Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Preparing for Trident Juncture - Danish Infantry Units

First Australian F-35 Lands at Luke Air Force Base! - 12-14

Military Clips - We Own the Night - Training with U.S. and Australian Sp...

Beijing angered by US warship patrol | DW News

Guided Missile Destroyer USS Lassen (DDG 82) Live-Fire Training

Challenging China:USN Guided-Missile Destroyer

Tensions are near boiling point in the South China Sea following a US Navy guided-missile destroyer's patrol within a 12 mile limit claimed by China.The USS Lassen (DDG 82) drew shadowing from a Chinese PLA Navy guided-missile destroyer and naval patrol boat,as well as bridge-to-bridge warnings from the Chinese vessels,when it patrolled off Subi and Mischief Reefs,where China has built artificial islands.The patrol lasted two hours.*
The two reefs the Lassen patrolled off of are part of a series of island-building projects China has been working on in the region,constructing facilities on them believed suitable for military use,such as airstrips long enough for fighter jets and a harbour that can handle Chinese warships.Both Subi and Mischief Reefs have military length airstrips on them,according to satellite imagery.*
The US doesn't accept a 12 mile limit off of manmade islands.Along with other Asia-Pacific nations such as the Philippines and Vietnam,the US insists the South China Sea is international waters that are critical shipping lanes.The Lassen's patrol,which lasted two hours,is the first of a series of American freedom of navigation exercises in the face of China's territorial claims,a US official promised.*
If the US continues this,China counters,it might have to expand its capabilities.The US illegally entered the waters.The military will take all necessary steps to protect the nation's security.China criticised what it feels is the US coercive action that seeks to militarise the South China Sea region.It will firmly defend China's territory sovereignty,security and its lawful and proper maritime rights and interests.China will firmly respond to deliberate provocation from any country,said Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang.*
The USS Lassen is homeported in Yokosuka,Japan.Its armament includes Harpoon,Tomahawk and Standard missiles;a Mk45 5-inch/62-caliber gun;and Mk32 dual surface vessel torpedo tube launchers.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Inside the Night Raid on ISIL by Kurdish and US Special Forces - tactical details not on TV

At the request of the Kurdish Regional Government,Kurdish counterterrorist troops,backed by US Special Operations Forces,staged a raid in the early hours of Thursday on an ISIL prison in Kirkuk Province,seven kilometers north of the ISIL stronghold of Hawija in Northern Iraq.Dozens of US troops participated in the operation.Intelligence had been received indicating the prisoners' execution by ISIL militants was imminent.The raid was approved by Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter.
The raid began as five US helicopters left Irbil,the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan,to provide troop transport,intelligence and airstrikes for the operation.Attack helicopters strafed the prison area before the raid to block approaches for any potential ISIL reinforcements;after the raid,the helos destroyed the prison.
Once inserted in the prison,the Kurds came under intense attack.Seeing the Kurds pinned down and taking hits,their US advisors engaged the miltants.One of the US special operatives was wounded in the firefight and airlifted to an Irbil hospital,where he died-the first American to die in combat in Iraq since the US withdrew its forces in 2011.The battle lasted two hours.
Killed was Master Sergeant Joshua L. Wheeler,39,of Roland,Oklahoma.A member of the 2nd Battalion,75th Ranger Regiment,Joint Base Lewis-McChord,Washington state,he was assigned to Army Special Operations Command,Fort Bragg,North Carolina.MSGT Wheeler had served more than 12 combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan-one of the most experienced and valiant members of the SOFs.
About 70 prisoners,among whom were around 20 Iraqi Security Forces members,were freed during the raid.All of the prisoners were reportedly Arabs.More than 20 of the ISIL Islamist extremists were killed in the operation and five were captured.The US gleaned valuable intelligence on ISIL from the raid,said Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook.*
In May,US SOFs had staged a raid in Syria and killed a senior ISIL leader,Abu Sayyaf of Tunisia.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

NATO exercise begins in Italy

Preparing for Trident Juncture - The Canadian Boarding Officer

British Army Training The Peshmerga - Iraq

Germany army continues training Kurdish Peshmerga forces

German military sends plane with weapons for Kurdish Peshmerga forces

Iraqi forces, militia seize most of Beiji refinery

War On ISIL:New Chairman Visits Iraq;ISF Reclaim Beiji;A-10s Deployed

A number of developments in the War On ISIL are in the news.Yesterday,General Joseph Dunford,USMC,new Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff,visited the Iraqi city of Irbil in the north of the country while on the first trip of his tenure,having previously stopped in Israel and Jordan.In Irbil GEN Dunford met with Iraqi Kurdistan President Masoud Barzani at the Kurdish White House.
I hope coming here so soon after I assumed my new position indicates how important this endeavour is to us,GEN Dunford said.And upfront I want to thank you for your cooperation and the bravery of your forces.*
At the Kurdish Training Coordination Center in Irbil,which is under Italian command,journalists were briefed on the training regimen by a senior coalition officer.There are currently 4200 Kurdish Peshmerga fighters in training at the three training areas.Coming off the front line just 60 kilometers away,they are trained for 5-6 weeks before re-entering the battlefield.The training is tailored to the specific needs of the units.
Besides Italy,other NATO countries contributing to the force of about 300 instructors are Norway,the UK,Germany,the Netherlands and Hungary-plus NATO partner Finland.The Kurdish Peshmerga's infantry skills are reinforced,and they are taught the capabilities of new weapons coming into their system and how to function as a unit.Other topics include marksmanship;counter-ground tactics;combat medicine;manoeuvering as a unit;and forward observing.A special emphasis is placed on dealing with IEDs,which cause 80-85% of Kurdish casualties.Tactics,techniques and procedures against the devices are instilled.
The officer said he was impressed with the brave,dedicated and coherent units of the Kurdish forces.Both in Iraq and Syria,they have become a critical ground combat element of Operation Inherent Resolve,assisted by close air support from the OIR coalition.Up to 5,000 Kurds can be trained at one time.*
In the west,eight brigades of Sunni tribal militias are being trained for the effort to retake capital city Ramadi and the rest of Anbar Province.Iraqi Security Forces and militias have encircled Ramadi as a first step in retaking the city,where some 600-1,000 ISIL militants are based.*
In Salahuddin Province,Central Iraq,a major offensive by Iraqi Security Forces-principally the counterterrorism service-along with federal and local police,plus Iranian-backed Shia paramilitary militias,and aided by OIR coalition close air support,has been mounted to clear the province of the ISIL Islamist extremists.It is seen as a precursor operation to the looming battle for the ISIL northern stronghold of Mosul.Last week,the ISF and partners retook the strategic Beiji oil refinery and today,20 October,announced the recapture of Beiji city itself from ISIL.*
On the Syrian front,the US Air Force has just deployed 12 A-10 Warthog ground attack aircraft to Incirlik Air Base,Turkey,to assist in the OIR Syria campaign.These will enhance close air support to the YPG Kurdish Forces and the Syrian Arab Coalition as they battle ISIL.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

NATO Secretary General on President Obama's announcement on Afghanistan,...

Afghan War:Ongoing Need For Counter-Terrorism Requires Indefinite US,NATO Involvement

I will not allow Afghanistan to be used as a safe haven to attack Americans,said President Barack Obama,his closely cropped hair looking grayer than ever,at a White House briefing announcing that US troops-and very likely NATO forces-will remain in that nation at least into 2017 and the next presidency.For Mr.Obama,the altered course was nothing less than letting go of his cherished and long-stated goal of bringing all but 1,000 US troops home from the 14-year-long conflict by the end of 2016.Now,the current number of 9800 must stay on for most of next year,and 5500 on into 2017,so long as conditions on the ground permit the drawdown to continue.These troops will be posted to three bases:Bagram Air Base in Kabul;Jalalabad in the East (which ISIL desires to make its capital);and Kandahar.These bases will give us presence and reach,and are a key piece of the counter-terrorist strategy.The troops will have the same twofold mission:training and assisting Afghan forces;and supporting the counter-terrorist mission against al-Qaida remnants.*
Note:it's being reported that special forces have just carried out a big raid on an al-Qaida training camp inside Afghanistan.*
Afghan forces have continued to step up.They are fighting bravely and tenaciously.They continue to hold most urban areas;at the same time,they are still not as strong as they need to be in such areas as intelligence,logistics,aviation and command and control.*
This year,25 Americans,both military and civilian,have been killed in the war,the President noted.We understood the Taliban would try to exploit our withdrawal.More al-Qaida have come in,and we're beginning to see ISIL.As your Commander-in-Chief,I believe this mission is vital to our national security interests in preventing terrorist attacks against the US and our people.Given what's at stake,I am firmly convinced we should make this extra effort.After so many years of war,Afghnistan will not be a perfect place.There will continue to be contested areas.If we were to fail,it would endanger the security of us all.This modest but meaningful extension of our presence can make a difference.This is not the first time those adjustments have been made;it probably won't be the last,the President admitted.*
Al-Qaida networks or other networks that might harm us;force protection;the ability of our embassy to operate effectively:those things all factor into this decision.We're going to continue to make adjustments;and we will continue to evaluate this-and so will the next president.We're going to be a steady partner for them,President Barack Obama promised.*
Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said he has already started contacting US allies to encourage their participation in the new plan.For his part,NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg praised President Obama for deciding to extend a substantial US military presence in Afghanistan beyond 2016.
Update:German Chancellor Angela Merkel has strongly welcomed President Barack Obama's decision to keep a significant number of US troops in Afghanistan beyond 2016,hailing it as a strong signal by the United States.The German Defence Ministry in turn announced that Germany would also keep the same number of troops in Afghanistan for the time being,saying the understanding always was that the Allies would leave Afghanistan together.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Go Signal Video US Army

Why Signal? US Army

Preparing for Trident Juncture – Scouts Battalion, Estonia

Preparing for Trident Juncture - The German Operations Officer

Raven Rock Mountain Complex - Site R

Confronting Chaos:Army Signal Corps Unit Prides Itself on Sensitive Mission

In 1944,the US Army established the 3364th Signal Service Battalion to be part of the worldwide support structure for garrison and field forces during World War II.It served ably in this capacity until 1946,receiving the Meritorious Unit Commendation streamer (American Theater).It was deactivated in 1946,but served again from 1959-68,redesignated as the 114th Signal Brigade and an Army Reserve Unit.Yet another life began in 2003,when it was reactivated as a unit of the 21st Signal Brigade and assigned the 50-year-old sensitive mission of the 1111th Signal Battalion,which was deactivated at that time.The 114th received for the first time its own distinctive unit colours,insignia and coat of arms.The coat of arms features an erect black stallion under a lighting bolt chevron,with the inscription "Signal Masters of the Rock" above and beneath the stallion.*
The current commander of the 114th,Lieutenant Colonel Jason M. Winterle,is familiar with sensitive missions,having served in Military Intelligence battalions in the Republic of Korea and at Fort Lewis,Washington state,which is now Joint Base Lewis-McChord.The mission of his present unit,the 114th Signal Battalion,based at Fort Detrick,Maryland,is to provide and defend Network Operations for theater-based communication systems,networks,and enterprise services and Visual Information services enabling Command and Control in Department of Defense and National Military Command Center (Raven Rock Mountain Complex) during full spectrum operations.*
The Raven Rock Mountain Complex-Site R,is also known as "the Underground Pentagon,""the Rock" and "a nuclear bunker."Indeed,it is buried inside the super-hard granite of Raven Rock Mountain,one of the three great blast-hardened bunkers of the US Government,the others being the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Mount Weather Emergency Operations Center,Virginia,and the US Air Force's Cheyenne Mountain Complex,Colorado (NORAD).All three were born of the Cold War fear of a nuclear apocalypse.*
Raven Rock,designated as both the Alternate Joint Communication Center and Alternate National Military Command Center (War Room),continues serving to this day as the Pentagon's nerve center in times of chaos or total war.Apart from the Joint Staff facility,the Army,Navy and Air Force each maintain an emergency center there.In a time of crisis,reportedly at least 2,000 troops and civilians could be housed in the self-contained,six-storey bunker for an extended period,its storerooms stocked to the hilt with MRE rations if fresh food runs out.Above each of the aboveground entrance portals that lead to the two-blast hardened doors,one for pedestrians and one for vehicles,are two weapons portals from which to repulse ground assaults.*
Topping the mountain is Site RT,which is an antenna farm with both microwave and satellite communication antennas,plus the buildings staffed by the 114th Signal Brigade.Also aboveground are a security center;fire station;entrance gates;helipad and wastewater treatment plant.*
Within the bunker are reportedly at least five three-storey buildings which house living quarters;two power plants;a Presidential Suite;a health clinic;chapel;mess hall and barber shop,along with a bowling alley and fitness center.There is even a small shop selling tee shirts,among other goods.A tunnel leads from the bunker to Camp David,the presidential retreat in nearby Maryland,and there are resevoirs for both industrial and domestic water.That being said,judging from photos spirited out of these sites,the overall ambience of such bunkers is professional,spartan and even gloomy in the spaces outside the buildings.After all,it is a doomsday bunker.All the more reason to admire the military men and women,as well as the steadfast civil servants,who are more than able and willing to serve there.*
Most famously,former Vice President Dick Cheney took refuge at Raven Rock following the 9-11 attacks,to keep him separate from President George W. Bush,so they wouldn't both have been be killed in an attack on Washington.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

First US deployment of high tech drones in Europe

British Royal Navy prepares for Trident Juncture

NATO Members (animation)

Afghan And U.S Special Forces In Heavy Combat Action With Taliban In Afg...

Afghan War:General Recommends Against President's Plan

General John F. Campbell,US Army,commander of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan,testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee today in one of his periodic briefings on the war to US lawmakers.Soon the Obama administration must decide whether to stick to the President's current plan of a drastically reduced US military presence after 2016 or not.
Based on conditions on the ground,I do believe we have to provide our senior leadership with options different from the current plan-absolutely,GEN Campbell said.The courses of action I have provided provide options to adjust that.We're not going to put options forward that wouldn't lead to success.Presence means influence.*
The Afghans and coalition were surprised when the Taliban were able to take Kunduz.They were able to come in and take over from within the city.Mostly police were defending Kunduz when the Taliban attacked.There are small isolated pockets that continue to fight.I don't think the Taliban intended to stay.They melted away when the Afghan National Army arrived.*
Logistics and sustainment are hard for the Afghan National Army-they are hard even for the US Army.As for their air force,they have two functioning Mi-35 attack helicopters.They have several Mi-17 helicopters.Close air support helicopters are a key gap.We got a late start on their air force.*
To conduct counterterrorism effectively,it would have to be outside of Kabul,not from the US embassy.The current plan reduces the US military presence to 1,000 troops based at the embassy in Kabul by the end of 2016.*
I do not see the same ethnic infighting I saw in Iraq.In Northern Helmand Province,the ANDSF had some issues,but they took Musa Qala and Kunduz back.Afghans are fighters,and,sir,they're warriors.Without a doubt,they deserve US and NATO support.*
We knew this fighting season was going to be tough because this was going to be the first year the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces were on their own.The ADNSF actually started the fighting season in February.There was no lull.The ANDSF didn't have time to regroup over the winter as they previously had.*
Up in Nangarhar Province,we've see the rise of Daesh (the Arab term for ISIL).They want to expand into Khorasan Province and set up Jalalabad as their capital.You see a lot of the TTP,the Pakistani Taliban,go over to Daesh,as well as disaffected Afghan Taliban members.It's a change of tee shirt.Iran is providing money and weapons to the Taliban-mostly in the West and Herat area-to fight Daesh.*
I am comfortable with the resources I have to provide force protection for the US and NATO forces I have.*
The Haqqani Network faction of the Taliban in Pakistan is responsible for the VBIEDs,or vehicle-borne IEDs-as well as the suicide vests and attacks on civilians.We've got to continue to keep the pressure on Pakistan to stop them,GEN Campbell told the senators.*

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Taliban Still Striving To Conquer Kunduz,Despite an Overnight Setback - launch new offensive in Badakhsan Province

Heavy fighting for control of Kunduz,Afghanistan continued overnight Wednesday,with Afghan National Defence and Security Forces retaking the city centre,assisted by their NATO advisors.Combat operations continued on Thursday,however,with the Taliban reportedly still controlling certain government buildings outside the city centre.NATO troops were photographed in Kunduz during the day Thursday riding in the back of a truck.It isn't known if the NATO forces got into anymore firefights with the Taliban as they did Wednesday morning near the airport,but heavy US airstrikes were reported overnight by Kunduz residents.At least five US airstrikes have been carried out in support of the ANDSF.*
Some city residents witnessed a Taliban counterattack on Thursday,as the militants rode into town in stolen vehicles wearing ANDSF uniforms.These jihadists in disguise were said to have pushed at least some of the Afghan troops back to the city's outskirts.
The Taliban looted banks and commandeered several military and civilian vehicles and weapons when they seized Kunduz early Monday,so could conceivably sustain their mission for some time.*
The importance of this battle is underscored by NATO's firm,swift response,sending special forces to the front lines and even engaging the enemy in ground combat as needed,as well as providing close air support.The whole scenario being played out in Kunduz calls into question President Barack Obama's plan to withdraw almost all US troops by the end of 2016.Afghanistan Chief Executive Dr.Abdullah Abdullah told Reuters that,as far as I understand,the views of those US Army generals and officers on the ground in Afghanistan,as well as our own security and military leadership,is that maintaining a level of force beyond 2016 is necessary.
Update:By Friday morning,ANDSF were going house to house in Kunduz,seeking Taliban holdouts who are using civilians as human shields.One resident reported that other militants were firing at people indiscriminately from tall buildings.Overall,the city was back under Afghan control with scattered pockets of resistance remaining and residents still sheltering in their homes.
The NATO contingent of US,British,German and Dutch troops are based at the airport just outside the city with the ANDSF,should any further help be needed.
The Taliban are being accused by Amnesty International and the Afghan government of having committed war crimes during their Kunduz occupation,including rape,torture and extrajudicial execution.The Islamist extremists were targeting women in particular,enlisting young boys to help them find residents on their hit list.
Meanwhile,the Taliban have expanded their offensive in the North by swarming Warduj district in Badakhsan Province.The militants overwhelmed multiple checkpoints in district villages,achieving supremacy by the end of day Friday,with the police headquarters falling at about 6 pm local time.
The district borders Tajikistan,Pakistan and China.