Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Fw: TheList 3895

The List 3895
To All,
I hope your week has started well.
This Day In Naval History - May 19
1882 - Commodore Shufeldt (USS Swatara) lands in Korea to negotiate first treaty between Korea and Western power
1912 - Navy establishes North Atlantic Ice Patrol following RMS Titanic disaster
1965 - 30th Naval Construction Regiment activated at Danang, Vietnam
Good Info from Dutch
The D Brief
May 19, 2015
Bring on the Shi'a militias. At least 3,000 Iranian-aligned Shiite militia fighters descended on Iraq's Anbar provincial capital of Ramadi yesterday, reportedly launching assaults on the Islamic State militants who seized the Sunni-majority city over the weekend and threatened to take Baghdad next. The decision to send the militias illustrates the dire straits confronting the U.S.-led coalition; Iraq's Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi had little choice but to ask Iranian officials for help on Monday, a move that puts U.S. officials in a particularly delicate spot. GOP leaders Sens. John McCain of Arizona and South Carolina's Lindsey Graham called the fall of Ramadi "a sad reminder of this administration's indecisive air campaign."
"There is no denying that this is indeed a setback. But there is also no denying we will help the Iraqis take back Ramadi," White House spokesman Eric Schultz said yesterday. A Pentagon spokesman, Army Col. Steve Warren, said, "We will retake [Ramadi] in the same way that we are slowly but surely retaking other parts of Iraq, and that is with Iraqi ground forces and coalition air power."
Iraqi security forces are said to be outnumbered by the PMUs, the Iranian paramilitary units, according to The Wall Street Journal's Nour Malas and Matt Bradley, who report some 75,000 militia fighters have been preparing for the battle in Ramadi. American troops, meantime, have trained 7,000 Iraqi forces, but Iraqi officials say the program is moving too slowly and want to send U.S. special forces to the front lines. Baghdad's once-200,000-strong military has rapidly dissolved since ISIS took Mosul last year.
From the department of good news: Iraqi troops and Sunni tribesmen reportedly repelled an overnight attack on the western Anbar town of Khaldiya, AP reports this morning.
Saudi-led airstrikes pounded Yemen's capital of Sana'a last night as Houthis rebels reportedly renewed their cross-border mortar attacks on Saudi Arabia's southern Najran province, Reuters reports this morning. And the death toll from the conflict has eclipsed 1,600, The Washington Post's Ali al-Mujahed and Erin Cunningham reported yesterday.
Libya is heating up now, too, and the Pentagon has very few good options. A car bomb struck a checkpoint in the eastern city of Qubbah this morning, killing one and wounding seven, Reuters reports. And ISIS leaders in Syria are surging money and manpower to Libya in alarming numbers, according to WSJ's Dion Nissenbaum and Maria Abi-Habib. "Libya is part of their terror map now…How do we stop it? It's a huge concern," a U.S. military official said.
From Defense One
The Air Force scaled back its unmanned aircraft operations to allow its overworked operators catch their breath. Combat air patrols were reduced on Defense Secretary Ash Carter's order from 65 to 60 back in April, said Col. James Cluff, who's flown the secretive RQ-170 and currently oversees Air Force UAV ops at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada. Our own Marcus Weisgerber has the story, along with another Kedar Pavgi chart illustrating CAP levels since 2008.
Americans ought to know how the next president will conduct the shadowy drone campaigns, New America's Peter Singer and Laura Dickinson write. They've drawn up a list of questions voters and members of the media can pitch the candidates, including: "In any campaign beyond active war zones, will you personally approve each drone strike or delegate the kill decision based on certain pre-approved criteria?"
Call it a pre-announcement announcement from the 2016 campaign trail. South Carolina Republican and senior national security hawk Senator Lindsey Graham said on CBS yesterday he will enter the race for the White House...but not until June 1. National Journal's Matt Berman has that one. More from the jam-packed GOP race for the White House below.
Don't believe the hype: America's biggest trade deal ever—the Trans Pacific Partnership, or TPP—will do next to nothing to address China's increasingly aggressive role in the Asia Pacific, argue Daniel Slane and Michael Wessel of the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission.
White House wants to demilitarize the U.S. police. In the wake of protests in Baltimore and Ferguson, Mo., President Barack Obama announced police would no longer be able to acquire a variety of military gear from the Defense Department, including—yes—bayonets. Quartz' Tim Fernholz has more.

Welcome to Tuesday's edition of The D Brief, from Ben Watson with Brad Peniston. You can subscribe here or drop us a line at If you want to view it in your browser, click here.

State Secretary John Kerry reportedly secured the May 9 release of two American aid workers secretly held in Ukraine since at least April, Bloomberg View's Josh Rogin and Eli Lake report this morning. Separatists in Donetsk grabbed the two Americans in a cluster of seven Western aid workers, five of whom they released on April 29; separatists kept the Americans—one a doctor and the other a worker with the International Rescue Committee—on allegations the two worked for the CIA.
The conflict in Ukraine and the war with ISIS have the Air Force trying to lure its former Airmen back to duty, Air Force Times' Stephen Losey reported yesterday. The decision, which has at least three different facets, follows steep budget-driven force reductions that have totaled nearly 17,000 since the October 2013.
The pop culture profile of drones is rising. See, for example, "Good Kill," the new Ethan Hawke flick, and "Grounded," Anne Hathaway's one-woman play. So what do the real airmen think? "I've been unimpressed by the lack of accuracy," Air Force Col. James Cluff told Defense One's Marcus Weisgerber. The Air Force has tried to give advice to production companies, which would have allowed them to use real aircraft in the films, but Hollywood has been more interested in drama.
A recent U.S. drone strike has killed at least five suspected fighters in Pakistan's northwestern Shawal Valley, where Pakistani troops are engaged in a large-scale offensive to push out militants from the region, Reuters reports this morning.
And in Afghanistan, a judge has jailed 11 Afghan policemen for failing to stop the brutal mob killing of a woman in broad daylight in mid-March, AFP reports today.
In Singapore, Asia's biggest maritime defense show gets started today: the 10th biennial Maritime Defence Exhibition and Conference. Defense News' Wendell Minnick reports growing interest surrounding potential purchases by the host country, including a new maritime patrol aircraft, a mid-life upgrade for F-16s and the possible purchase of the F-35.
The three-day Special Operations Forces Industry Conference opens in Tampa today, drawing special operators and those who would supply them to Florida's west coast. Co-hosted by U.S. Special Operations Command, which is headquartered at MacDill Air Force Base a few miles from downtown Tampa, the show is expected to pump some $3 million into the city's economy, the Tampa Tribune's Howard Altman reports.
But if SOCOM's acquisitions chief has his way, the city will soon host something like a rolling SOFIC, an incubator dubbed Thunderdome that would draw on the military, local universities, incubators, accelerators and other organizations to help SOCOM develop the next generation of gear. Here's Altman once more.
Also today: SOUTHCOM's Gen. John Kelly is at the Atlantic Council this afternoon at 4:30 p.m., EDT, talking "The Future of U.S. Defense Cooperation in Latin America." It could make for a lively discussion considering reporting out of Venezuela that U.S. investigators are probing numerous high-ranking officials on charges they've turned the country into a "global hub for cocaine trafficking and money laundering," according to WSJ's José de Córdoba and Juan Forero.
And today marks the sixth anniversary of Ray Mabus' appointment as the 75th Secretary of the Navy. Mabus is the second-longest serving Navy secretary since the Defense Department was founded in 1949.
Speaking of Mabus: We're just 24 hours away from his discussion with Defense One Executive Editor Kevin Baron on the future of the Navy. Our latest Defense One LIVE Leadership Briefing Breakfast will get started tomorrow at 8 a.m., EDT, at the CEB Waterview Conference Center in Rosslyn, Va. Last day to sign up is today.
The full Senate could take up the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act next month, an aide said. The Senate Armed Services Committee finished its $612 billion draft last week. But Obama has already threatened to veto the version passed by the House because it stuffed money into supplemental funding rather than repeal sequestration. The Hill reports.
Many survivors of sexual assault in the military say the retaliation they suffered after reporting was actually worse than the assault itself, according to a 113-page report issued yesterday by Human Rights Watch, an international nongovernmental organization. Military Times' Stephen Losey has the story.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie made his case for commander-in-chief yesterday, choosing Maine's Portsmouth Naval Shipyard as his backdrop, the AP reported. His pitch? A more muscular U.S. foreign policy and increased defense spending to reverse "American retreat." He highlighted his work as a U.S. attorney in a heated debate over the reauthorization of the Patriot Act, and said of Hollywood and Edward Snowden: "They want you to think that there's a government agent listening in every time you pick up the phone or Skype with your grandkids."
ICYMI: "Fox News Sunday" host Chris Wallace had some tough questions for Sen. Marco Rubio, who has been trying to position himself as the national security expert for a new normal in 2016. Wallace said Rubio "became much more of a hawk on foreign policy to try to get back in with the right," and Rubio backpedaled a bit on his statement that he would not have invaded Iraq in 2003 had he known what we know now—as he imagined President George W. Bush would've decided as well. "He wasn't dealing with a Nobel Peace Prize winner. He was dealing with Saddam Hussein...But presidents don't have the benefit of hindsight. You have to make difficult decisions based on the information that's before you at that moment."
And one final bit from the campaign trail: Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton is receiving lots of love from the tech industry—to the tune of some $315,000 for a 20-minute talk, WaPo says. The paper earlier reported that she raked in nearly $25 million in speeches since January 2014.
Thanks to Willy -
This video was shot during our annual pre-season practice time on base at NAF El Centro.  It shows the Blues on the last day of practice before their airshow season started with the 2014 El Centro Airshow the following day.  We were allowed unbelievable access to the base and to the Blues.  If you look on our AIRSHOWVID Facebook page you will see other videos and photos from El Centro.  The title, "Road to Perfection" was a remark I heard from one of the Blue Angels ground team members.  Here is the link below:
Thanks to Hal

Take a look............ Whether you are a Democrat or a Republican, please watch this very short video.... it is a real eye opener and it is not a joke......  
Thanks to Wigs
Burger King Leaving Military Bases
This is so bad for the young enlisted mil people.  So many young mil people in the enlisted ranks don't have transportation to go elsewhere to grab a bite when they are tired of mess hall food.  The impact is even greater on US mil bases in other countries.  In essence, our mil folks are being made to provide a lifelong career path for hamburger flippers when traditionally hamburger flippers have always been entry level jobs for teens or kids working their way thru school.  This is just cruel!
Why Burger King is leaving Military Bases
The Burger King national headquarters announced this month that they will be pulling their franchises from our military bases.  Soon to follow will be Popeye's Chicken, Pizza franchises and the chain of barber and beauty shops which operates inside the gates of our military facilities.  Reason?  Obama's mandate that all companies who do business with the federal government pay a $10.10 per hour minimum wage.
The companies cite the fact that a limited military customer base cannot sustain acceptable profit margins while still offering up a hefty share of profits to the Army and Air Force Exchange System's Health and Morale fund and paying $10.10 an hour as Obama has directed for any contractor doing business with the DOD.   For those who don't know, hundreds of commercial franchises have operated on military bases for years.  This partnership has been a boon to the non-profit AAFES system.  All profits go toward programs such as organized athletic programs for the military and their dependents, exercise equipment, support for social clubs and the like. 
Coming at a time of tighter defense budgets the withdrawal of commercial franchises is going to put quite a squeeze on the military health and morale programs.  Every time a military grunt got a haircut, every time a military wife got a manicure or hair styling, with every burger or slice of pizza or chicken dinner sold, a portion of the profits went to this much needed program.
Alas, as with all things Obama, every time he does something to please his socialist friends, someone suffers.  In this case it will be our military.   While this will be a serious loss for our stateside troops, the troops who will be most hurt by this are our troops deployed to remote areas of the world where our military folks had little to look forward to but a Burger King Whopper and fries at a small concession that might bring them a little bit of home to their lives.
This should not surprise me at all but it does.  I should have been prepared for this when Obama eliminated hot meals for our troops in Afghanistan even as he and Joe Biden were booking $500,000 per night hotel suites in Paris and London....or Obama's total disregard for costs as he and Michelle have run up over $600 million dollars in vacation costs during his tenure.
Oh well, I understand the military's food research facility up in Illinois is working on "Pizza in a Pouch" for the new cold ration packs.  "Screw the grunts" seems to be Obama's philosophy...even as he and Michelle host Jay Z and Beyonce at one of those fancy White House dinners.
Item Number:1 Date: 05/19/2015 AFGHANISTAN - NO TRUTH IN ACCOUNTS OF AFGHANS BEING TRAINED IN PAKISTAN, SAYS INTEL AGENCY (MAY 19/KP)  KHAAMA PRESS -- The Afghan Intelligence-National Directorate of Security (NDS) has denied reports that its personnel will be trained and equipped by Pakistan, reports the Khaama Press (Afghanistan).   Recent reports that security personnel will be sent to Pakistan for training under a new agreement are false, said an NDS spokesman on Monday.   On Sunday, the Tolo News channel in Kabul reported that their sources, who were privy to a new agreement, said it would allow Afghans to train in Pakistan with its military intelligence agency.   The memorandum of understanding recently signed with Pakistan was concluded on the basis of previous bilateral cooperation, the NDS spokesman said.   There have also been reports that NDS and ISI personnel would jointly interrogate detained insurgents.  
Item Number:2 Date: 05/19/2015 AFGHANISTAN - SCORES OF TALIBAN KILLED IN MULTIPLE CLASHES, SAYS DEFENSE MINISTRY (MAY 19/XIN)  XINHUA -- The Afghan Defense Ministry says that around 86 Taliban militants have been killed in recent military operations and clashes with domestic security forces, reports Xinhua, China's state news agency.   "Some 56 terrorists were killed and 46 others wounded during joint military and cleanup operations across the country over the past 24 hours," the ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.   Seven Afghan army personnel were killed during the same period, said the statement.   Several militant bunkers were destroyed and 27 roadside bombs and mines were defused during the same period, the Defense Ministry said.   There were 30 other militants killed in fighting in the Aqcha district in northern Jawzjan province, Gen. Faqir Mohammad Jawzjani, the provincial police chief, told the news agency   Clashes began early Monday after nearly 1,000 gunmen attacked the Aqcha district, the general said
Item Number:3 Date: 05/19/2015 BURUNDI - PRESIDENT DISMISSES DEFENSE, FOREIGN MINISTERS (MAY 19/REU)  REUTERS -- Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza has fired his defense and foreign ministers, reports Reuters.   Monday's firings came after last week's attempted coup led by generals apparently opposed to the president's efforts to seek a third term in office.   The announcement gave no reason for the dismissals.   The "president does not have to explain," said a spokesman in a text message. The constitution, he said, "gives him powers to (do) so."  
  Item Number:4 Date: 05/19/2015 CANADA - DIVERS JOIN EUROPEANS IN MINE-CLEARANCE EXERCISE IN ESTONIA (MAY 19/CHER)  CHRONICLE HERALD -- Members of Canada's Fleet Diving Unit Atlantic are in the midst of the annual Open Spirit drills in the Baltic Sea, reports the Chronicle Herald (Halifax).   The 14-member unit is searching for unexploded mines and other munitions left over from World War I and World War II off the Estonian island of Muhu.   The drills began on May 15 and run until May 28.   Divers from Canada, the U.S. and 12 European countries are taking part in the exercise.   The divers evaluate at first hand the contacts identified by sonar-equipped unmanned vehicles.  
  Item Number:5 Date: 05/19/2015 EGYPT - BOMBS TAKE DOWN MULTIPLE ELECTRICITY PYLONS (MAY 19/AB)  AL BAWABA -- Three bombs have destroyed an electricity pylon near Aswan in Egypt, cutting power to 14 villages, reports Al Bawaba (Jordan).   In an earlier incident, also on Monday, eight explosives blew up three high-voltage electricity pylons in Egypt's Beheira governorate, as reported by the Al-Ahram news website (Cairo).   Anti-government militants have repeatedly targeted Egyptian security forces and infrastructure, including electricity pylons, since President Muhammad Morsi was ousted in July 2013.  
  Item Number:6 Date: 05/19/2015 EUROPEAN UNION - MILITARY OPERATION AIMS AT BOATS INVOLVED WITH CARRYING MIGRANTS (MAY 19/EUO)  EU OBSERVER -- The European Union has decided to establish a military mission that will target the boats used by human-smugglers to transport migrants across the Mediterranean Sea to Europe, reports the EU Observer.   Known as EU NAVFOR Med, the mission will be headquartered in Rome under Italian Rear Adm. Enrico Credendino. It could be operational as soon as the end of June, according to Federica Mogherini, the E.U.'s high representative for foreign and security policy. She made her comments on Monday in Brussels.   E.U. member states were expected to begin pledging equipment and personnel starting on Tuesday.   The mission will begin with intelligence-gathering and -sharing operations by the participating countries. A second phase will involve the "detection and inspection" of smuggling boats.   Finally, warships will take up positions to deter smuggling and begin to "neutralize" boats, fuel dumps and other facilities used by traffickers, she said. The term is understood to mean the sinking of the vessels.   The latter steps will require a U.N. Security Council resolution and the permission of the Libyan government
  Item Number:7 Date: 05/19/2015 FRANCE - EUROPEAN LONG-ENDURANCE UNMANNED AIRCRAFT PROGRAM MOVES AHEAD (MAY 19/DEFAERO)  DEFENSE-AEROSPACE -- The leaders of France, Germany and Italy have formally announced plans to conduct a joint definition study to prepare for the development phase of a European medium-altitude, long-endurance (MALE) unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), reports   An agreement for the study was signed on Monday in Brussels, reported Defense News.   The two-year study will determine a set of operational requirements and to develop a prototype to meet the desired performance, schedule and cost goals, according to a release from the French Ministry of Defense.   The definition phase will be guided by the need to obtain airworthiness and other certifications needed to operate in European airspace.   Should the project be successful, an initial production system could be delivered by 2025.   Such an air vehicle would be used for long-range intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions using a variety of payloads.   Work will be conducted by Dassault, Airbus and Finmeccanica, reported Defense News. They first lobbied for the program.  
  Item Number:8 Date: 05/19/2015 HUNGARY - NATO ALLIES LITHUANIA, HUNGARY DISCUSS MORE COOPERATION (MAY 19/LIMOD)  LITHUANIAN MINISTRY OF DEFENSE -- Lithuanian Defense Minister Juozas Olekas has just concluded an official visit to Hungary to discuss increased bilateral cooperation, reports the Lithuanian Ministry of Defense.   Olekas met with his Hungarian counterpart Csaba Hende last week. Among other points, he thanked Hungary for its decision to join NATO's Baltic air-policing mission in the fall.   He also invited Hungary to send troops to Lithuania and to participate in NATO exercises there.   Also mentioned was Hungary's decision to send an officer to the NATO Force Integration Unit that will be set up in Lithuania.   The ministers also agreed to support the government of Ukraine during its current struggles.   An update to the bilateral memorandum of understanding on defense cooperation was also signed. The new document specifies and expands areas, forms and principles of defense cooperation between the two countries.  
  Item Number:9 Date: 05/19/2015 IRAQ - 10,000 WOULD-BE FIGHTERS HEAD HOME DUE TO LACK OF WEAPONS (MAY 19/S&S)  STARS AND STRIPES -- Thousands of Iraqi volunteers who have already received anti-ISIS training are not joining the fight due to a lack of weapons, reports the Stars and Stripes.   The majority of such recruits, primarily Sunni Muslims, Christians, Kurds and other minorities, are being sent home after an average of three weeks of training.   Such would-be fighters are at the heart of a debate over whether the U.S. and other countries should send weapons directly to minority groups instead of channeling them through the Shi'ite-dominated government.   Baghdad has expressed concern that Sunni volunteers could turn on the government after ISIS is defeated. As a result, the government has been sending most of the foreign-provided arms to Shi'ite militias.   "We have about 10,000 fighters who are well-trained to fight, but so far we don't have enough weapons or equipment for them," said Atheel al-Nujaifi, a Sunni and the exiled governor of the northern Nineveh province. "The central government hasn't given us weapons for the volunteers, and even for the police, they have only given 20 percent of what they need. It's a real problem for us
Item Number:10 Date: 05/19/2015 ISRAEL - DRUZE BATTALION TO BE DEACTIVATED, PERSONNEL INTEGRATED THROUGHOUT IDF (MAY 19/JP)  JERUSALEM POST -- The Israel Defense Forces is going to disband a battalion that has been made up of ethnic Druze personnel and integrate the Druze across the military, reports the Jerusalem Post.   The Herev Battalion has consisted of just Druze soldiers for the last 41 years.   The decision was made because young Druze indicated that they wanted to serve in regular field units rather than be segregated, said a senior officer on Monday.   Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot, the IDF chief of staff, said that his decision to shut down the battalion also was made because the "the IDF sees this move as an opportunity to strengthen the full integration of members of this community in a way that preserves the glorious tradition of the Herev Battalion, its warriors and its fallen," as quoted by Defense News.   No more soldiers will be assigned to the Herev Battalion starting in July. Once its operational mission in the north is concluded, the unit will be disbanded.   Two infantry platoons are expected to be reassigned to other battalions as complete formations.   Defense News also noted that, while Druze community represents less than 2 percent of the total population, its rate of enlistments is much higher than the combined sectors of the secular and religious Jewish population.   According to the IDF, about 80 percent of Druze men and women choose to be drafted into the Israeli military.  
  Item Number:11 Date: 05/19/2015 LIBYA - ISIS CLAIMS RESPONSIBILITY FOR SUICIDE BOMBING AT CHECKPOINT (MAY 19/WB)  WORLD BULLETIN -- A checkpoint east of the town of Qubbah in eastern Libya has been hit by a suicide bomber, killing one person and injuring seven others, reports the World Bulletin (Turkey). The town's name is also rendered as Gubba.   A car filled with explosives was detonated, said a Libyan security official.   According to the Libyan Herald, the Islamic State (ISIS) claimed responsibility on Twitter and Facebook.   The Islamic State is known to be building a presence in the nearby city of Derna, reported Reuters.   Qubbah is not far from Tobruk, where the internationally recognized government is located
  Item Number:12 Date: 05/19/2015 PAKISTAN - AIRSTRIKE KILLS 5 MILITANTS IN SHAWAL VALLEY IN NORTHWEST (MAY 19/REU)  REUTERS -- A strike by U.S. unmanned aircraft in the Shawal Valley in northwestern Pakistan has killed at least five suspected militants, according to Pakistanis cited by Reuters.   The attack was made on Monday in the Zwy-Naray region of North Waziristan. It came after Pakistani security forces moved into the area and a strike on Saturday, according to Pakistani intelligence sources.   The region has become a home for Taliban bases and is a key smuggling route into Afghanistan.   The Pakistani military began an operation in North Waziristan in June, but until recently had made no move toward the Shawal Valley.   Last week, the sources said, the military began to move toward the valley from the north and south
  Item Number:13 Date: 05/19/2015 SOUTH KOREA - LIVE-FIRE NAVAL DRILL COMMENCES IN SEA OF JAPAN (MAY 19/YON)  YONHAP -- The South Korean navy has begun a live-fire exercise in the Sea of Japan, reports the Yonhap news agency (Seoul).   The drill that started Tuesday involves launching surface-to-surface missile and tactical training in order to enhance the navy's joint capabilities to deter possible provocations by North Korea, said a service statement.   According to the service, around 20 ships are taking part, including the destroyer Yulgok Yii, convoys, submarines as well as Lynx helicopters and KF-5 and KF-16 fighter jets.   Haesung-1 and Harpoon anti-ship missiles will also be launched during the exercise, the navy said
  Item Number:14 Date: 05/19/2015 TAJIKISTAN - CSTO REACTION FORCES TRAIN NEAR BORDER WITH AFGHANISTAN (MAY 19/INT-AVN)  INTERFAX-MILITARY NEWS AGENCY -- The Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) Collective Rapid-Reaction Force (CRRF) is holding an exercise in Tajikistan this week, reports Interfax-AVN (Russia).   Around 2,500 troops from CSTO member states, 200 pieces of equipment, 20 combat aircraft and 30 military transports are taking part in the drills, reported Russia's Sputnik news agency.   The unplanned exercise is designed to evaluate the capabilities of the collective force, said CSTO officials.   There is growing concern about instability along the Afghan-Tajik border, particularly due to the Islamic State's presence in Afghanistan, the officials said.   CSTO members are Russia, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Armenia and Belarus. Afghanistan and Serbia are observers
Item Number:15 Date: 05/19/2015 TURKEY - INDIGENOUS UAV TO CARRY DOMESTIC LASER-GUIDED ROCKETS (MAY 19/DN)  DEFENSE NEWS -- Turkish unmanned aerial vehicles will soon be equipped with a domestically developed mini laser-guided rocket, say government officials, as reported by Defense News.   Serial production of the Bozok ("white arrow") rocket, which has been designed and developed by the state-run Tubitak SAGE research institute, will begin soon, the officials said.   The weapon is 2 feet 7 inches (790 mm) long and weighs 35 pounds (16 kg). It has a reported range of 3.7 miles (6 km).   The rocket is ideal for the Anka S, the nation's first indigenously developed unmanned aircraft, according to the officials
Item Number:16 Date: 05/19/2015 TURKEY - KURDISH PARTY HQS IN ADANA, MERSIN HIT BY BOMBS (MAY 19/AFP)  AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE -- The regional headquarters of Turkey's main pro-Kurdish political party in two cities have been hit by bombs, reports Agence France-Presse.   Six people were injured in an explosion on Monday at the office of the People's Democratic Party (HDP) in the southern city of Adana. Three were seriously hurt, said a party official.   Separately, a bouquet of flowers sent to an HDP headquarters in the nearby city of Mersin also exploded, injuring several people, said the official.   The government condemned the bombings. Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said he gave a "clear instruction" for a full-scale investigation.   President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has previously condemned the HDP for its links to the outlawed Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK).   Tensions have been high with legislative elections scheduled for June 7
Item Number:17 Date: 05/19/2015 TURKEY - SYRIAN HELICOPTER DOWNED, SAYS ANKARA; DAMASCUS SAYS DRONE WAS HIT (MAY 19/WSJ)  WALL STREET JOURNAL -- The Turkish military has announced that it shot down a Syrian helicopter that violated its border, reports the Wall Street Journal.   The Syrian aircraft breached a seven-mile stretch of the border in the Cilvegozu district of Turkey's southeastern Hatay province for about five minutes on Saturday, according to Turkish Defense Minister Ismet Yilmaz.   After the violation was detected, two F-16 fighters attacked the helicopter, which crashed inside Syria, according to the Turkish military.   The helicopter remained in Turkish territory, despite being warned by Turkish authorities, said Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.   Syrian state TV denied that Turkey shot down its aircraft, saying it was a small surveillance drone, reported Reuters.  
Item Number:18 Date: 05/19/2015 UNITED KINGDOM - UAVS SEEN AS WAY TO THWART PEOPLE-SMUGGLERS IN MED (MAY 19/DTL)  DAILY TELEGRAPH (LONDON) -- The British government says it is willing to deploy unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) as part of a European Union operation to combat smuggling gangs that have been transporting migrants to Europe, reports London's Daily Telegraph.   Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond and Defense Secretary Michael Fallon met with E.U. counterparts on Monday to agree on military action in Libya to take on the gangs.   The E.U. is seeking approval from the Libyan government and U.N. Security Council for its actions.   The mission could be launched within weeks, in time for the heaviest season for such crossings, said Federica Mogherini, the head of foreign policy for the E.U.   The U.K. has already deployed the amphibious ship HMS Bulwark to the search-and-rescue mission in the Mediterranean.   A spokesman for the European Commission also told the Telegraph that the E.U. will provide more aid to countries in Africa to stop the migrants from leaving their home countries
Item Number:19 Date: 05/19/2015 USA - COMMANDANT PROMOTES INITIATIVE TO MODERNIZE GROUND FORCES (MAY 19/MCT)  MARINE CORPS TIMES -- Gen. Joseph Dunford, the commandant of the Marine Corps, has announced plans to modernize the service and improve its ground combat elements, reports the Marine Corps Times.   The Corps must change to realize the strategic vision outlined in the Expeditionary Force 21 document, which calls for distributed operations and movement from the sea, said Dunford on last week at a Marine Corps Association event near Washington, D.C.   A new working group will be organized in the near future and examine lessons learned from deployments to Afghanistan and Iraq as well as Marine expeditionary unit deployments on Navy ships, said Dunford.   The group will also analyze the budget outlook through fiscal 2017 as well as the prioritization and allocation of resources, he said. A report is expected in October.   For the Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF), the service must utilize the service's high-tech air platforms and advance beyond traditional infantry assault methods, the commandant said.   The commandant has recently been nominated as the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
  Item Number:20 Date: 05/19/2015 USA - N. MARIANAS ISLAND UNDER CONSIDERATION FOR MARINE AMPHIBIOUS WARFARE TRAINING (MAY 19/LAT)  LOS ANGELES TIMES -- The Pentagon has proposed leasing the island of Pagan in the Northern Marianas for live-fire Marine amphibious warfare training, reports the Los Angeles Times.   The move is part of the overall "rebalance" in the Western Pacific.   The plans under consideration call for live-fire exercises on the 18-square-mile (47-sq-km) island at least 16 weeks a year.   Marine Corps officials say the island is the only one available with big enough beaches for large amphibious maneuvers. The military would also upgrade the Japanese-built runway for logistics operations.   Many locals have expressed opposition to the move, arguing that the future of Pagan should be determined by the people of the Northern Marianas
Item Number:21 Date: 05/19/2015 USA - NAVY GIVES ELECTROMAGNETIC CATAPULT FULL-SPEED TESTS ON NEW CARRIER (MAY 19/NNS)  NAVY NEWSSTAND -- The U.S. Navy has conducted its first shipboard, full-speed tests of the electromagnetic aircraft launch system (EMALS) aboard a nearly completed aircraft carrier, reports the Navy NewsStand.   The recent test shots, which did not involve aircraft or other loads attached to the launching shuttle, demonstrated the integrated catapult system on the future USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78), according to a service release late last week.   Navy officials expect the electromagnetic system to provide significant improvements in maintenance, reliability and efficiency as well as provide higher launch energy capacity and more accurate end-speed control.   According to the release, acceleration at all speeds will be smoother. Such linear acceleration is also intended to place less stress on aircraft over time.   During the trials, the ship's generators produced an electric pulse, which was passed through power conditioning electronics to linear motors just below the flight deck. The energy enabled the motors to propel the launching shuttle down the catapult track in excess of 180 knots, according to the release.   The next phase of EMALS testing, set for this summer, will involve launching dead-loads that simulate the weight of aircraft.   The Gerald R. Ford pre-commissioning unit, currently 90 percent complete, is scheduled for commissioning in March 2016.  
Item Number:22 Date: 05/19/2015 USA - PENTAGON WANTS TO TRY COMPETITIVE CONTRACTS FOR F-35 UPGRADES (MAY 19/AWST)  AVIATION WEEK AND SPACE TECHNOLOGY -- The Dept. of Defense says it hopes to include competitive proposals for expensive block upgrades of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter in an effort to manage sustainment costs, reports Aviation Week & Space Technology.   Accordingly, the Air Force will be pushing for a more open systems architecture in Block 4, the first post-service entry upgrade, which is now being defined, said William LaPlante, the Air Force assistant secretary for acquisition.   This would make it possible for later upgrades, or elements of them, to be competed, he said on Friday.   Most major upgrades have been handled in the past by the original prime contractor on a sole-source basis.   To support competition, the Pentagon will inform industry of the direction of modernization plans and fund research and development programs to help potential competitors keep up with the original prime contractor, according to LaPlante
Item Number:23 Date: 05/19/2015 USA - PLANS IN THE WORKS FOR MISSION CONTROL CENTER AT BEALE AFB, CALIF. (MAY 19/APDEM)  APPEAL-DEMOCRAT -- The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has released a solicitation for construction of a new common mission control center at Beale Air Force Base, Calif., reports the Appeal-Democrat (Marysville, Calif.).   The two-story, 83,000-square-foot (7,710-square-meter) facility could cost between $100 million to $250 million.   The project includes "utilities, fire detection/suppression system, intrusion alarms, special secure and controlled infrastructure (multi-network, reliability/redundancy criteria), pavements, site improvements, landscaping, communications/IT support and parking," according to the solicitation last week.   The center is expected to have "space for workstations and associated racks and communications equipment; mechanical space; warehouse space; and command staff offices," said documents posted on the Federal Business Opportunities website last year.   The posting said the facility will accommodate crews based on the number, duration and frequency of worldwide intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) sorties. The complex will accommodate multiple ground sensor platforms and associated control systems, according to the FBO
  Item Number:24 Date: 05/19/2015 YEMEN - SAUDI-LED COALITION STRIKES PALACE IN SANAA, BASES IN HODEIDA (MAY 19/AFP)  AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE -- Warplanes flown by the Saudi-led coalition have resumed airstrikes in Sanaa, the Yemeni capital, for the first time since the end of a five-day cease-fire, say witnesses cited by Agence France-Presse.   Tuesday's attacks hit the presidential palace and several bases held by troops loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who is allied with Houthi rebels, according to the witnesses.   Targets were said to include the Republican Guard missile brigade base of Fajj Attan in southern Sanaa. Airstrikes also reportedly hit air defense and coast guard facilities in Hodeida province on the Red Sea coast.   Attacks were also reported in the central Taez province and Daleh and Aden in the south. Aden was also hit on Monday in the first strikes after the humanitarian cease-fire.


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