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WAR 11-03-2018-to-11-09-2018___****THE****WINDS****of****WAR****
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    3 11-03-2018-to-11-09-2018___****THE****WINDS****of****WAR****

    Sorry for being a bit late on starting this week's....HC

    (340) 09-08-2018-to-09-14-2018___****THE****WINDS****of****WAR*****of****WAR****

    (341) 10-20-2018-to-10-26-2018___****THE****WINDS****of****WAR*****of****WAR****

    (342) 10-27-2018-to-11-02-2018___****THE****WINDS****of****WAR*****of****WAR****


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    East Asia

    N. Korea: Lift Sanctions or Nuclear Work Could Restart

    November 03, 2018 3:49 AM
    Associated Press

    North Korea has warned it could revive a state policy aimed at strengthening its nuclear arsenal if the United States does not lift economic sanctions against the country.

    The statement released by the Foreign Ministry Friday evening came amid a sense of unease between Washington and Seoul over the use of sanctions and pressure to get the North to relinquish its nuclear program.

    The ministry said North Korea could bring back its “pyongjin” policy of simultaneously advancing its nuclear force and economic development if the United States doesn’t change its stance.

    Pompeo talks next week
    The North stopped short of threatening to abandon the ongoing nuclear negotiations with the United States. But it accused Washington of derailing commitments made by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and President Donald Trump at their June summit in Singapore to work toward a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula, without describing how and when it would occur.

    In an interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity on Friday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he plans to talk next week with his North Korean counterpart, apparently referring to senior North Korean official Kim Yong Chol. Pompeo did not provide the location and date for the meeting, which will likely be focused on persuading North Korea to take firmer steps toward denuclearization and setting up a second summit between Trump and Kim Jong Un.

    “A lot of work remains, but I’m confident that we will keep the economic pressure in place until such time as Chairman Kim fulfills the commitment he made to President Trump back in June in Singapore,” Pompeo said.

    Sanctions vs better relations
    The North Korean Foreign Ministry statement, released under the name of the director of the ministry’s Institute for American Studies, said the “improvement of relations and sanctions is incompatible.”

    “The U.S. thinks that its oft-repeated ‘sanctions and pressure’ leads to ‘denuclearization.’ We cannot help laughing at such a foolish idea,” it said. The ministry described the lifting of U.S.-led sanctions as corresponding action to the North’s “proactive and good-will measures,” apparently referring to its unilateral suspension of nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missile tests and closure of a nuclear testing ground.

    Following a series of provocative nuclear and missile tests last year, Kim shifted to diplomacy when he met with Trump between three summits with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who lobbied hard to revive nuclear diplomacy between Washington and Seoul.

    However, the North has been playing hardball since the summitry, insisting that sanctions should be lifted before any progress in nuclear talks, which fueled doubts on whether Kim would ever deal away a nuclear program he may see as his strongest guarantee of survival.

    Ahead of his first summit with Moon in April, Kim said the country should shift its focus to economic development as the “pyongjin” policy had achieved a “great victory.” He also declared that the North would stop nuclear and long-range missile tests. The North dismantled its nuclear testing ground in May, but didn’t invite experts to observe and verify the event.

    Friday’s statement marked the first time the North said it could potentially resume weapons tests and other development activities since Kim signaled a new state policy in April.

    “If the U.S. keeps behaving arrogantly without showing any change in its stand, while failing to properly understand our repeated demand, the DPRK may add one thing to the state policy for directing all efforts to the economic construction adopted in April and as a result, the word ‘pyongjin’ may appear again,” the statement said, referring to North Korea by its official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

    “Pyongjin” means “dual advancement.”

    Moon: engagement crucial
    Moon has described inter-Korean engagement as crucial to resolving the nuclear standoff. A large number of South Korean CEOs accompanied Moon in his September visit to Pyongyang, when he and Kim agreed to normalize operations at a jointly run factory park and resume South Korean visitors’ travel to the North when possible, voicing optimism the international sanctions could end and allow such projects.

    But South Korea’s enthusiasm for engagement with its rival has also created discomfort in the United States amid growing concerns that the North is dragging its feet with its promise to denuclearize.South Korea last month walked back on a proposal to lift some of its unilateral sanctions against North Korea to create diplomatic space following Trump’s blunt retort that Seoul could “do nothing” without Washington’s approval.

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    One American Killed, Another Wounded, in Afghanistan After Fifth Insider Attack in Four Months

    W.J. Hennigan, Time • November 3, 2018

    One U.S. service member was killed Saturday and another was wounded apparently by a member of the Afghan military. The insider attack — the fifth in the past four months — occurred in the in the Afghan capital of Kabul, where U.S.-led military coalition is headquartered.

    The attacker was a reportedly a member of the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces and quickly killed by other Afghan forces, according to a statement released by the coalition. The two service members were evacuated to nearby Bagram Airfield, where the wounded soldier is now in stable condition.

    Neither service member has been identified, and details of the attack have yet to be released. So it’s not immediately clear if the insider attack involved a Taliban sympathizer, a personal dispute or some other misunderstanding.

    The apparent shooting comes as Afghan forces, backed by NATO advisers and air power, struggle to contain the Taliban and other armed insurgents despite 17 years of continuous war. Part of the onslaught has been a disturbing trend of insider attacks that, in the past, bred intense mistrust between Afghan and NATO forces, including U.S. troops.

    U.S. Army Maj. Bariki Mallya, a coalition spokesman, told TIME that it is “standard practice” for American forces to “re-evaluate and adjust our force protection measures anytime there is an insider attack.” He added: “We have not stopped operations but are constantly re-evaluating how to conduct them more safely.”

    The Pentagon has roughly 15,000 troops deployed in Afghanistan, most of which train and advise Afghan forces and rarely participate in direct combat. With fewer American targets on the battlefield, the Taliban has found ways to infiltrate the various bases occupied by NATO forces through insider attacks, known within the military as “green-on-blue attacks.”

    Less than two weeks ago, on Oct. 21, Czech Army Corporal Tomáš Procházka, 42, was killed when an assailant opened fire on NATO forces in western Herat Province.
    Just four days later, the Taliban claimed responsibility for an attack that wounded U.S. Army Brigadier General Jeffrey Smiley, who oversees the NATO military advisory mission in southern Afghanistan. The shooting claimed the lives of General Abdul Raziq, one of Afghanistan’s most powerful security officials, along with his intelligence chief, following a meeting in Kandahar Province. The top commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, US Army Gen. Scott Miller, was also present but managed to escape uninjured.

    U.S. Army Sergeant Major Timothy Bolyard, 42, was shot and killed Sept. 3 by an Afghan policeman after a meeting at Camp Maiwand, an installation in eastern Logar Province. The Pentagon released a service biography that showed a decorated 24-year career, which included seven deployments and six Bronze Star medals.

    An Afghan assailant killed U.S. Corporal Joseph Maciel, 20, on July 7 in Tarin Kowt district located in central Uruzgan Province. Two other soldiers were also wounded in the attack. Maciel and the other troops were all members of the 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade, a specialized unit of Army advisers who are deployed to train, advise, and assist Afghan forces.

    The string of insider attacks comes amid the latest report by Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), a U.S. government watchdog, which said the Afghan government controlled or influenced only 55.5% of the total 407 districts. It’s the lowest level since SIGAR began tracking the figures in 2015.

    The quarterly report also stated the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces “made minimal or no progress in pressuring the Taliban” from July 1 to Sept. 30. The latest quarterly period included the Taliban’s assault on the city of Ghazni in August, when hundreds of civilians were killed in a multi-day siege that was the subject of an on-the-ground TIME story.

    From 2008 to the end of 2017, Afghanistan has seen 96 insider attacks, with at least 152 foreign soldiers killed and 200 wounded, according to the Long War Journal. Three Americans, and one coalition soldier, have been killed in five attacks in 2018.

    The figures, although grim, are still a far cry from the 44 insider attacks in 2012, when they accounted for 15% of all troop deaths. At the time, U.S. military commanders ordered units to designate “guardian angels” to provide security for soldiers working with Afghans.

    The Pentagon withheld the names of the Americans killed and wounded Saturday pending notification of next of kin. The attack marks the eighth U.S. service member killed this year in Afghanistan. More than 2,200 U.S. military personnel have died in Afghanistan since 2001.

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    Utah mayor, guard member killed by trainee in Afghanistan

    Associated Press • November 4, 2018

    NORTH OGDEN, Utah (AP) — A Utah mayor who was also a Utah Army National Guard major training commandos in Afghanistan was fatally shot by one of his Afghan trainees, officials said Sunday.

    Brent Taylor, 39, had taken a yearlong leave of absence as mayor of North Ogden north of Salt Lake City for his deployment to Afghanistan.

    He was a military intelligence officer with Joint Force Headquarters and was expected to return to his mayoral job in January. Another U.S. military member whose name was not immediately made public was wounded in Saturday's attack that killed Taylor, who died from wounds from small arms fire, military officials said.

    Maj. Gen. Jefferson S. Burton, the adjutant general of the Utah National Guard, told reporters that Taylor's mission was to help train and build the capacity of the Afghan national army.

    "He was with folks he was helping and training. That's what's so painful about this. It's bitter," Burton said. "I do believe that Major Taylor felt he was among friends, with people he was working with."

    Utah media outlets cited a statement from NATO saying that Taylor was shot by one of the commandos being trained and that the attacker was killed by Afghan forces.

    Taylor leaves behind a wife and seven children. His remains are scheduled to arrive at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware on Monday evening.

    Utah Gov. Gary Herbert said Taylor "was there to help. He was a leader. He loved the people of Afghanistan... This is a sad day for Utah, for America."

    "Brent was a hero, a patriot, a wonderful father, and a dear friend," U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah said on Twitter. "News of his death in Afghanistan is devastating. My prayers and love are with Jennie and his seven young children. His service will always be remembered."

    Taylor served two tours in Iraq and was on his second tour in Afghanistan.
    Taylor in January when he was being deployed told local media that he was assigned to serve on an advisory team training the staff of an Afghan commando battalion.

    Hundreds of residents of North Ogden lined the street to see him off as police escorted him and his family around North Ogden, a community of about 17,000.

    Taylor became the city's mayor in 2013.

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    U.S., South Korea resume low-key military drills ahead of talks with North Korea

    By Josh Smith and Joyce Lee, Reuters 6 hours ago

    SEOUL (Reuters) - The United States and South Korea will begin small-scale military drills on Monday just days ahead of U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo meeting with a North Korea official to discuss denuclearization and plans for a second summit between the two countries.

    The Korean Marine Exchange Program was among the training drills that were indefinitely suspended in June after U.S. President Donald Trump met North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore and promised to end joint U.S.-South Korea military exercises often criticized by the North.

    A spokesman for South Korea's Ministry of Defense confirmed a round of training would begin near the southern city of Pohang, with no media access expected.

    About 500 American and South Korean marines will participate in the maneuvers, the Yonhap news agency reported.

    Meanwhile, Pompeo, interviewed on CBS's "Face the Nation," said he would be in New York City at the end of this week to meet with his North Korean counterpart, Kim Yong-chol.

    "I expect we’ll make some real progress, including an effort to make sure that the summit between our two leaders can take place, where we can make substantial steps towards denuclearization," Pompeo said.

    In Washington last week, South Korea's defense minister said Washington and Seoul would make a decision by December on major joint military exercises for 2019. Vigilant Ace, suspended earlier this month, is one of several such exercises that have been halted to encourage dialogue with Pyongyang.

    The biggest combat-readiness war game ever staged in and around Japan has gone ahead, however, with nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan joining Japanese destroyers and a Canadian warship in the ocean off Japan -- another key player in the effort to pressure North Korea.

    North Korea warned on Friday that it could restart development of its nuclear program if the United States does not drop its campaign of "maximum pressure" and sanctions.

    "The improvement of relations and sanctions are incompatible," a foreign ministry official said in a statement released through state-run KCNA news agency. "The U.S. thinks that its oft-repeated 'sanctions and pressure' lead to 'denuclearization.' We cannot help laughing at such a foolish idea."

    North Korea has not tested a ballistic missile or nuclear weapon for nearly a year, and has said it has shuttered its main nuclear test site with plans to dismantle several more facilities.

    In recent weeks, North Korea has pressed more sharply for what it sees as reciprocal concessions by the United States and other countries.

    "As shown, the U.S. is totally to blame for all the problems on the Korean peninsula including the nuclear issue and therefore, the very one that caused all those must untie the knot it made," Friday's statement said.

    American officials have remained skeptical of Kim's commitment to give up the nuclear arsenal he has already amassed, however, and Washington says it won't support easing international sanctions until more verified progress is made.

    Pompeo, interviewed on television's "Fox News Sunday," said the Trump administration wants a full, verifiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. He added that Trump insists on "no economic relief until we have achieved our ultimate objective.”

    South Korean President Moon Jae-in, meanwhile, has forged ahead with efforts to engage with North Korea in recent months, raising U.S. concerns that Seoul could weaken pressure on North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons.

    (Reporting by Josh Smith and Joyce Lee; additional reporting by Richard Cowan in Washington; Editing by Catherine Evans and Lisa Shumaker)
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    U.S. carrier leads warships in biggest ever Japan defense war game

    By Tim Kelly, Reuters • November 3, 2018

    ABOARD USS RONALD REAGAN (Reuters) - U.S. fighter jets darted over the Western Pacific on Saturday as the nuclear powered USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier joined Japanese destroyers and a Canadian warship for the biggest combat readiness war game ever staged in and around Japan.

    Japan and the United States have mobilized 57,000 sailors, marines and airmen for the biennial Keen Sword exercise, 11,000 more than in 2016, with simulated air combat, amphibious landings and ballistic missile defense drills. Japan's contingent of 47,000 personnel represents a fifth of the nation's armed forces.

    "We are here to stabilize, and preserve our capability should it be needed. Exercises like Keen Sword are exactly the kind of thing we need to do," Rear Admiral Karl Thomas, the commander of the carrier strike group, said during a press briefing in the Reagan's focsle as F-18 fighter jets catapulted off the flight deck above him.

    Eight other ships joined the carrier for anti-submarine warfare drills in a show of force in waters that Washington and Tokyo fear will increasingly come under Beijing's influence.

    "The U.S.-Japan alliance is essential for stability in this region and the wider Indo Pacific," Rear Admiral Hiroshi Egawa, the commander of the Japanese ships said aboard the Reagan

    Based in Yokosuka near Tokyo, it is the biggest U.S. warship in Asia, with a crew of 5,000 sailors and around 90 F-18 Super Hornets fighters.

    A Canadian naval supply ship is also taking part in Keen Sword along with the frigate that sailed with the Reagan on Saturday.

    Canadian participation is taking a bilateral drill which began in 1986 "into the realm of multilateral exercises," Canada's defense attache in Japan, Captain Hugues Canuel said in Tokyo. Participation in Keen Sword, he added, reflects Canada's desire to have a military presence in Asia.

    Canada isn't the only western nation looking to take a bigger security role in the region. Britain and France are also sending more ships as China's military presence in the South China Sea grows and its influence over the Indo Pacific and its key trade routes expands.

    British, French, Australian and South Korean observers will also monitor Keen Sword, which began Monday and ends on Thursday.

    Growing foreign interest in Asian security, including North Korea's development of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles, coincides with greater Japanese willingness to back up its regional diplomacy with a show of military muscle.

    Tokyo this year sent its biggest warship, the Kaga helicopter carrier, on a two-month tour of the Indo Pacific, including flag-waving stops in the Philippines, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India and Singapore.

    The 248 meter (813.65 ft) long Maritime Self Defence Force ship and its two destroyer escorts also conducted drills with a Japanese submarine in the contested South China Sea.

    At the same time, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has engaged China in dialogue to reduce tension between their militaries in the East China Sea and to increase economic cooperation between Asia's two leading economies.

    Amid a background of trade friction with Washington, Abe last month traveled to Beijing, the first such trip by a Japanese leader in seven years, for talks with President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang. Abe told them that China and Japan shared responsibility for regional security, including tackling North Korean.

    Japan, however, still views China as a potentially much larger and more challenging foe than Pyongyang as its expanding navy consolidates control of the South China Sea and ventures deeper into the Western Pacific and Indian Ocean.

    Beijing this year plans to spend 1.11 trillion yuan ($160 billion) on its armed forces, more than three times as much as Japan and about a third of what the U.S. pays for a military that helps defend the Japanese islands.

    Keen Sword "remains an expression of the commitment of like minded allies and partners. To really see what we can do in terms of demonstrating advanced capabilities together to ensure peace and stability in the Indo Pacific," Chief of U.S. Naval Operations Admiral John Richardson said on Thursday in Australia during a telephone press briefing.

    ($1 = 6.9523 Chinese yuan)
    (Editing by Jacqueline Wong)

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    Battles rock Yemen port city as UN warns of 'living hell'

    AFP • November 4, 2018

    Hodeida (Yemen) (AFP) - Intensified fighting shook a key rebel-held port city on Yemen's Red Sea coast on Sunday, leaving dozens dead as the United Nations warned that children in the war-torn country face "a living hell".

    The bloodshed comes despite growing international pressure to end a years-long conflict that has killed thousands and pushed the impoverished Arabian Peninsula nation to the brink of famine.

    Fifty-three Huthi rebels have been killed and dozens wounded in battles and air strikes over the past 24 hours in Hodeida, according to medical sources in the port city, which is a key gateway for humanitarian aid.

    Military officials said Saudi-led coalition warplanes carried out dozens of air strikes early Sunday to support pro-government forces in fighting that appear to be approaching the city's main university.

    Huthi media reported air strikes in Hodeida on Sunday but did not give a fighter casualty toll.

    Thirteen pro-government troops were killed, according to medical sources in Aden and Mokha, where their bodies were transported.

    Nearly three quarters of the country's imports flow through Hodeida, from where they are transported by land to areas further north.

    The port is controlled by Yemen's Iran-backed Huthi rebels and under blockade by Saudi Arabia and its allies in a government coalition.

    - 'Living hell for children' -
    The UN children's fund (UNICEF) warned an assault on Hodeida city would jeopardise the lives of Yemenis across the country who depend on its port for humanitarian aid.

    "Yemen is today a living hell -- not for 50 to 60 percent of the children -- it is a living hell for every boy and girl in Yemen," he told a news conference in the Jordanian capital.

    The UN has called Yemen, long the poorest country in the Arab world, the largest humanitarian crisis in the world, and warned that 14 million people across the country face imminent famine.

    The Hodeida clashes erupted on Thursday just hours after the government said it was ready to restart peace talks with the Iran-backed Huthis.

    The offer followed a surprise call by the United States for an end to the Yemen war, including air strikes by the coalition.

    Both the coalition and rebels stand accused of acts that could amount to war crimes, and the Saudi-led coalition has been blacklisted by the UN for the maiming and killing of Yemeni children in air raids.

    According to the World Health Organization, nearly 10,000 people have been killed in the conflict, though some rights groups estimate the toll could be five times higher.

    - 'Shamefully slow to act' -
    UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Friday pleaded for a halt to violence to pull Yemen back from the "precipice".

    And Hollywood star Angelina Jolie, a special envoy for the UN refugee agency (UNHCR), appealed for an immediate ceasefire.

    "As an international community we have been shamefully slow to act to end the crisis in Yemen," she said in a statement Sunday.

    "We have watched the situation deteriorate to the point that Yemen is now on the brink of man-made famine, and facing the worst cholera epidemic in the world in decades," Jolie added.

    "The only way to enable refugees to return home, and to bring down the overall numbers worldwide, is to end conflicts themselves."

    Multiple attempts to find a political solution to the Yemen conflict, widely seen as a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran, have failed.

    UN-backed peace talks between the Huthis and government collapsed in September after the rebels refused to travel to Geneva unless the United Nations guaranteed both their delegation's safe return to Sanaa and the evacuation of wounded fighters.

    Yemeni government officials said Tuesday that the coalition had sent more than 10,000 new troops towards the battleground city, seized by the rebels in 2014 along with the capital Sanaa.

    Saudi Arabia and its allies intervened in the war in the following year to bolster Yemeni President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi whose government fled to the southern city of Aden.

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    Middle East

    Egypt Kills 19 Militants Suspected in Christian Attack

    November 04, 2018 6:46 AM
    VOA News

    Egypt said Sunday it has killed 19 militants suspected of being connected with the jihadists who killed seven Coptic Christians Friday who were traveling to a remote monastery in central Minya province.

    The Interior Ministry said the militants were killed in a shootout in the desert west of Minya province. It did not say when the firefight took place.

    Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attack on the Christians, but has not provided any evidence.

    Christians make up about 10 percent of Egypt's 100 million people. They have long complained of discrimination.

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    The Hill

    US troops lay barbed wire along Texas side of border

    Megan Keller
    8 hrs ago

    U.S. troops are laying down barbed-wire fence along the Texas side of the Rio Grande River alongside Customs and Borer Patrol officers as approximately 7,000 immigrants travel northward through Mexico.

    The Defense Department told The New York Post that the troops are laying down around 1,000 feet of fencing below the McAllen-Hidalgo International Bridge, which crosses into Mexico.

    A Border Patrol spokesperson told the Post that the fencing is part of "necessary preparations" for the caravans approaching the U.S.

    "I saw that beautiful barbed wire going up," President Trump said Saturday campaign rally in Montana, the Post reports. "Beautiful sight."

    Trump deployed 5,200 U.S. troops to the border last week, around 900 of which have arrived, according to the newspaper.

    The main caravan of about 4,000 immigrants is making its way by foot through Veracruz, Mexico, toward the border with the U.S.

    A new caravan of about 1,000 to 1,500 people pushed across the Suchiate River between Guatemala and Mexico to illegally breach the Mexican border last Friday.

    Other migrants had earlier fought through police lines on a bridge over the river, forcing their way into the country there.

    After that break through, Mexico has bolstered its forces at the border with hundreds of police, boats and helicopters, which proved unsuccessful in stopping the latest caravan.

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    Russia tactics send NATO back to basics

    Norway provides ample obstacles as the military alliance's make-believe battleground for the Trident Juncture exercise. Still, Teri Schultz finds today's high-tech capabilities require (warm) boots on the ground.

    Date 02.11.2018
    Author Teri Schultz (Norway)

    Russian President Vladimir Putin brags that he's got hypersonic missiles invincible to NATO defenses; he's building up his depot of tactical nuclear weapons on the alliance's border in Kaliningrad, and he's allegedly developed a ground-launched cruise missile that violates international arms control treaties. Add to that incessant cyberattacks that can possibly commandeer sophisticated Western weapons systems.

    So why should 50,000 troops be trudging across the Norwegian tundra testing old-school tanks and blowing up bridges?

    It's all about the potential for hybrid surprises — from a traditional border incursion to a hijack of the highest-tech remotely-operated weapons system.

    While there's only one nation that can muster all these tactics near NATO territory, the alliance insists Trident Juncture is not about Russia. Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg declared NATO's defense arsenal must span the "full spectrum, from conventional weapons all the way up to nuclear weapons." Ulrike Franke, a security and defense analyst with the European Council on Foreign Relations agreed that NATO's menu of battle options needs to include "all of the above."

    Franke, who specializes in drone warfare, warns that most NATO countries are not sufficiently prepared if the "next war" is indeed waged by cyber and other new technologies. But at the same time, she emphasized to DW, "I would also criticize NATO if now they would abandon all kind of conventional arms or conventional warfare and just focus on cyber or on autonomous weapons. That's unfortunately the reality of today: We need to do everything."

    Visiting the exercises, German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen cited NATO's challenges as running the gamut from the crisis in Ukraine to the stabilization of Africa.

    Technology boosts troops
    French Lieutenant Colonel Herve Jure is stationed with NATO's Allied Command Transformation headquarters in Norfolk, Virginia, the arm of the alliance tasked with advancing its technological capabilities. Speaking to DW at a demonstration of future warfighting techniques in Norway, Jure said the advantages of moving to more automation and remote operation include being able to reduce the number of people put in harm's way, especially for simple logistical tasks, a lesson he said NATO learned in Afghanistan.

    Read more: The strengths and weaknesses of Russia's military

    One example is using drones to deliver spare parts to troops stationed in difficult terrain. US Marine Sergeant Samuel Margarini said that out in the field, getting replacement for parts that break "in some cases take hundreds of days, even 300 days" if they are still in production at all. That time can be reduced to mere hours, Margarini said, using 3-D printers that could soon be a standard part of military equipment.

    But on the other hand, Jure noted, relying too much on technology carries its own dangers. "All those capabilities have to be reversible," he explained, and forces need to know how to fill in quickly, because the "systems can be jammed or destroyed or taken by someone else."

    Bundeswehr goes back to basics
    On the base in Rena that German troops share with Belgian, Dutch, French and Latvian counterparts, Lieutenant Colonel Helge Lammerschmidt was overseeing amphibious capability training — getting tanks and other equipment across waterways — using techniques he acknowledged date from the Cold War but are still effective.

    Lammerschmidt is candid about the Russia factor. "As a result of the Ukraine crisis [in 2014] we saw that it is more important to change back from stability operations to high-intensive warfare operations," he told DW, noting renewed ambition to "move larger formations and heavy equipment, and this has not been trained and done within the last 10 years."

    The back-to-basics training even had German troops practicing how to use explosives to get rid of barbed wire, which can completely disable a tank, and to fell trees in an enemy's path. Simple, but effective — and unhackable.

    Norway a happy host
    All these efforts are highly appreciated in Norway, which shares about 200 kilometers (120 miles) of land border with Russia as well as a maritime "delimitation" line extended across the Barents Sea and Arctic Ocean. Norwegian Army Colonel Eystein Kvarving said Norway had long thought NATO needed to refocus on territorial defense, and it was more than happy to provide that training ground.

    "It feels reassuring," Kvarving said. "It's very nice to see that it actually works." He noted that in recent years the US has prepositioned equipment in Norway and added a contingent of Marines. "I think that's a sign of an alliance that's there for you, should you need it," he added. "And then let's hope we never have to do that in real life."

    DW recommends

    What is NATO's Trident Juncture 2018 operation?
    For two weeks NATO will be flexing its muscles in the harsh conditions of Norway. Some 50,000 participants will engage in a simulated invasion of Norway from an unnamed aggressor. (25.10.2018)
    'Russia is the only conceivable threat to Poland'
    Former Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski told DW why he sees Russia as a threat to European stability – and why he supports a possible US military presence in Poland. (10.10.2018)
    NATO launches biggest war games since end of Cold War
    Nearly 50,000 troops are joining NATO war games in Norway to test alliance defenses against a "fictitious aggressor." Germany is the second largest participant as it prepares to head NATO's rapid response force. (25.10.2018)
    The strengths and weaknesses of Russia's military
    Russian armed forces provide Moscow with clear military superiority in the post-Soviet region, despite Russia's troops not being able to match the whole of NATO. The Kremlin is busy modernizing its army, experts told DW. (07.04.2018)
    Germany warns Russia over cyberattacks
    Germany has joined British and Dutch authorities in accusing Russia of instigating massive international cyberattacks. Berlin said such attacks could endanger public security and democracy. (05.10.2018)
    NATO urges Russia to comply with INF nuclear treaty
    NATO has called on Russia to shed light on a new missile system that the US and other allies claim violates the accord. President Trump has vowed to pull out of the 1987 treaty over alleged noncompliance by Russia. (01.11.2018)
    European Union extends Crimea sanctions for a year
    The economic measures prevent EU citizens and companies from investing in Crimea and Sevastopol. Russia's annexation of the peninsula in 2014 prompted the sanctions. (18.06.2018)

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    NATO Stocks Up on Bombs, Giving Smaller States More Punch

    By Paul McLeary
    on November 05, 2018 at 4:00 AM

    WASHINGTON: Over the past month, US Air Forces in Europe took delivery of their largest shipment of ordnance in two decades. It’s another sign of the rearming of the continent as the United States pushes troops and equipment back into the region after years of drawing down, even as its NATO allies — and increasingly, non-allies like Finland — make preparations of their own.

    While that American weaponry rolled into Ramstein Air Base, Washington’s NATO allies were moving out on their own ambitious rearmament program — one that could have more far-reaching consequences than the US buildup — signaling a new push by allies to project power and allow smaller members to punch harder.

    Back in Belgium, Denmark, and Austria (which is not a NATO member) took delivery of $20 million worth of air-to-ground precision guided munitions. It was the first installment of an ambitious joint ownership program involving eleven NATO countries — along with increasingly de facto ally Finland — aimed at pooling resources to buy advanced munitions and share them on an need-to-have basis.

    Both NATO officials and analysts say the acquisition plan is sanding the rough edges off decades of slow-moving and regulation-heavy procurement, which made it extremely difficult for allies to share munitions that most NATO members used. The result was some countries were forced to destroy aging stocks of bombs while others struggled to afford new shipments.

    The new program promotes the pooling of air, ground, and sea-launched munitions, allowing countries to trade them within the alliance while giving other members a better idea of which countries are flush and which might be running dry.

    The road to the first delivery in August actually began in Libya in 2011, when some NATO states were deeply embarrassed when they literally ran out of bombs during the campaign to help local rebels oust the regime led by Muammar Gaddafi.

    Determined not to be caught out again, the alliance agreed at its Wales summit in 2014 to kickstart this joint procurement program, which slashes through reams of red tape and allows states to get needed stocks of bombs quickly.

    The idea was to “make our stockpiles more shareable,” a NATO official told me. “So if I have a bunch of munitions that are going to expire and yours are brand new, you can use some of mine that I would otherwise have to expend money to demilitarize.” And then, a few years down the road, “you can give me some of yours and we’ll call it even.”

    The need to share the burden of deterrence and readiness has been front and center during the Trump administration, but the idea first gained traction in 2014 in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The resulting increase in NATO exercises, along with participation in the bombing campaigns in Iraq and Syria against ISIS, underscored the dangers of paucity — but when some larger nations agreed to ship some of their bombs to friends, “what we found was this was a lot harder to do than we had participated,” the NATO official said.

    So the 2014 agreement did away with some of the restrictions surrounding arms transfer, and established a consortium where groups of nations could buy weapons together, and share as needed.

    After the first shipment of PGMs in August, the second and third tranches immediately began to take shape for more deliveries.

    During the annual NATO summit in Brussels this July, seven member states — Belgium, France, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, and Spain — inked a deal to buy a range of maritime munitions including surface-to-air, surface-to-surface missiles and torpedoes, along with kicking off a plan to find a single place to warehouse them all.

    Separately, 16 NATO countries — Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, France, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Spain — came together to share ground-launched munitions.

    The NATO official said that the various deals show that the overall program is not “geared toward any specific munition type. We try and keep it as broad as possible. Whenever the demand might shift, we have a framework in place to respond to requirements, and to make it future-proof, since we don’t know what is happening in five years.”

    And while the first agreements are in the books, the alliance is looking to make this a regular feature of how it does business. Officials are working to get into a regular battle rhythm of making deals, looking to have shipments arrive several times a year as they bundle demand.

    The program looks to be particularly helpful for small member states, said Henrik Breitenbauch, director of the Center for Military Studies at the University of Copenhagen.

    “It’s an important step in integrating the militaries of the smaller NATO members,” Breitenbauch said, “and it helps heighten the readiness of the alliance by making sure munitions are common across any states who want to be part of this burden-sharing program.”

    The European Union gets into the game
    This month’s Trident Juncture exercise in Norway, featuring 50,000 troops from across the alliance, stands as a test of NATO’s ability to move quickly across air, land, and sea domains. But, alongside munitions stockpiles, another persistent logistical challenge is the ability of member states to move troops across each others’ territory for training exercises or crisis response, in part because of European Union regulations.

    Dutch Lt. Gen. Jan Broeks, director general of the alliance’s International Military Staff, said Wednesday that there has been some frustration on that front, and efforts to update individual state’s regulations to allow troops and equipment move across borders “is not moving fast enough.”

    “It’s a lot of work,” he told reporters during a visit to Washington, “but we need to be ambitious and we need to be very clear, in a military context.”

    Broeks was in town on a goodwill visit alongside Lt. Gen. Esa Pulkkinen, a Finn who serves as director general of the European Union’s military staff. (Finland belongs to the EU but not to NATO, although in practice it’s long since abandoned its Cold War neutrality between Russia and the West). Pulkkinen said the legal issues are complex, but not insurmountable. “These are the areas where you can proceed — some of the issues are in the hands of the EU, some in the hands of the member states,” he said.

    The two generals were in town to visit the Pentagon and State Department on a goodwill tour, presenting a united front to Washington policymakers amid ongoing tension between NATO and the EU over planning for a European Union military force.

    During a joint appearance at the Center for a New American Security, both men downplayed differences, saying instead of duplicating efforts, the EU force could work alongside NATO, since the troops will be drawn mostly from the same pool of forces.

    European Union members Finland and Sweden — another Nordic neutral that’s now working closely with NATO — are taking part in Trident Juncture, something Pulkkinen said is helping building deep ties to the Atlantic alliance.

    “We don’t have any EU exercises at all, so any chance to improve the interoperability of the forces, including the EU members’ state forces, is good for us,” he said. “We are very grateful on the EU side that some non-NATO EU allies” are taking part in the massive war game.


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    Iraq Blasts U.S. For Statements On Iranian-Backed Militias

    November 04, 2018 02:01 GMT

    The Iraqi Foreign Ministry has issued a rare rebuke of its American ally, asserting that a U.S. Twitter posting concerning neighboring Iran “goes beyond diplomatic norms” and represents an “interference” in Iraq’s internal affairs.
    In a Twitter posting on October 30, still on its account, the U.S. State Department told Iran it must “permit the disarming, demobilization, and reintegration of Shi’a militias” operating in Iraq.

    In a statement issued on November 3, the ministry called on the U.S. to delete the comments and “to avoid their recurrence in the future and to observe the rules of international law.”

    The statement said the move was one of the requirements set down for Iran to “behave like a normal state” and avoid the effects of fresh sanctions that will come into force on November 5.

    Iranian-backed Shi’ite militias operating in Iraq took part in the U.S.-led campaign to drive the Islamic State (IS) militant group from Iraqi territory.

    Iraq has since formally integrated many of the militias into its security forces, but the United States has demanded that militias be disarmed and disbanded.

    The Foreign Ministry said it "would like to point out that…the statement [concerning the militias] goes beyond diplomatic norms and mutual respect for the sovereignty of states as a well-established principle of international law.”

    Iraq has attempted to balance its relations with the United States, which provides financial and military support, and Iran, which carries significant influence with members of Iraq's Shi'ite population.

    The U.S. administration on November 2 announced it was reimposing sanctions to take effect on November 5 against Tehran, targeting the energy, shipbuilding, shipping, and financial sectors.

    The sanctions were lifted under the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran in exchange for curbs on Tehran’s nuclear activities.

    U.S. President Donald Trump in May pulled out of the pact and in August began reintroducing sanctions on the Iranian economy, saying the terms of the accord were not strict enough to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons and accusing Tehran of supporting militant activity in the region. Iran denies the allegations.

    U.S. officials said they were granting temporary waivers to some countries to allow them to continue to import Iranian energy products to avoid economic hardships.

    Iraqi officials said they have received such a waiver, although U.S. officials have not confirmed the remarks.

    With reporting by Reuters, Middle East Eye, and Press TV

  11. #11
    AFP news agency

    Verified account

    55m55 minutes ago
    #BREAKING Trump says "probably" no Putin meeting in Paris this week

  12. #12
    Britain announces new military base in Oman Britain will open a new military base in Oman next year, sending hundreds of troops to the sultanate in the same month it is scheduled to leave the European Union.

    The announcement was made by Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson, as he observed a major joint military exercise between the British and Omani armed forces.

    The base will house hundreds of British troops and will be used as a training facility for the Omani armed forces.

    The announcement comes two years after the countries signed a comprehensive military training agreement, and just weeks after Mr Williamson succeeded in securing an extra £1 billion in funding for the military in last month’s budget.

    It is scheduled to open next March.

    Mr Williamson said the move would strengthen Britain’s regional security commitment.The Defense Secretary was in Oman observing the final days of Operation Saif Sarea 3 – the exercise which saw 5,500 British troops training alongside almost 70,000 Omani soldiers. British tanks, fighter jets and war ships were all transported to the gulf for the five-week training exercise, designed to simulate an invasion.

    Shortly after the announcement, Mr Williamson took a ride in a challenger tank in scenes similar to those of former prime minister Margaret Thatcher atop a tank in 1989.

    Speaking from on board the HMS Albion, he said that both the new base and the exercise, refuted the idea that Britain’s departure from the EU was indicative of a wider withdrawal from international affairs. “This is the largest military exercise that is going on in the world at present. Britain isn’t retreating from the world. We are stepping out,” he said. “The symbolism of this Omani British base opening as we exit the European Union I hope isn’t lost on people,” he said.In a tweet, Mr Williamson thanked the Omani authorities and noted the close ties between the two countries’ armed forces. "I was delighted to spend time in Oman and I thank the Royal Omani Army, Navy and Air Force for their gracious hospitality. Saif Sarea embodies the close relationship between Omani and British forces and I look forward to strengthening the important bond between our two nations."

    Last year, Britain signed a deal with Oman permitting the use of the Arabian Sea port of Duqm for British Naval ships, the new base will give Britain a permanent presence in the country for the first time since 1971.

  13. #13


    Taiwan ‘will consider’ hosting US warships on Taiping Island for regional securityDefence minister says island’s government will consider allowing US vessels access to Taiping Island if it is in Taiwan’s interests.
    PUBLISHED : Monday, 05 November, 2018, 4:47pm
    UPDATED : Monday, 05 November, 2018, 10:19pm Taiwan “will consider” a US Navy request should Washington ask to use the largest of the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea for regional security purposes, the island’s defence minister said on Monday in response to a series of hypothetical questions from a member of the Legislative Yuan in Taipei.Yen De-fa told the opposition Kuomintang’s Johnny Chiang that Taiwan could also allow US warships to dock at Taiping Island, which is under Taipei’s control, for humanitarian operations.

    Beijing views Taiwan – which broke away after the end of the civil war in 1949 – as its territory and subject to eventual union, if necessary by force.

    Beijing has warned Washington, which has undertaken to support Taiwan’s security, against cooperating with Taipei militarily or supplying it with arms.Beijing and Taipei lay territorial claims to most parts of the South China Sea, and have control on some of the contested islets in the Spratlys, where jurisdiction is claimed by several Southeast Asian countries.At a parliament panel meeting, Yen told Chiang whether it was for humanitarian or regional security grounds, the island’s government would consider allowing US vessels access to Taiping Island if that suited Taiwan.

    “If it is based on security concerns that would affect the region, we will consider that,” Yen said. “This must also be in line with our national interests.”Chiang said that the regular presence of US aircraft carrier groups in international waters in the South China Sea was aimed at checking the military expansion of Beijing, and, according to Chiang, the US might eventually make a port call at Taiping Island in addition to Singapore and the Philippines.

    The US naval sorties – on the grounds of freedom of navigation in international waters close to the contested islets in the South China Sea – draw protests from Beijing.

  14. #14
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    Russian fighter jet intercepts US Navy plane

    By Barbara Starr and Zachary Cohen, CNN 16 hrs ago

    A US Navy reconnaissance aircraft flying in international airspace over the Black Sea was intercepted by a Russian fighter jet Monday in an unsafe and unprofessional manner, according to three US defense officials and a statement from the Navy.

    During an encounter that lasted a total of 25 minutes, the Russian SU-27 jet passed directly in front of the US EP-3 aircraft at a high speed, the officials said. The US crew reported turbulence following that initial interaction in which the direct pass occurred.

    The SU-27 then made a second pass of the US plane and applied its afterburner while conducting a banking maneuver, which is believed to have caused a vibration that was experienced by the American crew.

    "This interaction was determined to be unsafe due to the SU-27 conducting a high speed pass directly in front of the mission aircraft, which put our pilots and crew at risk. The intercepting SU-27 made an additional pass, closing with the EP-3 and applying its afterburner while conducting a banking turn away. The crew of the EP-3 reported turbulence following the first interaction, and vibrations from the second," according to a statement from the US Navy.

    Officials so far, have not been able to estimate how close the Russian aircraft came to the US plane, but described the flight behavior of the Russians as the key factor in making the determination the encounter was unsafe.

    US officials were not initially aware of whether the Russian aircraft was armed.

    The Navy EP-3 was operating out of Souda Bay, Greece, according to Pentagon spokesman Eric Pahon.

    The Navy plane had its transponder on for the duration of the mission but there was no communication established or attempted between the Russian and US aircraft, Pahon said.

    A Twitter account for the Russian embassy in the US posted a brief statement about the encounter on Monday saying the fighter jet "followed all necessary safety procedures."

    "The Su-27 jet's crew reported identifying the #US EP-3 Aries spy plane and accompanied it, preventing a violation of Russian airspace and followed all necessary safety procedures," the tweet said.

    The last reported unsafe intercept of a US Navy aircraft by a Russian jet occurred in January when a Russian Su-27 jet flew within five feet of a US Navy EP-3, forcing the Navy plane to fly through its jet wash.

    The US Navy deemed that intercept unsafe and unprofessional.

    Following that incident, the US State Department issued a statement accusing the Russians of "flagrantly violating existing agreements and international law."

    In May, a Russian Su-27 fighter jet performed an "unprofessional" intercept of a US Navy P-8 surveillance plane while it was flying in international airspace over the Baltic Sea.

    The Russian jet came within about 20 feet of the US aircraft, one official said, adding that the encounter lasted about nine minutes.

    That intercept was described by officials as safe but unprofessional, though a US Navy official told CNN that the Navy does not officially classify aerial encounters that way. The Navy classifies aviation intercepts simply as either safe or unsafe.

    CNN's Ryan Browne contributed reporting

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    Macron urges European army to defend against Russia, US

    LUDOVIC MARIN 6 hrs ago

    French President Emmanuel Macron called Tuesday for a "real European army" as the continent marks a century since the divisions of World War I, to better defend itself against Russia and even the United States.

    Macron, who has pushed for a joint EU military force since his arrival in power last year, said Europe needed to reduce its dependence on American might, not least after US President Donald Trump announced he was pulling out of a Cold War-era nuclear treaty.

    "We have to protect ourselves with respect to China, Russia and even the United States of America," Macron told Europe 1 radio.

    "When I see President Trump announcing that he's quitting a major disarmament treaty which was formed after the 1980s euro-missile crisis that hit Europe, who is the main victim? Europe and its security," he said.

    "We will not protect the Europeans unless we decide to have a true European army," he said in the interview, recorded Monday night in Verdun, northeast France, as Macron tours the former Western Front during week-long World War I centenary commemorations.

    Faced with "a Russia which is at our borders and has shown that it can be a threat", Macron argued: "We need a Europe which defends itself better alone, without just depending on the United States, in a more sovereign manner."

    The EU launched a joint multi-billion-euro defence fund last year designed to develop Europe's military capacities and make the continent more strategically independent.

    France has also spearheaded the creation of a nine-country force designed to be capable of rapidly mounting a joint military operation, an evacuation from a warzone, or providing aid in a natural disaster.

    "Peace in Europe is precarious," Macron told Europe 1.

    "We have been hit by intrusion attempts in cyber-space and multiple interventions in our democracies," he said in an apparent reference to Russia.

    He also warned of "authoritarian powers which are reemerging and rearming within the confines in Europe".

    Macron has been warning of rising nationalism as he prepares to host dozens of world leaders, including Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, on Sunday to mark 100 years since the World War I armistice.

    He repeated his warning Tuesday that he was struck by similarities between the world today and the financial crisis and "nationalism playing on people's fears" of the 1930s.

    "The peace and prosperity which Europe has enjoyed for 70 years are a golden moment in our history," he said, warning that this was the exception rather than the rule.

    "For millennia, it has never lasted so long."

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    Minuteman III Replacement Program Moves Toward Next Phase (UPDATED)

    By Nick Adde

    The current ground-based strategic deterrent system is reaching the end of its useful lifespan. First installed at Northern Tier Air Force bases in 1968, the LGM-30 Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles were intended to serve for a decade.

    Fifty years later, the Minuteman III remains in place as the land-based component of the nation’s strategic triad – complementing nuclear-weapons systems that are deployed on the Air Force’s strategic bombers and Navy’s ballistic-missile submarines.

    As the legacy platform ages, the Air Force and industry are moving forward with plans to replace it with a new ground-based strategic deterrent, or GBSD.

    “Our existing systems are getting old. They need to be replaced,” said Ann Stefanek, an Air Force spokesperson.

    Tom Karako, senior international security program fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said, “The Trump administration, like Obama before it, is going over everything — all of the options — and saying, ‘We really need to replace this, and also nuclear command and control.’”

    Mark Gunzinger, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, said: “We are reaching the limit to our ability to continue to extend the service life of the Minuteman III.”

    Last August, the Air Force selected two companies — Boeing and Northrop Grumman — as the two primary competitors to design and build the GBSD. Both firms are now entering the second of a three-year, technology maturation and risk reduction phase, funded at roughly the same amount of money for each. Northrop Grumman received $350 million, while Boeing got $349 million.

    “We’re supposed to inform [the Air Force about] requirements going into the next phase — engineering, manufacturing and development,” said Patricia Dare, team lead for strategic deterrence systems at Boeing.

    Northrop Grumman declined to be interviewed for this story.

    The Air Force is expected to award a contract sometime around next August. Once complete, the new GBSD systems would be installed in existing silos and workspaces at three Air Force bases —
    F. E. Warren in Wyoming, Minot in North Dakota, and Malmstrom in Montana. Under terms of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) with Russia, GBSD will be limited to 400 operational weapons. The system should be ready by the end of the next decade.

    “One of the things we’re doing with this contract is keeping competition longer in the process than we may have done in the past,” Stefanek said. “When you have competition, typically it drives costs down.”

    Stefanek said the service does not expect the budgetary process to change much in the meantime. The Air Force will come forward with a five-year proposal, she said, with budgetary projections based on cost estimates that emerge as the competition and down-selection processes progress.

    The two companies are focusing on a complete replacement of the Minuteman III system. The much criticized floppy discs will go away. Other parts that are aging out are becoming irreplaceable. Sustainment costs would entail paying companies to manufacture parts and produce software that has long disappeared from the commercial market. Maintenance of archaic propulsion and guidance systems simply do not make sense anymore. Analyses have determined that it would be cheaper in the long run to replace the system entirely, officials have noted.

    “Sustainment costs of the current system are expected to continue to rise as it gets older,” Stefanek said. “We’re going to have to put money in either to fix the existing system or put a new system in.”

    Once the award is issued next year, the winning company will enter an engineering, manufacturing and development phase. The designers will move forward with the understanding that the ICBM they are building will be expected to last more than 50 years — just like its predecessor. It will need to incorporate a modular design, so that parts and systems can be upgraded during its lifespan as both technologies and threats change over time.

    “Replacement of the entire weapon system includes the aerospace vehicle equipment — the missile — as well as the infrastructure supporting the weapon system,” said Dare. “It’s very important to get the new system in place with capabilities that will meet emerging threats. We want to make sure the warfighter has the best capabilities to execute the mission.”

    For Gunzinger, the plan to replace Minuteman III with GBSD must be taken into consideration in the context of the need to enhance the entire nuclear triad. As an Air Force officer, he piloted B-52 bombers. After retiring from active duty, he served as deputy assistant defense secretary for force transformation resources under President George W. Bush.

    “When I first joined SAC [the Strategic Air Command], there was a pretty robust missile force,” Gunzinger said.

    The strategic arms limitation treaties between the United States and Soviet Union significantly reduced those numbers before, during and after the Cold War, Gunzinger said. Funding for strategic defense forces, which was as high as 11 percent of the budget at one point, eventually dropped to a low of 2.5 percent.

    “That was enough to sustain our triad with incremental upgrades and life-extension programs, but not enough to replace the Minuteman III,” Gunzinger said.

    “However, at the very same time DoD funding fell off, Russia never stopped. They’ve modernized all three legs and continue to do so. China has an acknowledged strategic triad as well,” he added.

    Challenges would come with any decision to simply upgrade rather than replace Minuteman III, he noted.

    “For example, take the engines. Those of two of the stages are made out of metal, and the third is a composite. The first two probably could be scrubbed out and the propellant could be re-poured, but there’s going to be some attrition. We wouldn’t know until we do that,” Gunzinger said.

    The composite stage cannot be re-poured, he said.

    Karako said it is significant that the GBSD acronym does not mention the word “missile.” The distinction implies the necessity to replace everything associated with Minuteman III — the host of ground-based systems that accompany the ICBM force, including command and control and ground stations.

    “It’s not just holes and missiles. It’s lifecycle costs,” Karako said.

    The winning company should, however, be cognizant of components in the old system that may merit adaptation into a current and useable form. For instance, he cites the fact that the computers in silos still require floppy disks drew incredulous responses when reported widely in the media a little more than two years ago. Floppy disks, Karako notes, cannot be easily hacked.

    “There are other elements of analog, which from the scheme of things might be just fine or have qualities we don’t necessarily want to dispense with,” Karako said. “That said, there are a lot of operations and maintenance things that can be improved.”

    New ground stations and equipment would be easier and cheaper to maintain, he said.

    Karako is ready to counter any contentions that ICBMs have outlived their usefulness and are too expensive to maintain or replace.

    “You have to emphasize the strategic context. Every time the U.S. looks at the possibility of getting rid of the ICBM, sure enough it tends to come back to the same conclusion,” Karako said. “Pound for pound, dollar for dollar, the ICBM leg is relatively inexpensive and provides a significant contribution to the overall nuclear deterrent provided by the triad.”

    Bombers and submarines are effective, but are limited in number, Karako said. Ground-based ICBMs provide promptness, range and distribution. Their presence forces potential adversaries to double down in their own strategic deterrence efforts. The qualities and characteristics of a ground-based force, he believes, simply cannot be replaced. Even though arms-limitation treaties let potential adversaries know how many warheads the United States can bring to bear, the very presence of a large number of ground-based silos would require them to commit a significant chunk of their resources toward eliminating them.

    “If somebody wants to decapitate our ICBM force, they’d have to go all in,” Karako said. “Russia would have to expand much of its nuclear force to hit the silos in the American West, and they still wouldn’t be able to hit our other [triad] legs.”

    In due time, Karako said, the Air Force will award the contract and the modernization will take place.

    “It’s the right thing to do. It’s not an artificial timeline that has to be met,” he said.

    To fully understand what is at stake and what is required, Karako said that the focus should go beyond simply counting the number of warheads and look instead at the uniqueness of the protection the strategic triad provides.

    “We don’t know what the future holds. We’re building systems that are going to be around for many decades to come,” Karako said. “It is important that we be cautious in terms of not dispensing with something today. The fact is, these particular qualities and contributions proved useful in the past. We should be careful about dispensing with this for what could be an uncertain future.”

    Correction: A previous version of this story had an incorrect caption.

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    Last edited by Housecarl; 11-06-2018 at 09:19 AM. Reason: formatting; also lost this post twice

  17. #17


    Senkaku Islands dispute: US and Japan draw up plans to defend disputed islands from ChinaTHE Senkaku Islands are tiny rocky spurs, part of a scattering of islands between the northern tip of Taiwan and the Japanese home islands. They are rapidly turning into a flashpoint for war.

    Beijing claims the islands as part of its historical inheritance — as it does neighbouring Taiwan, despite failing to seize the protectorate during the Chinese Civil War.

    Taiwan, however, was a Japanese protectorate before World War II.

    It’s a messy historical scenario, thought resolved through United Nations conventions and treaties established after the conflict.But ongoing aggressive incursions by Chinese fishing boats — organised as a state militia — and a freshly militarised coast guard has seen tensions in the East China Sea flare.

    Now, Japan and the United States are drawing up battle plans to enable their forces to fight together against any Chinese incursion. And their forces are engaged in their biggest combined war games, practising to do just that.

    The biggest war games ever conducted around Japan are underway, demonstrating the interoperability of Japanese Self Defence Forces with those of the US and Canada. The nuclear powered aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan is the centrepiece of the Keen Sword exercise which has mobilised more than 57,000 soldiers, sailors and air force personnel. POWER IMBALANCE

    The Japan Times reports government sources as saying discussions are well underway to establish a joint response to any “emergency” on or around the uninhabited Senkaku Islands, which China calls Diaoyu.

    “The plan being drawn up assumes such emergencies as armed Chinese fishermen landing on the islands, and Japan’s Self-Defense Forces needing to be mobilised after the situation exceeds the capacity of the police to respond,” itreports.

    It’s a rapidly looming scenario.China’s navy is undergoing an explosive expansion and modernisation program. Beijing has all but consolidated its arbitrary claims over the South China Sea through its aggressive artificial island fortress building campaign. It’s navy and air force are venturing ever deeper into the Pacific and Indian Oceans.

    So, the 2015 Bilateral Planning Mechanism agreement between the United States and Japan is upping the ante. It was established to “conduct bilateral operations to counter ground attacks against Japan by ground, air, maritime, or amphibious forces”.The operational procedures for defending the Senkaku Islands will be completed by March.

    The United States is already bound by treaty to defend Japan in the event of an attack. And US President Trump has recently said this treaty includes Japan’s claims to the Senkaku Islands — despite previous US government assertions it wanted no part in the East China Sea sovereignty dispute.But, now, the militaries of the two allied states are discussing how to secure the contested waterway by force of arms.

    “Given that military organisations always need to assume the worst possible situation, it is natural for the two countries to work on this kind of plan against China,” former Japanese naval attache at the Japanese Embassy in Beijing Bonji Ohara told the Japan Times. ON A KNIFE-EDGE

    The full extent of Beijing’s assertiveness has been revealed in freshly released footage and accounts of a near-collision between US and Chinese destroyers in the South China Sea.

    The South China Morning Post reports a Chinese warship involved in a close encounter had warned the US Navy vessel wouls “suffer consequences” if it did not divert out of the contested waterway.

    The UN convention of the sea does not recognise soverignty being established through artificial islands. And and an international tribunal has rejected as groundless Beijing’s claims to have historical ownership of the entire South China Sea.“To my knowledge, this is the first time we’ve had a direct threat to an American warship with that kind of language,” Chatham House international affairs analyst Bill Hayton told the Hong-Kong based news service.

    “The Chinese Luyang destroyer issued the stern verbal message to the USS Decatur before sailing within 45 yards of the vessel in the September 30 incident,” the Post reports.It says it has obtained a timeline of the incident from Britain’s Ministry of Defence.

    “You are on dangerous course ... If you don’t change course your will suffer consequences,” a Chinese officer warned.

    “This, I think, is the first time we’ve had the idea of ‘suffering consequences’. So that does seem to be an increased level of intimidation,” Mr Hayton says.

    On the freshly released footage, a US sailor is heard saying the Chinese warship was “trying to push us out of the way”.

    The US warship’s captain rejected the grounds for the challenge.“We are conducting innocent passage,” the USS Decatur responded, shortly before the Chinese warship cut across its bows - forcing the US ship to dodge a collision.

    Beijing stated the destroyer Luyang “took quick action and made checks against the US vessel in accordance with the law, and warned it to leave the waters”.

    The Post reports professor Ni Lexiong of the Shanghai University of Political Science and Law as saying “The US keeps testing our bottom line by sailing within 12 nautical miles ... So by sailing close to their ship we show that we are ready.”KEEN SWORD

    “Growing foreign interest in Asian security, including North Korea’s development of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles, coincides with greater Japanese willingness to back up its regional diplomacy with a show of military muscle,” the Japan Times writes.

    Simulated combat is raging around the Japanese Home Islands. Jets are jostling for position in simulated air combat. Submarines are playing cat-and-mouse in the deep. Troops and tanks are rushing for shore in practice amphibious landings. Missile defences are being put through drill after drill.

    Australia is participating as an observer.“We are here to stabilise, and preserve our capability should it be needed. Exercises like Keen Sword are exactly the kind of thing we need to do,”

    Rear Admiral Karl Thomas told a media briefing aboard the USS Ronald Reagan with its 90 F-18 Super Hornet strike fighters and 5000 sailors.

    “The US-Japan alliance is essential for stability in this region and the wider Indo Pacific,” Japanese Rear Admiral Hiroshi Egawa added.

    The USS Reagan part of a force of warships and submarines simulating warfare in the East China Sea. It’s a common sight in the region. It’s the US Navy’s only foreign-based nuclear aircraft carrier, operating with its supporting fleet out of Yokosuka near Tokyo.

    The exercise is scheduled to end on Thursday.Keen Sword “remains an expression of the commitment of like-minded allies and partners. To really see what we can do in terms of demonstrating advanced capabilities together to ensure peace and stability in the Indo Pacific,” the Chief of US Naval Operations Admiral John Richardson told a news briefing.

    He added the US would continue its freedom of navigation operations in the South and East China Seas to highlight its opposition to “illegitimate maritime claims”.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    May 2004
    2004 Soviet of Washington
    This seems to be a change is Israeli strategy masked as a clarification.

    Minister hints Israel will strike Russian manned S-300 in Syria if necessary

    Minister hints Israel will strike Russian manned S-300 in Syria if necessary
    7:00:13 AM
    Updated on
    7:00:19 AM
    Written by

    Israel’s Environmental Protection Minister, Ze’ev Elkin, warned Russia on Tuesday that its newly deployed missile defense system in Syria would be the target of airstrikes if Bashar al-Assad’s army decides to make use of it against Israeli airplanes conducting operations in the war torn country.

    "We consider the very fact of shipping S-300 to Syria a big mistake. The Syrian military are not always capable of correctly using the hardware transferred to them. In case of improper operation, civilian air crafts may be harmed,” Elkin, who also heads the Russia-Israel Intergovernmental Commission, said during a press conference for Russian media on Tuesday.

    Moscow’s announcement of providing the Syrian army with its S-300 missile defense system came on the heels of an incident that sparked a diplomatic crisis between Russia and Israel. In September, a Russian plane was mistakenly downed by Syrian air defense, killing 15 serviceman on board, during an Israeli air strike in Latakia.

    Russia blamed the downing of its plane on Israel for not notifying it about its airstrikes in time for the Russian plane to steer clear of any danger.

    "I hope greatly that there would be no Russian military specialists (at S-300 sites). Israel has for all these years been doing everything it can to make sure Russian military personnel are not harmed. The Iranians have repeatedly used the Russian military as a living shield and conducted arms relocation operations under the cover of the Russian military presence," Elkin said.

    After Russia entered the Syrian war in 2015, backing Assad against rebels, Jerusalem and Moscow opened a direct communication line to avoid any clashes when Israeli airplanes were carrying out airstrikes.

    Israel has admitted that it carried out more than 200 airstrikes and 800 missiles in Syria over the last year, many of which it claimed were targeting Iranian positions and convoys transferring weapons to Hezbollah, the Iranian backed proxy operating in Syria.

    "By shipping these kinds of weapons to Syrians, Russia bears partial responsibility for their use. Usually, Israel reacts to attacks on its territory and its air crafts not through international demarches, but with practical actions. Actions would undoubtedly take place, should (an attack) occur, against the launchers used to attack Israeli territory or Israeli planes," Elkin said.

    The Israeli minister thus echoed Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, who said that Israel will not alter its policy in Syria, following the shooting down of the Russian plane.

    "We acted and act with discretion and responsibly, and only in cases where we have no other choice. Therefore, nothing has changed, nor will it change. This is our policy,” Liberman told Israel’s public broadcaster Kan in September.

    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to strike Iranian targets “whenever, wherever” Israel feels threatened by its actions.

    Elkin stressed during the press conference with the Russian media on Tuesday that Russia will be warned about Iran’s actions in Syria.

    "We have good enough intelligence regarding Iranian actions, and we know how to warn our Russian colleagues about such attempts in time," the minister said.
    “Then the creatures of the high air answered to the battle, .., and the woods trembled and the wind sobbed telling them, the earth shook,; the witches of the valley, and the wolves of the forests, howled from every quarter and on every side of the armies, urging them against one another.”
    ― Lady Gregory, Gods and Fighting Men: The Story of the Tuatha De Danaan and the Fianna of Ireland

  19. #19

  20. #20
    Join Date
    May 2004
    ‏ @News_Executive
    25m25 minutes ago

    BREAKING: Police in Catalonia capture a far right, Spanish ultra-nationalist "lone wolf" sniper planning to assassinate Spanish President because of pretending to move Franco Dictatorship from the where he is buried now.
    Nana to two "little bits", one not-so-little "little bit" and one 6' college bound "little bit"

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Eastern NE
    Quote Originally Posted by China Connection View Post
    Yep, and hitting Russian manned S-300 means killing Russians. WWIII is close.
    Amen to that CC.

  22. #22


    Taiwan commissions warships amid China threat warnings TAIPEI, Taiwan – Taiwan's president on Thursday commissioned a pair of guided missile frigates that are expected to boost the island's ability to counter Chinese submarines amid rising military threats from Beijing.

    President Tsai Ing-wen attended the ceremony for the Ming Chuan and Feng Chia at a navy base in the southern port of Kaohsiung and reiterated Taiwan's determination to resist all threats, her office said.

    The ships' commissioning "again sends a clear signal to the world and international society from the people of Taiwan," Tsai said, according to a text of her speech.

    "And that is, we will not back away one step when it comes to safeguarding the Republic of China Taiwan and protecting our democratic way of life," Tsai said.

    The Republic of China is Taiwan's official name derived from the government established by the Nationalist Party in China which relocated to the island amid civil war in 1949.

    China claims Taiwan as its own territory, to be conquered by force if necessary, and has recently stepped up its threats by staging military exercises near the island, flying bombers and fighter jets in loops around it and sending its aircraft carrier through the Taiwan Strait.

    Chinese President Xi Jinping has said the issue of bringing Taiwan under Beijing's control cannot be put off indefinitely, but Taipei enjoys strong military and political support from Washington, despite their lack of formal diplomatic ties.

    The Perry class vessels were formerly part of the U.S. Navy, and though built in the 1980s, have been updated with cutting-edge technologies including sonar and undersea warfare combat systems. Taiwan already operates eight of the ships built under license, using them to patrol the Taiwan Strait from their home port in Penghu, also known as the Pescadores Islands.

    The two vessels commissioned were sold to Taiwan for $190 million after undergoing thorough overhauls and retrofitting.

    Tsai warned that in addition to its traditional military threats, Beijing is also spreading misinformation online intended to destabilize Taiwanese society, the government and local industries.

    "These are major challenges to national security, and naturally, are also new tasks for the government and armed forces," Tsai said.
    Last edited by danielboon; 11-09-2018 at 07:56 AM.

  23. #23
    AFP news agency

    Verified account

    Follow Follow @AFP
    #BREAKING Top Chinese official demands US stop 'actions that undermine Chinese sovereignty'

  24. #24
    Join Date
    May 2004
    2004 Soviet of Washington
    'They say that the King is restless tonight.'

    ' ELINT News Retweeted

    ‏ @CivMilAir
    2h2 hours ago

    Saudi Medevac heading over Arkansas

    ���� Saudi Armed Forces Medical Services
    “Then the creatures of the high air answered to the battle, .., and the woods trembled and the wind sobbed telling them, the earth shook,; the witches of the valley, and the wolves of the forests, howled from every quarter and on every side of the armies, urging them against one another.”
    ― Lady Gregory, Gods and Fighting Men: The Story of the Tuatha De Danaan and the Fianna of Ireland

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