Posts tagged ‘Coast Guard’

FRIDAY FOTO (February 14, 2014)

Balancing Act

(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Matthew Troyer)

(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Matthew Troyer)

A U.S. Marine and two South Korean marines attempt to flip a boat as they conduct amphibious operations drills during Exercise Cobra Gold 2014, Asia’s biggest military exercise, at Hat Yao in Rayong,Thailand.

The exercise is designed to advance regional security and effective response to regional crises through a multinational force created out of the nations that share common goals and common security commitments in the Asia-Pacific region.

The exercise also reaffirms the commitment by the United States and Thailand to their 181-year-old alliance and regional partnership in the Asia-Pacific region.

This year’s participants come from the U.S. and Thailand, but also Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore and South Korea.

For the first time, China will participate with a tiny contingent in the exercise, the Straits Times website reported. Beijing has had disputes with several nations — including the Philippines, Japan and Vietnam — over territorial boundaries in the South China Sea.

The Cobra Gold drills started in 1982 and have developed in to the largest multinational military exercise. China has been an observer since 2002 but has never been invited to take part before, according to CCTV.com.

The U.S. Marines participating in the exercise come from the 3rd Marine Division’s 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion.

February 14, 2014 at 12:46 am 1 comment

FRIDAY FOTO (November 15, 2013)

Rapid Response
 (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Ricardo R. Guzman)

(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Ricardo R. Guzman)

A U.S. Navy MH-60S Seahawk helicopter, prepares to drop supplies at what’s left of Tacloban Airfield in Tacloban, Leyte province, Philippines, (November 14) in support of Operation Damayan,” the name of U.S. military relief and rescue activities in the Philippines. The helicopter in the photo above is assigned to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 25.
Tacloban and the surrounding area were extremely hard hit by Typhoon Haiyan, with more than 2,000 reported dead and millions of Philippinos forced to flee their home as waters rose during Friday’s storm. Since the storm moved on, scarce supplies like food and water, have been coming into the Philippines at a pretty steady rate, but relief work around Tacloban has been hampered by the utter destruction of roads and other infrastructure. Thousands have been rendered homeless thanks to Haiyan.

November 15, 2013 at 1:31 am 1 comment

UNMANNED AIRCRAFT: FAA Releases Initial Plan for Drone Flights in U.S. Skies

FAA Roadmap

The U.S. military has flown thousands of drones like this hand-launched U.S. Army RQ-11, but commercial use is restricted in U.S. airspace  (Army photo  by Spc. Michael J. MacLeod, U.S. Army)

The U.S. military has flown thousands of drones like this hand-launched U.S. Army RQ-11, but commercial use is restricted in U.S. airspace
(Army photo by Spc. Michael J. MacLeod, U.S. Army)

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) released its initial plans Thursday (November 7) for gradually integrating unmanned aircraft into the national airspace of the United States.

The FAA, an agency of the Transportation Department, has been studying unmanned aircraft — also known as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) or simply drones — for years, trying to figure how to let aircraft without a pilot on board make their way into a domain already crowded with commercial airliners, private planes and jets, military aircraft, skyscrapers, bridges, radio towers, power lines and stormy weather.

As an early step in that process — expected to take 15 years — the FAA issued its first annual Roadmap outlining the steps needed to integrate unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) into the nation’s airspace. The roadmap addresses current and future policies, regulations, technologies and procedures “that will be required as demand moves the country from today’s limited accommodation of UAS operations to the extensive integration of UAS” into national airspace in the future, according to an FAA statement that accompanied release of the 71-page roadmap that tackles such issues as operator training, air traffic control challenges and national security issues. The FAA also released the 26-page UAS Comprehensive Plan to safely accelerate working civil UAS into the nation’s airspace system.

While the military has made extensive use of drones for reconnaissance, surveillance and attack over the last dozen years, UAS are strictly limited in their operations in U.S. airspace. Research institutions, government agencies and law enforcement must first obtain a waiver, known as a certificate of authorization — which allows, but sharply restricts the areas where non-military UAS flights can take place. The agriculture, energy and scientific communities already have developed numerous uses for UAS, but are limited in their use by the FAA — as are local police and fire/emergency departments.

Drones large and small on display at the August AUVSI Expo in Washington. (4GWAR photo by John M. Doyle)

Drones large and small on display at the August AUVSI Expo in Washington. (4GWAR photo by John M. Doyle)

Other groups, however, have voiced privacy and civil liberties concerns about widespread use of drones — large and small — in U.S. skies, especially by law enforcement agencies.

The Associated of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI), the main industry group, estimates that  UAS technology will create more than 100,000 jobs and generate more than $82 billion in economic impact in the first 10 years after drones are integrated into the national airspace.

Full disclosure: 4GWAR editor John M. Doyle writes freelance articles for AUVSI’s Unmanned Systems magazine.

 

November 8, 2013 at 12:00 am 1 comment

TECHNOLOGY: Intel That Leaders Can Act On

Avoiding Nasty Surprises

The uproar over the National Security Agency’s wide-ranging cell phone and Internet surveillance revived a national debate about the necessity of intelligence gathering and what the federal government does with what it learns.

Cyber operations at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas (U.S. Air Force photo by William Belcher)

Cyber operations at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas (U.S. Air Force photo by
William Belcher)

But the accumulation of “Big Data” – millions and millions of phone calls, text messages and emails — whether by government agencies or private corporations, underscores the urgency of acquiring intelligence that can be acted upon in real time. This is especially true in an era when the United States is confronted by near peer competitors like China and Russia, hostile nation states such as North Korea and Iran and non-state, violent extremist networks like al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.

Actionable intelligence is simply that: information gleaned from a range of sources that enables decision makers – from political leaders to field commanders – to take appropriate and timely action when faced with a security threat like an imminent terrorist attack or the shipment of weapons of mass destruction.

 The bottom line: preventing nasty surprises.

To read more of this story, go to the Institute for Defense and Government Advancement (IDGA) website or click here.

June 12, 2013 at 3:18 pm Leave a comment

INTERNATIONAL CRIME: Sequester Squeezes SOUTHCOM Counter Drug Effort

Organized Crime Spreads

ALEXANDRIA, Virginia — The head of U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) accepts the fact that he’ll be dealing with continued budget cuts into the forseeable future, but U.S. Marine Corps Gen. John Kelly says if he only had “13 or 14″ Coast Guard or Navy vessels to station off the Pacific and Caribbean coasts of Central America, he could dramatically reduce the cocaine traffic coming into the United States.

Kelly, who took over as head of SOUTHCOM last Fall, says the key to hurting the multi-billion dollar drug trade in the Western Hemisphere is interdiction at sea — before the drugs make it ashore. At a conference on countering transnational organized crime, Kelly discussed the network running up from South America through Mexico that brings cocaine, heroin, illegal immigrants and enslaved sex workers into the United States.

He also talked about a surprising Central American ally in the war on drugs. To read more of this story go to Seapower magazine’s website.

SOUTHCOM'S area of responsibility

Click on the image to enlarge the map

April 25, 2013 at 10:21 pm Leave a comment

NAVAL WARFARE: What’s to See at Sea-Air-Space Expo

Navy League’s Expo

XB47B unmanned aircraft on board the aircraft carrier USS Harry Truman. (U.S. Navy photo courtesy of Northrop Grumman by Alan Radecki)

X-47B unmanned aircraft on board the aircraft carrier USS Harry Truman. (U.S. Navy photo courtesy of Northrop Grumman by Alan Radecki)

Your intrepid 4GWAR editor is at the Navy League’s 2013 Sea-Air-Space Expo at the Gaylord National Convention Center, National Harbor, Maryland (it’s across the Potomac from Alexandria, Virginia).

The annual gathering brings together Navy and Coast Guard officials from all over — including many foreign countries — as well as defense contractors — large and small — and scribes like your editor to find out what’s the Navy’s up to and where it thinks it’s going in the future.

We’re helping the folks at Seapower, the Navy League’s magazine, cover the scores of briefings by Navy and Coast Guard commanders, government officials, big defense contractors and organizations dedicated to the sea services.

On Monday we wrote about the Navy’s plans for unmanned aircraft on nuclear-powered aircraft carriers,  the successes of the V-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft and what Naval Air Systems Command is doing to integrate new systems into the fleet while making them interoperable with existing systems and platforms.

You can see all three stories among lots of others written by the staff of Seapower by clicking here.

April 9, 2013 at 12:10 am Leave a comment

INTERNATIONAL CRIME: Drug Cartels Know No Borders

Transnational Crime

In the days since the March 5 death of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, security analysts have speculated on whether regime change in Caracas will have any effect on transnational narcotics cartels operating in Latin America.

Cocaine seized in Central American waters. (U.S. Navy photo)

Cocaine seized in Central American waters.
(U.S. Navy photo)

Since 1999, when Chavez began his 14-year rule, Venezuela has been considered a major hub for the shipment of illegal narcotics from neighboring Colombia to the United States and Europe. The U.S. Treasury Department has added several high-level Venezuelan military and intelligence officials to its Foreign Narcotics Kingpin list, for alleged “material assistance” to the Colombian rebel group known as FARC (the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) which Washington has labeled a “narco-terrorist organization.”

In the last decade, the battle against transnational criminal organizations has stretched from Central and South America across the Atlantic to West Africa and beyond. Officials say drug trafficking is destablizing, promotes corruption and other illegal activity including human trafficking and piracy. Increasingly, U.S. and other militaries are helping local and national law enforcement agencies with intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance to battle criminal cartels.

By law, the U.S. Defense Department is the lead agency for the detection and monitoring of aerial and maritime transit of illegal drugs, although federal law also limits the military’s assistance in U.S. territory to civil support. However, the Coast Guard, a unit of the Department of Homeland Security, has dual military and law enforcement authority.

But as authorities increase pressure on them in the Western Hemisphere, narco-cartels have been turning to Africa, especially the politically unstable countries of West Africa, to use as transit points for Europe-bound illicit drug shipments.

Nigerian special operations sailors and U.S. sailors conduct boarding, search and seizure training with the Joint Maritime Special Operations Training Command in Lagos, Nigeria in 2011. (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Darryl Wood)

Nigerian special operations sailors and U.S. sailors conduct boarding, search and seizure training with the Joint Maritime Special Operations Training Command in Lagos, Nigeria in 2011.
(U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Darryl Wood)

A United Nations report released Feb. 25 listed the growing influence of narco-cartels both foreign and home-grown in West Africa. Cocaine trafficking remains the most lucrative criminal activity of international groups operating in the region, but one “worrying development” is the emergence of methamphetamine production and related trafficking, according to the report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

The report also discussed human trafficking between West Africa and Europe and arms trafficking across Africa.

Top government officials from the United States and other countries are slated to discuss the toll of trafficking in drugs, guns and humans at the Countering Transnational Organized Crime conference in Alexandria, Va. next month. To read the whole story, visit the Institute for Defense and Government Advancement site (http://www.idga.org) or click here.

March 8, 2013 at 6:04 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (November 2, 2012) UPDATE

Hurricane Sandy: Before, During and After

See additional photo and video links below.

The damage and loss of life caused by Hurricane Sandy is still being tallied but we thought we’d bring you just a few of the images captured by Defense Department photographers.

Before the Storm Hit

U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Matt Hecht

Empty cots await guests at the National Guard Armory in Jersey City, N.J. on Oct 31.  The Jersey City Armory prepared to take on 1,000+ local displaced citizens  evacuated from areas damaged by Hurricane Sandy, providing them with medical facilities and hot meals.

U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Gabriel Bevan

Sailors assigned to Naval Submarine School place sandbags around the power plant at Naval Submarine Base New London, Connecticut in preparation for the storm surge expected from Hurricane Sandy. With Sandy’s arrival during a time of a full moon and high tide, storm surge was forecast to possibly top some of the base’s lower waterfront areas.

During the Storm

Photo by Sgt. 1st Class A.J. Coyne, Virginia National Guard

Virginia National Guard soldiers from G Company, 429th Brigade Support Battalion, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team conduct reconnaissance patrols during Hurricane Sandy operations Oct. 29, 2012, in Norfolk, Va. The Virginia National Guard and Virginia Defense Force staged throughout Virginia with personnel and equipment capable of performing high water transport, debris reduction and reconnaissance patrols.

U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Jason Robertson

Airmen in a WC-130J Hercules cargo aircraft fly into Hurricane Sandy, Oct. 29, 2012, to collect weather reconnaissance data somewhere over the East Coast. The Hercules is assigned to the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron.

U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City, N.C., Video Still

The Coast Guard rescued 14 people from life rafts in the Atlantic Ocean about 90 miles southeast of Hatteras, N.C., on Oct. 29,. One person died and another was missing. The first MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew hoisted five people into the aircraft, and a second helo rescued nine people. Crews took all to Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City, N.C., with no life-threatening conditions.

The Aftermath

U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Mark C. Olsen

Aerial views during an Army search and rescue mission show damage from Hurricane Sandy to the New Jersey coast, Oct. 30, 2012. The soldiers are assigned to the 1-150 Assault Helicopter Battalion, New Jersey Army National Guard.

Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Mark C. Olse

Soldiers prepare UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters for further search and rescue missions on Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., Oct. 30, 2012, following the passing of Hurricane Sandy. The soldiers are assigned to the 1-150th Assault Helicopter Battalion, New Jersey Army National Guard.

U.S. Army photo by Master Sgt. Corine Lombardo

Air Force crews offload Southern California Edison power repair equipment from a C-5 Galaxy cargo plane on Stewart Air National Guard Base in Newburgh, N.Y., Nov. 1, 2012. The Defense Department initiated the airlift operation to aid recovery efforts in Hurricane Sandy’s aftermath.

NEW Hurricane Sandy photos, videos and stories

To see more photos of National Guard assistance efforts in New York City, New Jersey and West Virginia click here.

To see a photo slideshow of Marine Corps helicopters doing hurricane damage surveys above New York and New Jersey click here.

For some surprising photos (downed tree clearance, generator assembly) of New York National Guard relief efforts in the

suburban counties outside New York City, click here.

To see the Maryland National Guard’s response to heavy snow in the Western part of the state due in part to Sandy, click here.

The Defense Department has an all Sandy Webpage featuring stories, photos and video here.

November 2, 2012 at 1:21 am Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTOS (September 7, 2012)

The Trouble with Isaac

(Defense Dept. photo by Sgt. Rashawn D. Price, U.S. Army)

Part of national security includes protecting Americans in times of natural disasters, like hurricanes, floods and earthquakes. Hurricane Isaac, which swept the gulf coast of Louisiana and Mississippi last month was one of those disasters.

Here we see U.S. Army Sgt. Lee Savoy lifting a child into a boat from floodwaters caused by Hurricane Isaac in La Place, La., on Aug. 30, 2012. Savoy is attached to the 256th Brigade Special Troops Battalion, Louisiana Army National Guard.

In the photo below, a U.S. Coast Guard Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) returns from a medical evacuation of a truck driver  along the flooded frontage road by the Highway 55 underpass in LaPlace, Louisiana Aug. 31, 2012.

(U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Bill Colclough)

For more photos of the rescue and relief work in Louisiana, click here.

For photos from Mississippi, click here.

September 7, 2012 at 12:21 am Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (July 13, 2012)

Cockpit Challenge

U.S. Coast Guard Lt. Randall Black, an HC-130H Hercules cargo plane pilot, flies over the Bering Sea en route to Operation Arctic Shield. (Photo by U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Michael R. Holzworth)

This week’s FRIFO performs double duty. It gives an inside view of all the gauges, displays and switches that pilots of the HC-130H have to monitor to get where they’re going (always a popular topic with 4GWAR visitors). It also highlights this year’s Operation Arctic Shield exercise in the Far North of Alaska.

Arctic Shield, which runs until October is an exercise to determine what capabilities the Coast Guard needs to ensure it can respond to search and rescue or disaster relief missions — like an oil spill — in the harsh Arctic environment. With polar sea ice melting and the world’s thirst for fossil fuel sources of energy growing, more activity is expected in Arctic waters in the near future, including: oil and gas drilling, commercial fishing, tourism and trans-oceanic cargo transport.

But the nearest Coast Guard station to the Arctic is in Kodiak, Alaska – thousands of miles away. The Coast Guard’s only ice breaking vessel is even farther away, so during the summer  and early fall, Arctic Shield will deploy a temporary Coast Guard air station at Barrow, Alaska on the Arctic Sea.

Fixed wing aircraft as well as two HH-60 Jayhawk helicopters will be deployed in and around Barrow and Coast Guard cutters will be on patrol at sea.

The photo below shows the big four-engine Hercules at Kodiak.

Photo by U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Michael R. Holzworth

To see a Defense Department slideshow of preparations for Arctic Shield, click here.

For other photos, click here.

July 13, 2012 at 11:52 am Leave a comment

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