military

US military wants $300M to start testing satellite-mounted lasers and ‘particle beams’

The U.S. military is looking to develop and test more weapons it can blast into space to fire at targets on the surface of the earth. According to Defense One, the first plan on the agenda is a space laser that could be used to blow up enemy missiles “coming off the launch pad”. A study to see if this is feasible should wrap up within six months, but only takes up $15m of the total budget. Much of the rest of the cash is going to a project to develop space-based “particle beam” weapons. While lasers fire high-energy light at targets, particle beam weapons would accelerate a stream of subatomic particles to ludicrously high speeds and direct them at the target. While each particle only has a tiny mass, enough of them moving fast enough would be able to impart a serious amount of energy in a very short space of time. The U.S. first tested particle beam weapons in the late 1980s to some success, but the designs for a functional weapon were huge, with some reportedly over 70 feet long. “We now believe we can get it down to a package that we can put on as part of a payload to be placed on orbit,” according to a senior U.S. military official quoted by Defense One. The idea is that such weapons could be used to take out missiles very shortly after they launch, when they’re blasting up from their launch pads into the atmosphere. The current plan has such weapons being ready for testing in 2023. Some worry that if the U.S. developed and deployed these sorts of weapons it would push the likes of Russia and China into developing both missiles that would be resistant to the technology and weapons to take down the satellite weapons. The development of those new weapons result in “greatly increasing the threat to U.S. assets in space,” according to Kingston Reif, of the Arms Control Association. No country currently has any official space-based weapons, but plenty have been theorized. China has upgraded its space technology recently, with U.S. analysts suggesting they already have laser-based weapons capable of crippling American defenses.

The Naval Academy is deteriorating so badly, its mission to train midshipmen is under threat

Leaking pipes. Moldering walls. Condemned offices and balconies. Plumbing that can’t handle its load and a stormwater system dumping unfiltered rainwater into the Severn River. These aren’t the issues of a long-abandoned factory. They describe the current condition of the Naval Academy. Infrastructure at the naval institution in Annapolis has degraded to the point of threatening the school’s ability to train and educate midshipmen, according to a report by the Naval Audit Service. The 2018 audit, obtained by The Capital Gazette through a Freedom of Information Act request, details failing buildings, classrooms and athletic facilities — which in some cases actively leak, overheat and threaten user safety. Buildings including Nimitz Library and Macdonough Hall were built decades ago but never fully updated, causing critical systems to outlive their usefulness. Auditors fear the conditions jeopardize academy accreditation, endanger midshipmen and visitors, and violate several federal laws. The report took stock of 13 unfunded maintenance or renovation projects spread among 15 facilities between March 6, 2017, and April 26, 2018. Ten of these facilities are highly important to the academy mission, according to its internal rating system. But of those 10, four rated “poor to fair” and five rated “failing to poor” at supporting the academy’s ultimate goal — to ready midshipmen for naval service. The auditors found a maintenance backlog exacerbated by steep funding cuts after the Naval Academy lost its Flagship Institution designation to the 2013 federal budget sequester. The designation promised the academy funding for both regular repairs and major renovations. To dam the deluge of problems, the Navy restored the Flagship Institution designation for the academy, Naval Postgraduate School and Naval War College. The academy will get $15 million every other year, beginning in fiscal year 2020. The Navy will also support the maintenance budget at a higher level. “USNA concurs with the findings of the audit,” Cmdr. David McKinney, a Naval Academy spokesman, said in a prepared statement. “We look forward to addressing the discrepancies in the report and with additional funding look forward to ensuring the Naval Academy remains a modern Flagship Institution for the Navy.” The Naval Academy continues to do emergency maintenance — including recent repairs to the Bancroft Hall roof and the Leahy Hall roof that was blown off during a wind storm last year, said Ed Zeigler, a spokesman for Naval District Washington. But to fund large-scale infrastructure projects, the school competes for money against other projects in the Washington, D.C., Naval District. The academy submits projects to the district, which prioritizes and passes them on to Shore Mission Integration Group, a Navy body responsible for balancing priorities at sea and on the shore. Even with the new money, it would take years to address all of the problems listed in the audit.

Indeed..  For more, click on the text above.

Army struggles to reach Generation Z, tries recruiting at e-Sports events

Generation Z is proving to be a tough nut to crack for the U.S. Army. Recruiters are racking their minds for ways to convince Americans born between the mid-1990s and mid-2000s to sign on the dotted line. The situation is so challenging that they are turning to e-Sports video game tournaments. “It is incredible, the amount of coverage that you get and the amount of the Z Gens that are watching these games,” Gen. Frank Muth, the head of Army Recruiting Command, recently told NPR. The move (coming after the Army fell short of its 76,500 recruitment goal by 6,500 people last fiscal year) is part of a broader strategy requiring recruiters to leverage social media platforms such as Instagram to reach potential troops. “Calling the Z generation on the phone doesn’t work anymore,” Gen. Muth told NPR’s Leila Fadel. “We’re really giving the power back to our recruiters to go on Twitter, to go on Twitch, to go on Instagram, and use that as a venue to start a dialogue with the Z generation.” The media organization noted that a recent e-Sports event featuring an Army recruiter as an announcer netted 2 million views. “Half [the views] were from people aged 17 to 24,” NPR reported. “Here’s what we’re finding different as we’ve shifted from the millennials to the Z Generation. Z Generation, they do want to be part of something bigger,” the officer added. “They do want to give back. They do want to serve, and they want to get out there and be part of something other than just being about themselves.”

A sign of the times…  Gone are the days where Army recruiters met you at fairs and campuses.  That’s how I was approached back in the day.

Pentagon: Military Logistics System Not Ready for War With China or Russia

The strategic American military system for moving troops, weapons, and supplies over long distances has decayed significantly and needs rapid upgrading to be ready for any future war with China or Russia, according to a report by the Pentagon’s Defense Science Board. A special task force on survivable logistics evaluated the military’s current airlift, sealift, and prepositioned equipment and supplies and found major problems with supporting forces during a “high-end” conflict. “Since the end of the Cold War, the United States has not fought an adversary capable of the catastrophic disruption of military supply chains and deployment of personnel and materiel,” an unclassified summary of the report states. “As a result, the [joint logistics enterprise] has suffered neglect and chronic underfunding relative to other DoD priorities.” Additionally, the ability of strategic competitors to threaten military supply lines has increased with new and advanced weapons and missiles, as well as “gray zone” capabilities such as cyber attacks and space warfare. “Competitors and adversaries have already disrupted commercial logistics information technology systems,” the report said. “Military and commercial networks are at risk.” “Conflict against a strategic competitor will demand a dispersed and survivable logistics structure and robust IT systems capable of not only defending against cyber-attacks, but also safely sharing logistics information across military and commercial elements,” the report said. The task force concluded that a logistics system for the military that can survive a future war will be essential for continued American power projection and for readiness to deal with threats from China and Russia. “Without a demonstrably resilient and survivable logistics capability, U.S. deterrence will suffer and the ability of the U.S. military to operate globally will be at stake,” the report said. The report warned that American military readiness in recent decades “has severely decayed” as the result of budget cuts, misaligned funding priorities, a lack of incentives to protect the defense industrial base, and insufficient wargaming. The task force urged reversing course immediately to address one of the highest priorities of recently departed Defense Secretary Jim Mattis who sought to rebuild military readiness in pursuit of more lethal forces. The 29-page report was made public in November and is the executive summary of a longer, classified study.

Interesting…   For more, click on the text above.

Federal appeals court gives Trump a win on transgender military service

A federal appeals court gave President Trump a win Friday in a case defending the administration’s policy limiting certain transgender people from serving in the military. The federal circuit court in D.C. ruled the lower court erred in issuing an injunction against the president’s policy, saying the plan wasn’t a “blanket transgender ban.” The court said former Security of Defense James Mattis’ plan had been developed with the help from military officials and medical professionals. It focused on limiting the service of transgender people who suffer from gender dysphoria and refuse to serve under their biological sex. “Although today’s decision is not a final determination on the merits, we must recognize that the Mattis Plan plausibly relies upon the ‘considered professional judgment’ of ‘appropriate military officials,’” the court ruled in an unsigned opinion. There are still other injunctions in place that had been issued by lower courts against the administration’s policy, so the Justice Department has asked the Supreme Court to step in. Former Defense Secretary Ash Carter formally lifted the ban on transgendered citizens serving openly in the U.S. military last year. Under that policy initiated by Mr. Carter, transgendered individuals would have been able to enlist into the services by July. Those plans came to a halt when Mr. Trump announced plans to ban all transgender citizens from enlisting and separating all transgender troops currently in uniform. The announcement came as Mr. Mattis was in the midst of a six-month review of the Obama-era policy. Since the August announcement, federal courts have ruled the White House’s ban as unconstitutional while the transgender ban policy continues to face other challenges in the judiciary. Transgendered recruits were allowed to enlist beginning Jan. 1 after being subjected to a slew of physical, psychological and medical requirements before being considered for military service, pending the release of the military’s recommendations to the White House. The new standards for transgendered enlistment include certification that a recruit has been deemed “clinically stable” in their preferred sex for 18 months, and do not suffer from marked stress or impairment tied to their selected gender during certain scenarios tied to military service. The first transgender recruit officially signed up for the U.S. military last February, little over a month since the White House’s call for a ban on service for those citizens. The issue has become a cultural touchstone between proponents of the ban who argue the military has been repeatedly subjected to progressive social engineering efforts.

Which is exactly what has been happening ever since then-President Bill Clinton issued his “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy in the mid-’90s.  I was in the military then, and vividly remember the s_it storm that started…and it went downhill from there, especially under Obama.  What so many liberal Dems (who have never served in the military), and their equally ignorant accomplices in the dominantly liberal mainstream media down want to accept is…that nobody has a right to serve in the military.  There is no constitutional right to serve.  It’s a privilege.  Secondly..  The military discriminates all the time, and has been doing so for generations.  If you’re too tall, you can’t fly fighter jets.  If you’re too fat, you can’t join.  If you’re disabled and/or in a wheelchair, you can’t join.  And, on and on..  The mission of the U.S. military is to WIN wars.  Period!  Anything that undermines that mission, including all of the politically correct social engineering bs imposed on it by Democrat presidents and lawmakers, puts our troops’ lives in jeopardy, and undermines our ability to WIN.

Body of MAJ Brent Taylor, Utah mayor killed in Afghanistan, returns to US

The body of Utah mayor and Army National Guard major Brent Taylor arrived in the United States on Election Day — a somber homecoming his widow called “fitting.” Taylor, who was shot and killed in an insider attack in Afghanistan on Saturday, had only days earlier praised the Afghan people who fearlessly filled up polling stations during that country’s parliamentary elections and also exhorted Americans to vote in Tuesday’s midterm elections. “It seems only fitting that Brent, who in death represents so much more, has come home to U.S. soil in a flag-draped casket on our Election Day,” Jennie Taylor said during an eloquent address in which she memorialized the ultimate sacrifice made by her husband. “The price of freedom surely feels incredibly high to those of us who know and love our individual soldier. The value of freedom is immeasurable to those who love American and all she represents.” Jennie ended her remarks by echoing Brent Taylor’s call to cast a ballot. “Brent himself put it best just days ago when he implored of us all, ‘I hope everyone back home exercises their precious right to vote and whether the Republicans or Democrats win I hope that we all remember that we have far more as Americans that unites us than divides us,” she said. Military officials said the 39-year-old North Ogden mayor was killed in Kabul by an Afghan commando he was training. The assailant was then killed by Afghan forces. Taylor is the eighth American killed in action in Afghanistan this year. Maj. Taylor had been expecting to return as Mayor Taylor in January. Aside from his wife, Taylor leaves behind seven children, ranging from 11 months old to 13 years old. “To say that our hearts are anything less than shattered would be nothing short of true deceit and yet to deny the sacred honor that it is to stand that close to some of the freshest blood that has been spilt for our country would be absolute blasphemy,” Jennie said. Following news of Taylor’s death, condolences poured in from far and wide. One of the letters was written by Maj. Abdul Rahman Rahmani, an Afghan Army Aviation pilot. Rahmani tweeted the letter, which he addressed to Jennie, saying he was a “better person” after meeting Taylor. “He died on our soil but he died for the success of freedom and democracy in both of our countries,” Rahmani wrote. Taylor, a military intelligence officer with Joint Force Headquarters, served two tours in Iraq and was on his second tour in Afghanistan.

As a former Military Intelligence Army (“field grade”) officer who also served in Afghanistan, this story really hits home on a personal level.  Our prayers are with Jennie and her kids during this heartbreaking time.  And, our thanks to Brent for his service and ultimate sacrifice.  For more, click on the text above.

Russian fighter jet intercepts US Navy plane

A US Navy reconnaissance aircraft flying in international airspace over the Black Sea was intercepted by a Russian fighter jet Monday in an unsafe and unprofessional manner, according to three US defense officials and a statement from the Navy. During an encounter that lasted a total of 25 minutes, the Russian SU-27 jet passed directly in front of the US EP-3 aircraft at a high speed, the officials said. The US crew reported turbulence following that initial interaction in which the direct pass occurred. The SU-27 then made a second pass of the US plane and applied its afterburner while conducting a banking maneuver, which is believed to have caused a vibration that was experienced by the American crew. “This interaction was determined to be unsafe due to the SU-27 conducting a high speed pass directly in front of the mission aircraft, which put our pilots and crew at risk. The intercepting SU-27 made an additional pass, closing with the EP-3 and applying its afterburner while conducting a banking turn away. The crew of the EP-3 reported turbulence following the first interaction, and vibrations from the second,” according to a statement from the US Navy. Officials so far, have not been able to estimate how close the Russian aircraft came to the US plane, but described the flight behavior of the Russians as the key factor in making the determination the encounter was unsafe. US officials were not initially aware of whether the Russian aircraft was armed. The Navy EP-3 was operating out of Souda Bay, Greece, according to Pentagon spokesman Eric Pahon. The Navy plane had its transponder on for the duration of the mission but there was no communication established or attempted between the Russian and US aircraft, Pahon said. A Twitter account for the Russian embassy in the US posted a brief statement about the encounter on Monday saying the fighter jet “followed all necessary safety procedures.” “The Su-27 jet’s crew reported identifying the #US EP-3 Aries spy plane and accompanied it, preventing a violation of Russian airspace and followed all necessary safety procedures,” the tweet said. The last reported unsafe intercept of a US Navy aircraft by a Russian jet occurred in January when a Russian Su-27 jet flew within five feet of a US Navy EP-3, forcing the Navy plane to fly through its jet wash. The US Navy deemed that intercept unsafe and unprofessional. Following that incident, the US State Department issued a statement accusing the Russians of “flagrantly violating existing agreements and international law.” In May, a Russian Su-27 fighter jet performed an “unprofessional” intercept of a US Navy P-8 surveillance plane while it was flying in international airspace over the Baltic Sea. The Russian jet came within about 20 feet of the US aircraft, one official said, adding that the encounter lasted about nine minutes. That intercept was described by officials as safe but unprofessional..