US Military News, Reports, Data, etc.


Nov 2, 2018
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Here’s when all of America’s new nuclear warhead designs will be active — and how much they’ll cost

big bucks
but
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Rep. Adam Smith called into question the decades-old backbone of US nuclear policy, while calling for a "total redo" of the Nuclear Posture Review the Pentagon released earlier this year.
The Democratic lawmaker slated to lead the House Armed Services Committee next year rejected the Pentagon’s recent
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and called into question the decades-old nuclear triad on Wednesday, previewing some of the
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between the new Democratic House and the Trump administration.

Rep. Adam Smith, long a critic of the planned $1.2 trillion effort to upgrade the nation’s air, land and sea-based nuclear forces and building new low-yield nukes, slammed the assumptions behind the Pentagon’s nuclear review, saying the Pentagon needs to “totally redo” the plan it released earlier this year, because “we cannot afford what they’re talking about.”

The goal to reset the entire nuclear enterprise in the face of rising competition with nuclear-armed states Russia and China has its genesis under the Obama administration, but the price tag was reached late last year.

Smith told
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, a group that opposes nuclear weapons, the growing national debt and the need to modernize and upgrade conventional ships and aircraft make the plan unworkable. “Let’s put aside for the moment whether or not it’s wise, when you look at the needs we have in national security, the needs we have in the country and the $22 trillion debt, what they’re talking about in terms of totally rebuilding our nuclear weapons capacity in all pieces of the triad is way beyond what we can afford.”

Late last year, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that building the three new platforms to deliver nuclear weapons would cost $772 billion though 2046. The armed services are working to field a replacement for the Navy’s Ohio-class nuclear submarine, the Air Force’s B-21 stealth bomber, the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent, a replacement for the Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile; and a new nuclear cruise missile in the coming decades.

Smith said that he thinks skeptical senators and the White House might be swayed to roll back some of this spending if presented with this choice: fund the nukes or buy a range of conventional capabilities high on the Pentagon and Congress’s wish list.

“You can have all of these nuclear weapons,” he said, “which we don’t need which are simply creating a greater risk, or you can have some of the stuff you want on the conventional side. From a dollar standpoint you cannot have both. That’s how ultimately we convince the Senate and the White House to reduce. It’s a choice. You can’t have it all.”

The backbone of the United States’ nuclear planning and deterrent since the start of the Cold War has been what’s called the Triad — land, air and
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nuclear weapons. Smith says, “the rationale for the triad, I don’t think, exists anymore. The rationale for the numbers of nuclear weapons doesn’t exist anymore.”

Smith also rejected another program that found favor in the 2019 defense funding bill — a low-yield submarine-launched nuclear missile. The weapon would be an upgraded warhead for the Navy’s Trident II D5 ballistic missile, and critics have argued that it could lower the threshold for the use of nuclear weapons. Smith
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banning the missile in September.

“It makes no sense for us to build low-yield nuclear weapons,” Smith said Wednesday. “There is no advantage to that and it is dangerously escalating, it just starts a new nuclear arms race.”

One way to reduce the size of the nuclear arsenal is to double down on the number, and depth, of multilateral engagements with allies and potential foes Smith said, in order to work through the thorny issues of nuclear proliferation. But that is something the Trump White House is unlikely to do.

Despite rounds of talks with North Korea, engagement with nuclear powers “is where the White House is so dangerous right now. They are opposed to multilateralism almost on principle,” Smith said.

National Security Advisor John Bolton has long been a fierce critic of international treaties and agreements, arguing that nations should be free to do as they please without interference. In Bolton, President Trump has found an ideological fellow traveller.

While Smith is relying on the new Democratic majority in the House and fiscal hawks in the Senate to back him up on reducing the nuclear modernization bill, a study group he helped establish — the Congressionally-mandated National Defense Strategy Commission — actually
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.

Released Wednesday morning, the study, whose authors were appointed by Republican and Democratic members of Congress — including Smith — concluded that spending on nuclear modernization was critically important.

The Pentagon “must remain committed to the bipartisan nuclear modernization program outlined in the 2018 Nuclear Posture Review,” the report said. “This pertains especially to modernizing the triad of bombers, intercontinental ballistic missiles, and ballistic missile submarines.”

The 12-member commission of former general officers and Pentagon officials concluded, “given that investments made today will pay strategic dividends well into the 2070s and 2080s, America can surely afford to pay this price to preserve such a critical element of its national defense.”

That proposition will be tested in the next Congress, when a Democratic House and a Republican Senate begin hammering out versions of President Trump’s 2020 defense spending request. If past actions are a guide, Democrats will end up quietly supporting the vast majority of the nuclear modernization bill.
it's
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quote of the day comes from
First Woman Passes Army Special Forces Selection Process
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:


"Lt. Col. Loren Bymer, a spokesman for Army Special Operations Command ... would not identify the woman."
 
talking DoD Official: U.S. Needs to Develop New Counters to Future Hypersonic Missiles
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Existing radars don’t provide the almost-split-second warning needed to keep Guam, carrier strike groups in the Pacific and Kadena Air Base in Okinawa from being held hostage to
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.

Protecting ships and bases from the hypersonic missile threat is key to the future of U.S. missile defense, Michael Griffin, the under secretary for research and engineering, said while speaking at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C.

“We can see it and find it,” but “we really need to be closer to the action” to defend against a weapons technology that China, particularly, and Russia are investing in heavily.

Hypersonic weapons’ low signature in flight and high degree of maneuverability upon final approach to targets make the weapons difficult to defend against, Griffin said. He added that missile defense’s goal is to be “persistent, timely, global” in addressing existing and emerging threats.

To meet that wide-ranging challenge, “I see value [in having] one agency” with its own acquisition authorities to concentrate focus on missile defense, rather than have the services develop their own systems.

“I would like the Missile Defense Agency to set that pace” of speeding development to fielding systems to counter what Beijing and Moscow are now demonstrating in the hypersonic realm.

Griffin said he expected future budgets to provide funds for lasers that the agency can more rapidly develop and field. For example, to field space-control weapons, “we need to be in the megawatt class” of lasers. He added, “we also need to be able to get after the threat we see today” against the United States’ space-based sensors integral to warfighting.

One way to disaggregate the threat would be to have a constellation of satellites in space to reduce vulnerability. “I want us already to be working on it.” But he didn’t want to put a timetable on that aspect of defense. “We’ll get it as soon as we can get it,” implying the need for budgetary support as well as quicker technological development.

Similarly, Griffin acknowledged the vulnerability of land-based and sea-based radars to attack. From separating the illuminators from the site to other possibilities, “we are re-looking all of that” to improve survivability.

When asked what the next missile defense age encompasses, Griffin cited unmanned aerial, ground and undersea vehicles and swarming attack as immediate threats. Further out, “we need to learn how to defend and perpetrate directed energy and high-powered microwave [for] an electronic kill.”

Griffin said earlier in his talk that “we have a lot of ground to make up … in modernizing our offensive and defensive force structure” in missile defense. Griffin added the “last time we really invested in transformative capabilities that overwhelmed adversaries [in Desert Storm] was the Reagan era. … It’s time for us to get back to work.”

Missile defense readiness will “cause our adversaries to think twice, we hope” before attacking and create confusion as to how the United States might respond.
 
Oct 30, 2018
... for the SDF record, I posted
Jul 19, 2018
the USN may cancel FFG(X),
before the first indication appeared inside
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now inside
Will looming budget cuts bust up the Navy’s plans for an enormous fleet?
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:

"... the FFG(X), is slated to be awarded by the end of this fiscal year and is a high-priority program, also unlikely to be cut."
 
Oct 18, 2018
Oct 18, 2018
now
Mattis treads carefully on Khashoggi crisis
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while now
CIA concludes Saudi crown prince ordered Jamal Khashoggi's death, official says
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The CIA has concluded that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman personally ordered the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, despite the Saudi government's denials that the de facto ruler was involved, according to a senior US official.
The senior US official told CNN on Friday the conclusion is based on a recording provided by the Turkish government and other evidence, including American intelligence.
Investigators also believe an operation such as the one that ended in Khashoggi's death would not have happened without bin Salman's knowledge given his control of the government, the senior US official said.
A Saudi Embassy spokeswoman said in a statement that "the claims in this purported assessment are false. We have and continue to hear various theories without seeing the primary basis for these speculations."
The
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on the CIA's assessment.
According to the Post, US officials have high confidence in the CIA's assessment.
A spokesman for the CIA declined to comment to the Post. The Saudi government has denied bin Salman's involvement in Khashoggi's death.
Vice President Mike Pence said the United States would hold all involved with Khashoggi's murder to account. He also said he wanted to preserve the strong relationship with Saudi Arabia amid the murder investigation.
"The murder of Jamal Khashoggi was an atrocity. It was also an affront to a free and independent press and the United States is determined to hold all of those accountable who are responsible for that murder," Pence said.
Khashoggi, a former Saudi royal insider who became a critic of the country's government, went missing in October after he visited the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to obtain papers for his upcoming marriage. The Saudi government offered changing explanations for Khashoggi's disappearance.
Included in the US intelligence analyzed by the CIA was a phone call the prince's brother Khalid bin Salman made to Khashoggi, encouraging the journalist to make the trip to the consulate to get the documents, according to the Post. Sources told the Post that Khalid made the call at his brother's command.
Khalid denied the Post's reporting,
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that he had never spoken to Khashoggi by phone.
"I never talked to him by phone and certainly never suggested he go to Turkey for any reason. I ask the US government to release any information regarding this claim," Khalid said.
He said the last contact he'd had with Khashoggi was via text in October 2017.
Fatimah Baeshen, a spokeswoman for the Saudi Embassy in Washington, told the Post that Khalid, who is the Saudi ambassador to the US, and Khashoggi never discussed "anything related to going to Turkey."
The CIA has concluded that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman personally ordered the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, despite the Saudi government's denials that the de facto ruler was involved, according to a senior US official.
The senior US official told CNN on Friday the conclusion is based on a recording provided by the Turkish government and other evidence, including American intelligence.
Investigators also believe an operation such as the one that ended in Khashoggi's death would not have happened without bin Salman's knowledge given his control of the government, the senior US official said.
A Saudi Embassy spokeswoman said in a statement that "the claims in this purported assessment are false. We have and continue to hear various theories without seeing the primary basis for these speculations."
The
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on the CIA's assessment.
According to the Post, US officials have high confidence in the CIA's assessment.
A spokesman for the CIA declined to comment to the Post. The Saudi government has denied bin Salman's involvement in Khashoggi's death.
Vice President Mike Pence said the United States would hold all involved with Khashoggi's murder to account. He also said he wanted to preserve the strong relationship with Saudi Arabia amid the murder investigation.
"The murder of Jamal Khashoggi was an atrocity. It was also an affront to a free and independent press and the United States is determined to hold all of those accountable who are responsible for that murder," Pence said.
Khashoggi, a former Saudi royal insider who became a critic of the country's government, went missing in October after he visited the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to obtain papers for his upcoming marriage. The Saudi government offered changing explanations for Khashoggi's disappearance.
Included in the US intelligence analyzed by the CIA was a phone call the prince's brother Khalid bin Salman made to Khashoggi, encouraging the journalist to make the trip to the consulate to get the documents, according to the Post. Sources told the Post that Khalid made the call at his brother's command.
Khalid denied the Post's reporting,
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that he had never spoken to Khashoggi by phone.
"I never talked to him by phone and certainly never suggested he go to Turkey for any reason. I ask the US government to release any information regarding this claim," Khalid said.
He said the last contact he'd had with Khashoggi was via text in October 2017.
Fatimah Baeshen, a spokeswoman for the Saudi Embassy in Washington, told the Post that Khalid, who is the Saudi ambassador to the US, and Khashoggi never discussed "anything related to going to Turkey."
 
Mar 10, 2018
good luck Comptroller: Pentagon’s First Audit Will Be Worth Its Nearly-$1B Pricetag
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Ridiculous! :cool:
and
Pentagon fails its first-ever audit, official says
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The Pentagon has failed what is being called its first-ever comprehensive audit, a senior official said on Thursday, finding U.S. Defense Department accounting discrepancies that could take years to resolve.

Results of the inspection - conducted by some 1,200 auditors and examining financial accounting on a wide range of spending including on weapons systems, military personnel and property - were expected to be completed later in the day.

“We failed the audit, but we never expected to pass it,” Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan told reporters, adding that the findings showed the need for greater discipline in financial matters within the Pentagon.

“It was an audit on a $2.7 trillion dollar organization, so the fact that we did the audit is substantial,” Shanahan added.

The U.S. defense budget for the 2018 fiscal year that ended on Sept. 30 was about $700 billion. The Pentagon is a huge agency with multiple branches of the military, costly weapons systems, large personnel needs, numerous military bases of various sizes at home and abroad and troops deployed in far-flung locales.

Shanahan said areas the Pentagon must improve upon based on the audit results include compliance with cybersecurity policies and improving inventory accuracy. In a briefing with reporters, he did not provide a figure detailing how much money was unaccounted for in the audit.

It was unclear what consequences there would be after the audit, but Shanahan said the focus would be on fixing the issues.

“We need to develop our plans to address the findings and actually put corrective actions in place,” Shanahan said.

“Some of the compliance issues are irritating to me. ... The point of the audit is to drive better discipline in our compliance with our management systems and procedures,” Shanahan added.

A 1990 federal law mandated that U.S. government agencies be audited, but the Pentagon had not faced a comprehensive audit until this one was launched in December.

Defense officials and outside experts have said it may be years before the Pentagon is able to fix its accounting gaps and errors and pass an audit.

“To clarify, the audit is not a ‘pass-fail’ process. We did not receive an ‘adverse’ finding - the lowest possible category - in any area,” U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel Joseph Buccino, a Pentagon spokesman, said in an email.

“We did receive findings of ‘disclaimer’ in multiple areas. Clearly more work lies ahead of us,” Buccino added.
 
it's actually interesting what I've now read which is
Migrants Won't See Armed Soldiers at US-Mexico Border
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:

As thousands of migrants in a caravan of Central American asylum-seekers converge on the doorstep of the United States, what they won't find are armed American soldiers standing guard.

Instead they will see cranes installing towering panels of metal bars and troops wrapping concertina wire around barriers while military helicopters fly overhead, carrying border patrol agents to and from locations along the U.S.-Mexico border.

That's because U.S. military troops are prohibited from carrying out law enforcement duties.

What's more, the bulk of the troops are in Texas -- hundreds of miles away from the caravan that started arriving this week in Tijuana on Mexico's border with California, after walking and hitching rides for the past month.

Still, for many migrants the barriers and barbed wire were an imposing show of force.

Angel Ulloa stood on Tijuana's beach where a wall of metal bars more than 20 feet high cut across the sand and plunged into the Pacific. He watched as crews on the U.S. side placed coils of barbed wire on top.

A border patrol agent wearing camouflage and armed with an assault rifle -- part of a tactical unit deployed when there is a heightened threat -- walked in the sand below where the men worked. A small border patrol boat hovered offshore.

"It's too much security to confront humble people who just want to work," said Ulloa, a 23-year-old electrician from Choloma, Honduras, who joined the caravan to try to make his first trip to the U.S.

Now, he and his two friends were rethinking their plans. They tried to apply for a job at a Wal-Mart in Tijuana but were told they need a Mexican work permit. So they were considering seeking asylum in Mexico but were unsure of giving up their dream of earning dollars.

"We're still checking things out," he said.

On Friday, people walking through one of the world's busiest border crossings into Mexico passed by a pair of
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on a 20-foot lift installing razor wire above a turnstile.

Nearby
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Sgt. Eric Ziegler stood guard with another soldier. Both were military police officers assigned to protecting the Marines as they work.

The 24-year-old soldier from Pittsburgh spent nine months in Afghanistan. ""It's very different over there, obviously. It's a lot more dangerous," Ziegler said.

He said he was surprised when got his deployment orders sending him to the U.S.-Mexico border.

"But I'm happy to go where I'm needed" he added as a man walked by carrying shopping bags headed to Tijuana.

The U.S. military has deployed 5,800 active-duty troops to the U.S.-Mexico border.

So far, more are not expected, despite President Donald Trump's initial assessment that 10,000 to 15,000 were needed to secure the border against what he has called an "invasion" of migrants. Most in the caravan of several thousand are families, including hundreds of children.

Another 2,100
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troops are have also been deployed since April as part of a separate mission. Like the military troops, they are not allowed to detain illegal crossers. Instead, they have been monitoring cameras and helping to erect barriers.

Of the 5,800 soldiers and Marines, more than 2,800 are in Texas, while about 1,500 are in Arizona and another 1,300 are in California. All U.S. military branches, except the
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, are barred from performing law enforcement duties.

That means there will be no visible show of armed troops, said Army Maj. Scott McCullough, adding that the mission is to provide support to Customs and Border Protection.

"Soldiers putting up wire on the border and barriers at the ports of entry will be the most visible," he said.

Marines and soldiers share the same duties in California and Arizona. These include erecting tents, setting up showers and arranging meals for troops working on the border, and assigning military police to protect them.

There are no tents or camps being set up to house migrants, McCullough said. Medics are on hand to treat troops and border patrol agents -- not migrants -- for cuts, bruises and any other problems.

Combat engineers, whose duties on the battlefield include setting up tactical obstacles to prevent the enemy from moving freely, are using their expertise to string wire on border walls and erect temporary fencing, McCullough said.

Construction engineers have been assigned to weld together barriers and move shipping containers to act as walls.

In Laredo, Texas, about 100 soldiers have been installing three layers of razor wire along the Rio Grande, working on the banks during the day and on the bridges at night to minimize the disruption to cross-border traffic.

The current mission is scheduled to end Dec. 15 for now. It's unclear how much it will cost and military leaders have refused to provide an estimate.

Critics have questioned the wisdom of using the military on the border where there is no discernible security threat. Since the Nov. 6 elections, Trump has said little about the matter and no border threat has materialized.

Some border communities fear the barricades will scare off Mexican shoppers. The city council in Nogales, Arizona, slashed a proposed bonus for all employees in half over concerns about how the military's presence would affect its sales tax revenue after the military closed off two lanes at its border crossing.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis defended the deployment during a visit to the Texas border this week, asserting that in some ways it provides good training for war.

Suyapa Reyes, 35, said she was puzzled as to why she would be seen as a threat. Reyes, her mother, 12-year-old daughter and 16-year-old son left Honduras with the caravan on Oct. 13, fleeing violence and poverty in her hometown of Olanchito de Oro.

She does not want to return after coming such a long way but if she cannot get asylum and the border looks too dangerous to cross, she said she'll have no other choice.

"I'm not going to risk my life or safety nor that of my children," she said.
 

Air Force Brat

Brigadier
Super Moderator
Oct 18, 2018
while now
CIA concludes Saudi crown prince ordered Jamal Khashoggi's death, official says
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Why don't we just wait a damn minute?? MBS is the author of a great many reforms in Saudi Arabia, reforms that are NOT popular with the more traditional religious clerics and their followers??

does anybody else think this is all just a little bit "too convenient", lots of people in Saudi Arabia would love to derail MBS and his reforms, lots of people in the US would love to discredit the current administration and derail our strategic relationship with Saudi Arabia!

this smells to high heaven, NOW having said all that, we ought to find and punish the killers of Jamal Khashoggi, no matter where the trail leads, I just think this seems a little too convenient, and now being leaked by the WaPo......

we also know for a fact that those opposed to such reforms would rather die that see MBS move Saudi Arabia into the modern world....
 

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