military

US can’t stop hypersonic weapons, Air Force General says

Missiles that spit out warheads traveling up to 20 times the speed of sound and with the ability to perform elusive acrobatics may be too much for U.S. defenses to block. That’s according to the head of the U.S. Strategic Command, Air Force Gen. John Hyten, who testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee yesterday (March 20). When asked by Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., what kind of defenses the U.S. has against hypersonic weapons, Hyten replied: “We have a very difficult — well, our defense is our deterrent capability. We don’t have any defense that could deny the employment of such a weapon against us, so our response would be our deterrent force, which would be the triad and the nuclear capabilities that we have to respond to such a threat,” Military.com reported. Hyten is referring to the triad of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), submarine-launched ballistic missiles and strategic bombers, which are bomber aircraft designed to fly into enemy territory and destroy strategic targets. Ballistic missiles, both hidden underground and in secret submarines, can travel huge distances at whirring speeds. But weapons that can travel well above the speed of sound seem to be a real threat, as both Russia and China are “aggressively pursuing” such hypersonic weapons, Hyten also said, as reported by CNBC. On March 1, during an annual address, Russian president Vladimir Putin announced a new class of weapon delivery systems designed to evade NATO’s ballistic missile defenses. Speaking on Russian television, Putin indicated the country was building a new hypersonic missile and a cruise missile with “unlimited range” that could avoid adversaries’ detection technologies. This nuclear-powered cruise missile could travel unlimited distances, and, unlike ballistic missiles, it could cruise low to the ground where it would be obscured by other objects — meaning it would evade radar detection, Live Science previously reported. “In theory, a cruise missile carrying a nuclear bomb could slip under American defenses and detection systems, and detonate before Americans could mobilize a response,” Live Science reported. Modern technology available today wouldn’t be able to stop such an attack, nor could it defend against missile-deploying warheads at hypersonic speeds, Philip Coyle, a nuclear weapons expert, previously told Live Science’s Rafi Letzter. Even so, Gen. Hyten assured the Senate Committee that U.S. defenses are prepared for such a battle. “The first, most important message I want to deliver today is that the forces under my command are fully ready to deter our adversaries and respond decisively, should deterrence ever fail. We are ready for all threats,” Hyten said in his opening remarks, according to a Department of Defense statement. Other generals have suggested supplementing the U.S. defense arsenal with low-yield nukes, or those that pack less power. In addition, space-based detection systems could theoretically detect and track hypersonic missile threats, Lt. Gen. Samuel Greaves, director of the Missile Defense Agency, said on March 6, according to Military.com. “To maintain military superiority in this multipolar, all-domain world, we must out-think, out-maneuver, out-partner and out-innovate our adversaries,” Hyten said. “Deterrence in the 21st century requires the integration of all our capabilities, across all domains, enabling us to respond to adversary aggression anytime, anywhere.” Just this week, President Donald Trump said the U.S. needs a “space force,” Live Science’s sister site Space.com reported.

Expert: U.S. Military ‘Over a Decade’ Behind China, Russia on Space Defense

U.S. military satellites used to warn of a missile strike or to deploy nuclear weapons are vulnerable to attacks by the Chinese and Russian armed forces, which have eclipsed their American counterparts in developing some significant space warfighting capabilities, experts cautioned lawmakers. Specifically, the United States is “over a decade” behind in developing a system to counteract the advancements made by China and Russia in the anti-satellite (ASAT) weapons domain, Douglas Loverro, the former U.S. deputy assistant secretary of defense for space policy, warned a House panel. Echoing the U.S. intelligence community in written testimony prepared for a House Armed Services Committee hearing on Wednesday, the former Pentagon official noted: While China and Russia are driving through generations of ASAT systems every three to five years, it is taking us over a decade to even begin to field a system responsive to their first-generation threat. Stated more clearly, when it comes to strategic missile warning and nuclear command and control, the evolved US response to the ASAT threat we see being deployed today will be ready near the end of the next decade; meanwhile, the threat will have [leaped] forward two more generations, and likely made our response moot. The U.S. armed forces consider “maintaining space superiority” one of its primary goals, top American military officials have recently stressed, noting that “space is now a warfighting domain.” William Carter from the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) warned lawmakers in January that China is “rapidly closing the gap” with America in developing “cyber capabilities, anti-satellite weapons, electronic warfare tools, hypersonic weapons, artificial intelligence, and quantum technologies.” Carter pointed out that China has deemed satellites to be the U.S. military’s “Achilles heel.” While testifying before the House panel on Wednesday, Todd Harrison, another CSIS expert, reiterated that the American armed forces’ “dependence on space across the full spectrum of conflict” renders the U.S. vulnerable to its top ASAT domain rivals, Russia and China. “Adversaries can use forms of attack against our space systems that are difficult to detect, attribute, and deter. … Much remains to be done to improve the readiness of our national security space forces for the wide range of threats,” Harrison noted in his written testimony. Two of the three witnesses flat out told House lawmakers on Wednesday that the American military is not ready to take on adversaries like Russia and China in space. Retired Gen. Robert Kehler, who served as the head of U.S. Strategic Command (STRATCOM)—charged with overseeing America’s space warfighting capabilities—testified: “The United States is perilously close to losing the significant advantages that come from being the world’s leading spacefaring nation, and time is not on our side…”

Indeed..  Space WILL be the next high ground in our next major military conflict.  And, our politicians need to support funding for our military space programs accordingly.  For more, click on the text above.

Footage of mysterious object above ocean stuns military personnel

Newly-released video of a mysterious object streaking over the Atlantic Ocean shows the Pentagon needs to take UFOs seriously, a researcher says. The sensational two-minute clip captured by a camera aboard a US Navy F/A 18 jet flying at 25,000 feet wowed military personnel. “What the f— is that thing?” shouted the pilot in the video posted online by the To the Stars Academy of Arts and Science, a private research company. “Oh my gosh dude!” exclaimed the jet’s weapons systems officer. The video was shot off the East Coast in 2015. To the Stars Academy did not say how it obtained the declassified footage, but said others could obtain it through a Freedom of Information Act request. Three videos showing similar incidents became public last year in reports of $22 million in Pentagon spending on UFO research. The videos, along with observations by pilots and radar operators, “appear to provide evidence of the existence of aircraft far superior to anything possessed by the United States or its allies,” writes Christopher Mellon, a former defense official in the George W. Bush and Clinton administrations and an adviser to To the Stars Academy. In a Washington Post op-ed, Mellon reasoned that if the origin of these aircraft is a mystery, “so is the paralysis of the US government in the face of such evidence.” Mellon, who served as an intelligence official for the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations, charged that military and department agencies “treat such incidents as isolated events rather than as part of a pattern requiring serious attention and investigation.” Mellon compared the government’s current approach to UFOs to the counterterrorism efforts of the CIA and the FBI prior to 9/11. He wondered if the US has been “technologically leap-frogged by Russia or China” or might these videos “be evidence of some alien civilization. Unfortunately, we have no idea, because we aren’t even seeking answers.”

And that’s the problem…   To see the video in question, click on the text above…and you be the judge.     🙂

U.S. commanders forecast 10,000 American casualties in war with North Korea

As many as 10,000 U.S. service members would end up wounded or dead in the opening days of a potential war with North Korea, with civilian casualties possibly reaching into the hundreds of thousands, says a recent U.S. military assessment of a future conflict on the peninsula. The casualty assessment was one of several generated during a large-scale vitrual wargame, known as a tabletop exercise in Pentagon parlance, conducted by several service and combatant commanders including Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley and U.S. Special Operations Command chief Gen. Tony Thomas, The New York Times reported Thursday. The wargame, held at U.S. Pacific Command’s headquarters in Hawaii, put on stark display the devastating cost of engaging in all-out war with the North Korean regime. “The brutality of this will be beyond the experience of any living soldier,” Gen. Milley reportedly said after seeing the results of the exercise, according to The Times. Results of the recent wargame come as the White House continues raising tensions in the region, touting the fact that all options — including military action — remain on the table in an effort to curb Pyongyang’s nuclear ambitions. Officials within the Trump administration have also suggested a series of non-nuclear, preemptive strikes dubbed the “bloody nose”option to force the North to ratchet down their actions. Goodwill generated between Pyongyang, Seoul and the U.S. as a result of the recent Olympic games prompted Mr. Trump to suggest his administration would be open to some form of talks with the North Korean regime. That said, Washington remains intent on moving forward with this year’s Foal Eagle exercises, in spite of claims by Pyongyang that such a move could have a chilling effect on those seemingly warming relations. U.S. and South Korean commanders are in the process of zeroing in on a start date for the exercise, known as Foal Eagle, after being forced to postpone the drill due to the Olympics, Pentagon spokesman Col. Rob Manning told reporters Monday. He declined to comment on what dates both countries were considering for the exercise, one of the largest military drills in the world, but noted “it will be an alliance decision when that [exercise] will occur,” Col. Manning told reporters at the Pentagon. Officials in Pyongyang warned that any military drills set to take place after the games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, “seriously threatened, and hard-won atmosphere for reconciliation and cooperation between the north and the south were spoilt in a moment,” according to a statement issued on state-run media outlet Korean Central News Agency last week.

‘They beat our a–es’: Russian mercenaries talk about humiliating defeat by US in reportedly leaked audio

Leaked audio recordings said to be of Russian mercenaries in Syria capture expressions of lament and humiliation over a battle in early February involving US forces and Russian nationals. Published by Polygraph.info — a fact-checking website produced by Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, news organizations that receive funding from the US government — the audio recordings paint a picture of Russian mercenaries essentially sent to die in an ill-conceived advance on a US-held position in Syria. Polygraph says the audio recordings are from a source close to the Kremlin. The Pentagon has described the attack as “unprovoked” and started by forces loyal to the Syrian government that crossed over the Euphrates River, which functions as a border between US-backed troops and Russian-backed ones. The Pentagon says that about 500 troops began to fire on the position and that the US responded with air power and artillery strikes. The audio from Polygraph seems to confirm that while giving some insight into the feelings of the defeated forces. Also apparent in the audio is displeasure with how Russia has responded to the situation. Initially, Russia denied that its citizens took part in the clash. Later, a representative said five may have died. Last week, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the fight left “several dozen wounded” and that some had died. The audio recordings, in which voices can be heard saying 200 people died “right away,” appear to back up reports from Reuters, Bloomberg, and the Pentagon that roughly 100 — if not more— Russians died in the fight. Reuters has cited sources as saying the advance’s purpose was to test the US’s response. Russia is thought to use military contractors in Syria rather than its military — experts speculate it’s to maintain deniability for acts of war and conceal the true cost of fighting from the Russian people. The Washington Post reported last week that US intelligence reports with intercepted communications showed that a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin told a senior Syrian official he “secured permission” from the Kremlin before the advance on the US forces. The accounts in the audio also align with reports of how the battle went down, depicting an unprepared column of troops meeting an overwhelming air response before helicopter gunships strafed the remaining ones.

That’s a pretty standard response for something like this.  Clearly the Russians were totally unprepared..  To see a profanity-laced transcript of their reaction to what happened, click on the text above.

US ignores China ‘at our peril’ and lags on missile tech, Pacific commander warns

The top U.S. military commander in the Pacific warned Congress that American missile technology had fallen so far behind China due to a decades-old arms control treaty with Russia, the United States may not be able to win a future war against Beijing. “China’s intent is crystal clear. We ignore it at our peril,” Adm. Harry Harris, recently nominated by President Trump to be his next ambassador to Australia told the House Armed Services Committee Wednesday. “China’s impressive military buildup could soon challenge the United States across almost every domain,” Harris warned. Harris said the United States is blocked from fielding ground-based intermediate range missiles because of the intermediate-range nuclear forces (INF) treaty. China is not a party to the agreement between Washington and Moscow signed in 1987 banning short and intermediate range ground-launched missiles with ranges between 310 and 620 miles and 620 to 3,420 miles. The treaty does not cover sea-launched or air-launched missiles. Harris said better than 90 percent of China’s ground-based missiles would violate the INF treaty. China’s pursuit of state-of-the-art hypersonic missiles that travel over 7,500 miles per hour through space and could potentially break through the current U.S. missile defense shield worries the Pentagon. “I think that China’s hypersonic weapons development outpaces ours now, and I think we are falling behind,” Harris warned. A similar view was held by Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., vice chairman of the Senate intelligence committee, on Tuesday during testimony by the nation’s spy chiefs: “I feel we may be buying the best 20th-century military that money can buy when many of the threats in the 21st century will be in cybermisinformation, disinformation, and we need to be better prepared.” Intelligence chiefs warned this week China could turn U.S. telecommunications networks into a spy network, warning Americans not to use certain Chinese cellphones made by Huawei and ZTE. They also raised alarm bells about academics and Chinese students sent to the U.S. to gather secrets for the Chinese government. Admiral Harris, who oversees 375,000 military personnel and is responsible for threats to the U.S. across 100 million square miles – half of the earth’s surface – is known as a China hawk. Last week, President Trump nominated him to be ambassador to Australia. Harris also weighed in on the other major threat to the United States in the Pacific. He warned lawmakers not to be fooled by North Korea’s recent charm offensive during the Winter Olympics. Harris said Kim Jung-Un ultimately wants “reunification [with South Korea] under a single Communist system,” what his grandfather and father failed to do. Harris said he rejected the notion that North Korea’s nuclear ambitions were solely about regime survival, but instead intended to “blackmail” South Korea and other countries in the region, including the United States. Should war break out on the Korean Peninsula, Harris said the number of people requiring evacuation would be “staggering.” 200,000 American civilians would have to be evacuated from South Korea. 1 million Chinese. 60,000 Japanese would all require immediate evacuation. “The Republic of Korea and Japan have been living under the shadow of [North Korea]’s threats for years, and now that shadow looms over the American homeland,” said Harris. He and others on the House Armed Services Committee warned about being lulled into complacency by North Korea’s presence at the Olympics under a unified Korean flag. Vice President Pence today, just back from South Korea, explained how he gave Kim Jong Un’s sister the cold shoulder. “I didn’t avoid the dictator’s sister, but I did ignore her. I didn’t believe it was proper for the USA to give her any attention in that forum,” said Pence. Harris also told lawmakers he was concerned about the growing threat from Russia and China in outer space. “We’ve been led astray by viewing space as some kind of a fuzzy panda bear thing,” said Harris. “I think the Chinese … the Russians and others, they view space as the ultimate high ground. They are preparing for battle in space.”

And we fail to look at it in a similar manner “at our peril.”  The good Admiral is exactly right.  Having spent a couple years in the space industry as an Army officer, I personally can attest to the importance of viewing Space as the “ultimate high ground.”  The Russians, Chinese, and to a smaller extent even the North Koreans see it exactly that way.  It’s WAY past time we got our act together and addressed our military space programs with a sense of urgency.

US Air Force B-52 drops record number of precision bombs on Taliban

A U.S. Air Force B-52 Stratofortress dropped a record number of precision guided bombs on Taliban over the past 24 hours in Northern Afghanistan, U.S. Forces-Afghanistan said in a statement Tuesday. The bombing was part of a 96-hour air campaign that struck training facilities and sources of revenue like narcotics. The strikes also aimed at stolen Afghan National Army vehicles “being converted to vehicle-borne” improvised explosive devices, the statement read. “The Taliban have nowhere to hide,” Gen. John Nicholson, the commander of the unit, said. “There will be no safe haven for any terrorist group bent on bringing harm and destruction to this country.” The B-52, which was recently reconfigured with a “conventional rotary,” dropped 24 guided munitions. The U.S. military is pulling its forces from an American-led coalition base in Iraq and shifting them to Afghanistan following the defeat of Islamic State group militants in the country. Western contractors at the base say U.S. troops began the drawdown over the past week, with groups of soldiers leaving the base on daily flights. The exact scale of the redeployment was unclear. According to various estimates, as of 2016, there were more than 5,000 U.S. military personnel stationed in Iraq, with nearly 4,000 deployed to support and assist local groups fighting ISIS militants. The remaining personnel included special operations forces, logistics workers and troops on temporary rotations, the BBC reported.

Nice!  Score one for the good guys!     🙂