Tuesday, October 10, 2017

USAF F-22 Raptors Arrive In The United Kingdom - RAF Lakenheath - NATO deployment 8 October 2017

(Volume Warning :) McDonnell Douglas AV-8B Harrier II Plus - Spanish Navy


NATO's Brilliant Mariner 17:Certifying France for Leadership at Sea

Brilliant Mariner 17 is a NATO non-Article V Crisis Response Operations exercise aimed at certifying France's Aero-Naval Rapid Reaction Force (FRMARFOR) for command of the NATO Response Force (NRF) Maritime Component in 2018.France will assume command on 1 January 2018 and serve in that capacity for one year.The drills are running from 29 September-13 October 2017.Participating are 3500 personnel,27 warships,two maritime patrol aircraft,and amphibious assets from twelve nations,including:
Canada;Denmark;France;Germany;Greece;Italy;the Netherlands;Norway;Portugal;Spain;Turkey;and the UK.*
The NRF is a highly ready and technologically advanced multinational force comprised of land,air,maritime and Special Operations Forces components that can deploy quickly wherever needed to strengthen the Alliance's deterrence and defensive posture,and project stability beyond the Alliance's borders,NATO said.*
Brilliant Mariner 17 is an opportunity for France to exercise command and control at the NRF MCC level.The participating units and crews will evaluate readiness and validate capabilities by operating in a demanding and challenging environment,enhancing collaboration and improving interoperability.*
Brilliant Mariner 17 is headquartered at the French Toulon Naval Base on the Mediterranean.Among the drills conducted so far were:
1.The Royal Navy destroyer HMS Diamond conducted a live firing gunnery exercise (GUNEX) with its 4.5 inch gun at sunrise along with French frigate FS La Fayette;
2.A Maritime Tactical Operations Group (MTOG) from the Canadian Forces conducted small arms training aboard the frigate HMCS Charlottetown;
3.A Royal Danish Navy boarding party disembarked HMCS Charlottetown into a rigid-hulled inflatable boat;
4.Spanish Navy Marines from the Strategic Projection Ship ESPS Juan Carlos I conducted operations on French Military Facility Camp de Garrigues during an infantry exercise;
5.Royal Navy frigate HMS Enterprise received French Rear Admiral Olivier Lebas,who was transferred by helicopter off the exercise flagship,French amphibious ship (LHD) FS Mistral,and winched to the deck.
6.ESPS Juan Carlos I sent Spanish Navy AV-8B Harrier II Plus jets into night operations.
7.French Army Tigre,NH 90 and Puma helicopters practiced "Touch and Gos" on the flight deck of FS Mistral.
8.Spanish Navy Marines conducted amphibious assault training from FS Mistral,including transport ashore by French catamaran.They were also deployed on land by Spanish Navy Sea King helicopters and a French Army Puma for a projection force helicopter drill.
9.A flotilla of 21 Allied ships sailed in formation in the Mediterranean on 8 October.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Boeing to Acquire Aurora Flight Sciences - Avionics - photo

Boeing to Acquire Aurora Flight Sciences - Avionics: Boeing plans to acquire Aurora Flight Sciences Corp., the to-be subsidiary said. Although the sale is not yet official, the two parties have signed an agreement. Terms have not been disclosed. “The combined strength and innovation of our teams will advance the development of autonomy for our commercial and military systems,” said Greg Hyslop, CTO …

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Aurora 17 – Together Strong in the North - Finnish Defence Forces

NATO to deploy new drones - NATO Secretary General press point at inauguration of Hybrid CoE, 2 OCT ...

Inauguration of Hybrid Threats CoE with NATO Secretary General and EUHR Mogherin...

Dateline Finland:NATO and EU Inaugurate Counter-Hybrid Warfare Centre in Helsinki

On 2 October 2017 in Helsinki,Finland,NATO and the European Union inaugurated their European Centre of Excellence,or CoE,for Countering Hybrid Threats.Eleven nations are contributing to the Centre,including the US.Attending the ceremony were NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg;EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini;Finnish President Sauli Niinisto;and Finnish Prime Minister Juha Sipila.The Centre aims to better understand modern,complex threats and to strengthen our societies against them.
Meeting with the Finnish leaders,Mr.Stoltenberg praised Finland for its contributions to international security,especially airspace security in the Baltics,and expressed gratitude for Finland's close partnership with NATO.He also emphasised the close cooperation between the EU and NATO:
Our relationship has never been closer.*
NATO and the EU have agreed to 42 measures on the hybrid challenges,cyber defence,and security in the Mediterranean Basin.Both organisations hope to expand cooperation into even more areas later this year.*
Mr.Stoltenberg pointed out to the media that Finland's border with Russia is longer than that of all the NATO Allies and partners combined,so Finland offers NATO and the EU special insight and expertise regarding Russian activities and on relations with its giant neighbour.
Last November,Finnish President Sauli Niinisto became the first Finnish president to visit NATO headquarters in Brussels.Finland contributes to NATO missions and operations in the Balkans,Kosovo,and Afghanistan.They participate in NATO exercises and the NATO Response Force.Mr.Stoltenberg noted that:
This year was the hundredth anniversary of Finland's independence from Russia.And you know better than I,that those hundred years is very much about Finland's relationship to the neighbour to the east,to Russia,in good times and in bad times.*
We use the phrase "hybrid" to cover actually many things,Mr.Stoltenberg explained:normally a kind of mixture of military and non-military means of aggression;a combination of covert and overt operations and measures,everything from propaganda,from disinformation,actually the use of regular forces,from tweets to tanks;sometimes soldiers in uniforms,sometimes soldiers without uniforms;and sometimes something that happens in cyber space and sometimes things that happen at our borders.And this combination of so many different things at the same time with the aim to hide the real intention,that has got the name "hybrid threats."And it's a kind of buzzword I hear everywhere I go now.
We have responded in close cooperation with the EU,responded in close cooperation with countries like Finland:
1.We have improved our situational awareness,established a new division within NATO only working with intelligence:improved situational awareness to be able to foresee and understand what is going on;
2.significantly increased the readiness of our forces,tripling the NATO Response Force to 30,000 troops,including the new VJTF,Very High Readiness Joint Task Force,a brigade that can react in a few days.We have deployed four battle groups to the three Baltic countries and Poland,and also strengthened our presence in the Southeast of the Alliance.If we see small,green men showing up somewhere they should not show up,NATO will be there;
3.the third thing is to increase our resilience in infrastructure,energy security,but in particular cyber.There is no military activity;there is no military conflict without a big cyber dimension.So we have to be able to support and defend our own networks.
And I strongly believe that to have a Centre like this as a hub for sharing information,for sharing experiences,for learning from each other,for organising training,and for also doing some practical work and looking into how we can address specific hybrid threats,will be of great advantage both for the EU,for NATO,and of course for all our member states,including Finland,NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg concluded.*
Even on the plane out of Helsinki,Mr.Stoltenberg and Ms.Mogherini were photographed continuing their dialogue.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

NATO and Afghanistan:Mattis and Stoltenberg Discuss the New Strategy - a compelling advantage

On 27 September,NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis held talks with Afghan leaders in Kabul,including President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Dr.Abdullah Abdullah of the National Unity Government.*
At a press conference after the discussions,Mr.Mattis and Mr.Stoltenberg gave a frank briefing on the new approach.
Mr.Stoltenberg:NATO doesn't quit when the going gets tough.That is why I much welcome that many nations have pledged further contributions to our mission here in Afghanistan,including more troops from the US.And I welcome President Trump's new,conditions-based approach to Afghanistan and the region.NATO is committed to funding the Afghan security forces until at least 2020,and we will continue to provide almost a billion each year to the Afghan defence and security forces.
At our defence ministerial in June,we actually decided to increase our NATO troop levels in Afghanistan,and several Allies have already started to step up to their pledges to send more troops.So they are sending more troops because it is in their interest to have a more stable Afghanistan.*
Mr.Mattis:We will not abandon Afghanistan to a merciless enemy trying to kill its way to power.
This new strategy is conditions-based,and not time-based,because war is principally a matter of will,and we've made clear that we have the will to stand together.
Through our partnership,we will suffocate any hope that al-Qaida,or ISIS-Daesh,Haqqani or the Taliban have of winning by killing.
We are up against an enemy right now that intentionally fights among innocent people;that intentionally hides behind women and children;that intentionally tries to draw fire on the innocent,and we do everything humanly possible...to protect the innocent on the battlefield.We're not the perfect guys;but we are the good guys.
We are bringing in reinforcements,and those reinforcements are designed to add more advisors to your units in the field,and more trainers in your military schools.We are going to give them more advantage to the NATO access,and advantage to the NATO air forces overhead,to make sure that at no time does the Taliban own the high ground.We will always own the high ground.
I prefer to not go into the specific numbers right now.We are bringing more Americans in;there are more coalition forces coming in.I don't want to tell the enemy exactly what we're doing,but the whole point is to make certain that we have a compelling battlefield advantage over anything the Taliban tries to mass against your forces.We are not going to stand for that.
There's an increasing collusion.There's increasing teamwork among the various terrorist bands,and I will just tell you that this simply gives more impetus to those of us who are against terrorism to work together,Secretary Mattis told the reporters gathered in Kabul.*
Among others attending the talks were General John Nicholson,US Army,NATO Resolute Support Mission and Operation Freedom's Sentinel commander;Ambassador Kay Bailey Hutchison,US Ambassador to NATO;and Afghan national security officials.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Swedish & Finnish Troops Team With U.S. Marines • Aurora 17

Former CIA operative talks Korea and ISIS' foothold in Afghanistan

CIA Special Activities Division - Special Operations Group | SAD SOG

CIA Paramilitary Officers Acknowledged in Death - some of the nation's most secret,heroic and highly trained warriors

Following their long-delayed burial this summer at Arlington National Cemetery,the identities and partial biographies of two CIA Paramilitary Officers,members of the Agency's Directorate of Operations,specifically the Special Activities Division/Special Operations Group,or SAD/SOG,were revealed by The New York Times on 6 September 2017.Any substantive information about the unit is a very rare find,so those who die in this form of heroism do so largely in obscurity-part of the deal they signed onto.
Even the medals these commandos receive are themselves classified and may not be taken home.*
They were Brian Ray Hoke (1974-2016) and Nathaniel Patrick Delemarre (1968-2016).The paramilitaries were killed in a firefight while mounting an assault  in Jalalabad,Afghanistan on a compound of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant - Khorasan militants on 21 October 2016.Mr.Hoke was a US Naval Academy graduate and former Navy SEAL;Mr.Delemarre was a veteran of the US Marine Corps Reserves,in which he was a radio operator,and a commissioned officer in the US Naval Reserves at the time of his death.Both men were married and had children.In May 2017,they received stars on the memorial wall at CIA Headquarters in Langley,Virginia,bringing the total number of CIA Afghan War deaths to 18.Another star added at that time was in memory of George A. Whitney,38,also killed in Jalalabad-but in December 2016.Mr.Whitney had served in the Third Marine Reconnaissance Battalion in Anbar Province,Iraq.*
The SAD/SOG is thought to number in the low hundreds.It is used for highly dangerous paramilitary or covert operations the US Government wants deniability for.These operatives have been awarded most of the stars on the CIA memorial wall,as well as a large number of the Distinguished Intelligence Crosses and Intelligence Star medals for distinguished valour and excellence in the national service.
Besides paramilitary operations,the tactical personnel may carry out covert political action in hostile and austere environments.Unlike the Pentagon's Special Operations Forces,the SAD/SOG is tasked directly by the President or National Security Council on his behalf.It is highly regarded by the combatant commanders and often linked with the US military's Special Operations Forces and indigenous commandos on sensitive missions.
Another unique characteristic of the SAD/SOG members is that they combine unconventional warfare expertise with clandestine intelligence operations skills,being fully qualified to recruit and run foreign agents as well as conduct direct action raids and sabotage,counterterrorism and hostage rescue missions in any environment,with little to no support.*
Indeed,the SAD/SOG is a self-contained,combined arms paramilitary service within the CIA.It has four branches,including an Air Branch;Maritime Branch;Ground Branch;and Armor and Special Projects Branch for heavier and more esoteric equipment.Training is centered at the nearly 9,000 acres of the US Navy's Camp Peary near the historic enclave of Williamsburg,Virginia.Most of the tract is a natural area famed for its hunting;but,besides academic buildings,it additionally includes an air strip and a boat facility.
One surreptitious photo shows that a cargo drop practice went wrong and the cargo got stuck in a tree.*
The Pentagon's Defense Intelligence Agency trains its agents at Camp Peary as well.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Russian military drills stir NATO unease - France 24

U.S. Dagger Brigade is heading to Europe - NATO

U-2S - 80-1083 Quid 09 - Back After Sortie - RAF Fairford 07/09/17

U-2S: Unparalleled High Altitude Reconnaissance

Värdlandsstöd och operativa transporter under Aurora 17

USAF F-15 Eagles In Lithuania • NATO Baltic Air Policing

As Exercise Aurora Unfolds,Details from Zapad 17 Emerge - little green men,U-2S Dragon Lady and Swedish SIGINT

Adrenaline is running high in Europe as multiple crucial exercises are underway on both sides of the geopolitical divide.
On 19 September,Exercise Aurora 17 began in Sweden.It is the largest Swedish national exercise in more than twenty years,US European Command said.Augmenting the more than 19,000 Swedish personnel,the US has sent about 1300 Soldiers,Marines and Sailors,and France has contributed air defence forces.
US European Command commander and Supreme Allied Commander Europe,General Curtis M. Scaparrotti,US Army,stated that:
The interoperability and cooperation of Sweden and the US remains vital.*
Aurora 17 is running from 19-27 September.The drills will occur in Malardalen,Stockholm,Gotland and Gothenberg,Sweden.US Forces participating include:
from the US Army:US Army10th Army Air and Missile Defense Command;12th Combat Aviation Brigade;2nd Cavalry Regiment;194th Armored Regiment,Minnesota Army National Guard;134th Infantry Regiment,Nebraska Army National Guard;149th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade,Kentucky Army National Guard;
from the US Marine Corps:Marine Rotational Force Europe 17.2;
from the US Navy:Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Oscar Austin (DDG 79);and a P-8A Poseidon from Patrol Squadron 16.*
The forces will train in both defensive and offensive operations;simulated airborne operations;simulated amphibious assault;as well as area security and unit level tactics.*
Meanwhile,sources in theatre,particularly the Finns,have been sharing their observations of Russian/Belorussian Exercise Zapad 17,giving the ambience of Zapad and the response to it:
1.On 16 September,so called "little green men" in unmarked camouflage fatigues appeared on the border with Lithuania,the Swedish publication Cornucopia reported.One photo showed five LGM in a field with balaclavas and kalashnikov rifles;and a second photo shows two LGM,one of whom has removed his balaclava.They are reportedly hybrid warriors,Don Cossack paramilitaries,some of whom were also noted to be active in annexed Crimea and the beseiged Donbas region in Ukraine.*
2.According to another source,a US Air Force U-2S Dragon Lady reconnaissance aircraft departed RAF Fairford,England,at 0655 hours on a Baltic mission on 17 September.
3.On 14 September,the Russian 6th Tank Brigade that had seen heavy fighting in Ukraine in 2014 joined Zapad 17 drills.
4.On 17 September,strategic places in Severodvinsk were masked by aerosol fogging in the framework of Zapad 17.
5.On 18 September,land units of the Russian Baltic Fleet carried out firing in the framework of Zapad 17;while a shipborne strike group of the Russian Northern Fleet supported artillery forces of the Russian Marines.
6.On 17 September,a Swedish SIGINT plane was sent on a mission outside the Russian outpost of Kaliningrad.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Russia: Russian Airborne Forces kick-off large scale drills in Crimea - 21 March 2017

Iran Threatens to Destroy 'Rabid' US Aircraft

The Daily Vertical: Don't Fear The Zapad

Protest Held In Minsk,Belarus Against Russia-Led War Games

What should NATO do about Russian disinformation?

Zapad 2017: What You Need to Know About Russia’s Big Wargame on NATO’s D...

Lithuania Reacts to Massive Russian Exercise - has it already begun?

Lithuania's President Dalia Grybauskite has been quoted by The Wall Street Journal as reacting to the Russian military exercise Zapad 17,officially slated to begin on 14 September:
We see a very,very large scale offensive exercise that demonstrates hatred against the West.It is clear that this will be used to upgrade the military in the region,to upgrade the modernisation of the Army.
In reality,the Zapad exercises are already ongoing.It's not just military exercises,but information operations,propaganda and other follow-ups.*
This view was seconded by Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius:
Unconventional warfare is already happening as we speak.*
President Grybauskite believes that Russia is trying to undermine the Baltic governments with disinformation campaigns.Indeed,Moscow has specialised troops dedicated to information warfare.*
Western analysts note the large number of flatbed rail cars that have been requisitioned by Russian forces.It's more than is needed for a mere 12,700 troops,the official number of Zapad 17 participants.Up to 100,000 personnel could be involved in Zapad and interlinked exercises,which in fact began in August,according to NATO sources.Russia has already admitted that drills took place from 11-12 September 2017.On Monday,its Baltic Fleet practiced with S-300 and S-400 air defence systems and Su-24 bombers;while on Tuesday,Russia held snap readiness drills along its Western border.It additionally held exercises with Mongolia in August and in annexed Crimea in March 2017.
As an exclamation mark,Russia also successfully test-launched its Yar ICBM to a target in the Far East on 12 September. *
A Russian Soldier revealed that his division alone was sending 10,000 troops to Zapad 17.Every four years,the major exercise is held in the Western Strategic Direction,which extends from the Arctic Ocean to the Black Sea.This event shows where Russia perceives the front line is;where they want to be strategically postured against NATO.*
Zapad 17 is also occurring as intensive attacks by Russian-backed militants against the Donbas Region in Eastern Ukraine have multiplied in recent weeks in total disregard of the Minsk agreement.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Update:Moldovan Troops Arrive in Ukraine

Moldova has sent the troops to Ukraine it had planned to contribute for Exercise Rapid Trident 17,despite Moldovan pro-Russian President Igor Dodon's objections.Moldova's Prime Minister Pavel Filip dismissed Mr.Dodon's prohibition as invalid.The forces arrived on time for the beginning of the exercise on 8 September 2017.*
The first phase of the two-week drills is the tactical air exercise,which got underway as scheduled.RT 17 is centered on the International Peacekeeping Centre in Yavoriv,Western Ukraine.Moldova has participated in every iteration of the drills to date.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Army of Ukraine 2017 • Армія України 2017

U.S. Army Europe Command Video

Ukraine to Host Exercise Rapid Trident 17 - Moldova pulls out

US Army Europe has announced that Rapid Trident 17 will be hosted by Ukraine from 8-23 September at the International Peacekeeping Security Centre near Yavoriv,Ukraine,which is close to the city of Lviv and the Polish border in Western Ukraine.About 1800 personnel from 13 nations will participate:Bulgaria,Canada,Estonia,Georgia,Italy,Lithuania,Norway,Poland,Romania,Turkey,Ukraine,the UK and the US.The purpose of the drills is to support combined interoperability among Ukraine,the US,allied and partner nations.NATO partner Moldova withdrew from this year's exercise at the last minute by order of Moldovan President Igor Dodon,who is known to be pro-Russian in his sympathies.*
President Dodon,whose role is mainly symbolic,favours a strategic partnership with Russia;while the Moldovan Government is pro-Europe.Mr.Dodon is also opposed to NATO opening a liaison office in the Moldovan capital Chisinau.The Moldovan Minister of Defence was planning to send 57 troops to RT 17.*
RT 17 will focus on peacekeeping and stability operations to ensure a safe and secure environment,USAREUR said.It will consist of:
1.a multinational,brigade-level,computer-assisted command post exercise
2.integrated with a battalion-level field training exercise;
3.and a platoon-level situational training exercise.
4.There will also be integrated air and ground training near Starokonstantinov,Ukraine,with a focus on aeromedical evacuation;tactical airlift/air drop;logistics planning;and equipment preparation.*
Russian exercise Zapad 17 will coincide with RT 17,running from 16-20 September.Moscow keeps about 2,000 troops in the breakaway Moldovan region of Transdniestria,to the disapproval of the Moldovan Government.
In 1992,Russian troops backed the separatists in Transdniestria,who proclaimed their independence from Moldova.No other country has recognised their independence.*
Moldova is located between Romania and Ukraine.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Dream Chaser Rolls Through Tow Tests at NASA Armstrong - new video - Commercial Crew Program

B-2 Spirit Stealth Bomber

US Nuclear Forces Upgrade Momentum - deep strike war plans

The US Air Force has gotten its nuclear forces modernisation plan seriously underway by awarding several preliminary design contracts to leading aerospace firms.On 22 April 2017,the Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent contract was awarded to Boeing and Northrop Grumman.This is for the replacement of the silo-based Minuteman III ICBM and is under the heading of "technology maturation and risk-reduction."The contracts run for three years,at the end of which the winner will be chosen.Orbital ATK and Aerojet Rocketdyne are potential subcontractors for the GBSD's solid fuel rocket engines.*
On 23 April 2017,the preliminary contracts for the AGM-86B nuclear cruise missile replacement,which is termed the Long Range Standoff weapon,or LRSO,were awarded to Lockheed Martin and Raytheon.This is under the heading of "maturing design concepts and proving developmental technologies."Each company got a 900 million dollar contract running for 54 months.At the end of the period,the Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center will select one firm for the Engineering,Manufacturing Development and Production and Deployment phases of the project,the USAF said.*
The current nuclear cruise missile,the AGM-86B,dates from the early 1980s,when it was projected to have a 10-year design life.The Air Force believes the missile will continue to face increasingly significant operational challenges against emerging threats as well as reliability challenges.
Air Force Chief of Staff General David L. Goldfein noted that:
The Long Range Standoff weapon is a critical capability required to support General John Hyten's war plans.*
General John Hyten is commander,US Strategic Command.*
General Robin Rand,commander,Air Force Global Strike Command,told the House Armed Services Committee that:
The LRSO missile will ensure the bomber force continues to hold high-value targets at risk in an evolving threat environment,including targets deep within an area-denied environment.*
Besides the B-2 Spirit and B-52H Stratofortress legacy strategic bombers,the LRSO will be fitted to the Northrop Grumman B-21 Raider,a very large stealth strategic bomber capable of both conventional and nuclear strike that is currently in development.Indeed,the Air Force has already begun planning for an appropriate stealth fighter escort for the B-21.The new fighter is known as the Penetrating Counter-Air,or PCA,and will accompany the B-21 deep into hostile territory.That's all that is known about it as of now.*
Besides its bomber role,the B-21 Raider will reportedly have intelligence gathering,battle management and interceptor capabilities-a bravura suite of competencies for sure.The B-21's subcontractors include BAE Systems;Rockwell Collins;and Orbital ATK.*
Nor is that all.The Air Force is also planning a stealth refueling tanker,the KC-Z.*
Boeing (BA),Northrop Grumman (NOC),Lockheed Martin (LMT),Raytheon Company (RTN)

Friday, August 25, 2017

Why Are Navy Ships Colliding in the Pacific? Experts Weigh In

Why Are Navy Ships Colliding in the Pacific? Experts Weigh In: U.S. Navy leaders are scrambling after two destroyers collided with other ships in the Pacific within months of each other.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017


Afghan War Plan Unveiled - what to expect now

On 21 August 2017,President Donald Trump addressed the nation and the troops,who were represented by Soldiers at Fort Myer in Arlington,Virginia,to reveal his plan of action for the Afghan War.This strategy was long-awaited and finally delivered over a month later than promised.The President was very painstaking as he sorted through the frustrating issues,repeatedly asking questions about the options submitted to him by the Pentagon.In the end,having met with his national security team at Camp David,the presidential retreat in Maryland's Catoctin Mountains,he elected to follow a more forceful approach than his predecessor,Barack Obama.*
Based on his remarks and those of knowledgeable sources,we may soon observe:
1.More intense air strikes,counterterror raids and more flexible rules of engagement;
2.More NATO and partner contributions;
3.Up to 5,000 more permanent US troops,plus possible temporary deployments;
4.More pressure on Pakistan to robustly eradicate terrorist camps on its territory;
5.No pre-set time limits,but conditions-based decisions on strategy instead.
Consider some of the President's statements from the address,which was praised by leading critic Senator John McCain,R-Arizona,and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg:
Today,20 US-designated foreign terrorist organisations are active in Afghanistan and Pakistan,the highest concentration in any region anywhere in the world.For its part,Pakistan often gives safe haven to agents of chaos,violence and terror.
Working alongside our allies,we will break their will;dry up their recruitment;keep them from crossing our borders;and,yes,we will defeat them,and we will defeat them handily.
We will not talk about numbers of troops or our plans for further military activities.Conditions on the ground,not arbitrary timetables,will guide our strategy from now on.America's enemies must never know our plans or believe they can wait us out.
I have already lifted restrictions the previous administration placed on our warfighters that prevented the Secretary of Defense and our commanders in the field from fully and swiftly waging battle against the enemy.Micromanagement from Washington,DC does not win battles.They're won in the field,drawing upon the judgement and expertise of wartime commanders and frontline Soldiers,acting in real-time and with real authority,and with a clear mission to defeat the enemy.
From now on,victory will have a clear definition:Attacking our enemies;obliterating ISIS (another word for ISIL);crushing al-Qaida;preventing the Taliban from taking over Afghanistan;and stopping mass terror attacks against America before they emerge.

Friday, August 18, 2017

NATO Special Forces • "Don't Get In My Way"

Update:Soldier Killed in Afghanistan Identified - Special Forces member

US Forces Afghanistan in Kabul has released the identity of the fallen US Soldier killed in action against ISIL-K on 16 August 2017 in Achin district of Nangarhar Province Afghanistan:
Staff Sergeant Aaron Rhett Butler,27,of Monticello,Utah.
SSGT Butler was a Special Forces engineer with the 19th Special Forces Group of the Utah Army National Guard out of Salt Lake City.Sixteen other US service members were wounded in the raid.Fourteen of them were treated and released and the other two remain under hospital care.*
SSGT Butler was reportedly clearing a building with his unit when an IED exploded.The Soldiers were on a partnered operation with the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant-Khorasan.
General John Nicholson,Commander of all US and NATO Forces in Afghanistan,said that,despite the latest causalties,they were determined to continue the struggle against ISIL-K.*
On 17 August,General Mark Milley,Chief of Staff US Army,arrived in Kabul for meetings with Afghan defence officials.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

US Soldier Killed in Afghanistan - counterterror operation

An American Soldier was killed and about seven others wounded in a clash with Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant-Khorasan militants on 16 August 2017,US Forces Afghanistan in Kabul and the Utah National Guard said.The battle took place in Achin district of Nangarhar Province,a longtime stronghold of the Islamist extremists.All of the Americans were members of the Utah National Guard serving in a partnered operation with the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces.
General John Nicholson,US Army,Commander of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan,said he wants to eradicate ISIL-K from Afghanistan by the end of the year.Eleven Americans have died in the Afghan War so far this year,already exceeding the death toll of ten for all of 2016.*
On Friday,US President Donald Trump is reportedly to hold a meeting about Afghanistan with his National Security Council at the presidential retreat,Camp David,Maryland.A Trump decision on strategy for the war is regarded as being past due on Capitol Hill.The Pentagon favours sending up to 4,000  US troops back to Afghanistan,a partial reversal of the 2014 widescale withdrawal.There are currently about 8400 permanently assigned US service members there.*
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the three key areas are Special Operations Forces,air power and better command and control by the ANDSF.It isn't going to be easy and nonviolent in Afghanistan this year or even next year.
NATO Allies  may be approached by the US for additional troop contributions once a strategy is set.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Iraq Update:Fallen Soldiers Identified - Iraq Campaign continues

The Pentagon has released the names of the two US troops who died in Northern Iraq on 13 August 2017 while supporting Operation Inherent Resolve.Both were with the 2nd Battalion,319th Airborne Field Artillery Regiment,2nd Brigade Combat Team,82nd Airborne Division out of Fort Hood,Texas:
Sergeant Roshain Euvince Brooks,30,of Brooklyn,New York and Sergeant Allen Levi Stigler Jr. of Arlington,Texas.
SGT Brooks joined the Army in July 2012.He was deployed to Afghanistan from June-November 2014.
SGT Stigler joined the Army in November 2013.He was on his first deployment.*
According to Pentagon spokesman Colonel Rob Manning,US Army,an Army artillery section was conducting a counterfire mission against an Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant mortar site at the time of the incident.An investigation is ongoing.
To the west of Mosul,the 9th and 15th Iraqi Army Divisions maintain defensive positions on the west forward line of troops near Tal Afar,and the coalition continues to support the Iraqis as they reset and prepare for follow-on operations in the Western Nineveh Province,COL Manning added.*
The Iraqi Security Forces said the Soldiers died when a shell exploded in a cannon they were inspecting.

Monday, August 14, 2017

USAF Refuels French Mirage 2000 Fighter Jets Over Iraq

French & US Artillery In Action Conducts Heavy Support Fire in Iraq: CAESAR, M77...

U.S. Army Artillery In Action Near Mosul • April 2017

Bulletin:Two US Troops Die in Iraq - Tal Afar campaign underway

The Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve has announced the death of two US Soldiers on 13 August 2017 in Northern Iraq and the wounding of five others.They were conducting combat operations at the time,but were not in contact with the enemy.The incident is under investigation.According to The Washington Post,the Iraqi Security Forces said the troops died when a shell exploded in a cannon the Soldiers were making a routine inspection of.
The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant extremists claimed responsibility for the casualties,saying they had attacked the troops,but CJTFOIR said it was a false claim.*
At this time,the ISF are working to liberate the city of Tal Afar in Northern Iraq,which is near Mosul,which they have recently recaptured from ISIL militants.The US Army has for some time been supporting the ISF with artillery strikes from several fire bases.France has also supported the ISF with its artillery.*
The latest incident brings the total number of US deaths in Operation Inherent Resolve this year to nine.Lieutenant General Stephen Townsend,US Army,Commander,CJTFOIR,said in a statement to the Soldiers' family and comrades that:
There are no words to describe the respect I have for you and sorrow I have for your loss.I hope there is some solace in knowing their loss has meaning for our country and all the members of our coalition as the fallen service members were fighting to defeat a truly evil enemy and to protect our homelands.*

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Statement by Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis

Statement by Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis: The United States and our allies have the demonstrated capabilities and unquestionable commitment to defend ourselves from an attack. Kim Jong Un should take heed of the United Nations Security

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Orion and the European Service Module - ESA

NASA’s RS-25 Rocket Engine Fires Up Again - 25 July 2017 - one of four RS-25s that will power the SLS rocket

NASA tests Orion splashdown recovery in Gulf - 13 July,2017

13 July 2017 - Live: KHOU 11's Jason Miles heads off shore with NASA to test Orion reco...

Orion Program Update: Summer of Safety and Recovery Systems Testing,SLS Rocket Fabrication and Testing

This summer has been quite busy for the Orion Program,with multiple tracks of testing and fabrication going on at various NASA and contractor faclilities.The media rarely report what many Americans would consider dull engineering activity.Of course,the excitement of exploration cannot occur without these extensive preparations.No one will fly in a shoddily built,unsafe and untested spacecraft.In actual fact,the missions to deep space have already begun with this hardware development,and also the research on long-duration flight being done on ISS.*
On 14 June,a mock-up of the Orion crew module was dropped out of a Boeing C-17 Globemaster at an altitude of 25,000 feet over the US Army Proving Ground in Yuma,Arizona to test the three main parachutes.The test was of the parachutes' performance in low altitude and low dynamic pressure.The engineers are testing for different situations in this flight qualification process.It was the sixth of eight tests.*
NASA has also been testing an updated design for the crew module uprighting system,a system of five airbags on top of the capsule that inflate at splashdown.The original design,tested on Exploration Flight Test-1 in 2014,didn't work properly.The airbags should turn Orion right side up if high winds or waves were to flip it over,or if it should land nose cone first in the ocean.The testing will be in the Neutral Buoyancy Lab at Johnson Space Center,Houston,one of several tests to validate computer models.Later in the summer,the airbags will be tested in the Gulf of Mexico off the Galveston,Texas coast.*
On 15 June,subcontractor Orbital ATK tested the abort motor for the Launch Abort System,firing it for five seconds.The LAS is positioned on top of the Orion crew module,and propels the crew in their capsule away from the Space Launch System rocket,directing them toward the Atlantic Ocean for a safe descent in the event of an emergency.*
The test verified that the LAS can fire within milliseconds and will work as expected under high temperatures,NASA said.*
As well,crew egress testing took place from 10-14 July in the Gulf of Mexico by an interagency group of NASA,US Navy,Coast Guard and Air Force personnel to stage various ideal and less than ideal splashdown and recovery scenarios,such as landing off course or water intruding into the crew module.*
Meanwhile,Space Launch System rocket hardware such as fuel tanks and solid rocket booster motors are being fabricated and tested by contractors including Boeing and Orbital ATK.All the hardware will eventually be shipped to Kennedy Space Center for stacking and integration of Orion and the SLS for the uncrewed Exploration Mission-1 in 2019.EM-1 will be  followed by the crewed EM-2 in the 2022-3 time frame,taking astronauts a record 40,000 miles past the Moon and dropping off 13 CubeSats,small satellites that will conduct research on lunar and astrobiology topics,among others.*
Boeing (BA),Orbital ATK Inc (OA)

Friday, August 4, 2017

Update:Nationality of Afghanistan Suicide Blast Victim Revealed

A Republic of Georgia Soldier was killed by a personnel-borne IED on Thursday in Kabul Province,Afghanistan,NATO's Resolute Support Mission said in a press release today.The Georgian was on patrol with Afghan and US troops when the attack occurred.*
Georgia has about 900 troops in Afghanistan,and is the largest non-NATO contributor to the coalition.It was the coalition's third fatality in two days,after the killing of two US troops by a VBIED on Wednesday.*
Georgia aspires to NATO membership and is currently a NATO partner and hosting Exercise Noble Partner 2017.Two US troops,three other Georgians and an interpreter received non-life threatening injuries in the attack;while two Afghan civilians were killed and seven wounded.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Bulletin:NATO Says A Third Soldier Dies in a Second Suicide Blast

A press release just received from NATO's Resolute Support Mission says that a second suicide blast has killed the third coalition Soldier in two days in Afghanistan.The Thursday attack was carried out in Qarabagh district of Kabul Province by means of a personnel-borne IED that exploded as a joint Afghan-coalition patrol was passing by.Six other coalition personnel,including an interpreter,were injured by the blast and are being treated at Bagram Airfield for non-life threatening injuries.Yesterday,two US Soldiers died when  a Taliban militant rammed a VBIED into a NATO convoy that was returning to Bagram Airfield.
No nationality for the third fatality has yet been provided.
In a related development,Senator John McCain,R-Arizona,has again taken the Trump administration to task for failing to chart a course for the Afghan War.In a Facebook post,the senator said:
Our commanders-in-chief,not our commanders in the field,are responsible for this failure.*
Senator McCain added that,if nothing were done by September,he would offer an amendment to the defense authorization bill that does lay out a strategy for the war.

Linkin Park - Castle Of Glass- one of many war videos using this song

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Bulletin:NATO Convoy Attacked in Afghanistan - two US troops killed

NATO's Resolute Support Mission said a NATO convoy came under attack in Kandahar Province,Afghanistan.The convoy was on a routine train,advise and assist mission at the time of the incident.US Navy Captain Jeff  Davis at the Pentagon confirmed that two US troops were killed in action and said Resolute Support would provide further information.
The Taliban militants claimed responsibility for what was reportedly a suicide attack.US Soldiers were photographed investigating damage done to one of the convoy's armoured vehicles.
This brings the US death toll in Afghanistan combat to nine so far this year,equaling the toll for all of 2016.The Trump administration,which has been in office for over six months,has been criticised for dragging its feet in coming up with a plan for this longest war in American history,which began in 2001 in response to the 9-11 attacks that al-Qaida planned and directed from Afghanistan with the aquiescence of the Taliban regime.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Pence Condemns 'Russia's Occupation' Of Georgian Soil

Rocket Fire • NATO

Noble Partner 2017 – Opening Day Ceremony B-Roll - Republic of Georgia

'We Stand Together' - Pence Reaffirms U.S. Commitment To Baltics

Noble Partner 17:Bringing Georgia up to NATO-level Warfighting

NATO Exercise Noble Partner 2017 began on 30 July at Vaziani Military Base,Georgia.The main purpose of the exercise is to prepare the Georgian second light infantry company for certification as a member of the NATO Response Force.Not only NATO members,but NATO partners such as Georgia are also eligible to contribute to this multinational force kept at a high state of readiness.The NRF has land,air,maritime and Special Operations Forces components.*
According to US Ambassador to Georgia Ian Kelly:
The United States supports the sovereignty and integrity of its partners.Those gathered here seeking to build readiness and interoperability in the face of aggression are critical to that end.*
Participating in NP17,which runs from 30 July to 12 August,are a total of 2800 personnel from Armenia;Georgia;Germany;Great Britain;Slovenia;Turkey;Ukraine;and the US.The US has sent a contingent of more than 2,000 troops,about a quarter of them from the 2nd Cavalry Regiment out of Vilseck,Germany,US Army Europe said.The Regiment has recently traveled some 2,000 kilometers in support of exercises throughout Eastern Europe.*
The tactical focus of NP17 is defensive operations.One of the participating forces will occupy semi-prepared positions and defend them against an attacking force with live-fire ammunition.The scenarios provide an opportunity to engage multiple systems and arrange multiple assets to achieve an objective.The mixed forces will operate as a single unit to reach their goal.Participating forces will take part in combined situational field training,as well as both combat and cargo air drop missions.Leaders at all levels will exercise staffs in mission planning;command and control;movement and manoeuvre;and the execution of complex joint and combined operations,USAEUR explained.*
Among the key elements of NP 17 are a tactical road march by US and Slovenian forces;two airborne operations by the US Army's 173rd Brigade Combat Team;and a joint live-fire exercise with the 1st Battalion,66th Armor Regiment,3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team,4th Infantry Division and Georgia's 4th Mechanized Brigade.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Launch of Atlas V Rocket with Cygnus OA-7 Cargo Craft

Royal Norwegian Air Force F-16s - Ørland hovedflystasjon

T33 Spots Boeing P-8 Poseidon Submarine Hunter w/ Attached Box - Advanced Airborne Sensor

US Navy Boeing P-8A Poseidon lands at RAF Leuchars

US,UK and Norway Ink Pact - North Atlantic security needs addressed

On 29 June 2017,the US,UK and Norway drew even closer as they signed a memorandum of intent to outline principles of cooperation for North Atlantic security.The new pact by the three NATO Allies comprises a framework for future cooperation based on the fact that all three will be heavily relying on the P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol and surveillance aircraft by 2023,if not before.The US has already put the P-8A in service;while the UK and Norway are preparing for stationing and maintaining the Poseidon.*
The Poseidon is a modified Boeing 737-800 ERX airliner that has both surveillance and maritime strike capability for both anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare.It is armed with five internal and six external struts for the AGM-84H/K SLAM-ER and AGN-84 Harpoon missiles;the Mark 54 torpedo;and the High-Altitude Anti-Submarine Warfare Weapon Capability (HAAWC).*
The memorandum was signed by Defence Ministers Michael Fallon of the UK;Jim Mattis of the US;and Ine Eriksen Soreide of Norway on the sidelines of the recent NATO Defence Ministerial in Brussels.The ministers described the pact as being:
a statement of intent to lay out guiding principles for a trilateral partnership with P-8A aircraft to address the changing security environment in the North Atlantic.As the United States,the United Kingdom,and Norway continue to work to advance trilateral maritime security cooperation,this agreement establishes a framework for further cooperation in areas such as readiness,enhancing defence capability,and interoperability.*
The agreement is a foundation for such capabilities as coordination of operations in the North Atlantic and other regions as necessary,exchange of information,and exploring opportunities to co-locate maintenance and training assets,a defence official told USNI News.For example,the US and UK have already signed an agreement to base US Navy P-8As at RAF Lossiemouth,Scotland.*
Vice-Admiral James G. Foggo III,former commander of the US Navy's 6th Fleet and nominee to command US Naval Forces Europe and Africa,told Proceedings magazine:
Not only have Russia's actions and capabilities increased in alarming and confrontational ways,its national security policy is aimed at challenging the United States and its NATO Allies and partners.*
There is agreement in NATO and defence analytical circles that Russian naval activity has grown more aggressive since it annexed Crimea and instigated unrest in Eastern Ukraine in 2014.In 2015,the Nordic Defence Cooperation countries of Norway,Sweden,Denmark,Finland and Iceland said:
Russia's conduct represents the biggest challenge to European Security.As a consequence,the security situation around the Nordic countries has significantly weakened during the past year.We must be prepared to respond to face possible crises or incidents.The Russian military is acting provocatively along our borders,and there have been several border violations around the Baltic Sea.Closer cooperation in Northern Europe and solidarity with the Baltic states will contribute to stronger security in our region and raise the threshold for possible military incidents.*
The UK is currently preparing facilities for the P-8A at RAF Lossiemouth,Scotland.Both Royal Air Force and Royal Navy personnel will crew the nine aircraft the UK is purchasing.Their initial training is taking place in the US,as will depot level maintenance of UK P-8As.*
Boeing (BA)

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Italian,Russian and USMC Colonel Randy Bresnik astronauts

Innovation Beyond Boundaries - NASA

Inside NASA's SOFIA Airborne Astronomical Observatory - NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center

NASA Prepares for New Horizon's Next Misson - occultation observation raises possibilities

Having flown by Pluto in 2015,NASA'S New Horizons spacecraft is now well beyond the dwarf planet on its journey to another Kuiper Belt Object (KBO),a small body of an unknown nature called KBO MU69.NH is planned to execute a flyby of it on 1 January 2019,setting a record for the most distant celestial object ever explored in a flyby.
The Kuiper Belt is a region of the solar system rich in celestial objects believed to be from the early days of our system's formation,such as dwarf planets;thousands of icy bodies more than 62 miles/100 km across;and an estimated at least one trillion comets.*
NASA is striving to learn all it can about MU69 before NH reaches it,in order ensure it will not collide with any debris or ring systems which may be in this unexplored region.Data from the Hubble Space Telescope and ESA Gaia satellite are being used to calculate where MU69 will cast its faint shadow on the Earth's surface as it passes in front of a star (an occultation event).So far,there have been three such events monitored by NASA and collaborating observers and technicians to prepare for the New Horizons flyby.
One of the events was on 3 June 2017,when more than 50 mission team members and collaborators set up mobile telescopes in South Africa and Argentina in an effort to capture images of MU69's shadow speeding over the Earth for two seconds.Other observations were made by HST and the Gaia space observatory.In the event,the telescopes took more than 100,000 photos of the occultation that can help ascertain the nature of MU69's environment.Indeed,valuable and surprising insights were obtained,mission team members said.
New Horizons science team leader Mark Buie of the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder,Colorado noted that:
These data show that MU69 might not be as dark or as large as some expected.
Principle investigator at the SWRI Alan Stern added:
The fact that we accomplished the occult observations from every planned observing site,but didn't detect the object itself,likely means that either MU69 is highly reflective and smaller than some expected,or it may be a binary,or even a swarm of smaller bodies left over from the time when planets in our solar system formed.*
Occultation observations of MU 69 have also been made on 10 July 2017 by the NASA/German Aerospace Centre SOFIA flying infrared observatory,a converted Boeing 747 with a 2.5 meter telescope that allows for IR study above 99% of the atmosphere's water vapour.That data is currently being analysed.A second mobile telescope round was carried out on 17 July 2017 in Southern Argentina,with the HST also participating.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Ukraine pushes ahead with NATO membership moves

F-15J ( J.A.S.D.F.)

US B-1B Lancers & Japanese F-15 Eagles Flying Together to Keep North Kor...

U.S. bombers challenge China in South China Sea flyover

US,Japanese Warplanes Send Message to Potential Adversaries - unprecedented mission

On 6 July 2017,US Air Force and Japanese Air Self-Defense Force units sharpened their combat skills in a bilateral mission over the East China Sea,the Pentagon revealed.Two B-1B Lancer strategic bombers from the 9th Expeditioinary Bomb Squadron out of Dyess Air Force Base,Texas flew from Andersen AFB,Guam for the mission with their Japanese allies.It was the first time that US Pacific Command B-1Bs have conducted combined training with Japanese fighters at night.Such bilateral drills enable the operational units to improve their combined capabilities and tactical skills,also building confidence and strong working relationships,according to the Department of Defense.
US PACOM chief of bomber operations Air Force Major Ryan Simpson said:
Flying and training at night with our allies in a safe,efficient manner is an important capability shared between the US and Japan.This is a clear demonstration of our ability to conduct seamless operations with all of our allies.*
From the East China sea,where Japan and China have a territorial dispute over the Senkaku Islands,the aircraft headed to the South China Sea,where Beijing has been intent on militarising several artificial islands it has built up from reefs,adding military-length airstrips,port and missile facilities,while claiming sovereignty of 90% of the Sea.The claim is rejected by the international community,which relies on the Sea for vital shipping lanes.
Additionally,Japan and the US are threatened by a belligerent North Korea's military buildup.*
US officials said this mission demonstrates how the US will continue to exercise the rights of freedom of navigation anywhere international law allows.These actions are consistent with long-standing and well-known US policies applied to military operations worldwide.
The officials went on to say that:
Joint US military forces in the Indo-Asia-Pacific Region are always ready to defend the American homeland.These flights with Japan demonstrate the solidarity between Japan and the US to defend against provocative and destabilising actions in the Pacific theatre.*
The JASDF fighters were reportedly Mitsubishi F-15J Eagles.*
Mitsubishi Corporation ADR US:OTC (MSBHY)

Friday, July 7, 2017

USAF Seeks Heavy Lift to Recover Crashed Drone - Rotor

USAF Seeks Heavy Lift to Recover Crashed Drone - Rotor: The U.S. Air Force is seeking heavy-lift helicopter help to recover a pricey, sophisticated reconnaissance drone that crashed in California’s Eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains June 21. USAF solicited bids for a helicopter to recover debris more than a week after the RQ-4 Global Hawk, priced at more than $227 million, crashed near Mount Whitney, California, …

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

US Soldier Killed by Indirect Fire in Afghanistan Is Identified - Taliban mortar attack

US Soldier Killed by Indirect Fire in Afghanistan Is Identified: The Pentagon identified the U.S. soldier Wednesday who was killed in Afghanistan on Monday.

LHD Canberra, Talisman Sabre 2017, report

LHD Bonhomme Richard, Talisman Saber begins, report

U.S. And Australia Start Their Largest Talisman Saber Joint Military Exe...

US,Australia Launch Major Exercise at a Time Of Heightened Regional Tension

Even as North Korea was launching its first ICBM experts deem capable of striking the US mainland and Canada on Independence Day,4 July 2017,the US and Australia were getting their largest joint exercise,Talisman Sabre 2017,off the proverbial launch pad.The drills,a major effort to train their forces in planning and conducting Combined Joint Task Force operations to improve the combat readiness and interoperability between the respective forces,are held every two years,the Australian Department of Defence said.*
TS17 is focused on mid-intensity high-end warfighting.This seventh iteration of the event will involve more than 33,000 US and Australian troops.It will consist of force preparation activities;amphibious landings;parachuting;land force manoeuvres;urban operations;air operations;maritime operations;and coordinated firing of live ammunition and explosive ordnance from both small arms and artillery,as well as naval vessels and aircraft,ADOD continued.*
Most of TS17's field training will occur in Shoalwater Bay Training Area,near Rockhampton,Central Queensland.Other sites include Mt.Bundy Training Area south of Darwin,Northern Territory,as well as Darwin itself,Townsville,Brisbane and Canberra in Australia;and Hawaii,Indiana,Virginia and Washington in the US.The drills began in late June and run through late July.*
Admiral Harry B. Harris,Commander,US Pacific Command,recently noted at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute in Brisbane that the North Korean threat covers the entire Indo-Asia-Pacific Region since its missiles point in every direction:
North Korea made this clear when it threatened Australia with a nuclear strike just a couple of months ago.*
Other APAC regional threats concerning the US and Australia that were cited by ADM Harris are China's growing militarisation of the South China Sea and the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant's  alarming expansion into the Philippines.ADM Harris summarised  the current exercise thusly:
TS17 is a realistic,high-end and challenging exercise that provides endless opportunities for our nations to innovatively prepare for our shared regional and global security challenges.*
New Zealand is also sending a contingent to the drills.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Mattis Honored at Marine Barracks Evening Parade

Mattis Honored at Marine Barracks Evening Parade: Defense Secretary Jim Mattis makes remarks as the guest of honor at the Marine Barracks evening parade in Washington, D.C., June 30, 2017.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

The F-22 in Syria: Deconflicting, Not Dog-Fighting

The F-22 in Syria: Deconflicting, Not Dog-Fighting: The U.S. Air Force's F-22 Raptor stealth fighter is playing a crucial yet evolving role in air operations over Syria and Iraq.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Canadian sniper's 3.5 km shot in Iraq shatters world record

Battle For Mosul: The end could be near for IS

US Army Blackhawk Helicopters in Mosul 2017, Iraq • Operation Inherent R...

War on ISIL:Air Campaign Update - plus a Canadian Forces sniper's world record kill

The air war against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant continued on 26 June 2017,according to Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve.The OIR coalition conducted 31 strikes consisting of 45 engagements,CJTFOIR said in a  press release.
In Syria,coalition forces conducted 27 strikes consisting of 39 engagements against ISIL targets,among them:
near Dawr Az Zawr,7 strikes engaged 2 ISIL tactical units and destroyed 3 vehicles;a tactical vehicle;2 bunkers;2 pumpjacks;a front-end loader;an IED factory;and an ISIL headquarters,while damaging 2 fighting positions;
near Raqqa,18 strikes engaged 15 ISIL tactical units and destroyed 13 fighting positions;2 vehicles;a VBIED;an IED factory and an ISIL headquarters,damaging 2 fighting positions.*
In Iraq,coalition forces conducted 4 strikes consisting of 6 engagements against ISIL targets,among them:
near Beiji,3 strikes engaged an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed a tactical vehicle storage facility;a tactical vehicle;and an ISIL fuel tanker;
near Tikrit,a strike engaged an ISIL tactical unit;
on 25 June,near Mosul,3 strikes began that engaged 2 ISIL tactical units and destroyed 14 fighting positions;5 weapons systems;3 medium machine guns;3 rocket-propelled grenade systems;2 mortar systems;a command-and-control node;and suppressed 5 mortar teams.These strikes closed within the past 24 hours,so were added to the 26 June report.*
The OIR strikes are conducted by fighter,attack,bomber,rotary-wing or remotely piloted aircraft;rocket-propelled artillery;and some ground-based artillery when fired on planned targets.No information on which countries participated in the strikes was provided.*
It is ironic that,with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau removing Canadian Forces from the OIR air campaign in an attempt to distance them from direct combat against ISIL,it was a Canadian Special Operations Forces member of Joint Task Force 2 who has just set the world record for a sniper kill by neutralising an ISIL militant from a distance of 3.54 kilometers,or about 2.2 miles.Congratulations to our loyal northern neighbours,who always find a way to assist,even joining the US Army so they could fight in the Vietnam War alongside Americans.
The sniper used a MacMillan TAC-50 .50 caliber weapon,which is the world's longest shoulder-fired firearm,and a 750-grain Hornady round.Experts point out that his spotter's skill in evaluating the atmospheric conditions all the way to the target was also critical to the success of the mission.
Mr.Trudeau insisted the sniper kill was both praiseworthy and consistent with Canada's advise and assist role in Iraq.Canadian Forces are expected to defend themselves and coalition partners during the course of their mission,he told reporters.

Dunford in Afghanistan for Talks on US Troop Increase

Dunford in Afghanistan for Talks on US Troop Increase: Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford was in Kabul on Monday to prepare the way for a possible U.S. troop increase.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Saber Strike 17 Opening Ceremony Orzysz, Poland

NATO Tanks Maneuver In Poland – Operation Saber Strike - US,Poland,Lithuania

Thousands of NATO Troops Assembled for Saber Strike 17 - preparing for Baltic warfighting

NATO Exercise Saber Strike 17 is currently underway in the Baltic States and Poland.The longtime drills emphasise cooperation in the Baltic Sea Region by NATO Allies and partners.The key objective of this year's exercise is training and exercising the NATO Enhanced Forward Presence,or eFP,Battle Groups with the aim of promoting interoperability and improving joint operational capability in a variety of missions,US Army Europe said.The drills are being held in multiple locations throughout Estonia,Latvia,Lithuania and Poland from 28 May to 24 June.*
Key evolutions of SS 17 include:
1.Convoy by Battle Group Poland from Orzysz,Poland to Southern Lithuania;
2.Maritime prepositioned offload of pre-staged supplies and equipment in Latvia;
3.Marine amphibious assault in Latvia;
4.Combined arms live fire exercises in Poland and Lithuania;
5.Air assault by UK Royal Marines at the Polish/Lithuanian border;and
6.River crossing there as well.*
Participating nations include:Belgium;Canada;Croatia;Denmark;Estonia;Finalnd;France;Germany;Italy;Latvia;Lithuania;Luxembourg;the Netherlands;Norway;Poland;Portugal;Romania;Slovakia;the UK;and the US.At least 11,000 military men and women were deployed.*
At one point in SS 17,US and Polish Soldiers and UK Royal Marines trained as a platoon for two days,rehearsing movements before being flown to a nearby location the day before an evacuation evolution.They then put their battle plan into action as they overcame the defensive forces,demonstrating skill and speed,the Pentagon noted.The drills test the capability of multiple nations to act together against a threat.
The ground assault was then transitioned into a comprehensive medevac training evolution with mock casualties.*
US Army Lieutenant Colonel Ryan Meidema pointed out that a common foundation of knowledge is necessary to communicate,build combat power,assemble swiftly and with agility bring combat forces against the enemy,or to reassure Allies.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Afghan War:Second Green on Blue Attack Rattles NATO - Camp Shaheen incident

In the second green-on-blue attack on less than a week,an Afghan soldier reportedly opened fire on his coalition allies on 17 June 2017 at Camp Shaheen in Mazar i Sharif,Balkh Province,Northern Afghanistan,a US military spokesman said.One Afghan soldier was killed and another wounded along with seven American troops,in the as yet unclear incident.The Taliban Islamist extremists claimed responsiblity for the new attack.The remaining US troops were evacuated from the base following the flare-up,which the NATO Resolute Support Mission said is being looked into.
On 11 June,three US Soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division were killed in a similar attack in Nangarhar Province that was also claimed by the Taliban.*
Camp Shaheen has a German detachment that is leading the NATO advise and assist mission there,but there was no indication of German casualties at the base,which is headquarters for the Afghan Army's 209th Corps.In April 2017,the Taliban militants mounted a major assault there,killing or wounding more than a hundred Afghan soldiers.*
President Donald Trump has recently delegated the authority to set US troop levels in Afghanistan to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis,who has come under congressional criticism for the delay in issuing an outline for the war effort.The Secretary said,however,that there will be no immediate change in troop levels.By next month,Mr.Mattis is to present the Trump administration with options for its Afghan War strategy.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Two Helo Pilots Among NASA Astronaut Candidates - Rotor

Two Helo Pilots Among NASA Astronaut Candidates - Rotor: NASA’s newest class of astronaut candidates includes a U.S. Marine helicopter test pilot and a U.S. Army battalion surgeon for airborne Special Forces who formerly flew Sikorsky Black Hawks. The U.S. aeronautics and space agency said a record number of people — more than 18,300 — applied for the open astronaut candidate slots that Marine …

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Senator McCain Scolds SecDef Mattis for Delay on Afghan War Strategy

McCain Scolds Mattis for Delay on Afghan War Strategy: A key lawmaker criticized Pentagon and administration officials for failing to deliver a strategy for victory in Afghanistan.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Norwegian troops arrive in Lithuania - NATO

Firefight 101st Airborne Khost Afghanistan - 2014

A history of insider attacks in Afghanistan - 2014 report

Three US Soldiers Killed in Afghanistan Identified - 101st Airborne Division

The Pentagon has released the identities of the three US Army troops killed in Achin district of Nangarhar Province,Afghanistan on 10 June 2017.They were on a counterterrorism mission with Afghan National Defence and Security Forces against ISIL-K at the time of the incident,which is being considered an attack by an enemy infiltrator,or green-on-blue attack.The Taliban militants claimed responsibility for it.
All three Americans were members of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) out of Fort Campbell,Kentucky.Those killed were:
Sergeant Erick M. Houck,25,of Baltimore,Maryland;Sergeant William M. Bays,29,of Barstow,California;and Corporal Dillon C. Baldridge,22,of Youngsville,North Carolina.
The Soldiers were serving in the 3rd Brigade Combat Team,and two of them were "Rakkasans" of the 187th Infantry Regiment,having been deployed in support of Operation Freedom's Sentinel in the fall of 2016.Commanding General of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) and Fort Campbell,Major General Andrew Poppas,said of the incident:
We take this as a family loss.In the days ahead,the 101st Soldiers and the Rakkasans will continue the fight against terrorism with unbridled determination.Our Soldiers are battle-hardened and committed to the defence of our nation and the freedoms for which we fight.*
SGT Houck was a forward observer in Headquarters and Headquarters Battery,320th Field Artillery Regiment,assigned as a Fire Support Sergeant,having joined the Army in 2013.His awards include:Army Commendation Medal with one oak leaf cluster;Army Superior Unit Award;and the Army Good Conduct Medal,as well as the NATO Medal and Air Assault Badge.*
SGT Bays was an Infantryman in Company D,1st Battalion,187th Infantry Regiment.He was assigned as a Squad Leader,having joined the Army in 2009.His awards include:the Meritorious Unit Commendation;Army Good Conduct Medal;National Defense Service Medal;as well as the NATO Service Medal with one oak leaf cluster,Air Assault Badge and the Driver and Mechanic Badge.*
CPL Baldridge was an Infantryman in Company D,1st Battalion,187th Infantry Regiment,and was assigned as a Squad Leader,having joined the Army in February 2013.His awards include the Army Achievement Medal with three oak leaf clusters;the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal;Army Commendation Medal,as well as the NATO Medal and Expert Infantryman Badge.*
All three Soldiers received various posthumous medals,among them the Bronze Star and Purple Heart Medals.CPL Baldridge was,in addition,posthumously promoted to the rank of Sergeant.*
"Rakkasans" is a nickname for the 187th Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division.It was received in occupied Japan after World War II when a translator was explaining to a local official what kind of troops they were.It is the Japanese word for "parachute men."

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Bulletin:Three US Troops Killed in Afghanistan - green on blue attack

US officials say three American service members were killed and a fourth wounded in Achin district of Nangarhar Province,Afghanistan on Saturday,10 June 2017.The incident is being labeled a green-on-blue attack,a NATO code word for an enemy infiltrator who opens fire on coalition forces while wearing an Afghan National Defence and Security Forces uniform.The treacherous attack occurred while US and ANDSF personnel were conducting a counterterrorist operation in the district,an ISIL-K stronghold that US and Afghan Special Operations Forces have been focused on for several months now.An Afghan official said ANDSF members shot the gunman dead.*
The Taliban militants claimed responsibility for the incident,calling the perpetrator a "mujahadid,"or freedom fighter.On Saturday,US Vice President Mike Pence mentioned the deaths and offered the American people's thoughts and prayers to the family and friends of the victims.*
ISIL-K and the Taliban had been fighting each other,so it is possible they have begun to cooperate against the US and Afghan forces now.*
ISIL-K is short for ISIL-Khorasan.The Islamist extremists refer to Nangarhar as being their Khorasan Province.In April,two more US troops were killed in action in Achin district of Nangarhar during combat with ISIL-K.*
The US and its NATO Allies are considering upping the number of forces in Afghanistan in light of the persistent militant activity.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

What Curiosity is Discovering on the Road to Mt. Sharp - note:Curiosity is currently climbing up Mt.Sharp,but this video gives a good account of its capabilities and how it got to this point.

First Mission into the Sun’s Atmosphere on This Week @NASA – June 2, 2017

Mars Science Laboratory Lifts Off for Red Planet - Curiosity rover,still active on Mars,lifted off on 26 November 2011

Robotic Exploration Outline:NASA JPL Engineer Briefs the Public

On Friday 2 June 2017,a senior engineer from the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena,California,briefed the Metropolitan Washington area public on robotic exploration missions at the C.Burr Artz Library in Frederick,Maryland.Dr.Adam Steltzner,team leader and chief engineer of Mars Rover Curiosity,began by recounting his own life to the standing room crowd in Maryland.A native of Sausalito,California in the San Francisco Bay Area,Dr.Steltzner admitted he was a terrible student in high school;indeed,he was barely able to graduate.He dreamed of being a rock star and played in a band.One night-a night that changed his life forever-he spotted the constellation Orion in the night sky and got so intrigued by its motion through the heavens that he took a class in astronomy.Unfortunately,there weren't enough students for the astronomy class,so it was canceled and he had to settle for a physics class,instead.From then on,though,exploring the universe became his true passion and he pursued a PhD in engineering physics.*
For 10 years,Dr.Steltzner led a team of JPL engineers of the revolutionary sky crane landing system that successfully placed the Curiosity rover on the surface of Mars in 2012.The atmosphere of Mars is so thin,he explained,they had to devise a new way to safely land Curiosity,which is the size of a car,the biggest rover ever sent into space,and came up with the sky crane system.He is now also chief engineer of the Mars Rover 2020 mission,the next iteration of the robotic exploration of Mars that began with the Viking spacecraft in 1976.Viking was followed by Pathfinder in 1997;the twin rovers Spirit and Opportunity in 2004;Phoenix in 2008;and finally Curiosity in 2012.Of all these rovers,Opportunity,which is solar-powered,and Curiosity,which is nuclear-powered,are still doing great scientific work.*
The unique thing about JPL,Dr.Steltzner pointed out,is its culture.This culture is different in that it separates ideas from the people who hold them,thus freeing up the ideas to compete,so only the sharpest ones survive.His JPL experiences led him to author the book "The Right Kind of Crazy:A True Story of Teamwork,Leadership and High Stakes Innovation."*
Curiosity was gently positioned in the Gale crater,in the shadow of its central feature,the 15,000 foot Mt.Sharp.Over 3,000 JPL people from 37 states and seven nations worked to get it there.When it got to Yellowknife Bay,Curiosity pulled up powder,and data from the powder showed that conditions for supporting life were rich on Mars some three billion years ago,at about the time when life was beginning on Earth.This raises the question,did life on Earth somehow originate from life on Mars?
Curiosity has begun climbing up Mt.Sharp.*
Mars Rover 2020 will take up Mars material and seal it in three special,highly secure containers samples which will be retrieved and returned to Earth by another mission.These containers will be unbreakable because they are containers within containers;they are redundant.The containers will both shield the samples from contamination,on the one hand;and protect the Earth from contamination when they are returned,on the other hand.
Mars Rover 2020 will also be landed by the sky crane system.In this system,the landing stage has a crane mechanism on it that places rovers on the surface while it hovers,then propels itself away from the rover landing site so it will not damage the rover when it lands itself.*
After Mars 2020,NASA is looking ahead to a robotic mission to explore Europa in the 2025-27 time frame,Europa Clipper,but a lander is much less developed at this point-and even uncertain.Europa is the icy moon of Jupiter which is covered by oceans.Europa is the number one bet by astrobiologists for a place other than Earth to find extant life in our solar system,because of its oceans.Mars is an unlikely place to find extant life,because it receives a lot of radiation,which would tend to kill any microbes-and is also very dangerous for astronauts.Mars is smaller than Earth,so,unlike the molten-cored Earth,its core has already cooled off,and hence its magnetic field has nearly vanished.*
Dr.Steltzner noted that he does not agree with industrialist Elon Musk,owner of NASA contractor Space-X,that Mars should be colonised.All the knowledge needed to colonise Mars is also needed here on Earth.If,as seems obvious,we lack the knowledge to successfully live together on Earth,we will lack it on Mars as well.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

US Air Force CSAR Pave Hawk Successor Reaches Critical Design Review - Rotor

US Air Force CSAR Pave Hawk Successor Reaches Critical Design Review - Rotor: Sikorsky’s HH-60W can now prepare for assembly, test and evaluation, Lockheed Martin said. The U.S. Air Force Combat Rescue Helicopter (CRH) project has successfully reached air vehicle critical design review. “This milestone is an important achievement and demonstrates Sikorsky and the Air Force are well aligned on the technical requirements of the HH-60W,” said Tim …

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Sec. Mattis warns conflict with North Korea may lead to "the worst kind ...

F-15K Slam Eagles Takeoff • Kunsan Air Base South Korea

US supersonic B-1B Lancer bombers joint drill with South Korea after N Ko...

North Korea Threatens Japan with Latest Missile Test - US,South Korea respond with B-1Bs,fighter jets and aircraft carriers

On 29 May 2017,Memorial Day in the US,North Korea launched its third ballistic missile test in less than three weeks and its twelfth of the year.The missile was fired at 0539 hours locval time from near Wonsan,Kanguan Province,on North Korea's east coast.It traveled 248 miles to a point in Japan's exclusive economic zone,a place with heavy commercial ship and aircraft traffic that is within 200 miles of the Japanese coast.*
South Korea's Foreign Ministry said:
It is a severe threat to the peace and stability of not only the Korean Penninsula,but also the international community.Since our government took office,North Korea has been frequently and repeatedly conducting provocation in such a manner.*
The South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff added:
North Korea's continuous provocative actions will cause its own isolation and it will be facing strong punishment from our own military.*
Defence experts say the number and pace of the missile tests mean North Korea is accelerating reaching its goal of developing an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile capable of delivering a nuclear warhead to the mainland US.*
For his part,Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe stated that:
We can never tolerate North Korea's repeated provocations violating repeated warnings from the international community.We have lodged a firm protest against North Korea as we have agreed at the G7 Summit that North Korea is the priority of the international community.In order to deter North Korea,we will take concrete action together with the US.We will maintain high vigilance in coordination with South Korea and we will take all possible measures to secure the safety of the people of Japan.*
In the event,South Korea revealed that,at about 1030 hours,two US Air Force B-1B Lancer strategic bombers arrived over the East Sea some five hours after the missile test.The swept-wing bombers flew about 80 kilometers east of Gangueng,a city near the Military Demarcation Line that defines the border between North and South Korea.Warplanes from the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) and South Korean F-15K fighter jets joined in the responsive drill.North Korea described it as a nuclear bomb-dropping exercise,but:
Such military provocations of the US imperialists is a dangerous reckless racket for bringing the situation on the Korean Peninsula to the brink of war.*
Indeed,the KNCA official North Korean news agency disclosed that North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un had recently watched the test of a new type of anti-aircraft guided weapon system organised by the Academy of National Defense Science.This weapon system,whose operational capacity has been thoroughly verified,should be mass-produced to be deployed all over the country.It will completely destroy the enemy's wild dream to command the air,boasting of air supremacy and weapon almighty.*
Besides the Carl Vinson,the US has the carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) in the Western Pacific as well.What is more,it is reportedly sending the carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68 ) to join them.Three carriers in one region is almost unheard of for the US Navy.

Friday, May 26, 2017

DARPA, Boeing Spaceplane Would be New Class of Hypersonic Aircraft - Avionics

DARPA, Boeing Spaceplane Would be New Class of Hypersonic Aircraft - Avionics: What do you get when you mix a business jet with a rocket? Presumably, it would result in Phantom Express, Boeing and the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Project Agency’s (DARPA) XS-1 program aircraft-like vehicle. DARPA selected Boeing to complete advanced design work, and investment is coming from both parties.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The U-2 Takes On Northern Edge 17 - the U-2S Dragon Lady visits Alaska for the first time in decades

Eastern Wolf Pack Howling - Algonquin Provincial Park

Algonquin Wolves 2016 - aka Eastern wolves (Canis lycaon)

Nature Note:Eastern Coyotes Don't Replace Missing Wolves - study suggests reintroducing wolves still necessary

A thorough study by John F. Benson et al. in Central Ontario considerably explicates the ecology of wild canids in Eastern North America.The paper,Ungulate predation and ecological roles of wolves and coyotes in eastern North America,was recently published in the April 2017 issue of Ecological Applications.Understanding the ecological roles of species that influence ecosystem processes is a central goal of ecology and conservation biology,the authors say.This study sought to clarify the predatory ability and ecological roles of the different top canid predators of Eastern North America by investigating intrinsic and extrinsic influences on per capita kill rates of white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) and moose (Alces alces) by canids of varying Canis ancestry in and adjacent to Algonquin Provincial Park in Central Ontario.Erroneously concluding that Eastern coyotes have replaced the ecological roles once performed by wolves could detract from wolf restoration efforts and the conservation of naturally functioning ecosystems.Thus studies of predation patterns of Eastern wolves (Canis lycaon) and Eastern coyotes (Canis latrans var.) are needed to critically evaluate the ecological functions performed by wild canids in Eastern North America.*
In 2015,the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) recommended that Eastern wolves be recognised as a separate species rather than a subspecies of Grey wolf.Currently the majority of Eastern wolves inhabit areas in and adjacent to Algonquin Provincial Park.Besides Eastern wolves,in the study we are reviewing today,admixed Grey wolves are referred to as Great Lakes-boreal wolves.The study combines GPS telemetry,field investigations,DNA analysis and environmental data to quantify predation on deer and moose by canids of varying Canis* ancestry in and adjacent to Algonquin Provincial Park.*
Previous studies revealed that Eastern wolves were the dominant resident canids in APP (estimated 63%).There are smaller numbers of Eastern wolf x Great Lakes-boreal wolf hybrids and wolf (Great Lakes-boreal and Eastern wolf) x Eastern coyote hybrids (29%),with whom they sometimes form packs.Eastern coyotes (estimated 64%) and Eastern coyote x wolf (Great Lakes-boreal and Eastern wolf) hybrids (29%) were the dominant resident canids of adjacent Wildlife Management Unit 49,where wolves were much rarer.Both APP and WMU 49 were characterised by hardwood,conifer and mixed forests interspersed with wetlands,lakes and rocky meadows.The landscapes have elevations ranging from 180-580 meters in APP and 79-549 meters in WMU 49.*
The authors note that Eastern coyotes have ascended to the role of apex predator across much of Eastern North America since the extirpation of wolves (Canis spp.) and there has been considerable confusion regarding their ability to prey on ungulates and their ecological niche relative to wolves.Eastern wolves are thought to have been the historical top predator in eastern deciduous forests and have previously been characterised as deer specialists that are inefficient predators of moose because of their smaller size relative to grey wolves (Canis lupus).*
In any event,the basic findings of the study under consideration suggest the following:
1.Eastern coyote ancestry within packs negatively influenced per capita total ungulate (moose and white-tailed deer) and moose kill rates.
2.Furthermore,such packs consumed significantly less ungulate biomass and more anthropogenic (human-related) food than packs dominated by wolf ancestry.
3.Similar to Grey wolves in previous studies,Eastern wolves preyed on deer when they were available.However,in areas of scarcity,Eastern wolves killed moose at rates seen previously among Grey wolves at comparable moose densities across North America.
4.Most critically,Eastern coyotes are effective deer predators,but their dietary flexibility and low kill rates on moose suggest they have not replaced the ecological role of wolves in Eastern North America.If this were not understood,ecosystems that are in fact in need of restoration by the reintroduction of wolves could be overlooked.*
Large remote tracts of mature forest inhabited primarily by moose rather than deer are rare in the Northeastern US,which will make Eastern wolf establishment difficult in the presence of abundant coyote populations,the authors point out.Reintroducing Great Lakes-boreal wolves may be advantageous given that hybridisation between sympatric (inhabiting the same area) Great Lakes-boreal wolves and coyotes appears to be minimal in areas where they overlap.Great Lakes-boreal wolves are aggressive with and behaviourally dominant to coyotes,whereas Eastern wolves tend to treat coyotes similar to conspecifics in territorial interactions,at least at the home range level.Great Lakes-boreal wolves have successfully colonised areas in Minnesota,Wisconsin and Michigan that were characterised by younger forests,habitat fragmentation and abundant coyotes,suggesting they could also persist in the Northeastern US.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

steers capsule and launch abort system away from launch vehicle in event of emergency - Test Fire of Orbital ATK’s Attitude Control Motor for NASA’s Orion Space...

NASA Orion parachute test, 8 March 2017

Orion Capsule from Lockheed Martin

Bulletin:NASA Rejects Revision to Orion Program Schedule - thanks,but no thanks

NASA has politely declined the White House's suggestion that it might speed things up and make the first launch of the integrated Orion system,Exploration Mission -1,also the first crewed Orion mission.While expressing gratitude for President Trump's obvious enthusiasm for the space program,the agency feels it would not be in the long-term interests of the Orion Program to skip the uncrewed fully integrated test flight it originally planned for,this late in the mission planning process.It would be difficult.*
Instead,NASA will proceed with a focus on the uncrewed EM-1 test flight,while at the same time constructing hardware for the first crewed Orion mission,EM-2.EM-1 is now planned for a 2019 launch,taking all factors into consideration,including hurricane damage that was sustained by NASA facilities.EM-1 will be a technological milestone,as it takes a human-rated spacecraft to a high lunar orbit,farther than one has ever gone before.It will also be a definitive confirmation that Orion is indeed on track for safe,reliable operations in deep space.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Heather Wilson Confirmed as New Air Force Secretary

Heather Wilson Confirmed as New Air Force Secretary: The U.S. Senate voted to confirm the former congresswoman and Air Force Academy graduate to be the next Air Force secretary.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

X-37B OTV-4 landing (close-up) 7 May 2017

2015 Launch of US Air Force's Mini Space Shuttle - X-37B on Atlas V Rocket

Pentagon Identifies US Service Member Killed in Somalia - New England native excelled in special ops

The Pentagon has announced that Senior Chief Special Warfare Operator Kyle Milliken,38,of Falmouth Maine,was killed while on a raid with Somali commandos against al-Qaida affiliate al-Shabaab about 40 miles west of the Somali capital Mogadishu.SCSWO Milliken and his team were helicoptered into the raid and immediately took fire from the militants.He was wounded along with two other Americans and medivaced to the neighbouring nation of Djibouti,where he died of his wounds.*
SCSWO Milliken was a husband and father who resided with his family in Virginia Beach,Virginia.He was a member of SEAL Team Six,the unit that killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan.SCSWO Milliken was a veteran of both the Iraq and Afghan Wars,earning a total of four Bronze Star Medals for his service,among many others.A graduate of the University of Connecticut,he had been in the Navy for 13 years.*
Fifty US Special Warfare Operatives are currently serving in a train and advise capacity with the African Union forces in Somalia.SCSWO Milliken was the first US service member to be killed in action in Somalia since 1993,when 18 US service members died in the Battle of Mogadishu,which was dramatised in the movie "Blackhawk Down."*
According to a Somali official,the special operation was surgically targeting senior members of al-Shabaab hiding in the area and a media outlet supportive of the Islamist extremists.It was considered a success as several of the terrorists were killed.*
SCSWO Milliken will be interred in Arlington National Cemetery.

Friday, May 5, 2017

U.S. Service Member Dies During Somalia Operation - counterterrorist mission

U.S. Service Member Dies During Somalia Operation: U.S. Africa Command issued a news release that said a U.S. service member was killed during an operation against al-Shabaab near Barii, Somalia, approximately 40 miles west of Mogadishu.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

As Battle of Mosul Ebbs,US Army Officer Killed in Iraq

Even as the Iraqi Security Forces near perhaps the greatest victory in their history by having liberated all but a pocket of the longtime Islamist extremist stronghold of Mosul,a young US Army officer was killed in action on 29 April 2017 by an Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant IED as he helped secure the outskirts of the city.He was identified by the Pentagon as 1st Lieutenant Weston C. Lee,25,of Bluffton,Georgia.1ST LT Lee was on a patrol in support of Operation Inherent Resolve,providing security as part of advise and assist to partnered forces,when the IED exploded.ISIL militants have heavily mined and booby-trapped all the areas of and around Mosul they withdrew from,making the city and surrounding area extremely hazardous.*
1ST LT Lee was a member of the 1st Battalion,325th Infantry Regiment,2nd Brigade Combat Team,82nd Airborne Division,out of Fort Bragg,North Carolina.An ROTC graduate of the University of North Georgia,he had enlisted in the Army in 2015 and excelled in pistol marksmanship as an ROTC cadet.Commissioned a 2nd lieutenant in December 2014,1ST LT Lee earned his Ranger tab prior to his Parachutist badge.Among his other decorations were the National Defense Service Medal,Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and Army Service Ribbon.The paratrooper was on his first tour in Iraq,having deployed there in December 2016,and posthumously received the Bronze Star Medal,Purple Heart and Meritorious Service Medal.*
At this point,the ISF have wiped out most of the 6,000 ISIL fighters that had been holding Mosul.Only 200-300 remain,and they are surrounded in the city's northwest,dug in among about 400,000 civilians running short on food,water and medicine in the historic Old City area.Mostly the US-trained Counter Terrorism Service and Federal Police are fighting inside Mosul;while the Iraqi Army regulars,Shiite volunteers and Kurdish Peshmerga control the perimeter.A total of about 100,000 ground troops supported by OIR coalition airpower and artillery have been battling ISIL in the Battle of Mosul since October 2016,which is expected to be concluded in a maximum of three weeks' time.