Saturday, May 22, 2010

DTN News: President Barack Obama Defends Escalation Of Afghan War In Address To 2010 West Point Class

Defense News: DTN News: President Barack Obama Defends Escalation Of Afghan War In Address To 2010 West Point Class
Source: DTN News / The Hill By Ben Geman
(NSI News Source Info) WASHINGTON - May 23, 2010: President Barack Obama on Saturday used a speech to West Point cadets to defend his escalation of the war in Afghanistan.
Obama also placed a heavy emphasis on winning international cooperation and bolstering non-military sources of American power. Obama’s remarks to the graduating class revealed both continuity with former President Bush’s hard stance against violent extremists and a break with the unilateralism that Bush critics called a defining feature of his presidency. “America has not succeeded by stepping outside the currents of cooperation, we have succeeded by steering those currents in the direction of liberty and justice – so nations thrive by meeting their responsibilities, and face consequences when they don’t,” Obama said.
He called for an “international order that can meet the challenges of our generation” that range from nuclear proliferation to climate change. Speaking before about 1,000 cadets -- many of whom will be deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan -- Obama cited continuing threats to the U.S. by violent extremists while proclaiming that American intervention has “brought hope” to the Afghan people. “The war began only because our own cities and civilians were attacked by violent extremists who plotted from that distant place, and it continues only because that plotting persists to this day,” Obama said in prepared remarks at the military academy in upstate New York.
Obama also told the West Point cadets that the U.S. faces a suite of challenges that cannot be met solely with military power. “We will be steadfast in strengthening those old alliances that have served us so well, including those who will serve by your side in Afghanistan and around the globe. As influence extends to more countries and capitals, we must also build new partnerships, and shape stronger international standards and institutions,” Obama said. “This engagement is not an end in itself.
The international order we seek is one that can resolve the challenges of our times – countering violent extremism and insurgency; stopping the spread of nuclear weapons and securing nuclear materials; combating a changing climate and sustaining global growth; helping countries feed themselves and care for their sick; preventing conflict and healing its wounds,” he added. Obama used a similar theme when discussing domestic policy.
He strongly – and repeatedly – praised the military while noting “now the rest of us must do our part.” He called for preparing children to compete in a global marketplace, developing energy sources that end reliance on foreign oil, and strong U.S. science and research. “At no time in human history has a nation of diminished economic vitality maintained its military and political primacy,” Obama said.
Obama last addressed West Point in December, when he offered his explanation for sending an additional 30,000 troops to the country. The decision divided Democrats, and disappointed many of the president’s supporters on the left, who had hoped the president would wind down conflict in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Obama has said that troops from Afghanistan will begin returning home 18 months after they arrived.
“This war has changed over the last nine years, though it is no less important than it was in those days after 9/11,” Obama said Saturday in his remarks. “We toppled the Taliban regime; now we must break the momentum of a Taliban insurgency and train Afghan Security Forces,” he continued.
“We have supported the election of a sovereign government; now we must strengthen its capacity. We have brought hope to the Afghan people; now we must see that their country does not fall prey to our common enemies.” Obama’s speech fusing a defense of the war and with pledges of a new foreign policy direction comes ahead of a Capitol Hill debate on war funding legislation.
The Senate hopes to approve a supplemental funding bill before leaving for the Memorial Day recess, with the House taking up the legislation after the Senate. The House vote will be complicated by opposition to the war effort from liberal Democrats, who are wary of continuing the engagement in Afghanistan. Obama also used the speech to cite continuing terrorist threats while defending the administration’s record on intelligence.
Intelligence agencies have come under GOP attack for failing to more quickly detect the plot of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the failed Christmas Day airline bomber. The criticism has put the White House on the defensive, and Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair resigned under pressure earlier this week. “Though we have had more success in eliminating al Qaeda leaders in recent months than in recent years, they will continue to recruit, plot, and exploit our open society. We see that in bombs that go off in Kabul and Karachi,” Obama said.
“We see it in attempts to blow up an airliner over Detroit or a SUV in Times Square, even as these failed attacks show that pressure on networks like al Qaeda is forcing them to rely on terrorists with less time and space to train. We see it in al Qaeda’s gross distortion of Islam, their disrespect for human life, and their attempts to prey upon fear, and hatred, and prejudice,” he added.

DTN News: Boeing To Highlight Partnership Opportunity At 1st Air Power Brazil Conference News

Defense News: DTN News: Boeing To Highlight Partnership Opportunity At 1st Air Power Brazil Conference News
Source: DTN News / Boeing
(NSI News Source Info) ST. LOUIS, - May 23, 2010: Boeing [NYSE: BA] will focus on its continuing partnership opportunity with Brazil at the first Air Power Brazil conference (Fórum Nacional de Defesa Aérea 2010), which opens in Brasília on May 24. Brazilian government officials, representatives of the Brazilian Air Force and industry will attend the two-day conference to discuss Brazil’s new National Defense Strategy.
Michael Coggins, Boeing Military Aircraft senior manager of International Business Development, will brief conference participants on how Boeing, in conjunction with the U.S. government, can directly support every aspect of Brazil’s National Defense Strategy.
"As the largest aerospace company in the world, Boeing is best positioned to help Brazil strengthen its defense industry and leadership in technology," said Coggins. "Through U.S. technology transfer, the Brazilian aerospace industry will be able to provide key capabilities to Brazil, become part of the Boeing global supplier network, and gain access to the U.S. defense and commercial markets."
The Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet is one of three shortlisted finalists in Brazil’s F-X2 fighter competition. The Brazilian government plans to purchase 36 aircraft to modernize the Brazilian Air Force fighter fleet. Best and final offers were delivered in October 2009.
A unit of The Boeing Company, Boeing Defense, Space & Security is one of the world's largest defense, space and security businesses specializing in innovative and capabilities-driven customer solutions, and the world’s largest and most versatile manufacturer of military aircraft. Headquartered in St. Louis, Boeing Defense, Space & Security is a $34 billion business with 68,000 employees worldwide.
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DTN News: France Certain About Rafale Order From Brazil

Defense News: DTN News: France Certain About Rafale Order From Brazil
Source: DTN News / UPI
(NSI News Source Info) PARIS, France - May 23, 2010: France looks set to clinch a multibillion-dollar deal for the sale of Rafale jet fighters to Brazil.
Citing an aide to French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Defense News reported that Brazil's "preference" for France's pride combat aircraft "is expected to be confirmed soon."
"It's not up for us to say," though, the source said. "It is up to Brazil."
The report surfaced after talks between the French president and Brazil's leader Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in Madrid on the sidelines of the European Union-Latin America summit.
Sources close to the Brazilian president denied that the expected sale was discussed between the two leaders.
The foreign aerospace giants competing for the sale to Brazil of 36 combat aircraft are France's Dassault with its Rafale fighter, Sweden's Saab with the Gripen NG aircraft and U.S. company Boeing with the F/A-18 Super Hornet.
By some accounts, the contract for the initial 36 planes could rise to more than 120.
The deal is estimated to be worth between $4 and $7 billion, depending on details of the order to be agreed, defense experts have said.
The aircraft are expected to renew Brazil's aging fleet of combat aircraft. It has long been suggested that France's Rafale fighter stands as the preferred pick of the Latin American country.
The talks in Madrid were seen as a last-ditch bid by France to seal the deal with Brazil as upcoming elections in the Latin American country threatened to spoil the deal.
France has already suffered sales setbacks in Morocco and Asia, while fears have mounted in Paris that ongoing talks over Brazil's tender could be stalled ahead of the scheduled elections.
Despite months of talks, Brazil has yet to narrow down a field of three bidders.
"Every week bringing us closer to the election is worrying," said a French source familiar with the negotiations.
All the contenders have met technical specifications and relevant reports have been delivered to Brazil's defense ministry.
What makes the French bid attractive, experts say, is France's sweetener of transferring all technology related to the supersonic Rafale so that Brazil, bent on becoming the lead military power in South America, could assemble most of the jets itself and sell them regionally.
Brazil has already signed a deal with the French for the construction of five submarines in Brazil. The deal also includes building a nuclear-powered vessel.
Should the deal succeed with Brazil, it will mark Rafale's first export order.

DTN News: China To Train Indonesian Pilots For Su-Family Fighters

Defense News: DTN News: China To Train Indonesian Pilots For Su-Family Fighters
Source: DTN News / RIA Novosti
(NSI News Source Info) JAKARTA, Indonesia - May 23, 2010: Indonesia and China have agreed to continue cooperation in training pilots for Russian-made Su-family fighters in service with the Indonesian air force, the Antara news agency said on Friday.
The agreement was reached during the current visit of the deputy chief of China's Central Military Commission Gen. Guo Boxiong to Jakarta.
According to the Indonesian military, ten Indonesian pilots have already undergone Sukhoi jet fighter simulation training in China and training courses for new pilots will start in the near future.
Under a $300 million contract, signed in 2007, Russia is expected to complete the delivery of three Su-30MK2 and three Su-27SKM fighters to Jakarta by the end of 2010 in addition to two Su-27SK and two Su-30MK fighters purchased in 2003.
China, which has a number of Su-family fighters in service and purchased a license on the production of 200 Su-27SK combat jets, has built several computer-assisted simulators to help train pilots for Su-family fighters.
Indonesia earlier said it needed at least one squadron equipped with 16 Sukhoi fighters to replace part of the outdated fleet of U.S. F-16 fighters.

DTN News: Desperation Spurs MiG-29 Sales

Defense News: DTN News: Desperation Spurs MiG-29 Sales
Source: Strategy Page
(NSI News Source Info) TORONTO, Canada - May 23, 2010: Although many nations (Algeria, Malaysia, Lebanon) are refusing, or retiring, MiG-29s, Syria is eager to get them. That's because Syria is broke, and patron Iran is becoming less generous (because of its own economic problems) with subsidies for military equipment. Thus Russia recently announced that it is selling another 24 (or more) MiG-29s to Syria (which already has about fifty of them).
Syria would like to get its existing MiG-29s upgraded, but may not be able to afford that.
Other nations are backing away from MiG-29s because of reliability and durability problems. Several times in the last year, Russia has had MiG-29s grounded because of crashes, and suspicion that there might be some kind of fundamental design flaw.
There had been several problems with MiG-29s earlier, although all aircraft were eventually returned to flight status. This has not helped sales, and most export customers prefer the larger Su-27 (and its derivatives like the Su-30).
The MiG-29 entered Russian service in 1983, as the answer to the American F-16. Some 1,600 MiG-29s have been produced so far, with most (about 900) exported. The biggest customer, India, received its first MiG-29s in 1986, with deliveries continuing into the 1990s. The 22 ton aircraft is, indeed, roughly comparable to the F-16, but it depends a lot on which version of either aircraft you are talking about.
Then there are the reliability problems. Compared to Western aircraft, like the F-16, the MiG-29 is available for action about two thirds as often.
Syria has not been able to afford to let its pilots spend much time in the air, which reduces wear and tear on the MiG-29s and makes them last longer. Thus the Syrian MiG-29s can expect to provide target practice for more experienced Israeli pilots, flying advanced models of the F-16.
*This article is being posted from Toronto, Canada By DTN News ~ Defense-Technology News, contact:
Disclaimer statement
Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information supplied herein, DTN News ~ Defense-Technology News cannot be held responsible for any errors or omissions. Unless otherwise indicated, opinions expressed herein are those of the author of the page and do not necessarily represent the corporate views of DTN News ~ Defense-Technology News.
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DTN News: Lebanon Prime Minister Saad Hariri Slams Israel Defense Drill

Defense News: DTN News: Lebanon Prime Minister Saad Hariri Slams Israel Defense Drill
Source: DTN News / & AFP
(NSI News Source Info) BEIRUT, Lebanon - May 23, 2010: Saad Hariri says Israeli decision to launch week of military exercises 'runs counter to peace efforts... How can you launch peace negotiations with Palestinians while holding military maneuvers?'
Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri on Saturday lashed out at Israel's defense exercises and said they ran counter to current Middle East peace efforts.
"Israel has to go to the negotiating table in order to achieve peace. To launch military exercises at such a time runs counter to peace efforts," Hariri told reporters in Cairo after a meeting with Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak.
"How can you launch peace negotiations with the Palestinians while holding military maneuvers?" asked Hariri, who is to travel to Washington on Sunday for his first visit as premier.
Israel's annual week-long civil defense exercises, which start on Sunday, are designed to prepare emergency responses to rocket strikes on Israel.
Israeli Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai has stressed that the exercises were planned long in advance and had no bearing on the Jewish state's present relations with its northern neighbors, Lebanon and Syria.
As in previous years, Israel has made contact through intermediaries with its neighbors, notably Syria, to reassure them of its non-belligerent intentions, he said.
But on Friday, Lebanon's Hezbollah mobilized thousands of militants in southern Lebanon in response to the exercises, said an official from the Shiite group which is backed by Damascus and Tehran.
Israel and Hezbollah fought a month-long war in 2006 that destroyed much of southern Lebanon, largely a Hezbollah stronghold. It estimates Hezbollah has since stockpiled more than 40,000 rockets.
And last month, Israeli President Shimon Peres accused Syria of providing Scud missiles to Hezbollah, charges that Damascus has denied.

DTN News: French Stryker Heads For Afghanistan

Defense News: DTN News: French Stryker Heads For Afghanistan
Source: Strategy Page
(NSI News Source Info) TORONTO, Canada - May 23, 2010: As French troops become more involved in Afghan combat, the generals are eager to send more new equipment there to help out, and see how the new gear performs. The latest example is the shipment of new VBCI armored vehicles to Afghanistan.
Last year, France ordered a second batch of its new VBCI armored vehicle.
This order, of 332 vehicles, brings the total bought so far to 630. Eventually, the French Army wants 700 VBCIs. This purchase is part of a trend. Like most other European nations, France is replacing some of their tracked armored infantry vehicles with wheeled ones (like the U.S. Stryker).
The VBCI is an 8x8, 25 ton vehicle with a crew of three, plus eight troops in the back. Armament consists of a 25mm autocannon, and a 7.62mm machine-gun. Like the Stryker, the VBCI has very up-to-date sensors and electronics.
France is getting 550 of the infantry version, and 150 command post (more electronics, fewer people) versions. The BCI will replace tracked AMX10 infantry vehicles. The VBCI vehicles cost about $5.5 million each, and first deliveries began two years ago.
*This article is being posted from Toronto, Canada By DTN News ~ Defense-Technology News, contact:
Disclaimer statement
Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information supplied herein, DTN News ~ Defense-Technology News cannot be held responsible for any errors or omissions. Unless otherwise indicated, opinions expressed herein are those of the author of the page and do not necessarily represent the corporate views of DTN News ~ Defense-Technology News.

DTN News: Air Force-Navy Team May Counter China Threat

Defense News: DTN News: Air Force-Navy Team May Counter China Threat
Source: DTN News / By Bruce Rolfsen - Staff writer AirForceTimes
(NSI News Source Info) TORONTO, Canada - May 23, 2010: A new major strategy under construction at the Pentagon calls for the Air Force and Navy to cooperate in ways they never have before, such as Navy surface ships defending Air Force bases against missile attacks and Air Force bombers laying mines.
Called Air-Sea Battle, the military doctrine is being researched and developed by about a dozen colonels from the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps, with input from joint combatant commands.
The colonels are scheduled to give Air Force and Navy commanders an early look at their work May 27 at the Navy/Air Force war fighters conference in Washington.
Lawmakers and defense experts got their chance to learn more about the concept May 18 at a briefing by four analysts from the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, an independent, nonpartisan think tank for national security policy.
The analysts said that Air-Sea Battle is a viable option to the rising threat of China but will be a challenge to implement for many reasons, including shrinking budgets, stubborn service cultures and a long-term focus on ground insurgency.
“Unless offsetting actions are taken, the strategic balance in the Western Pacific will become unfavorable and unstable,” said Andrew Krepinevich, the center’s president.
Included in the analysts’ 123-page study is an example of how the Air Force and Navy would use Air-Sea Battle to counter an attack by China on Taiwan.
Air Force land bases in Japan, South Korea and Guam would be highly vulnerable to Chinese attacks, for example, so the Navy’s Aegis ballistic missile defense ships might be tasked with defending them in the early days of a war. Navy submarines would be given so many important assignments — from surveillance to launching cruise missile strikes — that Air Force bombers might take up the slack of subs’ traditional jobs, including attacking surface targets and laying mines to try to bottle up the Chinese fleet.
The analysts conceded it would be difficult for leaders in the Pentagon to make the policy changes and spending decisions necessary to put the U.S. on the footing called for by Air-Sea Battle planners.
On the fiscal side, Congress would have to fund a variety of new weapons systems and construction projects, including a new long-range bomber, a new anti-ship missile, hangars and runways able to withstand missile attacks and expansion of alternative airfields on small Pacific islands such as Tinian and Saipan.
“This isn’t something we’re going to pop into the budget next year,” analyst Mark Gunzinger said. “This is going to take a couple decades of defense spending.”
The cultural obstacles probably would be tougher to overcome: The services will not want to surrender some missions, such as the Navy’s claim to maritime surveillance, or share aircraft other than the new Joint Strike Fighter or the unmanned Global Hawk.
And there is a philosophical debate for the Pentagon: ground-based counterinsurgency versus air and naval strategy.
The focus of Defense Department and independent planners today is ground-based counterinsurgency — Defense Secretary Robert Gates has struggled to pull the Pentagon’s attention away from major-war thinking and toward the war in Afghanistan. Air-Sea Battle, with its explicit emphasis on World War III in the Pacific, runs counter to “hybrid war,” “balance” and the Pentagon’s other latest buzzwords.
Some of the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments analysts’ suggestions are things the services already do, such as having Air Force tankers refuel Navy fighter jets and Air Force tactical air controllers guide in Navy strikes, pointed out Lt. Gen. Philip Breedlove, the Air Staff’s director of operations and one of the officers overseeing the development of Air-Sea Battle.
Breedlove complimented both services on working well together already, yet made a point to highlight their distinct capabilities.
“Clearly an aircraft carrier brings access to places where we [Air Force] have problems getting land-based air, sometimes,” Breedlove said. “Clearly, land-based air brings the ability to generate mass sorties. ... That is harder to generate from a carrier.”
Breedlove compared Air-Sea Battle, a collaborative effort by Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz and Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead, to the Air-Land Battle hammered out by the Air Force and Army in the 1980s.
The Air-Land practices, put in place to turn back a Soviet invasion of Western Europe, proved effective in Operation Desert Storm in late 1990 and early 1991 and in Afghanistan and Iraq today, said Breedlove, who as an F-16 pilot spent seven years based in Europe, including two as air liaison officer with the 3rd Infantry Division.
“I embrace Air-Sea because I am truly a product of where Air-Land Battle took the Air Force and the Army,” he said.
Staff writer Philip Ewing contributed to this report.
*This article is being posted from Toronto, Canada By DTN News ~ Defense-Technology News, contact:

DTN News: Russian Special Forces Storm Oil Tanker, Free Ship

Defense News: DTN News: Russian Special Forces Storm Oil Tanker, Free Ship
Source: DTN News (Archive)
(NSI News Source Info) ABOARD THE HSwMS CARLSKRONA - May 22, 2010: Russian special forces rappelled onto a disabled oil tanker taken over by Somali pirates, freeing 23 Russian sailors and arresting the pirates during a dawn raid Thursday, the commander of the EU Naval Force said.
The raid against the Liberian-flagged ship Moscow University came 24 hours after pirates had taken the ship over and the crew locked itself in a safe room. The vessel is carrying 86,000 tons of crude oil worth about $50 million.
The special forces had been aboard the Russian anti-submarine destroyer Marshal Shaposhnikov, which rushed to the scene after Wednesday's attack. The special forces boarded a helicopter and rappelled down to the Moscow University, Rear Adm. Jan Thornqvist, force commander of the EUNaval Force, told The Associated Press.
Shots were fired during the raid but no one was injured, Thornqvist said.
Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Col. Alexei Kuznetsov said the pirates are being held aboard the tanker. Russian news agencies reported the death of one pirate during the raid, but Kuznetsov told AP that information was still being looked into.
The crew of the Moscow University had previously told officials they believed the pirates were trying to enter the engine room, Thornqvist said. The ship had been disabled and was not moving. Safe rooms, where crews seek shelter, are typically stocked with food, water and communications equipment and have reinforced doors that can only be opened from the inside.
The ship's owner, Novoship, said in a statement that the decision to free the ship was made knowing "that the crew was under safe cover inaccessible to the pirates and that the lives and health of the sailors was not threatened by anything."
Cmdr. John Harbour, a spokesman for the EU Naval Force, called the rescue "an excellent operation all around." He said the EU Naval Force had been working at a tactical level with the Russians, and that EU Naval Force personnel talked to the Russian crew by VHF radio. He said the EU had offered support to the Russians.
The attack occurred about 500 miles (800 kilometers) east of the Somali coast. The ship was not registered with the Maritime Security Center, said Harbour. The ship's route was from the Red Sea to China, the ship's owner said.
Novoship is a subsidiary of Sovcomflot, which is owned by the Russian government.
The fact that Russian special forces stormed the Moscow University shortly after it was taken over is in line with a trend by international military forces who are more aggressively combating piracy. In February, Danish special forces prevented the hijacking of a ship after pirates had boarded it. Special forces from the Danish Absalon boarded the Ariella while the crew locked themselves in a secure room.
EU Naval Force ships are disrupting pirate groups and destroying their ships at a much higher rate than in previous years. U.S. warships have fired back on pirates and destroyed their boats in several skirmishes in the last several weeks.
Pirates currently hold more than 300 hostages taken from ships attacked off East Africa in the last several months. Eleven suspected Somali pirates were indicted in U.S. federal court late last month, but the international community has had problems formulating an accepted policy to try and jail pirate suspects.
Along with the increased pressure by international navies against pirates has come some criticism.
On Wednesday, a French prosecutor said a French rescuer was responsible for killing the skipper of a sailboat hijacked by Somali pirates during a rescue operation.
Chief prosecutor Hever Pavy in the western French city of Rennes said investigators found a French military bullet had killed Florent Lemacon in April 2009 when a special intervention team came to rescue his yacht, the Tanit, off the Somali coast.
Four other hostages were saved after a week on the hijacked ship. Three suspected pirates who survived the rescue operation are on trial in France.

DTN News: DOD Announces First U.S. Cyber Command And First U.S. CYBERCOM Commander

Defense News: DTN News: DOD Announces First U.S. Cyber Command And First U.S. CYBERCOM Commander
Source: U.S. Department of Defense No. 419-10 May 21, 2010
(NSI News Source Info) WASHINGTON - May 22, 2010: Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates announced today Army Gen. Keith B. Alexander’s appointment as the first U.S. Cyber Command commander, officially establishing the initial operating capability for the new command. The announcement comes immediately following Alexander’s promotion to receive his fourth star during a ceremony at Fort Meade, Md., today (May 21).
“Given our increasing dependency on cyberspace, this new command will bring together the resources of the department to address vulnerabilities and meet the ever-growing array of cyber threats to our military systems,” said Gates.
U.S. Cyber Command possesses the required technical capability and focuses on the integration of military cyberspace operations. The command is charged with pulling together existing cyberspace resources, creating synergy that does not currently exist and synchronizing war-fighting effects to defend the DoD information security environment. This is not an expansion of DoD’s mission. It is in keeping with the department’s mission to protect and defend U.S. national security and protect the lives of men and women in uniform.
U.S. Cyber Command is a sub-unified command, subordinate to U.S. Strategic Command. Its headquarters is currently located at Fort Meade, Md. The Senate confirmed Alexander’s promotion to become commander of the new sub-unified command, U.S. Cyber Command on May 7. For more information, visit .
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