Monday, September 26, 2016

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- September 26, 2016

South China Morning Post: China dispatches one of its largest air force fleets ever near Okinawa in show of force to Japan

Chinese military heads out to Western Pacific for the second time this month in sabre-rattling aimed at Tokyo

China’s air force sent an unusually large fleet of fighter jets and bombers through the Miyako Strait near Japan’s Okinawa Island for exercises on Sunday, the second time it has headed to the Western Pacific this month.

Analysts said the sabre-rattling was meant as a strong message to Tokyo, after Japan’s new defence minister vowed to step up its military presence in the disputed South China Sea in joint training patrols with the United States.

Read more ....

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- September 26, 2016

China air force holds drills near Japanese islands -- Al Jazeera

Japan scambles jets over China military fly past -- DW

Japan scrambles jets over China flights along Miyako Straits -- BBC

Japan vows to watch Chinese warplane activity closely -- AP

Russian, US Military to Agree on Syria Flights Information Exchange Rules -- Sputnik

Pentagon Casts Doubt on Mustard Gas Use against US Troops -- Military Times

Russian Gov't Approves Agreement With Armenia to Form Joint Caucasus Air Defense -- Sputnik

Russia to Obtain Hypersonic Weapons Before 2020 -- Sputnik

Russia’s new combat aircraft A-60 to be armed with high accuracy laser — KRET -- TASS

Russian Armata Vehicles to Sport Smart Fire-Suppression Gear With 'Black Boxes' -- Sputnik

Russian Pacific Fleet reinforced with newest nuclear-powered submarine -- TASS

China ‘strips invisibility cloak’ from stealth bomber with new radar -- The Times/The Australian

Ukraine shows off new domestic cruise missile as part of ‘military modernization’ (VIDEO) -- RT

US, South Korean missile destroyers in fresh show of force to North Korea -- CNN

US, South Korea Exercise for Military Option With Naval Drill -- VOA

USFK commander meets U.S. officials to address N.K. threats -- Yonhap News Agency

US general calls out Pakistan on support for Afghan militants -- The Hill

Next-gen US military helicopters prepare for 2017 flights -- IHS Jane's 360

F-35A Catches Fire at Mountain Home Air Force Base -- Defense News

Air Force Grounds Four JSTARS Over Maintenance Concerns -- Defense News

Air Force seeks to solve growing shortage of fighter pilots -- Houston Chronicle

Army Pursuing Alternatives to Heavy Vehicle Armor -- National Defense

Full Speed Ahead for Navy Expeditionary Fast Transports -- Motley Fool

Contractor Reports Progress on F-35’s Gen III Light Helmet -- National Defense

Why Were Two F-117s Flying Over Nevada? -- Popular Mechanics

U-2 Flights Resume after Pilot Killed in Crash -- Appeal-Democrat/

Can testosterone boost combat performance? Pentagon studies hormone's role in fitness -- Military Times

Female Marine Reaches End of First Phase of MARSOC Course --

Dems call for better birth control access for female troops -- The Hill

Navy Investigating Second Sailor Who Refused To Stand For National Anthem -- Daily Caller

Can celebrity chef Robert Irvine refine military chow? We're about to find out -- Military Times

Why the U.S-Israel Military Aid Package Matters -- Chen Kane, W. Seth Carus, and Nima Gerami, National Interest

13,000 military personnel will provide security, ceremonial support for the next president's inauguration -- Military Times

75 Million and Counting: The Deadly History of the AK-47 -- Blake Franko, National Interest

Preparing For Nuclear War On The Korean Peninsula

Bob Butterworth, Breaking Defense: Preparing for The Next War in Korea

Preparing for war can sometimes help prevent one, and those preparations are probably helpful if one does start. Perhaps it’s time to show North Korea what its forces would be in for, and to show our allies in the South that we are with them, seriously.

The best course may be through field exercises conducted jointly by US and South Korean conventional forces, demonstrating operational capabilities to be used in the face of nuclear strikes.

Often a second Korean War is imagined to end with US nuclear weapons destroying the North. True, this year United States has twice flown bombers over South Korea, perhaps to make sure that Kim remembers we have them. But it seems improbable that the US would use nuclear weapons in a war against the North, even if Kim Jong Un started the war by using atomic bombs.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: If North Korea uses nuclear weapons .... I fail to see how the U.S. will not respond in kind. It would set up a horrible precedent (if nothing is done), and the pressure from our allies in Asia (and elsewhere), and among the U.S. military (and probably the U.S. public) to retaliate using nukes (and quickly) will be overwhelming.

Here Are 14 Firms That The CIA Has Invested In

Larry Downing/REUTERS

Business Insider: 14 cutting edge firms funded by the CIA

The Central Intelligence Agency has its own investment capital arm, and it's been pumping money into some of Silicon Valley's most innovative companies for years.

In-Q-Tel (named after "Q" in the James Bond films) invests in companies that can deliver useful technology to the intelligence community within 36 months. But since it's structured as an independent, non-profit organization, it's rather unique: It's a VC firm that doesn't really need to make money back for outside investors, and it can tap into the deep pockets of the intelligence "black budget."

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Wow .... what these 14 firms are doing is truly cutting edge. Whether they deliver a reliable product .... I guess time will only tell.

The Pentagon's 'Arsenal Plane' Will Be A Modified B-52 Or C-130

Scout Warrior: Pentagon "Arsenal Plane" Could be B-52, C-130

The Air Force is already upgrading the historic, 1960s-era bomber with new radios, avionics and weapons capability

The Pentagon’s emerging “Arsenal Plane” or “flying bomb truck” is likely to be a modified, high-tech adaptation of the iconic B-52 bomber designed to fire air-to-air weapons, release swarms of mini-drones and provide additional fire-power to 5th generation stealth fighters such as the F-35 and F-22, Pentagon officials and analysts said.

It is also possible that the emerging arsenal plane could be a modified C-130 or combined version of a B-52 and C-130 drawing from elements of each, Pentagon officials said.

Using a B-52, which is already being modernized with new radios and an expanded internal weapons bay, would provide an existing “militarized” platform already engineered with electronic warfare ability and countermeasures designed to thwart enemy air defenses.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Using a B-52 (or C-130) will probably be the best (and cheapest) version of an arsenal plane for the U.S. Air Force .... and since money is tight, expect the cheapest version to be accepted.

Is The Syrian Conflict A War That Can Only Be Resolved By Military Means?

A man at a site recently hit by what activists said was a Scud missile in Aleppo’s Ard al-Hamra neighborhood, February 23, 2013. REUTERS/Muzaffar Salman

Bilal Abdul Kareem, Middle East Monitor: Why there can only be a military solution in Syria

Most of the outside world watched in horror at news that the ill-fated Aleppo aid convoy was blasted and burned.

Words such as “unbelievable” and “shocking” filled news broadcasts. However, here in besieged Aleppo, the events of that day were neither unbelievable, nor shocking.

Most of the outside world watched in horror at news that the ill-fated Aleppo aid convoy was blasted and burned.

Words such as “unbelievable” and “shocking” filled news broadcasts. However, here in besieged Aleppo, the events of that day were neither unbelievable, nor shocking.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: I have also somewhat come to the conclusion that the Syrian conflict is now a war that can only be resolved my military means .... and will it happen only over a long period of time. All the sides are no longer interested in talking to each other .... and all sides are too hardened to even contemplate negotiation and compromise. The result then is all too predictable .... a long and grinding insurgency .... with the involvement of outsides either directly or through proxies. My prediction .... while rebel held-Aleppo may fall, controlling these territories with a heavy Syrian military presence and having the means to conquer additional rebel held regions will be very difficult for a Syrian Army that has suffered enormous casualties in the past 5 years. There is a limit on what the Syrian regime can do .... and I suspect that this will be more than evident as time passes by. As a result .... the war will slowly grind on until the rebellion has been finally crushed ..... sighhh .... I can easily this going on for the next few years.

U.S. Forces Using White Phosphorus In The War Against The Islamic State

U.S. Army soldiers with Battery C, 1st Battalion, 320th Field Artillery Regiment, Task Force Strike, execute a fire mission in northern Iraq on Aug. 14 2016. White Phosphorus smoke rounds are pictured in the right-hand corner. (1st Lt. Daniel Johnson/U.S. Army)

Washington Post: U.S. forces are using white phosphorus munitions in Iraq but it’s unclear exactly how

U.S. forces are using white phosphorus munitions in their fight against the Islamic State based on pictures and videos posted online by the Pentagon, but it is unclear exactly how the controversial armament is being employed.

White phosphorus shells are intended to make smoke screens or signals for advancing troops. When launched against soldiers and civilians, however, the munition can cause severe burn wounds that can be dangerous for medical personnel treating the injured.

International humanitarian law stipulates that white phosphorus munitions should only be used in areas devoid of civilians. Even using it against enemy combatants has raised concerns, given that the munitions can cause horrific injuries.

Read more ....

Update #1: U.S. has used white phosphorus in Iraq (Digital Journal)
Update #2: US troops use white phosphorus in Iraq to ‘obscure’ Kurdish forces – newspaper (RT)

WNU Editor: The Americans are not the only ones who are using white phosphorous .... Saudi Arabia is using it in Yemen .... Saudi Arabia appears to be using U.S.-supplied white phosphorus in its war in Yemen (Washington Post) .... and Russian/Surian forces are using it .... Footage shows warplanes pounding Aleppo with white phosphorus munitions say activists (IBTimes).

Update #3: This is why White Phosphorous is temping to use .... 'Tempting for armies to use white phosphorous as a weapon' (RT).

Update #4: The U.S. has a history of using a portable version of a white phosphorous weapon in Afghanistan .... U.S. Denies Incendiary Weapon Use in Afghanistan (September 9, 2009). Even the Afghan Taliban have been accused of using White Phosphorous .... Taleban Using White Phosphorus, Some Of It Made In Britain (May 12, 2009).

Update: More news on the past and present U.S. use of white phosphorous can be seen in the video below.

North Korea Vows To Expand And Strengthen Their Nuclear Capability

North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho addresses the United Nations General Assembly in the Manhattan borough of New York, U.S. September 23, 2016. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz

Reuters: Defying U.N., North Korea vows to strengthen nuclear capability

North Korea vowed on Friday to further strengthen its nuclear weapons capability, in spite of U.N. condemnation and sanctions, and said it would never abandon its deterrence while it was threatened by nuclear-armed states.

In an address to the United Nations General Assembly, North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho described his country's nuclear weapons as "a righteous self-defense measure" against "constant nuclear threats of the United States."

"Going nuclear-armed is the policy of our state," he said. "As long as there exists a nuclear-weapon state in hostile relations with the DPRK, our national security and peace on the Korean peninsula can be defended only with reliable nuclear deterrence," he said, using the acronym for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, North Korea's official name.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: This North Korean position is hardening South Korean altitudes on nuclear weapons .... Most S.Koreans Support Nuclear Armament (Chosun Ilbo).

More News On North Korea Vowing To Expand And Strengthen Their Nuclear Capability

North Korea vows in UN speech to strengthen nuclear forces -- AP
North Korea's Ri Yong Ho defends 'successful' nuclear test in U.N. speech -- UPI
N.Korea Threatens to Continue Nuclear Arms Development -- Chosun Ilbo
Defiant North Korea Says It Must 'Go Nuclear' To Defend Itself -- RFE
North Korea threatens another nuclear test -- Nikkei Asian Review

More Threats From North Korea On Nuclear War

North Korean leader Kim Jung Un supervises a demonstration of a new rocket engine for the geo-stationary satellite at the Sohae Space Center n this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang September 20, 2016.

IBTimes: North Korea Threatens US Base With Nukes: Kim Jong Un Regime Warns Of 'Uncontrollable' Nuclear War

North Korea threatened Seoul and a United States' base in Guam with a nuclear warhead attack Friday after South Korea spent the past week cozying up to the U.S. military. A North Korean army spokesman announced via the country’s official news agency that the allies’ recent military drills have put the Korean peninsula on the brink of nuclear war.

The “provocations have pushed the situation on the Korean peninsula to the uncontrollable and irreversible phase of the outbreak of nuclear war,” the statement said. The statement also threatened the U.S.’s naval base in Guam if it and South Korea continued its recent actions.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: These threats are only making this deployment inevitable .... U.S. Says THAAD Not Negotiable (Maritime Executive). On a side note .... at least the back channels are still working .... US ex-officials, North Koreans quietly meet (AP/FOX News)

More News On More Threats From North Korea On Nuclear War

North Korea at UN: US faces 'consequences beyond imagination' -- CNN
North Korea says US could spark 'nuclear war' as bombers fly close to border -- SKY News
N Korean Military Threatens to Use Nuclear Weapons Against Seoul, Guam US Base -- Sputnik

President Barack Obama: The Ultimate Exit Interview

OVAL TEAM The 44th president and historian Doris Kearns Goodwin share a West Wing tête-à-tête. Photograph by Annie Leibovitz.

Doris Goodwin, Vanity Fair: Barack Obama And Doris Kearns Goodwin: The Ultimate Exit Interview

As his two-term presidency draws to a close, Barack Obama is looking back—at the legacies of his predecessors, as well as his own—and forward, to the freedom of life after the White House. In a wide-ranging conversation with one of the nation’s foremost presidential historians, he talks about his ambitions, frustrations, and the decisions that still haunt him.

His presidency is winding down. A contentious election—fought largely over his rec­ord and legacy—is about to be decided. With that in mind, Barack Obama recently invited the presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin to the White House for a long, personal, open-ended conversation. The meeting, arranged by Vanity Fair, took place in the president’s private dining room, just off the Oval Office.

Doris Kearns Goodwin is no stranger to these precincts. She has been in and out of the West Wing ever since 1967, when, as a 24-year-old White House Fellow, she worked closely with Lyndon Johnson during the last year of his presidency (and then afterward as he wrote his memoirs). She has earned a raft of literary prizes, including a Pulitzer, for books about J.F.K., L.B.J., Franklin Roosevelt, Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and, most notably, Abraham Lincoln—the subject of her landmark history, Team of Rivals, whose title gave America’s political language a new and permanent catchphrase. (Steven Spielberg would use Goodwin’s book as the basis for his film Lincoln, and when Daniel Day-Lewis won the 2012 best-actor Oscar for his portrayal of the president, he entered the Vanity Fair after-party with the author in tow.)

Read more ....

WNU Editor: I would not call this the "Ultimate Exit Interview". I suspect that President Obama is going to give quite a few of them from now until January ..... and beyond. But if you are into "puff" pieces on the President .... this post is then for you.

Risk Of Nuclear War Rises

B-52 bomber. CBS NEWS

60 Minutes/CBS: Risk of nuclear attack rises

What are the chances the next president would have to make a decision on whether to use nuclear weapons? It’s greater than you might think

President Obama’s nuclear strategy states that while the threat of all-out nuclear war is remote the risk of a nuclear attack somewhere in the world has actually increased. When that was written three years ago the risk came from a rogue nation like North Korea. Back then the U.S. and Russia were said to be partners but that was before Russia invaded Crimea, using military force to change the borders of Europe. And before its president, Vladimir Putin, and his generals began talking about nuclear weapons. For generations nuclear weapons have been seen as a last resort to be used only in extreme circumstances. But in this new Cold War the use of a nuclear weapon is not as unlikely to occur as you might think.

Read more ....

Tweet For Today

U.S. To Replace Its ICBM Force

An unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile launches during an operational test from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California at 11:01 p.m. on February 25, 2016. REUTERS/Ian Dudley/U.S. Air Force photo/Handout via Reuters US Air Force Set to Replace Intercontinental Nuke Arsenal

Hidden underground in steel-and-concrete silos across rural America, more than 400 intercontinental ballistic missiles point to the skies, poised for launch -- and ready to obliterate cities across the world.

First designed in the 1960s at the height of the Cold War, the Minuteman nuclear weapons are starting to show their age, and replacement parts are difficult to find for the weapons designed in an analog age.

Also aging are their silos, many built in the 1950s and now rusting as water seeps through the decaying concrete.

Over the next 20 years, the U.S. Air Force will switch out the entirety of its Minuteman III fleet with an as-yet-unnamed new missile known only as the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD).

Read more ....

WNU Editor: This is interesting .... Pentagon chief is expert on nukes but says little about them (US News and World Report/AP).

Picture Of The Day

The amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard fires a Sea Sparrow missile during Valiant Shield 2016 in the Philippine Sea, Sept. 18, 2016. The biennial exercise focuses on integrating joint training among U.S. forces. Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Raymond D. Diaz III

Donald Trump And Hillary Clinton Meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu In New York City

Reuters: Trump tells Netanyahu he would recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital

U.S. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump on Sunday told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that if elected, the United States would recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, the campaign said, marking a potential dramatic shift in U.S. policy.

During the meeting that lasted more than an hour at Trump Tower in New York, Trump told Netanyahu that under his administration, the United States would "recognize Jerusalem as the undivided capital of the State of Israel."

While Israel calls Jerusalem its capital, few other countries accept that, including the United States. Most nations maintain embassies in Tel Aviv.

Palestinians want East Jerusalem, captured by Israel in a 1967 war, as capital of the state they aim to establish alongside Israel in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Read more ....

More News On Donald Trump And Hillary Clinton Meeting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in New York City

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Meets With Clinton, Trump -- NBC
Clinton, Trump buff foreign policy bona fides on debate eve -- AP
Trump, Clinton each meet Israeli PM Netanyahu -- CNN
Trump, Clinton meet separately with Netanyahu in New York -- Washington Post
Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu Meets With Clinton And Trump -- NPR
Trump, Clinton Assure Netanyahu on Future of U.S.-Israel Ties -- Bloomberg
Trump Tells Netanyahu: If Elected, U.S. Would Recognize Undivided Jerusalem as Israel's Capital -- Haaretz

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Golf’s Great Arnold Palmer Dies At 87

Golf Week: Golf’s most beloved figure, Arnold Palmer, dies at 87

Arnold Palmer, a seven-time major winner who brought golf to the masses and became the most beloved figure in the game, died Sunday in Pittsburgh from heart complications. He was 87.

Palmer, a native of Latrobe, Pa., had been admitted to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, where he was scheduled to have heart surgery Monday, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

Reaction poured in from “Arnie’s Army” of admirers in the world of golf.

Read more ....

Update #1: Arnold Palmer obit: The King passes away at 87 (PGA)
Update #2: Reaction to Arnold Palmer's death Sunday (AP)

WNU Editor: Played a round of golf today .... probably the last time this year. It is fitting that I end this day with this post.

Japan Scrambles Fighter Jets While China Stages Air Force Exercises Near Okinawa

Chinese air force planes, including an H-6K bomber (left) and an Su-30 fighter, fly over the Miyako Strait in Okinawa Prefecture to the Western Pacific on Sunday. CNS / VIA KYODO

Japan Times: Japan scrambles ASDF near Okinawa as Chinese air force planes pass over key entryway into Pacific

Japan scrambled Air Self-Defense Force aircraft after eight Chinese warplanes passed through a critical international entryway into the Western Pacific on Sunday — a move analysts said was a warning to Japan over pledges of increased engagement in the disputed South China Sea.

The Chinese aircraft — which apparently included two fighter jets for the first time — flew over the Miyako Strait in Okinawa Prefecture, but did not infringe on Japanese territorial airspace, the Defense Ministry said in Tokyo.

The eight warplanes were apparently part of a larger contingent of more than 40 Chinese aircraft that flew between Miyako Island and Okinawa’s main island on the way to “regular” patrols and drills in the Western Pacific, the Chinese Defense Ministry said in a statement posted to its website.

Read more ....

More News On Japan Scrambling Fighter Jets While China Stages Air Force Exercises Near Okinawa

Japan Scrambles Jets After China Makes Show of Force in Key Strait -- Bloomberg
East China Sea: Japan Reacts as Chinese Air Force Conducts Miyako Strait Drill -- The Diplomat
Tokyo scrambles jets as Beijing stages air force exercise near Japanese islands -- RT
Japan Scrambles Jets in Response to China’s Military Air Drills Near Okinawa -- Sputnik

A New Arms Race Over Warplanes

(Click on Image to Enlarge)

Wall Street Journal: Big Spending on Warplanes Spurs Aerial Arms Race

Russia, China seek to challenge Western superiority in the sky with stealthy, next-generation jets

For more than two decades, combat aircraft flown by the U.S. and its European allies have pretty much owned the sky. Now, Russia and China are spending lavishly on new weapons that could challenge that superiority, spurring a new arms race.

Some of the hardware, both planes and antiaircraft capabilities, is expected to roll out in the next few years. The upgrades come as Moscow flexes its muscles in hot spots such as Eastern Europe and the Middle East and Beijing does so in the South China Sea—heightening urgency among Western military brass to push for their own, next-generation combat planes. (See interactive graphic: Comparing the World’s Fighter Jets)

“The most pressing challenge for the United States Air Force is the rise of peer competitors with advanced military capabilities rivaling our own,” Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein told lawmakers in June, days before being confirmed in the job.

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WNU Editor: Russia's production of the T-50 will not be large enough to threaten U.S. dominance. The Chinese have the means to become a threat to U.S. dominance, but what exactly are their future plans is still unknown.

Update: Special: F-35 vs China J-31 & Russia PAK-FA (Scout Warrior).

U.S. Accuses Russia Of 'Barbarism' In Syria, Moscow Says Peace Impossible

Reuters: U.S., Russia trade blows over Syria as warplanes pound Aleppo

The United States accused Russia of "barbarism" in Syria on Sunday as warplanes supporting Syrian government forces pounded Aleppo and Moscow said ending the civil war was almost "impossible".

A diplomatic solution to the fighting looked unlikely as U.S. and Russian diplomats disagreed at a U.N. Security Council meeting called to discuss the violence, which has escalated since a ceasefire collapsed last week.

Rebels, who are battling President Bashar al-Assad's forces for control of Aleppo, said any peace process would be futile unless the "scorched earth bombing" stopped immediately.

Capturing the rebel-held half of Syria's largest city, where more than 250,000 civilians are trapped, would be the biggest victory of the civil war for Assad's forces.

Read more ....

More News On The U.S. Accusing Russia Of 'Barbarism' In Syria

Syria conflict: US accuses Russia of 'barbarism' in Aleppo -- BBC
U.S. accuses Russia of ‘barbarism’ and war crimes in Syria -- Washington Post
Russia accused of war crimes in Syria at UN security council session -- The Guardian
Russia accused of supporting 'barbarism' over Syrian conflict -- Financial Times
Russia Under Fire Over Aleppo Bombings At UN Security Council -- RFE
British ambassador walks out on UN Security Council meeting, accusing Russia of war crimes -- The Independent
West still arming Al-Nusra in Syria, peace almost impossible – Russia’s UN envoy -- RT