Tuesday, December 29, 2015

U.S. Army Chief of Staff GEN Milley visits Operation Fearless Guardian

Helping Ukraine Defend Itself - NATO

Fearless Guardian Phase 2 Opening Ceremony

Ukraine: The Unseen Attacks – Ukraine’s Armed Forces

U.S. Army Europe Command Video

US Army Europe:Russia's Current Posture and NATO's Response

On 9 December,Lieutenant General Ben Hodges,commander,US Army Europe,briefed reporters at the Pentagon on the current situation in Eastern Europe.The Russian snap exercises,there's never an observer there,said LTGEN Hodges.We kind of find out about them when they're happening.And so that kind of capability that they have,where you could show up at a training area in Kaliningrad or Belarus,or both at the same time,you could see that's a threat or concern that we have because of the lack of transparency.The Russians can operate on their interior lines and quickly shift forces around,so all the exercises conducted by the US and its NATO allies place a heavy emphasis on speed:the speed to recognise a potential crisis;speed to act politically;and speed of assembly and movement of troops to the point of crisis by road and rail.Speed and proper execution of operation also would depend on interoperability among all the US allies,so that's the focus of training and exercise.*
Russia hasn't allowed independent monitoring of the Minsk agreement to determine their compliance with it.Since September,there have been several cease fire violations and Ukrainians have been killed.Russia has pulled back a lot of heavy equipment from the border area,but the infrastructure remains in place and Russia could quickly ramp up if they wanted to.
In Crimea,Russia has 25,000 soldiers,a credible air defence and its Black Sea fleet which is capable of blocking US and ally access to the Black Sea where Romania,Bulgaria,Turkey and Georgia are located.
Moving westward,Russia has a significant naval and ground force in Kaliningrad,a wedge of land between Lithuania and Poland.That force could effectively cut off access to the Baltic area.Russian officials have talked about Denmark,Sweden and Romania in terms of being nuclear targets-an irresponsible use of words-so you can see why our European allies are nervous.
NATO allies are working on speed of response.The US is contributing a rotational brigade out of Fort Stewart,Georgia to the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force.About 1300 vehicles such as tanks and howitzers are set up in Romania,Bulgaria and Lithuania-the European Activity Sets-to increase speed of response.By September 2016,the US expects to add sites in Poland,Estonia and Latvia;and in Hungary by 2017.*
In Western Ukraine,about 400 US troops are training and equipping Ukrainian soldiers as part of Joint Multinational Training Group Ukraine,which also includes British,Lithuanian and Canadian trainers,LTGEN Hodges noted.*
The second phase of this US Fearless Guardian Mission to train and equip Ukrainian forces began in late November.The effort will help Ukraine better monitor and secure its border;operate more safely and effectively;and preserve and enforce its territorial integrity,said Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis,US Navy.Up to five battalions of Ministry of Defence personnel and one battalion of Special Operations Forces are being trained in this phase.The US had previously trained Ukrainian national guard forces.
About 300 US soldiers from the 173rd Airborne Brigade are doing the training.Ministry of Defence Training is at the International Peacekeeping Centre at Yavoniv;and Special Operations Forces training is at Khmelnitsky,CAPT Davis added.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Apache Attack Helicopter Mk1 undertakes Confined Areas Flying - British Army

British SAS Selection and Training | Foreign Special Ops

UKSF - British SBS in Kabul Attack 2012

British Troops Attacked In Sangin Afghanistan - 2010

F-16 Fighting Falcons Still Fly Over Afghanistan • 455th AEW - Bagram 2015

Afghan War (Revised and Updated):NATO Special Forces Sent In as Taliban Launch Fierce Attacks - US Airmen killed and wounded

A motorcycle packed with explosives sped up to a joint US-Afghan patrol moving through a village near Bagram Air Base in Parwan Province,Afghanistan and was detonated,killing six US Airmen and wounding two others,as well as a contractor.The Airmen were serving in support of Operation Freedom's Sentinel,protecting the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing at Bagram.Among the service members killed was Air National Guard Technical Sergeant Joesph Lemm,45,a 15-year veteran of the New York City Police Department who was recently promoted to Detective on the Bronx Warrants Squad and was on his third combat tour.TSGT Lemm and one of the other Airmen,Staff Sergeant Louis M. Bonacasa,31,were with the 105th Security Forces Squadron,Stewart Air National Guard Base,New York.The other four Airmen were with various units of the Air Force Office of Special Investigations.Their bodies were received in a dignified manner at Dover Air Force Base,Delaware on Wednesday by Defense Secretary Ashton Carter and Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the vehicle-borne IED attack in an email to the Associated Press.It brings to ten the number of US troops killed in action in Afghanistan this year.Ten others died in non-hostile incidents.*
At the same time as their VBIED attack in the north,the Taliban militants were on the rampage in Helmand Province,thier traditional stronghold in the south of the country,capturing most of the strategic Sangin district.The Taliban have captured or are contesting 12 of Helmand's 14 districts.This fighting season has seen them spreading their offensives over a broad geographic area.They have not paused for a winter break as of yet,and the Pentagon reports that the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces are mounting an uneven response.A resilient Taliban insurgency remains an enduring threat to US,coalition and Afghan forces,as well as the Afghan people,the Pentagon said.
About 100-200 ANDSF were reportedly surrounded in Sangin and taking RPG fire as they ran out of ammunition and supplies.In response to this imminent collapse of Sangin and indeed Helmand itself,a small number of NATO Special Operations Forces have been sent in to advise and assist the ANDSF on the ground.Based at Camp Shorabak about 80 km from Sangin,British and US SOFs are reportedly participating in the operation,and British Apache helicopters have been seen in the air.About 65% of Helmand is currently under Taliban control,said Helmand Provincial Council chief Mohammed Kareen Atal.More than 2,000 ANDSF have been killed in Helmand this year,he added.*
The US Army's been around for 240 years,pointed out General John Campbell,commander of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan;the Afghan Army's been around for seven years.We're trying to build an airplane in flight.*
It's a tough fight,agreed US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter,who was on a visit to Afghanistan last week,and it's far from over.
Update:ANDSF claim they have liberated their surrounded colleagues with reinforcements and recaptured the government buildings in Sangin district centre.Fighting continued in other areas of Helmand,however.
Update 2:Heavy fighting in the Sangin area flared up again and raged into Saturday,claiming the lives of 21 ANDSF troops despite two US air strikes having been called in.It wasn't enough,ANDSF members complained.As well,they were critical of their leadership.
For his part,Afghan Defence Minister Mahmood Stanekzai criticised NATO for leaving too soon when it ended its combat operations and transitioned to the Resolute Support Mission in 2014.We were overstretched,he said,but I think we will overcome.The root of the problem is,we need more enablers,training and equipment.The right kind of support will enable us to do the job.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Special Report (Revised and Updated):Unplanned ISS Spacewalk Needed - rail car got stuck

The Mobile Transporter rail car,or "space train," that moves along with the attached Canadarm2 robot arm along a truss on the outside of the International Space Station has gotten stuck.It got within 10 cm of its target work site directly above the US laboratory,NASA said,but would go no further,perhaps because of a faulty brake handle.The MT must be checked out and repaired by the astronauts;moved to a work site;latched into place and electrically mated to the complex as a precaution for the docking of the new ISS Progress 62 cargo spacecraft on Wednesday following its Monday launch.
The unplanned spacewalk for the urgent repair will be made by American astronauts Scott Kelly,the ISS commander,who is currently on a one-year mission aboard ISS with Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko,and his colleague,flight engineer Tim Kopra,who just arrived at the ISS on Thursday.Kelly is a veteran of two ISS spacewalks,one of them just weeks ago,and Kopra had performed one during the Space Shuttle era.They began preparing their spacesuits on Friday.Kopra was aware before his Soyuz launch that he might have to make a repair spacewalk at any time during Expedition 46.The four other ISS crew members will be available to assist in preparing and monitoring the spacewalk,which it is estimated will take between three and three-and-a-half hours for the rail car repair.
NASA mission managers will meet on Sunday morning Eastern time to give the final go-ahead and decide if the walk will be made on Monday or Tuesday.The astronauts have been instructed to inspect the repair area to see if there are any other repairs they can make while they are out there.It will be the 191st spacewalk for ISS repair or assembly.Actually,they look forward to such challenges.
Update:The ISS Mission Management Team has approved the spacewalk for Monday morning beginning at 7:10 am Central time,or 8:10 am Eastern.It may be delayed,however,as astronaut Tim Kopra has to perform a fit check on his spacesuit before the spacewalk begins.If the repair is made expeditiously,the astronauts may then go ahead and route cables in advance of installation of the International Docking Adapter for the new US commercial crew vehicles;they may also open a door housing a power distribution system relay boxes just above the worksite to facilitate robotic replacement of modular components.

Astronauts Tim Peake (ESA), Tim Kopra (NASA) & Yuri Malenchenko (Roscosm...

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

F-35B Vertical Landing & Short Takeoff from Expeditionary Airfield

New US Ballistic Missile Defense System Tested Successfully (Aegis Ashore)

U.S. & German Soldiers Working Together - Weapons Familiarization Range

Watch President Obama speak on action against Islamic State group at Pen...

Rep. McSally Questions Top U.S. Security Officials on ISIS Strategy

Swearing-in the 19th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

Busy Monday:General Dunford,President Obama Address National Security Challenges

To be more effective against ISIL,we need better HUMINT and vetting of Syrian opposition groups,Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford,USMC,told the Center for a New American Security in Washington,DC on 14 December.We're going to focus on getting after ISIL's military capabilities,control of terrain and ability to export operations,while being very mindful of the complex situation that we're in.A number of things on the ground are developing positive opportunities.Moving forward,we're looking to increase the tempo and the opportunities for our partners.*
We continue to face enduring challenges of extremism in South Asia as well.The continued threat of al-Qaida requires us to keep counterterror partners for some time to come.The Ghani administration in Afghanistan is fully supportive of what we're doing.I think we have common objectives,but this summer highlighted that the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces have a ways to go.A critical part is the continuing commitment of the international community.The Warsaw Summmit in July is to reinforce commitment to the Afghan campaign,both financially and militarily,through 2020.*
It isn't just ISIL;we have a number of challenges from states as well.Russia has made significant investments in its military capabilities.They introduced new ballistic missiles and submarines this year.
We closely watch China's military capabilities and behaviour in the South China Sea.They have a large conventional capability,a growing navy and increasingly sophisticated air force.In the South China Sea,China is destabilising right now.As Admiral Harris of US Pacific Command said,The Great Wall of Sand is being developed by China in the South China Sea,referring to China's rapid island-building effort in the disputed waters.
North Korea is developing its ballistic missile and cyber capability.*
Earlier in the day,GEN Dunford stood with President Barack Obama when he spoke at the Pentagon,where the President had made a rare visit to get a briefing on the anti-ISIL Operation Inherent Resolve and meet with his National Security Council.Mr.Obama pointed out that the US and its armed forces are:
1.hunting down and taking out ISIL leaders;
2.training and equipping indigenous anti-ISIL ground forces in Iraq and Syria;
3.stopping ISIL's recruiting,financing and propaganda;and
4.negotiating an end to the Syrian civil war.
The President said he had ordered new actions with more firepower into the anti-ISIL campaign this fall,even before the ISIL attacks on Paris and the ISIL-inspired San Bernardino attack.More Special Operations Forces actions are well underway.
ISIL is dug in in urban areas and use human shields to protect themselves,so we have to be smart.We are routing ISIL out with nearly 7,000 airstrikes to date.We're taking out ISIL leaders and commanders one-by-one.If we haven't gotten you yet,you are next,the President warned.We're going out after ISIL from downtown Raqqa,Syria to Libya.In many places,they've lost the freedom to manoeuver.Since this summer,ISIL has not mounted a single successful offensive operation and has lost territory in both Iraq and Syria.In Iraq alone,ISIL has lost 40% of its territory in populated areas;while in Syria,it has lost thousands of square miles.
Immediately following his presentation,Mr.Obama sent Defense Secretary Ashton Carter to the Middle East to meet with coalition partners and secure more contributions to Operation Inherent Resolve.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Atlas V OA-4 Launch Highlights

Supply Spacecraft Launches to the Space Station

NATO Secretary General with Deputy PM & MFA of Montenegro, 02 DEC 2015

Danish Leopard 2 Tanks Live Fire At Grafenwoehr DE - with firing line flags

Royal Danish Army at Grafenwoehr HD

Danish,British,US Troops in NATO Exercise White Sword

The interconnectedness of NATO forces in any conceivable warfighting scenario is highlighted by Exercise White Sword,which is presently underway in Oksobel,Denmark.Participating in the weeklong drills are 2nd Danish Brigade;1st Battalion Scots Guards and Coldstream Guards,British Army;and a US Army AH 64 Apache Squadron with four helicopters.The Exercise will validate the Danish Reaction Battle Group for service in the NATO Response Force 2015,Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe said.The British and US troops are being integrated into the Battle Group during the exercise as well.*
Units train together showing the Alliance,our home audience,and possible adversaries of ours that we actually do train together on a continuous basis,said Brigadier General Jens Garly,commander,2nd Danish Brigade.I think that's key.That's NATO on the ground,not in Brussels.That's NATO on the ground in the future,I think.It's the planning,the understanding,the mutual respect,knowing each other's capabilities,and you cannot do that without training together.We train together to be able to fight together.*
During White Sword,the troops will work jointly to execute missions,utilising effective communication to learn and enhance training goals,as well as send the message that NATO is resolutely enhancing security measures throughout Europe with such assurance measures,according to SHAPE.*
Any conflicts are going to require a multinational response team and therefore this exercise is one means of developing the level of interoperability between NATO members,said 2nd Lieutenant Oliver Carmichael,second in command of a Scots Guards Company.
The Scots Guards deployed the Left Bank Company,as well as attachments of B and C Companies,for a total of 135 soldiers from Mons Barracks,Aldershot,along with more than 30 armoured vehicles,including Husky,Ridgeback and Wolfhound vehicles,to form a Mechanised Infantry Company and test the high intensity operations in Denmark.*
Command and control of various manned combat units are the focus of White Sword,SHAPE added.The Exercise will improve command and expose the units to new languages,equipment,terrain and tactical procedures,leading to greater interoperability.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

U.S. Army Special Forces Green Berets - High Altitude Jump

Evolution of Force Recon | Marine Force Recon

Delta Force Tryouts | Delta Force: Tier 1

Iraqi Special Forces In Heavy Combat Action Against ISIS In Al Anbar 2015

More US Troops Headed for Middle East - new special forces unit

Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford,US Marine Corps,testified before the House Armed Services Committee today to brief the lawmakers on the War On ISIL.Secetary Carter unveiled a new Special Operations Forces unit that will be based in Iraq.The exact number of troops in the Special Expeditionary Targeting Force was not disclosed,but they will number more than the 50 SOFs heading for Syria in a separate accompanying and enabling unit.The SETF will conduct operations in both Iraq and Syria,as opportunity dictates.The new unit will have the missions of:
1.conducting raids;
2.freeing hostages;
3.capturing ISIL leaders;and
4.gathering intelligence.
These missions have been carried out before,Mr.Carter pointed out,but this time the SOFs will be there on a standing basis.For example,there have been recent raids to liberate prisoners in an ISIL prison in Iraq and to kill ISIL leader Abu Sayyaf and capture his wife.
The SETF may operate alone or,more likely,as part of a mixed force,Mr.Carter said.It is a new way of achieving our objective-and there will be more.
The territory under ISIL control has shrunk-that's a fact,Mr.Carter insisted.There's still a lot further to go.We are gathering momentum.*
I do not believe we are limited to the 3500 US troop level currently in Iraq,GEN Dunford added.I don't feel inhibited about recommending more.I will bring these options to the Secretary and the President,regardless of what the force management numbers were in the past.*
Secretary Carter pointed out that all US forces in Iraq and Syria are now under unified command under Lieutenant General Sean McFarland,US Army in Baghdad.For example,LTGEN McFarland is now connected daily to Iraqi President Abadi and forces in Ramadi.This unity of command is really critical.*
Right now,our focus is on Ramadi,GEN Dunford told the Committee.Beiji and Sinjar have fallen;Mosul is a future operation.Probably months from now we will start to see operations in Mosul.*
The 50 SOFs in Syria are just for starters,Mr.Carter revealed.We're prepared to do more and I think the President will authorise this.It hinges on us finding the capable local forces we can enable in this way.The more we find them,the more we'll do.
We killed ISIL's Libya leader two weeks ago.We're determined to get them wherever they arise.*
GEN Dunford listed the areas of concern about ISIL activity as being Egypt;the Boko Haram ISIL affiliate in Nigeria;Lebanon;Jordan;Yemen;Afghanistan and Pakistan.*
We do need our allies to do more,Mr.Carter noted.The British are debating it;the Germans are capable of doing more,and we want them to.I hope the Paris attacks galvanise the Europeans to do more,because they need to do more.Our Gulf Arab allies have been unwilling to field their forces.Many of them weight air forces over ground forces.They need to build and wield their ground forces.