Sunday, April 30, 2017

Does The U.S. Navy Need A New Destroyer?


Rich Smith, Motley Fool: Why the Navy Needs a New Destroyer

If it doesn't get one, it may be forced to "go to war with the destroyers it has -- not the destroyers it might want or wish to have at a later time."

The U.S. Navy is not a very flexible force.

Out of 275 ships on the Navy's "Battle Forces" list, fully 23% of the Navy's ships are Arleigh Burke-class "destroyers," and 25% are nuclear submarines. Throw in a few Ticonderoga-class cruisers (8% of the fleet) and 10 operational aircraft carriers (4%), and well over half the fleet is made up of just four types of warship.

Why doesn't the Navy have a more flexible toolkit, with more types of vessels designed to tackle more specific sorts of missions? In part, it's a question of cost. More ship designs mean more expense to maintain them. In addition, when the Navy has tried to introduce new ship types to the fleet, it's sometimes been shocked to find the ships arriving over budget and behind schedule.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The U.S. Navy initially expected to build 32 Zumwalt-class units .... but they are now only going to build 3. And the problem with the Arleigh Burkes class of ships is that were designed years ago, and will not be able to incorporate the weapon systems that the US Navy wants to install in the future. Faced with this dilemma .... yup .... it is time to develop a new destroyer. The big question that needs to be answered is .... will Congress allocate the money to develop and build it .... and if so, when.

President Trump Invites Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte To The White House

Washington Times: President Trump invites President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines to White House

A photo of President Trump grinning broadly and pumping his fist topped the Philippines’ leading newspaper on Monday after news broke that the Mr. Trump had invited President Rodrigo Duterte to the White House.

The invitation stands in sharp contrast to the friction between the populist, plain-spoken Mr. Duterte and the Obama administration. This is the latest example of Mr. Trump’s willingness to engage authoritarian leaders that President Obama kept at arm’s length.

Mr. Trump is slated to be in Manila when Mr. Duterte hosts a summit of East Asian nations. No date has been announced for Mr. Duterte’s trip to Washington.

Read more ....

More News On President Trump Inviting Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte To The White House

Trump’s ‘Very Friendly’ Talk With Duterte Stuns Aides and Critics Alike -- NYT
Trump Invites Rodrigo Duterte to the White House -- NYT
In 'warm' phone call, Trump invites Philippines' Duterte to White House -- L.A. Times
Trump invites controversial Philippines leader Duterte to White House -- FOX News
Trump did not clear Duterte invitation with State Department: report -- The Hill
Trump invites Phillipines' Duterte to White House during 'friendly' call -- UPI
Trump Invites Controversial Philippines Leader To White House -- NPR
Donald Trump invites Rodrigo Duterte to White House in 'warm' phone call as Chinese ships arrive in the Philippines -- ABC News Online
White House defends Trump invitation to Duterte despite human rights criticism -- Reuters

President Donald Trump's Interview With "Face The Nation"

From CBS: FULL TRANSCRIPT: President Donald Trump's interview with "Face the Nation"

Turkey Threatens Further Air-Strikes On US-Allied Syrian Kurds

Al Jazeera: Turkey threatens more strikes on US-allied Syrian Kurds

Erdogan says more action possible against YPG fighters in Syria, insisting US support for Kurdish group must end.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday said Ankara was "seriously saddened" by footage showing US military vehicles operating close to the border with Syrian Kurdish fighters, threatening further military action against a group Turkey sees as "terrorists".

His comments came amid rising tensions over the weekend along the border, with both Ankara and Washington moving armoured vehicles to the area.

Read more ....

More News On Turkey Threatening Further Air-Strikes On US-Allied Syrian Kurds

Turkey Threatens Further Strikes on U.S.-Allied Syrian Kurds -- AP
Erdogan ‘saddened’ US troops cooperating with Syrian Kurds -- Times of Israel/AFP
Syrian Kurds call for no-fly zone after 20 die in Turkish airstrike -- UPI
US troops patrol Turkey-Syria border after Turkish strikes on Kurds -- CNN
Tensions rise between Turkey, US along Syrian border -- Washington Post/AP
Erdogan tests Trump with attack on Syrian Kurds -- Al-Monitor
Is Turkey’s War on Syrian Kurds Becoming a War on the United States? -- Juan Cole, The Nation
Does Turkey plan to continue airstrikes in Iraq, Syria? -- Metin Gurcan, Al-Monitor

French Forces Kill 20 Militants Near The Mali-Burkina Faso Border

France has deployed about 4,000 soldiers in the region

France 24: French forces kill militants near Mali-Burkina Faso border

French soldiers killed more than 20 militants hiding in a forest near the border between the West African countries of Mali and Burkina Faso this weekend, its regional force said in a statement.

The operation followed the death of a French soldier nearby earlier this month. It involved both air and ground strikes, the statement said, but failed to identify the militant group that was targeted.

The French forces may have also captured some of the militants alive, the AFP news agency reported citing an unnamed army official.

Mali has been regularly hit by Islamist militant violence, despite a 2013 French-led operation to drive them out of key northern cities they had seized.

Read more ....

More News On Mali

French forces kill militants in Mali forest -- BBC
France kills more than 20 militants on Mali, Burkina border -- Reuters
French forces kill 20 jihadists on Mali-Burkina Faso border -- AP
Mali extends state of emergency by 6 months -- News24
Returning from Mali, senior UN relief official spotlights country's complex challenges -- UN News Centre
Mali at the crossroads once more -- Martin Vengadesan, Daily Star

China’s Amphibious Aircraft AG600 Takes Its First Ground Test

Reuters: China-built amphibious aircraft takes maiden flight: Xinhua

China's domestically developed AG600, the world's largest amphibious aircraft, took its maiden flight ahead of schedule on Saturday from the southern city of Zhuhai, according to the official Xinhua news agency.

The AG600 was designed to extinguish forest fires and carry out rescue missions at sea, Xinhua said on Saturday, adding that it could also "be used to monitor and protect the ocean."

The seaplane's maiden flight comes amid China's increasing assertiveness to its territorial claims in the disputed South China Sea where it is building airfields and deploying military equipment, rattling nerves in the Asia-Pacific region and the United States.

Read more ....

Update: Watch China's AG600, World’s Largest Amphibious Aircraft Pass First Ground Test -- Sputnik

WNU Editor: They are ahead of schedule.

Afghanistan War News Updates -- April 30, 2017

Reuters: U.S. Marines back in Helmand as Afghanistan 'stalemate' continues

The U.S. Marine Corps has returned to Helmand, the restive province in southern Afghanistan where it fought years of bloody battles with the Taliban, to help train Afghan forces struggling to contain the insurgency.

Many of the 300 Marines coming to Helmand as part of the NATO-led Resolute Support training mission are veterans of previous tours in the province, where almost 1,000 coalition troops, mostly U.S. and British, were killed fighting the Taliban.

When they left in 2014, handing over the sprawling desert base they knew as Camp Leatherneck to the Afghan army, the Marines never expected to return. The fact that they are back underlines the problems Afghan forces have faced since being left to fight alone.

Read more ....

Afghanistan War News Updates -- April 30, 2017

Marines Return to Helmand Province for a Job They Thought Was Done -- NYT
'It feels like Groundhog Day': US Marines return to Helmand province -- The Guardian
US marines return to Taliban stronghold of Helmand -- Al Jazeera
1700 Troops Head To Afghanistan As Taliban Declares Fighting Season Is On -- Daily Caller
US Army Will Send 1500 Troops To Afghanistan For Summer 2017 -- Newsweek
The Pentagon is considering up to 5,000 additional troops for Afghanistan -- Military Times
More British troops could be on their way to Afghanistan as Nato considers mission boost -- The Telegraph
2 Taliban commanders reportedly killed in US strike in Pakistan -- Long War Journal
Haqqani network and ISIS militants among 53 killed in airstrikes: MoD -- Khaama Press
Taliban vows to ‘harass, capture, kill’ enemies in fresh spring offensive in Afghanistan -- RT
US: Top Islamic State leader in Afghanistan Likely Dead -- VOA
A Look at Islamic State's Operations in Afghanistan -- VOA
Sixty percent of Taliban funding said derived from illegal opium trade -- World Tribune
Taliban are main reason behind US forces presence in Afghanistan: Hekmatyar -- Khaama Pres
Afghanistan tense as warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar returns to the fold -- Sydney Morning Herald
Visit at Ground Zero – From the MOAB Attack Site in Afghanistan -- Defense Update
MOAB’s Bright Flash turns Into a Dud in Afghanistan -- Abdullah Sharif, Huffington Post
How to win peace in Afghanistan -- Stephen J. Hadley, Andrew Wilder and Scott Worden, Gulf News
More U.S. troops might turn the tide of war in Afghanistan -- Ahmad Shah Katawazai, Military Times

Battle For The Iraqi City Of Mosul -- News Updates April 30, 2017

Iraqi paramilitary troops fire towards Isis militants during a battle with militants on the outskirts of the ancient city of Hatra, south of Mosul, Iraq. Reuters

Reuters: Iraqi commander says to complete capture of Mosul in May

An Iraqi commander expects to dislodge Islamic State from Mosul in May despite resistance from militants in the densely populated Old City district.

The battle should be completed "in a maximum of three weeks", the army's chief of staff, Lieutenant General Othman al-Ghanmi, was quoted as saying by state-run newspaper al-Sabah on Sunday.

A U.S.-led international coalition is providing air and ground support for the offensive in Mosul, the largest city in northern Iraq, which fell to hardline Sunni Muslim fighters in June 2014.

Islamic State has lost most of the city since the offensive began in October and is now surrounded in the northwestern districts, including the historic Old City center.

The United Nations believes up to half a million people remain in the area, 400,000 of whom are in the Old City with little food, water and medicine.

Read more ....

Battle For The Iraqi City Of Mosul -- News Updates April 30, 2017

Iraqi forces to drive ISIS out of Mosul within three-week period, commander says -- NRT
Mosul: UN says 36 Yazidis freed, Iraqi commander predicts complete capture of city in May -- ABC News Online
Defense Ministry: 35% of western Mosul still controlled by Islamic State -- Iraqi News
Iraqi army nearing Nour Mosque in Mosul, where ISIS declared 'caliphate' -- RUDAW
US soldier killed in blast near embattled Mosul as Isis resistance continues in Iraq -- IBTimes
U.S. Service Member Killed in Mosul, Iraq: Pentagon -- NBC/AP
US service member killed in blast near Mosul, coalition says -- The Guardian
Airstrike kills 15 Iraqi civilians in Mosul: Activist -- Anadolu Agency
‘Unidentified militias’ kidnap around 100 Iraqis fleeing Mosul town -- Al Arabiya
Foreign fighters also bear responsibility for ISIS atrocities, Coalition details -- RUDAW
Lawmakers warn of further destruction of Mosul as battle for western districts continue -- RUDAW
Six months into battle for Mosul, water, trauma care are key UN and partner priorities -- UN News Centre

U.S. Backed Coalition Forces Advance On Tabqa A Town Near ISIS's Stronghold Of Raqqa

Al Jazeera: Kurdish-Arab force makes gains against ISIL in Tabqa

Fighting rages on, with US-backed SDF controlling ahout 40 percent of strategic town near ISIL's stronghold of Raqqa.

The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have advanced against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) near the armed group's stronghold in Raqqa in northern Syria, according to a monitor.

The SDF, an alliance of Kurdish and Arab fighters, now controls at least 40 percent of the town of Tabqa, and more than half of its heart, the Old City, the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said on Sunday.

Rami Abdel Rahman, SOHR director, said fighting was continuing in the town on Sunday morning.

Read more ....

More News On U.S. Backed Coalition Forces Advance On Tabqa A Town Near ISIS's Stronghold Of Raqqa

US-backed Syrian rebels advance on ISIS stronghold of Raqqa by seizing a strategic dam 30 miles from the terror group's capital -- Daily Mail
US-backed Syria force advances against ISIS in Tabqa -- Al Arabiya/AFP
Airstrikes on Raqqa as Syrian Democratic Forces advance in Tabqa -- Asharq Al Awsat
US-backed militias claim big advance against ISIS in Syria's Tabqa -- YNet News/Reuters
'Big advance' achieved against ISIS in Syria's Tabqa, says SDF -- NRT
'Hundreds of us will die in Raqqa’: the women fighting Isis -- Mark Townsend (The Guardian)

Pentagon Claims To Have Only Killed 352 Civilians Since The Start Of The ISIS Air Campaign

Reuters: U.S.-led fight on ISIS have killed 352 civilians: Pentagon

At least 352 civilians have been killed in U.S.-led strikes against Islamic State targets in Iraq and Syria since the operation began in 2014, the U.S. military said in a statement on Sunday.

The Combined Joint Task Force, in its monthly assessment of civilian casualties from the U.S. coalition's operations against the militant group, said it was still assessing 42 reports of civilian deaths.

It added that 45 civilians were killed between November 2016 and March 2017. It reported 80 civilian deaths from August 2014 to the present that had not previously been announced. The report included 26 deaths from three separate strikes in March.

The military's official tally is far below those of other outside groups. Monitoring group Airwars said more than 3,000 civilians have been killed by coalition air strikes.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: I have trouble believing these numbers.

Chinese Media Mocks North Korea's Technical Capabilities After Friday's Failed Missile Launch

CNBC: Chinese paper mocks North Korea's tech prowess after failed ballistic missile launch

China's semi-official Global Times newspaper criticized an ongoing "game of chicken" between North Korea and Washington but also knocked Pyongyang's tech talents.

Early Saturday, the reclusive communist nation launched yet another missile, presumably in a new display of force amid a verbal war of words with President Donald Trump. However, the missile exploded seconds after liftoff, and officials said the failed test involved a short-range, non-nuclear missile able to hit Seoul but not Japan.

"The test's failure shows that the country's missile technology is not mature, and that the missile-launching vehicle paraded on the Day of the Sun not long ago may have only been a mock-up," the English-language Chinese publication said in a commentary.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: This is going to irritate the North Koreans.

National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster: U.S. Adhere To Agreements Andl Pay For Missile Defense In South Korea

Reuters: South Korea says U.S. reaffirms it will pay THAAD costs; joint drills wrap up

South Korea said the United States had reaffirmed it would shoulder the cost of deploying the THAAD anti-missile system, days after President Donald Trump said Seoul should pay for the $1-billion battery designed to defend against North Korea.

In a telephone call on Sunday, Trump's national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, reassured his South Korean counterpart, Kim Kwan-jin, that the U.S. alliance with South Korea was its top priority in the Asia-Pacific region, the South's presidential office said.

The conversation followed another North Korean missile test-launch on Saturday which Washington and Seoul said was unsuccessful, but which drew widespread international condemnation.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The U.S. will pay for the deployment .... but National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster is indicating that in the future this will change when the deal is negotiated.

More News On The U.S. Committing To Pay For The South Korean Deployment of THAAD

McMaster says US will pay for THAAD anti-missile system in South Korea -- FOX News
National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster: U.S. will pay for missile defense in South Korea -- Washington Times
McMaster: U.S. will adhere to Korean missile defense deal 'until any renegotiation' -- Politico
McMaster to South Korea: US will pay for missile defense system -- The Hill
South Korea Says McMaster Affirms THAAD Funding Deal Unchanged: Official -- NBC

This Mobile Phone App Can Track Spy Planes

Open Secret: The £650 million aircraft was tracked near a naval air base

Daily Mail: Plane spotters with £2.99 app expose top secret UK spy plane off Russia: Highly-classified mission involving £650m aircraft is watched by thousands online

* A top-secret British spy plane was tracked using a £2.99 mobile phone app
* The £650 million RAF aircraft, called Rivet Joint, could be seen at 27,000ft
* Monitered as it tried to gather intelligence about a Russian base on the Baltic Sea

A top-secret British spy plane was tracked using a £2.99 mobile phone app as it flew on a daring mission to eavesdrop on Vladimir Putin’s air defences.

The £650 million RAF aircraft, called Rivet Joint, could be seen at 27,000ft as it tried to gather intelligence about a heavily defended Russian base on the Baltic Sea.

A minute-by-minute record of the highly classified mission to study the Kaliningrad naval air base was watched by hundreds of thousands of people on the internet, and details were shared on Twitter.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: So much for secrecy.

Concepts For A 6th Generation Fighter To Replace The F-35 Are Being Outlined

Northrop Grumman

Scout Warrior: Navy, Air Force Are Exploring Concepts for a Next-Generation 6th Generation Fighter to Come After the F-35

The Pentagon's 6th Generation Fighter may be stealthy and will likely have next-generation computers, electronic warfare technology, speed, weapons and sensors

Fighter jets in 20-years may likely contain the next-generation of stealth technoology, electronic warfare, sophisticated computer processing and algorithms, increased autonomy, hypersonic weapons and so-called "smart-skins" where sensors are built into the side of the aircraft itself.

Some of these characteristics may have been on display more than a year ago when Northrop Grumman's SuperBowl AD revealed a flashy first look at its rendering of a new 6th-generation fighter jet.

Northrop is one of a number of major defense industry manufacturers who will bid for a contract to build the new plane - when the time is right. While there are not many details available on this work, it is safe to assume Northrop is advancing concepts, technology and early design work toward this end. Boeing is also in the early phases of development of a 6th-gen design, according to a report in Defense News.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: It is going to be 20 - 30 years before we see one of these fighter jets flying (maybe).

The Pentagon Is Building Up Its Anti-Drone Arsenal

A member of the Iraqi federal police carries a destroyed drone belonging to ISIS militants, in Mosul, March 19, 2017.REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani

Business Insider: The Pentagon is getting better at stopping enemy drones — and testing its own for delivering gear to the battlefield

The US military and its partners are expanding their use of drones, turning to them for logistical purposes like resupply while expanding their abilities to defend against enemy drones.

The latest piece of drone-related equipment is a 5-pound radar-gun-like device used to jam drones in remote areas or during patrols.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Here is some more info on the "Drone Buster" .... The Army is adding the 'Dronebuster' to its set of anti-drone tools (Army Times)

Why China's Naval Expansion Should Worry India

J-15 fighter jets on the Liaoning aircraft carrier. © Kyodo

Mihir Sharma, Japan Times/ Bloomberg: Why Beijing’s more muscular naval force should worry India

NEW YORK – The launch of China’s second aircraft carrier is an important and depressing moment for India. The Type 001A — likely to be named the Shandong — will give China an edge for the first time in the carrier race with its Asian rival, a literal 2-to-1 advantage. After decommissioning the INS Viraat earlier this year, the Indian Navy is down to a single carrier, the INS Vikramaditya. Worse, the Shandong has been built at China’s own giant shipyard at Dalian; the Vikramaditya is merely a repurposed 1980s-era Russian carrier formerly known as the Admiral Gorshkov.

Even more telling than the raw numbers is what China’s progress says about India’s ability to provide security in its own backyard. Chinese naval strategists have open designs on the Indian Ocean. According to one, “China needs two carrier strike groups in the West Pacific Ocean and two in the Indian Ocean.”

Read more ....

WNU Editor: In this "arms race" .... it looks like India is "losing".

The World's Largest Submarine Factory Is Being Built In China


Popular Mechanics: China Is Building the World's Largest Submarine Factory

The 430,000-square-foot plant will guard subs from prying eyes.

China is building a factory so big that when it's done, it will be able to accommodate the construction of four submarines at once—out of sight from military enthusiasts and spy satellites alike.

According to Popular Science, Bohai Shipbuilding Heavy Industrial Corporation is building the plant in Huludao, Liaoning Province. The place will have two parallel assembly lines. The gigantic hall reportedly is where China will begin construction on is latest attack submarine, the Type 095.

Read more ....

Update: China is building the world's largest nuclear submarine facility (Popular Science)

WNU Editor: Is a submarine race is about to happen .... Pacific Commander Says U.S. Needs More Submarines, Ships to Counter North Korean Threat (Kris Osborne, National Interest). Countries in Asia are joining the bandwagon .... Taiwan to build eight submarines (The Straits Times). More here .... China Is Fueling a Submarine Arms Race in the Asia-Pacific (Foreign Policy).

Top U.S. Admiral In The Pacific: 'We Are Running Out Of Bombs'

© AFP 2017/ Leila GORCHEV

Daily Mail: 'We are running out of bombs': US admiral warns military is hitting ISIS so heavily stocks are running low

* US Pacific Commander Admiral Harry Harris testified before a Senate committee
* He admitted intensive operations against ISIS have depleted stocks of bombs
* He also warned the US needed to improve anti-missile and ship defences
* Admiral Harris also told the Senate he needed a replacement for cluster bombs

The United States is running out of bombs to blast ISIS terrorists because of the number of targets getting hit, one of the country's top generals has warned.

US Pacific Commander Admiral Harry Harris has said he needs more munitions to keep up the intensive operations against the terror organisation in Iraq and Syria.

Admiral Harris admitted he has seen much of his inventory of munitions moved to operations against ISIS.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: This concern on how fast the U.S. military is depleting its bomb and missile stockpiles was first posted earlier this year .... U.S. Military Running Out Of Bombs And Other Munitions In The War Against The Islamic State (February 17, 2017)

U.S. Navy Getting Ready To Activate The Weapon Systems On Their New Destroyer

US Navy

Scout Warrior: The Navy Begins Ship Activation for its Stealthy New Destroyer - the USS Zumwalt

The Navy's new stealthy destroyer will soon fire precision rounds from its long-range deck gun and fire SM-2 missiles from its vertical launch tubes.

The Navy's new "first-of-its-kind," high-tech stealthy destroyer, armed with the most lethal weapons ever engineered onto a surface ship, is now beginning what’s called “ship activation" - a process of integrating the major systems and technologies on the ship leading up to an eventual live-fire exercise of its guns and missiles.

As part of this process, the Navy will eventually fire long-range precision guns and missiles from its lethal, stealthy new destroyer -- in anticipation of its ultimate deployment on the open seas, service and industry officials explained.

The new destroyer, called the USS Zumwalt, is a 610-foot land and surface warfare attack ship designed with a stealthy, wave-piercing “tumblehome” hull.

Read more ....

Update: Raytheon awarded contract to activate first Zumwalt-class destroyer (UPI)

WNU Editor: I am sure there are going to be problems since this destroyer design is the first of its kind .... but I am sure they are going to solve it.

The Man Who Shot Osama Bin Laden Promotes His New Book

Daily Mail: 'Bin Laden’s head split open and he dropped': Navy SEAL who killed al-Qaeda's leader describes how he took out the world's most wanted man during historic raid

* Robert O'Neill, the former Navy SEAL who shot Osama bin Laden, describes the moment he pulled the trigger and shot the world's most wanted man in the head
* His new memoir The Operator, recounts his distinguished career fighting in more than 400 separate combat missions
* The book, released earlier this week, details the historic night in 2011 he stormed the high-security compound in Abbottobad, Pakistan

The Navy SEAL who said he killed Osama Bin Laden has described the moment he pulled the trigger and shot the world's most wanted man in the head.

Robert O'Neill, 41, a decorated veteran who fought in more than 400 separate combat missions, recounted his distinguished career in his new memoir The Operator.

The new book details the historic night in 2011 he stormed the high-security compound in Abbottobad, Pakistan.

As signs began to suggest the leader of al-Qaeda was indeed inside, O'Neill reminded himself to savor the moment knowing it was likely he wouldn't make it out alive.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: This story is never going to get old.

Canada's Defense Minister Apologies For Embellishing His Role In Key Afghan Battle

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan has clarified recent remarks in which he claimed to be the "architect" of a major 2006 land battle against the Taliban in Afghanistan. (Fred Chartrand/Canadian Press)

CBC: Sajjan expresses 'regret' for claiming to be architect of key battle against Taliban

Defence Minister issues statement clarifying where credit was due for Operation Medusa

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan has expressed regret for taking credit for leading a major land battle to root out the Taliban in Afghanistan more than a decade ago.

In an April 18 speech to a conference called "Conflict Prevention and Peacekeeping in a Changing World" in New Delhi, Sajjan spoke about his role in the pivotal 2006 Operation Medusa.

Sajjan told the conference he was "no stranger to conflict," and said he was decorated by both Canada and the U.S. militaries for his service fighting terrorism and the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Taking military credit for something that you did not do is a big no-no for anyone who has served in the armed forces .... and apparently this is not the first time that he has made such a claim. He is lucky that he still has his job. Here is the article that broke the story .... Harjit Sajjan the soldier wouldn’t have claimed credit for being ‘architect’ of operation, top NATO officer says (National Post)

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan, right, looks on as Canadian Brig.-Gen. Dean Milner talks with U.S. Maj.-Gen. James Terry in this 2010 photo. Sajjan was serving his third tour in Afghanistan at the time. (Murray Brewster/CBC)

More News On The Canadians Defense Minister Apologising For Embellishing His Role In A Key Afghan Battle

Harjit Sajjan apologizes for claim about Afghan offensive -- Toronto Star
Canada's defence minister apologizes for embellishing role in Afghan operation -- The SUN
Sajjan 'truly sorry' for saying he was 'architect' of Afghanistan operation -- CTV News
What Harjit Sajjan really did while serving in Afghanistan -- CBC
Here’s what Harjit Sajjan really did with OPERATION MEDUSA -- National Observer

Is Fleet Size The Best Way To Measure The Strength Of A Navy?

The aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson leads the guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Champlain, right front, and the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Michael Murphy during a transit of the Philippine Sea. Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Sean M. Castellano/Navy

DoD Buzz: Navy Looks Beyond Ship Count to Measure Strength

Top Navy leaders continue to insist they need a fleet of 355 ships to carry out contingency operations around the globe. But at the same time, they are looking forward to a near future where the number of gray hulls may not be the best way to measure naval strength.

In coming weeks, the Navy will release a document laying out what leaders see as the future of the service, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson said during a discussion at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C., on Thursday. It will discuss not only how to pursue a fleet ramp-up in a cash-strapped reality, but also how innovation can allow the service to get more capability out of available platforms.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Today's naval platforms are far more lethal than their predecessors decades ago .... so you do less than what you needed decades ago to fulfil a mission. But the ocean is a big place .... and you do need to ships to be at the places where they are deemed to be critical to be there .... and for today's US Navy they must now be everywhere .... The U.S. Navy Must Be Everywhere at Once (John Lehman, Wall Street Journal).

Update: Some naval commanders want the numbers .... US Pacific Commander Says US Needs More Submarines, Ships to Counter North Korean Threat (Kris Osborn, Scout Warrior).

Tweet For Today

Should The FBI And CIA Files On The Assassination Of President Kennedy Be Opened To The Public?

Daily Mail: Could Trump open the Kennedy files? President must decide within weeks on releasing the last secret CIA and FBI assassination files

* The 1992 JFK Assassination Records Collection Act set at 25-year timetable for declassification of assassination records dealing with President Kennedy
* The law grants sole power to the president to stop declassification
* A White House official said it was working with the National Archives on a smooth release of documents
* Trump has touted multiple conspiracy theories – and during the campaign brought up a National Enquirer Story that claimed the father of Ted Cruz was pictured with Kennedy assassin Lee Harvey Oswald

He has floated some conspiracy theories for years, but now President Donald Trump will get to play a crucial role in the long-running saga over the government's Kennedy assassination records.
The 1992 JFK Assassination Records Collection Act, signed by President George H.W. Bush, set a 25-year timetable for declassification of assassination records dealing with President Kennedy.
The law set up a single collection of records at the National Archives, and set up a process for declassification. The law required the release of all government records dealing with the assassination within 25 years – with the exception of those the president certifies for postponed release.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Here is an easy prediction .... nothing earth-shattering will be found when it is eventually released.

Picture Of The Day

(Click on Image to Enlarge)
A military drill marking the 85th anniversary of the establishment of the Korean People's Army (KPA) is seen in this handout photo by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) published on April 26. © REUTERS/ KCNA

Russian Nuclear Weapons Policy

A Yars missile system en route to a field region at the final stage of the Strategic All-Around Competition, a field training contest in the Novosibirsk region. © Alexandr Kryazhev / Sputnik

Mark B. Schneider, RCD: Russian Nuclear Weapons Policy

Implications for U.S. Nuclear Deterrence and Missile Defense

Unlike the U.S., nuclear forces are Russia’s highest military priority. In December 2016, President Putin declared Russia is “stronger than any potential aggressor,” has modernized almost 60% of its strategic forces and directed that Russia further strengthen its nuclear Triad.[1] In March 2017, he said that modernizing Russian military forces “concerns the strategic nuclear forces, above all.”[2] In January 2017, Russian Defense Minister General of the Army Sergei Shoigu stated that development of the strategic nuclear force was Russia’s first priority, noting Russia will “continue a massive program of nuclear rearmament, deploying modern ICBMs on land and sea, [and] modernizing the strategic bomber force.”

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The West is concerned about Russia's nuclear arsenal .... Moscow is concerned about Western missile defense .... Russian officials say U.S. global missile defense could lead to nuclear war in Europe (Tom O'Connor, Newsweek).

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Russia Showcases Their Newest Remote-Controlled Robot Tanks

Daily Mail: Russian army puts its enormous new remote-controlled robot tank boasting a 30mm automatic gun and six missiles through its paces

* The Russian army has been testing a remote-controlled tank at a military base
* A video shows the unmanned robot scaling hills, dusty paths and flows of water
* At the end of the footage the tank, named The Vikhr, fires from its 30 mm gun
* A report from the SIPRI found that Russia is the third biggest military spender

The Russian army has been putting one of the world's biggest military robots through its paces, acting as a further reminder of Russia's increasing military strength.

The Vikhr remote-controlled tank was being tested on a military testing ground at a classified location in Russia.

The clips shows the unmanned tank traveling through a dusty path, navigating through stretches of water and then firing into the distance from its machine gun, all without a human in sight.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Here is another video on Russian robot tanks (link is here).

The Growing Role And Importance Of Multi-Domain Combat

Iraqi Army soldiers training in January 2017.

Sydney J. Freedberg Jr., Breaking Defense: Iraq: Proving Ground For Multi-Domain Battle

ARMY WAR COLLEGE: The brutal ground war in Iraq holds vital lessons for sophisticated future operations in the Pacific, Australian Maj. Gen. Roger Noble said today. Military pundits often draw a sharp distinction between what they consider low-tech warfare against irregular forces, as in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria, and high-tech war against states like China and Russia. But when Noble went from a tour in Iraq last year to the Hawaii headquarters of US Army Pacific, he said, the cutting-edge concepts of Multi-Domain Battle that USARPAC is experimenting with forcefully reminded him of coalition operations against Daesh, the self-proclaimed Islamic State.

“Last year, we saw the future,” Noble told the Army War College here. “We came back and read Multi-Domain Battle (and thought) ‘we saw version 1.0 in Iraq.'”

Read more ....

Update: Multi-Domain Battle Will Require a Totally Different Type of Leader (A.J. Shattuck, Modern War Institute).

WNU Editor: History is full of examples of successful military operations where combined arms operations were the rule. Case in point .... an infantry squad facing a similar foe in a battle will be facing a stalemate, but backed with air-power, drones, artillery, and an armoured unit .... such a squad will be a formidable force that can easily break such a stalemate

Russia Wants To Cooperate With The U.S. On Syria

RT: Russia ‘fully ready’ to cooperate with US on Syria – Lavrov

Moscow is eager to resume cooperation with Washington on solving the Syrian crisis, Sergey Lavrov, Russia’s foreign minister, said during his meeting with his Jordanian counterpart, Ayman Safadi, in the Russian capital.

During the meeting, Lavrov noted that Jordan’s King Abdullah II has repeatedly emphasized the importance of joint Russian-American efforts in Syria.

“I can assure that we’re fully ready for this. We count on Washington to demonstrate the same approach,” he said.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The U.S. has (so far) shown no interest to cooperate with Russia on Syria. My prediction .... there will be no discussion on cooperation until after Mosul is recaptured and the Islamic State has been driven out of Iraq.

More News On Russia Wanting To Cooperate With The U.S. On Syria

Moscow is ready to cooperate with Washington on Syria — Lavrov -- TASS
Russian, US-Led Coalition Should Unite in Counterterror Fight in Syria - Lavrov -- Sputnik
Russia's Lavrov says ready to cooperate with U.S. on Syria: agencies -- Russia
Russia's Lavrov says ready to cooperate with US on Syria -- Middle East Eye

Tensions Rising On The Syrian Border Between Turkey And The U.S.

The Independent: US deploys troops to stop fighting in Syria - between two of its allies

Kurdish leaders appeal for no-fly zone over autonomous Rojava region as Turkish air strikes and artillery shells leave over 20 dead

The US has reportedly sent troops to the border between Turkey and the autonomous Kurdish region of northern Syria, in an apparent response to a spate of Turkish assaults on Kurdish targets.

The Turkish military launched air strikes against targets in the three self-governing cantons of Rojava this week, and have followed up with artillery and tank assaults.

Houses and schools have reportedly been damaged in subsequent attacks, and a media centre was also destroyed.

Read more ....

Update #1: Tensions rise between Turkey, US along Syrian border -- AP
Update #2: US troops deployed at Syrian border to prevent clashes between Turkish & Kurdish forces (VIDEO) -- RT
Update #3: US troops patrolling Turkish-Syrian border -- The Hill

WNU Editor: There is a lot of truth to this analysis .... Turkey on a 'Collision Course' With the U.S. After Striking Kurdish Militias (Time)

Update: Another good analysis .... Turkey May Launch New Ground Offensive against US-Backed Forces in Syria (Jennifer Cafarella, ISW).

U.S. Soldier Killed By Blast Outside Of Mosul

The Independent: US soldier killed in explosion near Mosul as bloody battle to drive out Isis militants continues in Iraq

American forces have been supporting the advance and de-mining efforts around the city

An American soldier has been killed in an explosion near Mosul as the battle continues to drive Isis militants out of their former stronghold.

A spokesperson for US Central Command said: "A US service member died from wounds sustained in an explosive device blast outside of Mosul, Iraq, on Saturday."

No further information was immediately released, but the blast came after a number of deaths and injuries caused by mines and improvised explosive devices littering Isis' former territories.

Read more ....

More News On A U.S. Soldier Killed By A Blast Outside Of Mosul

U.S. service member killed by blast in Iraq -- Washington Post
US service member killed near Mosul -- CNN
Blast kills U.S. service member outside Mosul, Pentagon says -- CBS
U.S. service member killed in blast near Mosul, Iraq -- Reuters
U.S. soldier killed in Mosul explosion, military says -- UPI
Soldier killed by explosive device is third US combat death this week in Iraq and Afghanistan -- FOX News

Russia And China Are Cooperating On North Korea

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi (3rd L) meets with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov (2nd R) ahead of a ministerial meeting of the UN Security Council on the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue, in New York, the United States, April 27, 2017. (Xinhua/Li Muzi)

Newsweek: China Will Keep Russia Close In Communication Over North Korea

China is keeping close communication with Russia with the increased friction over neighbor North Korea’s nuclear ambitions and hopes to continue to do so, state news agency Xinhua reports.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov on Thursday to discuss Pyongyang’s continued political stand off with the U.S. and its allies in the Asia Pacific region, ahead of a UN Security Council ministerial meeting on the matter.

Both Russian and Chinese military equipment reportedly amassed on each country’s respective border with North Korea, earlier this month. Each country denied the military build up was linked to the increasingly deteriorating relations between Pyongyang and Washington that has been happening at the same time.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: If there are two countries that can change the dynamics on the Korean peninsula overnight .... it is China and Russia. For the moment they want a return to the status quo .... but if there is one thing that we have learned in the past month .... both countries have limited contact with the North Korean leadership. My prediction .... if North Korea continues conducting missile tests as well as a nuclear test or two .... both China and Russia will change their approach towards North Korea. What happens after that will be anyone's guess.

More News On Russia And China Cooperating On North Korea

Chinese FM meets Russian deputy FM on Korean Peninsula nuclear issue -- Xinhuanet
Korean crisis at risk of getting 'out of control', China tells Russia -- Sydney Morning Herald
'China, Russia Have Similar Positions on North Korea Issue' - Beijing -- Sputnik
Russia backs China’s call to stop N. Korea nuke tests in exchange for halt in US-S. Korea drills -- RT
Russia Backs China's Proposal at UN on End to N Korea Nuclear Tests -- Sputnik
Russia raises defense alert after North Korea launches missile -- Asia Times
Russia on high alert for possible clash in North Korea -- Nikkei Asian Review
Russian security chief warns external provocations may lead to war on Korean Peninsula -- TASS
What Does Putin Really Think About North Korea? -- Newsweek
What's Behind Sino-Russian Cooperation on North Korea? -- The Diplomat

A North Korean - U.S. War Would Cost Trillions

US/South Korea exercises in March: A cause for concern in Pyongyang. (US Navy)

Emma Reynolds, The $3 trillion ‘catastrophic’ cost of a North Korea-US war

IF A North Korea war does become a reality, one unmanageable $3 trillion consequence that hasn’t been widely acknowledged threatens to wreak havoc on the world.

The defiant nation launched another missile test today, just hours after stern warnings from Donald Trump that a “major, major conflict” was possible.

The conflict between Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump could unfold in several ways, but it is the 30 million citizens of the hermit state whose fate could trigger a global catastrophe.

A thermonuclear war would be a humanitarian and ecological disaster for the entire region, with radiation causing a nuclear holocaust that tears into South Korea, China, Russia and Japan.

But if conventional weapons are used and the Kim regime collapses (a more likely scenario), we may face an alternative nightmare.

Read more ....

More News, Analysis, And Commentary On A Military Confrontation Between The U.S. And North Korea

What War With North Korea Looks Like -- Bill Powell, Newsweek
Before Fighting a Costly War With North Korea, a Strategic Reassessment -- Daniel L. Davis, Stratfor
What Would the Second Korean War Look Like? -- The Diplomat
Amid nuclear threat, what are the U.S. military options against North Korea? -- CBS News
North Korea's army: 1.2M men, obsolete equipment and nukes -- FOX News
North Korea Vs. U.S. Nuclear Weapons: Who Has What? -- Value Walk
Should the World Fear North Korea's Special Forces? -- Kyle Mizokami, National Interest
Why US missile defences may not be enough to stop ICBMs from North Korea -- International Business Times
Could North Korea Actually Sink a U.S. Aircraft Carrier? -- Harry J. Kazianis, The Week
Could North Korea Soon Launch a Nuclear War Against America from Underwater? -- Robert Farley, National Interest
North Korea Has Lots of Tanks (But Can They Fight?) -- Kyle Mizokami, National Interest
Is a second Korean War imminent? -- Wesley Rahn, DW
Is war coming to North Korea? -- Jim Walsh, Al Jazeera
Analysis: U.S. Military Options in North Korea — From Bad to Worse -- Roll Call
The coming war with North Korea -- George H. Wittman, Washington Times
Analysis: 'Mistakes happen': How 'miscalculation' could spark a U.S.-North Korea conflict -- Mark Gollom, CBC News
What it would take to pull the US into a war in Asia -- Steve Mollman, Quartz

North Korean Crisis -- News Updates April 29, 2017

Daily Mail: US warship approaches North Korea after Kim Jong Un carries out another failed missile test, just hours after Pyongyang warned it was 'on the brink of nuclear war' with the United States

* US confirmed that North Korea has carried out a non-nuclear missile launch
* Launch comes just hours after the county announced it was 'on the brink of nuclear war' as the United States stages military drills with South Korea
* The mid-range KN-17 ballistic missile was fired from a location in the South Pyeongan province in the early hours of Saturday local time
* It failed to reach the Sea of Japan but instead blew up above land
* President Donald Trump said the missile test 'disrespected the wishes of China'
* The USS Carl Vinson, US super aircraft carrier, was spotted sailing north towards North Korea in a show of force on Saturday, local time

A US warship is heading towards North Korea after Kim Jong Un carried out yet another failed missile launch.

The USS Carl Vinson, US super aircraft carrier, was spotted sailing north offshore Nagasaki, Japan on Saturday local time, in a show of force after North Korea's latest test-fire flop.

A US official said the ballistic missile, thought to be a mid-range KN-17, was fired from a location in the South Pyeongan province in the early hours of Saturday morning local time. It blew up over land before it ever reached its target of the Sea of Japan, landing around 22 miles from Pukchang airfield, South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement.

It flew for several minutes and reached a maximum height of 44 miles before it apparently failed.

Read more ....

North Korean Crisis -- News Updates April 29, 2017

US, South Korea start joint exercises amid standoff with North -- The Hill
Joint US-S. Korea naval drills start in Sea of Japan amid tensions around Korean peninsula -- RT
Japan, Philippines Urge U.S., North Korea to Avoid War Brink -- Bloomberg
Duterte says N. Korean leader Kim ‘wants to end world,’ warns Trump ‘not to play into his hands -- RT
Trump wants diplomatic solution on North Korea but warns 'major, major conflict' possible -- CBC/Reuters
US urges UN to act on 'real' nuclear threat of North Korea or face 'catastrophic' consequences -- The Independent
U.S. could speed up North Korea sanctions in response to missile test: official -- Reuters
US ready to talk to North Korea -- The Independent
Top commander: Don't bet on China reining in North Korea -- The Hill
China Walks Thin Line Between North Korea and US -- VOA
Chinese paper mocks North Korea's tech prowess after failed ballistic missile launch -- CNBC
France, Japan, the U.K. and U.S. Send China And North Korea A Tough Message -- Forbes
US Official: North Korea Is Biggest Threat to Nuclear Weapons Treaty -- VOA
Don’t let North Korea’s nukes overshadow human rights abuses -- Anthony Ruggiero, The Hill
Trump Challenges North Korea In High-Stakes Game Of Risk -- Alastair Gale, FOX News/The Wall Street Journal
The North Korea Nightmare Continues -- Harry J. Kazianis, National Interest

Did North Korea 'Disrespect' China With Their Missile Test?

Politico: Trump: North Korea 'disrespected the wishes of China' with missile test

President Donald Trump said North Korea "disrespected" the Chinese government by launching another ballistic missile test Friday.

"North Korea disrespected the wishes of China & its highly respected President when it launched, though unsuccessfully, a missile today. Bad!" the president said in a tweet.

North Korea launched a failed mid-range ballistic missile test, South Korea reported about 5 p.m. ET, which was widely condemned by Seoul and other U.S. allies.

Trump was briefed on the launch, according to a statement from the press secretary's office.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Some are not happy with President Trump's tweet .... Sen. Chris Coons slams Trump's North Korea tweet: "This is no longer reality TV" (CNN). As to what is my take. Knowing the Chinese like I do .... they do appreciate President Trump's tweet, and I also know that with each North Korean threat, missile test, and preparations for a nuclear test .... support within China for the "hermit kingdom" is decreasing with each passing day. But the Chinese .... like everyone else in the region (and in the White House) know that North Korea is going to be along term problem. There are no easy solutions .... but President Trump has definitely changed the narrative on what to do with Kim Jong-Un, and on this issue he has wide support throughout Asia.

More News On President Trump's Tweet That North Korea 'Disrespected' China With Their Missile Test

Trump says North Korea 'disrespected' China after Kim Jong Un launched another failed nuclear missile test -- Daily Mail
North Korea missile test: regime has 'disrespected China', says Donald Trump -- The Guardian
Trump: North Korea's failed missile launch 'disrespected' China -- FOX News
Trump: North Korea 'disrespected' China with missile test -- The Hill
Trump Claims North Korea 'Disrespected China' by Firing Off Ballistic Missile -- Sputnik

Another Spanish Warship 'Invades' The Waters Around Gibraltar For The 3rd Time This Month

A map showing the area of Gibraltar territorial waters (The SUN)

The Telegraph: Third Spanish warship invades Gibraltan waters in the space of a month

A Spanish warship entered Gibraltar’s territorial waters early on Saturday morning, just hours before a meeting of European Union leaders approved their guidelines for negotiating a Brexit deal with the United Kingdom that allows Spain to veto its application to the Rock.

At around 9am the Spanish corvette ‘Cazadora’ entered waters off Gibraltar, where Royal Navy and local police launches sailed out to meet it.

According to observers, the corvette was escorted southward out of the Bay of Gibraltar, ending what was the third such incursion by Spanish warships this month.

Read more ....

More News On Another Spanish Warship 'Invading' The Waters Around Gibraltar

Spanish navy taunts UK by deliberately sending a warship into Gibraltarian waters for a third time -- Daily Mail
Tensions rise as Spain sends warship into Gibraltan waters for THIRD TIME -- Express
Royal Navy chases Spanish warship out of Gibraltan waters for a THIRD TIME as tensions mount over Rock row -- The SUN
Royal Navy chases Spanish ship from Gibraltar for third time this month -- Metro

Interactive Map Reveals EVERY Conflict Currently Active Around The World

The map is designed to raise awareness of the 'forgotten conflicts' around the world

Daily Mail: The world at war: Stunning interactive map reveals EVERY conflict currently active around the world

Created by non-profit organisation IRIN, it allows users to easily see key points of each conflict
Map is part of a series of articles looking at the 'forgotten wars' around the world

There are more than 40 active conflicts around the world at the moment.

While Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq are well known, a new interactive maps reveals them all.

Created by non-profit organisation IRIN, it allows users to easily to key points of each conflict.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Being one who has chronicled wars and conflicts for almost 10 years on this blog .... this map is very accurate.