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HASC Chair, Members Against U.S. Strike Against Iran for Refinery Attack
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Three members of the House Armed Services Committee came down against U.S. armed retaliation against Iran for the attack on Saudi Arabian oil production facilities over the weekend.

Rep. Michael Waltz ( R-Fla.), joined by HASC chair, Adam Smith, (D-Wash.) and Rep. Seth Mouton (D-Mass.)
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Moulton said in answer to a question that any military action against Iran now would require new congressional approval, and the Trump administration could not fall back on the Authorization for the Use of Military Force resolution adopted after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States.

Smith said, “there is no legal justification for the use of military force” in coming to the military aid of Saudi Arabia in this instance. Right now, “we [the House of Representatives] don’t have a voice” when a president is committing American forces to military actions, citing the earlier approval, and that needed to change.

Waltz said the production facilities’ strike “was right out of the Iran playbook” of using a proxy, the Houthis in Yemen, who claimed responsibility. The Houthis, engaged in the prolonged Yemeni civil war, are supported by Tehran. Saudi Arabia and its allies are backing the government actively with airstrikes and blockades of Houthi-controlled regions.

As in other cases, including the bombing of the Beirut barracks killing more than 280 Marines in 1983, the strike was “just under the level where it causes a United States response” because another group claims to have done it. Waltz added that in the past, Iran, through its proxies including Hezbollah in Lebanon, continues to escalate a crisis until compelled to stop often by economic sanctions or actually Tehran achieves its goal.

Smith said, “Saudi Arabia is problematic” as a partner of the United States with its record of quashing dissent and autocratic behavior. “Sunni extremism came out of Saudi Arabia,” he said and has become a global terrorist force. Earlier he noted that the growing danger to stability in Afghanistan was the rise of the Sunni Islamic State. He strongly cautioned against the United States taking sides in the Shia-Sunni struggle being waged for political and ideological power primarily in the Middle East.

Moulton said if the administration’s long-range goal in intervening on Saudi Arabia’s side is regime change in Tehran, “we are empowering all the people in Iran we don’t like” to take even harder lines against the United States and its allies and partners in the region.

Picking up on the situation in Afghanistan after the collapse of peace talks with the Taliban, Smith said, “at this point, the Taliban isn’t even the worst threat” to stability there. “It’s the rise of ISIS.”

Even after 18 years of fighting, Mouton, who served as a Marine in Afghanistan, said, “we don’t have a clear mission there.”

Like the other two, Moulton said, “you do negotiate with your enemies,” but goals need to be understood in the talks.

Waltz, who also served, said it was important for the United States to make sure the Afghan government, and particularly the army, understand in any negotiations “we are with you.” He added the message to the Taliban has to be equally clear, “you can’t out-wait us” to take back control of the country.

“We cannot walk away,” Smith said. The problem of extremist terrorist organizations operating in Afghanistan with safe havens in Pakistan “is a problem that will absolutely come home” in the form of new attacks upon American citizens or possibly the homeland.

The three agreed President Donald Trump was correct in walking away from the proposed agreement with the Taliban, in large measure because it “it didn’t deal with sanctuaries in Pakistan.”

Pakistan “is the white elephant in the room,” Waltz said and is integral to a solution in Afghanistan.
had been thinking of the Titanic while reading

“However, the DDG-51 hull form is quite good at moving through ice,” Webster added. “This is without addressing limitations for hull structures. There’s sufficient power for the ship to move through up to 0.8 meters of ice; however, the structure would not withstand more than 0.3 meters of ice.”

Arleigh Burke Destroyers Are Most Viable Option for Near-Term Navy Presence in Arctic
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Sep 10, 2019
Trump fires John Bolton
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Bolton unloads on Trump’s foreign policy behind closed doors
The recently fired national security adviser made little secret of his disagreements with the president.
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follow the link if interested, inside I noticed (
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Trump Names Robert O’Brien as National Security Adviser

so now I'll take a look who's that
haven't heard of him before
Meet Robert C. O'Brien, Trump's new national security adviser and a former hostage negotiator who monitored A$AP Rocky's trial in Sweden
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    tapped hostage negotiator Robert C. O'Brien as his new national security adviser on Wednesday.
  • O'Brien is replacing John Bolton, who was abruptly ousted from the position last week.
  • O'Brien made his public splash earlier this summer when Trump sent him to Sweden to monitor rapper A$AP Rocky's trial for assault charges.
  • The Washington Post
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    O'Brien is perceived as "a team player" with "affable demeanor," a stark contrast with Bolton's hard-edged and confrontational approach.
  • Here's how O'Brien went from being a State Department official, Trump's chief hostage negotiator to his new national security advisor.
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let's wait and see if the negotiator survives the situation in the WH
here's what matters, for now
Defense spending bill hits border wall in Senate
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Senate Democrats on Wednesday blocked Republican plans to advance an
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including $693 billion in defense spending for fiscal 2020, all but assuring that lawmakers will have to adopt a short-term budget extension in coming days to avoid a possible government shutdown.

That means defense planners will likely start another fiscal year without clear answers on their military spending priorities and flexibility. House Democratic leaders said they expect later this week to take up a continuing resolution to keep the government open through Nov. 21.

The Senate motion to advance the appropriations package failed 51-44. The package needed 60 votes to proceed.

The latest budget impasse comes despite Congress reaching a bipartisan, two-year, $2.7 trillion budget deal in July which set funding levels for defense and non-military programs, an agreement many hoped would avoid piecemeal spending plans for fiscal 2020.

But President Donald Trump’s decision earlier this month to
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$3.6 billion in defense spending away from military construction projects to his controversial southern border wall project shifted the uncertain political comity underpinning that agreement.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., on Wednesday accused Democrats of shoehorning their
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into debate on defense spending.

“In a world this dangerous, uncertain funding and continuing resolutions will not cut it for our national defense,” McConnell said. “Our men and women in uniform do not deserve to have the funding for their tools, their training, and their own pay raises used as leverage by Senate Democrats to try and extract concessions from the White House.”

Democrats have bristled at that criticism and said Trump’s funding shifts amount to theft from the military, and have demanded that McConnell renegotiate with the White House to exclude as much as $12 billion diverted to the wall from future defense spending.

“Somehow in the wake of all this, the Republican leader has been accusing Democrats of threatening to block military funding,” said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. “That is an absurd statement if there ever was one.

“We're simply trying to stop Republicans from stealing the money from our military and putting it into the wall which [Trump] said Mexico would pay for.”

Defense leaders have repeatedly pleaded with lawmakers in recent years to finalize the full-year military budget by the start of the new fiscal year (Oct. 1) to prevent disruptions in weapons purchases, new program starts and a host of other Pentagon operations.

But Democrats have been reluctant to fund defense on its own in recent years amid fears that it will remove leverage in budget negotiations, allowing Republicans to abandon agreements for increases in non-military spending once the armed forces are taken care of.

Last week, Democrats in the Senate Appropriations Committee voted against the Republican plan to allocate funding, and the panel’s Republican majority
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their amendment to bar DoD funds from going to the wall.

House Democratic leaders said they expect to take up a continuing resolution to keep the government open through Nov. 21 by later in the week.

That would give leaders of both parties another eight weeks to work out a broader appropriations plan while still avoiding a partial government shut down at the end of this month.
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The following is the Sept. 17, 2019 Congressional Research Service report, Hypersonic Weapons: Background and Issues for Congress.
From the report:
The United States has actively pursued the development of hypersonic weapons—maneuvering weapons that fly at speeds of at least Mach 5—as a part of its conventional prompt global strike program since the early 2000s. In recent years, the United States has focused such efforts on developing hypersonic glide vehicles, which are launched from a rocket before gliding to a target, and hypersonic cruise missiles, which are powered by high-speed, air-breathing engines during flight. As current Commander of U.S. Strategic Command General John Hyten has stated, these weapons could enable “responsive, long-range, strike options against distant, defended, and/or time-critical threats [such as road-mobile missiles] when other forces are unavailable, denied access, or not preferred.” Critics, on the other hand, contend that hypersonic weapons lack defined mission requirements, contribute little to U.S. military capability, and are unnecessary for deterrence.

Funding for hypersonic weapons has been relatively restrained in the past; however, both the Pentagon and Congress have shown a growing interest in pursuing the development and near-term deployment of hypersonic systems. This is due, in part, to the growing interest in these technologies in Russia and China, both of which have a number of hypersonic weapons programs and are expected to field an operational hypersonic glide vehicle—potentially armed with nuclear warheads—as early as 2020. The United States, in contrast to Russia and China, is not currently considering or developing hypersonic weapons for use with a nuclear warhead. As a result, U.S. hypersonic weapons will likely require greater accuracy and will be more technically challenging to develop than nuclear-armed Chinese and Russian systems.

The Pentagon’s FY2020 budget request for all hypersonic-related research is $2.6 billion, including $157.4 million for hypersonic defense programs. At present, the Department of Defense (DOD) has not established any programs of record for hypersonic weapons, suggesting that it may not have approved either requirements for the systems or long-term funding plans. Indeed, as Assistant Director for Hypersonics (Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering) Mike White has stated, DOD has not yet made a decision to acquire hypersonic weapons and is instead developing prototypes to assist in the evaluation of potential weapon system concepts and mission sets.

As Congress reviews the Pentagon’s plans for U.S. hypersonic weapons programs, it might consider questions about the rationale for hypersonic weapons, their expected costs, and their implications for strategic stability and arms control. Potential questions include the following:

  • What mission(s) will hypersonic weapons be used for? Are hypersonic weapons the most cost-effective means of executing these potential missions? How will they be incorporated into joint operational doctrine and concepts?<./li>
  • Given the lack of defined mission requirements for hypersonic weapons, how should Congress evaluate funding requests for hypersonic weapons programs or the balance of funding requests for hypersonic weapons programs, enabling technologies, and supporting test infrastructure? Is an acceleration of research on hypersonic weapons, enabling technologies, or hypersonic missile defense options both necessary and technologically feasible?<./li>
  • How, if at all, will the fielding of hypersonic weapons affect strategic stability?<./li>
  • Is there a need for risk-mitigation measures, such as expanding New START, negotiating new multilateral arms control agreements, or undertaking transparency and confidence-building activities?<./li>
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Today at 8:15 AM
the last is the tanker series was ... Sunday at 8:41 AMnow
AMC commander: Boeing has not made progress on KC-46
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Air Force’s Problem-Plagued New Tanker Likely Won’t Deploy for 3 Years or More
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It doesn't look as if the problems plaguing the U.S.
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tanker will be over anytime soon.

Because of previously reported problems -- and some unforeseen new ones -- Gen. Maryanne Miller, head of Air Mobility Command, confirmed the Air Force's newest tanker aircraft, made by Boeing Co., won't be likely to
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to a combat zone for at least three years. Additionally, AMC may ask the Air Force to
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aircraft, Miller said Wednesday.

"I'd love to slow down the retirement because I have to keep [refueling] booms in the air, but we'll see how this requirement plays out," Miller told reporters during a roundtable discussion here at the annual Air, Space and Cyber conference.

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pause and
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is due to unsolved technical deficiencies in the KC-46 including a glitch with the software inside the Remote Vision System. The RVS permits the in-flight operator to view the refueling system below the tanker.

"It's my hope that Boeing recognizes and shares my level of concern and urgency in this matter," Miller said.

The KC-46 has had many issues, including problems with
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from specific aircraft, as well as a new "Category 1" deficiency, defined as a critical flaw that impacts the development, schedule and potentially safety of the aircraft.
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the Pegasus has been prohibited from carrying cargo or additional personnel for the time being because cargo locks -- which secure equipment into place within the aircraft -- recently unlocked during a flight.

Miller said the Air Force and Boeing will work through the latest problem, but added she's "most concerned" over the RVS, which for the time being doesn't allow an airman to look at a clear, aligned visual of the boom connecting to another aircraft. The first tankers were
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"Eight months have passed since our first delivery, and Boeing has not made any progress in addressing those [Category 1] deficiencies," she said.

"Boeing has not presented a solution that has met all the parameters," she said of the RVS, but added there is now "hard science" to diagnose the problem. "In a couple months ... what I'm looking for [is] a pass-fail grade for Boeing on this," she said.

While Miller didn't describe the characteristics behind each box the aerospace company has to check, she said the Air Force had nine total requirements.

The general said she chose not to send the KC-46 to the latest AMC-led Mobility Guardian airlift exercise in Washington in order for airmen to get more acquainted with the few aircraft they have.

The Air Force has only accepted 19 KC-46 aircraft since January. The planes have been delivered to
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, Kansas, and
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, Oklahoma.

KC-46 deliveries have also been halted or delayed
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this year
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-- trash, tools, nuts and bolts, and other miscellaneous items -- scattered inside the aircraft. Loose objects are dangerous because they can cause damage over time.

Miller said Boeing now has procedures in place to avoid FOD.

"We will work through these," she said of overall technical problems. "The pressure is on to get [the KC-46] into the fight. Out teams will work together to get to the solutions to get this into the fight."


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Boeing is analyzing the structure of the B-1B for the USAF, but no conclusions have been reached yet, says USAF Materials Command’s General Arnold Bunch. However, preliminary results appear to have the service thinking that the Cold War-era supersonic bomber would be too expensive to maintain.

Cirium fleets data indicate that USAF has 61 in-service B-1Bs with an average age of 32 years.

“The discussion we're having is there are some number of B-1s that would be so cost prohibitive to be able to get back to a code one status and that we should retire those,” says Goldfein. “Then, flow that money into doing some key things within the bomber portfolio.”

Key considerations are pushing money towards moving up the delivery date of the B-21 as well as buying more examples of the next-generation stealth bomber.

“I will tell you that the 100 B-21 requirement, as a minimum, there are a number of analyses that have been done that indicate that we need more than that [quantity],” says Goldfein. “And, I'm 100% in lockstep with those analyses.”

Thus far, the B-21 is on schedule and the service is pleased with Northrop Grumman’s work, says Goldfein. The aircraft is scheduled to first fly in December 2021.

Goldfein lauded Northrop Grumman’s performance in the programme, but expressed uncertainty about accelerating production when deliveries commence: “I don't know that we're going to be able to accelerate in time [of delivery]. I'm hoping we can accelerate in numbers.”

To counter growing threats from adversarial regimes in China and Russia, the US military needs to rearrange it priorities, says Goldfein