Trump chief of staff’s phone was breached for nearly a year, say sources

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The personal cell phone of the White House Chief of Staff John Kelly (photo) was compromised by persons unknown and may have been bugged for nearly a year, according to United States government officials. General Kelly retired from the US Marine Corps in 2016, after serving as chief of the US Pentagon’s Southern Command, where he supervised American military operations in Latin America and the Caribbean. Soon afterwards, he was appointed by US President Donald Trump to lead the Department of Homeland Security, which he joined in January of 2017. Six months later, however, he replaced Reince Priebus, who resigned abruptly from the post of White House Chief of Staff, citing differences over management style with the Trump administration. Continue reading

US military chief Dunford: China is main threat to security

General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, testifies before the Senate Armed Services Committee in Washington on September 26, 2017. Photo: Reuters / Aaron P Bernstein

 

The chairman of the joint chiefs of staff set out new US military strategies and policies toward China and Asia in a senate hearing

China was identified this week as posing the most significant long-term military challenge to the United States by America’s senior-most military leader, as he set out new US military strategies and policies toward China and Asia more generally in a congressional hearing.

Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, also revealed in the hearing, before senate, that he had informed China last summer of US plans to use military force against North Korea. Continue reading

The Future the US Military is Constructing: a Giant, Armed Nervous System

Chief of Naval Operations, Adm. John Richardson, gives a keynote address during the Naval Future Force Science and Technology (S&T) Expo, July 21, 2017. This is a slide from his presentation.

 

Service chiefs are converging on a single strategy for military dominance: connect everything to everything.

Leaders of the Air Force, Navy, Army and Marines are converging on a vision of the future military: connecting every asset on the global battlefield.

That means everything from F-35 jets overhead to the destroyers on the sea to the armor of the tanks crawling over the land to the multiplying devices in every troops’ pockets. Every weapon, vehicle, and device connected, sharing data, constantly aware of the presence and state of every other node in a truly global network. The effect: an unimaginably large cephapoloidal nervous system armed with the world’s most sophisticated weaponry.

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US military leaves E. Syrian base at Zaqaf, Hizballah moves in

The US military folded its tents at Zaqaf, its last base in eastern Syrian Zaqaf base near the Iraqi border and Hizballah and other pro-Iranian militia moved in, without a pause. The changeover was accomplished Wednesday when Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu arrived home after a speech informing the UN General Assembly: ”Israel will defend itself with all its military strength and act to prevent Iran establishing itself in Syria… and establishing new bases along our northern border.” Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gady Eisenkott in his New Year message elaborated on this pledge. Continue reading

Germany spied on the White House over years: report

The White House. Photo: DPA

Germany’s foreign intelligence service long spied on numerous official and business targets in the United States, including the White House, Spiegel weekly reported Thursday.

The magazine said it had seen documents showing that the intelligence service, the BND, had a list of some 4,000 so-called selector keywords for surveillance between 1998 and 2006.

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Iran boat beams laser at U.S. helicopter over Strait of Hormuz

CH-53E Super Stallion heavy-lift helicopter. / U.S. Navy photo

 

An Iranian missile boat shined a laser at a U.S. Marine Corps helicopter flying over the Strait of Hormuz on June 13 in what the U.S. military called an “unsafe and unprofessional” action.

The Iranian vessel also turned its spotlight on two Navy ships that the helicopter was accompanying as they transited the strait, according to U.S. Navy Commander Bill Urban, a U.S. Fifth Fleet spokesman. Continue reading

Mattis Is Punting the Military Buildup to 2019

In accord with the president’s budget, Secretary of Defense James Mattis told committee members that the military buildup will start in fiscal year 2019. (Photo: Ken Cedeno/Zuma Press/Newscom)

 

Secretary of Defense James Mattis has news for Congress and for the nation: The military buildup will have to wait until next year.

Mattis delivered that message in a back-to-back series of appearances before Congress, one of them taking place in a rare prime-time hearing on Monday night. Continue reading

US Marines in Syria to defend Kurds against Turkey

The US has sent a group of US Marines armed with eight-wheeled Stryker armored carriers to northern Syria as a buffer between Syrian Kurds and Turkish forces, after Turkish air strikes killed 20 members of the US-backed Kurdish YPG (People’s Protection Units) militia, injured 18 and destroyed the local Kurdish command headquarters. Clashes broke out between Turkish and Kurdish forces after the air strikes.

It was the second time American armored troops had stepped in to separate Turkish and the Kurdish YPG militia that leads the Syrian Democratic Force (SDF), to which the Americans assign a major role in the offensive to capture Raqqa from ISIS. On March 17, US Marines advanced towards the northern Syrian town of Manbij when the Turkish army was on the point of fighting the Kurdish militia for control of the town. Continue reading

Japan scrambles jet fighters at record pace as Chinese military activity rises

FILE PHOTO: A Japanese Air Self Defense Force F-15 fighter scrambles at the Air Self Defense Force Naha base in Naha, Okinawa prefecture, Japan, in this photo taken by Kyodo April 13, 2015. Kyodo/via REUTERS

 

Japan worries that China’s probing of its air defences is part of a push to extend its military influence in the East China Sea and western Pacific, where Japan controls an island chain stretching 1,400 km (870 miles) south towards Taiwan.

“Recently we have seen Chinese military aircraft operating further south and that is bringing them closer to the main Okinawa island and other parts of the island chain,” Japan’s top military commander, Admiral Katsutoshi Kawano, told a briefing in Tokyo. Continue reading

Navy’s Depleted Aircraft Will Take Years to Rebuild After Obama-Era Defense Cuts

A U.S. Navy fighter jet takes off from the deck of the U.S.S. Dwight D. Eisenhower aircraft carrier / AP

 

Nearly two-thirds of Navy strike fighters unable to fly

The Navy’s aircraft arsenal is so depleted it would take several years to rebuild the fleet even if the Trump administration allotted the funding needed to repair inoperable aircraft, according to a policy expert and former Air Force pilot.

John Venable, a senior research fellow for defense policy at the Heritage Foundation, cited a report released Monday that found two-thirds of the Navy’s strike fighter jets are unable to fly due to maintenance problems exacerbated by several years of military budget cuts. Continue reading

Ralph Peters: Iranian Leadership ‘Should Be Very Afraid’ of Mattis

 

Retired. Lt. Col. Ralph Peters appeared Monday on the Fox Business Network to discuss President-elect Donald Trump’s pick of Marine Gen. James Mattis (ret.) for secretary of defense and how he would respond to Iran threatening action against the United States if it extends sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

Host Connell McShane asked Peters what he thought of the Iranians threatening the United States government with “strong action.” Continue reading

China Flight-Tests 10 DF-21 Missiles

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DF-21 salvo launch

Show of force comes amid transition to Trump

China’s military conducted a salvo of 10 missile flight tests late last month in a show of force during the transition to the Donald Trump administration.

Chinese state media reported Thursday that the simultaneous flight tests of 10 DF-21 intermediate-range ballistic missiles were carried out in China. Continue reading

World War 3 Update: US Deploys 6K Troops on Russia Border?

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US is set to deploy more than 6,000 soldiers along the NATO frontier in Eastern Europe in a bid to scare off Russia, reports say. US military officials say that the soldiers will help reassure European allies against a possible Russian invasion.

According to the Inquisitr, the US plans to establish its 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team and the 10th Combat Aviation Brigade in European countries, which include Latvia, Bulgaria, Estonia, Germany and Romania. The US military plans to ship UH-60 Blackhawk choppers, the M2 Bradley counter infantry vehicles, the M1 Abrams tanks and the M109 Paladin howitzers. Continue reading

Washington is Quietly Reinforcing Europe’s Northern Flank

Norwegian soldiers, U.S. Marines, Dutch and U.K. Royal Commandos do an integrated air insert during a training event for Exercise Cold Response 16, March 3, 2016, around the city of Namsos, Norway.

Norwegian soldiers, U.S. Marines, Dutch and U.K. Royal Commandos do an integrated air insert during a training event for Exercise Cold Response 16, March 3, 2016, around the city of Namsos, Norway. (U.S. Marine Corps / Master Sgt. Chad McMeen)

 

 

Much is being done to counter Russian ambitions in the High North, and yet much more remains to be done.

The recent stream of senior U.S. defense officials to Nordic countries underlines American concerns about potential friction in northern Europe, and Washington’s efforts to boost defense and deterrence there. Defense Secretary Ash Carter stopped in Norway in early September, while his deputy Bob Work, who has been to the region three times over the last two years, paid an early-October visit to Finland’s capital, Helsinki. Shortly thereafter, Air Force Secretary Deborah James made her own trip across the region. (Go back to last year, and Senate Armed Services Committee chair John McCain was in Norway and Sweden to discuss regional security.)

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Did the White House Declare War on Russia?

(ANTIMEDIA) This past week, America’s oldest continuously published weekly magazine, the Nation, asked the question: has the White House declared war on Russia?

As the two nuclear powers sabre-rattle over conflicts within Syria, and to some extent, over the Ukrainian crisis, asking these questions to determine who will pull the trigger first has become more paramount than it was at the peak of the Cold War.

The Nation’s contributing editor, Stephen F. Cohen, reported Vice President Joe Biden’s statement that the White House was preparing to send Vladimir Putin a “message” — most likely in the form of a cyber attack — amounted to a virtual “American declaration of war on Russia” in Russia’s eyes. Biden’s threat is reportedly in response to allegations that Russia hacked Democratic Party offices in order to disrupt the presidential election. Continue reading