Tuesday, March 27, 2012

USCGC Healy Prepares For Summer Patrol

The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Healy(WAGB-20)is in a standard maintenance period at its Seattle,Washington homeport.The Healy is America's only operational polar icebreaker.The Polar Star(WAGB-10)is being reactivated at Vigor Shipyard in Seattle for service in 2013.
Polar Sea(WAGB-11)had an engine failure and is slated for decommissioning.President Barack Obama included initial funding for a replacement icebreaker in his 2013 budget request.
The Healy is mainly used for scientific research with its five labs.It can accommodate up to 50 scientists,along with 85 crew.Cruising at 12 knots,it has a maximum speed of 17 knots and can continuously break 4.5 feet of ice.The Healy became operational in 2000.
As a Coast Guard Cutter,the Healy can also perform other missions,such as logistics;search and rescue;ship escort;environmental protection;and enforcement of laws and treaties in the Polar Regions.Indeed,this past January the Healy escorted the Russian fuel tanker Renda through the Bering Sea ice to deliver urgently needed fuel to Nome,Alaska.Nome had missed its November fuel delivery because of inclement weather and may not have had enough fuel to get through the winter.
That was an unplanned mission.The Healy was to have headed home for Christmas on 17 December.Instead,it completed the escort mission on 29 January.It had left homeport on 27 May,and arrived back on 5 February.
Captain Beverly A. Havlik is Commanding Officer of USCGC Healy.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Internal Look:Secret War Game Held

A classified war game was held earlier this month.The biannual event,known as "Internal Look,"is conducted to test the integration of communications and the battle staff coordination for the U.S. Central Command,all the way from the Pentagon to CENTCOM headquarters and commanders in the field,and to gauge how well U.S. forces would respond to real world crises in the region.CENTCOM covers the Middle East and parts of Central and Southwest Asia.
This particular game was focused on the scenario of an Israeli attack on Iranian nuclear facilities,according to sources familiar with the matter.In this game,Israel bombed the facilities into a one-year setback of the Iranian nuclear program.Iran then attacked a U.S. warship in retaliation,killing 200 U.S. service members.Such an attack could be carried out with an Iranian anti-ship missile,for example.The U.S. subsequently responded in the scenario with its own attack on Iran's nuclear facilities,setting the Iranian program back a further two years.
Israeli intelligence reportedly doesn't believe such an operation would result in a regional conflagration,but the CENTCOM Commander,General James N. Mattis,U.S. Marine Corps,a man with combat experience at every level in the CENTCOM Area of Responsibility,is said to be gravely concerned about what Internal Look revealed regarding the consequences of an Israeli strike on Iran for U.S. forces in the AOR.
The Internal Look war game was used in 2002 to assess the U.S. plan to invade Iraq,which indeed was implemented in 2003.
Besides his combat commands in Operations Desert Shield,Desert Storm,Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom,General Mattis is also a graduate of the National War College.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The USS Enterprise Begins Final Missions

On Sunday 11 March,the USS Enterprise(CVN-65)departed her homeport of Norfolk,Virginia on her final deployment,the 22nd since being commissioned in 1961.Headed for the Middle East,the Big E will possibly transit the Strait of Hormuz into the Persian Gulf,braving Iranian threats.
The Enterprise served as part of the blockade of Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962.She also participated in the Vietnam War,helping evacuate Saigon in its tumultuous final days as a free city in 1975.In 1986,she was featured in the classic film "Top Gun."The Big E has provided major support to Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom,as she will continue to do on her final missions.
In recent years,the crew have valiantly struggled through innumerable maintenance issues on the vintage warship,plagued by the unavailability of many parts.Upon decommissioning scheduled for 1 December,the Enterprise's eight nuclear reactors will be removed,leaving her riddled with holes prohibitively expensive to repair.
We salute the men and women of the Big E and her carrier strike group past and present,and wish them a safe sunset.

Navy News Service - Eye on the Fleet

Navy News Service - Eye on the Fleet

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Marine General Paints Chilling Picture of Iranian Activity

General James N. Mattis,U.S. Marine Corps,Commander,U.S. Central Command,testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday.Iran presents the most significant threat to regional security,General Mattis said,although al-Qaida is still a threat as well.My overarching goal is to prevent further conflict in the region.
U.S. Central Command includes the Middle East and part of Central Asia.
Our strong presence in the Middle East endures.The military challenge is how to maintain this presence in a fiscally constrained environment.A sustained joint presence with a pronounced naval flavor is needed in the region.I completely support the fiscal year 2013 budget request.
We shouldn't change our Afghan strategy because of the uproar over the Koran.We shouldn't allow a few criminals,malcontents,to revise our policy.We're on track.Treachery has existed as long as there's been warfare.No force is perfect.The Afghan security forces have shown an overwhelmingly positive response to the incident.It has not shaken their trust in us.
Between now and 2015,the 352,000 level for Afghan security forces is a prudent measure.The Afghan local police forces are ethical,and we keep a close watch on them.
I have not seen that the Iranian regime has been disuaded from their nuclear ambition.
Al-Qaida is making a comeback in Iraq-mainly in Western Iraq,but also extending into Baghdad.
I think President Assad of Syria will be there for some time,because I think he will employ heavier weapons on his people.It's gonna get worse before it gets better.Assad's crackdown is gaining physical momentum on the tactical battlefield.It'll be the biggest strategic setback for Iran in 20 years when Assad finally goes.The slaughter in Syria is qualitatively the same as that in Kosovo and Bosnia.
We should be careful about whom we provide arms to in Syria.The longer this goes on,the greater the risk of al-Qaida involvement there.The spectacular IED attacks are evidence of al-Qaida already being involved in Syria.
I have never witnessed it so tumultuous in over 30 years of service in the region.Only one state is actively seeking to destabilize the region,and that is Iran,General Mattis has said.
Iran is working earnestly in Syria,flying in experts and weapons.
It is a full-throated effort to keep Assad in power.Iran is providing listening capability-eavesdropping-and experts in oppression are being flown in.
General Mattis,gray-haired and with a quiet and humble demeanor,said that Iran is fighting a shadow war every day,sending weapons,money and ordnance into Yemen,and also into Sudan,as well as helping the Taliban militants in Afghanistan.It's part of the Iranian regime's modus operandi.They've tried to exploit the Arab Awakening.Though not entirely successful,it's highly concerning.The whole region is becoming aware of Iran and uniting against it,General Mattis observed.