Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Two Female Officers Get a Shot at the Army's Green Beret

Two female Army officers have been approved for initial Special Forces training, the first step in the long process to earn the coveted Green Beret, an Army spokeswoman said Monday.
The women are the first female soldiers to be accepted into the Special Forces Assessment and Selection and could report to the three-week program at Fort Bragg, North Carolina as early as October, said Maj. Melody Faulkenberry, a spokeswoman for the Army's John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center.
Defense Secretary Ash Carter's order last year to drop all restrictions on women serving in front-line combat jobs and units paved the way for women to attempt the rigorous training that soldiers must complete before entering Special Forces. The earliest the women could earn the Green Beret and Special Forces tab and be assigned to an Operational Detachment-Alpha would be in 2018, though they have not yet been officially assigned to an SFAS class, Faulkenberry said.  more

Retired Four-Star Marine General Endorses Clinton

The Marine general who succeeded Army Gen. David Petraeus as commander of all coalition forces in Afghanistan publicly endorsed presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton today in a statement released by her campaign.
Retired Gen. John Allen will also speak this week at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, the only four-star general officer to take the stage at either convention this year.
In a statement, Allen said the move marked his first foray into politics, as he had avoided the arena throughout his 37-year military career.
"Given the complexities of issues facing our country today and its longtime allies, I felt compelled to speak up and be heard," Allen said. "I have no doubt that [Clinton] is the leader we need at this time to keep our country safe, and I trust her with that most sacred responsibility of commander-in-chief." more

Air Force Describes Jets' Role in New War

At a time when war with China is talked about as a future possibility, the deputy director for air and cyberspace operations at Pacific Air Forces gave a rare look at how advanced fifth-generation aircraft -- the F-22 Raptor and F-35 Lightning II among them -- could lead the air campaign in a conflict in the region.
Col. Max Marosko, in an article for the Mitchell Institute this month, offered up a war scenario 10 years from now in which several squadrons of the aircraft rapidly deploy and disperse to numerous military and civilian airfields across the Pacific, thwarting an enemy trying to use ballistic or cruise missiles against the forward-deployed aircraft.
Heavy radar and communications jamming confront U.S. and coalition forces, but fifth-generation aircraft leverage their advanced sensors to detect and target enemy aircraft.
As operations continue, it becomes apparent that stealth aircraft like the F-22 and F-35 fighters, as well as B-2 and B-21 bombers, are the only aircraft capable of operating over contested territory due to the large number of adversary mobile surface-to-air missile systems deployed.  more

Monday, July 25, 2016

After Obama's Green Light, Afghan Forces Are on the Offensive

After two years of heavy casualties, the Afghan military is trying to retake the initiative in the war against militants with a new offensive against Islamic State group loyalists, an assault that will see American troops back on the battlefield working more closely with Afghan soldiers.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani recently announced a major assault against fighters loyal to the Islamic State group, who over the past year captured positions along Afghanistan's eastern border with Pakistan, mainly in Nangarhar province. That goal to uproot IS from Afghanistan has taken on new urgency in the wake of a deadly suicide bombing of a protest march Saturday in Kabul that killed at least 80 people.
The Islamic State group's Aamaq online news agency quickly claimed responsibility for the attack, the first IS attack in the Afghan capital and one of the deadliest ever to hit Kabul. Ghani, in a live televised address after the bombing, told the nation, "I promise you I will take revenge against the culprits."
The inexperienced Afghan forces have largely stalled in the fight against Islamic militants ever since most international combat troops withdrew in 2014. American forces that remained shifted to a supporting role and U.S. airstrikes diminished, letting the Afghan military take the lead in carrying out the war. more

Female Air Force pilot amputee returns to the skies

Capt. Christy Wise frantically waved her headlamp flashlight to alert a boat jetting toward her to turn away. But Wise, a HC-130J rescue squadron pilot, quickly realizing it was too late, dove as far down to save herself. When she surfaced, she knew the boat’s propeller had severed her right leg.
Almost a year later, Wise — who thought it would be the end of her pilot career — is back in the cockpit, and flew her first mission Friday at Moody Air Force Base, Georgia, where she is stationed. She is the first female Air Force amputee to return to flight, the service said.  more

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Will US Army bring back the 'jeep'?

Were it not for efforts by the U.S. military to develop a lightweight, unarmored, all-terrain vehicle for the battlefield there might not be a market for SUVs today. It all began 75 years ago last December when the United States military adopted the 'jeep', and while the iconic military vehicle was phased out and replaced by the Humvee – the High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV) in the early 1980s – the Army could go full circle and bring back the jeep.
Last year the Army began gearing up its Ground Mobility Vehicle Program for fiscal 2017. It was part of the Army's Combat Vehicle Modernization Strategy that sought to procure lightweight combat vehicles for infantry brigade combat teams. The vehicles considered sound very much like what first entered service back in 1940. more

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Trump veterans adviser won't apologize for saying Clinton should be shot

top adviser to Donald Trump on veterans issues who is under investigation for comments calling for Hillary Clinton to be executed for treason was unapologetic late Wednesday, accusing the media of twisting his words.
“I never said she should be shot,” said Al Baldasaro, a New Hampshire state representative and delegate at the Republican convention in Cleveland. “As usual, the liberal media is taking it out of context. What I said was she should be up on treason charges, and the punishment for that is a firing squad.”
Earlier in the week, Baldasaro made the controversial remarks on the Jeff Kuhner radio show when asked about Clinton’s role in the deadly 2012 attack on U.S. embassy facilities in Libya.
“She is a disgrace for the lies that she told those mothers about their children that got killed over there in Benghazi,” he said. “This whole thing disgusts me, Hillary Clinton should be put in the firing line and shot for treason.”  more

Army SOF to Trade in Its Androids for iPhones

U.S. Army Special Operations Command is dumping its Android tactical smartphone for an iPhone model.
The iPhone 6S will become the end-user device for the iPhone Tactical Assault Kit – special-operations-forces version Army’s Nett Warrior battlefield situational awareness tool, according to an Army source, who is not authorized to speak to the media. The iTAC will replace the Android Tactical Assault Kit.
The iPhone is “faster; smoother. Android freezes up” and has to be restarted too often, the source said. The problem with the Android is particularly noticeable when viewing live feed from an unmanned aerial system such as Instant Eye, the source said.
When trying to run a split screen showing the route and UAS feed, the Android smart phone will freeze up and fail to refresh properly and often have to be restarted, a process that wastes valuable minutes, the source said.
“It’s seamless on the iPhone,” according to the source. “The graphics are clear, unbelievable.”  more

Donald Trump Sets Conditions for Defending NATO Allies Against Attack

Reiterating his threat to pull back United States troops deployed around the world, he said, “We are spending a fortune on military in order to lose $800 billion,” citing what he called America’s trade losses. “That doesn’t sound very smart to me.”
Mr. Trump repeatedly defined American global interests almost purely in economic terms. Its roles as a peacekeeper, as a provider of a nuclear deterrent against adversaries like North Korea, as an advocate of human rights and as a guarantor of allies’ borders were each quickly reduced to questions of economic benefit to the United States.  more

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Air Force Selects First Enlisted Airmen for Pilot Training Since WWII

The Air Force has chosen 10 enlisted airmen to begin training as pilots for the first time since World War II.
The airmen were selected as part of a program that will allow them to fly the RQ-4 Global Hawk, an unmanned intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft.
Intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions are the most requested by combatant commanders around the world and demand for remotely piloted aircraft, or RPAs, will likely only increase, according to the Air Force.
"In the future, RPAs may act as wingmen to manned aircraft," Capt. Trisha Guillebeau said in an email to The Virginian-Pilot.
The Air Force has not released the identities of the first airmen selected for the program or where they are based.
By 2020, the Air Force wants about 70 percent of day-to-day Global Hawk missions to be flown by about 100 enlisted pilots with leadership positions filled by officers. The Air Force plans to use what it learns flying Global Hawks with enlisted aircrews to inform whether a similar approach is applied to other weapons systems, Guillebeau said.
"It is too soon to speculate on any expansion of enlisted aircrew beyond the RQ-4 program," she said.  more


Pilots accustomed to legacy versions of the Army's UH-60M Black Hawk chopper sometimes have to be reminded that the aircraft is not flying itself, pilots and maintainers said Wednesday.
The twin-engine Sikorsky aircraft flew across Europe to attend the Farnborough International Airshow, passing over Luxembourg, Belgium and the French coast in its transit from Ansbach, Germany, where ten of the choppers from Charlie Company, 3rd Battalion, 501st Aviation Regiment deployed in April to form a surge force in support of the multinational exercise Anakonda 16.
Sgt. Jason Hook, a standardization instructor for the aircraft, revealed that the M-variant is so technologically advanced that crew like to refer to "Mike" -- using the variant designator -- as the chopper's third pilot.
With the four multi-function display screens, a controller that allows pilots to design flight routes while in flight, and integrated controls that eliminate the need for a bulky EDM thigh-mounted computer to provide blue force tracker information and mapping, the technology can be overwhelming for some accustomed to the Alpha-Lima versions of the aircraft, he said.
"It's important for the pilots to remember that they can fly the aircraft for themselves," he said. "Because sometimes they get task-saturated and let it fly itself and you've got to remind them who's actually flying, who's keeping an eye on the controls."
The UH-60M entered full-rate production in 2007 and saw its first operational combat deployment -- to Afghanistan -- in 2010. The Army ultimately plans to buy 956 of the aircraft and another 419 of the HH-60M medevac variant, with procurement stretching through 2026.  more

Pentagon Officials Defend European Reassurance Initiative

Pentagon officials on Wednesday assured members of Congress that the United Kingdom is still a strong ally to U.S. and NATO, despite its recent decision to leave the European Union.
"We have a very close relationship ... with the United Kingdom," Rachel Ellehuus, principal director of Europe and NATO Policy for the Office of the Secretary of Defense, told members of the House Armed Services Committee's Oversight and Investigation Subcommittee.
In the wake of its recent Brexit vote, the U.K. has reinforced its commitment to a number of important initiatives, Ellehuus said.
U.K. officials "have publicly committed at the Farnborough airshow" to purchase nine P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft and 50 AH-64E Apache attack helicopters, she said.
In addition to the U.S., the U.K., Germany and Canada have agreed to station four battalions on Europe's eastern flank to bolster efforts to deter Russian aggression, Ellehuus said.
Pentagon officials testified at the July 13 hearing to brief lawmakers on the European Reassurance Initiative.  more

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Navy’s $12.9 Billion Carrier Falls Further Behind Schedule

The USS Gerald R. Ford -- the Navy’s newest aircraft carrier and the costliest U.S. warship at $12.9 billion -- won’t be delivered until at least November, more than two years late.
“During the ongoing testing of developmental systems” on the carrier built by Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc., “first-of-class issues are continuing to be resolved,” according to a Navy statement provided Tuesday to Bloomberg News. “The current estimated delivery date is in November 2016. If additional issues arise during the remaining shipboard testing, that date may need to be revised.”
The service didn’t elaborate on the unresolved issues causing the delay except to say that testing is continuing for “the propulsion plant steam and electric systems,” which are powered by the carrier’s nuclear reactor. The latest schedule slip of at least two months may delay the Navy’s return to an 11-carrier fleet, the number mandated by Congress. The service has operated 10 carriers since the retirement of the USS Enterprise in 2012. Extended deployments of the remaining ships have placed stress on crews, the service has said. more

US Navy’s Futuristic New Weapons Could be Key to Limiting a Clash with China

Last month, the Congressional Research Service (CRS) released a report on three advanced technologies under development by the U.S. Navy for its surface ships: Solid state lasers (SSL), the electromagnetic railgun (EMRG), and the hypervelocity projectile (HVP). The SSL fires a high-energy beam for short-range defense (one to five miles) against small boats, drones, aircraft, and incoming missiles. The EMRG uses electromagnets to “push” a solid, guidable projectile at over Mach 7 to ranges over 100 nautical miles (nm). The HVP is the round designed for the EMRG, but that can also be fired from existing naval cannons using traditional gunpowder propellant. Shot from a conventional naval gun, the HVP’s range is almost 50 nm—over twice the effective range of current naval artillery, and with substantially greater accuracy.
CRS assesses that any one of these technologies would be a “game changer” if successfully fielded, and that if two or all three make it to the fleet it would be a “revolutionary” development in shipboard warfare. The SSL was intended as a supplement and possible replacement for other shipboard short-range defense systems against incoming missiles or aircraft. The EMRG and HVP, though, were conceived as offensive weapons against other ships or targets on shore in place of expensive missiles and conventional naval cannon. But what makes these technologies revolutionary is their defensive impact and potential to give the U.S. Navy a means to control (i.e. limit) conflict escalation against a peer adversary.
CRS paints a clear picture of the Navy’s current limitations: more

Navy 30-Year Ship Plan

The Navy released its 30-year shipbuilding plan to supplement the Fiscal Year 2017 budget request, which continues the service’s request to put its remaining cruisers into a phased modernization plan and notes the requirement for 52 small surface combatants despite Defense Secretary Ash Carter curtailing the program at 40 Littoral Combat Ships and frigates.
The plan incorporates the many changes Congress has made to the Navy’s shipbuilding profile, in some cases to bump up procurement to get ahead of funding challenge in the 2020s due to the Ohio Replacement Program ballistic missile submarine. The shipbuilding plan reflects Congress’s intent to speed up production of the next Expeditionary Sea Base (ESB), formerly called the Afloat Forward Staging Base, for which lawmakers added money in the FY 2016 spending plan. And the shipbuilding plan acknowledges that lawmakers provided $1 billion for an additional Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, though the actual ship procurement charts were not updated to reflect the possible additional ship because “there are insufficient resources available to complete that ship” at this time.
The 30-year plan also outlines exactly how the Navy will pay for the every-other-generation SSBNs, which serve as the nation’s sea-based nuclear deterrent. The lead ship will be paid for incrementally over three years: 41 percent in FY 2021, 35 percent in FY 2022 and 24 percent in FY 2023. The second ship will be paid for in both FY 2024 and 2025, and beginning in FY 2026 the Navy will buy one boat a year.
The shipbuilding plan still advocates a phased modernization plan for the cruiser fleet despite vehement opposition from lawmakers  more

Thursday, July 7, 2016

With an eye on Russia, US and Georgia ink defence pact

The United States and Georgia signed a security deal Wednesday designed to shore up the former Soviet republic's defences against Russia as it waits to join NATO.
US Secretary of State John Kerry and Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili inked the agreement at a ceremony in Tbilisi just two days before the annual NATO summit in Warsaw.The agreement is bitter-sweet compensation for tiny Georgia, which was promised a path to NATO membership in 2008 but still has no real prospect of joining the alliance.Two breakaway regions of Georgia are occupied by Russian forces and, along with Ukraine, it has seen its way to the alliance delayed by nervous European powers."On security, our partnership is unwavering," Kerry told reporters, hailing Georgia's large commitment of troops to the NATO support mission in Afghanistan."The Georgian people have chosen a Euro-Atlantic future and the United States remains committed to helping the Georgian people attain that goal." more

Clash Brewing Over Congressional Proposal to Create Nimbler Military Commands

As the House and Senate begin the process to reconcile vastly different defense policy bills, House Armed Services Ranking Member Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash., hinted that he is weighing support for Senate language that would downsize the military command structure and require the secretary of defense to create nimbler organizations.

This is one of many provisions in the Senate version of the fiscal year 2017 National Defense Authorization Act that seek to overhaul the Pentagon’s civilian and military organizations. These reforms have long been advocated by Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., as part of a broader effort to rewrite the 1986 Goldwater-Nichols Act.

McCain has pressed the case that current geography-based organizations are too rigid to respond to opportunist enemies like the Islamic State.

During a breakfast meeting with reporters July 6, Smith insisted that he has not yet made up his mind on whether he will support the Senate language on this matter, but suggested he would be inclined to back measures that flatten the military bureaucracy and give commanders more flexibility to respond to threats.

“I am intrigued by the possibility of going in this direction,” Smith said.

The White House firmly opposes the Senate language on grounds that it micromanages the military and creates additional bureaucracy.

Smith said he would weigh the objections raised by the Obama administration as the NDAA conference moves along. This is far from a “yes” or “no” answer, he said. “Does McCain have the exact right formula? Is the White House completely wrong in the criticism? No and no. But I think we have to move in that direction.”


Tuesday, July 5, 2016

DARPA project targets ultra-low-power sensors

Researchers at the University of California, Davis are developing an ultra-low-power sensor technology that promises to meet the Department of Defense's long-standing need for persistent, event-driven sensing capabilities.
DARPA’s N-ZERO program aims to allow physical, electromagnetic and other types of sensors to remain dormant, consuming nearly zero battery power until awakened by an external trigger or stimulus.
Most sensors rely on active electronics to monitor the environment for an external trigger, which consumes power continuously and limits the sensor operating lifetime to weeks, days or less. By waking an electronic circuit only upon the detection of a specific trigger signature, the N-ZERO program research underway at UC Davis plans to extend the lifetime of remotely deployed communications and environmental sensors to years.
The initial program goal is to develop sensors that run on near-zero power and produce a wake-up signal when a particular signature is detected, such as a car or truck driving by, or a generator being switched on. "The vision for the program is that you could take a little sensor running on a coin cell and when you arrive somewhere you could take a handful of these things and toss them around every 100 feet or so," said research team leader David Horsley, a UC Davis professor in the school's Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. "So when you set these things in a perimeter, and they're just sitting there happily, and a truck or car drives by, the sensor detects it and lets you know that an event happened." Horsley said the sensors are "kind of like having the ultimate geophone, where you're sensing for earthquakes, sensing vibrations in the earth."  more

U.S. ready to help Southeast Asia fight extremist sea attacks

The U.S. military is concerned about a series of attacks and abductions of tugboat crewmen by Abu Sayyaf extremists in Southeast Asian waters and is willing to lend a hand if needed as part of America's aim to ensure the freedom and safety of navigation in the region, a U.S. Navy official said Monday.
Rear Adm. Brian Hurley said the U.S. Navy has worked with Southeast Asian governments to ensure freedom of navigation and the safety of people in the economically bustling region and would continue to do so.
Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines have agreed to take possible coordinated actions, including sea and air patrols, and establish a "transit corridor" as designated sea lanes for boats and ships in the seas along their borders to stop an alarming wave of attacks by the Abu Sayyaf and allied militants.  more

AFSOC favours side-mounted laser for gunship

Air Force Special Operations Command has accepted that it will trade some offensive capability for cost savings and fielding time on its future laser-equipped Lockheed Martin AC-130J Ghostrider if the laser is mounted on the side of the aircraft.
Although a laser turret mounted on the bottom of the gunship will provide more offensive and defensive capability in the long run, the belly-mounted turret would cost more and take much longer to develop, an Air Force spokesman told FlightGlobal this week. The side configuration would require fewer modifications to the existing aircraft, he added.
A recent Air Force Scientific Advisory Board study examined the laser’s placement in a turret on the aircraft’s belly versus mounting the laser on the side in place of the 30-millimeter gun. The AFSAB found the side-mount position would reduce the area the laser could prosecute since the aircraft itself would block its effective hemisphere. Half of that hemisphere points upward, a direction that’s largely useless against surface-to-air missiles, AFSAB chair Werner Dahm said in a June 24 email to FlightGlobal. The belly-mounted turret would have full range to target SAMs.   more

Army building a better grenade machine gun

A belt-fed grenade machine gun may sound deadly enough, but the Army wants to make the Mk 19 even more lethal, with improvements that could be fielded as early as 2018.
The goal? Improve the weapon’s muzzle velocity, cyclic rate (rounds per minute), reliability, ease of assembly, and accuracy.
The Army is pursuing this laundry list of objectives separately, with plans to later combine them into one upgrade package. Testing is expected in fiscal 2017, which starts Oct. 1, with fielding possible the next year.
“Each improvement is at a different stage of development,” said Peter Rowland, spokesman for Project Manager Soldier Weapons. “The Army is planning to produce and field the upgrade as one kit. This will allow for efficiencies in scheduling and application of improvements at one time in lieu of separate efforts.” more

Navy fighters are one upgrade away from changing carrier aviation forever

 In a typical aircraft carrier landing, a fighter pilot may make up to 300 adjustments with the stick and throttle over 18 seconds before hitting the deck and snagging the jet's tail hook just-so across one of four arresting wires.
It's one of the most dangerous and stressful jobs in the world because of that landing, but a revolutionary program that's as simple as a software upgrade will take a lot of the scrambling out of the final seconds of a combat mission.
It's called MAGIC CARPET, and — don't laugh — it stands for Maritime Augmented Guidance with Integrated Controls for Carrier Approach and Recovery Precision Enabling Technologies. What it does is put jets into a sort of automatic landing mode that guides the plane's trajectory to the deck and reduces the frantic adjustments out of the process.
It won't go in the legacy F/A-18A-D Hornets because the jet's mechanical systems won't respond to this specific software, but for F/A-18E/F Super Hornets and EA-18G Growlers, adding this upgrade could not only make carrier landings safer, but increase efficiency to a point that pilots will need fewer traps to get qualified and stay proficient. As a result, aircraft will take less of a beating and pilots can focus more on missions.
It will also come standard in the F-35C Lightning II joint strike fighter when it goes operational in 2019. more

Friday, July 1, 2016

U.S. Air Force officials for the first time said publicly how they’re planning to use the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter in a war with China.
The bottom line: a lot needs to change in the way the Air Force uses its warplanes in battle. 
“If you put a fourth-[generation F-15 or F-16 fighter] in there, they’re gonna die,” said Maj. Gen. Jeff Harrigian, who is finishing up a tour at the Pentagon where he has been building the plans for integrating the F-35 throughout the Air Force. He and Col. Max Marosko, the deputy director for air and cyberspace operations at Pacific Air Forces in Hawaii, detail how the F-35 would be unleashed in a new report published Thursday by the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies.
“In our minds, what this comes down to is the ability to kill and survive,” Harrigian said.
Air Force officials frequently talk about how the advanced technology on the F-35 and other jets will give it an edge on the battlefield, but this report offers an unprecedented detail from a senior officer of how the plane could be used in war.
In the fictitious war of 2026 they present, the enemy tries to jam radar and radio signals, allowing only stealthy planes like F-22 and F-35 fighters and B-2 and B-21 bombers to fly safely and strike targets, which are guarded by mobile surface-to-air missiles.
The Pentagon would spread its fighter jets around the Pacific in small numbers to military and civilian airfields, some as far as 1,000 miles from the battlefield, to prevent enemy ballistic and cruise missiles from delivering a devastating knock-out blow to a base. Today, the Pentagon tends to concentrate the majority of its planes at regional super bases.
“During the initial days of the conflict, F-35s occasionally return to their bases - only to discover several are heavily damaged from enemy missile attacks,” Harrigian and Marosko write, in their warplay. Those F-35s must divert to civilian airfields. By this time, the F-22 and F-35 won’t need air traffic controllers as their high-tech computers will guide them to runways, even in bad weather.
Older fighter jets, like F-15 and F-16 fighters, which are more easily spotted by enemy radars, must fly at greater distances from the battlefield, out of the range of deadly, long-range surface-to-air missiles.

Obama proposes new military partnership with Russia in Syria

The Obama administration has proposed a new agreement on Syria to the Russian government that would deepen military cooperation between the two countries against some terrorists in exchange for Russia getting the Assad regime to stop bombing U.S.-supported rebels.
The United States transmitted the text of the proposed agreement to the Russian government on Monday after weeks of negotiations and internal Obama administration deliberations, an administration official told me. The crux of the deal is a U.S. promise to join forces with the Russian air force to share targeting and coordinate an expanded bombing campaign against Jabhat al-Nusra, al-Qaeda’s branch in Syria, which is primarily fighting the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Under the proposal, which was personally approved by President Obama and heavily supported by Secretary of State John F. Kerry, the American and Russian militaries would cooperate at an unprecedented level, something the Russians have sought for a long time.
In exchange, the Russians would agree to pressure the Assad regime to stop bombing certain Syrian rebel groups the United States does not consider terrorists. The United States would not give Russia the exact locations of these groups, under the proposal, but would specify geographic zones that would be safe from the Assad regime’s aerial assaults.  more