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JDN
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« Reply #250 on: May 16, 2012, 10:58:54 AM »

In 2011, the U.S. government spent $76 billion on military research and development. As history has shown, sometimes that investment pays off. And sometimes you end up running from a flaming pig.

http://www.mentalfloss.com/blogs/archives/126647
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #251 on: June 05, 2012, 03:27:41 PM »



http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/05/world/special-ops-leader-seeks-new-authority-and-is-denied.html?_r=1&nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_20120605
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #252 on: July 09, 2012, 01:56:24 PM »



http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/09/us/grueling-course-for-marine-officers-will-open-its-doors-to-women.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_20120709
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #253 on: July 18, 2012, 09:58:15 PM »




Special Operations Forces in the Western Pacific
July 17, 2012 | 1059 GMT
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Stratfor
Editor's note: Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC), a multinational maritime exercise conducted every two years around the Hawaiian Islands, is being held June 27-Aug. 7. This year's exercises mark an important step in the projection of power and interoperability between participating nations as the United States begins its strategic shift toward the Pacific region, particularly with regard to China, the region's rising power, which was not among the 21 nations invited by Washington to participate. This series analyzes the naval capabilities displayed during the exercises and weighs them in the context of regional relationships. Click here for part one, part two and part three.

The Western Pacific's geography, where multiple states continually struggle to balance each other, limits the rapidity and flexibility of significant land forces. As a predominantly maritime environment, most of the states in the region are relatively isolated islands or archipelagos. Even China is much more dependent on the sea than it might seem. Projecting military power across this environment is difficult and requires a large military infrastructure dedicated to air and naval power.

The movement and projection of sizeable, conventional land forces is constrained by a state's ability to either ship or fly them into a battle space and maintain supply lines through secure sea-lanes or airspace. Few states can do this for a large force, and even those with the capability cannot seize or clear every bit of enemy territory. Waging a successful conflict requires good intelligence and a focused strategy as well as a careful allocation of resources.

Special operations forces are highly valuable due to their adaptability to a wide variety of missions and contingencies, the limited resources they require, and their mobility through multiple environments. In the restrictive terrain of the Western Pacific, such advantages can be potentially decisive in any conflict. The region's terrain, combined with differing military imperatives of regional countries, requires the special operations forces of each state to possess distinct characteristics.

The Value of Special Operations
Special operations can be defined as operations conducted in hostile, denied or politically sensitive environments to achieve military, diplomatic, informational, and/or economic objectives by employing military capabilities for which there is no broad conventional force requirement. These units require large amounts of time and resources per capita to be effective. Selection of special operations soldiers involves an array of methods designed to detect a potent mixture of intelligence, physical fitness, perseverance, loyalty, and stability under stress. The forces typically operate in small elements (relative to conventional forces) to conduct missions independently. Given their wide mission spectrum, special operations forces require a wide range of skill sets and, thus, a large amount of training.

Special operations units usually have specialized equipment that serve as force multipliers. The forces can be inserted into the battle space through a variety of sea, air and land platforms, providing much of their flexibility, stealth and rapid response capabilities. The relatively small footprint of the forces requires little to no logistical support, which can be the Achilles' heel of larger forces.

Special operation forces can provide intelligence to help direct where conventional resources should be deployed, and they can execute various strategic direct action missions such as raids behind enemy lines, sabotage, targeted assassinations or harassment attacks. They can be designed to handle specific contingencies such as the seizing of weapons of mass destruction in failed-state scenarios, combat search and rescue situations, or the training and coordination of foreign military personnel. The forces also can be trained to operate clandestinely and rapidly in several types of terrain where larger conventional forces would struggle for mobility. 

.States decide how to use their special operations forces assets, like any other asset, through a combination of threat assessments, military imperatives and available resources. This means that different special operations forces have unique focuses and missions. Many Western Pacific countries, such as the Philippines and Indonesia, have suffered protracted insurgencies, so their security concerns focus inward. Such countries design their special operations forces for counterterrorism, which requires precision work and highly trained units but limits use in external military operations. For example, Vietnam's Dac Cong unit was established to counter U.S. special operations forces during the Vietnam War, but it has since been used predominantly for counterterrorism and urban defense operations. The unit, as with others like it in the region, rarely considers force projection beyond Vietnamese borders.

To assess a state's ability to project force with special operations units, it is important to consider its selection and training methods, equipment, and manpower. It is equally important to understand how the deployment of such forces aligns with the state's military imperatives and ability to physically move forces into battle spaces in a clandestine and timely manner. Several countries in the Western Pacific -- primarily China, Japan, North Korea, South Korea and Australia -- have focused heavily on developing these forces and emphasized their use in multiple contingencies.

China
Before the 1980s, the war doctrine of China's People's Liberation Army focused on defending the home territory using the military's considerable mass. This doctrine has since evolved into what the Chinese refer to as "winning local wars under conditions of informatization." China's goal is to use flexible forces with technologically advanced weaponry to fight within the immediate region while preventing any intervention by an outside third party such as the United States.

The new doctrine emphasized the development of multiple special operations units attached to regional commands. One common scenario for their use involves a Taiwanese declaration of independence to which Beijing would feel compelled to respond militarily. Under this scenario, mainland units would rapidly infiltrate Taiwanese territories through various air and sea routes to conduct reconnaissance and provide intelligence to commanders about potential strike locations, battle damage assessments and enemy force movements. Chinese special operations forces are also trained to quickly execute direct action engagements aimed at decapitating essential military or political leadership, sabotaging key infrastructure, or creating confusion through harassment attacks. China has not deployed these forces in combat, but their intended use is implied by training and established doctrine.

Japan
The Japan Self-Defense Force operates under a "defense only" doctrine as dictated by Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution. Since the 1950s, Japan has trained heavily with the U.S. military, which maintains a permanent presence in the country. The U.S. Army's 1st Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group is forward deployed in Torii Station, Okinawa, providing a direct working relationship with Japanese special operations forces.

With 6,852 islands spread across a large area, protecting the entirety of Japanese territory is difficult. North Korean infiltrations into these areas, usually comprised of small teams on vessels disguised as fishing boats, and territorial disputes with China that could potentially lead to seizures of disputed islands have shaped a force designed to counter such threats. In 2007, Japan created the 3,200-troop Central Readiness Force for counterterrorism and counter-guerrilla operations. The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force has a Special Boarding Unit specifically designed to interdict maritime infiltration attempts. Meanwhile, ranger platoons have been integrated into the country's Western Army Infantry Regiment and tasked with the reconnaissance of 180 isolated islands and rapid response responsibilities to deter guerilla actions.

Japan plans to use its special operations forces to detect and repel any territorial infiltration or seizure by hostile actors. Its special operations forces would likely be used to rapidly respond, reconnoiter and then guide Japan's 1st Airborne Brigade and the Japan Self-Defense Force's robust naval and air assets into the disputed area. Japan's challenge is that the country cannot occupy all of its territory in the face of outside threats. Rather than spreading its forces thin, Japan has developed a strategy of relying on special operations response units to rapidly thwart violations. The country rarely operates outside its own territory due to constitutional constraints, but it has the capability to do so.

The Koreas
The special operations forces of both North Korea and South Korea are designed primarily for use against each other. The Koreas have maintained an uneasy armistice since the July 1953 cease-fire that halted the Korean War. Resumption of conflict has remained an ever-present possibility requiring both sides to continually plan for military contingences. The variety of these contingencies and the constant rebalancing of forces has motivated both sides to heavily rely on special operations forces.

The most striking characteristic of North Korea's special operations force is its purported size, estimated to be around 200,000 members. The North does not have the logistical assets to project a majority of this force beyond the Korean Peninsula. Small elements of its force have been quite active and are known for kidnappings, assassinations and infiltrations throughout South Korea, Japan and China. The North Koreans can also conduct other special operations such as sabotage and reconnaissance. However, the force's primary task -- and the probable reasoning for its size and majority stationing along the Demilitarized Zone -- is to move behind South Korean lines at any outbreak of hostilities and open a second front. This would generally serve to harass and tie down South Korean forces.

The South's special operations forces are designed similarly to those of the United States in that each branch of its armed forces has a designated special operations force that helps to enable its branch's mission set. This is an outgrowth of the South Korean military's close cooperation and training with the U.S. military for the decades following the Korean War. These units work for Special Operations Command Korea, which reports directly to the commander of the combined U.S./U.N. forces. Any usage of these forces would be coordinated with all U.S. regional assets, including those in Japan.

One tasking is to be prepared for any number of wildcard scenarios that North Korea is potentially capable of executing and mitigating their effects, whether through kidnapping attempts, terrorist attacks or even the securing of weapons of mass destruction in the event of the collapse of the North. Due to the nature of the ongoing tensions, South Korea's special operations forces also generally stay focused on the peninsula.

Australia
Australia is one of the most geographically isolated countries in the world and, as such, relies heavily on its sea-lanes. This requires the country to seek the assistance of the dominant naval power in the world to help secure its sea-lanes, since it cannot do so itself. This alliance imperative has compelled the Australian military to be consistently involved in conflict throughout the 20th and 21st centuries. The institutional knowledge gained through such vast experience has created a highly professional special operations forces community that has consistently worked in conjunction with U.S. and British units.

Australia's special operations forces are very similar in form and function to the British model. While considered small in comparison to similar units in the region, they are well-equipped and well-trained, and Australia has the necessary transportation infrastructure to project its forces quickly and clandestinely throughout the world. Australian forces have also garnered the most combat experience by far compared to any other country in the region given their participation in operations in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past decade.

In any conflict in the Western Pacific, it is likely that the United States will be involved in some capacity, along with Australia. Being regional experts, Australian special operations forces would be relied upon even more heavily to support and work within a coalition similar to that seen in other regions over the past decade.

Special operations forces should be viewed like any other military asset that can be designed to operate in a specific environment and have a desired effect on the battlefield. The nature of these forces allows them to be quite flexible in missions and highly mobile. Their ability to insert clandestinely into a given battle space on a variety of land, sea or air platforms makes them well-suited for the unique geography of the Western Pacific. This has led to the formation of many unique units specifically tailored to the countries for which they operate. Any state engaged in hostilities within this region will need the unrivalled capabilities that these units provide.


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Read more: Special Operations Forces in the Western Pacific | Stratfor
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #254 on: July 19, 2012, 08:41:33 AM »



The Coming Defense Crack-Up
The Commander in Chief smiles into a damaging sequester..Article Comments (76) more in Opinion | Find New $LINKTEXTFIND$ ».smaller Larger facebooktwittergoogle pluslinked ininShare.0EmailPrintSave ↓ More .
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Some policy train wrecks in Washington are sudden. Then there's the catastrophe playing out in slow motion known as defense sequestration.

Barring Presidential leadership soon, the Pentagon will be walloped with another deep and disproportionate funding cut—around 9% across the board, or nearly $50 billion a year for a decade. Under last year's Budget Control Act, President Obama and Congress need to agree on new federal savings to stop these cuts from hitting on January 2.

Like an audience at a horror movie, nearly everyone paying attention is yelling "watch out!" into a political and media void. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey calls sequestration "an unacceptable risk" that will "increase the likelihood of conflict" in a world with a weaker America. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta says it's "unworkable" and "a disaster" that will "hollow out the force and inflict severe damage to our national defense."

The Commander in Chief? Preoccupied by his re-election campaign since, oh, last summer, Mr. Obama is missing in action. Led by California's Buck McKeon, the House of Representatives in May adopted a plan to offset the defense and other cuts due next year with reductions elsewhere in the budget. The White House promised a veto, and Majority Leader Harry Reid won't schedule a Senate vote.

Democrat Carl Levin and Republicans John McCain and Kelly Ayotte are floating ideas to spare the Pentagon, but they can't overcome Presidential obstruction. Despite bipartisan pleas, the White House budget office has refused even to answer questions from Congress about how the cuts would be applied across federal agencies.

Democratic leaders say sequestration hits defense and other programs equally by splitting the $1.2 trillion down the middle. Senator Reid says he "is not going to move off" this defense cliff, adding that "It's a balanced approach to reduce the deficit that shares the pain as well as the responsibility."

Not quite. If implemented, the Pentagon budget would be cut by another 9% (or $492 billion) over the next decade, on top of the $487 billion in cuts that are already planned. Defense accounts for the largest share of total sequestration, or 42.6%, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

A mere 14.8% would come from entitlement programs, which would be cut by $171 billion—or less than 1%. Social Security and Medicare are exempt, and cuts to Medicaid would be capped at 2%. Spending on entitlements is five times larger than defense, and growing. The rest of the cuts would be taken out of nondefense discretionary programs.

The Pentagon is the one part of the federal government that Mr. Obama has consistently tried to shrink. Coming into office, he squeezed $350 billion out of weapons programs, and he followed this year with $487 billion more over the next decade. The Administration's proposed fiscal 2013 Pentagon budget is the first in 15 years to decline in nominal terms. The sequestration cuts would leave the defense budget some 30% smaller in 10 years.

Defense shouldn't be immune from cuts, but Mr. Obama's policy choices are turning America into an entitlement state with a shrinking military—in other words, Europe. The U.S. would be left with the smallest Navy since World War I, the smallest ground forces in 70 years, and at just over 2.5% of GDP the smallest defense budget since Pearl Harbor.

Sequestration compounds the damage because the cuts would be automatic and indiscriminate. The Pentagon now concedes that funding for the war in Afghanistan would be hit, contrary to past assurances. So would current operations in the Persian Gulf. Training programs, equipment maintenance and military benefits are affected too. Defense contractor Lockheed Martin says the law obliges it to send layoff warnings as soon as October to most of its 123,000 workers—the kind of manufacturing jobs Democrats claim to love.

After a decade of hard wars, the military has worn down its equipment and delayed upgrades and important maintenance. The end of the Iraq deployment and the withdrawal from Afghanistan offer an opportunity to modernize forces, which the Obama cuts will prevent. With China spending lavishly on its military and the Middle East unsettled, Americans may come to regret this as much as we did the rash cuts after previous wars.

Mr. Obama knows all this from his own Pentagon's warnings, so why is he inviting a crack-up? The answer is that he wants to use GOP concerns about defense to bludgeon Republicans into accepting a huge tax increase. Republicans were unwise to accept the sequestration deal while leaving entitlements off the table, thus handing Mr. Obama more leverage.

But perhaps they never expected that a Commander in Chief who swore an oath to safeguard America's national security would play such a dangerous game. It's not the first time this President's political cynicism has been underestimated.

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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #255 on: July 24, 2012, 09:13:50 AM »




The Enduring Importance of Anti-Submarine Warfare
July 24, 2012 | 1036 GMT
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Stratfor
Editor's note: Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC), a multinational maritime exercise conducted every two years around the Hawaiian Islands, is being held June 27-Aug. 7. This year's exercises mark an important step in the projection of power and interoperability between participating nations as the United States begins its strategic shift toward the Pacific region, particularly with regard to China, the region's rising power, which was not among the 21 nations invited by Washington to participate. This series analyzes the naval capabilities displayed during the exercises and weighs them in the context of regional relationships. Click here for parts one, two, three and four.

As the United States allocates additional resources to support its new strategy in the Western Pacific, the U.S. military will need to contend with operational dynamics beyond those pertaining to counterinsurgency, which has been the focus of its efforts for the past decade. Extended sea lanes dominate the maritime geography, requiring air and naval assets to play a major role in the projection of force.

Among the most important of these assets are submarines, which are increasingly crowding the waters of the Western Pacific. Well aware of the regional proliferation of submarines, the U.S. Navy and other navies in the region are developing and focusing on anti-submarine warfare (ASW) capabilities. The United States and Japan maintain the strongest such capabilities in the Western Pacific, but the Chinese have been strengthening their own anti-submarine forces. ASW capabilities are difficult and expensive to develop, but regional navies will remain vulnerable to threats posed by submarines without such investments.

Modern Anti-Submarine Warfare
World War I marked the advent of anti-submarine warfare. Threatened by Germany's unrestricted submarine warfare campaign, the United Kingdom developed an effective means of finding and destroying the boats. Anti-submarine warfare expanded in World War II, when new tactics and equipment such as patrol aircraft, radar and sonar systems and escorted convoys enabled Allied forces to subdue the German submarine threat. Modern anti-submarine warfare is complex and difficult, involving multitudes of disparate sensors and platforms ranging from aircraft to sonobuoys (expendable sonar systems) to other submarines.

.The difficulty of modern anti-submarine warfare is apparent in the Western Pacific, which consists of a mix of shallow, littoral waters and deeper waters. Anti-submarine warfare is far more difficult to wage in the noisy and contact-dense littoral environments typical of the South China Sea and the East China Sea. In these areas, acoustic energy from passive and active sonar propagation is more likely to reflect off the seabed than in deeper waters, such as in the Philippine Sea. Thus, U.S., Japanese and Chinese submarines operating in shallow waters will be better able to operate undetected, but they will also lie within closer range of land-based ASW aircraft. Chokepoints are also a major consideration in a Western Pacific ASW campaign, with the Ryukyu Islands passageway and the Luzon Strait providing the main access points for Chinese vessels into the Philippine Sea.

The United States
The United States improved its anti-submarine capabilities during the Cold War to contend with the large Soviet submarine fleet. Washington developed versatile helicopters that could easily take off from medium and large ships, as well as long-range weapons, such as anti-submarine torpedoes. It also deployed advanced detection sensors in strategic naval chokepoints such as the Greenland-Iceland-United Kingdom gap.

Threats posed by submarines decreased markedly after the end of the Cold War, but the need for ASW capabilities re-emerged recently due to the spread of diesel-electric submarines. The emphasis on supporting land wars in Asia over the past decade has led the U.S. Navy to neglect the continuous development of its ASW skills. According to the Navy, P-3 Orion aircraft, which are well suited to anti-submarine warfare, have spent three to four times as much time conducting intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance over land since 2001 as practicing ASW operations. Prior to 2001, the Orion fleet spent twice as much time training in anti-submarine warfare than in general intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance operations.

However, the U.S. nuclear-powered attack submarine fleet remains particularly deadly in an ASW capacity. During the Cold War, U.S. attack submarines were charged primarily with tracking and hunting down Soviet nuclear attack and ballistic missile submarines. Thus, the U.S. navy gained a substantial amount of ASW institutional knowledge and, unlike the P-3 Orion fleet, U.S. attack submarines did not suspend their ASW training over the past decade.

The United States had hoped to deploy littoral combat ships, which are particularly adept at shallow-water operations. The diesel-electric submarines currently produced en masse by China mostly operate in littoral zones. However, there have been developmental delays in the littoral combat ships' ASW module, which is not expected to enter service until 2016.

China
Still, the United States is in a markedly better position to conduct anti-submarine warfare than China, which has only limited ASW capabilities, particularly against a force like the U.S. Navy. During their attempts to bolster their anti-access/area-denial capabilities, the Chinese have recognized the need for enhanced ASW operations. However, China is merely entering this stage of naval development, and it lacks the assets and institutional knowledge of the United States.

Currently, there are no major surface vessels in the Chinese navy optimized for anti-submarine warfare. China also lacks anti-submarine aviation platforms. Cognizant of these deficiencies, the Chinese have been strengthening their capabilities by intensifying ASW exercises and developing new maritime patrol/ASW aircraft based on the Y-8 platform. But these measures will take years before making a noticeable impact. In the meantime, Beijing will continue to prioritize the use of naval mines to combat submarines. While potentially effective, this approach is cumbersome and inflexible.

The Chinese have made some advances in the construction of maritime enforcement vessels, some of which could be upgraded with anti-submarine equipment. Given the large number of these vessels, such upgrades could provide Beijing with a large, if less-efficient and less-trained, anti-submarine force.

Moreover, China has developed improved sonar array technology for submarine detection. The Chinese have also expanded their investments in sea floor mapping, which will provide them with better situational awareness about the conduct of submarine and anti-submarine operations. But despite these efforts, anti-submarine warfare will continue to be the weakest aspect in China's anti-access/area-denial arsenal for the foreseeable future.

Japan
As an island nation, Japan is fully dependent on sea access for its imports and exports. Having suffered heavily from an effective U.S. anti-submarine campaign during World War II, Japan understands the gravity of a submarine threat. Indeed, Tokyo has been prioritizing development of ASW capabilities since before the Chinese and others began expanding their Western Pacific submarine fleets.

As early as 1977, Japan purchased and subsequently produced the P-3 Orion aircraft. Currently, Japan boasts the second largest fleet of maritime patrol/ASW aircraft in the world (behind only the United States), and the bulk of Japan's naval aviation is committed to ASW operations. Japan also possesses several modern ASW surface combatants, such as the Takanami class destroyers, and is developing the Kawasaki P-1 aircraft to replace the slower and older P-3 Orions.

China's advances in fielding modern submarines over the past decade has prompted Japan's Maritime Self-Defense Force to devote much of its training to anti-submarine warfare, particularly in exercises combining surface vessels, aircraft and submarines. Anti-submarine warfare remains one of the core competencies of the Japanese navy. In the future, the Japanese are set to invest even more resources and training in maintaining and enhancing this capability.

Given the large numbers of advanced submarines being developed by most Western Pacific countries, enhancing and developing ASW capabilities is critical -- especially for the United States as it bolsters its presence the region. The United States and Japan are particularly concerned with China's growing undersea threat, and China increasingly is seeking to improve its ability to deter threats posed by U.S. submarine in counterintervention scenarios. All sides will ensure that their anti-submarine capabilities endure.


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Read more: The Enduring Importance of Anti-Submarine Warfare | Stratfor
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bigdog
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« Reply #256 on: August 06, 2012, 10:13:07 PM »

http://www.democracyarsenal.org/2012/08/more-effective-and-more-efficient-increasing-military-power-with-less-money-.html#more
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bigdog
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« Reply #257 on: August 18, 2012, 05:34:53 AM »

http://www.democracyarsenal.org/2012/08/the-deficit-of-strategic-thinking-and-the-ryan-plan-.html#more
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #258 on: August 30, 2012, 10:54:48 AM »

Former SEAL Writes a Book; Cue Indignation
'No Easy Day,' about the bin Laden raid, joins a multimedia tradition
By OWEN WEST
AND BING WEST

Tuesday brought the news that "No Easy Day," a firsthand account of the 2011 raid on the Osama bin Laden compound written by a former Navy SEAL and due to be published on Sept. 11, had been discovered already on sale in a bookshop. Its contents are being widely discussed, the publisher has moved up publication to Sept. 4—and the brouhaha over the appropriateness of Matt Bissonnette's writing the book is only going to increase.

Please, spare us the outrage, or at least most of it. The U.S. Special Operations Command has expressed indignation about "No Easy Day," which will be published under the nom de plume Mark Owen, even though Mr. Bissonnette's bid for anonymity has been foiled. If the author violated his classified nondisclosure agreement, he must accept the consequences. Submitting the book for pre-approval would have avoided investigation by the Pentagon, which is currently checking the manuscript.

But to label this book as an unprecedented breach of security reflects a confused understanding of an equally confused policy. Mr. Bissonnette has joined a tradition of SEAL best sellers. While the U.S. Army Delta force remains the silent service, over a decade of war the SEALs have garnered extraordinary publicity.

.During World War II, President Truman complained that the Marines had a public relations man in every squad. But even we Marines had to rely on John Wayne for our Hollywood fame. Earlier this year saw the release of the action movie "Act of Valor," a box-office success ($80 million so far) starring active-duty SEALs and developed with the organization's thorough input.

The indignation about "No Easy Day" was stirred because the author violated the supposed SEAL code of secrecy. Mr. Bissonnette will have to straighten out his personal relationship with his former comrades, many of whom are no doubt disappointed by his project. But that code of silence has not prevented a flood of SEAL books over the past two decades. The dozen best-selling SEAL-written books on Amazon.com, including "Lone Survivor" and "American Sniper," along with the film "Act of Valor," may have given our enemies a detailed understanding of SEAL procedures, but also a healthy respect for their skills.

Mr. Bissonnette's critics in the armed forces and media would do well to distinguish between one warrior who was on the front lines, writing about what he experienced, and the leaks about military matters that have been coming from the top of our government. The written law and the moral burden of protecting the nation have been violated in a much more extreme fashion by the inner council of President Obama, resulting in the severe compromise of methods and sources.

One American official provided exquisite details about how the U.S. collaborated with Israel to launch cyber attacks that destroyed Iranian centrifuges. Iran later arrested several technicians, accusing them of collaboration with the Americans.

In the case of Osama bin Laden, the White House leaked so many details of the raid that a Pakistani doctor was later sentenced to 33 years in prison for helping to locate the al Qaeda leader. The administration even allowed a Hollywood crew to visit the White House to replicate details for an upcoming movie. Early reports indicate that Mr. Bissonnette's version of events contradicts some of those details, including when exactly bin Laden was first shot and whether he was armed.

We may never know which version is true. What's certain is that the leaks from the top caused grave harm to sensitive programs and adversely affected the lives of foreign nationals who worked with us. The leaks damaged U.S. relations with other countries and individuals who have put their faith in us but may be wary of doing so in the future. Worst of all, the leaks undermined American trust in our top officials.

Owen West is the author of "The Snake Eaters: Counterinsurgency Advisors in Combat" (Free Press, 2012); Bing West is the co-author, with Medal of Honor recipient Sgt. Dakota Meyer, of "Into the Fire: A Firsthand Account of the Most Extraordinary Battle in the Afghan War" (Random House, 2012). The Wests both served in Marine Corps combat infantry.

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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #259 on: September 12, 2012, 07:17:05 AM »

NYT


WASHINGTON — Three times so far this year, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the regional war-fighting commanders have assembled at a military base south of the capital, where a giant map of the world, larger than a basketball court, was laid out on the ground, giving the sessions an appearance of a lethally earnest game of Risk.


The generals and admirals walked the world and worked their way through a series of potential national security crises, locked in debate over what kind of military — its size, its capability — the nation will require in the next five years.

“Strategic seminar” is the name Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has chosen for these daylong sessions, which were not exactly a war game more than a tabletop military exercise, and unlike anything the Pentagon has done to plan its future.

Shortly after being sworn in as chairman last October, a decade after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, General Dempsey said the military was confronting “a strategic inflection point, where the institution fundamentally re-examines itself.” The seminar project he started fits his goal: to try to build the right military force for five years from now — and not be driven by the budget cycle into a series of year-by-year decisions.

The overarching question is whether the Pentagon’s war plans need to be rewritten to take into account how the military has been affected by a decade of fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, and now by orders to shrink to fit mandated budget cuts. While the list of potential adversaries and the rising threats remain classified, the assessments from the sessions already are reshaping military planning. Initial findings have been presented to President Obama by General Dempsey, officials said.

One realization is that under any situation in which the United States is in an armed conflict within five years, American territory most likely would be attacked as part of an adversary’s actions, regardless of where the major fighting was focused overseas. That attack might be direct, by missile, or more asymmetrical, as in terrorism or via a computer-network cyberattack.

“In the future, our homeland will not be the sanctuary it has been,” General Dempsey told a recent military conference, during which he pulled back the curtain — a bit — on the strategic seminar project.

As a result of that seminar, General Dempsey said, the military’s Northern Command, responsible for defending United States territory, has begun work with the Department of Homeland Security, the F.B.I. and other domestic agencies to assess how potential demands for military forces overseas might affect security at home, and how any shortfalls could be resolved.

Another lesson from the seminars is that the Pentagon might have to organize and deploy forces in a different way than war plans now dictate if there is another major conflict overseas and simultaneously a significant attack at home, or the need to manage a catastrophic, domestic natural disaster.

“We assumed a conflict someplace, and we flowed the forces required to that conflict,” General Dempsey said. “We created a scenario where the homeland was attacked — or even if it wasn’t attacked, where there might have been some natural disaster. And it was remarkable.”

General Dempsey acknowledged that the Pentagon had long believed “there’s always enough at home to deal with whatever happens, even while we’re fighting conflict elsewhere,” especially if the National Guard or reserves were used. After the seminar, he noted, “We might have to challenge that assumption.”

Gen. Ray Odierno, the Army chief of staff, told a public forum sponsored by the magazine Foreign Affairs that the seminars reshaped his thinking on the number of troops needed over the coming years.

“We are, as the Joint Chiefs and the combatant commanders, going through a series of strategic exercises now run by the chairman that helps us continue to sort through this and to make sure we are identifying all the issues that are out there,” General Odierno said. At each of the sessions, the civilian leadership is represented by Ashton B. Carter, the deputy defense secretary.

Officials said the seminars, held at Marine Corps Base Quantico, in Virginia, are built around realistic scenarios for 2017. Like a traditional war game, they are chock-full of specifics about available troops and weapons, and with specific challenges to account for the tyranny of time, distance, weather and unexpected actions by the adversary.

But they also have aspects of a more academic seminar, in that the daylong events, the fourth of which is set for this month, invite differences of opinion — even disruptive thinking, participants say — while forcing the armed service chiefs who provide the personnel and weapons to work alongside the commanders who will use them in war.

The seminars, according to one senior participant, are “designed for us to ask uncomfortable questions about potential U.S. national military vulnerabilities in future conflicts” over the next five years.

“Given what we think potential adversaries can do, given what we think potential allies can do and given what we think we can do — do we need to make some changes?” said the senior official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to give a sense of the intellectual and practical themes under discussion. “Let’s try to anticipate the future, to answer questions like, ‘How can we fight better? How could we fight differently? What new partners should we be seeking? How serious are the threats that we’re facing?’ ”

General Dempsey described the new era through a medium that seemed to also define it — his Facebook page.

Discussing the first seminar, he wrote that it would “challenge our assumptions about the future security environment in 2017 and assess both the capability and the capacity of the Joint Force: that is, what can it do, how quickly, and for how long. I expect this seminar will produce a broad set of questions that will inform future seminars and eventually assist us in revising operational plans in execution of our strategy.”
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« Reply #260 on: September 12, 2012, 01:05:49 PM »

"That is why I took up the gun — not to shoot, not to kill, not to destroy, but to stop those who would do evil, to protect the vulnerable, to defend democratic values, to stand up for the freedom we have to talk … about how we can make the world a better place.”

http://www.ted.com/talks/peter_van_uhm_why_i_chose_a_gun.html
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« Reply #261 on: September 13, 2012, 04:58:39 AM »

http://www.democracyarsenal.org/2012/09/analyzing-romneys-f-22-suggestion-.html
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« Reply #262 on: September 21, 2012, 05:10:15 AM »

http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/09/18/the_seven_deadly_sins_of_john_brennan
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« Reply #263 on: September 21, 2012, 07:20:17 PM »



http://m.military.com/daily-news/2012/09/21/xm25-punisher-finds-home-in-infantry-squads.html?ESRC=dod_A.nl
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« Reply #264 on: September 25, 2012, 06:13:01 PM »

http://www.businessinsider.com/after-wasting-5-billion-dollars-the-army-is-eyeing-these-brand-new-camoflauge-patterns-2012-9
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« Reply #265 on: September 25, 2012, 06:14:15 PM »

second post

http://www.businessinsider.com/sergei-skorobogatov-defends-backdoor-claims-2012-5
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« Reply #266 on: October 05, 2012, 02:16:56 PM »



Curious U.S. and French Military Deployments
 

September 28, 2012 | 2008 GMT








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Summary
 


IAN HITCHCOCK/Getty Images
 
Four F/A-18 Super Hornets from U.S. Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 314
 


Stratfor has received multiple reports of U.S. and French military movements that we would like to highlight to our readers. These movements could have multiple explanations and might not be linked. But given the numerous ongoing crises specifically centered in North Africa and the Middle East, we consider these developments to be worth following.
 


Analysis
 
According to a worldwide network of aircraft spotters and trackers, at least a dozen MC-130H, HC-130N, HC-130P and AC-130U military transport planes and gunships crossed the Atlantic Ocean on Sept. 13 heading eastbound. These aircraft are typically used for a variety of special tasks, including in close cooperation with special operations forces. The last reported stop for the aircraft was Souda Bay, Crete. It is unclear whether the aircraft have left Crete, but we are working on tracking them down.
 








VIDEO: Taliban Attack on NATO Base (Dispatch)
.A week and a half later, on Sept. 24, the same network of aircraft spotters noted 12 U.S. Marine Corps F/A-18 Hornet fighter jets arriving in two waves at Moron air base in Spain. It is not known where the squadron is heading, though it could be en route to Afghanistan to reinforce elements there. The Harrier squadron that suffered heavy losses in the Sept. 14 attack on Camp Bastion has already been replaced by another Harrier unit, so it is unlikely that the squadron's deployment is directly linked to that event. It is also possible that the F/A-18s are heading to the Gulf Cooperation Council region. A number of air superiority squadrons, including an F-22 Raptor squadron, have already deployed to the region. If that is the case, the squadron is intended simply as reinforcements or replacements for assets currently deployed there.
 
Also on Sept. 24, The New York Times published an article stating that Iraq and the United States were negotiating an agreement that could result in the return of small units of U.S. soldiers to Iraq on training missions. At the request of the Iraqi government, according to U.S. Gen. Robert Caslen, a unit of Army special operations soldiers was recently deployed to Iraq to advise on counterterrorism and to help with intelligence. It is possible that at least some of the MC-130 aircraft previously mentioned were delivering these special operations troops to Iraq.
 






.
 Another report on Sept. 24, this one by the Le Figaro French-language newspaper, said some 100 French special operations troops had been deployed in the sub-Saharan region to counteract militants in northern Mali. Le Figaro also reported that maritime patrol aircraft that can be used to collect intelligence will be deployed to the region and that commandos of the French navy will reinforce the French special operations troops.
 
Finally, Italian journalist Guido Olimpio reported in September that U.S. unmanned aerial vehicles are currently tracking militants in Cyrenaica, the historical name for eastern Libya. He also said "reliable sources" had confirmed that U.S. special operations forces were planning to carry out intelligence operations that could be in preparation for surgical strikes in North Africa, including in Libya and in Mali.
 
All these deployments could be previously scheduled movements for training or part of ongoing operations. They also do not necessarily mean any one mission is imminent. The United States and France could simply be positioning military assets in a region that is rife with conflict and that may eventually require rapid military intervention or action.
 
Whatever the intent, these deployments, taken together, are too compelling to ignore. Given the fluid conflicts in North Africa, Syria and Afghanistan, as well as the current tensions with Iran, these movements and reports are important to highlight to our readers.
.

Read more: Curious U.S. and French Military Deployments | Stratfor
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« Reply #267 on: October 13, 2012, 09:12:07 PM »

http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/10/13/14421340-navy-nuclear-cruiser-submarine-collide-off-east-coast-no-injuries-reported?lite
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« Reply #268 on: October 18, 2012, 10:01:05 AM »

http://www.military.com/daily-news/2012/10/17/first-women-fail-marine-infantry-officer-course.html?ESRC=marine-a.nl
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« Reply #269 on: October 21, 2012, 08:02:23 PM »

http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2012/10/navy-robot-gangnam-style/#more-94720
« Last Edit: October 21, 2012, 08:56:55 PM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
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« Reply #270 on: October 24, 2012, 02:52:34 PM »



This seems epochal to me:

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/today-we-turned-science-fiction-into-science-fact-latest-on-the-new-missile-that-can-fry-electronics/

What a perfect "We insist" tool for Iran's nuke program!!!
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« Reply #271 on: October 25, 2012, 04:10:58 PM »

A Game of Battleship?
Obama would need Romney's Navy to fulfill his own military strategy. .
 
'And so the question is not a game of Battleship, where we're counting ships. It's what are our capabilities.

That was President Obama at Monday night's debate, rebuking Mitt Romney for noting that the U.S.Navy is the smallest it's been in nearly a century and may soon get smaller. It would be nice to think the President has been up late reading Alfred Thayer Mahan. To judge by the rest of his remarks on the subject, he hasn't.

We mean Mr. Obama's well-rehearsed jibe that "we also have fewer horses and bayonets" than we did during World War I. This was followed by the observation that "we have these things called aircraft carriers, where planes land on them. We have these ships that go underwater, nuclear submarines."

Yes, Mr. President. And we have fewer of all of those things, too.

When the Soviet Union fell in 1991, the Navy counted 529 ships in the fleet, including 15 aircraft carriers and 121 nuclear submarines. In 2001 the Navy was down to 316 ships, with 12 carriers and 73 subs. In 2011 the numbers were 285, 11 and 71, respectively. On current trajectory, Mr. Romney said, "we're headed down to the low 200s," a figure Mr. Obama did not dispute.

The President is right that the ships the U.S. puts to sea today are, for the most part, much more capable than they were 20 or 30 years ago. But that's true only up to a point. Aegis cruisers and destroyers responsible for defending their immediate battle space are now taking on the additional role of providing ballistic missile defense. The tasks multiply, but the ships aren't getting any additional missile tubes.

A smaller fleet is also more stressed. The usual model for ship rotations—one-third deployed, one-third preparing for deployment, and one-third in overhaul—has given way to a reality in which 40% of the fleet is deployed and another 19% is underway for training operations. As one Naval friend with recent command experience tells us, "we are crushing our sailors."

A smaller fleet is also more vulnerable for the simple reason that the loss of even a single ship removes a proportionately larger share of total capability.

Today's ships can see and shoot farther than ever. But defensive technologies haven't kept pace. In 2006, a high-tech Israeli corvette built by Northrop Grumman NOC -0.42%was badly damaged by an antiship missile of Chinese design fired by Hezbollah. In 2007, a Chinese diesel-electric sub surfaced within torpedo range of the USS Kitty Hawk, having gone undetected by the aircraft carrier or battle group.

Then there is the Strait of Hormuz, through which flows much of the world's oil. When the U.S. last confronted Iranian mines in the tanker wars of the 1980s, the Navy could deploy 22 minesweepers. Today it has 14.

For years, Navy brass pushed 313 ships as the number needed to fulfill their core tasks. In fairness to President Obama, he has slightly increased the size of the fleet, to 287 ships today, since it reached a historic low of 278 in 2007. But even the 313 goal is insufficient, mainly because it would include 55 Littoral Combat Ships that are fast and sleek but have limited capabilities and are highly vulnerable in the shallow coastal waters in which they are intended to operate.

A larger irony is that Mr. Obama has ordered the so-called pivot to Asia, where America is primarily a maritime power. Last we checked the Pacific had gotten no smaller. China is rapidly modernizing and expanding its fleet while staking out maritime claims in the South and East China Seas. When the Administration announced its new defense strategy in January, the Navy was supposed to be spared the brunt of defense cuts precisely for that reason.

Concerns about ship numbers may seem passé. They also seemed passé to many in the late 19th century, which is exactly why Mahan wrote "The Influence of Sea Power Upon History." If we've again become cavalier about maintaining the freedom of the seas, it's because a powerful U.S. Navy has accustomed us to indifference. Weaken the Navy further, and that's a luxury we'll lose.
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« Reply #272 on: October 26, 2012, 10:34:07 AM »



My Line on Defense—No More Cuts
When Congress meets after the election, it should reduce the debt without taking a dollar more from the military..
By JOE LIEBERMAN

There is broad consensus that when Congress reconvenes in November, it must act to prevent sequestration. That is the $500 billion cut in defense spending scheduled to go into effect on Jan. 2, which all parties agree would be catastrophic for our national security.

But as we contemplate proposals to ward off sequestration, we must not lose sight of a larger truth: Our armed forces are already under unprecedented strain because of the $487 billion in defense cuts imposed by the Budget Control Act last year. This budget reduction is delaying critical modernization programs and forcing our military to slash manpower and force structure.

That is why, in the post-election session of Congress, I won't support any debt-reduction package that requires our military to accept further cuts.

The reductions in military spending that we have already accepted weren't driven by improvements in the strategic climate facing our country. Contrary to claims that the "tide of war is receding," our national-security threats are becoming more complex and no less demanding or urgent.

We have made significant progress in recent years against al Qaeda's leadership in Pakistan. But the group's Islamist extremist affiliates and allies have made inroads elsewhere—including Yemen, Syria and Mali, where al Qaeda's North African branch has established a haven in a vast swath of territory. In the Persian Gulf, Iran's pursuit of asymmetric capabilities (including missiles, mines and submarines) is compelling us to expand our naval and air presences there, not draw them down. Then there is the Asia-Pacific region, where China's double-digit growth in military spending and assertive behavior against neighbors (including U.S. treaty allies) is unsettling the regional balance of power.

To address these challenges, the Obama administration's "Defense Strategic Guidance" rightly pledges more rotational deployments across the globe to reassure our friends, deter our adversaries, and protect our national interests. But the truth is that our military is simply too small to do everything that is being asked of it. While our forces' high operational tempo is less visible than it was at the height of the Iraq War, it is no less stressful on our servicemembers and their families.

Consider that the Navy's 285-ship fleet is already slated to decline by nine ships by 2015. That means longer cruises with less time between deployments for ships to receive needed maintenance and for sailors to recuperate. Thus the USS John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group completed a seven-month deployment to the Persian Gulf in March, spent five months at home, then began an eight-month deployment in August. The USS Enterprise and USS Carl Vinson strike groups have faced similar schedules in the past two years—a pace that senior Navy officials have said is wearing out ships and straining crews.

The cuts already enacted are similarly causing the Air Force to buy fewer planes despite persistent demands on its declining force, which increasingly relies on aging aircraft produced during the Cold War. Under its budget for the coming fiscal year, the Air Force will procure the fewest aircraft since becoming an independent service 65 years ago.

For the Army and Marine Corps, last year's cuts mean 92,000 troops forced out over the next five years, including tens of thousands of involuntary separations—layoffs, effectively.


Some people attempt to justify these cuts by arguing that our military won't face the same demands that it has over the past decade. But it is unwise to assume away dangers. One of the clearest lessons I draw from my 24 years in the Senate is that, despite our best efforts, events will inevitably take us by surprise—as did the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990, the 9/11 attacks, the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Arab Spring. The only thing we can know about the decade ahead is that further strategic surprises lie in store.

That is why it is so critical for our military to be modernized and manned for the full range of missions that it may be called upon to carry out in defense of our security, liberty and values. I fear that is not where America's armed forces are headed if we cut more from the defense budget.

We must put our country's fiscal house in order—but not at the expense of our security. Sequestration of both defense and nondefense accounts can and must be avoided by a bipartisan debt-reduction package that deals with the real drivers of our fiscal problem: entitlement spending and insufficient revenue.

Protecting the American people is the most important responsibility that the Constitution gives the federal government, and our defense budget's trajectory signals to the American people—and to our friends and enemies around the world—how strongly committed we are to that responsibility.

That is why, when Congress reconvenes after the election, I will do everything I can to stop the additional $500 billion in defense cuts. Because so much has already been taken from the U.S. military, I will oppose any deal that cuts one dollar more from our national defense. America's security cannot afford it.

Mr. Lieberman is an Independent senator from Connecticut.
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« Reply #273 on: October 26, 2012, 11:34:01 AM »

second post

Digest • October 26, 2012
A National Security Strategy for a Strong America
"Whatever enables us to go to war, secures our peace." --Thomas Jefferson
 
Foreign policy is by no means the number-one issue for voters in this election, but national defense is, as John Adams put it, "one of the cardinal duties of a statesman." Taking a look around the world, particularly at continually emerging details about the embassy attack in Benghazi and the way Iran is applying Obama's campaign slogan, "Forward," to its nuclear program, it was a bad time for the president to have a debate on foreign policy.
Before we even get into the details, we'll just let former CIA chief and retired Air Force four-star Michael Hayden sum it up: "You had two men on stage. One was president. The other was presidential."
Indeed, Mitt Romney's goal Monday night was simply to be presidential. Unfortunately, that led to a few too many agreements with and pats on the back for Barack Obama, whether it was agreeing with the ready-or-not 2014 withdrawal deadline for Afghanistan or praising Obama that "it's wonderful that Libya seems to be making some progress." It was good that Romney followed our advice on Libya and didn't get bogged down debating the minutia -- that's for surrogates and others to handle -- but he should have made the larger point that the deception on Benghazi surely means Obama can't be trusted.
From a strategic perspective, Obama couldn't be more misguided, wrong and, in many ways, dangerous. For example, the president would like Americans to believe that al-Qa'ida died when he (actually the Navy SEALs) killed Osama bin Laden, though the murderous 9/11 terrorist attack in Libya proved this a farce. And he continues to conflate quitting the war in Afghanistan with winning it.
When it came to the military budget -- one of the precious few federal expenditures actually authorized by the Constitution -- Obama employed his usual strategy of deflecting blame. Massive automatic cuts are scheduled to hit the military budget come January through sequestration, but he said, "First of all, the sequester is not something that I proposed. It's something that Congress has proposed." And, he promised, "It will not happen." Well, the president does know a thing or two about skirting Congress to "get things done." Let the record show, however, that sequestration originated in the White House, and Obama signed the cuts into law.
He continued to distort the record, saying, "The budget that we're talking about is not reducing our military spending, it's maintaining it." In normal budget parlance, he might be correct. Politicians frequently speak of "cuts" that are in reality only reductions in the growth rate. However, his assertion in this case simply isn't true. As the Heritage Foundation notes, "Here are the numbers from his Office of Management and Budget from this year's budget request. In fiscal year 2010, defense spending was $721.3 billion in budget authority. Under the President's proposal, defense spending will fall to $566.3 billion in fiscal year 2014. This is a 21 percent reduction in just four years."
The president repeatedly accuses his challenger of wanting "to spend another $2 trillion on military spending that our military's not asking for," but Romney merely wants to stop Obama's cuts. Obama likes to claim that we'll save $800 billion by winding down the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, but rather than "investing" that money in bankrupt solar panel companies, perhaps we should upgrade our military capability. We're not of the opinion that every dollar spent on the military is sacred, but after two wars, our military's equipment could use some repair and replacement.
A prime example of needed spending is the Navy, which Romney pointed out "is smaller now than any time since 1917. The Navy said they needed 313 ships to carry out their mission. We're now down to 285." And if sequestration goes through, that number will shrink further. It was here that Obama struck back with his most childish, petulant response of the evening: "Well, Governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets because the nature of our military's changed. We have these things called aircraft carriers where planes land on them. We have these ships that go underwater, nuclear submarines. And so the question is not a game of Battleship where we're counting ships. It's what are our capabilities."
While technology has changed quite a bit since Ronald Reagan's tenure, the fundamentals are the same. Reagan left us with a 600-ship Navy, because he understood that no matter the capabilities, a ship can be in only one location at a time, and peace in the world depends on the U.S. Navy being in many locations. Nimitz-class aircraft carriers remain the workhorses of the Navy, and Ohio-class submarines still serve as a nuclear deterrent, but we have fewer of both since Reagan left office. And the carrier Enterprise is being decommissioned in a month, and the Gerald R. Ford won't enter service until at least 2015 -- pending budget figures, of course. If the president wishes us to "pivot to Asia," we will need ships to patrol the Pacific.
Bottom line: To maintain our status as the world's lone superpower, we must have ships, and we shouldn't settle for parity with potential enemies.
Oh, and by the way, the military actually has more bayonets now than in 1917, but who's counting? They're quite useful, too. Just ask our Marines.
Foreign policy is certainly about more than ships and bayonets -- and as much as we hate to break it to the president, it's about more than putting more teachers in the classroom, too -- but President Reagan achieved "peace through strength." If there are indeed enough adults in the country to defeat Barack Obama on Nov. 6, Mitt Romney must restore fiscal sanity at home, in part so that we can cultivate relations with our allies and deter our adversaries with the sure military might of the United States. We've had enough of blaming the military for America's debt woes, and blaming America for the world's dysfunction.
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« Reply #274 on: October 26, 2012, 08:11:43 PM »

Interesting images:

http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/map_of_the_week/2012/10/drone_strikes_map_shows_pakistan_drone_strikes.html
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« Reply #275 on: October 29, 2012, 07:20:09 AM »


Mark Helprin: America's Capsizing Naval Policy
China's maritime power and aggressive posture is rising while the size of the U.S. Navy continues to shrink..
By MARK HELPRIN

During the recent foreign policy debate, the president presumed to instruct his opponent: "Governor Romney maybe hasn't spent enough time looking at how our military works. You mentioned the Navy, for example, and that we have fewer ships than we did in 1916. Well, Governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets, because the nature of our military's changed. We have these things called aircraft carriers, where planes land on them. We have these ships that go underwater, nuclear submarines. And so the question is not a game of Battleship, where we're counting ships. It's what are our capabilities."

Yes, the Army's horses have been superseded by tanks and helicopters, and its bayonets rendered mainly ceremonial by armor and long-range, automatic fire, but what, precisely, has superseded ships in the Navy? The commander in chief patronizingly shared his epiphany that the ships of today could beat the hell out of those of 1916. To which one could say, like Neil Kinnock, "I know that, Prime Minister," and go on to add that we must configure the Navy to face not the dreadnoughts of 1916 but "things called aircraft carriers, where planes land on them," and "ships that go underwater," and also ballistic missiles, land-based aviation, and electronic warfare.

To hold that numbers and mass in war are unnecessary is as dangerous as believing that they are sufficient. Defense contractor Norman Augustine famously observed that at the rate fighter planes are becoming complex and expensive, soon we will be able to build just one. Neither a plane nor a ship, no matter how capable, can be in more than one place at once. And if one ship that is in some ways equivalent to 100 is damaged or lost, we have lost the equivalent of 100. But, in fact, except for advances in situational awareness, missile defense, and the effect of precision-guided munitions in greatly multiplying the target coverage of carrier-launched aircraft, the Navy is significantly less capable than it was a relatively short time ago in antisubmarine warfare, mine warfare, the ability to return ships to battle, and the numbers required to accomplish the tasks of deterrence or war.

For example, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's diplomacy in the South China Sea is doomed to impotence because it consists entirely of declarations without the backing of sufficient naval potential, even now when China's navy is not half of what it will be in a decade. China's claims, equivalent to American expropriation of Caribbean waters all the way to the coast of Venezuela, are much like Hitler's annexations. But we no longer have bases in the area, our supply lines are attenuated across the vastness of the Pacific, we have much more than decimated our long-range aircraft, and even with a maximum carrier surge we would have to battle at least twice as many Chinese fighters.

Not until recently would China have been so aggressive in the South China Sea, but it has a plan, which is to grow; we have a plan, which is to shrink; and you get what you pay for. To wit, China is purposefully, efficiently, and successfully modernizing its forces and often accepting reductions in favor of quality. And yet, to touch upon just a few examples, whereas 20 years ago it possessed one ballistic-missile submarine and the U.S. 34, now it has three (with two more coming) and the U.S. 14. Over the same span, China has gone from 94 to 71 submarines in total, while the U.S. has gone from 121 to 71. As our numbers decrease at a faster pace, China is also closing the gap in quality.

The effect in principal surface warships is yet more pronounced. While China has risen from 56 to 78, the U.S. has descended from 207 to 114. In addition to parities, China is successfully focusing on exactly what it needs—terminal ballistic missile guidance, superfast torpedoes and wave-skimming missiles, swarms of oceangoing missile craft, battle-picture blinding—to address American vulnerabilities, while our counters are insufficient or nonexistent.

Nor is China our only potential naval adversary, and with aircraft, surface-to-surface missiles and over-the-horizon radars, the littoral countries need not have navies to assert themselves over millions of square miles of sea. Even the Somali pirates, with only outboard motors, skiffs, RPGs, and Kalashnikovs, have taxed the maritime forces of the leading naval states.

What, then, is a relatively safe number of highly capable ships appropriate for the world's richest country and leading naval power? Not the less than 300 at present, or the 200 to which we are headed, and not 330 or 350 either, but 600, as in the 1980s. Then, we were facing the Soviet Union; but now China, better suited as a maritime power, is rising faster than this country at present is willing to face.

The trend lines are obvious and alarming, but in addition we face a potentially explosive accelerant of which the president is probably blissfully unaware, as is perhaps even his secretary of the Navy, who—as he dutifully guts his force—travels with an entourage befitting Kublai Khan, or at least Kublai Khan Jr. That is that whereas the American Shipbuilding Association (now dissolved) counted six major yards, China has more than 100. Whenever China becomes confident of the maturation of its naval weapons systems, it can surge production and leave us as far behind as once we left the Axis and Japan. Its navy will be able to dominate the oceans and cruise in strength off our coasts, reversing roles to its pleasure and our peril—unless we attend to the Navy, in quality, numbers, and without delay.

This will demand a president who, like Reagan, will damn the political torpedoes and back a secretary of the Navy who, like John Lehman, will unashamedly and with every power of rhetoric and persistence rebuild the fleets. The military balance, the poise of the international system, and the peace of the world require no less. Nor does America deserve less.

Mr. Helprin, a senior fellow at the Claremont Institute, is the author of, among other works, the novels "Winter's Tale" (Harcourt) and "A Soldier of the Great War" (Harcourt). His most recent novel, "In Sunlight and In Shadow," was published earlier this month by Harcourt.
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« Reply #276 on: October 29, 2012, 12:12:47 PM »

http://instagram.com/p/RXyOHBRFHI/
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« Reply #277 on: November 19, 2012, 08:03:33 PM »

Israel's Iron Dome
A breakout performance for missile defense..
 
However Israel's latest war with Hamas ends, the Gaza conflict will long be remembered for images of a military feat in the skies above Israel. Israeli interceptors have eviscerated the Iranian-supplied Hamas missiles heading for population centers. Chalk up an important strategic and technological win for missile defense.

The Jewish state's Iron Dome system was conceived after the 2006 war with Lebanon, when nearly 4,000 Hezbollah missiles killed 44 civilians in northern Israel; it was deployed only last year. Missile defenses have had vocal doubters since Ronald Reagan championed them in the 1980s, and Israeli critics focused on the price—around $50,000 for each Tamir interceptor—and supposedly dubious reliability. The last week ends that debate.

Iron Dome is designed to protect crowded civilian areas from short-range missiles. A radar attached to each battery determines whether an incoming volley threatens a population center to ensure that interceptors aren't wasted on unthreatening missiles.

Israel's system is modest, with five batteries deployed so far. Yet in only six years they've managed to make Tel Aviv and other cities nearly impregnable to missile attacks. The hit rate approaches 90%. About a thousand missiles have come from Gaza so far, and according to an official cited by Time magazine, 300 or so were deemed worth intercepting.

The engineering achievement has saved countless lives, but the strategic benefits are also significant. By limiting civilian casualties, missile defenses provide more options and more time for military and political leaders to decide how to respond. If missiles were landing willy-nilly in Israeli cities, the pressure would be great either for a ground incursion into Gaza, or a possibly humiliating accommodation with Hamas. Much as the late strategist Albert Wohlstetter predicted, defenses can deter aggressors and offer the chance to make war less destructive.

There's a lesson here as well for the U.S. In an overlooked study in September, the National Research Council pointed out shortcomings in current American missile-defense strategy, saying the U.S. needs to do more to protect the homeland against long-range attacks from Iran, North Korea and other countries. The report specifically recommended an additional defense site on the U.S. East Coast to augment interceptors in California and Alaska.

Three years ago, the Obama Administration pulled the plug on a site in Poland and the Czech Republic, bending to Russian pressure. In its place, the White House decided to protect Europe from a short- and medium-range Iranian missile with Aegis interceptors initially based at sea and later on land.

The revised plan's last, fourth stage would eventually address the long-range threat by putting interceptors in Central Europe. But that's the issue that President Obama famously promised Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev that he'd have "more flexibility" on in a second term. Missile defense could also suffer from budget cuts.

With missiles proliferating and the world unprepared to stop Iran's nuclear program, missile defenses are becoming more urgent than ever for the U.S. The Israelis are showing the importance of being protected in an era of rogue missiles.
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« Reply #278 on: November 26, 2012, 09:07:44 AM »



Man-Portable Air Defense Systems: A Persistent and Potent Threat
 

February 1, 2010 | 1311 GMT









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Summary
 


Photo courtesy of U.S. Government
 


For more than three decades, shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles have been used to attack civilian as well as military aircraft. While counterproliferation efforts worldwide have focused attention on the threat -- and managed to contain it to some extent -- these "man-portable air defense systems" remain highly prized and sought-after by militant groups. This is because they provide a cheap, simple and reasonably effective way to bring down an airplane full of people. And while missile technology continues to be refined, counterproliferation efforts are being offset by arms transfers on the black and gray markets.
 


Analysis
 
On Dec. 11, 2009, authorities seized an Ilyushin-76 cargo plane in Bangkok that contained 35 tons of North Korean-produced military weapons, including North Korean variants of the Chinese HN-5 "man-portable air defense system," or MANPADS, which were being shipped to Iran. The HN-5 -- a copy of the Soviet SA-7 (a first-generation MANPADS) -- is less advanced than the MANPADS Iran produces on its own, which are based on later Chinese designs. So, the question was: Why would Iran be importing less advanced missiles? Or was Iran planning to provide North Korean missiles to proxy militant groups, thereby gaining plausible deniability in case the missiles were ever used or seized?
 
Iran has reportedly supplied MANPADS from a variety of sources to Hezbollah, the Islamic Courts Union of Somalia (forerunner of al Shabaab) and the Taliban. It is possible that the North Korean MANPADS were also bound for Iranian proxies Hezbollah and Hamas or to other hostile actors as a way to retaliate against Western powers operating in the region who are opposed to Iran's nuclear program.
 
In any case, it is clear that the shipment of MANPADS, which have been used by militants to attack civilian airliners and are high on the list of counterproliferation efforts worldwide, was not an encouraging sign for the traveling public. Since 1973, at least 30 civilian aircraft have been brought down and approximately 920 civilians killed by MANPADS. While the number of such attempts declined in the last decade, militant groups are still trying hard to get their hands on the weapons, which are relatively cheap, easy to operate and provide a considerable amount of bang for the buck.
 
What They Are and How They Work
 
MANPADS are shoulder-fired, surface-to-air anti-aircraft missiles that come in a variety of models. They were developed after the end of World War II, when U.S. military planners realized the need for a weapon that could provide better defense against attacks by aircraft flying at high speeds low to the ground. Machine guns simply did not have the effective range, accuracy or velocity to address such threats. In 1948, the U.S. Army began researching and developing a weapon that could be more effectively used by infantrymen against aircraft, but it was not until 1967 that the first shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missile was fielded.
 
This was the U.S.-manufactured FIM-43 Redeye tactical missile. The Soviets soon followed with their SA-7 Grail (Strela-2) missiles, introduced in 1968, which borrowed heavily from the Redeye design. In 1972, the improved U.S.-manufactured Redeye II gave rise to the FIM-92 Stinger missile, which, like the Soviet SA-7s, has been updated many times over the years. The British introduced their Blowpipe MANPAD in 1972. In the years since, many more versions of the weapon have been developed by other countries.
 
By definition, MANPADS are designed to be man-portable. This means that the systems usually weigh about 40 pounds and are balanced on and fired from the shooter's shoulder. The missile is generally stored in and launched from a narrow tube that averages roughly five feet in length and about three inches in diameter. The system generally includes a battery and often an ejection motor. While the guidance mechanism within the missile itself can be quite complex, MANPADS are designed to be operated in the field from the front lines, so durability is an important part of the design. A simple targeting interface makes most MANPADS relatively easy to operate.
 






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 MANPADS use a variety of guidance systems. The most common, perhaps, is infrared (IR) guidance, in which the missile seeks the hot exhaust from an aircraft's engine. Older models are relatively easy to decoy if the target is aware and equipped with flares. Newer IR models are more difficult to decoy. In the design of the original MANPADS, such as the SA-7 and the Redeye, the IR seeker had to have a relatively clear line of sight to the rear aspect of an aircraft and its exhaust, limiting the missile's engagement envelope considerably. Newer models have far more sophisticated and sensitive seekers, allowing them to be targeted and fired from a much wider area. Other guidance methods include command line-of-sight guidance, in which the operator uses a radio control to fly the missile into the target. A third type is laser-beam guidance, in which the operator guides the missile by pointing a laser at the target.
 
The warheads themselves weigh only a few pounds. Most are armed with a proximity fuse and employ both explosives and fragmentation to puncture the soft skin of an aircraft. Generally, the later the design the more lethal the warhead.
 
Usefulness as a Weapon
 
MANPADS are also very cost-effective. They can be bought on the black market for prices as low as $5,000 (for an old SA-7). A new third-generation missile, like the Russian SA-16, can cost anywhere from $40,000 to several hundred thousand dollars. Performance varies considerably by type. The SA-7 has a kill zone with an upper limit of 4,290 feet, while some newer models can reach altitudes of over 12,000 feet. The average range of MANPADS is about three miles. As for the vulnerability of large commercial aircraft, which generally cruise at around 30,000 feet, the weapon is most effective during the takeoff and landing portions of a flight, or when aircraft are operating at lower altitudes.
 
MANPADS are not without limitations. Some research suggests that battery life makes the weapon obsolete after about 22 years. Missiles treated roughly, stored poorly and not maintained well may not last anywhere close to that long. Nevertheless, the two SA-7s al Qaeda used to target an Israeli civilian flight over Mombasa, Kenya, in 2002 were 28 years old and fully functional (despite the fact that they did not hit their target). Since replacement batteries can be found on the black market, battery life is not necessarily a key limiting factor.
 
Perhaps the most limiting factor has to do with the kind of aircraft being targeted. As MANPADS were developed and refined for military use, so were countermeasures for military aircraft. Due to budget constraints, however, most commercial airliners do not have these defensive military systems, which can alert a pilot that a missile has been launched so proper action can be taken, including evasive maneuvers and the deployment of IR flares to decoy the missile or lasers to blind the seeker. Industry estimates indicate that outfitting and maintaining the entire U.S. airline fleet with countermeasures that could foil missiles would cost $40 billion.
 
One airline company that does have countermeasures on all of its aircraft is Israel's small state-owned airline El Al. Similar countermeasures were likely responsible for thwarting the previously mentioned al Qaeda attempt in 2002 to down the Israeli airliner (owned and operated by a different Israeli carrier) taking off from Mombasa. The missiles missed their target, and neither the plane nor its passengers were harmed. Because of the high cost of such defensive systems, however, the bulk of the civilian aviation fleet worldwide remains undefended and vulnerable to MANPADS.
 
Use in War Zones
 
During the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union were very generous in providing MANPADS to their allies and proxies. The Soviets armed the North Vietnamese with SA-7s, and the United States gave about 900 Stingers to Afghan mujahideen fighters who, between 1986 and 1989, used them against the Soviets. MANPADS alone are credited with downing an estimated 269 Soviet aircraft in Afghanistan during that period.
 
Since their introduction in the late 1960s, MANPADS have most often been used against military targets in active war zones, especially in Vietnam in the early 1970s, Afghanistan in the 1980s, Angola during its civil war from 1975 to 2002 and in the Persian Gulf War in the early 1990s. In fact, 80 percent of U.S. aircraft lost in Operation Desert Storm were reportedly downed by MANPADS. In May 2002, al Qaeda operatives tried unsuccessfully to shoot down a U.S. fighter jet with an SA-7 as the jet took off from Prince Sultan Air Base in Saudi Arabia. More recently, coalition aircraft in Iraq have come under fire from insurgents armed with shoulder-fired missiles, including a C-130 cargo plane in 2006 that was carrying four members of the U.S. House of Representatives. Onboard countermeasures enabled the military aircraft to successfully evade what was thought to have been an SA-18 missile. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam also used shoulder-fired missiles in their war against the Sri Lankan government, and Chechen rebels have successfully employed them in the Caucasus against Russian military aircraft.
 
Civilian Attack History
 
The first known cases of attempted MANPADS attacks against civilian aircraft were in 1973 in Rome. In both January and September of that year, Black September militants attempted to strike Israeli flights, one of which was carrying then-Prime Minister Golda Meir. Both attempts were thwarted in their final minutes. In the January case involving Meir's plane, the militants were positioned around the airport with the weapons but were caught before her plane touched down. In the second attempt, police raided the militants' apartment as the militants, who had positioned themselves outside on the balcony, prepared to shoot at the plane as it taxied down the runway.
 
Two years later, the first successful MANPADS attack against a civilian aircraft came in the form of an SA-7 missile launched by North Vietnamese forces against a Douglas C-54D Air Vietnam flight, resulting in the deaths of all 26 passengers and crew members. One of the most famous civilian MANPADS attacks was in 1994, when two SA-16s were used to shoot down a Rwandan government flight whose passengers (and victims) included the presidents of Rwanda and Burundi. This event sparked the Rwandan genocide, which resulted in approximately 800,000 deaths in 100 days. (The identity of those responsible for this attack remains a matter of debate.) Over the years, MANPADS attacks have been plotted and actively attempted in at least 20 countries, resulting in more than 900 civilian fatalities.
 
Not a Magic Weapon
 
A MANPADS attack does not necessarily mean certain death for an air crew and passengers. In fact, some civilian airliners hit by MANPADS have made emergency landings without loss of human life. In November 2004, a DHL Airbus 300 on a mail delivery flight had just departed Baghdad International Airport. At about 8,000 feet in altitude, the aircraft was struck in the left wing by a shoulder-fired missile. With the aircraft badly damaged and one engine on fire, the pilot was able to maneuver the plane by engine thrust alone and land it safely.
 






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 Indeed, it is important to remember that the nature of MANPADS severely limits the size of the warhead that the weapon can carry. Designed to destroy low-flying military aircraft menacing troops in the field and densely packed with small amounts of fuel and ordnance, MANPADS are not ideally suited for bringing down large civilian aircraft. Though airliners are hardly designed to absorb a missile strike, the damage a single MANPADS can inflict may not be catastrophic. Nearly 30 percent of planes struck by MANPADS have managed to make some sort of emergency or crash landing without loss of life, despite (in many cases) sustaining significant structural damage to the aircraft.
 
Still, the threat is not insignificant. The other 70 percent of civilian planes that have been hit by MANPADS have crashed, and with considerable loss of life. Indeed, on departure from or approach to an airport, airliners do have to traverse predictable airspace at low altitudes -- well within the engagement envelope of MANPADS. These lower level phases of flight also occur over large swaths of built-up urban terrain that would be impossible to search and secure -- even temporarily. And with these flight paths so well established, even casual observers generally have a sense of when and where large, low-flying aircraft can be found at any given time over their city.
 
MANPADS Proliferation
 
It is estimated that more than one million MANPADS have been produced by at least 25 countries since the weapon was introduced in the late 1960s. According to a 2004 estimate by the U.S. Government Accountability Office, 500,000 to 750,000 of these weapons are still in existence today, some 6,000 of which are believed to be in the hands of hostile non-state actors.
 
Indeed, militants will always try to illegally acquire weapons of all kinds, and MANPADS are no different. As early as 1974, the Irish Republican Army received Russian SA-7s, said to have been smuggled in by the Libyans in diplomatic pouches. The old SA-7, believed to be the most widely proliferated and copied of the MANPADS, has shown up in Taliban caves and al Qaeda safe houses in Afghanistan. Russian international arms trafficker Viktor Bout (aka the "Merchant of Death") was arrested in March 2008 for attempting to sell 100 MANPADS to undercover agents whom he mistakenly believed were representatives of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). He had previously supplied arms to such diverse groups as the Taliban, the Northern Alliance, Hezbollah and various militant groups in Africa.
 






.
 The cargo plane seized in Bangkok in December 2009 exemplifies the murky maze of the international arms trade through which MANPADS make their way from governments to militants. Reports indicate that it was a very complex arms-laundering scheme, involving dealers in five countries. The main player behind the scheme was allegedly a Kazakh arms dealer named Alexander Zykov, who claimed that the five crewmen on the cargo plane -- four Kazakhs and a Belarusian -- usually worked for him but were under the employ of someone else for this particular flight.
 
The plane took off from Baku, Azerbaijan, and made stops in Al Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and in Bangkok before reaching Pyongyang, where it acquired its cargo of weapons on Dec. 10 before returning to Bangkok. The weapons, destined for Mehrabad Airport in Tehran, were listed on the cargo manifest as "oil industry spare parts." If the airplane had not been seized in Bangkok, it would have continued on to Sri Lanka, the UAE, Ukraine and then to Iran, where it would have off-loaded the weapons. The United Nations has banned North Korea from exporting weapons, and the United States reportedly tipped off Thai authorities about the questionable cargo on the flight.
 
The trail of MANPADS through the gray and black arms markets is very difficult to trace. Many of these weapons are sold, traded or given away several times over, for ideological or financial reasons, often ending up in the hands of militants. In the case of the two SA-7s used in the attack over Mombasa in 2002, the launchers were produced in Russia in 1978; the missiles themselves were made in Bulgaria in 1993 and sold to Yemen in 1994. From there, they made their way to Somalia, possibly via Eritrea, and on to Kenya where they were used unsuccessfully against the Israeli airliner. The SA-18 missile used to down a Belarusian cargo plane over Somalia in 2007 was manufactured in Russia in 1995. It was one of a batch of SA-18s sent from Russia to Eritrea, some of which were "turned over" to al Shabaab militants in Somalia. Al Shabaab then used the SA-18 against the cargo plane as it departed Mogadishu, killing 11 people.
 
At least nine currently active non-state militant groups, based on credible media reports, are believed to possess MANPADS. There are more than a dozen other groups, such as FARC, that have been working hard to obtain them and probably have, though there is no evidence that they now have them in their arsenals. It is difficult to know if a group really possesses MANPADS unless they use them and the remnants are recovered and linked to the group. Also, given the nature of the black and gray arms market and the roughness with which the weapons are often handled and stored by non-state actors, the functionality of the missiles reportedly in a group's possession is impossible to assess. The following militant groups are reported to possess MANPADS:
 ■Al Qaeda
 ■Al Shabaab
 ■Chechen rebels
 ■Hezbollah
 ■Iraqi insurgents
 ■The Irish Republican Army (IRA)
 ■Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK)
 ■The Taliban
 ■The United Wa State Army in Myanmar
 
Many militant groups have used MANPADS against civilian aircraft since the first attempt in 1973. Some of these groups, such as the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) and Baader Meinhof, are no longer active while other groups, such as al Qaeda and al Shabaab, currently pose a threat. Al Qaeda's unsuccessful use of MANPADS in 2002 against the Israeli airliner over Mombasa was a failure likely caused by countermeasures on the targeted aircraft rather than shooter error or technical malfunction. The most recent MANPADS attack that resulted in loss of life was the strike by al Shabaab over Somalia in 2007 against the Belarusian cargo plane.
 
Counterproliferation Efforts
 
The threat from MANPADS has not been ignored. In December 2000, 33 countries (the number currently stands at 40) signed the Wassenaar Arrangement, a non-binding agreement to sell or transfer MANPADS only to other governments (who may not necessarily be a party to the agreement) and only after determining that the buying country would use the weapons only for legitimate military purposes.
 
The United States has made a concerted effort to secure, buy back or destroy MANPADS that lie in loosely guarded arsenals of various countries. In Afghanistan, after the Soviet-mujahideen conflict, the United States deceptively shipped replacement batteries to the mujahideen that were, in fact, designed not only to not work but also to short out the weapons' electronics system and render them ineffective. In Afghanistan in the 1990s and later in Iraq, the United States bought MANPADS from anyone who would turn them in.
 
The U.S. institutions most actively involved in MANPADS counterproliferation efforts are the State Department's Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement and Office of Conventional Arms Threat Reduction, along with the various offices at the Defense Department that administer the Golden Sentry program. This program monitors international sales of MANPADS to ensure that they do not fall into the hands of non-state actors.
 
Multilateral counterproliferation efforts also have been undertaken, including an agreement by G-8 members at the Evian Summit in 2003 to ban all transfers of MANPADS to non-governmental entities and to assist other countries as needed in the securing or destroying of their MANPADS arsenals. Other international organizations that have taken multilateral steps to counter the MANPADS threat are the Organization of American States, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation and Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
 
Since 2001, with assistance from other countries, the United States has destroyed 30,000 MANPADS in more than 25 countries that have asked for assistance in counterproliferation efforts. These countries include Afghanistan, Cambodia, Chad, Cyprus, Liberia, Nicaragua, Sudan, Ukraine and various countries in the Balkans where there was thought to be an excess number of weapons that were poorly controlled or in danger of being sent elsewhere. For fiscal year 2009, the United States appropriated $47 million for use in destroying "at-risk" weapons (those that are in excess, are not adequately guarded or are obsolete), including MANPADS. The 2010 budget proposal called for nearly twice that amount.
 
Of course, not all of the remaining 6,000 loose MANPADS are likely to be functional, which depends on when they were made and how well they have been stored and maintained. However, MANPADS are designed to be used and stored in rough conditions, so many of the loose weapons probably do still work. Moreover, even as some of the older MANPADS become dysfunctional, various MANPADS-producing countries are still distributing them to hostile actors through illegal transfers and the gray market (MANPADS-producing countries noticeably absent from the Wassenaar Arrangement are China, Egypt, Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, Singapore and Vietnam).
 
The Current Threat
 
From 2000 through 2009, attempts to use MANPADS against civilian airliners were down about 66 percent compared to the previous decade. Despite the decline in the number of attacks, however, the proliferation of MANPADS among non-state actors remains a problem, as shown by the following incidents:
 ■May 2009: Four men in New York were arrested for plotting to shoot down a U.S. military cargo plane with a fake Stinger they had acquired from undercover agents.
 ■June 2009: The U.S. Department of Homeland Security canceled Delta's inaugural flight from Atlanta to Nairobi over concerns of a MANPADS attack.
 ■July 2009: It was revealed that a FARC commander was negotiating with Venezuelan contacts to obtain Russian SA-24s that Caracas had recently acquired from Moscow.
 ■August 2009: A Syrian arms trafficker was extradited to the United States for selling SA-7s to undercover agents posing as FARC representatives. The missiles were being housed in a Hezbollah warehouse in Mexico.
 ■September 2009: During national elections in Germany, German airports were on heightened alert after intelligence information raised concerns of an al Qaeda-linked MANPADS attack against civilian aircraft.
 ■October 2009: An unconfirmed press report indicated that Hezbollah was in possession of Iranian-produced MANPADS (though, as noted previously, Hezbollah has had MANPADS in its arsenal for some time).
 ■November 2009: A U.S. indictment charged several people with conspiring to send Stingers from Philadelphia to Syria and Hezbollah.
 ■December 2009: Another unconfirmed press report stated that Hezbollah was buying MANPADS from Albania.
 ■January 2010: A Spanish judge revealed that the Basque separatist militant group ETA had unsuccessfully tried to shoot down the Spanish prime minister's plane with a shoulder-fired missile in 2001.
 
Nevertheless, it is important to remember that MANPADS in the hands of a militant group do not necessarily mean the weapons will be used against civilian airliners. FARC, for example, which reportedly possesses MANPADS, does occasionally shoot down government anti-drug airplanes flying low over the jungle canopy. But FARC, like certain other militant groups, has no vested interest in shooting down a civilian airliner and dealing with the international fallout, especially as it works to strengthen its international ties. FARC has the capability but not the intent.
 
Other groups like al Qaeda, which has used MANPADS before, have the capability and the intent, if not often the opportunity. Since 9/11, al Qaeda prime has been relegated to the tribal areas along the Afghan-Pakistani border, far removed from the lower-altitude approach and departure paths that put Western airliners within MANPADS range. Although al Qaeda's last known MANPADS attack against a civilian aircraft was unsuccessful (over Mombasa in 2002), a MANPADS in the hands of a lone-wolf jihadist or a grass-roots al Qaeda franchise group such as al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula remains a significant concern. The 50 attempts and successful attacks that have occurred since 1973 testify to this ongoing threat.
 
Thus, while the international community has made strides in its counterproliferation efforts, civilian aircraft will remain vulnerable to MANPADS as long as some nations continue to export the weapons to hostile actors and as long as the weapons can be obtained from arms traffickers or on the gray and black markets. And although certain defensive measures are being taken by the airlines, nearly all civilian carriers have not sufficiently equipped their airplanes to effectively evade anti-aircraft missiles. It is important to keep in mind that, once successful, terrorist tactics are usually refined and employed again. Although the first successful MANPADS strike against an airliner was conducted by units of the uniformed North Vietnamese Army and not a non-state actor, the lessons from that strike and the many that have followed are not lost on militants, who are nothing if not adaptive. The MANPADS threat may have lessened over the last 10 years, but it will undoubtedly continue into the foreseeable future.
.

Read more: Man-Portable Air Defense Systems: A Persistent and Potent Threat | Stratfor
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DougMacG
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« Reply #279 on: November 26, 2012, 09:33:43 AM »

http://rt.com/usa/news/darpa-drone-unmanned-sub-455/
« Last Edit: November 26, 2012, 09:47:24 AM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
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« Reply #280 on: November 27, 2012, 06:13:52 PM »

Marines Change Physical Fitness Test
 
CHANGE TO THE PHYSICAL FITNESS TEST
 Date Signed: 11/27/2012
 ALMARS Active Number:

R 271120Z NOV 12
 UNCLASSIFIED/
 ALMAR
MSGID/GENADMIN/CMC WASHINGTON DC DMCS //
 SUBJ/CHANGE TO THE PHYSICAL FITNESS TEST//
 REF/A/MSGID:DOC/CMC WASHINGTON DC MCCDC C461TP/08AUG2008//
 AMPN/REF A IS MCO 6100.13 W CH1, MARINE CORPS PHYSICAL FITNESS PROGRAM//
 
GENTEXT/REMARKS/1. THIS ALMAR ANNOUNCES A CHANGE TO THE FEMALE PHYSICAL FITNESS TEST (PFT). EFFECTIVE 1 JANUARY 2014, PULL-UPS WILL REPLACE THE FLEXED ARM HANG (FAH).
 
2. THIS CHANGE WILL TAKE PLACE IN TWO PHASES WITH PHASE ONE BEGINNING 1 JANUARY 2013. PHASE ONE WILL SERVE AS A TRANSITION PERIOD AND IS INTENDED TO ALLOW COMMANDERS AND INDIVIDUAL FEMALE MARINES TO ADJUST INDIVIDUAL AND UNIT TRAINING ROUTINES TO PREPARE FOR IMPLEMENTATION OF THE NEW REQUIREMENTS. THE FAH WILL REMAIN AS PART OF THE INITIAL STRENGTH TEST (IST) CONDUCTED IN RECRUITING AND UPON ARRIVAL AT MARINE CORPS RECRUIT DEPOT PARRIS ISLAND (MCRDPI) AND DURING PFT'S CONDUCTED AT RECRUIT TRAINING. THE FAH WILL ALSO REMAIN AS PART OF THE PFT FOR OFFICER CANDIDATES IN THE SELECTION PROCESS AS WELL AS IN PFT'S TAKEN DURING OFFICER CANDIDATES SCHOOL (OCS). DURING CALENDAR YEAR 2013, FEMALE MARINES WILL HAVE THE OPTION TO CHOOSE PULL-UPS OR THE FAH ON THE PFT; THE SCORE FROM THE CHOSEN EVENT WILL BE USED IN CALCULATION OF THE OFFICIAL PFT SCORE FOR ALL PURPOSES.
 
3. PHASE TWO WILL COMMENCE ON 1 JANUARY 2014. PULL-UPS WILL REPLACE THE FAH PORTION OF THE PFT. THE FAH WILL, HOWEVER, REMAIN AS PART OF THE IST CONDUCTED IN RECRUITING AND AT MCRDPI. PFT'S CONDUCTED IN THE OFFICER SELECTION PROCESS AND DURING THE INVENTORY PFT AT OCS WILL ALSO INCLUDE THE FAH. PASSING THE PFT WITH PULL-UPS INSTEAD OF THE FAH WILL BE A GRADUATION REQUIREMENT FOR RECRUITS AND OFFICER CANDIDATES BEGINNING 1 JANUARY 2014. SCORING TABLES MAY BE ADJUSTED AS DATA IS GATHERED AND ASSESSED. MARINE CORPS RECRUITING COMMAND, MCRDPI AND OCS WILL REMAIN CRITICAL PARTICIPANTS IN THIS DATA COLLECTION PROCESS.
 
4. THE PHASE ONE SCORING TABLE FOR FEMALE MARINES IS AS FOLLOWS:
 
A. THE FAH WILL BE SCORED PER THE REFERENCE.
 B. PULL-UP SCORING FOR FEMALE MARINES:
 EIGHT (Cool PULL-UPS EQUAL 100 POINTS
 SEVEN (7) PULL-UPS EQUAL 95 POINTS
 SIX (6) PULL-UPS EQUAL 85 POINTS
 FIVE (5) PULL-UPS EQUAL 75 POINTS
 FOUR (4) PULL-UPS EQUAL 65 POINTS
 THREE (3) PULL-UPS EQUAL 40 POINTS
 
C. TO PASS THE PULL-UP PORTION OF THIS EVENT, FEMALES WILL BE REQUIRED TO EXECUTE AT LEAST THREE (3) PULL-UPS.
 
5. I HAVE DIRECTED THE COMMANDING GENERAL OF TRAINING AND EDUCATION COMMAND TO DEVELOP A PFT CHANGE SUPPORT WEBSITE WHICH IS LOCATED AT HTTPS:(SLASH)(SLASH)FITNESS.USMC.MIL/FPFT. IT CONTAINS A DETAILED, PROGRESSIVE WORKOUT PLAN WITH EXERCISES DESIGNED TO ENHANCE PULL-UP PERFORMANCE AND OVERALL UPPER BODY STRENGTH, VIDEO DEMONSTRATIONS AND OTHER RESOURCES. COMMANDERS ARE REQUIRED TO INCLUDE PULL-UP TRAINING AS A PART OF THEIR UNIT'S PHYSICAL FITNESS PROGRAM FOR ALL MARINES.
 
6. ADDITIONAL COORDINATING INSTRUCTIONS WILL FOLLOW IN SEPARATE CORRESPONDENCE.
 
7. THIS ALMAR IS APPLICABLE TO THE TOTAL FORCE MARINE CORPS.
 
8. SEMPER FIDELIS, JAMES F. AMOS, GENERAL, U.S. MARINE CORPS, COMMANDANT OF THE MARINE CORPS.//
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« Reply #281 on: November 30, 2012, 07:23:56 PM »

http://m.military.com/daily-news/2012/11/27/socom-faces-scrutiny-after-body-armor-recall.html?ESRC=dod.nl
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« Reply #282 on: December 03, 2012, 09:10:18 AM »

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/nov/30/deceitful-debate-over-women-in-combat/?page=all#pagebreak

  Oblivious to important differences between men and women, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is suing the Department of Defense to lift all combat exemptions for women.
 
Not putting women into combat deprives them of their constitutional rights, the ACLU is arguing on behalf of four servicewomen in a complaint filed Tuesday in a federal court in San Francisco.
 
“It’s harming women in the field now,” said Elizabeth Gill, a staff attorney with ACLU Northern California, to U.S. News & World Report. “Significant numbers of women have fought alongside their male counterparts in the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan and, in fact, are fighting in combat situations.”
 
Talk about harm. Women are coming home maimed or in body bags. A saner course would be to suggest that the military rethink its decision to put women closer to combat.
 
In the ACLU’s parallel universe, women are just as aggressive, strong, fast and warlike as men. You know, like in the National Football League, where female linebackers strike terror in the hearts of Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers.
 
Much of the pressure for this march toward barbarism is coming from career feminist military personnel, who argue that lack of combat experience hurts their chances for advancement. In other words, because a few women want to climb the ladder of rank, all women in the military should be put at risk for combat duty, whether they want it or not.
 
Hundreds of thousands of women have served and do serve honorably in the military and perform crucial jobs. They deserve every American’s gratitude and respect. Some have been killed or wounded while serving bravely in very difficult conditions.
 
The military has kept women out of direct ground combat for a moral reason: Deliberately putting women in harm’s way is not right; and for practical reasons: Women are not as physically strong, and they have an impact on the men around them. In a civilized society, men are raised to protect women. Now some of America’s elite warrior units train men to be indifferent to women’s screams. That’s what passes for “progress” in a “progressive” military.
 
It’s not primarily about individual capability but military necessity. Anything that detracts from the military’s mission to win wars and bring troops back alive is not worth it, no matter how fashionable.
 
In a summary of 30 years of research on women’s suitability for combat and heavy work duty, professor William J. Gregor of the School of Advanced Military Studies at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., concludes, “Few if any women possess the physical capacity to perform in combat or heavy military occupational specialties and none will outperform well-trained men. Training women with men to the same physical occupational standards dramatically increases the skeletal-muscular injury rate among women.”
 
Recently, the U.S. Marines opened its Infantry Officer Course to women.
 
“Only two of about 80 eligible female Marines have volunteered for the course — a grueling, three-month advanced regimen conducted at Quantico, Va., that was opened to women to research their performance,” The Washington Times reported. “Of the two female volunteers, one washed out on the first day, along with 26 of the 107 men, and the other dropped out two weeks later for medical reasons, a Marine Corps spokesman said.”
 
Like it or not, women are far more likely to be injured than men, even in basic training. They are 100 percent more likely to become pregnant.
 
Under feminist pressure, the military academies have relaxed their physical requirements, despite denials from leaders who also are having to deal with inconvenient love trysts between Cpl. Fred and Sgt. Tom.
 
Like virtually all other major institutions in America today, the armed forces are operating under the tyrannical fist of political correctness, with truth sacrificed to ideology. Back in October 1992, when the George H.W. Bush administration’s Justice Department went to war with the Virginia Military Institute over VMI’s exclusion of women, the PC veil was lifted for a moment.
 
Col. Patrick Toffler, head of West Point’s Office of Institutional Research, testified as to whether the U.S. Military Academy had lowered its training standards to accommodate female cadets. After much resistance, Col. Toffler admitted under cross-examination that women were taught self-defense while men were taught boxing and wrestling. Pull-ups, peer ratings, rifle runs and certain obstacle-course elements were scrapped.
 
The point here is not so much about physical allowances made for women but about the military’s denial of the truth. Smart military men and women learn to pretend or kiss their careers goodbye.
 
In 2007, Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, answered honestly and affirmatively as to whether he thought homosexuality was immoral and incompatible with military service. Shortly thereafter, George W. Bush’s secretary of defense, Robert Gates, announced that he would recommend that Gen. Pace not be reappointed. Sexual politics trumped honesty, which is why we’re even talking about ending the common-sense combat exemption for women.
 
Even conservative lawmakers seem too terrified to ask such questions as:
 
What happens to women who are captured? Should we care?
 
If women achieve equal opportunity (and exposure) on the battlefield, do they have an equal ability to survive?
 
Why is there an alarming increase in sexual assaults against women in the armed services?
 
Do people realize that their daughters almost certainly will be subject to any future draft if combat exemptions are lifted?
 
Is it really no more harmful for servicewomen who are mothers to be separated from their infants than when fathers are sent overseas? Should we care?
 
The left wins by default when political correctness strangles honest inquiry.
 
In the ACLU lawsuit, the four plaintiffs are joined by the Servicewomen’s Action Network (SWAN).
 
“This is ironic, since SWAN is the same group pushing the Department of Defense to stop sexual assaults in the military,” notes Elaine Donnelly, president of the pro-exemption Center for Military Readiness. “The organization is against violence against women, unless it happens at the hands of the enemy.”
 
Robert Knight is senior fellow for the American Civil Rights Union and a columnist for The Washington Times.


Read more: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/nov/30/deceitful-debate-over-women-in-combat/#ixzz2E0B2IncU
 Follow us: @washtimes on Twitter
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« Reply #283 on: December 03, 2012, 05:00:11 PM »

"Not putting women into combat deprives them of their constitutional rights, the ACLU is arguing on behalf of four servicewomen in a complaint filed Tuesday in a federal court in San Francisco."

If I recall correctly, the courts long ago ruled there is no constitutional right to military service. Although I'd say that any female who can meet the male physical standards (whithout them being watered down) can try for a combat arms job. It's my understanding that certain HSLD entities have used females for certain, unpublicized roles in the GWOT.
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« Reply #284 on: December 03, 2012, 05:11:39 PM »

As a civilian, my participation in this conversation need be humble, but in my humble opinion, there is more to it than maintaining physical standards.  Many healthy young men and women are going to fuk and that is detrimental to unit discipline.  IMHO similar issues are going to arise with gays now out of the closet.   There is also the matter of women deliberately getting pregnant to get out of harm's way.  This was seen in the Gulf War wherein one ship lost over 30% (working from memory here) of its women to pregancy and some 4% of women in the Yugoslav theater (which had very low US casualty rates) back in the 1990s.  Losing skilled members of the team in such circumstances in quite counter-productive.
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« Reply #285 on: December 21, 2012, 10:32:52 AM »

A Soldier's-Eye View of Chuck Hagel
His record on Iraq alone should disqualify the former senator from leading U.S. troops in time of war..
By TOM COTTON

Chuck Hagel, who is reportedly on the White House's shortlist of nominees for secretary of defense, served our country admirably in Vietnam. But he is not the right person for the Pentagon.

Our fighting men and women deserve a leader who will not only honor their service, but also advocate for them and honor their accomplishments. Regrettably, the former senator's dismal record on Iraq suggests that he will do none of those things—for he abandoned the very troops he once voted to send to war. I would know, because I was one of them.

Over Thanksgiving weekend in 2006, two years before his retirement as the Republican senator from Nebraska, Mr. Hagel penned a column for the Washington Post entitled "Leaving Iraq, Honorably." He asserted that "there will be no victory or defeat for the United States in Iraq," and "the time for more U.S. troops in Iraq has passed." Rather, Mr. Hagel argued, we "must begin planning for a phased troop withdrawal."

Imagine my surprise at the senator's assertions, having just returned that week from combat in Baghdad as an infantry platoon leader with the 101st Airborne Division. My soldiers had fought bravely to stabilize that city, protect innocent civilians and defeat al Qaeda. Those soldiers were proud of their accomplishments.

No one had told us during our time in Baghdad that we would achieve "no victory." Readers might have shared my surprise at Mr. Hagel's words if he had mentioned his earlier vote supporting the war.

The troops recognized the folly of Mr. Hagel's proposed withdrawal. The fighting in Baghdad that year had certainly been hard, with progress slow and frustrating. Yet the solution to those of us on the front lines was plain. We needed more troops and a new strategy focused on securing the civilian population. That counterinsurgency strategy would help win the support of Iraqis, who would then help flush out terrorists and militias and allow for political reconciliation.

We needed, in other words, the "surge." In his lowest political moment, President George W. Bush had his finest hour. He kept faith with the troops he had sent to war. Mr. Hagel, on the other hand, called the surge "the most dangerous foreign policy blunder in this country since Vietnam" and broke faith with those troops. In the Senate, he helped in early 2007 to delay emergency funding for the war. He then voted for a measure to force withdrawal from Iraq.

Perhaps most astonishing, Mr. Hagel voted in 2007 against designating Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps a terrorist organization. The IRGC was directly responsible for the deaths of numerous American soldiers in Iraq. In addition to its terrorist attacks around the world, the IRGC smuggled a particularly lethal kind of roadside bomb into Iraq known as an explosively formed projectile, or EFP.

An EFP consists of a tube packed with explosives and topped by a metal plate. The heat from the explosion inside the tube turns the plate into a molten slug, which could penetrate not just the Humvees in which my soldiers and I rode, but even an M1A1 Abrams tank.

The use of EFPs in Iraq more than doubled in 2006, making them among the most feared enemy weapon during our tour. For example, two new soldiers arrived in my platoon and received the usual on-boarding brief. One soldier asked about roadside bombs. I told the two new men to stay alert for indicators and to trust their armor; my platoon had hit numerous bombs, but we had all survived to that point. The other soldier then asked, "What about EFPs?" I paused and could only respond: "Just hope it's not your day."

The Iranians continued smuggling explosively formed projectiles into Iraq well after my platoon departed in 2006, but apparently Mr. Hagel deemed these acts of war insufficient to call the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps exactly what it is—a terrorist organization. (Though his vote, it must be said, is of a piece with his long-standing dovish views toward Iran.)


Even after the surge had succeeded, Mr. Hagel could not bring himself to celebrate our military's accomplishment. In late 2008, with casualties down by 85%, Mr. Hagel still questioned the surge's success. He credited the Anbar Awakening of Sunni tribal leaders against al Qaeda (as if the surge didn't encourage them), Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr's stand-down (as if the surge didn't scare him) and improved intelligence systems (as if the surge didn't introduce them).

Though his record on Iraq alone should disqualify Mr. Hagel from leading our troops in a time of war, his views on current issues are no less alarming and show he has not learned from his errors. Unlike the current secretary of defense, Mr. Hagel seems willing to accept devastating cuts to defense spending, calling the U.S. military "bloated" and in need of being "pared down." He also has expressed a desire to accelerate the troop withdrawal from Afghanistan (a war for which he also voted).

This is not the record of a leader who can be counted on to stand by our armed forces. While Mr. Obama has every right to choose his secretary of defense, I urge him not to nominate Mr. Hagel. If he is nominated, I urge the Senate not to confirm him. Our fighting men and women deserve so much better.

Mr. Cotton, a Republican, is congressman-elect from Arkansas's Fourth District. He was an infantry officer in Iraq in 2006 and Afghanistan in 2008-09
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« Reply #286 on: December 30, 2012, 02:10:09 PM »

Pentagon Readying 800,000 for Rolling Layoffs .
By DION NISSENBAUM And DAMIAN PALETTA

WASHINGTON—The Pentagon is preparing to notify its entire civilian workforce to prepare for furloughs if Congress and President Barack Obama are unable to reach a deal before Jan. 2 to avert automatic spending cuts.

A senior defense official said Sunday that the Pentagon would notify 800,000 civilian workers to brace for furloughs in the new year, meaning the workers would be ordered to take mandatory leave without pay for a certain period. The warning is much gloomier than the agency recently offered employees, as it had said there wouldn't be an immediate impact on personnel or operations if a deal wasn't reached by January.


But the senior official said that notices would go out soon after sequestration took effect. The official didn't know when the first layoffs would take place, but said they weren't likely to happen immediately.

The Pentagon must notify Congress of the possible layoffs because of labor laws requiring advance notice, the official said.

In a letter to employees before the December holidays, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta promised that other options for cutting costs would be examined before officials resort to layoffs and that sequestration "would not necessarily require immediate reductions in spending."

Make Your Own Deficit-Reduction Plan
Try your hand at balancing the budget and share the results.


 .
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The automatic spending cuts were put in place by the 2011 Budget Control Act and require $110 billion in spending reductions, split between defense programs and other domestic agencies. The cuts must take place in the first nine months of 2013, and then $110 billion in cuts will take place for eight additional years, under the conditions of the 2011 law. Democrats and Republicans have been working to replace or postpone the cuts but they have been unable to reach an agreement.

The Pentagon will be forced to cut $55 billion in spending in the first nine months of 2013, a roughly 10% reduction in many of its programs. The cuts would affect more than just the agency's workforce, as the White House has said the military's budgets for purchasing aircraft, ammunition, missiles and other items will be cut sharply.

Looking Over the Fiscal Cliff
The federal government faces a rolling series of deadlines over the next few months in its continuing budget battle. Take a look ahead.

View Interactive

.
Falling Over the Fiscal Cliff
See some scenarios for how different groups of people may be affected by the tax changes that will take place if the fiscal cliff isn't resolved by the Jan. 1., 2013, deadline.

View Interactive

.
 More photos and interactive graphics
.
Other agencies will also have to issue furloughs or begin layoffs if the cuts aren't reversed, and some lawmakers have said companies that do business with the government will also have to lay off workers because of the impact of the cuts.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) said Mr. Panetta has told him there "will be nothing" in the fiscal cliff deal to avoid sequestration.

"I called Leon Panetta last night during dinner," Mr. Graham said on Fox News Sunday, "and he said, 'Lindsey, I have been told there will be nothing in the bill to avoid sequestration going into effect.' "

Mr. Panetta says "if we do it, it will be shooting the Defense Department in the head, and we have to send out 800,000 layoff notices at the beginning of the year. He is worried to death that if we don't fix sequestration, we will destroy the finest military in the world at a time we need it the most and this bill doesn't cover defense cuts, on top of the ones we already have," Mr. Graham said.
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« Reply #287 on: January 02, 2013, 05:21:05 AM »

http://myweb.fsu.edu/bbc09/Crisher-Souva%20-%20Power%20At%20Sea%20v2.0%20full.pdf
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« Reply #288 on: January 22, 2013, 03:20:26 PM »



http://weaselzippers.us/2013/01/20/obama-ousts-another-general-this-time-the-head-of-central-command/
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« Reply #289 on: January 26, 2013, 06:49:43 PM »

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/jan/25/gen-dempsey-hints-bar-likely-lowered-female-combat/
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« Reply #290 on: January 28, 2013, 12:21:29 PM »

Kenneth Johnson, Marine Corps veteran of three combat tours, argues:

    What kind of a man is it who can send women off to kill and maim? What kind of society does that?

    What kind of men sharing a fire-team foxhole with a woman and two other men don't treat the woman more gently?

    What kind of society bemoaning that men don't seem to respect women can't see that part of the respect they demand is predicated on the specialness of the other?

    Perhaps it is possible in a firefight to distinguish between how one treats women and men, but I doubt that I could do it. And if I am trained to treat men and women the same throughout my career, can this have no significant effect on how I treat women otherwise?

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323539804578262013186376352.html

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« Reply #291 on: January 28, 2013, 02:37:30 PM »

Good points there Doug.

Here's another variable to consider:

==============================


http://www.volokh.com/posts/1197050445.shtml
 
[Kingsley Browne, guest-blogging,December 7, 2007 at 1:00pm] Trackbacks
Co-ed Combat -- Pregnancy and Single Motherhood

I’ve discussed so far a variety of differences between men and women that affect their relative aptitude for combat roles. Another distinction between men and women that has significant effects on military readiness is that only women can become pregnant.

Approximately ten percent of military women are pregnant at any one time. During the Gulf War, pregnancy was the leading cause of women’s being shipped back early to the United States. When the destroyer tender USS Acadia returned from an eight-month deployment during the Gulf War, thirty-six of the 360 women on board had been transferred off the ship because of pregnancy. The Acadia was the ship most prominently called “the Love Boat,” but it is just one of many that have had that label attached to them.

A comprehensive study for the Navy of female shipboard personnel found an overall pregnancy rate of 19 percent per year. The highest pregnancy rate (27 percent) was on submarine tenders, the class of ships with the largest percentage of women.

With the unprecedented use of female personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan, one would think that the services would like to know what their losses are from pregnancy. According to a spokesman for Central Command, however, “We’re definitely not tracking it.” A Pentagon spokeswoman said that the Army does release information on how many women choose to leave the service because of pregnancy but not information on those who leave the war theater, implying that the information is tracked, simply not released. Only “general numbers” are released, she said, “to protect the rights of women, soldiers and the organization,” although it is not clear how anyone’s “rights” would be infringed by release of statistical information about pregnancy losses.

When it comes time to deploy, women fail to do so at three to four times the rate for men, the difference being largely due to pregnancy. Once a soldier is confirmed to be pregnant she becomes ‘non-deployable’ and will remain so for up to a year. After deployment, many women must be sent back home because of pregnancy.
A Navy study found that a quarter of women (compared with a tenth of men) were lost from ships for unplanned reasons. Large numbers of military pregnancies that are carried to term are unplanned (over 60 percent of those among junior enlisted personnel).

Pregnancy in the later stages means total absence of the woman – who may or may not be replaced – but even in the earlier stages it results in substantial limitations on a woman’s ability to contribute to her unit. One Army MOS in which there are many women is “fueler.” Fuelers are responsible for fueling vehicles and are critical to their units. Unfortunately, however, female fuelers are medically restricted from working in that job because of chemical exposure from the date their pregnancy is diagnosed. As the Army was preparing for Operation Iraqi Freedom, it had to impose a cap on the number of deployed women who could be allocated to that MOS, and it had to move men from other specialties into the fueler job, creating shortages elsewhere.

Women cannot serve at sea after their twentieth week of pregnancy, and even before that they must be removed from ships unless they are within six hours of a facility “capable of evaluating and stabilizing obstetric emergencies.” After giving birth, mothers are excused from sea duty for a year.

Women’s ability to avoid deployment by becoming pregnant is a constant source of resentment among men. Intentionally injuring oneself to avoid deployment is a court-martial offense; intentionally becoming pregnant to avoid deployment brings no penalty at all, nor does becoming pregnant to avoid deployment, missing the deployment, and then aborting the pregnancy – a pattern that creates even intensified resentment. This latter phenomenon is almost certainly something that the military does not track, so it is hard to know how widespread it is, but while I was researching my book, several people (all Navy officers) spontaneously mentioned it to me.

Single parenthood is also a much greater problem among women than men. Although in raw numbers there are more single fathers than single mothers (because of the overwhelming disproportion of men in the military), the proportion of women who are single parents is much higher.

Comparison of the numbers of single mothers and fathers is meaningful only if “single parenthood” means the same thing for mothers and fathers, whereas it clearly does not. A Navy survey that inquired into the nature of custody arrangements found that 76 percent of single mothers had sole custody of the child, whereas only 16 percent of men did. While only 8 percent of single mothers had “joint custody (less than half the time),” 63 percent of fathers did. These are very different parental patterns, and they have substantially different effects on deployability – differences that are obscured by simply labeling the involved personnel “single parents.”

The military recognizes the incompatibility of single parenthood and military service. Army regulations, for example, bar single parents from enlisting, stating that “the Army’s mission and unit readiness are not consistent with being a sole parent.” The problem comes about when individuals already in the service become single parents. Single parents are required to file “Family Care Plans,” identifying someone who will be able to take over parental responsibilities in the event of deployment, but if that arrangement falls through — or if the requirement is not complied with — then there can be a significant problem.

During the Gulf War, a number of military women with young children were transferred back to the United States because of the stress of being away from their children. Because of the longer deployments involved in the current conflicts, one doubts that this is a lesser problem today. Reliable data are not available (and perhaps do not exist), however, as the military has an obviously strong interest in not widely advertising the possibility of the return home for parents who miss their children.
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« Reply #292 on: January 28, 2013, 11:43:56 PM »

http://www.mercatornet.com/Newsletterv0810/view_txt/why_men_fight
Why men fight
Robert R. Reilly | 26 January 2013

 

Men fight to protect their women. Or, at least, that’s the way it used to be.
 
On Thursday, however, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said, "Today Gen. Dempsey and I are pleased to announce that we are eliminating the ground combat exclusion rule for women and moving forward with a plan to eliminate all gender-based barriers to service." This, in effect, voids the 1994 rule that mostly excludes women from units below the brigade level when the primary mission is direct ground combat.
 
Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, proclaimed that, "The time has come to rescind the direct combat exclusion rule for women and eliminate all unnecessary gender-based barriers to service,"
 
Why is this necessary? How did such a “time” arrive upon us? According to the Wall Street Journal, “last February, Mr. Panetta ordered US military service chiefs to find ways to expand the role of women.” In other words, the military chiefs did not go to the Secretary of Defense and say, “we need to place women in combat units in order to fulfill our military mission.”
 
Had they said this, it could have been for two possible reasons. One is that there are not enough men willing to serve in combat. Or two, women are demonstrably better in combat than men. The first is clearly not the case, as the military is cutting back on personnel. The Armed Forces have more men in combat units than, according to President Obama, they need. Two, there are no studies demonstrating women’s superiority or even equivalence to men in combat. In other words, this came from the top – the political top. It is ideological pressure that created this requirement, not military necessity.
 
The rationalizations for it are almost amusing in the distance they have achieved from reality. One of the women who filed a lawsuit to challenge the combat ban, Army Staff Sgt. Jennifer Hunt, who was injured in 2007 by a roadside bomb in Iraq, said, "Right before the IED went off, it didn't ask me how many push-ups or sit-ups I could do." Yes, indeed, an explosive can rip right through a woman as well as a man. It does not discriminate. Death is an equal opportunity killer. Usually, that would be a reason to keep women out of harm’s way, not put them in it.
 
Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D. Ill), a former Army pilot who lost both her legs in Iraq when her helicopter was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade, said the decision will allow the "best man or woman on the front line." Absolutely, if a woman can kill men more effectively than a man can, why not let them? Women killing men is an essential part of equal opportunity.
 
Sen. Jack Reed (D, RI) said that on the current battlefield "all who serve are in combat." Absolutely, the person who cuts his or her finger at the company mess hall slicing bread should get a purple heart just like the infantry man who is shot by an enemy soldier. All wounds are equal. If we define everything as combat, then there are no obstacles to women in combat.
 
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said that President Obama thinks that the end of the combat exclusion is "appropriate." Appropriate to what? Apparently to removing "unnecessary gender-based barriers," as Mr Carney said.
 
Here is evidence of the barrier. Since 2001, 152 women have been killed in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan, with 946 wounded. Considering that women make up some 14 percent of the active duty military, the killing is obviously not proportional to their participation. It only represents .019 of US fatalities in these two wars. Clearly, this must be the result of discrimination. To make sure women are given a fair shake in their new roles as front-line fighters, perhaps the fatality figure could be brought up 14 percent. In fact, this might be the new metric of success for the integration of women into ground combat.
 
There is another serious problem that requires no sarcasm. According to John Luddy, in a 1994 backgrounder for the Heritage Foundation, “History shows that the presence of women has had a devastating impact on the effectiveness of men in battle.” Why? For example, “a review of the 1948 Arab-Israeli War… revealed that men tried to protect and assist women rather than continue their attack. As a result, they not only put their own lives in greater danger, but also jeopardized the survival of the entire unit. The study further revealed that unit morale was damaged when men saw women killed and maimed on the battlefield.”
 
According to the late Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Dayan, women reduced the combat effectiveness of Haganah units because men took steps to protect them out of “fear of what the Arabs would do to [the] women if they captured them.” In other words, men will behave like men, nowhere more so than in the presence of women. This is why Israel barred women from direct combat until 2000, when the so far only mixed gender infantry battalion was organized to patrol the relatively quiet borders with Jordan and Egypt.
 
There is another less appetizing way in which men will be men in the presence of women. General Dempsey, apparently with a straight face, suggested that allowing women into combat units may alleviate the military's serious problem with sexual harassment: "I have to believe, the more we can treat people equally, the more likely they are to treat each other equally." In other words, if we pretend that women are just smaller men, sexual harassment will go away.
 
Here is the political program: Inject sexual tension into combat units by mixing genders, which results in an explosion of sexual harassment; then blame the military and insist that it transform itself – not to fight the enemy and win wars – but to fight sexual harassment.
 
A rare voice of sanity was heard when Rep. Duncan Hunter (R, Calif) said, "The focus of our military needs to be maximizing combat effectiveness… The question here is whether this change will actually make our military better at operating in combat and killing the enemy, since that will be their job, too."
 
Should it be their job to kill or to be killed? Retired four-star general Volney Warner said that, “I remain convinced that women are better at giving life than taking it.” What kind of society seeks to put its women, it’s life givers, directly in harm’s way – to endanger that which is most precious to it? The answer is a society that no longer knows what women are or why men fight to protect them. In turn, it asks men not to be men – not to be protectors. What is there left to defend in such a society?
 
President Obama said, "Today, every American can be proud that our military will grow even stronger with our mothers, wives, sisters and daughters playing a greater role in protecting this country we love." Instinctively, one feels that this sentence should say the opposite – that we can be proud that our military is protecting “our mothers, wives, sisters and daughters” by keeping them from harm, not by placing them in it. One reason this is a “country we love” is that we can keep our women safe here. Obama brings us only one step away from the idea that “our mothers, wives, sisters and daughters” should be the ones protecting our military. This is a proposal that the ancient Greek playwright and satirist Aristophanes could have had great fun with. “Honey, tell the kids that mommy will be late tonight. I’ve still got some killing to do.”
 
If you want men to have nothing to fight for, this is the way to proceed.
 
Robert R. Reilly is a member of the board of the Middle East Media Research Institute and the author of The Closing of the Muslim Mind.
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« Reply #293 on: January 29, 2013, 11:36:51 AM »

second post

http://www.pjtv.com/?cmd=mpg&mpid=517&load=7967
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« Reply #294 on: January 30, 2013, 02:01:09 PM »

What Cutting Defense Really Means
The Obama administration's current plan scales down the active-duty military to the pre-9/ll level..
By MICHAEL O'HANLON

How much more, if at all, should the U.S. cut its military budget as part of comprehensive deficit-reduction efforts?

A typical observer can be forgiven some confusion on this issue. Even the recent history of defense spending isn't clear. Some say that the 2011 Budget Control Act cut $487 billion from the military over the next 10 years, while others claim that the armed forces will lose nothing from their core budget because the budget was bloated before 2011 anyway. In fact, the most accurate figure for cuts under current law is $350 billion over 10 years, as measured relative to a standard Congressional Budget Office baseline that assumes modest growth for inflation.

Further confusing the issue are competing arguments over how damaging additional cuts may be. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta has voiced adamant opposition to any further reductions that would take annual defense spending much below $550 billion. Yet as a White House official in the 1990s he was content with a $400 billion annual budget (all figures are adjusted for inflation).

Meanwhile Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has questioned whether the U.S. could remain a superpower if the military loses another $500 billion (or 8% of its budget) over the next 10 years. Yet in 2010 the bipartisan Simpson-Bowles and Rivlin-Domenici commissions endorsed cuts of that very magnitude.

Given all this, many doves will favor more cuts, arguing that the U.S. still outspends China 3-to-1, accounts for more than 40% of all global military expenditures, and spends more than it did during the Cold War. By contrast, hawks will tend to emphasize that the world remains dangerous and the U.S. will soon spend just 3% of GDP on its military, when Cold War norms were two to three times that amount. Rather than resolve the impasse by such sweeping arguments, however, it would be better to link budget numbers to strategies and capabilities.

The starting point for doing so is the Obama administration's current military plan, which incorporates only the $350 billion in cuts from the Budget Control Act. The plan scales down the military from about 1.5 million active-duty uniformed personnel to 1.4 million, the pre-9/11 level that is two-thirds the Cold War norm. The plan also chips away at modernization programs but preserves most major ones (with one or two notable exceptions), and it levels off various forms of military pay and benefits. Still, most troops will continue to be compensated better than private-sector cohorts of similar age, education and technical skill.

Building on this plan, there are two basic ways to proceed now: a tactical approach and a strategic one.

Tactical cuts would stay with the basic national-security strategy of the Obama administration but look for additional economies within it. This is the thinking that Sen. Carl Levin (D., Mich.), Rep. Chris van Hollen (D., Md.) and some others have espoused of late. Additional cuts might take defense spending down another $100 billion to $200 billion over a decade (though some savings might be counterbalanced by higher-than-expected costs elsewhere in the Pentagon budget). For example, in addition to another necessary round of base closures:

• The active-duty Army and Marine Corps could shrink somewhat below their 1990s levels, rather than staying slightly above those levels as current plans dictate.

• To get by with its current 286-ship fleet (or less) rather than increase its numbers, the Navy could employ innovative approaches such as "sea swap," by which some crews are rotated via airplane while ships stay forward-deployed longer.

• The military could scale back its intended purchases of F-35 joint strike fighters—good but expensive planes—by roughly half from its current intended buy of nearly 2,500 airframes.

• Rather than design a new submarine to carry ballistic missiles, the Navy might simply refurbish the existing Trident submarine or reopen that production line.

• The military could further streamline compensation, close some stateside commissaries and exchanges, and modestly increase military health-care premiums while scaling back pensions.

The other approach—necessary if big cuts like those proposed by the Simpson-Bowles commission are to happen—would require a more profound strategic shift. This wouldn't emasculate the country, deprive it of superpower status or force the abandonment of any allies, but it would mean accepting substantially greater risk. I would oppose these larger cuts but can imagine three scenarios for carrying them out:

• Cut the active-duty Army and Marine Corps by 25%, depriving the U.S. of the capacity to conduct anything much more than one large ground operation at a time.

• Gradually return military compensation—now $25,000 greater per person than at the start of the Bush administration—to 2001 levels, including considerable cuts in both benefits and base pay.

• Finally, eliminate the F-35 program rather than cut it in half.

Together with the more modest economies described above, these initiatives could produce $500 billion in 10-year savings—the same amount that would be dictated if "sequestration" goes into effect in the absence of a budget deal in Congress.

Others may see different ways to realize these kinds of savings, but it is time we stopped tossing around big budget numbers like chips in a poker game or pretending that magical reforms in Pentagon operations can yield huge savings quickly and painlessly. Possible savings mean changes in American military capability and, quite possibly, changes to U.S. national security.

Mr. O'Hanlon, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, is author of "Right-Sizing Defense Cuts" in the new Brookings briefing book "Big Bets and Black Swans."
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G M
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« Reply #295 on: January 30, 2013, 07:04:52 PM »

America has no enemies, just friends we haven't appeased yet.
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« Reply #296 on: January 31, 2013, 04:29:56 PM »

http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2013/01/ted-cruz-shows-that-hagel-slandered-both-israel-and-the-u-s.php?ModPagespeed=noscript

Posted on January 31, 2013 by Paul Mirengoff in Barack Obama, Chuck Hagel, Israel
Ted Cruz shows that Hagel slandered both Israel and the U.S.

I had thought that Lindsey Graham would be the most effective questioner of Chuck Hagel at today’s hearing, and Graham did his usual fine job of “cross-examination.” But for my money, Ted Cruz topped Graham and everyone else with questions that exposed not just Hagel’s contempt for Israel, but his contempt for the United States. You can view the tape of Cruz’s devastating round with Hagel here.

First, Cruz played excerpts from a tape of Hagel’s 2009 appearance on al Jazeera, in which a caller suggested that Israel had committed war crimes. In responding to the question, Hagel did not dispute the caller’’s statement. Cruz also pointed to statement by Hagel that Israel had engaged in “the sickening slaughter” of Hezbollah, which sounds a bit like war crimes.

Taken together, these pieces of information show that Hagel regards Israel as a criminal state, or at least is comfortable with that characterization. Hagel tried, with the same lameness he displayed most of the day, to talk away around this conclusion. He stated that both sides — Israelis and Hezbollah — had slaughtered each other. Perhaps Hagel will produce a tape in which he accused the Palestinians of engaging in a “sickening slaughter” of Israelis. Perhaps he will produce a tape (from the period before he was in the running for a cabinet job under President Obama) in which he took exception to the claim that Israel has committed war crimes. Perhaps, but don’t hold your breath.

Next, Cruz played an excerpt from the same interview in which the al Jazeera host read a reader e-mail claiming that the United States has served as the world’’s “bully.” This time Hagel not only failed to take exception and stick up for his country, he said on al Jazeera he found some merit in the claim, calling it “a good observation” (the Washington Post report linked to above fails to report this fact).

Pressed by Cruz, Hagel tried to squirm his way out of this bit of anti-Americanism by misrepresenting both the email and his response. But Cruz brought him back to the text, which makes it quite clear that Hagel endorsed the view that America is the world’s bully.

Chairman Levin saw the problem these excerpts pose for Hagel, and suggested that Cruz should have presented the entire interview transcript, not just video excerpts. Cruz agreed to transcribe the interview clips in their entirety and post them on his Senate webpage.

If, as is likely, Hagel is confirmed, President Obama will have in place a Secretary of State who (albeit decades ago) called the U.S. military “the Army of Genghis Khan” and a Secretary of Defense who (a few short years ago) found merit in the view that the U.S. is the world’s bully.

This state of affairs is altogether fitting for a president who, himself, holds America in contempt. At least Hagel and Kerry can point to their experiences in Vietnam as the source of their disillusionment with America. What can Obama point to, his days in Rev. Wright’s church?

JOHN adds: Here are the al-Jazeera clips that Sen. Cruz played today:



Already, after just a month in office, it seems clear that two new superstars have emerged in the Republican Party and the conservative movement: Tom Cotton in the House, and Ted Cruz in the Senate.

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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #297 on: January 31, 2013, 05:16:21 PM »

Well, he sounds like a perfect representative of our Commander in Chief. cry
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G M
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« Reply #298 on: February 01, 2013, 05:23:39 PM »



Mark Steyn: Easy to see why Tehran endorses Hagel


By MARK STEYN / Syndicated columnist



You don't have to be that good to fend off a committee of showboating senatorial blowhards. Hillary Clinton demonstrated that a week or so back when she unleashed what's apparently the last word in withering putdowns: What difference does it make?
 
Quite a bit of difference, it seems. This week, an oversedated Elmer Fudd showed up at the Senate claiming to be the president's nominee for Secretary of Defense, and even the kindliest interrogators on the committee couldn't prevent the poor chap shooting himself in the foot.

Twenty minutes in, Chuck Hagel was all out of appendages.
 
He warmed up with a little light "misspeaking" on Iran. "I support the president's strong position on containment," he declared. Breaking news!
 
Obama comes clean on Iran! According to Hagel, the administration favors "containment." I could barely "contain" my excitement! Despite official denials, many of us had long suspected that, lacking any stomach for preventing a nuclear Tehran, Washington would settle for "containing" them. Hagel has been a containment man for years: It worked with the Soviets, so why not with apocalyptic ayatollahs? As he said in a 2007 speech, "The core tenets of George Kennan's 'The Long Telegram' and the strategy of containment remain relevant today." Recent history of pre-nuclear Iran – authorizing successful mob hits on Salman Rushdie's publishers and translators, bombing Jewish community centers in Buenos Aires, seeding client regimes in Lebanon and Gaza – suggests that these are fellows disinclined to be "contained" even at the best of times. But, even if Iran can be "contained" from nuking Tel Aviv, how do you "contain" Iran's exercise of its nuclear status to advance its interests more discreetly, or "contain" the mullahs' generosity to states and non-state actors less squeamish about using the technology? How do you "contain" a nuclear Iran from de facto control of Persian Gulf oil, including setting the price and determining the customers?
 
All fascinating questions, and now that Hagel has announced "containment" as the official administration position, we can all discuss them.
 
Unfortunately, as Hillary said the other day, "our policy is prevention, not containment". So five minutes later the handlers discreetly swung into action to "contain" Hagel. "I was just handed a note that I misspoke," he announced, "that I said I supported the President's position on containment. If I said that, I meant to say that we don't have a position on containment." Hagel's revised position is that there is no position on containment for him to have a position on.
 
Carl Levin, the Democrat chair, stepped in to contain further damage. "We do have a position on containment, and that is we do not favor containment," he clarified. "I just wanted to clarify the clarify."
 
Containment? Prevention? What difference does it make? Could happen to anyone. I well remember when Neville Chamberlain landed at Heston Aerodrome in 1938 and announced the latest breakthrough in appeasement: "I have here a piece of paper from Herr Hitler." Two minutes later, he announced, "I have here a second piece of paper from my staffer saying that I misspoke." Who can forget Churchill's stirring words in the House of Commons? "If, indeed, it is the case that I said, 'We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall never surrender!,' then I misspoke. I meant to say that we're keeping the situation under review and remain committed to exploring all options."
 
It's easy to make mistakes when you're as expert in all the nuances of Iranian affairs as Chuck Hagel. After he'd hailed Iran's "elected, legitimate government," it fell to another Democrat, Kirsten Gillibrand, to prompt Hagel to walk it back. Okay, delete "elected" and "legitimate": "What I meant to say, should have said, is that it's recognizable."
 
"Recognizable"? In the sense that, if you wake up one morning to a big mushroom cloud on the horizon, you'd recognize it as the work of the Iranian government? No, by "recognizable," he meant that the Iranian government is "recognized" as the government of Iran.
 
"I don't understand Iranian politics," he announced in perhaps his least-misspoken statement of the day. But the Iranians understand ours, which is why, in an amusing touch, the Foreign Ministry in Tehran has enthusiastically endorsed Hagel.
 
Fortunately, Iran is entirely peripheral to global affairs – it's not like Chad or the Solomon Islands or the other burning questions the great powers are currently wrestling with – so it would be entirely unreasonable to expect Hagel to understand anything much about what's going on over there. So what of his other, non-Iranian interests?
 
"There are a lot of things I don't know about," said Hagel. "If confirmed, I intend to know a lot more than I do."
 
He then denied that "I will be running anything." Don't let the fact that the Secretary of Defense presides over 40 percent of the entire planet's military spending confuse you. He's not really "running" a thing – or, as he was anxious to assure us, "I won't be in a policy-making position."
 
Really? So what's the job for, then? Just showing up at the office and the occasional black-tie NATO banquet? Most misspeakers loose off one round and then have to re-load, but Chuck Hagel is a big scary "military-style assault weapon" of a misspeaker, effortlessly peppering the Senate wainscoting for hours on end. Late in the day, after five o'clock, he pronounced definitively: "It doesn't matter what I think."
 
"It does matter what you think," insisted New Hampshire Republican Kelly Ayotte.
 
With respect to my own senator, I think it matters that he seems incapable of thinking – or at least of thinking through his own Great Thoughts.
 
There are over 300 million Americans, and another 20 million Undocumented-Americans about to be fast-tracked down the soi-disant "path to citizenship." Surely, from this vast talent pool, it should be possible to find someone who's sufficiently interested in running the planet's biggest military not to present himself on the world stage as a woozy, unfocused stumblebum. In an exquisite touch, responding to reports that Hagel was "ill-prepared," someone in the White House leaked that he had been thoroughly "coached." In other words, don't blame us: We put him through the federally mandated Confirmation Hearing For Dummies course. He doesn't have to be a competent Defense Secretary; he just has to play one on TV for a couple of hours. But even that's too much to ask of an increasingly dysfunctional political system: The Senate disdains to pass a budget, 70 percent of U.S. Treasury debt is bought by the Federal Reserve, month-long negotiations to cut spending turn out in the final deal to increase spending ... and the president's choice of Defense Secretary tells the world he has no idea what our policy on Iran is.
 
Hagel may know nothing about Iran, but he's an incisive expert on America.
 
During an appearance on al-Jazeera in 2009, a caller asked him about "the perception and the reality" that America is "the world's bully" – and Hagel told viewers that he agreed. Confronted with this exchange by Sen. Ted Cruz, Hagel floundered. There was no aide to slip him a note explaining that the incoming SecDef takes no formal position on whether or not his own nation is "the world's bully."
 
Ah, if only. In the chancelleries of Moscow, Beijing, Tehran, Cairo, Pyongyang, the world's bullied are laughing their heads off.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #299 on: February 02, 2013, 02:45:55 PM »




WASHINGTON — How many pull-ups does it take to make a female Marine?



Related
 
Pentagon Is Set to Lift Combat Ban for Women (January 24, 2013)



The answer, starting next January: a minimum of three, the same number required of male Marines.

If anyone thought the military’s decision to allow women into combat units would lead to exceptions for women when it came to fitness and physical strength, this is one service’s “gender neutral” answer — or at least part of the answer.

Like the men, women will have to perform the exercises on the Marine Corps’s annual physical fitness test as “dead hang” pull-ups, without the benefit of the momentum from a lower-body swing. Like the men, women can do the pull-ups underhanded or overhanded, as long as their chins break the plane of the bar.

The new requirement replaces the old “flexed arm hang” for women, in place since 1975, which had to be held for a minimum of 15 seconds.

“The physical requirements of female Marines, commensurate with their roles, have increased greatly since 1975,” said Col. Sean D. Gibson, a spokesman for the Marine Corps Combat Development Command in Quantico, Va. “The pull-up is a better test of muscular strength.”

But the new Marine Corps regulations are just part of a sweeping re-examination of fitness standards in the military that Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta’s announcement last week ending the ban on women in combat only accelerated.

As it stands now, service members face a gantlet of overlapping fitness tests throughout the vast sprawl of the American military, from initial ones that recruits have to pass to annual fitness (and weight) tests to specific physical requirements that must be met for combat jobs.

The Pentagon says it will not lower standards for women, but is nonetheless reviewing the requirements for hundreds of what are called military occupational specialties to see if they actually match up with the demands of each job.

Some combat jobs that might open to women may require them to meet only specific requirements rather than a wide range of fitness standards.

“We’re going to ensure that our tank crewmen are fully capable of removing 50-pound projectiles from the ammunition rack and loading them into the main gun in a sustained manner in a combat situation,” said George Wright, an Army spokesman.

But for now, the Army has no immediate plans to change its sex-adjusted recruitment and annual fitness tests, even though the Marine Corps, which tenaciously promotes itself as the most hard-bodied service, has started to toughen up its standards for women.

But even for the pull-ups, the Marines are still making some exceptions. To get a perfect grade, women will have to do only 8, compared with the 20 required for men.

“I don’t think it’s a very high bar,” said Capt. Ann G. Fox, a Marine Reserve officer who during her first deployment in 2004 worked with the Iraqi Army and who thinks women could do better if it was required of them. “I think the test should be the same as the men 20 pull-ups. People train to what they’re tested on.”

That was the experience of Greg Jacob, who was a commander at the combat training school for enlisted Marines at Camp Geiger, N.C., and said that he asked his female trainers to do the same number of pull-ups as their male students, even though women were not required at the time to do pull-ups at all.

“I saw women who could only do one or two pull-ups be able to bust out, over the course of four or five months, eight pull-ups,” he said. “And that was because they were training to that standard.”

Mr. Jacob, now the policy director for the Service Women’s Action Network, an advocacy group that worked to end the female combat ban, acknowledged the physiological differences between men and women, but said they were overstated. “There are lots of men who don’t have the same muscle mass as other men,” he said. “There is physical diversity regardless of gender.”

Many jobs in the military, he said, have nonnegotiable physical demands. “Whether you were a man or a woman, you had to throw a live grenade 15 meters,” he said. “If a woman throws the hand grenade 10 meters, it’s going to blow up in her face and kill her.”

In the Army, no pull-ups are required of either men or women on the annual fitness test, but like the Marines, there are different standards for each sex. A 17- to 26-year-old man in the Army has to run two miles in 15 minutes, 54 seconds or less and do at least 42 push-ups; a woman in the same age group has to run two miles in 18 minutes, 54 seconds or less and do at least 19 push-ups.

The requirements decrease as service members age, although a woman who is 62 or older in the Army still has to run two miles in 25 minutes or less.

Marines, typically, raise the bar. A 17- to 26-year-old male Marine has to run three miles in 28 minutes or less on his annual fitness test; compared with 31 minutes or less for a female Marine of the same age.

The Marines also require all men and women to pass an annual combat fitness test, even though until now women were not officially permitted in combat. The sex-adjusted test drills Marines in how to respond under fire.

All of the tests pale in comparison with one of the most brutal male preserves in the military, the Marines’ 86-day Infantry Officer Course at Quantico, Va., which is intended to screen and train potential infantry officers. The test makes extraordinary physical and mental demands on its participants.

Last fall, two female officers went through the course as an experiment and failed, inviting questions — even though large numbers of men fail — of whether women were up to it.

Gen. James F. Amos, the commandant of the Marine Corps, held out the possibility that they are. In comments to reporters in San Diego on Thursday, he said he had met with two more female officers who had signed up for the next Infantry Officer Course, starting in March. “It looks like they’re in great shape and they’re excited about it,” he said.
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