Defense

U.S. Airstrikes Hit Syrian Military Vehicles for Violating ‘De-Confliction Zone’

American airstrikes targeted a group of Syrian militia vehicles after they ignored U.S. warnings and violated a “de-confliction zone” on Thursday. CNN reports that the strike occurred near a base American forces use to train allied Syrian opposition fighters. A convoy of twenty vehicles approached the town of An Tanf on Wednesday night, evidently searching for opposition fighters and raising concerns among the U.S. coalition. A total of thirteen vehicles penetrated the de-confliction zone, but the U.S. did not take action until five of them came with 29 kilometers of the base. When five Syrian military vehicles persisted in approaching the base, the U.S. conducted a “show of force” with two warplanes to persuade them to halt. When the Syrians insisted on proceeding into the area, the U.S. planes were cleared to fire. Although one of CNN’s sources said it remained unknown whether the American planes only fired warning shots, a second U.S. defense official said an airstrike “did hit the convoy after the vehicles continued toward the base.” According to ABC News, U.S. officials said several of the Syrian vehicles were destroyed in the strike. Voice of America News reports the decision to launch the airstrike was made by a commander on the ground, and does not reflect a broader change in U.S. policy. According to these sources, militia forces loyal to the regime of Bashar Assad crewed the vehicles, not regular Syrian army troops. Military Times quotes officials describing the targeted militia as “pro-regime” but “not directly associated with the Syrian government.” The Associated Press quotes officials who said the targeted vehicles included “a tank and a bulldozer,” which pro-regime militia were apparently using to set up fighting positions inside the protected area. Ominously, the Syrian regime has its own base fairly close to the one American forces are using to train opposition fighters, and the Syrian base is said to be ready to support “about a battalion’s worth of troops.”

U.S. Military Warns ‘Space Is Now a Warfighting Domain’

The U.S. Air Force considers “maintaining space superiority” one of its “core missions,” high-ranking American military officials told lawmakers Wednesday, warning that “space is now a warfighting domain.” In jointly written testimony submitted to the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Strategic Forces Wednesday, top officials in charge of America’s military space program told lawmakers: “For decades the United States has enjoyed unimpeded freedom of action in space. This benign environment allowed us to operate satellites for intelligence collection, missile warning, weather monitoring, communications, and precision positioning, navigation, and timing in support of all military operations for all of the services, without thinking about how to protect these systems. That environment no longer exists. Space will be contested in any conflict… Clearly, freedom to operate in space is not guaranteed. In fact, space is now a warfighting domain, similar to the more familiar air, land, and maritime domains our men and women are fighting in today. We must ensure the reliability of our current systems and we must modernize. Our modernization will focus on our ability to deter potential adversaries, and to fight in a contested, degraded, and operationally limited environment should deterrence fail.” The warnings came from Heather Wilson, secretary of the U.S. Air Force; Gen. David Goldfein, chief of staff of the Air Force; Gen. John Raymond, commander of U.S. Air Force Space Command; and Lt. Gen. Samuel Greaves, commander of the U.S. Air Force Command’s Space and Missile System Center. “Our potential adversaries understand the advantage we derive from space and view our reliance on space as a vulnerability they can exploit,” they noted. “Near-peer competitors will offset any U.S. military advantage derived from our space systems and continue to pursue capabilities to degrade or destroy them.” In its latest World Threat Assessment, issued last week, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats identified Russia and China as America’s primary rivals in space. “We assess that Russia and China perceive a need to offset any US military advantage derived from military, civil, or commercial space systems and are increasingly considering attacks against satellite systems as part of their future warfare doctrine,” pointed out the assessment. “Both will continue to pursue a full range of anti- satellite (ASAT) weapons as a means to reduce US military effectiveness.”

MOAB damage in Afghanistan extreme, widespread

It has been one month since the U.S. military dropped its largest non-nuclear combat weapon — the MOAB — to eradicate ISIS from its base in Afghanistan’s Nanganhar province. And still, the ghostly destruction zone is a vision that haunts. FoxNews.com has obtained exclusive images illuminating the bomb’s impact taken this week, showing the gouged and singed earth and even the limb of a dead fighter that had yet to be removed or buried. While the use of the MOAB, which stands for Massive Ordnance Air Blast, has been controversial, with analysts claiming it had little effect other than decimating Afghanistan’s territory, others on the ground are still insistent that it worked extremely well, not only to kill more than 90 ISIS fighters, but to eliminate supply routes and squash morale within the terrorist organization. “This was very effective — many of ISIS’ training camps are gone, bunkers destroyed,” Gen. Qadamshah Shahim, chief of the general staff of the Afghan Ministry of Defense, who just stepped down from his role following the Mazar-i-Sharif attack, told Fox News. But according to one high-ranking Afghan defense official, who requested anonymity due to the sensitive nature of the topic, the decision to use the MOAB was not taken hastily. Rather, it was a carefully calculated move. The official said that a request to use such a weapon — one designed to penetrate the earth’s surface and thus destroy underground tunnels and dwellings — was brought to the attention of Afghan officials several months ago, and wasn’t given the green light until all other options were explored and potential collateral damage and effectiveness studied. “This was the only solution to bring stability to the area and avoid more bloodshed by this brutal terrorist group,” said Commander Ahmad Muslem Hayat, a former military attaché for Afghanistan’s British Embassy and current security adviser for the U.S.-based firm, TigerSwan. “This wasn’t about sending quick messages to show strength to other threatening countries like North Korea. This was about saving innocent Afghan lives from ISIS torture.” Capt. William Salvin, a U.S. military spokesman in Kabul, defended the use of the MOAB, saying it was used for a “specific tactical purpose on the battlefield.” Nonetheless, the area remains a no-go zone for all. It is not yet clear whether U.S. forces — which are currently revising the battle strategy toward the increasingly unstable Afghanistan — intend to deploy such a large-scale weapon anytime in the near future. But there is a growing sentiment among the Afghan people for such attention to be devoted to defeating Taliban hubs, too, which they view as a much greater threat to their safety than the country’s fast weakening ISIS branch. “Different flags, different names,” noted Major Abadullah Karimi, spokesperson for the 202nd Shamshad Police Corps, the headquarters for operations in eastern Afghanistan. “But the same games.”

Agreed!!  And, well said, Major.  As a fellow “field grade” officer who served on the ground in Afghanistan, I can tell you that the MOAB definitely made a difference, despite what the liberal pointy-headed electoid, liberal, academic critics have said.  It wasn’t just about how much physical damage was done (and boy howdy was that a lot!)..but rather the psychological effect it had on these uneducated, toothless, animals hiding in caves.  They got the message that no matter where they are (i.e. underground, hiding in caves, etc.), that we can reach out and kill them…and not have to put one of our soldiers or marines in harms way to do it.  That is a HUGE psychological impact.  Yes, we killed over 90 bad guys (which is great!), and yes we kinda rained on their parade..  BUT, the MOAB sent a message to others that joining that organization might not be such a smart move..  It was a great idea to drop the MOAB, and its use definitely had a positive effect.  Even the Afghans on the ground would like to see it used again against the Taliban.  Enough said..  Anyway, to see some pics of the aftermath of this awesome bomb being dropped in Afghanistan, click on the text above.

Intel Report: Iran Refining Nuke Delivery System in Flagrant Violation of Ban

Iran continues to make critical technological strides in its efforts to perfect an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of delivering nuclear weapons over great distances, efforts that violate international prohibitions, according to the director of national intelligence, who informed Congress this week that the Islamic Republic “would choose ballistic missiles as its preferred method of delivering nuclear weapons.” The disclosure comes just days after Iranian leaders announced the upcoming launch of two new domestically produced satellites. Iran has long used its space program as cover for illicit missile work, as the know-how needed to launch such equipment can be applied to long-range ballistic missile technology. Daniel Coats, America’s top spymaster, informed Congress this week in an intelligence briefing that Iran’s ballistic missile work continues unimpeded and could be used by the Islamic Republic to launch a nuclear weapon, according to unclassified testimony. Iran’s ballistic missile work, particularly its focus on ICBMs, runs counter to United Nations resolutions barring such activity, though it remains unclear if the Trump administration plans to pursue new sanctions on Iran. Iran continues to perform key research and development on nuclear missile capabilities despite the landmark nuclear agreement with Western powers, according to the last U.S. intelligence assessments. “Iran is pursuing capabilities to meet its nuclear energy and technology goals and to give it the capability to build missile-deliverable nuclear weapons, if it chooses to do so” Coats wrote in his written testimony to the Senate intelligence committee. U.S. officials are unsure if Iran will build nuclear weapons, but it is likely this intention would dictate Tehran’s future adherence to the nuclear deal, which the administration of former President Barack Obama framed in such a way as to leave out the issue of ballistic missiles. The United States assesses that Iran remains about a year away from a functional nuclear missile if it decides to build one in violation of the nuclear deal. Iranian military leaders claim their missile work is unrelated to the nuclear agreement and permissible under it. The country’s refusal to abandon this work has caused concern on Capitol Hill, as well as among U.S. national security insiders who view the work as related to Iran’s aspirations for regional dominance. The U.S. intelligence community maintains that Iran—which has the largest inventory of ballistic missiles in the Middle East—likely would use this technology to launch a nuclear weapon. “We judge that Tehran would choose ballistic missiles as its preferred method of delivering nuclear weapons, if it builds them,” according to Coats. “Iran’s ballistic missiles are inherently capable of delivering WMD, and Tehran already has the largest inventory of ballistic missiles in the Middle East.” “Tehran’s desire to deter the United States might drive it to field an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM),” Coats wrote, referring to Iran’s covert missile work. “Progress on Iran’s space program could shorten a pathway to an ICBM because space launch vehicles use similar technologies.” Iran “continues to leverage cyber espionage, propaganda, and attacks to support its security priorities, influence events and foreign perceptions, and counter threats—including against U.S. allies in the region,” Coats testified. This includes cyber attacks “directly against the United States,” such as in 2013, when an Iranian hacker penetrated the computer systems of a U.S. dam. Iran also is pursuing a massive buildup of its military, which observers have described as unprecedented. The U.S. intelligence community has confirmed that Iran is developing “a range of new military capabilities to monitor and target U.S. and allied military assets in the region, including armed UAVs [drones], ballistic missiles, advanced naval mines, unmanned explosive boats, submarines and advanced torpedoes, and anti-ship and land-attack cruise missiles,” according to Coats.

And this is the Iran that Obama so foolishly gave BILLIONS of our hard-earned tax dollars, as well as the ok to enrich uranium and so on.  Thanks a lot, Obama!…moron..

Trump’s Army sec. pick — a combat hero and devout Christian — under assault from LGBTQ activists

His military resume to become the next Army secretary appears impeccable, but his conservative Christian beliefs have rallied the gay rights movement and its Democratic supporters to defeat the soldier-businessman-politician. This week, a group of 11 House Republicans entered the battle on the side of combat veteran Mark E. Green, sending an endorsement letter to Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain, Arizona Republican. “Mark’s commitment to the men and women of the U.S. Army is emboldened by his faithful service as a solider,” said the letter spearheaded by Rep. Duncan Hunter of California and signed by representatives from his home state of Tennessee. Mr. McCain said his week he has reservations about Mr. Green as Army secretary. Mr. Green took to Facebook to say the gay rights movement and liberals are “cutting and splicing my words to paint me as a hater. It will not stand.” Mr. Green, whose intent to nominate to the Senate was announced by President Trump last month, is a West Point graduate who served as a platoon leader and company commander in the storied 82nd Airborne Division. A Christian conservative, Mr Green changed career course from infantryman to physician, completing medical school and then serving as flight surgeon for the fabled 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment. The public knows SOAR as the unit that flew the Navy SEALs into Pakistan to kill Osama bin Laden.

Mr. Green served on combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, achieved the rank of Lieutenant Colonel (LTC), and was awarded the Bronze Star for his service “down range.”  He is extremely well qualified to be the next Secretary of the Army.  And for the left to suggest that his Christian beliefs are somehow an issue that might call his nomination “troubling” is offensive and on its face discriminatory.  The left always whines about diversity and inclusion…..unless its a Christian conservative.  Then, its ok to discriminate and exclude.  Typical hypocrisy..

US Commandos Set to Counter North Korean Nuclear Sites

U.S. special operations forces are set to conduct operations against North Korean nuclear, missile, and other weapons of mass destruction sites in any future conflict, the commander of Special Operations Command told Congress Tuesday. Army Gen. Raymond A. Thomas stated in testimony to a House subcommittee that Army, Navy, and Air Force commandos are based both permanently and in rotations on the Korean peninsula in case conflict breaks out. The special operations training and preparation is a warfighting priority, Thomas said in prepared testimony. There are currently around 8,000 special operations troops deployed in more than 80 countries. “We are actively pursuing a training path to ensure readiness for the entire range of contingency operations in which [special operations forces], to include our exquisite [countering weapons of mass destruction] capabilities, may play a critical role,” he told the subcommittee on emerging threats. “We are looking comprehensively at our force structure and capabilities on the peninsula and across the region to maximize our support to U.S. [Pacific Command] and [U.S. Forces Korea]. This is my warfighting priority for planning and support.” Disclosure of the commander’s comments comes as tensions remain high on the peninsula. President Trump has vowed to deal harshly with North Korea should another underground nuclear test be carried out. Test preparations have been identified in recent weeks, U.S. officials have said. Trump said on Sunday that China appears to be pressuring North Korea but that he would be upset if North Korea carries out another nuclear test. “If he does a nuclear test, I will not be happy,” he said on CBS Face the Nation. Asked if his unhappiness would translate into a U.S. military response, Trump said: “I don’t know. I mean, we’ll see.” Gen. Thomas’ testimony did not include details of what missions the commandos would carry out. A spokesman for the Special Operations Command referred questions about potential operations in Korea to the Pacific Command. Special forces troops would be responsible for locating and destroying North Korean nuclear weapons and missile delivery systems, such as mobile missiles. They also would seek to prevent the movement of the weapons out of the country during a conflict. Additionally, special operations commandos could be used for operations to kill North Korean leaders, such as supreme leader Kim Jong Un and other senior regime figures. Special operations missions are said by military experts to include intelligence gathering on the location of nuclear and chemical weapons sites for targeting by bombers. They also are likely to include direct action assaults on facilities to sabotage the weapons, or to prevent the weapons from being stolen, or set off at the sites by the North Koreans. A defense official said U.S. commandos in the past have trained for covert operations against several types of nuclear facilities, including reactors and research centers. Scale models of some North Korean weapons facilities have been built in the United States for practice operations by commandos. The most secret direct action operations would be carried out by special units, such as the Navy’s Seal Team Six or the Army’s Delta Force.

SpaceX postpones classified US military launch

SpaceX on Sunday postponed for 24 hours the launch of a secretive US government payload, known only as NROL-76, due to a “sensor issue” with the rocket, a spokesman said. “Out of an abundance of caution we have decided to scrub today’s launch,” a SpaceX spokesman said, describing the issue as relating to the first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket. Another opportunity for launch opens Monday at 7:00 am (1100 GMT). The payload for the National Reconnaissance Office, which makes and operates spy satellites for the United States, will be the first military launch for the California-based aerospace company headed by billionaire tycoon Elon Musk. “As a matter of policy and because of classification, NRO does not provide information about our contracts,” a spokeswoman told AFP. Until now, the US military has spent billions per year exclusively with United Launch Alliance, a joint operation of aerospace giants Boeing and Lockheed Martin, to launch government satellites. SpaceX in 2014 protested the US Air Force’s practice of using only ULA, saying it unfairly awarded billions of dollars to a single company for national security launches. SpaceX was selected to launch NROL-76 “after a competition,” said the NRO spokeswoman. She said she did not know when the contract was awarded. It was first announced last year. SpaceX regularly launches unmanned cargo ships to the International Space Station, and is working on a crew capsule that could carry humans into orbit as early as next year.