Op-Ed: Did US work with Russia in ‘surprise’ Syria strike?

An interesting take that deserves attention.

 

Op-Ed: Did US work with Russia in ‘surprise’ Syria strike?

Shayrat Airfield in Homs, Syria is seen in this DigitalGlobe satellite image released by the U.S. Defense Department on April 6, 2017 after announcing U.S. forces conducted a cruise missile strike against the Syrian Air Force airfield. DigitalGlobe/Courtesy U.S. Department of Defense/Handout via REUTERS

 

Could President Trump have struck a deal with Russia before the strikes in a play to nullify his opposition and peacefully split up Syria?

(VERO BEACH, FLA) On Thursday evening at approximately 20:40 ET (04:40 AM, Friday, April 7th local time) the US reportedly launched 57 Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles (TLAMs) from the Arleigh Burke-class destroyers USS Porter and USS Ross located in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea.

Their target was the Shayrat Airfield in Homs, Syria, and according to Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis the missiles successfully struck aircraft, hardened aircraft shelters, petroleum, logistical storage, ammunition supply bunkers, air defense systems, and radars.

According to the Pentagon press release, Russian forces, as well as regional allies, were notified in advance of the strike using previously established deconfliction lines, and ‘precautions’ were taken to minimize risk to Russian or Syrian personnel located at the airfield.  Continue reading

China’s new stealth fighter another step toward completion

 

Video surfaces online of suspected J-20 test plane

China’s new fifth-generation stealth jet is believed to be drawing closer to completion after a supposed low-rate-initial-production, or LRIP, test plane was spotted last week.

According to Sputnik, video footage from Chinese websites emerged showing the suspected J-20 unit in action.

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The Dragon Muscles In: Growing Number Of Victories In Chinese Arms Exports

http://www.popsci.com/sites/popsci.com/files/styles/xl_1x_/public/2101_flight_2.jpg

Proudly Made in China Apart from its Russian engines, the J-20 is completely made and designed in China. And even then, future J-20s will be flying with a more powerful domestic engine, the WS-15, by 2021. While the J-20 isn’t for sale (yet?), other advanced Chinese weapons are finding eager buyers. | Andreas Rupprecht

 

Chinese missiles, tanks and drones find foreign buyers

In line with its increasingly sophisticated domestic arsenal, China’s arms exports have become much more technically competitive in the last 10 years; the 2015 U.S. Defense Department’s Annual Report on the PLA even stated that China’s ground systems in particular are globally competitive or nearly globally competitive. With selling points of low cost and affordable service, lack of geopolitical strings and upgrade packages, China has become the world’s third largest arms exporter behind the US and Russia. With a series of recent contracting wins against Russian firms, it looks to expand its market share.

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Shifting Tides of Military Power in the South China Sea

A 2010 article that foretold what was to come and now is here:

 

Is U.S. naval power in the South China Sea the unstoppable force it once was?

Thirsting for the oil in the waters that break upon China’s shores, Beijing has recently intensified its claim to the entire 1.3 million square miles of the South China Sea. Since China’s assertion competes with claims by the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan, it has prompted a pledge from the U.S. for increased involvement in the disputes to guarantee free trade and navigation throughout the region. But a Wall Street Journal article about recent military trends in the South Pacific region suggests that Washington’s pledge is insufficiently backed, and more so every month.

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F-35 Stealth Fighter Still Has 419 ‘Deficiencies,’ Manager Says

The head of the U.S. Defense Department’s F-35 program said the number of “deficiencies” in the stealth fighter jet’s hardware and software is decreasing but that hundreds of technical challenges remain.

Speaking to reporters last week in his offices in Arlington, Virginia, Air Force Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan discussed a range of issues affecting the Pentagon’s biggest weapons program at nearly $400 billion, including the hundreds of lingering deficiency reports, or DRs, known as “technical debt” in acquisition parlance.

There are 419 things that we have yet to decide with the war fighters how we’re going to fix them, whether we’re going to fix them and when we’re going to fix them,” he said. The figure was three times higher a few years ago and “we think the technical debt that we have — the deficiencies that we have — are things that we can handle … within the next two years,” he said. Continue reading

The IMF Just Entered The Cold War, Forgives Ukraine’s Debt To Russia

Since 1947 when it really started operations, the World Bank has acted as a branch of the U.S. Defense Department, from its first major chairman John J. McCloy through Robert McNamara to Robert Zoellick and neocon Paul Wolfowitz. From the outset, it has promoted U.S. exports – especially farm exports – by steering Third World countries to produce plantation crops rather than feeding their own populations. (They are to import U.S. grain.) But it has felt obliged to wrap its U.S. export promotion and support for the dollar area in an ostensibly internationalist rhetoric, as if what’s good for the United States is good for the world. Continue reading

Signs Point to China in US Research Facility Hack

Tech companies, healthcare giants, defense contractors, top universities, the US government—you name it, Chinese cyber-spies have probably hacked it. And now, it seems likely, we can add one of the world’s preeminent marine research groups to the list.

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution sustained a “sophisticated, targeted attack” that looks to have originated from China, according to Christopher Land, the organization’s general counsel and leader of its internal investigation. Continue reading

Pentagon Says 2013 Chinese Launch May Have Tested Antisatellite Technology

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Defense Department is suggesting that the May 2013 launch of a Chinese rocket that it branded at the time as suspicious was a test of a technology designed to counter or destroy satellites in geosynchronous orbit.

China characterized the launch as a scientific sounding rocket mission, but the U.S. Air Force said the vehicle’s trajectory was inconsistent with that explanation. In a statement released shortly after the launch, the service said the rocket climbed to a nearly geosynchronous-orbit altitude — 36,000 kilometers high — but that all objects associated with the launch subsequently re-entered the atmosphere. Continue reading

Japan to play broader role under new defense guidelines

The US and Japan announced on Monday new guidelines for bilateral defense cooperation, allowing Japan’s self defense forces to take on a more ambitious global role that the Shinzo Abe administration has been seeking.

Under the new guidelines, revised for the first time since 1997, Japan will have the right to exercise collective self-defense and be able to defend other countries that may come under attack, said the US Defense Department in a news release. It also allows for increased regional and global cooperation in the US-Japanese alliance. Continue reading

America: Nuclear Missiles Battle-Ready?

The United States currently has 4,804 nuclear warheads, 450 of which are located on Air Force bases in Wyoming, Montana and North Dakota. These 450 Minuteman 3 Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (icbms) are supposedly in constant battle-ready mode.Worryingly, the equipment used to secure these missiles was built in the 1960s. The bases are still using computers that require eight-inch floppy disks. As one missileer stated, she had not seen such “technology” until she started working in the command center. One would think the world’s superpower would use the latest state-of-the-art technology to safeguard its deadliest weapons.

However, it is not the shrinking army and its lack of up-to-date technology that should worry the American public the most, but the sketchy personnel in charge.

In 2013, the Air Force relieved the two-star general in command of the 450 icbms. The general was suspended for “exceeding the limits of accepted standards of good conduct and proper behavior” while on an official trip to Moscow. He reportedly drunk during the four-day trip. Earlier in the week, a vice admiral who oversaw the military’s nuclear forces, missile defense and cyber warfare operations was also relieved of his duties because of a probe into his possible use of counterfeit chips at an Iowa casino. Continue reading

Pentagon Contractors Exploring Business with Iran

Multiple companies currently exploring new business ventures in Iran are also cashing in on highly lucrative contracts with the U.S. Defense Department, raising questions about whether their dealings with Iran could run afoul of U.S. law.

At least 13 major international companies have said in recent weeks that they aim to reenter the Iranian marketplace over the next several months. The companies have received Pentagon contracts totaling well over $107 billion, according to a Washington Free Beacon analysis that tracked DoD contracts awarded since fiscal year 2009. Continue reading

Exclusive: Pentagon report faults F-35 on software, reliability

(Reuters) – A new U.S. Defense Department report warns that ongoing software, maintenance and reliability problems with Lockheed Martin Corp’s F-35 stealth fighter could delay the Marine Corps’ plans to start using its F-35 jets by mid-2015.

The latest report by the Pentagon’s chief weapons tester, Michael Gilmore, provides a detailed critique of the F-35’s technical challenges, and focuses heavily on what it calls the “unacceptable” performance of the plane’s software, according to a 25-page draft obtained by Reuters. Continue reading