New attack drones, 5th-generation stealth fighter jets, reconfigured cargo planes and Russian-built air defenses are making China’s Air Force even deadlier. In fact, all of these advances present a great concern to U.S. war planners. The size of the People’s Liberation Army Air Force is reported to include a total of 2,500 aircraft, making it the third-largest in the world, according to the Pentagon’s 2020 China Military Power report. U.S. threat assessors are not merely concerned about the size of the Chinese Air Force but the increasing technical sophistication and multi-mission tactics with which it operates. For instance, as part of its discussion of Chinese airpower, the report notes that China operates highly advanced, Russian-built S-400 and S-500 air defenses. These systems, among the best in the world, increasingly use networked digital processors, faster computer speeds and a wider range of frequencies to detect aircraft. Russian media reports have claimed that their air defenses can even track stealth aircraft, a claim that has yet to be formally verified. Yet another concern with China’s air power is its fast-increasing attack range. The Chinese Y-20 cargo plane, for instance, is likely being configured into a tanker aircraft to nearly double the attack range of Chinese fighter jets. Technically speaking, while the U.S. Air Force’s KC-46 tanker is certainly different from its C-130s, it would not be at all technically difficult to convert a large Y-20 into a tanker configuration. This not only better enables a potential attack on Taiwan but also massively expands the Chinese reach into more areas of the South China Sea from the mainland. While many of China’s fighters are within range of attacking Taiwan on a single sortie, expanded combat radius would not only increase surveillance options but also enable much longer “dwell time” for fighter planes searching for targets in the skies above Taiwan. Operating a large tanker of this kind might also greatly improve China’s aircraft carrier power-projection capabilities by virtue of creating possibilities for longer-range, more expansive combat missions from the ocean. Such a possibility is further strengthened by ongoing Chinese efforts to engineer a carrier-launched variant of Beijing’s J-31 stealth fighter for domestic use. Such a platform, described by Chinese newspapers as a J-31B, brings stealthy 5th-generation attack possibilities to maritime warfare, not unlike the U.S. F-35B and F-35C. These factors are quite likely just one of many reasons why the U.S. Air Force continues to seek accelerated modernization and large size increases. Many senior Air Force leaders express great concern that not only is the force aging and in need of revamped sustainment efforts but is also insufficient to meet the requested mission demands of combatant commanders forward-deployed around the globe. Air Force leaders are continuing to ask for the increase in size up to 386 squadrons first requested several years ago. While many believe current efforts are inadequate to meet the threat, there are a number of impactful sustainment activities underway with U.S. Air Force platforms. F-15 continue to be revamped with new weapons, radar and high-speed computer systems to ensure the 1980s aircraft can stay in front of the Chinese 4th-generation J-10. In addition, the Air Force recently completed software upgrades to F-22 weapons to enhance range, guidance and accuracy. Furthermore, the service is reconfiguring some of the “wing boxes” of its fleet of aging C-130s and a wide swath of upgrades has already made the well-known B-2 bomber much more advanced than it was during its inception. The B-2 is receiving new air-defense warning sensors, upgraded weapons and massively improved computer processing speed, among other things. None of this, however, Air Force weapons developers say, removes the need for new platforms and weapons as soon as possible.
President Trump recently ordered a 12,000-troop reduction in American military personnel stationed in Germany. That leaves about 24,000 American soldiers still in the country. A little more than half of the troops being withdrawn will return home. The rest will be redeployed to other NATO member nations such as Belgium, Italy, and perhaps Baltic and Eastern European countries. German Chancellor Angela Merkel is said to be furious. She claims the redeployments will “weaken the (NATO) alliance.” German commercial interests chimed in that the troop withdrawals will hurt their decades-old businesses serving U.S. bases. Perhaps, but Merkel surely cannot be surprised. Six years ago, all NATO members pledged to spend 2 percent of their GDP on defense. Yet only eight of 29 so far have kept their word. Germany spends only about 1.4 percent of its GDP on defense. As NATO’s largest, wealthiest and most powerful European member, it sets the example for the rest of alliance. Merkel’s reneging on her 2014 pledge helps explain why less wealthy and influential NATO members also see no reason to meet their obligations. Germany surely knows that 2020 marks the 75th anniversary of the end of the World War II, and the 29th year since the fall of the Berlin Wall — the symbolic end of the Cold War. Will there be any point in the future when Europe is confident enough to be a full defense partner with the U.S. rather than an eight-decade client? NATO, of course, still provides a common European defense, but only by habitually relying inordinately on U.S. military contributions. That dependence seems increasingly odd when the European Union has an aggregate GDP nearly as large as America’s. More important, NATO’s frontline threats are now mostly concerned with rogue member Turkey, especially its bullying of Greece and its increasingly aggressive stance in the Middle East. Russia always poses a threat to Europe. But the likely flashpoints are not on the German border, but more likely eastward in the Baltic states or on the Russian frontier with Poland. Moreover, the Merkel government has concluded, over American objections, a huge natural gas deal with Russia that is currently under some U.S. sanctions and short of cash. Russian energy exports to Germany are said to earn Russia $10 billion a year, with a likely doubling of that income once additional pipelines to Germany are completed. Merkel likes to lecture the world on moral issues, but what is so noble about empowering Russian President Vladimir Putin, who recently reclaimed Crimea and seems now to be eyeing Belarus? Like a modern-day Byzantine emperor Justinian, who recovered much of the lost Western Roman Empire, Putin seems to think he can reabsorb the lost Soviet republics. In recent polling, Germans were more anti-American than any other nation in Europe. And while about 75 percent of Americans believe the U.S. still has a good relationship with Germany, only about a third of Germans feel that way about the U.S. Nearly half the German population in some polls want U.S. troops out. Note that Germany piles up the largest annual trade surplus with the U.S. of any nation in Europe — roughly $55 billion to $70 billion in most years. The Trump administration says the surpluses have grown in large part due to asymmetry in tariffs and duties, with Germany the far more protectionist of the two partners. With Germany now united, rich and often angry, and with the Soviet threat largely over, it’s Germany, not the U.S., that seems to have altered its view of this once-solid relationship. Does Merkel really believe that if her nation cuts huge deals with NATO’s historically greatest threat, polls as the most anti-American country in Europe and still refuses to honor its promises to increase defense spending, Germany still deserves a large American commitment of 36,000 troops to anchor its defense? There is one caveat that the Trump administration and other European countries might consider. According to its founders, NATO was created for three reasons: to keep the always aggressive Russians “out” of Europe, to keep the often isolationist Americans “in” to help protect it, and to keep the supposedly restless Germans “down” in order to avoid a replay of their invasions that ignited both world wars. In other words, the huge defense commitment to an often ungracious Germany over eight decades was not just envisioned to create a central base from which to protect Europe from ancient Russian ambitions, but also to remind Germany itself of its checkered past. That third mission seems ossified and silly now. But it is not entirely forgotten, and it may explain why many in Europe — and some in Germany itself — are worried when any American soldiers leave Germany.
Bottom line.. Germany has not kept its word on it’s commitment to NATO, and Trump isn’t a sucker. Thanks to Dr. Victor Davis Hanson, PhD. for that excellent analysis and perspective!
A long-hidden UFO investigative unit within the Pentagon will make some of its findings public, according to a New York Times report. The unit, which is now part of the Office of Naval Intelligence, has spent over a decade discussing mysterious events in classified briefings, according to the news outlet. A government contractor told the Times that he gave a classified briefing to the Department of Defense in March, describing retrievals from “off-world vehicles not made on this Earth.” The Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon Task Force at the Office of Naval Intelligence was described in a Senate Intelligence Committee report last month. The unit standardizes “collection and reporting on unidentified aerial phenomenon, any links they have to adversarial foreign governments, and the threat they pose to U.S. military assets and installations,” the report said. “However, the Committee remains concerned that there is no unified, comprehensive process within the Federal Government for collecting and analyzing intelligence on unidentified aerial phenomena, despite the potential threat,” it added. “The Committee understands that the relevant intelligence may be sensitive; nevertheless, the Committee finds that the information sharing and coordination across the Intelligence Community has been inconsistent, and this issue has lacked attention from senior leaders.” In the report, the Senate Intelligence Committee directs the Director of National Intelligence, in consultation with the Secretary of Defense, to submit a report to the congressional intelligence and armed services committees on unidentified aerial phenomena (or “anomalous aerial vehicles”). The report must include “observed airborne objects that have not been identified.” The Committee says that the report should be submitted within 180 days of the enactment of the Intelligence Authorization Act for fiscal 2021. The bill was introduced on June 8, 2020. The New York Times reports that a small group of government officials and scientists believe that objects of “undetermined origin” have crashed to Earth and been retrieved, including former Sen. Harry Reid. While some have been found to be man-made materials, there are question marks over others. The publication cites Eric W. Davis, an astrophysicist who worked as a subcontractor and a consultant for the Pentagon UFO program. Davis, who now works for defense contractor Aerospace Corporation, said he also gave briefings on the recovery of unexplained objects to staff members of the Senate Armed Services Committee and the Senate Intelligence Committee, on Oct. 21 and Oct. 23, 2019, respectively, the Times added. “As we have said previously, the Department of Defense and all of the military departments take any incursions by unauthorized aircraft into our training ranges or designated airspace very seriously, and examine each report,” a spokesperson for the Department of Defense said. “This includes examinations of incursions that are initially reported as ‘unidentified aerial phenomena’ (UAP) when the observer cannot immediately identify what he or she is observing.” The Department of Defense, she explained, does not discuss publicly the details of either the observations or the examination of reported incursions into its training ranges or designated airspace, including incursions initially designated as UAP. “Regarding the task force mentioned in the article, I can say that the department is creating a task force to gain knowledge and insight into the nature and origins of UAPs, as well as their operations, capabilities, performance, and/or signatures,” she added. “The mission of the task force will be to detect, analyze, catalog, consolidate, and exploit non-traditional aerospace vehicles/UAPs posing an operational threat to U.S. national security and avoid strategic surprise.” Nick Pope, a former employee and UFO investigator for Britain’s Ministry of Defense, said he “fully supports” the creation of the task force, which he believes will address some of the concerns that the Senate Intelligence Committee and the Senate Armed Services Committee have. “UAP (Unidentified Aerial Phenomena) was a term we popularized at the UK Ministry of Defence in the Nineties, as part of a ‘rebranding’ of the UFO phenomenon, attempting to ditch the pop culture baggage that attached to the term ‘UFO’ and reframe the debate as the defense and national security issue that those of us studying the phenomenon knew it to be,” Pope said. “Every government rightly wants to secure the territorial integrity of its airspace and ensure that all objects and phenomena in its airspace or in close proximity to its military assets are identified.” In speaking with the New York Times, Reid said he believes the government and the private sector may have retrieved materials from unidentified objects. “After looking into this, I came to the conclusion that there were reports — some were substantive, some not so substantive — that there were actual materials that the government and the private sector had in their possession,” Reid said in the interview. Reid’s comments are the latest from the former lawmaker. In June 2019, he told Nevada’s KNPR that he wished lawmakers would hold public hearings into what the military knows. “They would be surprised how the American public would accept it,” Reid said during the wide-ranging interview. “People from their individual states would accept it.” The former Nevada senator has also tweeted multiple times about the topic, including in April, when he said he was happy the Pentagon released three videos of “unidentified aerial phenomena”, adding the “American people deserve to be informed.”
Things that make ya go, “hmmmm.” For more, click on the text above. 🙂
A Russian spy unit paid members of Afghanistan’s Taliban movement to conduct lethal attacks on U.S. troops in that country, according to a classified American intelligence assessment, people familiar with the report said. The assessment of the role played by Russia’s military intelligence agency, the GRU, in fostering attacks on American soldiers, comes as President Trump is pushing the Pentagon to withdraw a significant portion of U.S. forces from Afghanistan and as U.S. diplomats try to forge a peace accord involving the Taliban and the U.S.-backed Afghan government. The intelligence assessment regarding Russia’s actions in Afghanistan was delivered to the White House earlier this spring, and until recently had been known only to a handful of officials, a person familiar with it said. Its contents were reported earlier Friday by the New York Times. It couldn’t be determined whether Russian bounties paid to Taliban fighters resulted in any American combat deaths in Afghanistan. The White House, the Central Intelligence Agency and the Pentagon declined to comment. Russia’s Embassy in Washington didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. At issue is a secretive unit of the GRU that, according to Western officials, has conducted sometimes clandestine lethal operations against Moscow’s adversaries. The same unit, they said, was responsible for the poisoning in the U.K. of Sergei Skripal, a former GRU officer who defected to Britain, and his daughter. Russia has denied involvement.
Of course they have.. This cannot be allowed to stand.
The journey of two senior Al Qaeda-aligned commanders in northwestern Syria on Sunday was suddenly cut short by a targeted U.S.-led strike — only it doesn’t appear that they were killed by explosives, but a missile packed with knives. Video of the aftermath circulating on social media shows that the vehicle of the terrorist leaders – Jordanian Qassam ul-Urdini and Yemeni Bilal al-Sanaani – was mostly untouched, with just one side severed and the roof smashed in, prompting defense analysts to point to the use of a “secret” missile jointly developed by both the Department of Defense and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). It is a variation of the Hellfire anti-tank missile, referred to as the R9X, and internally called the “Flying Ginsu” or the “ninja bomb,” and it just might drastically shape the way war is waged given its exactitude and subsequent ability to vastly reduce the risk of collateral damage and civilian casualties. “The Hellfire R9X missile is a modified version of the Hellfire anti-tank missile, the likes of which have been featured on America drones like the Reaper and Predator. The reference to knives is no accident, as it features multiple steel blades that emerge from the missile moments before impact,” Behnam Ben Taleblu, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) told Fox News. “The result is a much smaller kill radius, which can limit the damage caused by the missile to the intended target area. Such a feature is increasingly needed for counterterrorism campaigns, where the fighting is closer-in, and the environment around the target is more dense and likely to be filled with non-combatants.” According to an analysis by “The War Zone,” the R9X doesn’t explode and wields six long blades “that are stowed inside and then deploy through the skin of the missile seconds before impact to ensure that it shreds anything in its tracks,” flying directly into designated targets. Compared to the traditional Hellfire, which ignites a potent blast, leaves a mangled mess in its wake and runs the risk of killing others within a 700-foot radius, the new modification is considered to be quite the advancement with a 100 percent deadly danger zone of 30 inches. The 100-pound Hellfire R9X was first publicly brought to light by The Wall Street Journal in May last year, and characterized by defense officials as being dependent on the force of impact in conjunction with the aureole of six blades that furl out during flight. Aside from its suspected use in Syria this past weekend, experts have pointed to numerous other occasions the weapon has been used to take down terrorist leaders not only in Syria but also in Yemen and Afghanistan. One occasion was in a January 2019 strike on a Taliban commander in Kunduz, Afghanistan. That same month, Jamal al-Badawi – alleged to have been the mastermind behind the attack of the USS Cole in a Yemeni port 20 years ago – was similarly neutralized. Two years earlier, Al Qaeda top brass Ahmad Hasan Abu Khayr al-Masri was targeted using the R9X in Syria’s Idlib province, WSJ reported. “Some analysts allege that the Hellfire R9X was used in Iraq in a deadly display of its effectiveness this January against Qassem Soleimani – the former Commander of Iran’s IRGC Quds-Force, and Abu-Mahdi al-Muhandis, the former Commander of pro-Iranian militias in Iraq,” Taleblu surmised. “One lasting impact of that strike is how removing the leadership cadre can handicap or hinder efforts of a larger organization. We are likely to see continued use of this weapon in U.S. counterterrorism campaigns to target leaders on the battlefield.” The weapon was under development as early as 2011, according to The Wall Street Journal, and a “missile with similar capabilities was considered as a ‘Plan B’ to kill al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, that year,” and that is advancement was spurred by the increasing ability of terrorists to adapt to U.S. airstrikes and tactics, namely concealing themselves among women and children. While it is not known just how many R9X’s are tucked away in the Pentagon’s depository, military experts have been quick to highlight its efficiency, citing examples that the Hellfire variation has the capability of killing a passenger and not a driver, or leaving a terrorist leader dead in his house and not any relatives sitting at the same table. Its edges are able to effectively slice through walls and roofs, according to experts. On the downside, DefenseOne points out that the use of the missile, especially outside of officially declared war zones, could lead to an uptick in military engagement and overt confidence that no civilians will be caught in the crossfire. However, Col. John Venable, a Heritage senior research fellow and former F-16 pilot in the Air Force, points out that the R9X is essentially an old tried-and-true tool made new again. “The munition with ‘knives’ has been around since at least the Vietnam War. The military term for the warhead is ‘flechettes,’ which are dart-like submunitions that are released and spread out in flight as an anti-personnel device,” Venable said. “Munitions have had a variety of warheads since before the Civil War, where they used everything from classic exploding cannonballs, to dumbbell-shaped projectiles and ‘grapeshot,’ which was basically shotgun-shell BBs (only much larger) that used mass and velocity as the engagement mechanism,” he added. “It’s really not much different today. There are high-explosive, penetrating, and even inert warheads – that use mass and velocity as the engagement mechanism while minimizing collateral damage.”
Well said, Colonel. Score one for the good guys! For pics and more from the folks at The War Zone, click on the text above.
North Korea said Wednesday it will redeploy troops to now-shuttered inter-Korean cooperation sites, reinstall guard posts and resume military exercises at front-line areas, nullifying the landmark tension-reducing deals reached with South Korea just two years ago. The announcement came a day after North Korea destroyed an inter-Korean liaison office in a choreographed display of anger that puts pressure on Washington and Seoul amid deadlocked nuclear diplomacy. The demolition was the most provocative act by North Korea since it entered nuclear talks in 2018, though the building in its border town of Kaesong was empty and the North had previously signaled plans to blow it up. The North’s General Staff said military units will be deployed to the Diamond Mountain resort and the Kaesong industrial complex, both just north of the heavily fortified border. Those sites, once symbols of inter-Korean cooperation, have been shuttered for years due to inter-Korean disputes and the economic sanctions imposed on North Korea because of its nuclear program. The North said it will resume military exercises and reestablish guard posts in border areas and and open front-line sites for flying propaganda balloons toward South Korea. It said it’ll upgrade front-line military readiness to “top-class combat duty system,” while citizens are ready to “launch the largest ever leaflet scattering with a blitz.” These steps would end September 2018 agreements reached during inter-Korean diplomacy that were aimed at lowering military tensions at border areas. Under those agreements, both Koreas halted live-firing exercises, removed some land mines and destroyed guard posts inside the world’s most heavily armed border. Some outside experts have said these moves undermined South Korea’s security more as the North’s nuclear weapons arsenal remain intact. South Korea’s government didn’t immediately respond to the North Korean military statement. Seoul’s Defense Ministry had said Tuesday it would strongly deal with future provocation by North Korea. Some outside analysts predicted North Korea would resort to provocation to wrest outside concessions because its economy has likely worsened under the persistent U.S.-led sanctions and the coronavirus pandemic. North Korea may also be frustrated because the sanctions prevent Seoul from breaking away from Washington to resume joint economic projects with Pyongyang. The North’s official Korean Central News Agency on Wednesday said the hard-line steps were taken to retaliate for South Korea’s failure to prevent activists from floating propaganda leaflets across the border. The building destruction was a “reflection of the zeal of our enraged people to punish human scum who challenged the noblest dignity and prestige of our country and those who sheltered the scum, perpetrators of shuddering crime.” It said the destruction was the first step in the retaliation and North Korea will set the intensity and timing for its additional steps while closely monitoring South Korean moves. “Under such an acute situation as now, shameless and reckless attitude and response of the South Korean authorities will lead to our tougher retaliation plans,” it said. The liaison office, built with South Korean money at a reported cost of $8.3 million, was opened days before the 2018 tension-reduction deals were reached. It was the first such office established between the Koreas since their 1945 division. Kim Yo Jong, the powerful sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, issued a separate statement saying North Korea had rebuffed a recent offer by South Korean President Moon Jae-in to send special envoys to Pyongyang to defuse animosities. She said Moon had offered to dispatch his National Security Director Chung Eui-yong and spy chief Suh Hun at the earliest possible date that North Korea would want. Moon’s office didn’t immediately confirm the North’s report. Kim Yo Jong, who has spearheaded the North’s recent fiery rhetoric against South Korea, called Moon’s offer “unrealistic” and “nonsensical.” “The (South Korean) chief executive greatly favors sending special envoys for ‘tiding over crises’ and raises preposterous proposals frequently, but he has to clearly understand that such a trick will no longer work on us,” Kim Yo Jong said. She said the current Korean crisis “can be terminated only when proper price is paid” for South Korea. South Korea on Tuesday expressed “strong regret” over the destruction of the liaison office the two Koreas had opened in 2018 when ties flourished. The statement also warned of a stern response if North Korea takes additional steps that aggravate tensions. North Korea’s moves have been a serious setback to Moon’s efforts at engagement. Moon champions greater reconciliation with North Korea, met Kim Jong Un three times and was a driving force behind the diplomacy between Pyongyang and Washington, including the first summit between Kim and President Donald Trump in Singapore in June 2018. Inter-Korean relations have been strained since the second Kim-Trump summit in early 2019 fell apart due to wrangling over the sanctions. Moon and Kim, after the first of their three 2018 summits, agreed to stop all forms of hostile acts against each other, including leafleting campaigns. But the agreement doesn’t clearly say civilian leafleting should also be banned. Jang Kum Chol, director of the inter-Korean affairs department at North Korea’s ruling party, said Wednesday that Seoul is responsible for the building’s destruction because activists and North Korean defectors in South Korea continued launching leaflets. “Therefore, there can be no exchange or exchange with (the South’s) government. No words will be exchanged at all,” Jang said.
The U.S. Army was established June 14, 1775, and this year marks 245 years of the Army’s legacy of service to the nation. During the Army Birthday observance, the Army focuses on its people and their accomplishments. This year, the tagline is, “America’s Army: When We are Needed, We are There.” It provides an overarching framework to champion stories of bravery, patriotism and legacy of service. Since its establishment, the Army has played a vital role in the defense and protection of America. The Army remains committed to upholding the Army Values, serving with honor and making a difference in communities throughout the nation. Through the Army’s steadfast dedication to the mission and its core values, the Army safeguards the hard-earned trust and confidence of the American public. The Army continues to increase and strengthen its readiness to fight against any threat in an increasingly complicated global security environment. The Army is America’s first national institution. It was established before the Declaration of Independence was signed and before the Continental Congress approved the design for the first U.S. flag. There is a deep and powerful bond between the Army, the flag and the nation. Click here for 23 fun facts about the Army:
The Army is the senior military service, because it was our nation’s first military service. I’m proud to have served in it. A big Army HOOAH to all my brothers and sisters past present and future from a former Army “field grade.” Happy Birthday Army!! 🙂
The Pentagon has ordered the 82nd Airborne Division’s Immediate Response Force to deploy to the D.C.-area amid rioting across the nation, according to multiple sources on background. The force is the same one that deployed earlier this year to quell violent Iran-backed protests in Iraq. Sources told Breitbart News earlier on Monday that the forces were preparing their gear to deploy, but Pentagon officials would not confirm. A source also told Breitbart News that the 16th Military Police Brigade from Fort Bragg was also headed to D.C. The deployments to D.C. comes after rioters looted stores, defaced national monuments, and burned a historic church a block from the White House. Trump during a press conference on Monday announced he was dispatching military units in response to the riots. “My first and highest duty as president is to defend our great country and the American people. I swore an oath to uphold the laws of our nation, and that is exactly what I will do,” he said. “As we speak, I am dispatching thousands and thousands of heavily-armed soldiers, military personnel, and law enforcement officers to stop the rioting, looting, vandalism, assaults and the wanton destruction of property,” he added. Trump also spoke to governors earlier during a conference call in which he urged them to show strength and take back the streets from rioters. Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR), an Army veteran who is close to the Trump administration, said Monday morning that “anarchy, rioting, and looting needs to end tonight,” and suggested sending active duty forces. He added: “And, if necessary, the 10th Mountain, 82nd Airborne, 1st Cav, 3rd Infantry — whatever it takes to restore order. No quarter for insurrectionists, anarchists, rioters, and looters.” Trump had responded with: “100% Correct. Thank you Tom!”
Sounds like help is on the way! Stay tuned…
The Navy’s vision and mission scope for its emerging new combat-capable frigate includes the ability to destroy swarming small boat attacks, operate undersea and aerial drones, support carrier strike groups, conduct disaggregated operations, attack enemies with an over-the-horizon missile and engage in advanced surface and anti-submarine warfare. These plans for the ship are taking a large step forward, following the Navy’s recent ship development award to Marinette Marine Corp. for up to 10 new Guided Missile Frigates (FFX(X)). Concepts for the ship include an advanced, heavily armed frigate with a stronger, reinforced hull, space armor, over-the-horizon missiles and a wider complement of additional high-tech weapons. Sure enough, according to Navy officials, the ship is now being designed as much more than a “toughened” Littoral Combat Ship, but a ship with an even wider combat scope to include additional air-defenses, AEGIS radar systems and major missile attack options with Mk 41 Vertical Launch Systems. Following years of debate and deliberation regarding what particular weapons and technology configuration would ultimately take shape for the new vessel, the service appears to have identified a handful of specifics. In a Navy report, service officials identified some of the intended missions and weapons applications for the ship. Initial specs include Enterprise Air Surveillance Radar, a Baseline Ten AEGIS Combat System, a Mk 41 Vertical Launch System (VLS) and MK 57 Gun Weapon Systems, among other things. This kind of baseline configuration is of course engineered with the technical foundation necessary to integrate new weapons, computer technology, electronics and information warfare systems as they emerge. The Navy described it as having “countermeasures and added capability in the EW/IO (Electronic Warfare/Information Operations) area with design flexibility for future growth.” Upon initial conception, it was not instantly determined that the new ship would include VLS; clearly the service saw the need to more heavily arm the new ship, in keeping with its increased lethality and Distributed Maritime Operations strategic approach for aggressively arming its surface fleet for major warfare on the open seas. Navy officials said that the new FFG (X) “will have multi-mission capability to conduct air warfare, anti-submarine warfare, surface warfare, electronic warfare, and information operations.” As part of its attack strategy for the ship, Navy officials add the ship will “will incorporate Standard Navy systems across the radar; combat system; command, control, communications, computers and intelligence; and launcher elements.” Along these lines, arming the ship with EASR radar is consistent with this plan, as the radar is also arming amphibs and some carriers as a Raytheon-built multi-mission air-defense system. The deal, which is a contract for detailed design and construction, includes a measure of flexibility, meaning the Navy and its industry partners are likely to continue refining requirements and potential weapons and technology for the ship as it further comes to fruition. Significantly, the Navy’s emerging weapons and technology structure for its frigate seem to align with some of the service’s initial requirements, mission scope and technology for the ship. A Navy statement several years ago said the platform will “employ unmanned systems to penetrate and dwell in contested environments, operating at greater risk to gain sensor and weapons advantages over the adversary.” A well-armed ship, which is what the emerging structure of the ship clearly seems to be, is consistent with the Navy’s previously articulated plan for the ship, which envisioned a platform that could travel in substantial aggregated combat scenarios such as Carrier Strike Groups and Expeditionary Strike Groups. In addition, it is clear that the service seeks a ship able to function autonomously, control undersea and aerial drones and perform disaggregated or more independent missions. For instance, the Navy’s Request for Information for the Frigate released several years ago states: “concepts of employment for this type of ship will include integrated operations with area air defense capable destroyers and cruisers as well as independent operations while connected and contributing to the fleet tactical grid. Additionally, this platform must defend against raids of small boats.” The ship will be manned with a crew of up to 200 sailors, Navy officials say. A follow-on deal is planned for 2026.
The New York Times published an editorial on the first day of Memorial Day weekend asking: “Why Does the U.S. Military Celebrate White Supremacy?” The article‘s byline is the entire editorial board, and it is accompanied by an image of a bullet shaped like a Ku Klux Klan robe. The central complaint of the article is that there are U.S. military bases named after Confederate Army officers: This same toxic legacy clings to the 10 United States military installations across the South that were named for Confederate Army officers during the first half of the 20th century. Apologists often describe the names as a necessary gesture of reconciliation in the wake of the Civil War. In truth, the namings reflect a federal embrace of white supremacy that found its most poisonous expression in military installations where black servicemen were deliberately placed under the command of white Southerners — who were said to better “understand” Negroes — and confined to substandard housing, segregated transportation systems and even “colored only” seating in movie houses. The editorial further claims that “The federal government embraced pillars of the white supremacist movement when it named military bases in the South.” It rejects the argument — offered by the U.S. Army during the Obama administration that “there was no need to expunge Confederate base names because the names were merely ‘historic’ and ‘represent individuals, not causes or ideologies.’” The editorial also claims that the names were adopted “as part of broader accommodation in which the military embraced stringent segregation so as not to offend Southerners.” The South has historically contributed disproportionately to the ranks of the U.S. military, and continues to do so today: in fiscal year 2017, it contained 33 percent of the nation’s young adult population, but provided 41 percent of the nation’s military enlistees. The Times provides no other example of the U.S. military “celebrating white supremacy.”
Of ALL the days in a given year that the extremely liberal, agenda-driven New York Times chose to print such a piece, they chose Memorial Day; a day we as Americans set aside to remember military service members who have made the ultimate sacrifice. This is beyond disgusting and low-class on the part of their editorial board. It was a cheap shot, and exposes these nauseating, un-patriotic tools for who they really are. Shame on them. If you have a subscription to that rag, NOW would be a really good time to cancel it.