forces.
“I understand the services' challenges in terms of ... resources to provide a permanently stationed brigade at this time. But I personally believe a permanently stationed armored brigade in Europe would be best,” Scaparrotti said told the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Scaparrotti, who is currently head of U.S. forces in Korea, was testifying at a confirmation hearing to become the next EUCOM chief, a post that would also make him the Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, or the top commander of the North Atlantic Alliance. If confirmed, he would replace Air Force Gen. Philip Breedlove.
Scaparrotti's comments come as high-level Pentagon officials have begun discussing plans to permanently move one or more Army brigade combat teams back to Europe to shore up allied defenses against the Russians.
Such a move could involve thousands of troops — an average BCT is composed of between 3,000 and 5,000 personnel — and mark the first time in decades that U.S. European Command has increased its footprint on the continent.
For now, EUCOM has only two brigades garrisoned in Europe, both light infantry brigades — the 173rd Airborne out of Vicenza, Italy, and the 2nd Cavalry Regiment in Vilseck, Germany.
Military planners worry that U.S. and NATO forces would be quickly overwhelmed in an unexpected fight against the far larger Russian force aligned along NATO’s eastern border.  more

U.S. split deepens over Putin's intentions in Syria civil war

Russia’s latest military moves in Syria have sharpened divisions within the U.S. administration over whether Russian President Vladimir Putin genuinely backs a U.N.-led initiative to end the civil war or is using the negotiations to mask renewed military support for Syrian President Bashar Assad.
Russia has repositioned artillery near the disputed city of Aleppo, several U.S. officials told Reuters. Despite withdrawing some fixed-wing aircraft in March, Russia has also bolstered its forces in Syria with advanced helicopter gunships, and renewed airstrikes against moderate opposition groups, said U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The Russian reassertion of military backing has prompted some U.S. officials to warn that a failure to respond would be seen by Moscow as a fresh sign of American timidity. That, they say, could encourage Russia to escalate challenges to U.S. and allied militaries through more provocative Russian air and naval maneuvers.
They also contend that a U.S. failure to respond would further damage Washington’s relations with Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states seeking to oust Assad, and with Turkey, which has been firing artillery at Islamic State targets in Syria.
The answer, they argue, is stepped-up U.S. support for moderate Syrian rebel factions with more anti-tank missiles and grenade launchers sent through third countries.

However, other officials, including National Security Advisor Susan Rice, have vetoed any significant escalation of U.S. involvement in Syria, the officials said. more

First Female Combatant Commander Nominee May Get Quick Confirmation

Air Force Gen. Lori Robinson on Thursday appeared headed to swift confirmation as the first woman to head a combatant command as the next dual-hat commander of U.S. Northern Command and the North American Aerospace Defense Command.
"I look forward to moving your nominations through the U.S. Senate," Sen. John McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, told both Robinson and Army Gen. Curtis M. Scaparrotti, the nominee to be the next Supreme Allied Commander of NATO and U.S. European Command, at the end of their joint confirmation hearing.
Sen. Thom Tillis, a North Carolina Republican, and Sen. Tom Cotton, an Arkansas Republican, also pledged to support both nominations. Sen. Jack Reed of Rhode Island, the ranking SASC Democrat, told Robinson, currently commander of U.S. Pacific Air Forces, that in addition to her new responsibilities "you will also make a bit of history as the first female to lead a U.S. combatant command."
To meet the concerns of McCain and several other committee members, Robinson said one her first actions, if confirmed, would be to go to the Mexican border to gauge how the command could contribute to the efforts of the Department of Homeland Security in stopping the flow of "black tar" heroin into the U.S.  more

Thursday, April 21, 2016

MQ-XX UAV Installed on First Aircraft Carrier

USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) marked a historical milestone April 13 after installing the first unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) command center aboard an aircraft carrier.

Capt. Beau Duarte, program manager of Unmanned Carrier Aviation program office (PMA-268), inspected the site and recognized Carl Vinson Sailors instrumental in the security, logistics and installation of the UAV suite.

"This marks the start of a phased implementation of the MQ-XX system on an aircraft carrier," said Duarte. "The lessons learned and ground-breaking work done here will go on to inform and influence future installations on other aircraft carriers."

The UAV ready room was installed during USS Carl Vinson's recent Chief of Naval Operations Planned Incremental Availability (PIA). The completion of all phases of installation is scheduled for 2022.

"We are carving out precious real estate on board the carrier, knowing that the carrier of the future will have manned and unmanned systems on it," said Capt. Karl Thomas, Carl Vinson's commanding officer. "This suite is an incremental step necessary to extend performance, efficiency and enhance safety of aerial refueling and reconnaissance missions that are expending valuable flight hours on our strike-fighter aircraft, the F/A-18 Echoes and Foxtrots."

The MQ-XX program will deliver a high-endurance unmanned aircraft that will replace today's F/A-18E/F aircraft in its role as the aerial tanker for the Navy's carrier air wing (CVW), thus preserving the strike fighter's flight hours for its primary mission. It will also leverage the range and payload capacity of high-endurance unmanned aircraft to provide critically needed, persistent, sea-based ISR capability in support of the CSG and the Joint Forces Commander. The MQ-XX is scheduled to be operational in the mid-2020s.

"Having a UAV asset that provides persistent, potentially 24/7, surveillance coverage for the strike group is a game changer," said Commander, Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 1, Rear Adm. James Loeblein. "Putting additional ISR capacity into the warfare commander's hands increases the flexibility and warfare capability of the entire strike group."

Navy Scientists, Engineers Develop Dive Buddy to Assist Divers

Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City Division scientists and engineers collaborated with the Naval Post Graduate School to develop a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) as a tool to aid U.S. Navy divers in navigation, communication, search and transportation.

The up-and-coming device is known as the Dive Buddy Remotely Operated Vehicle (DBROV). The Dive Buddy is a purpose-built hybrid vehicle that can be operated as a ROV, a Diver Propulsion Vehicle (DPV), an Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV), or any combination of the three.

Lee Cofer, NSWC PCD electronics engineer and Dive Buddy project lead, said the DBROV has a variety of beneficial aspects, which will significantly improve efficiency and effectiveness of divers' assignments.

"I believe all Navy diving will benefit from the Dive Buddy, in particular, expeditionary diving," said Cofer.

Cofer said the Dive Buddy was created to fulfill the need for a fly-away, agile base unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) platform with autonomous capabilities that is scalable and adaptable to the diver's needs. Also, there is a need for a platform to have the ability to be outfitted with equipment and sensors that divers need for their specific mission at hand.

The DBROV is able to carry backup life-support systems, tools, items of interest, perform dive site reconnaissance and tagging, navigate and transport the diver to dive sites, perform small area searches, provide forward looking sonar information and voice/video/data communications to the surface.

During the process of developing the DBROV, the team of Navy scientists and engineers met with divers and individuals in the Navy diving community to get their input about what functions they need in a system.

Cofer refers to the need for such an unmanned system capability as three-pronged.

"The first need is for a system that can aid in decision support by providing dive supervisors and their teams with real-time sensor feeds providing information on critical aspects of their underwater mission," Cofer said. "The final is the human and machine teaming aspect that multiplies the diver's effectiveness."

Cofer added, while the diver is the most critical and capable component in a dive mission, some tasks that are simple and/or repetitive, can be assisted by or offloaded to an unmanned system. By doing this, there is better utilization of the limited bottom time of the diver for the more complex tasks that require greater agility.

The DBROV will not only increase diver safety, but it provides decision support through harvesting a greater situational awareness and command and control for dive supervisors. Command and control is part of a three-tier technology pillar for Initial Response Diving, which also includes thermal management and decompression support. According to Cofer, it is beneficial for the fleet to use this system.

"Navy capability for subsea human intervention that is rapid, low cost, and safe is extremely limited yet critical for all domain access, maritime security, power projection and sea control missions," said Cofer. "Divers are necessary for these missions until the situational awareness, adaptability, agility and dexterity of a diver is duplicated in machines, likely decades from now. Meanwhile, unmanned systems are needed to sustain the Navy's undersea asymmetric advantage. Addressing these operations by teaming divers with a specialized UUV has potential to safely achieve greater capability while addressing numerous documented mission needs."

Examples of missions the DBROV would be useful include disabled submarine escape assessment or assistance and recovery of classified debris before they are reached by hostile forces.

In closing, Cofer stressed the significance of the Dive Buddy development, but explained it is not a replacement for human interaction.

"DBROV is not a replacement for a diver, but a tool in their tool belt," Cofer said. "The DBROV/diver relationship is an example of human and machine symbiosis."

All manufacturing of the Dive Buddy is completed in-house at NSWC PCD. Along with benefiting the fleet, this project was used as an innovative mentorship tool to allow seasoned scientists and engineers to foster learning with the up and coming workforce.

The DBROV efforts are part of the Navy Innovative Science and Engineering (NISE) program, a sub effort of the Office of Naval Research's N-STAR program. The program was established to seek, build and maintain a robust science and technology workforce within the Naval Research Enterprise. The program consists of a broad consortium of naval warfare S&T elements throughout the Department of Navy.

After developing the DBROV project for over three years thus far, Cofer and his team are set to brief attendees about DBROV at NISE/219 demonstration at the Pentagon April 21, 2016. In addition, water testing is scheduled to begin during the summer of 2016 with a demonstration by the end of this fiscal year.

U.S., Allied Divers Highlight Interoperability in Finding, Neutralizing Mines

Divers from five nations are training together to identify and neutralize mines and other threats in order to ensure the waterways in the Middle East remain safe for commercial shipping.

Explosive ordnance disposal teams from Kuwait, France, the Netherlands, Germany, and the U.S. are conducting a series of drills to address some of the biggest notional threats to maritime commerce as part of the International Mine Countermeasures Exercise (IMCMEX).

IMCMEX includes navies from more than 30 countries spanning six continents training together across the Middle East. The exercise is focused on maritime security -- from mine countermeasures, maritime infrastructure protection, and maritime security operations -- in support of civilian shipping and freedom of navigation.

"IMCMEX brings together a different variety of coalition partners," said German navy Cmdr. Mario Fink, from Kiel, Germany, who is commanding the IMCMEX task force in Kuwait. "Working together to know the ability of the different nations and to be familiar with circumstances of this very important area is an important goal of IMCMEX."

Vice Adm. Kevin Donegan, commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, visited the operations April 14 and toured with Maj. Gen. Khaled Abdullah, commander of Kuwait's Naval Forces.

"This exercise is about enhancing cooperation, maritime capabilities and interoperability between international partners," said Donegan. "This exercise provides an opportunity for us to build proficiency and test the latest technology available for ensuring the global maritime commons stay open and secure."

Kuwaiti dive teams are conducting training with U.S. and partner nations throughout IMCMEX to include medical and harbor security operations.

French navy Lt. Cmdr. Patrick Bontemps, from Lyon, France, led a vehicle-born improvised explosive device engagement and neutralization, highlighting the importance of training together.

"We participate in IMCEX to improve our training level in different contexts so that when there are dangers we are used to facing them," said Bontemps. "We are also here to improve interoperability between nations."

"It's the big picture - the navy is here to protect our merchant shipping," added Dutch navy Lt. Cmdr. Lodewijk de Waard from Rhenen, Netherlands, who led the demonstrations for Donegan and Abdullah. "If our merchant shipping is threatened we have to protect them. If it deals with mines or improvised mines, it is a job for our unit in the Netherlands and the international community. We do a lot of trade with the countries out here -- it is important for us to be ready to deploy with a united response."

IMCMEX will continue through April 26.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Guard and Reserve Support US Army Europe Mission

"The reserve component is like oxygen for what we're trying to do," said U.S. Army Europe Commander Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges. What U.S. Army Europe is trying to do is keep the foothold in Europe strong using the U.S. Army Reserve and National Guard as they face a major drawdown that has spread active duty personnel "paper-thin."

"We've only got 30,000, we've got to make it look and feel like 300,000," said Hodges. In order to achieve this goal with the loss of thousands of active duty Soldiers in Europe, the Guard and Reserve plays a vital role in the defense of Europe. Without the reserve component, a term including both the National Guard and Army Reserve, the mission in the theater could not be met, said Hodges.

The reserve component Soldiers participate in multinational training exercises that range from construction projects to unified land operation exercises in countries throughout Europe as a part of Operation Atlantic Resolve and the State Partnership Program. Atlantic Resolve began in 2014 as a demonstration of the continued U.S. commitment to stability is Europe in light of Russian intervention in Ukraine.

"We're delivering the absolute right training at the right time to deliver the right effects for the Ukrainian Armed Forces," said Maj. Gen. Matthew Beevers, the Adjutant General of the California National Guard. He added that training with their counterparts is mutually beneficial for his Soldiers. "It's the absolute best training that we can have short of combat. They know the work that they're doing is hugely important to stop Russian aggression on the eastern flank of NATO."
The California National Guard and Ukraine are partnered through the National Guard's State Partnership Program. The over 20-year-old program now includes 70 partnerships between U.S. states and foreign militaries. Twenty-two of these countries are in the USAREUR area of responsibility.

The Illinois National Guard's 23-year relationship with Poland is another of these key partnerships that will be integral to USAREUR's mission.

"We have this immense connection, network and relationships with Poland. We can be a strong enabler because we have these relationships that span not only the military, but also their civilian leaders in their country," said Maj. Gen. Richard J. Hayes Jr., Adjutant General of the Illinois National Guard. This, and other relationships cultivated through the SPP, are integral in annual exercises like the upcoming Exercise Anakonda 2016 in June. The exercise is a Polish National exercise that will involve about 400 Illinois National Guard Soldiers, and more than 24 countries and 25,000 participants.

In addition to the number of personnel and the unique relationships they have cultivated, the reserve component Soldiers also bring unique capabilities to the table.

"I would have had zero engineers if not for Alabama -- exact same thing for Tennessee. I would have zero engineers doing anything there if not for the Guard doing five sequential Annual Training rotations," said Hodges after last year's Exercise Resolute Castle in Romania and Bulgaria.

This year the Alabama and Tennessee National Guard Engineers are partnered with Army Reservists and Active Army Engineers for the exercise that includes more than 1,500 participants. They will focus on improving shooting ranges in Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, and Estonia.

"I believe that the U.S. Army has a lot to contribute to other countries, and that the Romanians have potential to help improve our military assets as much as we could theirs," Spc. William Hughes, a Technical Engineer with the 1305th Engineer Team of the Alabama National Guard. "By understanding one another and finding a common ground through training together in real-world missions, we are setting everyone involved up for success said Hughes. He is excited to participate Exercise Resolute Castle this year.

Beevers agreed that these multinational exercises are mutually beneficial.

"It's a win-win for everybody," said Beevers. "It makes good on General Hodges' promise of making 30,000 look like 300,000 and also on the Strong Europe concept. We are also able to deliver retention and great training value for our Soldiers."

House Proposal Would Reverse Planned Army Troop Cuts

Planned Army troop cuts would be reversed under a measure that has the backing of the House Armed Services Committee.
U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colorado Springs, said the committee-backed plan would also block a Pentagon proposal to close military bases, boost space spending and halt proposed cuts to missile defense programs.
Lamborn, who sits on the committee, said Tuesday that blocking troop cuts is key to keeping the nation safe.
"We live in a dangerous world and American strength deters the bad actors," said Lamborn, who faces Democrat and GOP foes in his bid for a sixth term.
The House version of the 2017 defense plan will head to the Senate for consideration.
The Army planned to cut its active-duty forces to 450,000 by 2017 as part of a Pentagon belt-tightening plan. That's down from a wartime height of 520,000 soldiers in 2012.
The House committee voted to hold Army rosters at 480,000 soldiers next year, according to an agreed version of the National Defense Authorization Act released Tuesday. more

House Lawmakers Want Air Force to Study Restarting F-22 Production

Republicans on a key defense committee in the U.S. House of Representatives want the Air Force to study the cost of restarting production of the F-22 fighter jet.
The House Armed Services Committee’s Tactical Air and Land Forces Subcommittee, headed by Rep. Mike Turner, a Republican from Ohio, on Tuesday proposed legislation that would direct Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James "to conduct a comprehensive assessment and study of the costs associated with resuming production of F-22 aircraft," according to a copy of the bill posted online.
Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates in 2009 had famously led the charge to stop production of the F-22 Raptor, a fifth-generation stealth fighter made by Lockheed Martin Corp., after 187 aircraft were produced at a cost of $67 billion. (The last aircraft was delivered in 2012.)
In his 2014 memoirs, "Duty," Gates noted that former Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. T. Michael Moseley and former Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne had repeatedly lobbied him to support funding for a new stealth bomber or more F-22s, even though at the time the U.S. was engaged in irregular warfare in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"Nearly every time Moseley and Air Force Secretary Mike Wynne came to see me, it was about a new bomber or more F-22s," he wrote. "Both were important capabilities for the future, but neither would play any part in the wars we were already in."
Lawmakers and Pentagon officials have since noted with alarm the improving air defenses of countries such as Russia and China. more

McCain Blasts Trump at Hearing

President Barack Obama's choice to lead U.S. forces in South Korea strongly endorsed the placement of a missile defense system on the peninsula at a Senate confirmation hearing that turned critical of Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump.
At the Tuesday morning hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Army Gen. Vincent K. Brooks, the current commander of U.S. Army Pacific, said that positioning the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, anti-missile system in South Korea would be a "critical step in providing a further layer of defense" against the growing North Korean nuclear threat.
Without mentioning Trump by name, Sen. John McCain, the panel's chairman, then used his question period to draw out Brooks on the multi-billion dollar contributions the Seoul government makes to support the presence U.S. forces in South Korea, including paying about half of the troops' salaries.
On the campaign trail last month, Trump said, "We take care of Japan, we take care of South Korea" and "we get virtually nothing" in return. As president, Trump said he would renegotiate or scrap the treaties under which the U.S. bases about 50,000 troops in Japan and 28,000 in South Korea.
Brooks agreed with McCain, an Arizona Republican, that South Korea currently pays about 50 percent of the personnel costs of U.S. troops in South Korea, amounting to about $808 million a year.
The general also agreed with McCain's estimate that South Korea was paying for more than 90 percent of the projected $10.8 billion cost for the plan to relocate U.S. forces from near the De-Militarized Zone to Camp Humphreys south of Seoul. "They carry 92 cents on the dollar -- absolutely," Brooks said of South Korea's contribution to the Camp Humphreys move. more

Navy Tests High Frequency Distribution Amplifier Group at Sea

Sailors aboard the Pre-Commissioning Unit John P. Murtha (LPD 26) successfully tested the Navy's first High Frequency Distribution Amplifier Group (HF DAG) system during Builder's Sea Trials March 1-3 and Acceptance Sea Trials April 13-15 in the Gulf of Mexico.

During these trials, the HF DAG system successfully transmitted and received transmissions between LPD 26 antennas and established contact with other vessels, such as the USS Montgomery (LCS 8) afloat. In addition, communication with naval shore stations more than 200 miles away in Mayport, Florida, proved the dependability of the system.

"The John P. Murtha is leading the Navy by employing this new communications system and that is ground breaking," said Lt. Jonathan Saewert, LPD 26 Combat Systems officer. "When coupled with other radio gear, we have double the radio capability of a typical Navy ship."

HF DAG is a user-friendly system that utilizes touch screen technology compatibility with commercial equipment, which saves the military substantial financial cost, Saewert said. The Navy will not have to develop a unique system to accomplish the same task.

"Previously, a Sailor on watch could only listen to one channel at a time on a single radio," Saewert said. "Now, with HF DAG in conjunction with other radio gear, the Sailor can listen and monitor four channels at one time on four different radios. It's keeping our Sailors at the forefront of technology."

Nathaniel Panis, HF DAG In-Service Engineer attached to Space and Naval Warfare Command and who assisted in the Builder's Sea Trials, said several types of communications methods are employed by the military.

One example is digital mobile radio (DMR), which provides multiple wavelength, waveforms and information security for voice and data communications.

"We accomplished the Navy's first afloat over-the-air transmission through several series of rigorous testing," Panis said. "HF DAG uses DMR, ultra-high frequency (UHF), very high frequency (VHF), line of sight and satellite radio technologies, so the combining of all these is very beneficial effective naval communication."

Ensign Eric Barkley, LPD 26 information systems officer, said these events are a clear victory for John P. Murtha.

"We had an incredible amount of shipwide testing during these Builders Sea Trials and Acceptance Sea Trials - the HF DAG test was without a doubt a complete success," he said. "We are saving space on the ship with less equipment performing more efficiently and saving the Navy money with increased capability with this cutting-edge technology."

John P. Murtha will commission later this fall.

Monday, April 18, 2016

This is where American Special Operations forces are helping advise U.S. allies

Below is a list of countries where the Pentagon has acknowledged the presence of U.S.-led “advise, assist and accompany” missions in recent years and a brief description of operations in those countries. This list is not exhaustive. more

The Philippines at Forefront of New Pentagon Maritime Security Initiative

The Pentagon recently began funding maritime security projects with countries in the South China Sea aimed at giving them the capability to monitor activities in their territorial waters and air space amidst concerns of regional Chinese expansion.
Defense Secretary Ash Carter said the department recently released funding under the Maritime Security Initiative, which totals $425 million total over five years. Nearly 85 percent of this year’s funding, about $42 million of $50 million total, will go to the Philippines, where Carter was last week in announcing several steps being taken to bring the two nations closer together.
During a press conference, Carter said that China’s actions in the South China Sea are causing anxiety among regional partners and said the projects within the Maritime Security Initiative are meant to boost individual countries’ capabilities and improve overall regional security.
“Countries across the Asia-Pacific are voicing concern with China’s land reclamation, which stands out in size and scope, as well as its militarization in the South China Sea,” he said.
“They’re voicing those concerns publicly and privately, at the highest levels, in regional meetings and also in global fora. And many of those countries, both longstanding allies and new partners are reaching out anew to the United States to uphold the rules and principles that have allowed the region to thrive for some many decades. more

Marines to rotate through the Philippines

The massive Balikatan military exercise in the Philippines may have ended, but a small number of Marines are staying in the country.
About 80 Marines from the III Marine Expeditionary Brigade are part of a small U.S. military force that will remain in the Philippines on a rotational basis, said Maj. Christopher Logan, a spokesman for Marine Corps Forces, Pacific.
“This team will support increased operations, activities, and actions in the region and will enhance our combined C2 capabilities,” Logan said in an email to Marine Corps Times. ”By improving our combined command and control, we will better enable future defense cooperation and further enhance the Armed Forces of the Philippines' capability development.” more

AFSPC Commander announces Space Enterprise Vision

General John Hyten, commander of Air Force Space Command, announced the command's Space Enterprise Vision last week. The SEV is the result of an AFSPC-commissioned study that looked at how to make the nation's national security space enterprise more resilient.
The August 2015 SEV study addressed the findings of several previous studies that identified the U.S. space enterprise is not resilient enough to be successful in a conflict that extends to space. The SEV also recognizes that acquisition and programmatic decisions can no longer occur in mission area stovepipes, but must instead be driven by an overarching space mission enterprise context.
"In the recent past, the United States enjoyed unchallenged freedom of action in the space domain," said General Hyten.
"Most U.S. military space systems were not designed with threats in mind, and were built for long-term functionality and efficiency, with systems operating for decades in some cases. Without the need to factor in threats, longevity and cost were the critical factors to design and these factors were applied in a mission stovepipe. This is no longer an adequate methodology to equip space forces."  more

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Race for Latest Class of Nuclear Arms Threatens to Revive Cold War

The United States, Russia and China are now aggressively pursuing a new generation of smaller, less destructive nuclear weapons. The buildups threaten to revive a Cold War-era arms race and unsettle the balance of destructive force among nations that has kept the nuclear peace for more than a half-century.
It is, in large measure, an old dynamic playing out in new form as an economically declining Russia, a rising China and an uncertain United States resume their one-upmanship.
American officials largely blame the Russian president, Vladimir V. Putin, saying his intransigence has stymied efforts to build on a 2010 arms control treaty and further shrink the arsenals of the two largest nuclear powers. Some blame the Chinese, who are looking for a technological edge to keep the United States at bay. And some blame the United States itself for speeding ahead with a nuclear “modernization” that, in the name of improving safety and reliability, risks throwing fuel on the fire.
President Obama acknowledged that danger at the end of the Nuclear Security Summit meeting in Washington early this month.  more

Friday, April 15, 2016

Northrop's Mystery Bomber Bid May Trigger Review

Northrop Grumman Corp.’s winning bid to develop and build the U.S. military’s next-generation bomber was “substantially below” independent Pentagon and Air Force agency estimates, so Congress may seek to review their methodologies, according to a Congressional Research Service assessment.
Despite a request from Senator John McCain, the Air Force has refused to release the winning contract amount. It did, however, reduce its latest five-year bomber budget by $3.5 billion, citing the lower bid. The Air Force and Pentagon’s in-house independent cost assessment agencies estimated a $23.5 billion development phase, that includes the Northrop contract, plus $56 billion on procurement -- or about $564 million for each bomber in 2016 dollars.
Defense committees may want to review the independent cost estimating “to understand why the estimated cost was significantly higher than the actual bid,” it said. In addition, Congress may “wish to use its oversight mechanisms to verify that the contract can be executed at the price bid” because “some contractors have been accused of bidding unrealistically low prices to win a given contract, then using their incumbency to appeal for higher appropriations.” more

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

US Air Campaign Hits ISIS, Inflicts Military and Financial Setbacks

American airstrikes have killed 25,000 Islamic State fighters in Iraq and Syria and incinerated millions of dollars plundered by the militants, according to Pentagon officials.
Iraqi and Kurdish forces have taken back 40 percent of the militant group’s land in Iraq, the officials say, and forces backed by the West have seized a sizable amount of territory in Syria that had been controlled by the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL.
But the battlefield successes enjoyed by Western-backed forces in the Islamic State’s heartland have done little to stop the expansion of the militants to Europe, North Africa and Afghanistan. The attacks this year in Brussels, Istanbul and other cities only reinforced the sense of a terrorist group on the march, and among American officials and military experts, there is renewed caution in predicting progress in a fight that they say is likely to go on for years.
“Even as we advance our efforts to defeat Daesh on the front lines,” Deputy Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken told a congressional committee on Tuesday, using another name for the Islamic State, “we know that to be fully effective, we must work to prevent the spread of violent extremism in the first place — to stop the recruitment, radicalization and mobilization of people, especially young people, to engage in terrorist activities.”
Instead of engaging a pseudo-state in the Middle East whose fighters have proved susceptible to American airpower, the United States and its European allies must now also engage in a far more complex struggle against homegrown militants who need relatively few resources to sow bloodshed in the West. more

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Air Force Drone Squadrons Become Attack Squadrons

The Air Force recently approved two initiatives for the remotely piloted aircraft career field. First, eight RPA reconnaissance squadrons will be redesignated as attack squadrons. Second, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III authorized RPA aircrews to log combat time when flying an aircraft within designated hostile airspace, regardless of the aircrew's physical location.

The changes were two of many recommendations that emerged as part of Air Combat Command's Culture and Process Improvement Program, which seeks to address a number of issues affecting operations and the morale and welfare of Airmen across the RPA enterprise.

"The Airmen who perform this essential mission do a phenomenal job, but we learned from the RPA pilots, sensor operators and their leaders that these Airmen are under significant stress from an unrelenting pace of operations,” said Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James. “CPIP was established to help stabilize the RPA enterprise. These policy changes are steps toward addressing issues highlighted by RPA operators in the field."

The redesignation will affect the names, but not the core missions of RPA squadrons at Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico; Whiteman AFB, Missouri; and Creech AFB, Nevada. These units, consisting of approximately 600 officers and 700 enlisted Airmen, will continue to provide real-time intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance to commanders, close air support to ground troops, and post-operation battle damage assessment to senior leaders.

Previously, squadrons consisting of MQ-9 Reaper aircraft were designated attack squadrons, while squadrons of MQ-1 Predator aircraft were designated reconnaissance squadrons. The redesignation anticipates the Air Force's ongoing transition to an all MQ-9 fleet and acknowledges the capability of these units to support military operations that can include strikes against targets. The cost of the redesignation is minimal, mostly affecting signs, stationary and other local items that display the unit's name or emblem.

"Aerial warfare continues to evolve. Our great RPA Airmen are leading that change. They are in the fight every day," Welsh said. "These policy changes recognize the burdens they bear in providing combat effects for joint warfighters around the world."

Since their first employment over the Balkans, Air Force RPAs have been in high demand, according to Air Force senior leaders. This has led to rapid expansion of both the number of squadrons and the number of operators.

Unique organizational structures and names evolved during this time, and the Air Force is now taking steps to standardize operations and improve conditions for operators.

The RPA mission "is instrumental to achieving decision advantage against our enemies, is an indispensable asset to our national security, and is the backbone to the success of our fights in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, and other areas combating extremism and terrorism," Gen. Hawk Carlisle, commander of ACC, said March 16 in his testimony to the U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Services. "The Air Force is fully invested in continuing to achieve sustainability of this enterprise."

The Air Force reduced the number of combat lines to 60, from 65 in 2015. They also increased incentive retention pay for pilots to $25,000, matching incentive pay for rated pilots in other airframes.

ACC is expanding the training pipeline for operators, creating a more robust force and decreasing the current operational tempo. A combat operations-to-dwell ratio of 2:1 will provide Airmen predictable schedules, improve work-life balance, enable further professional development, offer increased training opportunities, and ultimately improve readiness, according to Col. Jeffry Long, ACC's director of CPIP.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Air Force, Navy Mull Integrating Global Hawk, Triton Drones

The U.S. Air Force and Navy are looking at ways to boost surveillance and intelligence gathering by integrating two very similar drones — the Air Force’s RQ-4 Global Hawk and the Navy’s MQ-4C Triton.
“Clearly it’s a common platform. I think there are opportunities,” Air Force Gen. Frank Gorenc, commander of U.S. Air Forces in Europe, told reporters this week.
Gorenc, who spoke during a breakfast with defense reporters on Tuesday in Washington, D.C., said he wants to learn about ways to integrate the two remotely piloted aircraft systems.
Northup Grumman Corp. makes both variants of the drone. The intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft have identical airframes, including the same wingspan, length and height, the same maximum takeoff weight of 32,250 pounds and same 60,000-foot ceiling. more

Navy May Pick One Type of Littoral Combat Ship Earlier Than Planned

The U.S. Navy is moving forward with plans to reduce its littoral combat ship buy by 12 ships, and a down-select to just one variant may happen ahead of schedule, the top brass told a Senate panel Wednesday.
In written testimony submitted to the Senate Armed Services Committee, Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Integration of Capabilities and Resources Vice Adm. Joseph Mulloy and Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development, and Acquisition Sean Stackley said the selection to a single shipbuilder, scheduled for fiscal 2019, could happen as early as fiscal 2018, depending on the proposed design for the future frigate and modifications to the LCS block-buy.
The revised timeframe, they said, could also accelerate delivery of the frigate, which will include LCS upgrades to enhances its survivability and equip it with over-the-horizon surface-to-surface missiles. Currently, contracting for the future frigate is expected to begin in 2019.
The Navy was ordered to reduce its LCS buy in December by Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, who sent a memo chiding the service for overinvesting in the small surface combatants at the expense of weapons and aircraft. The president’s fiscal 2017 budget submission was designed around plans to purchase just 40 LCS/frigates as Carter had directed, rather than the 52 the Navy had originally expected to buy.
The Navy is now estimating to spend almost $30 billion -- $28.9 billion -- to buy 40 of the vessels, down from a previously planned quantity of 55 ships, according to recently released budget documents. more

Air Force Moving Forward With A-10 Replacement Option

The Air Force is moving forward with a key step in developing a dedicated close-air support plane to replace the A-10 Warthog, a top general said Thursday.
“My requirements guys are in the process of building a draft requirements document for a follow-on CAS airplane,” Lt. Gen. Mike Holmes, the deputy chief of staff for strategic plans and requirements, said. “It’s interesting work that at some point we’ll be able to talk with you a little bit more.”
Defining the requirement is the first concrete step toward potentially developing a replacement A-10 for the close-air support mission, often dubbed A-X. The Air Force has been studying the idea of a procuring single-role A-X for at least a year now, hosting a joint-service summit in March, 2015, to work out options for the close-air support, or CAS, mission. more

USAF backs off sixth-gen 'fighter' in quest for air supremacyThe US Air Force will begin an extensive campaign of prototyping and experimentation relating to new air superiority technologies, including new aircraft types, after completing a wide-ranging examination of future air battle concepts and weaponry.

The US Air Force will begin an extensive campaign of prototyping and experimentation relating to new air superiority technologies, including new aircraft types, after completing a wide-ranging examination of future air battle concepts and weaponry.
According to service officials, there’s no “silver bullet” or “exquisite” next-generation fighter jet that will single-handedly evade and counter the types of surface-to-air, air-to-air, anti-satellite, electronic attack and cyber threats that are springing up around the world, particularly if going up against a nuclear-armed state like Russia or China.
Instead, the air force will proceed with many parallel technology development efforts, like new propulsion systems, airframes, directed energy weapons and hypersonic missiles, to develop a “family of systems” – including longer-range, higher-payload platforms to launch volleys of weapons at targets from “standoff” distances and others that will swoop in for direct attacks. more

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

U.S. Air Force Preparing for ‘High Volume’ Operations in Europe

The Air Force is looking for additional ways to prepare for a potential war against an advanced adversary in Europe, a top commander said April 5.

The efforts come at a time of heighted tensions with a resurgent Russia, which has been probing NATO air defenses and deploying forces abroad.

“Another activity which I’m keen on … [is] continuing to develop the airfields, particularly on the eastern side of NATO: the Baltics, Poland, Romania and Bulgaria, and then a couple of other projects elsewhere that would make … an easier place to go to accomplish what I call high-volume/high velocity kind of operations,” Gen. Frank Gorenc, commander U.S Air Forces Europe and Allied Air Command, told reporters at a breakfast in Washington, D.C.

The service needs additional airfields with strong runways, ramps, fuel and weapons storage, he said.

“All of those kinds of things that would allow us to react and to accept force if necessary in order to create an airfield environment where we could generate … sorties [and] combat power from the air as part of the joint campaign,” he said. “My focus and my concern is to make sure that we have the available infrastructure to accept incoming rotational forces, or if something happens on a large scale … that we would have the ability to bed down all of the aircraft, or any kind of reinforcement that comes into Europe.”

The Air Force is also looking at utilizing under-developed airfields in the event of conflict as part of its Rapid-X initiative.

“Rapid-X is basically the idea that we’re going to deploy airplanes in a very agile and quick way to accommodate missions maybe from bases that don’t necessarily have the full infrastructure,” Gorenc said. For example, “we would bring in four aircraft and then go ahead and rearm them and maintain them and then they go fly another mission, and then we leave that base.”

“That’s important to make sure that we’re able to fully explore all of the locations that are available to us in Europe, maybe not in a robust way as we would … a big base with lots of infrastructure, but to be able to take advantage and create challenges for any potential adversary with respect to being able to interrupt our operations,” he added.

Officials are eyeing eastern and southern Europe as areas where those types of makeshift bases could potentially be located, he said. 


F-35’s UK Debut: A Warning to Russia?

international debut of the F-35 joint strike fighter at two major air shows in the United Kingdom this year will send a pointed warning to bad actors in the region, according to the commander of US Air Forces in Europe.
Although he did not mention Russia by name in the context of the F-35, Gen. Frank Gorenc, NATO commander and head of USAFE, said the JSF’s planned appearance at the Royal International Air Tattoo and Farnborough air shows this summer will demonstrate the United States’ credibility, capability and willingness to retaliate against hostile forces.
“Fundamentally, deterrence is credibility, capability and willingness,” Gorenc said during an April 5 Defense Writers Group event in Washington. “That airplane is going to make what we do from the air and across the board — it will in itself help" boost deterrence. more

F-35 Debut in UK This Year is 'Real'

Two years after being a no-show at major air shows in England, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is once again on the event schedule and gearing up to make its long-awaited international debut.
Gen. Frank Gorenc, commander of U.S. Air Forces in Europe, says the plane's presence at the Royal International Air Tattoo from July 8-10 in Gloucestershire and at the Farnborough International Air Show from July 11-17 outside London will show the partner countries that the stealthy fifth-generation fighter jet "is real."
"What it's going to do for the European allies is reinforce the idea that we're talking about a real piece of equipment," Gorenc said during a breakfast with defense reporters on Tuesday in Washington, D.C.
"We talk about a lot of these platforms in concept," he added. "To actually see it, I think, is an important step in the procurement of that airplane and a reinforcement that what we have is real."
Britain wants to buy nearly 140 of the planes, representing the largest planned international F-35 order.
It's one of eight countries that have committed to help develop the F-35, including the U.K., Italy, the Netherlands, Turkey, Canada, Australia, Denmark and Norway. Also, Israel, Japan and South Korea plan to buy production models of the aircraft. more

Kevlar or Plastic? New Armor Lighter, Provides Same Protection

Lightweight plastic body armor will replace Kevlar-based protective equipment used by U.S. troops in 2019.
The new Torso and Extremities Protection system, which has been undergoing field testing at bases across the U.S., weighs about 23 pounds -- 25 percent lighter than gear worn today, said Lt. Col. Kathy Brown, a program manager for Soldier Protection and Individual Equipment at Program Executive Office Soldier.
"We are looking at further developing the system," she said. "We think we can lose more weight."
It's unclear exactly how much the new gear will cost; however, Brown said it will be cheaper than the current equipment and offer the same level of protection.
The new armor is designed to offer maximum flexibility and mobility, she said. It can be scaled up or down depending on the mission so troops working in less-risky environments can wear less cumbersome gear, said Doug Graham, PEO Soldier spokesman.
"You can look at your mission and wear as much as you need," he said. "That will allow you to adjust the weight you are carrying to fit what you will be doing."
For lower-risk missions, troops can wear a ballistic combat shirt, which protects the upper back, chest, neck and arms, under their jackets, he said. If a threat increases, they can add more protection, such as ceramic plates and a tactical carrier. more

Carter To Reshape US Military: Goldwater-Nichols II

After more than 15 years of discussion, sharpened recently by the grim realities of complex wars and terror threats, the Pentagon and Congress are poised to remake the laws and policies that govern the U.S. military, known as Title X and Goldwater-Nichols.
Donald Rumsfeld and Congress were poised to start that process when a group of terrorists attacked the United States on September 11, 2001. Then came the Afghan, Iraq and other smaller wars. Now, 30 years after the passage of the Goldwater-Nichols Act, Defense Secretary Ash Carter has delivered a major address today in which he unveiled the first moves to revamp how the US military fights and who has authority to do what. more

Monday, April 4, 2016

Women in Combat Jobs Will Improve Army

Despite some initial challenges, allowing female soldiers to serve in combat jobs that have long been closed to women should ultimately "make the Army stronger," the top general at Fort Stewart said Friday.
Maj. Gen. Jim Rainey, commander of the Army's 3rd Infantry Division, discussed the upcoming change during a question-and-answer session with reporters at the southeast Georgia Army post. Along with the rest of the Army, Fort Stewart is preparing to begin integrating women into infantry and armor units possibly before the end of the year.
Rainey noted that the Army already has women serving in battlefield roles as aviators, combat engineers and in field artillery units. He said he expects any resistance from male troops to be short-lived.
"There are women in combat now," Rainey said. "So this isn't like something we've never done and don't know how to do."
As long as the right soldiers are chosen for the right jobs, based on their abilities, he said, "I think it's going to make the Army stronger in the long run."
Rainey has about 15,000 soldiers under his command in the 3rd Infantry, which served multiple combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, and about 21,900 troops total at Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield in nearby Savannah. Roughly 15 percent of those soldiers are women.
The Army first plans to assign female officers to now all-male infantry and armor units before admitting enlisted women. The first officers are expected to start training in June. Fort Stewart officials say at the earliest they could begin arriving here before the end of this year.
The Army plans for female enlisted soldiers to start joining ground combat units in mid-2017. more

Laser cloaking device could help us hide from aliens

Hawking and others are concerned that extraterrestrials might wish to take advantage of the Earth's resources, and that their visit, rather than being benign, could be as devastating as when Europeans first travelled to the Americas.
The two authors of the new study suggest that transits could be masked by controlled laser emission, with the beam directed at the star where the aliens might live. When the transit takes place, the laser would be switched on to compensate for the dip in light.According to the authors, emitting a continuous 30 MW laser for about 10 hours, once a year, would be enough to eliminate the transit signal, at least in visible light.The energy needed is comparable to that collected by the International Space Station in a year. A chromatic cloak, effective at all wavelengths, is more challenging, and would need a large array of tuneable lasers with a total power of 250 MW."Alternatively, we could cloak only the atmospheric signatures associated with biological activity, such as oxygen, which is achievable with a peak laser power of just 160 kW per transit. To another civilisation, this should make the Earth appear as if life never took hold on our world", said Alex. more

Friday, April 1, 2016

NATO to switch 'assurance to deterrence' in E. Europe

NATO and the United States are switching their defence doctrine from assurance to deterrence in Eastern Europe in response to a "resurgent and aggressive Russia", the top US general in Europe said Thursday.
The comments by General Philip Breedlove in the Latvian capital Riga come a day after the Pentagon said it would begin continuous rotations of an additional armoured brigade of about 4,200 troops in Eastern Europe beginning in early 2017."We are prepared to fight and win if we have to... our focus will expand from assurance to deterrence, including measures that vastly improve our overall readiness," Breedlove said following talks with Baltic region NATO commanders."To the east and north we face a resurgent and aggressive Russia, and as we have continued to witness these last two years, Russia continues to seek to extend its influence on its periphery and beyond." more

Air Guard F-15Cs Preparing European Deployment

Twelve F-15C Eagles and about 350 airmen and support equipment were to begin deploying Friday from their home stations, said Capt. Lauren Ott, a spokeswoman for U.S. Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa. The aircraft and airmen are from the 131st Fighter Squadron at Barnes Air National Guard Base, Mass., and the 194th Fighter Squadron at Fresno Air National Guard Base, Calif.
They are deploying as a Theater Security Package in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve, with the airmen expected to remain in Europe for about six months.
Upon arrival in Europe, the aircraft and airmen will head to separate locations: One group will support the NATO air surveillance mission in Iceland, while the other will conduct flying training at Leeuwarden Air Base, Netherlands. more

SUV Crash Into FA-18E Fighter Jet

The commander of Lemoore Naval Air Station said Thursday "many investigations" will follow a fatal overnight incident in which two people managed to breach security Wednesday night and crash into an FA-18E warplane.
Both occupants of the Jeep, a male driver and a female passenger in the Cherokee died.
The commander, Capt. Monte Ashliman, said neither person who died had any military affiliation and that there is no reason to believe that the naval air station was the target of a terrorist attack. But in a press conference at the base, he did not provide specifics about how the Jeep was able to get past a "control point," and damage the multi-million dollar jet.
Lemoore has a heavily fortified main gate with steel barriers that must be lowered before vehicles can pass into the facility. The gate is guarded by military police armed with assault rifles. Officials indicated that the Jeep did not enter through the gate, but deflected questions about how it reached the jet, which Ashliman was near a runway at the north end of the station, about 7 miles away from the gate. more