Posts tagged ‘Navy’
It is a puzzlement
Sailors organize cargo poles on the flight deck during a weapons transfer aboard the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis in the Pacific Ocean, on April 18, 2013. The Stennis is returning from an 8-month deployment to the U.S. 5th and 7th Fleet areas of responsibility — the Middle East and the Pacific. Click on the photo to see an enlarged image.
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.
U.S. Navy Seaman Isia Washington, an aviation ordnanceman, directs an MH-60S Seahawk helicopter from Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 8 — known as the Eightballers — to land on the flight deck aboard the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) underway in the Pacific Ocean, April 10, 2013.
The Stennis Carrier Strike Group has been deployed to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility conducting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts.
Navy League’s Expo
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.
Something Different: Readers Choice
Over the last few weeks we’ve been bedeviled by the number of great photos taken by photographers of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and Coast Guard. That has made it very difficult at times to pick just one for the FRIDAY FOTO. Longtime 4GWAR visitors have probably noticed we sometimes cheat and run two related photos of the same event or a FRIDAY FOTO Extra (usually a pretty picture without much back story).
This week we’ve decided to try something different. We’re going to let you, the readers, pick this week’s Friday Foto. This isn’t a contest. There are no prizes. Our budget doesn’t allow a cash prize and we have no 4GWAR ballcaps or coffee mugs to award. We just want to see if our taste is in synch with our readership’s.
Below you’ll find three recent photos from the Defense Department website with their original captions. You can pick the one you like by commenting at the bottom of the page or emailing us at 4GWARblog@wordpress.com.
We’ll announce the winner next Friday and post some of the comments we get on the photos and whether you think this was a good idea.
Photo No. 1
The Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Albuquerque (SSN 706) approaches the submarine tender USS Frank Cable (AS 40) in Sattahip Bay, Thailand, on March 10, 2013. Frank Cable conducts maintenance and support of submarines and surface vessels deployed in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility.
Photo No. 2
U.S. Marines and Japan Ground Self-Defense Forces move in on an enemy position together during the final comprehensive bilateral force-on-force training evolution during Exercise Forest Light 13-3 at the Hokkaido-Dai Maneuver Area, Hokkaido, Japan, March 3, 2013. The training began with the Marines and JGSDF patrolling separately on foot and by mechanized vehicles to reach a temporary position and set up a hasty defense
Photo No. 3
A soldier keeps watch from the hatch atop a M2 Bradley fighting vehicle as it maneuvers during a training mission at the National Urban Warfare Center in the Mojave Desert on Fort Irwin, Calif., Feb. 24, 2013.
O.K., so there are our three candidates. Don’t forget to click on each photo to enlarge the image (it often makes a difference in one’s appreciation).
Please comment at the bottom of this post (click on where it says comment or click on the blue headline at the top of this post to get the comment box to appear at the bottom of the post) or send us an email at 4GWARblog@gmail.com and give us your pick for next week’s Friday Foto.
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.
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.
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.
Hitting the Beach
U.S. Marines and sailors speed ashore on combat rubber raiding crafts (Try saying that three times fast!) as part of exercise Cobra Gold 2013 in Hat Yao, None, Thailand, on Feb. 15.
Cobra Gold is an annual exercise that includes multilateral events ranging from amphibious assaults to non-combatant evacuation operations. The training aims to improve interoperability between the United States, Thailand and other participating countries, like South Korea. For more Cobra Gold photos click here.
For still more photos of jungle survival instruction conducted by Thai Marines, click here. Be forewarned, some of the things they have to eat are pretty gross. So don’t view this slideshow over breakfast. We warned you.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the world …
Sailors on a ship boarding team race across the Atlantic Ocean on a rigid hull inflatable boat during a training exercise with the support vessel USS Prevail (TSV 1). The sailors are attached to the amphibious dock landing ship USS Carter Hall (LSD 50). Carter Hall is participating in Composite Training Unit Exercise off the east coast of the U.S. in preparation for a deployment this spring.
Defense Department officials have warned that training will be among the activities that will be severely curtailed if Congress fails to reach a compromise on reducing the deficit and massive budget cuts kick in under sequestration starting March 1.
ARLINGTON, Va. – Navy researchers are working on a project to develop three classes of robotic bomb disposal ground vehicles using a common open architecture.
The Advanced Explosive Ordnance Disposal Robotic System program, known as AEODRS, is working on a family of ground robots ranging from a 35-pound ‘bot that a sailor or Marine could carry in a backpack to one weighing several hundred pounds that, when mounted on a vehicle, could respond to explosives threats at airfields and bases. A third version, or increment, would be a 160-pound unmanned ground vehicle.
Brian Brezina, technical project manager of AEODRS, explained the expected cost savings the program could produce Tuesday (Feb. 12) at an unmanned systems conference. The three-day review of government programs for ground, air and maritime systems is sponsored by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI), a robotics industry trade group.
To see the rest of my story, visit the Navy League/Seapower magazine website.
An MV-22 Osprey prepares for take off for a night low-altitude training mission at Antonio Bautista Air Base in Puerto Princesa, Palawan, Philippines.
The crew of the hybrid rotor and fixed wing aircraft, which is conducting day and night low-altitude training, is assigned to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 265, Marine Aircraft Group 36, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III Marine Expeditionary Force.
The challenges of counter insurgency and unconventional warfare in Iraq and Afghanistan have sparked several innovations in armor development for both individuals and vehicles over the past decade.
From mine resistant, ambush protected vehicles to better ballistic protection in helmets and outer tactical vests, the services’ research labs, university and corporate research divisions have been working to keep the troops safer.
One development that might come as a surprise to some was the Army’s development of female-specific body armor. For years, more and more women soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen have been going in harm’s way to do their jobs as drivers, pilots, mechanics and Female Engagement Team members.
But until 2009, little or no study was given to making generic body armor fit a woman’s body. As one female soldier said “a woman in not a small man” but the ballistics vests that female soldiers and Marines were required to wear “outside the wire” were still too big, or too long or too constricting.
Now, the Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center at Natick, Massachusetts has come up with eight different sizes of female body armor in two different lengths and the women who have tested them give the new vests high marks.
To read more of my story, click here to go to the Institute for Defense and Government Improvement (IDGA), which is holding a conference on body and vehicle armor next month outside of Washington, D.C.