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bigdog
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« Reply #500 on: May 08, 2014, 12:32:36 PM »

Also from National Interest, and may be of interest here:

http://nationalinterest.org/feature/bad-move-further-nato-expansion-10350
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ccp
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« Reply #501 on: May 10, 2014, 09:40:27 AM »

With the recent announcement of the new multibillion dollar Presidential helicopter program the question remains will it even remain within the budget.  Answer is almost certainly no.   

http://gizmodo.com/5637188/is-this-the-reason-why-most-military-projects-go-over-budget/all
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #502 on: May 10, 2014, 11:08:30 AM »

BD's post on NATO expansion raises important questions.  Let's discuss in US-Russia or Russia-Europe or US Foreign Policy thread
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #503 on: May 14, 2014, 09:59:41 AM »

http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2014/05/13/ctrl_alt_delete_how_to_redesign_the_military_from_scratch
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bigdog
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« Reply #504 on: May 24, 2014, 01:10:16 PM »

http://www.popsci.com/blog-network/eastern-arsenal/chinese-special-forces-take-1st-2nd-and-4th-place-%E2%80%9Colympics%E2%80%9D-elite?src=SOC&dom=fb

From the article:

Since 2010, Chinese delegations have rocketed to the top of international special operations, police and military sniper competitions, benefiting from increased training and better weapons.  It is important to note, however, that many top special operations units were not present at this training competition (including notable US and Russian forces presently active on operations) and that the kind of skills tested in the Warrior Competition form only part of special operations and counterterrorism capabilities.
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G M
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« Reply #505 on: May 25, 2014, 12:00:07 AM »

http://www.popsci.com/blog-network/eastern-arsenal/chinese-special-forces-take-1st-2nd-and-4th-place-%E2%80%9Colympics%E2%80%9D-elite?src=SOC&dom=fb

From the article:

Since 2010, Chinese delegations have rocketed to the top of international special operations, police and military sniper competitions, benefiting from increased training and better weapons.  It is important to note, however, that many top special operations units were not present at this training competition (including notable US and Russian forces presently active on operations) and that the kind of skills tested in the Warrior Competition form only part of special operations and counterterrorism capabilities.

This is not good news for Taiwan. It's anticipated that special ops will play a big role in China's move to end it's independence.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #506 on: June 14, 2014, 02:28:06 PM »



http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/15/magazine/can-general-linders-special-operations-forces-stop-the-next-terrorist-threat.html?&_r=0
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DougMacG
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« Reply #507 on: June 16, 2014, 04:13:25 PM »

I don't see a precise answer here, but an interesting question:

http://www.militarytimes.com/article/20140612/NEWS08/306120062/How-did-800-ISIS-fighters-rout-2-Iraqi-divisions-

How did 800 ISIS fighters rout 2 Iraqi divisions?
Jun. 12, 2014
 
An image from a video posted by a group supporting the al-Qaida breakaway Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), which has been verified and is consistent with other AP reporting, shows a militant in front of a burning Iraqi army Humvee in Tikrit, Iraq. (The Associated Press)

By Andrew Tilghman and Jeff Schogol
=
But the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, apparently has routed an estimated 30,000 Iraqi Army soldiers who were trained by the U.S. military and given billions in sophisticated American military equipment.

The stunning outcome reflects widespread desertions among the Iraqi units in the north as well as the Sunni-Shiite sectarian tensions that underlie the military battles, experts say.

“It’s a relativity small force that managed to take the city [of Mosul], and it’s shocking that they were able to do that,” said Charlie Cooper, who studies Islamic extremism for the Quilliam Foundation in London.

“To me, that suggests there is collusion or at least deliberate capitulation on the part of Sunni tribes in western and northern Iraq,” Cooper said. “It’s likely that this happened because Sunni tribes in the area let it happen.”

Check this ISIS slideshow. Contains pics of US made military material taken from #Iraq army: http://t.co/zng3UAKRCY pic.twitter.com/w15NFrBrg6
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #508 on: July 05, 2014, 09:48:52 AM »



http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/jul/4/china-invests-in-nuclear-submarines/
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bigdog
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« Reply #509 on: August 01, 2014, 05:49:37 PM »

http://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art/digging-our-own-grave-the-results-of-ct-coin-and-regime-change

From the article:

In the 1990s, the US Department of Defence pioneered the theory of warfare that came to be called network-centric warfare. This involves taking advantage of the innovations taking place in information communication technology within the sphere of military operations. Publications, such as, Understanding Information Age Warfare by David Alberts and others (2001) outline the basic tenets of the theory, of which there are four. 1) Thoroughly networked force improves information sharing; 2) by sharing information, shared situational awareness and the quality of information is enhanced; the effects of shared situational awareness includes enabling collaboration and self-synchronisation, bettering sustainability and speed of command; which greatly improve mission effectiveness.
...

Although these forms of warfare theory have been developed in the West, they seem to have been co-opted by the radical Islamist insurgent and terrorist movements. The current style of prosecuting war seems to be more in line with third generation warfare principles, where information plays a supporting role to military operations.
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DDF
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« Reply #510 on: August 08, 2014, 02:17:16 PM »

I don't see a precise answer here, but an interesting question:

http://www.militarytimes.com/article/20140612/NEWS08/306120062/How-did-800-ISIS-fighters-rout-2-Iraqi-divisions-

How did 800 ISIS fighters rout 2 Iraqi divisions?
Jun. 12, 2014
 
An image from a video posted by a group supporting the al-Qaida breakaway Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), which has been verified and is consistent with other AP reporting, shows a militant in front of a burning Iraqi army Humvee in Tikrit, Iraq. (The Associated Press)

By Andrew Tilghman and Jeff Schogol
=
But the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, apparently has routed an estimated 30,000 Iraqi Army soldiers who were trained by the U.S. military and given billions in sophisticated American military equipment.

The stunning outcome reflects widespread desertions among the Iraqi units in the north as well as the Sunni-Shiite sectarian tensions that underlie the military battles, experts say.

“It’s a relativity small force that managed to take the city [of Mosul], and it’s shocking that they were able to do that,” said Charlie Cooper, who studies Islamic extremism for the Quilliam Foundation in London.

“To me, that suggests there is collusion or at least deliberate capitulation on the part of Sunni tribes in western and northern Iraq,” Cooper said. “It’s likely that this happened because Sunni tribes in the area let it happen.”

Check this ISIS slideshow. Contains pics of US made military material taken from #Iraq army: http://t.co/zng3UAKRCY pic.twitter.com/w15NFrBrg6

There was a soap opera when I was a kid. They called it "As The World Turns." Never been much on soap operas, but I wouldn't mind watching one called "As The World Burns." It has a little more zest and fervor. Training the Iraqi military, so they can have their asses handed to them... a bit reminiscent of what happened with the USSR, Mujahideen and CIA and company... better to just stay out of it and let it implode.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #511 on: August 22, 2014, 10:19:27 AM »



http://armymagazine.org/2014/08/14/8-unique-values-why-america-needs-the-army/
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ccp
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« Reply #512 on: August 24, 2014, 11:12:34 AM »

or the Lusitania it will be remember Foley?

What till it is fully mature and then come out all over the airwaves that this is something the world has never seen.   I guess the General has to get out in front of his (and Obama's) blunders:

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/americas-top-military-officer-explained-141448358.html
« Last Edit: August 24, 2014, 11:14:58 AM by ccp » Logged
Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #513 on: September 07, 2014, 01:47:39 PM »



http://www.radioislam.org/islam/english/jewishp/greece/greece_helped_israel.htm
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #514 on: September 08, 2014, 07:16:30 AM »



Remarks from former SMA Preston to US Congress. It is amazing when you really consider the applicant pool.

"statistics from the U.S. Army Recruiting Command – in the 17-24 age male category, only 3 out 10 young men are qualified to join the Army. Three out of 10.

What is wrong with the other seven? Four do not have the education qualifications – a high school diploma, or a GED equivalent – or score so low on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery test, the entrance exam for the Armed Forces they cannot join the team. Two are physically or morally unqualified, they have a disqualifying physical limitation or have disqualifying law violations. And one is in the ‘all others’ category – in prison, etc.

Of the three that are qualified, 1.5 will go to college. So as an Army, we are competing for the other 1.5 with corporate America and with the other services, a population of about 2 to 3.5 million young men.

Despite all of the challenges, the active component achieved its mission of 80,000, the Army Reserve ended the year at 99.5%, a few points short of their mission of 25,500, but exceeded last years numbers by almost 6-thousand. The Army National Guard made 98.6% of their mission of 70,000 and exceeded last years enlistments by almost 19-thousand. Those are incredible numbers for an Army"
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #515 on: September 09, 2014, 09:55:17 PM »



Israel and the US Missile Defense Agency tested an improved Arrow 2 anti-ballistic missile at an Israeli test range over the Mediterranean Sea Tuesday, the Defense Ministry said in a statement. “An Arrow 2 missile was launched and performed its flight sequence as planned. The results are being analyzed by program engineers,” the statement read. Defense Ministry spokesperson Jonathan Mosery said that the Arrow 2 system, which has been operational for years and is intended for use against long-range threats, “like Iron Dome, undergoes ongoing improvements” to software and hardware and other components. Israel is in the process of developing a five-tiered system of air defense, offering protection against projectiles ranging from mortars to ballistic weapons.

Watch Here

Of the two operational systems, only Iron Dome has been used in combat. Defending against short-to-mid-range rockets, it intercepted roughly 90 percent of its targeted projectiles during Operation Protective Edge, according to figures released by the army. The other three systems – Iron Beam, David’s Sling, and Arrow 3 – are expected to become operational within the coming two years. The Arrow 2 was rolled out in March 2000. “This is a great day for the Air Defense Forces, for the Air Force, the defense establishment and, I would say, for the State of Israel,” Maj. Gen. Eitan Ben Eliyahu said at the time. He called the Arrow 2 “the only weapon system of its kind in the entire world,” adding that Israel is the first country to “succeed in developing, building and operating a defense system against ballistic missiles.” Tuesday’s test, the Defense Ministry said, has no bearing “on the Israeli operational systems’ capability to cope with the existing threats in the region” and is merely “intended to counter future threats.” The Arrow 3, still incomplete, is designed to intercept missiles at a higher altitude, in space and above the earth’s atmosphere, minimizing the threat of fallout from weapons of mass destruction and increasing the likelihood of a successful interception of incoming missiles.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #516 on: September 15, 2014, 07:14:53 AM »

The ISIS Way Of War Is One We Know Well
Like Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam and Mao in Korea, the enemy is brutal, elusive and armed with good-enough weapons.
By Robert H. Scales
WSJ
Sept. 14, 2014 5:06 p.m. ET

The images are frightening and the consequences dispiriting as the Islamic State rapes, tortures and murders its way across Syria and Iraq in some twisted version of black-clad blitzkrieg. President Obama was clearly caught off guard by this unexpectedly horrific enemy. Now he is trying to conduct a war against the Islamic State, or ISIS, by striking the terrorists with air power and seeking regional allies to do the dying for us.

Sadly, ISIS is the latest example of a behavior in wars against Western powers that has proven remarkably consistent regardless of region, intensity or level of conflict. From Mao in Korea to Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam to Saddam Hussein and now Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in Iraq, all act in fundamentally the same predictable manner.

The strategic ambitions of all our enemies have been the same. They have sought to exclude the West from interfering in their regional ambitions and have aimed to confront Western militaries below the nuclear threshold.
Enlarge Image

An image grab taken from a video released by the Islamic State (IS) and identified by private terrorism monitor SITE Intelligence Group on September 13, 2014 Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

Their methods are much the same as well, often killing more for the psychological effect than military advantage. Western armies go into villages to win hearts and minds. ISIS storms villages intent on killing—local leaders, teachers, captured government officials and soldiers, the unbelievers, anyone who would oppose their ideological or religious ambitions. It's a method that has been used by guerrillas the world over for decades; the ISIS terrorists just seem more fanatical and better at it. They also murder Americans and amplify the acts on social media, hoping that the sight of our dead will wear us down and diminish our willingness to fight.

ISIS and other terrorists know that Western militaries fight short wars well and long wars poorly. Thus they employ a patient method of fighting that engages only when the odds are in their favor. When it goes badly, they look to any well-meaning international body to interfere long enough to regenerate their forces and return to the fight.

Seventy years of experience has taught them the folly of fighting using Western ways. Instead, they have adapted a way of war that avoids the killing effects of Western technology and firepower. They "spot" us control of the air, sea and space. They disperse, hide, dig in and go to ground. They seek shelter among the innocents and amplify any Western transgression with cameras thrust into the dead faces of women and children.

They fight with secondhand technology that's good enough. The Chinese and North Vietnamese did most of their killing with mortars and automatic rifles. Hezbollah and Hamas, in various clashes with Israel, have knocked out Israeli tanks with simple handheld anti-tank missiles. Command and control is by cell phone and courier. Americans died by the hundreds in Iraq and Afghanistan from the crude technology of shells and explosives buried along roads and trails.

A worrisome survey of contemporary history reveals that the enemy's strategies and tactics are both consistent and effective—and getting better. It will take more than a few bloody beheadings before we see American "boots on the ground" again. Secretary of State John Kerry said Wednesday that no U.S. combat troops would be deployed to Iraq "unless, obviously, something very, very dramatic changes." ISIS has already begun to disperse and dig in to obviate the effects of airstrikes. They will continue to brutalize the region and eventually threaten the American homeland. And, as always, ultimately we will confront them.

The enemy knows that while we may have the most sophisticated military in the world, it is a military that remains ill-suited to defeat them. The truth is that missiles, ships and planes are mostly irrelevant when not used against a traditional military foe. It was true in Vietnam, and in Afghanistan.

This kind of enemy truly fears us only when we meet them on their ground, with the will and conviction to kill them in large numbers.

Some day the brutality and successes of ISIS in Iraq and Syria will demand that we meet them on the ground; no other force in the region, and none likely to be convened, will have the capacity to vanquish them, even with U.S. air support.

When we do, the responsibility for defeating this foe will rest exactly where it has in the past: On the shoulders of men and women who are willing to kill in close. We have too few of them, and they are getting scarcer by the day. If the past is prologue—and I believe it is—then a combat force consisting of less than 4% of those in uniform and costing less than 2% of the national budget will be asked to do the job again. I suspect that the outcome, again, will be problematic.

Maj. Gen. Scales retired from active duty in 2000 as commandant of the Army War College.
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DDF
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« Reply #517 on: September 25, 2014, 12:13:41 PM »

Excellent article. Unfortunately, just as with the Soviet/Afghani war, the best way to counter high tech, is low tech, and to the great disadvantage of any major power, they have governments (and the public behind them), that lack the stomach to win, - in this case, eradicate someone from existence due to the school of thought that is instilled since birth.

Barring that, there is no winning this war because the cost of failure in the afterlife, outweighs that of any earthly suffering.

I do disagree with one point presented. Western powers have never fought these wars in their own land, and while a ground force would certainly win any foreign conflict, one fought daily in one's own streets, with one's own family members being the casulties, that is something that I can't remember happening in any western country, barring Mexico's northern border, south to Bolivia. It changes the way things are done is a persistent problem.

The best strategy perhaps would be to remove all western presence from their countries, allow the crushing weight of their own economic failures to drown them into a state of reasonableness, and answer any aggression on western soil with complete annihilation, letting them know that in advance.

My two cents.
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objectivist1
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« Reply #518 on: September 26, 2014, 09:33:05 AM »

We Don’t Need to Ally with Terrorists to Defeat ISIS

Posted By Daniel Greenfield On September 26, 2014 @ frontpagemag.com

The big foreign policy debate now is whether we should ally with Sunni or Shiite Jihadists to defeat ISIS.

The pro-Iranian camp wants us to coordinate with Iran and Assad. The pro-Saudi camp wants us to arm the Free Syrian Army and its assorted Jihadists to overthrow Assad.

Both sides are not only wrong, they are traitors.

Iran and the Sunni Gulfies are leading sponsors of international terrorism that has killed Americans. Picking either side means siding with the terrorists.

It makes no sense to join with Islamic terrorists to defeat Islamic terrorists. Both Sunni and Shiite Jihadists are our enemies. And this is not even a “the enemy of my enemy” scenario because despite their mutual hatred for each other, they hate us even more.

The 1998 indictment of bin Laden accused him of allying with Iran. (Not to mention Iraq, long before such claims could be blamed on Dick Cheney.) The 9/11 Commission documented that Al Qaeda terrorists, including the 9/11 hijackers, freely moved through Iran. Testimony by one of bin Laden’s lieutenants showed that he had met with a top Hezbollah terrorist. Court findings concluded that Iran was liable for Al Qaeda’s bombing of US embassies. Al Qaeda terrorists were trained by Hezbollah.

While Shiite and Sunni Jihadists may be deadly enemies to each other, they have more in common with each other than they do with us. Our relationship to them is not that of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.” That’s their relationship to each other when it comes to us. In these scenarios we are the enemy.

The pro-Saudi and pro-Iranian factions in our foreign policy complex agree that we have to help one side win in Syria. They’re wrong. We have no interest in helping either side win because whether the Sunnis or Shiites win, Syria will remain a state sponsor of terror.

It’s only a question of whether it will be Shiite or Sunni terror.

Our interest is in not allowing Al Qaeda, or any of its subgroups, to control Syria or Iraq because it has a history of carrying out devastating attacks against the United States. We don’t, however, need to ally with either side to accomplish that. We can back the Kurds and the Iraqi government (despite its own problematic ties) in their push against ISIS in Iraq and use strategic strikes to hit ISIS concentrations in Syria. We should not, however, ally, arm or coordinate strikes with either side in the Syrian Civil War.

Both the pro-Saudi and pro-Iranian sides insist that ISIS can’t be defeated without stabilizing Syria. But it doesn’t appear that Syria can be stabilized without either genocide or partition. Its conflict is not based on resistance to a dictator as the Arab Springers have falsely claimed, but on religious differences.

Helping one side commit genocide against the other is an ugly project, but that would be the outcome of allying with either side.

Stabilizing Syria is a myth. The advocates of the FSA claimed that helping the Libyan Jihadists win would stabilize Libya. Instead the country is on fire as Jihadists continue to fight it out in its major cities.

Even if the FSA existed as an actual fighting force, which it doesn’t, even if it could win, which it can’t, there is every reason to believe that Syria would be worse than Libya and an even bigger playground for ISIS. The FSA enthusiasts were wrong in Egypt and Libya and everywhere else. They have no credibility.

The pro-Iranians claim that helping the Syrian government will subdue ISIS, but Assad hasn’t been able to defeat the Sunni Jihadists even with Russian help. The Syrian army and its Hezbollah allies are still struggling despite having an air force, heavy artillery and WMDs. Not only shouldn’t we be allying with Shiite terrorists who have killed plenty of Americans over the years, but it would be extremely stupid to ally with incompetent terrorists. Allying with the FSA or Assad makes as much sense as allying with ISIS.

The difference is that ISIS at least seems to be able to win battles.

Some pro-Iranian wonks claim that if we don’t get Assad’s approval for air strikes, he will shoot down Americans planes. That’s about as likely as Saddam Hussein returning from the dead to audition for American Idol. Assad didn’t even dare shoot down Israeli planes who were buzzing his palace. The odds of him picking a fight with the United States Air Force are somewhere between zero, nil and zilch.

We don’t need Assad’s permission to hit ISIS targets in Syria and, in one of the few things that this administration is doing right, we aren’t asking for it. Unless Assad experiences a bout of severe mental illness, he isn’t going to fight us for the privilege of losing to ISIS. Not even Saddam was that crazy.

The big potential problem in this war is mission creep. That’s why we should avoid committing to any overarching objectives such as stabilizing Syria. Unfortunately that is exactly what Obama has done.

It’s not our job to stabilize Syria and short of dividing it into a couple of majority states in which the Sunni and Shiite Arabs, the Kurds, the Christians and maybe even the Turkmen get their own countries, it’s not a feasible project. We have the equipment and power to pound ISIS into the dirt when its forces concentrate in any area. We can send drones to target their leaders. If Assad or the FSA want to provide us with intel, we can use it as long as we don’t begin working to help them fulfill their own objectives.

We need to remember that we are not there for the Syrians or Iraqis; we’re there for ourselves.

After September 11 we learned the hard way the costs of letting enemy terrorists set up enclaves and bases. But we also learned the hard way the costs of trying to stabilize unstable Muslim countries.

Al Qaeda, in its various forms, will always find sanctuaries and conflicts because the Muslim world is unstable and widely supportive of terrorism. For now this is a low intensity conflict that denies the next bin Laden the territory, time and manpower to stage the next September 11. We can do this cheaply and with few casualties if we keep this goal in mind.

This isn’t nation building. It’s not the fight for democracy. All we’re doing is terrorizing the terrorists by using our superior reach and firepower to smash their sandcastle emirates anywhere they pop up.

Allying with terrorists to defeat terrorists is counterproductive. The Muslim world will always have its Jihadists, at least until we make a serious effort to break them which we won’t be doing any time soon. But we can at least stop making the problem worse by arming and training our own enemies.
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"You have enemies?  Good.  That means that you have stood up for something, sometime in your life." - Winston Churchill.
Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #519 on: September 26, 2014, 12:39:37 PM »

The War on Military Readiness
 
Having taken away the option of “boots on the ground” to eradicate the murderous cutthroats of the Islamic State -- yet placing 3,000 U.S. troops in harm's way to fight Ebola in Liberia -- Barack Obama reluctantly gave the go-ahead to a series of airstrikes and missile assaults on ISIL targets in Iraq and Syria, with "coalition" forces deploying aircraft, drones and dozens of Tomahawk missiles.

Despite the presence of coalition members Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates, with Qatar “in a supporting role,” the vast majority of the armaments and strikes were provided and conducted by American forces. Moreover, the 47 Tomahawk missiles used in initial strikes comprised almost half the number Obama was planning on acquiring next year. In fact, he wants to eliminate that program by 2016. With our current stockpile of Tomahawks, we could maintain the current pace of strikes for only a matter of weeks, since Obama wasn't planning to replace them. The Pentagon estimates our efforts in Iraq and Syria will cost between $7 million and $10 million per day.

Beyond that, officials at the Pentagon concede that wiping out ISIL could take a while. Lt. Gen. Bill Mayville called recent airstrikes “only the beginning” and warned that, to be successful, the operation would have a timeline “in terms of years.” One airstrike may bump up those all-important approval numbers and help Democrat senators in the polls. Yet to actually do long-term damage would require more diligence than Obama has exhibited thus far in the Long War.

Indeed, "in terms of years" is a far cry from “shifting away from a perpetual war footing” as Obama proclaimed to the UN last year. Having killed Osama bin Laden and "decimated" al-Qaida, Obama foolishly figured he could simply remove American forces and cede our influence in that volatile region of the world.

Given that thought process, it's no surprise Obama's latest defense budget signals a further retreat from military readiness at less than $500 billion, with corresponding manpower limits reducing the size of our military. According to Wall Street Journal foreign-affairs columnist Bret Stephens, "By 2017, the U.S. military will be an increasingly hollow force, with the Army as small as it was in 1940, before conscription; a Navy the size it was in 1917, before our entry into World War I; an Air Force flying the oldest -- and smallest -- fleet of planes in its history; and a nuclear arsenal no larger than it was during the Truman administration." That's not the sort of military that would suggest we're ready for a prolonged fight against radical and resolute Islamist forces.

It's worth asking a few questions: If our various coalition members were truly willing to eradicate ISIL, why did they not come together to do the job themselves? Those five allies who helped with this mission, along with France, certainly signed on knowing it was America's fight, however reluctantly, to wipe out Islamist terror cells acting under the banner they call the Islamic State. So when -- or if -- we decide ground troops are necessary, will they lend a hand in that respect? Furthermore, can we really trust these Islamic allies? A favorite tactic of Islamist terrorists is the “blue-on-green” attack such as the one that killed Maj. Gen. Harold J. Greene in Afghanistan recently. So who's to say ISIL operatives won't try to likewise infiltrate our allied forces?

We've spent years arguing that the Long War will indeed take years. If Obama finally comes to that realization as well, that's a good thing. But he's also making drastic cuts to our military while at the same time deploying our forces for such things as a humanitarian mission (read: campaign distraction) against an Ebola outbreak in Africa. It's high time Obama began taking the job of commander in chief seriously.
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« Reply #520 on: September 30, 2014, 10:27:42 AM »

The Obama-Military Divide
What should senior officers do if experience tells them that the president's plan to defeat ISIS is unworkable without U.S. combat troops?
By
Seth Cropsey
Sept. 29, 2014

In President Obama's "60 Minutes" interview on Sunday, he reiterated his vow not to involve U.S. combat troops in the fight against Islamic State jihadists. He would avoid "the mistake of simply sending U.S. troops back" into Iraq, Mr. Obama said, noting that "there's a difference between them advising and assisting Iraqis who are fighting versus a situation in which we got our Marines and our soldiers out there taking shots and shooting back."

Yet many Americans are skeptical, judging by the new NBC/Wall Street Journal/Annenberg poll showing that 72% of registered voters believe that U.S. troops will eventually be deployed. Perhaps Americans have been listening to some of the president's senior military advisers and several retired senior officers and have decided that their expert opinions sound more realistic.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Sept. 16 that if necessary he would recommend that the president order U.S. military advisers to "accompany Iraq troops on attacks" against Islamic State, also known as ISIS. A day later Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno said that "you've got to have ground forces that are capable of going in and rooting [ISIS] out." Gen. Odierno did not specify that the ground forces needed to be American, but he said an air campaign alone cannot defeat the jihadists occupying large parts of Iraq and Syria.

Retired senior officers speak with greater candor. James Mattis, the retired Marine general and former commander of the U.S. Central Command, told the House Intelligence Committee on Sept. 18 that it would be a mistake to rule out U.S. ground forces against ISIS. A couple of days earlier, retired Army Gen. Dan McNeill, who commanded coalition forces in Afghanistan, said in a TV interview that ground troops will be needed to defeat ISIS. If the jihadists' threat "is as serious as some people say," the general asked, "then why aren't we applying all elements of American power to it?"
ENLARGE
Getty Images/iStockphoto

Then there is Gen. Lloyd Austin, who leads Central Command and is thus the senior commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East. Gen. Dempsey told Congress in his Sept. 16 testimony that Gen. Austin recommended committing U.S. special-operations forces to the fight against ISIS. Special-operations forces could reconnoiter and identify targets, assist aircraft that deliver ordnance on targets, kill enemy commanders and, most important, by their very presence stiffen the spine of coalition partners who might agree to send ground forces. President Obama rejected this recommendation.

It is clear that these active and retired senior officers are as doubtful about the U.S.'s ability to achieve its war aims from the air as they are convinced that ground forces—and if necessary, U.S. ground forces—will be needed either to spearhead or assume major responsibility for defeating ISIS.

The political landscape is cleared for a contest between the president's pledge not to use combat troops and the military's professional opinion that defeating the enemy requires the use of well-trained and -equipped and disciplined forces on the ground. The president will win. According to the Constitution he should. There is no question about this.

But what should an officer do who knows from years of training and combat experience that the coalition the president is assembling cannot accomplish its goals without U.S. combat troops? Does the officer swallow his reservations?

Lacking an American ground presence, a U.S. pilot forced to eject by a mechanical failure or ground fire would have to wait hours to be rescued. Do senior U.S. military officers banish the thought of what would happen were ISIS to capture a female American pilot who landed safely after ejecting over enemy-held territory?

ISIS possesses man-portable air-defense systems, or manpads. They can hit planes that provide close air support—for instance, planes flying below 10,000 feet in a pilot-rescue operation. Search-and-rescue is difficult enough when the distance between downed pilot and help is small. When a helicopter must fly hundreds of miles to the rescue—the current situation—the chances of success rapidly diminish.

Will the administration admit a mistake if it realizes that U.S. ground troops are necessary? Or will the White House blame the military for insufficient warning, as the president blamed the intelligence community on "60 Minutes" for insufficient warning about ISIS? Senior officers face the possibility of being blamed for not having recommended what they in fact have.

President Obama may not like it, but those who spoke after 9/11 about a "long war" against Islamic jihadists got it right. The killing of Osama bin Laden ended neither al Qaeda nor its metastasizing into other terrorist groups. The terrorists will not emerge into formations on plains where they can be destroyed from the air. Rather, as in Gaza, they will hide in houses, hospitals, workshops and schools in the cities and towns that ISIS occupies. Attacking the enemy from the air is useful, but it won't succeed without ground forces that can take and hold contested positions.

Senior officers must accept their commander in chief's judgment and carry out orders. But they and like-minded advisers have another option: resigning. Not to embarrass the administration or cause a constitutional crisis, but to indicate the gravity of the ISIS threat. Until stopped, ISIS or its collaborators are likely to mount an attack against the U.S. homeland with the aim of equaling or surpassing al Qaeda's 9/11 success. A military commander's resignation, accompanied by a clear and respectful explanation, would prompt a needed debate over U.S. strategy to achieve the president's goal "to degrade and ultimately destroy" ISIS.

Resigning on principle is not a strong tradition in the U.S. military. The so-called Revolt of the Admirals in the late 1940s began with the resignation of Navy Secretary John L. Sullivan following Defense Secretary Louis Johnson's cancellation of the carrier U.S.S. United States. The argument over the carrier was a dispute over budget cuts and the combat roles of the Navy and Air Force. And the naval officers whose careers ended in the wake of Sullivan's principled resignation did not jump. They were pushed. But the Truman administration's defense cuts came with a price that was realized when the president learned that reductions in naval power prevented an effective blockade of North Korea.

Politics is, by human nature and design, complex and messy. It exists in the military no less than in other large organizations. But the stakes are particularly high where the nation's security is at risk—as it now is. Clarity of purpose is essential and where it is lacking—as in how to defeat ISIS—senior military officers can make an important difference with their actions.

Mr. Cropsey is director of the Center for American Seapower at the Hudson Institute, where he is a senior fellow. He served as a naval officer and as deputy undersecretary of the Navy in the Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations.
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« Reply #521 on: October 14, 2014, 11:06:57 AM »

 The U.S. Military Improves Its Crisis Response Capabilities
Analysis
October 14, 2014 | 0422 Print Text Size
The U.S. Military Improves Its Crisis Response Capabilities
Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Crisis Response soldiers load into a MV-22 Osprey during a joint training mission with the French military in 2014. (PASCAL GUYOT/AFP/Getty Images)
Summary

The United States is proceeding with the establishment of another Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Crisis Response (SP-MAGTF) unit in Kuwait to support operations in the U.S. Central Command's area of responsibility, which spans the Middle East and Central Asia. SP-MAGTF units were originally created as a response to the 2012 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, which resulted in the deaths of U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other U.S. citizens. An additional unit will cover the U.S. Southern Command in the future.
Analysis

Normally, U.S. Marine Expeditionary Units embarked on amphibious ships would be charged with responding to attacks like the one on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, but they are not always available or located at the right place at the right time. The 2012 attack exposed this lack of coverage and revealed the need for a pre-positioned and mobile response force that could rapidly deploy during crisis situations.

To address this gap, the U.S. Marines created flexible SP-MAGTF units that are land-based but air-deployable and able to support U.S. interests ranging from embassy reinforcement to disaster relief. The first of these units was set up in Spain and is principally geared towards supporting crisis situations in Africa. The unit, which began its deployment in 2013, has reached a full operational capability of about 1,400 Marines. It can deploy two crisis response teams with MV-22 Osprey aircraft and support them with combat aviation units.

As U.S. Marine Gen. John Paxton highlighted in an Oct. 1 discussion at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the SP-MAGTF units are "sub-optimal" when compared to an entire Marine Expeditionary Unit, which is supported by amphibious vessels. While Marine Expeditionary Units are more capable and robust, they must commit a fixed amount of power to a specific area. These units are also limited by the speed of their ships and the range of their supporting aircraft, which constrains unit mobility and makes it difficult for a commander to prepare for an array of potential threats throughout the world. They must prioritize and commit the limited number of Marine Expeditionary Units deployed to a few specific regions, which hardly covers the full geographic spectrum of threats.

This is where the SP-MAGTF concept steps in and fills the coverage gap. The units are land-based and can be broken up and parceled out as needed. More important, they can be pre-positioned to numerous places within the command theater in response to potential threats. Elements of the U.S. Africa Command units have been temporarily stationed out of Sicily because of ongoing unrest in North Africa, predominantly in Libya. The move only requires 200 Marines to serve as a tailored response force, making the element more versatile. It is combat capable enough to protect and extract threatened U.S. personnel, and it requires much less of an overall force commitment than adjusting a Marine Expeditionary Unit to a new theater.

There are also ancillary advantages to having a ground-based Marine unit as opposed to a ship-borne one. A ground-based unit can tie in with either local forces (in military-to-military exchanges) or the community in its theater of operations, while concurrently standing by to execute its mission. Indeed, the SP-MAGTF unit covering Africa has already been utilized heavily in bilateral training with partner nations, and it evacuated U.S. personnel from South Sudan after a rise in hostilities.

The newest SP-MAGTF unit going to U.S. Central Command is the next evolution of this effort to expand coverage. Consisting of some 2,000 Marines, the unit will be headquartered in Kuwait, with various elements tasked out and positioned throughout the theater. This unit has more personnel than U.S. Africa Command's SP-MAGTF unit because U.S. Central Command covers a greater number of U.S. interests and has personnel scattered throughout a tumultuous theater. Overall, SP-MAGTF units simply repackage existing forces to better meet the needs of the Marine Corps' mission. Adaptability is an important trait for any military, and SP-MAGTF units are being created as a solution to the coverage problem highlighted by the Benghazi attack.

Read more: The U.S. Military Improves Its Crisis Response Capabilities | Stratfor
Follow us: @stratfor on Twitter | Stratfor on Facebook
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« Reply #522 on: November 15, 2014, 11:04:29 AM »

Not familiar with this website and thus I have no idea as to its reliability;

http://www.voltairenet.org/article185860.html

but with Russia's world-wide cockiness (Ukraine, deals with Iran, bombers in the Carribean and much more) and the rapidity with which we are losing our lead (Chinese now have stealth fighters with tech stolen from us, Iranians now have advanced drone tech reversed engineered from drone they hacked/captured from us and Obama failed to seize back or destroy) I can't say that this strikes me as implausible , , ,

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« Reply #523 on: November 20, 2014, 10:23:25 AM »

http://blogs.cfr.org/davidson/2014/11/18/the-warrior-ethos-at-risk-h-r-mcmasters-remarkable-veterans-day-speech/

From the article:

There is a tendency in the United States to confuse the study of war and warfare with militarism. Thinking clearly about the problem of war and warfare, however, is both an unfortunate necessity and the best way to prevent it. As the English theologian, writer, and philosopher G.K. Chesterton observed, “War is not the best way of settling differences, but it is the only way of preventing them being settled for you.”
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« Reply #524 on: January 30, 2015, 02:49:48 PM »



Should Women be Navy SEALs?
[Ray "Cash" Care]
Ray "Cash" CareWarrior

As the Department of Defense considers the question, former Navy SEAL Ray “Cash” Care says he has an answer: Hell no.

A few weeks ago, it was reported in Navy Times that the Department of Defense will make a decision on opening the SEAL and SWCC ranks to women in January of 2016.

If the DoD decides in favor of allowing women, the Navy would then notify Congress by July 1, and Congress would then have 30 working days to respond with any concerns.

I'd like to jump ahead of Congress, save them some trouble and tell them right here, right now that this is a terrible idea. Concerns? I have many.

Now before anyone gets too bent out of shape, understand that this doesn't come from a "women should stay home and be housewives" mentality. From Navy divers to Explosive Ordinance Disposal up to fighter pilots, women's role in the military is crucial to the success and duration of America. I have nothing but admiration for the contributions women make to the defense of our great nation.

But I do not think the SEAL teams should allow women. BUD/S, which stands for Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training, is the most physically and psychologically grueling schooling a man can go through. My class began with over 120 men. Of that, 16 originals graduated, with some additional guys who were in from other classes who were delayed due to injuries. There's an 80% attrition rate at BUD/S, and that is rounding down.

Put bluntly, the shit you have to do in training and as a SEAL is nearly impossible. I can't give you specifics, but trust me ladies, think of the most hellish situation you can imagine, then double it, triple it—hell, times it by 100. It's that physically brutal.

If a woman could beat Mike Tyson in his prime, she has maybe a 1% chance of making it in BUD/S. Look, I know there are one or two women on the planet who could possibly graduate (and I mean possibly—trust me on this), but I don't think that kind of graduation rate warrants the complete overhaul they would need to make at great tax payer expense.

The BUD/S facility is not set up for coed habitation. Men walk around naked, change on the go. They would need to build separate facilities to avoid situations that could offend and put people in compromising positions. They'd have to have separate barracks, separate showers, more medical personnel. In cold weather survival training, we're taught to sit "nuts to butts". That's where guys basically sit up top of each other to keep warm. How is that going to work with a woman in the middle?

My fear is that the standards would drop to allow for a higher graduation rate and that is not what the SEAL teams are about. BUD/S is about producing the best warriors on the planet—they don’t lower the standards for anyone. It might not be PC to say, but there would be no other way to graduate enough women to justify the expense of new facilities without lowering the standards. And lower standards would lead to utter disaster.

Training aside, SEALs are inserted into the most dangerous places on the planet. What happens when a woman SEAL gets captured? The horrors would be unimaginable. We're fighting in countries whose cultures do not value the lives of women in the slightest. A man can chop up a woman because he didn't like the way she looked at him, or because she dared get an education, without fearing any kind of punishment. If the enemy were to capture a female SEAL, again, the horrors she would face are unspeakable.

Again, it might not be the politically correct thing to say, but my opinion has been formed from the world events that have taken place in my life. I've seen and experienced awful thing up close and personal, things I do not believe a woman should be subjected to.

I am sure as hell that every SEAL brother, past and present would agree with me 100%. Do you? Let me know what you think here.

God bless America!
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prentice crawford
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« Reply #525 on: February 12, 2015, 08:22:48 PM »

5 Things You Don't Know About: Body Armor

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H2L21QByGHs

                                               P.C.
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« Reply #526 on: February 17, 2015, 11:51:31 AM »

Shortchanging Missile Defense
The need is urgent as nuclear threats proliferate.

Updated Feb. 16, 2015 10:30 p.m. ET


Within days of President Obama releasing his fiscal 2016 defense budget this month, Pakistan tested a nuclear-capable Ra’ad short-range missile, Russia announced plans to test a new RS-26 intercontinental ballistic missile, Iran launched a satellite into space and North Korea blasted five antiship missiles into the Sea of Japan. Each volley underscored the bad news that Mr. Obama’s budget again shortchanges U.S. missile defenses.

Of $4 trillion for the federal government overall and $612 billion for defense, Mr. Obama wants $8.1 billion for the Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency. That’s up from $7.5 billion last year—the first real-dollar increase since 2011—but the overall trend remains downward. Funding is set to drop again after fiscal 2016, leaving missile defense slashed 25% in real dollars over the Obama Presidency.

In 2009 Mr. Obama scrapped U.S. plans to place missile interceptors in Poland and sophisticated X-Band radar in the Czech Republic, a decision announced without warning to Warsaw or Prague. Instead he proposed a new four-phase plan for European missile defense. For the home front, he said he would install only 30 interceptors in Alaska and California, down from the 44 planned by the Bush Administration.

Development of a so-called Multiple Kill Vehicle, intended to overcome decoy missiles by placing many warheads on a single interceptor, was killed in 2009. The Administration then stripped funding from the Airborne Weapon Laser and the Kinetic Energy Interceptor, the two programs aimed at destroying missiles in early-flight “boost” phase, when they are slowest and most vulnerable. Space-based interceptors never got to the drawing board.

Mr. Obama partially changed course in 2013, expanding defenses in Asia and committing to install the 14 additional West Coast interceptors he had scrapped in 2009. Yet he simultaneously cancelled the final phase of the program he had promised for Europe, which would have placed high-speed interceptors in Poland capable of targeting intercontinental ballistic missiles. The Administration began reviewing possible sites for new antimissile systems on the U.S. East Coast, but only after years of Congressional pressure.

“I don’t support a missile defense system,” Mr. Obama said in 2001, when he was old enough to know better but not yet a prominent politician. Many Democrats have held that view since dismissing Ronald Reagan ’s Strategic Defense Initiative. But engineers have proved they can hit a bullet with a bullet: 65 of 81 U.S. antimissile tests have succeeded since 2001, while Israel’s Iron Dome has excelled (aided by U.S. funding).

So Democrats today rarely denounce missile defense outright. Instead they treat it as a bargaining chip with adversaries such as Vladimir Putin . Mr. Putin complained in 2010 that antimissile systems “undermine our nuclear capabilities.” In other words, they hamper Russia’s ability to play the bully with its nukes and missiles. That’s a reason for Washington to invest more in missile defense, yet Team Obama has repeatedly sought to appease Mr. Putin’s objections.

The Administration abandoned the Polish and Czech sites amid its “reset” with the Kremlin and talks over the New Start arms-control treaty. The new U.S. approach was “less threatening” to Russia, a senior Administration official told the Washington Post at the time. Four years later the U.S. again weakened its European antimissile posture because, as another senior official told author David Rothkopf, “it had become an impediment to every area of important cooperation” with Russia, “including both Iran and Syria.”

While the wages of Russian non-cooperation have accumulated from Syria to Ukraine, other threats have advanced. U.S. intelligence officials fear that North Korea may now be able to fit a nuclear warhead on a missile, and the U.S. Navy says China has the world’s “most active and diverse” ballistic-missile program, with increasing ability to target U.S. military assets and cities.

All of this is an opportunity for the new Republican Congress, which could force progress on building an East Coast interceptor site, developing defenses against boost-phase missiles, and deepening cooperation with NATO, Japan, South Korea and Australia. As the forces of disorder spread, missile defense becomes more urgent.
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prentice crawford
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« Reply #527 on: February 17, 2015, 03:14:54 PM »

http://www.marinecorpstimes.com/story/military/2015/02/17/glock-19-pistols-approved-for-marsoc-operators/23548847/


Glock pistols approved for special operations Marines

By James K. Sanborn, Staff writer 1:51 p.m. EST February 17, 2015

In a Marine Corps first, the service recently added a Glock pistol to its list of authorized individual weapons, optics and modular attachments.

However, the 9mm semi-automatic Glock 19 pistol is officially approved for use only by personnel assigned to Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command, according to a force-wide message issued in mid-February. In fact, the pistol will carry a non-Marine inventory number because it is a U.S. Special Operations Command asset, according to the message.

It is not immediately clear if MARSOC has used the pistols unofficially before now, but they are popular throughout the special operations community. More broadly, they are standard issue for armies on several continents, a staple among international and domestic law enforcement, including the FBI and many local police departments. Glocks are ubiquitous among civilian gun enthusiasts. And they are even seen in the hands of some al-Qaida fighters.

Glock's dominance of the modern semi-automatic pistol market is owed to their relative low cost and reputation for AK47-like reliability. That is a particular advantage for those who operate in austere conditions where sand, mud, dirt, water or snow make pistols prone to malfunction. Additionally, their polymer frame is corrosion resistant, which meets the needs of a maritime force working around salt water. Finally, the Austrian pistol's worldwide popularity among good and bad guys alike makes it easy to find accessories and spare parts when needed.

It is unclear why the pistols were only now approved for MARSOC. Marine Corps officials could not immediately address questions from Marine Corps Times.

Marine operators have at times used 9mm Beretta M9 or M9A1 pistols, but more often the service's .45-caliber M45A1 Close Quarter Battle Pistol which is based on the iconic M1911 platform.

Army special forces have often used Glock pistols while training foreign police and military personnel. Iraq, for example, purchased more than 100,000 G19s for issue to their security forces. It was considered best practice for U.S. instructors to use the same firearm as their students.

MARSOC has not yet determined which holster it will use with the G19.

"Standard holsters for this item are pending source selection," the force-wide message states. "Command approved holsters are authorized for this item until source selection is complete."

The service's current standard issue holster for use with Beretta M9s, the SERPA Level 2 Tactical Holster by Blackhawk, is available on the civilian market for the G19 as well.

Also unclear is whether all G19s are authorized, or only certain generations. With four generations of Glock pistols, Gen3 Glocks incorporated a short rail system for attaching light and laser accessories. Gen4 Glocks also added a rougher texture to the frame for better grip in moist conditions; a modular back strap system to easily customize grip size for individual shooters; a larger and reversible magazine catch making the pistol friendlier for left-handed shooters; and an updated recoil spring assembly to reduce felt recoil.
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« Reply #528 on: February 17, 2015, 08:41:03 PM »

I have carried and currently carry the G19 as my duty weapon. I think the USMC should approve the G19 for all Marines.
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« Reply #529 on: February 17, 2015, 09:39:50 PM »

My primary pistol too, though as a subject of Los Angeles I am not allowed to carry here.

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« Reply #530 on: February 18, 2015, 06:02:17 AM »

My primary pistol too, though as a subject of Los Angeles I am not allowed to carry here.



Southern Nevada is nice.
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« Reply #531 on: February 21, 2015, 10:24:45 AM »

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2015/02/20/check-out-these-homemade-hell-cannons-syrian-rebels-are-using-to-fight-back/
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« Reply #532 on: March 06, 2015, 07:46:21 AM »

The Pentagon has a nuclear weapons problem. Nukes are expensive to maintain, and DoD expects to have a hard time finding the billions of dollars needed to keep them in shape over the next decade. FP’s Kate Brannen: The Pentagon’s top weapons buyer “Frank Kendall said that starting in 2021, it’s going to be a challenge to identify money within the defense budget to pay for the military’s nuclear modernization plans.”
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« Reply #533 on: March 08, 2015, 01:05:11 PM »


http://www.addictinginfo.org/2015/03/07/us-navy-sunk/

and remember this from 2007?

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-492804/The-uninvited-guest-Chinese-sub-pops-middle-U-S-Navy-exercise-leaving-military-chiefs-red-faced.html
« Last Edit: March 08, 2015, 01:12:29 PM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
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« Reply #534 on: March 09, 2015, 09:52:04 PM »

Summary

Despite making significant progress in developing their submarine arm, the Chinese nuclear submarine force is still far behind the full reach and capabilities of the United States silent service. It will take decades to even reach parity with the U.S. Navy, and even with advanced technology, China lacks the institutional knowledge, skills and expertise of a more venerable, seasoned force.
Analysis

Beijing said on March 5 that its official military budget would increase by 10.1 percent in 2015, continuing a decades old trend of double digit funding increases for Beijing's armed forces, year-on-year. Alongside the other branches of the Chinese military, the People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) submarine force stands to benefit from continued significant investment going forward.

The Chinese announcement follows remarks made by Vice Adm. Joseph Mulloy, deputy chief of Naval operations, integration of capabilities and resources, on Feb. 25 to the U.S. House Seapower and Projections Forces subcommittee on the status of the Chinese navy. Admiral Mulloy highlighted what he referred to as a tremendous growth rate in the Chinese submarine arm, indicating that the Chinese are now producing some "fairly amazing" submarines. Following the remarks, a number of Chinese analysts retorted that the United States military was once again exaggerating the Chinese threat in an attempt to secure increased Congressional funding at a time of budget uncertainty in Washington.

Though the Pentagon is right to point out continued and impressive Chinese headway in modernizing their armed forces, the Chinese nuclear submarine fleet is not nearly as capable as official remarks may suggest. As an entity, the People's Liberation Army Navy lacks the expertise and institutional knowledge possessed by navies with a centuries-long heritage, like the United States Navy or the British Royal Navy.
Late Bloomers

It is true that the Chinese submarine force has made tremendous progress over the last decade. It is also true that the number of overall Chinese attack submarines, both diesel and nuclear powered, has grown rapidly, surpassing the number of commissioned U.S. nuclear attack submarines — craft designed specifically to engage other submarines or surface vessels. Critically, the Chinese are also spending large amounts of time at sea building up their expertise in training and patrols. The number of PLAN submarine sorties has approximately quadrupled over the last five years or so. As Admiral Mulloy stated, Beijing's nuclear ballistic missile submarines — distinct from their hunter-killer brethren in that they can launch intercontinental ballistic missiles from beneath the ocean surface — are almost ready for deterrence patrols, with one of these submarines having spent more than three months at sea during a trial patrol.

However, the Chinese are without a doubt still far behind the U.S. Navy's submarine service, especially in terms of fielding a nuclear submarine force capable of global reach and sustained operations. With a number of advanced diesel-electric Yuan-class submarines already in service, and improved models under construction, the Chinese are increasingly well positioned to utilize their diesel submarines in the sea denial role around China's coastal waters.

U.S., China: Exploring the Undersea Balance
Click to Enlarge

The Chinese doctrine in regard to its periphery is what can be referred to as a counter intervention strategy based on preventing or limiting U.S. and allied access into the Chinese near seas. From Beijing's point of view, these include the Yellow, East China and South China seas. Chinese conventional submarines would be used to interdict enemy vessels as they approach the Chinese near seas by conducting operations in the larger sea space between what China calls the first and second island chains — roughly speaking, the Philippine Sea.
Future Aspirations

The long-term Chinese ambition is, however, to develop a strong force of nuclear powered submarines for global force projection and the escort of carrier task groups and nuclear ballistic submarines. In this respect, China is still far behind the United States. In terms of the development of critical nuclear propulsion and quieting technology, the latest Chinese commissioned nuclear attack submarine, the Type-93 Shang-class, is broadly equivalent to the U.S. Sturgeon-class of late 1960s vintage. Even taking into account improved Chinese Type-93B submarines undergoing sea trials, the Chinese have not surpassed the capabilities displayed by early versions of the U.S. Los Angeles-class submarines of late 1970s vintage.

Furthermore, China has only started to seriously invest in anti-submarine warfare capabilities, an area in which they are sorely lacking. Even with its limited capability, Beijing is still much better prepared for anti-submarine operations in its peripheral waters than in the global commons. The introduction into service of the Shaanxi Y-8Q maritime patrol aircraft — with its seven-meter-long Magnetic Anomaly Detector boom designed to identify submarines — is a welcome addition. Yet, it will take almost a decade to produce the required number of anti-submarine aircraft and associated surface corvettes to seriously contend with the threat of U.S. submarine operations in the East and South China Seas. For anti-submarine warfare operations far from home, the Chinese are even less prepared.

In his statement, Admiral Mulloy acknowledged that U.S. submarines remain superior to Chinese ones. But, his remark about China producing some "fairly amazing" submarines mischaracterizes and overplays the Chinese underwater force, particularly its nuclear submarines. Relatively speaking, and given the qualitative difference between the U.S. and Chinese nuclear submarine force in particular, if the latest Chinese submarines are "fairly amazing" then the latest U.S. Virginia class submarines could only be described as "phenomenal."

It is worth reiterating that the Chinese have made and continue to make remarkable advances in submarine development. They are particularly innovative in fielding increasingly capable diesel-electric boats suited for the primary mission of sea denial close to home. Even in terms of nuclear boats, the large technological gap between the U.S. and Chinese submarine force is closing rapidly, with the next generation Chinese Type-95 submarines already under construction. It will take decades, however, for China to reach technological parity with the United States, internalize global operational procedures and operate an equivalent number of nuclear attack submarines.
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« Reply #535 on: March 10, 2015, 05:04:52 AM »

America’s Dangerous Defense Cuts
Threats are rising around the globe, yet the U.S. is poised to cut $1 trillion from the Pentagon over 10 years.
ENLARGE
Photo: Getty Images
By
John McCain And
Mac Thornberry
March 9, 2015 7:21 p.m. ET
52 COMMENTS

Providing for national defense is the highest constitutional responsibility of the federal government, which congressional Republicans now share in equal measure with President Obama. We believe that the country cannot meet this responsibility within the caps on defense spending imposed by the 2011 Budget Control Act (BCA) and sequestration. If Washington does not change course now, Republicans will share the blame for the national-security failures that will inevitably result.

There is no national-security basis for sequestration. In the past year Russia has challenged core principles of the postwar order in Europe by invading and annexing the territory of another sovereign nation. A terrorist army that has proclaimed its desire to attack the United States and its allies now controls a vast swath of territory in the heart of the Middle East.

Iran continues its pursuit of nuclear weapons while expanding its malign influence across the region. And China has stepped up its coercive behavior in Asia, backed by its rapid military modernization. Every year since the Budget Control Act was passed, the world has become more dangerous, and the threats to the nation and to American interests have grown. We do not think this is a coincidence.

And yet, under the BCA with sequestration, the U.S. must cut defense by nearly $1 trillion over 10 years. These cuts are seriously undermining the capabilities, readiness, morale and modernization of the armed forces. The senior military leaders of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps have all testified to our committees that, with defense spending at sequestration levels, they cannot execute the National Military Strategy. These military leaders warned in January that sequestration is putting American lives at risk. This is a crisis of Washington’s own making.

Some advocates of the BCA are willing to overlook its damage to national security because, they claim, at least it cuts the debt. But it doesn’t even do that in a meaningful way.

Military spending is not to blame for out-of-control deficits and debt—it is now 16% of federal spending, the lowest share since before World War II. By 2020, it will be 13%. Interest on the debt soon will consume a larger portion of the federal budget than will military spending. Yet national defense took 50% of the cuts under the Budget Control Act and sequestration. The true drivers of the nation’s long-term debt—entitlement programs like Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare—took none.

Heaping nearly $1 trillion in cuts on the U.S. military while ignoring entitlements is not conservative fiscal policy and will not solve the problems of deficits and debt.

There is widespread concern that Defense Department spending is too wasteful. Of course there is waste in the Pentagon—as everywhere in the federal government—and efforts to eliminate it must continue. But sequestration does not target Pentagon waste. It cuts spending recklessly across the board, good programs and bad. Eliminating waste, fraud and abuse is accomplished through vigorous oversight in Congress and at the Pentagon, not through blind, automatic spending cuts.

Some also believe that the impact of sequestration has been exaggerated. But when it comes to national security, “it isn’t that bad” is a dangerously low standard for government policy.

We and our fellow Republicans must also think about the future of the party we love, and from this standpoint as well, sequestration is a disaster. At a time the American people are dissatisfied with the president’s foreign-policy weakness, Republicans cannot offer themselves as the responsible national-security alternative so long as they are complicit in gutting national defense.

President Obama’s recent budget request proposed the largest budget—$534 billion—for the Defense Department in the post-9/11 era. Heeding military commanders’ warning that the military cannot execute national military strategy at sequestration levels, the president’s budget exceeds spending limits set by the Budget Control Act by $36 billion in the coming fiscal year.

America faces what Henry Kissinger has called the most “diverse and complex array of crises since the end of the Second World War.” How can Republicans—the party of Ronald Reagan and “peace through strength”—possibly justify a lower defense budget than that of President Obama?

We must aim higher by adopting a budget worthy of our party’s best traditions of strong national defense. Given the severity of the challenges facing the nation, we recommend eliminating sequestration entirely with a defense budget of $577 billion, the level set by the Budget Control Act before the debilitating effects of sequestration.

There is nothing conservative or Republican about pretending that Washington can balance the budget by cutting defense spending. The new Republican majorities in Congress should not allow such reckless policy.

Continuing to slash defense invites greater danger to national security while shamefully asking the country’s military men and women to do their jobs with shrinking resources. Without a course change, history’s judgment will be harsh, and rightfully so.

Mr. McCain is a Republican senator from Arizona. Mr. Thornberry is a Republican congressman from Texas. They are, respectively, chairmen of the Senate and House Armed Services Committees.
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« Reply #536 on: April 08, 2015, 11:34:29 AM »

http://www.marinecorpstimes.com/story/military/2015/04/07/last-ioc-in-marine-experiment-drops-two-officers/25418867/
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« Reply #537 on: April 20, 2015, 04:38:07 PM »

If memory serves, we posted about this technology a couple of years ago.

Enemy Cruise Missile, Meet the U.S. Rail Gun
Using electricity to fire high-speed projectiles is a relative bargain at $35,000 per shot.
AP Photo/U.S. Navy, John F. Williams
By
Mike Conaway
April 19, 2015 5:40 p.m. ET
324 COMMENTS

As Congress meets this month to mark up the fiscal year 2016 National Defense Authorization Act and appropriations bill, members will debate how to best meet tomorrow’s security challenges with today’s finite amount of money. The U.S. built history’s most powerful military through technological innovation. Yet our military advantage is quickly diminishing as other countries acquire comparable capabilities.

China has developed a large and growing ballistic and cruise-missile inventory capable of accurately striking targets on land and at sea over long ranges. Iran has fielded multiple antiship cruise missiles and has an arsenal of ballistic missiles that can reach targets across the Middle East and Europe. Russia has long had sophisticated ballistic and cruise missiles and has increasingly shown a willingness to use them. Other state and nonstate actors possess theater ballistic missiles and rockets that threaten the U.S. military and could be used to terrorize the civilian populations of U.S. allies.

Building and fielding these weapons comes at a fraction of the price it costs the U.S. to design, purchase and deploy defensive weapons systems. But thanks to innovations within the U.S. scientific community and the Pentagon, there is a way to maintain America’s military advantage. Directed energy weapons systems—such as electromagnetic “rail” guns, high-energy lasers and high-power microwave systems—have the potential to deliver effective offensive and defensive capabilities at a fraction of the cost of current systems.

Currently, the U.S. defends against enemy missiles with traditional missile-boosted interceptors. These long-range interceptors require complex systems to find incoming missile threats, and intercept and destroy them before they hit the U.S. or our allies. They are also large and expensive, with some interceptor missiles costing $10 million each. Weapon size is a particular problem for Navy ships, where limited storage space restricts the number of projectiles that can be carried.

At this point, we don’t have enough defense interceptors to defeat large salvos of guided weapons, and our overseas bases have very few defenses against low-flying cruise missiles, which are more difficult to intercept and destroy using traditional missiles. But even if they were 100% effective, the calculus is not in our favor. Using million-dollar weapon systems to combat thousand-dollar threats is economically unsustainable.

Yet by using electricity rather than expensive jet fuels and complicated propulsion methods, directed energy weapons could be game-changers, due to their enormous capabilities and cost effectiveness. And if adequately funded, some of these weapons could be fully operational in a few years.

The U.S. Navy has developed a working prototype of a rail gun that uses electricity to fire projectiles at high speeds with great precision at incoming enemy missiles and aircraft. Already, the Navy can accurately launch projectiles at distances over 100 miles at speeds over 3,000 miles an hour.

Last year the Navy launched a trial deployment of a solid-state Laser Weapon System on board the USS Ponce in the Persian Gulf—the first effective deployment of a laser weapons system by any of the services. High-power microwave weapons that disrupt or destroy internal electronic components of enemy weapon systems are also a near-term possibility.

Within a few years, the Pentagon could field rail guns and powerful lasers to defend U.S. forces against aircraft, cruise missiles, guided rockets, artillery and mortar threats, alleviating some of the need for our current more expensive defense systems. Laser systems will be used to combat swarm attacks by weaponized small boats that act to overwhelm our sea defenses through sheer numbers of inexpensive, expendable and deadly platforms.

Instead of millions of dollars per shot, a rail gun projectile will cost around $35,000, or even less with further development. Conservatively, solid-state lasers and high-power microwave “shots” will cost less than $10 each, with some estimates lower than $1. Rail-gun projectiles are small, and laser and microwave shots are unlimited, freeing valuable storage space and greatly reducing the need to rearm while under way.

The global proliferation of guided-missile technologies and the cost of defending against them suggests we need to re-evaluate our air and missile-defense strategy. Fielding rail guns, lasers and high-power microwave weapons alongside traditional, kinetic interceptors will create a more balanced air and missile-defense architecture.

An enduring pillar of the U.S. military’s planning has been its ability to exploit cutting edge technologies to maintain an advantage over our nation’s adversaries. Directed energy weapons are another opportunity to stay ahead of the competition and put the United States on the right side of the missile-defense cost equation.

Mr. Conaway, a Republican from Texas, serves on the U.S. House Armed Services Committee and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.
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« Reply #538 on: April 21, 2015, 07:17:47 AM »

http://www.popsci.com/chinese-shipyard-looks-build-giant-floating-islands?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_term=*Situation%20Report&utm_campaign=SitRep0421
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« Reply #539 on: April 30, 2015, 03:39:11 PM »

 Anti-Tank Guided Missiles Pose a Serious Threat
Security Weekly
April 30, 2015 | 08:00 GMT
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By Scott Stewart

Working with my Stratfor colleagues to analyze the rebel offensive in Syria's Idlib governorate, we have been impressed by the rebels' use of high terrain to gain an advantage over Syrian government forces. The operation has Syrian loyalists trapped in valleys along which the main highways in the region run and in which many of the cities and towns are located.

Anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs) such as the U.S.-manufactured BGM-71E TOW system have been one of the weapons effectively employed from this high ground against loyalist targets. Dozens of videos featuring rebel ATGM attacks have been posted to the Internet, showing the destruction of scores of government vehicles and fighting positions. It appears that the United States wants the groups receiving TOW missiles to provide video documentation of the weapons' use, considering that there are a proportionately higher number of videos of TOW attacks than those involving other ATGMs.

In addition to the TOWs, however, there are also European-made Milan missiles in use, along with Russian 9M113 Konkurs, 9K115-2M Metis-M and 9M133 Kornet systems — also known by their respective NATO designation; AT-5, AT-13 and AT-14. External supporters such as the United States, Saudi Arabia and Qatar have provided the TOW system and Chinese made Hongjian-8 missiles to the Syrian rebel groups while the Russian systems have been captured from the Syrian military. Indeed, there have been a number of rebel videos showing large ATGM caches being captured.

Some of the missile shots featured in these videos are impressive. The rebel TOW gunners have been able to hit targets, sometimes moving targets, at considerable distances. The TOW is wired guided, meaning that the operator can make in-flight corrections to the missile, but the projectile must be guided all the way to the target, unlike fire-and-forget systems. From an unscientific method of watching the attack videos and counting the seconds from launch to impact, it is clear that some of the shots are out near the TOW's maximum range of 3,750 meters (2.3 miles). The TOW projectile travels at 278 meters per second.

In fact, from these videos it becomes clear that over the past few months, some of the Syrian rebel TOW gunners have fired more rounds in combat and scored more kills with the weapon than any dismounted U.S. TOW gunner ever has. There is a parallel here with the use of FIM-92 Stinger surface-to-air missiles in Afghanistan: Afghan rebels fired far more live Stingers and shot down more aircraft than any U.S. soldier to date.

And the parallels between TOW and Stinger missiles go further. Both have provided decisive advantages in battle to rebel forces that deployed them effectively on the battlefield. Also, like Stingers, ATGMs pose a risk of proliferation outside of the war zone, and could be used quite effectively in a terrorist attack.
Arms Flows

As we've discussed in the past, arms have been flowing into Syria from a variety of sources, including the legal, black and gray arms markets. Russia, for example, is providing arms to the Syrian government through legal channels, while Iran — a country under an arms embargo — is doing so illegally through the black arms market. On the other side of the battle, the United States, Turkey and Gulf Cooperation Council member countries have been providing Syrian rebel groups with weapons through gray and black arms transactions. Indeed, the Swiss government has been quite upset that hand grenades and other weapons it sold to the United Arab Emirates have shown up in the hands of Syrian rebels.

Arming rebel groups can be a risky proposition on a chaotic battlefield that is constantly changing. As noted above, weapons provided by Russia and Iran have been captured from Syrian government stores by a range of rebel groups, and U.S.-made TOW missiles have been captured by Jabhat al-Nusra, al Qaeda's franchise in Syria. Certainly, such incidents have reinforced the conviction of those who opposed supplying man-portable air defense systems to the Syria rebels.

One problem with providing arms is that they are durable goods. While certain types of weapons and weapons components have a limited shelf life — such as battery-coolant units for a Stinger missile — numerous other weapons remain functional for many decades. It is not unusual to find a militant or a soldier carrying a Lee Enfield rifle manufactured before his great-grandfather was born. M-40 recoilless rifles provided by the United States to the government of Libya before Moammar Gadhafi's 1969 coup proved an effective weapons system in the battle of Misrata, and have even been shipped from Libya to the rebels in Syria.

Weapons are also interchangeable. An AK-47-style rifle manufactured in Russia is essentially the same as one manufactured in Pakistan or Egypt, and an M16-style rifle manufactured in China can easily replace an M16 manufactured in the United States. In a place like Syria, it is not unusual to find a rebel group carrying rifles manufactured in different countries and even different eras.

Another problem is that weapons tend to retain their value and are easily converted to cash. Buying weapons from a place where there is an oversupply and then selling them in a place where there is a heavy demand can be highly lucrative, explaining why weapons so readily flow to conflict zones.

And this brings us back to the many ATGM systems — and highly experienced ATGM gunners — floating around Syria. The thought that the systems alongside seasoned gunners could pour out of Syria into other countries in the region is troubling, especially if they make their way into to the hands of an organization that seeks to use them for terrorist attacks.
Terrorist Applications

From the early days of the modern terrorism era, a wide array of actors have attempted to use anti-tank weapons such as LAW rockets, rocket-propelled grenade systems and bazooka rockets to attack diplomatic missions, Western businesses, business executives and government officials. Many of these assaults failed because inexperienced attackers missed their targets, chose inappropriate targets to use the weapons against, or otherwise botched the attack. I know of two cases in Latin America in which attacks with M72 LAW rockets failed because the attackers did not realize that the rocket's warhead has a minimum arming distance of 10 meters and the rockets were launched too close to the intended target.

As a security practitioner, the thought of 17 November members running around Greece armed with an M20 bazooka launcher is scary. But the thought of an al Qaeda or Islamic State operative who is an accomplished ATGM gunner running around Turkey, Iraq or Jordan with a TOW or Kornet is absolutely terrifying.

A light anti-tank rocket like an RPG-7 or M20 bazooka is vastly and qualitatively different than a modern ATGM. Not only does a guided missile have a larger warhead capable of causing far more destruction, but ATGMs also have a much longer range (up to 5,500 meters for a Kornet). Since ATGMs are guided, they are far more accurate and can maneuver in flight, so they are more capable of engaging moving targets than anti-tank rocket systems that cannot be adjusted once launched. These systems also come with sophisticated optics that can acquire targets from thousands of meters away. Under the right conditions, these systems can even be used to effectively engage low, slow-moving aircraft

If a TOW or Kornet can defeat the armor on a main battle tank equipped with reactive armor, it is more than capable of destroying even the heaviest armored limousine. Missiles variants designed with thermobaric warheads for engaging bunkers would also pose a considerable threat to a government building, embassy or office building — especially if the office of the minister, ambassador or CEO could be identified and targeted.

The U.S. government has gone through the nightmare of attempting to track down and buy back Stinger missiles provided to rebels in Afghanistan, after the Soviet withdrawal. They have also spent millions of dollars to buy and destroy thousands of surface-to-air missiles following the revolution in Libya. With this history, it is certain that the United States has concerns over furnishing powerful ATGMs to Syrian rebels, and has undoubtedly employed technology to aid in tracking the missiles — and perhaps something capable of disabling them if they fall into the wrong hands.

The United States has also been careful to only gradually increase the allotment of TOW missiles per shipment, as each Syrian group proved its reliability over time. It appears that some groups were only given one missile to start, then batches of two or three, and now it appears some of the more credible groups are receiving up to 10 per shipment. Hopefully, the Europeans and Gulf countries have taken similar precautions, though that is less likely. The problem of ATGM proliferation is perhaps most acute regarding the Russian systems that have been captured from government stockpiles rather than those provided by external donors. These systems are highly capable — indeed, the laser-guided Kornet is arguably superior to the wire-guided TOW — and there are no external controls on them.

The sheer size of these ATGM systems, however, will make it difficult for a group like al Qaeda or the Islamic State to smuggle them transnationally. There is little chance of them being taken to the United States or Western Europe. However, there are thriving smuggling routes going in and out of Syria and Iraq from nearly every direction, and items larger than an ATGM system are smuggled out of Syria and Iraq to neighboring countries regularly. It is not unreasonable to assume that an ATGM system could be smuggled out of the country along with an experienced gunner.
Drawbacks to Guided Missile Systems

Despite their deadliness, range and accuracy, ATGM systems do have some disadvantages when used as a terrorist weapon. They are somewhat large and hard to camouflage — especially in a city where there are many potential onlookers. These systems must also have line of sight to engage a target. Consequently, monitoring activity at possible ATGM launch sites can help protect stationary targets like buildings.

Engaging a specific mobile target with an ATGM requires the attackers to identify the travel patterns of the target and then find a suitable kill zone. Such an engagement requires a great deal of surveillance, a process that would make the attackers vulnerable to detection. Also, like anti-tank rockets, ATGMs have a minimum arming range (65 meters for a TOW and 100 meters for Kornet), limiting potential attack sites, especially in a congested urban environment. In such cases, the long standoff distances the U.S. government has been trying to achieve to protect its embassies from large truck bombs could actually prove to be a liability.

With al Qaeda seeking to hit U.S. interests in the region and beyond, and the Islamic State also threatening attacks, the danger posed by the proliferation of ATGMs and trained gunners in Syria and Iraq cannot be ignored by those responsible for protecting people and facilities.
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« Reply #540 on: May 05, 2015, 09:14:54 AM »

At least on the Republican side, candidates will be questioned on their views of defense budgets, readiness needs and priorities.  The electorate needs a certain level of readiness too.  Comments please!

Top 5 Weapons the U.S. Navy Needs Now
http://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2015/05/05/top_5_weapons_the_navy_needs_now_107917.html

By James R. Holmes  (Professor of Strategy at the Naval War College)

As weaponeers, budgeteers, and lawmakers wage their annual death match over the defense budget ...  It’s tough to winnow the U.S. Navy’s priorities list down to five weapon systems. However, I applied a secret method to come up with the definitive, incontrovertible list of the Top 5 Weapons the U.S. Navy Needs Now. The list employs such metrics as a system’s national-level importance, its capacity to multiply the fleet’s offensive and defensive fighting power, and its ability to exploit enduring enemy weaknesses at manageable cost to the United States. This is science, remember. Don’t be a science denier!!!

One caveat: exotic weaponry like lasers and railguns is conspicuously absent from this list. These prospective game-changers will doubtless qualify—once they stop hovering along the frontiers of science fiction and start fulfilling their promise at fleet air and missile defense. It feels a wee bit premature to jump on that bandwagon—the potential of ray guns and other golly-gee armaments notwithstanding. Now, onward. In reverse order:

5. Offensive minelayers. We make much of the U.S. Navy’s vulnerability to sea mines, but rivals are acutely vulnerable as well. As mine-warfare expert Scott Truver aptly notes, mine countermeasures is an orphan in want of a champion. Offensive mine warfare is an orphan of an orphan. That’s a shame, as the option of closing straits, harbors, and other narrow seas at low cost could come in handy in a host of contingencies. Manifold airborne, surface, and subsurface platforms can lay mines. Mine warfare should find its champion soonest—and provide that champion with the implements to make life tough for prospective foes.

4. Long-range combat aircraft. We may exaggerate the range problem, whereby shore-based aircraft can smite aircraft-carrier strike groups long before these groups close within reach of enemy shores. No one assumed carrier task forces would pound away at the Japanese home islands during World War II while remaining safely out of harm’s way. U.S. forces had to fight their way into the theater, wresting control of sea and sky from Japan before exploiting that control to strike at the island empire.

Still, long range opens up new tactical and operational vistas for American commanders while attenuating the effectiveness of enemy counterbattery fire. Maximum effective firing range isn’t the same as maximum firing range. Weapons typically start to lose accuracy at extreme range. The capacity to operate around the outer limits of, say, Chinese anti-access weaponry would buttress deterrence in peacetime and combat power in wartime—a net bonus for U.S. commanders.

Long range also lets airmen turn geography to advantage. If U.S. Navy and Marine warbirds can operate from temporary “lilypad” airfields erected on islands around the Asian periphery, they can convert these islands into unsinkable—though also immobile—aircraft carriers. Let’s harness maritime geography for operational gain.

3. More attack submarines. This one may seem like a cop-out, but the undersea fleet desperately needs more attack boats. Joseph Stalin isn’t one of my go-to sources of strategic wisdom, but he was correct to note that quantity boasts a quality all its own. A simple differential equation tells the tale: Cold War-era Los Angeles-class subs are being retired faster than new-build Virginia-class boats replace them. As a result the submarine fleet may dwindle to as few as 41 boats in the coming years. That may sound like a lot, but under the prevailing maintenance and training cycle, it means commanders can count on something like 28 boats at any time…to police the entire globe and face down aggression.

That’s a serious shortfall. Like mine countermeasures, antisubmarine warfare is an enduring weakness of potential antagonists like China’s navy. By all means let’s build more Virginias. Or, let’s go back to the U.S. Navy’s conventional submarining past. Japan’s navy operates a fleet of diesel boats acclaimed the world’s finest. They’re eminently suitable for patrol grounds in crucial theaters like, well, Asia. To add numbers of hulls, why not buy some of these relatively inexpensive craft and use them to constitute a permanent, forward-deployed allied squadron alongside Japanese boats. Let’s buy American—and Japanese.

2. Modern anti-ship cruise missiles. Our navy suffers from a severe deficit of cruise-missile firepower. Cruise missiles of the anti-ship variety, I mean. The navy ditched an anti-ship variant of the Tomahawk cruise missile two decades ago, going all-in on land attack, while the elderly Harpoon missile finds itself outranged by virtually every serious foe out there. That means missile-armed enemy ships, subs, and planes can lob missiles at U.S. naval task forces long before American units can reply. U.S. forces will have to close to missile range under fire, in all likelihood taking losses as they do. That’s a perilous position for any fleet—and one that demands to be remedied.

Surface-fleet chieftains are saying the right things. They’ve started talking about “distributed lethality,” meaning arming as many ships as possible—not just cruisers and destroyers but amphibious transports, and even logistics vessels—for defensive and offensive purposes. A fine aspiration—provided we have something to arm surface vessels, subs, aircraft and even bodies of Marines ashore with. Distributed lethality is a worthy concept. Whether it’s a neo-Tomahawk anti-ship missile, a newfangled long-range anti-ship missile, or something else, fielding a new “bird”—and thus righting the range imbalance—must top fleet designers’ tactical to-do list.

1. Replacement ballistic-missile subs. Which leaves top honors on this list to a replacement for navy’s aging Ohio-class nuclear-powered ballistic-missile submarines (SSBNs). Nuclear deterrence is a matter of national survival, and the undersea component of the U.S. “second-strike” capability remains its most survivable—and thus credible—component. SSBNs are strategic assets of utmost importance.

Small wonder top navy leaders have designated the replacement “boomer” now on the drawing board the nation’s foremost shipbuilding priority. They have warned, moreover, that all other procurements may have to yield to submarine construction unless Congress funds the new SSBNs through a special account outside the normal shipbuilding budget. Yet anchoring the nuclear deterrent is that critical. That makes the Ohio successor #1 on my—and probably anyone’s—list of U.S. Navy acquisitions.

James Holmes is Professor of Strategy at the Naval War College and coauthor of Red Star over the Pacific, an Atlantic Monthly Best Book of 2010. He is RCD’s new national security columnist. The views voiced here are his alone.
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« Reply #541 on: May 08, 2015, 11:33:31 AM »

http://www.theblaze.com/blog/2015/05/08/u-s-military-dominance-no-longer-assured-says-house-committee/
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« Reply #542 on: May 08, 2015, 09:56:40 PM »

second post

https://www.icrc.org/eng/resources/documents/misc/57jqhg.htm
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« Reply #543 on: May 09, 2015, 09:44:19 AM »

second post

http://www.wsj.com/articles/gen-stanley-mcchrystals-lessons-learned-1431122717?utm_content=bufferf9e1e&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer
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« Reply #544 on: May 11, 2015, 08:38:27 AM »

Somehow is seems to happen pretty fg often that the arms that we sell wind up in the wrong hands , , , ,
==========================

By Paul McLeary and Ariel Robinson

Bring in the drones. In January 2014, the United States sent 14 unarmed ScanEagle drones to Iraq as a part of a larger weapons deal to assist then-Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in quelling what was then seen as a rekindled Sunni rebellion in western Iraq.

We haven’t heard much about those birds since the initial announcement was made, but last week, on May 7, the Defense Department said that Iraq had completed the $10 million deal with the Washington-state based ScanEagle maker Insitu Inc. to operate the drones, along with providing enough maintenance personnel to support the “intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance services program and force protection services for the government of Iraq,” at Camp Taji, just north of Baghdad.

The ScanEagle has been a workhorse for U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan and Iraq. The five-foot long, 30-40 lb. drone is capable of staying aloft for 24 hours at a time.

In other ScanEagle news, does anyone else wonder what happened to the 12 ScanEagle and NightEagle drones that the Yemeni government bought in September 2014? Some $500 million worth of U.S. military equipment was lost earlier this year when Houthi rebels took over a series of military bases there, but we haven’t heard many details.
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« Reply #545 on: May 24, 2015, 11:44:36 AM »

Presidents do not often veto defense budget bills, which annually set spending levels for the huge military structure intended to keep the country safe. But President Obama has threatened to do just that this year, and he should follow through if Congress doesn’t make significant changes in the legislation now under consideration.

There are many problems with how the military spending plan for 2016 is shaping up, including budget gimmickry, political chicanery and a refusal to make the right choices. Republicans and Democratic hawks are determined to pour billions of additional dollars into the Pentagon (the House passed a nearly $612 billion defense authorization bill this month), but Republicans also want to pretend they are being fiscally careful. So lawmakers are using any trick to make it look as if both goals are being accomplished.

President Obama began the military budget discussion by proposing a $39 billion increase over the spending cap. That seems high, but Republican leaders did not confront the question of fiscal imprudence. Instead, they took roughly the same amount and stuffed it into a special $89 billion war-fighting account that is off-budget, is not subject to mandatory caps and essentially functions as a Pentagon slush fund.

This shell game dates to the compromise in 2011 that was supposed to force lawmakers to negotiate deficit reduction measures by threatening them with draconian across-the-board cuts in military and nonmilitary programs. The cuts were never supposed to take effect, especially in military programs; it was assumed that members of Congress would be forced to negotiate smarter deficit reductions. They never did, so in 2013 a sequester went into effect, with cuts that have taken a toll on programs that assist the most vulnerable Americans, including the elderly, the disabled and impoverished families with children.

The Pentagon says it has been hurt by the sequester, too. But military hawks from both parties did not want to actually cut military spending. And Republicans did not want to invest in domestic programs or consider new taxes to cover costs, so the taxpayers were left with a charade.

After the White House said Mr. Obama “will not support a budget that locks in sequestration and he will not fix defense without fixing nondefense spending,” 143 Democrats and eight Republicans voted against the House Pentagon bill. Speaker John Boehner then played the phony patriotism card, suggesting that Democrats don’t support American troops.

The truth is that some Republicans are uncomfortable with their leaders’ tactics, but they know their party has no intention of repealing the budget caps, so they agreed to stuff the “war-fighting fund” with money for basic Pentagon expenses, as well as money for waging war.

That is not the only budgetary sleight of hand. The measure passed by the House tries to protect the new Ohio-class nuclear submarines, estimated at $8 billion each, by shifting the funding from the Navy’s regular shipbuilding account to another. Not only is that bad budgeting practice, but it avoids the hard choices that the military should be making about what military equipment is needed and what is not. The plan to build 12 more Ohio-class subs is excessive; the number could be cut by at least two.

Under the House bill, the overinvestment in modernizing the country’s nuclear weapons, which is expected to cost $348 billion over the next decade, would continue. That would make it harder to pay for the conventional weapons that America actually uses. The bill would supply more military equipment than the administration has requested — including the over-budget and technically challenged F-35 jet fighters.

The House bill invests millions of extra dollars in a questionable missile defense program. It continues to prohibit Mr. Obama from shutting down the Guantánamo Bay military prison in Cuba. And it fails to address some of the sensible reforms pushed by a diverse group of defense experts, like reducing the number of private contractors working for the Pentagon and closing excess military bases in the United States. These could save billions of dollars.

The country faces daunting security challenges — from the Islamic State to Russia in Ukraine and China in the South China Sea. But throwing money at the military doesn’t guarantee security, especially when it is spent on programs that don’t make the country safer and is denied to programs that enhance security.
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« Reply #546 on: May 26, 2015, 10:34:21 PM »

http://www.thefederalistpapers.org/us/russia-builds-new-tanks-as-us-military-focuses-on-climate-change
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« Reply #547 on: May 28, 2015, 09:17:45 PM »

http://www.navytimes.com/story/military/careers/navy/2015/05/27/navy-secretary-ray-mabus-women-female-seal-navy-combat-exclusion/27653965/
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« Reply #548 on: May 28, 2015, 09:26:51 PM »


Of course.
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« Reply #549 on: June 16, 2015, 01:23:15 PM »

The first thing to notice is how rapidly Elon Musk’s SpaceX is altering the market for government-sponsored rocket launches.

Witness how frequently the words “to compete with SpaceX” appear in industry statements and press coverage. To compete with SpaceX, say multiple reports, the United Launch Alliance, the Pentagon’s traditional supplier, is developing a new Vulcan rocket powered by a reusable engine designed by Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin.

Because of SpaceX, says Aviation Week magazine, Japan’s government has instructed Mitsubishi to cut in half the cost of the Japanese workhorse rocket, and China is planning a new family of kerosene-fueled Long March rockets. “Stimulated by SpaceX’s work on reusable rockets,” reports SpaceNews.com, Airbus is developing a reusable first stage for Europe’s venerable Ariane rocket.
Opinion Journal Video
Business World Columnist Holman Jenkins Jr. on how the private rocket market is changing the economics of space exploration. Photo: Getty Images

All this comes amid one of those Washington battles ferocious in inverse relation to the certainties involved. Should Congress, however bad the precedent, climb down from sanctions enacted last December curtailing the Pentagon’s reliance on a Russian-made engine to put U.S. military satellites in orbit?

Yes, say the Pentagon, the national intelligence leadership and the White House, because avoiding disruption to crucial military launches is more important than any symbolic weakening of sanctions against Russia.

No, says Sen. John McCain, who criticizes “$300 million of precious U.S. defense resources subsidizing Vladimir Putin and the Russian military industrial base,” never mind that Pentagon dollars are not different from private dollars, which flow in abundance to Russia under a loopy sanction that does nothing to curb Russia’s booming engine sales to U.S. private commercial customers and even NASA.

Mr. McCain’s awkward ally is SpaceX, whose Mr. Musk did not get in business to tell the U.S. how to conduct relations with Mr. Putin. Nonetheless SpaceX would like a piece of the Pentagon launch business, for which its Falcon 9 rocket was finally certified last month. SpaceX supporters also argue that the Pentagon’s fear of being bereft of lift capacity is a tad overstated. SpaceX’s own Falcon 9, which has proved itself on NASA and private payloads, is capable of handling 60% of Pentagon payloads. Meanwhile, a heavier-lift version is coming, plus ULA’s proven if expensive Delta IV remains in the inventory.

Some SpaceX partisans, taking advantage of a meme-du-jour, accuse the Pentagon of “crony capitalism” for backing Lockheed and Boeing, owners of the United Launch Alliance joint venture, in their desire to keep using Russian motors for their Atlas V lifter. Such slurs are unnecessary. In fact, the Air Force has become a doughty cheerleader for competition, its Gen. John Hyten recently even calling for ending the $1 billion annual retainer to ULA in order to create a more level playing field for Mr. Musk and other bidders on a per-launch basis.

Another trope designed for journalistic ears accuses the ULA partners of “extortion” because its chief suggested its diversified parents might abandon the launch business altogether if forced out of business for several years by government fiat.

In fact, this could be a prudent business calculation. United Launch Alliance, an unnatural beast created by rivals Lockheed and Boeing to maintain the Pentagon’s access to 1970s-era rocketry, actually has been rather forward-leaning under its new CEO Tory Bruno, slashing costs and seeking private launch opportunities to counter the SpaceX challenge. But it’s not automatically obvious why ULA’s unlikely parents would pour fresh capital into a crippled joint venture.

So where do we come down? Let’s face it, the Pentagon argument trumps if national security is seriously being jeopardized. But the government appears to have decent options, existing and prospective, and could always revisit the question of Russian motors if other alternatives aren’t developing at a satisfactory rate.

And a distorting factor is the U.S. budget system. Using the sanctions opportunity to accelerate a competitive commercial lift market might actually be the pound-wise option in the long run if accounted for properly.

Unmentioned so far is the possibility that Mr. Putin down the road would use our continued dependence on Russian rockets against us. How big a threat to peace the Russian kleptocrat may prove is an open question; some of us suspect the worst is yet to come. That’s another reason why bearing slightly higher risks and costs now to develop a robust domestic launch capability might be the right choice even given Air Force and intelligence agency trepidation.
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