Archive for April, 2015

SPECIAL OPS/INTELLIGENCE: Michael Vickers Retiring from Pentagon Intel Post

Ex-Green Beret, Ex-CIA, Now Ex-Pentagon Official.

Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence Michael Vickers (center) discusses U.S. counterterrorism strategy at the Aspen Security Forum in Aspen, Colorado. Moderator Brian Ross of ABC News (left) ,John Carlin, assistant attorney general for national security at the Justice  Department.  (Defense Dept. photo by Claudette Roulo)

Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence Michael Vickers (center) discusses U.S. counterterrorism strategy at the 2014 Aspen Security Forum in Aspen, Colorado with moderator Brian Ross of ABC News (left) and John Carlin, assistant attorney general for national security at the Justice Department.
(Defense Dept. photo by Claudette Roulo)

Michael Vickers, undersecretary of defense for intelligence for the past four years, announced Thursday (April 30) that he was stepping down.

A former U.S. Army Green Beret, CIA operations officer, and top Pentagon official since 2007, Vickers was the first person to hold the position of assistant secretary of defense for special operations/low-intensity conflict and interdependent capabilities from July 23, 2007 to March 17, 2011. President Obama asked Vickers to stay on in that post when his administration took office in 2009.

Vickers is probably best known as the principal strategist for the largest covert action program in the CIA’s history: the paramilitary operation that drove the Soviet army out of Afghanistan — popularly known from a non-fiction book and movie as “Charlie Wilson’s War.”

But success doesn’t come easy or all the time, Vickers told DoD News. He noted the United States and the West were caught by surprise by Russia’s aggressive behavior in Ukraine, slipping in Russian special ops soldiers pretending to be Ukrainians. But Vickers said “the intelligence community quickly adapted to the situation and was able to track things very well since then.”

He noted that the emergence of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS or simply the Islamic State) and their rapid advance through Iraq were also surprises.

Obama nominated Vickers to be the third Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence  on September 29, 2010, and he was unanimously confirmed by the Senate on March 17, 2011. Vickers served as Acting USDI for about two months in early 20111. As USDI, he played a critical policy and planning role in the operation that hunted down and killed Osama bin Laden.

As the SO/LIC&IC assistant secretary, he was, in effect, the civilian chief of all U.S. Special Operations Forces, and the senior civilian adviser to the Secretary of Defense on counterterrorism, irregular warfare and special activities.  He played a central role in shaping U.S. strategy in the war with al Qaeda and the war in Afghanistan, and led the largest expansion of SOF capabilities and capacity in history.

From 1973 to 1986, Vickers served as an Army Special Forces enlisted man and officer, and CIA Operations Officer. He had operational and combat experience in Central America and the Caribbean, the Middle East, and Central and South Asia. His operational experience spans covert action and espionage, unconventional warfare, counterterrorism, counterinsurgency, and foreign internal defense, according to his Pentagon bio.

April 30, 2015 at 11:07 pm Leave a comment

AROUND AFRICA: Army Rescue in Nigeria; Nigerien Army Drives Terrorists from Island; Mali Rebels Attack UN Peacekeepers

Army Rescues 293 from Boko Haram.

Nigeria (CIA World factbook)

Nigeria
(CIA World factbook)

The Nigerian Army says it has rescued nearly 300 female captives from the radical Islamist terror group, Boko Haram.

On Tuesday (April 28), the military said it freed 200 girls and 93 women from an area where Boko Haram is active. However, the Army said the girls abducted from a school in Chibok in April 2014 were not among the captives released, according to the BBC.

The military said the girls and women were freed during major operations ending in the seizure of four Boko Haram camps in the Sambisa Forest that borders Cameroon.

Whomever they are, many of the women and girls may not be able to go home because Boko Haram has destroyed their houses, families or businesses, or continues to threaten their towns, a Nigerian psychologist and counterterrorism adviser to the government tells Voice of America.

Earlier this month, the human rights group Amnesty International published a report saying that Boko Haram, which is fighting to create an Islamic state in largely Muslim Northeast Nigeria,  has abducted at least 2,000 women and girls since the start of 2014, Al Jazeera reported.  In addition to forcing them into sexual slavery, Boko Haram has used girls and women as suicide bombers, sending them into crowded market places and elsewhere.

Boko Haram has been responsible for killing thousands of people mostly in the north but also in bombing attacks in large cities, including Abjua, the capital. About 300 teenaged girls were kidnapped from a school compound during a Boko Haram attack last April, sparking international outrage and widespread dissatisfaction with President Goodluck Jonathan, who failed to win re-election last month. Dozens of the girls managed to escape their captors as they were driven away from the school but 219 are still missing.

Newly elected President Muhammadu Buhari, a retired Army general who once took over the country in a coup 30 years ago, has pledged to crush Boko Haram. Buhari takes office on May 29. In an op-ed piece in the New York Times, the new leader said he could not promise that Nigerian authorities will be able to find and rescue the missing schoolgirls, but: “I say to every parent, family member and friend of the children that my government will do everything in its power to bring them home.”

*** *** ***

Nigerien Army vs. Boko Haram

Government officials say Niger’s military has regained total control of the island of Karamga in Lake Chad after an attack by Boko Haram.

Nigerien paratroopers train with U.S. advisers during Exercise Flintlock 2007. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Michael Larson)

Nigerien paratroopers train with U.S. Army advisers during Exercise Flintlock 2007.
(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Michael Larson)

In a statement, Niger’s government said Monday (April 27) that its security and defense forces have cleared the enemies from the island, the Associated Press reported. (via FOX News)The government said 46 Nigerien soldiers and 28 civilians were killed in the attack, according to AFP (via News 24 South Africa). Government officials said 126 terrorists were also killed in the attack on the island’s army base.

The island was seized by hundreds of Boko Haram militants aboard motorized canoes at dawn on Saturday (April 25, their second attempt to capture it since February, army and government sources told Reuters.

Lake Chad’s islands, which lie in dense swampland, are an ideal base for mounting surprise attacks on the countries bordering the lake: Chad, Cameroon, Niger and Nigeria. Niger suffered a wave of attacks and suicide bombs in its southern border region of Diffa in February and March, prompting the government to declare a state of emergency there.

Niger joined a regional offensive in January that has been credited with retaking large swaths of territory from the Nigeria-based militant group Boko Haram, whose fighters had months of gains in Nigeria and pushed across borders. A February attack on Karamga killed seven Nigeran soldiers, and Niger towns bordering Nigeria have also been targeted.

*** *** ***

Mali Again

Mali and its neighbors (CIA World Factbook)

Mali and its neighbors
(CIA World Factbook)

Swedish peacekeepers in Mali say they have repelled a rebel attack on Timbuktu twice in two days. Heavily armed rebels in trucks fitted with machine guns retreated north of the city on Wednesday (April 29), a Swedish commander told the BBC.

Fighting has also intensified in other parts of the northwest Africa country in recent days. A pro-government militia said it had recaptured the eastern town of Menaka, while a coalition of Tuareg rebels claimed to have taken the town of Lere, the BBC said.

Timbuktu and the north of Mali were taken over by Tuareg rebels allied with jihadist groups in 2012. France intervened in January 2013 and the UN began deploying 10,000 peacekeepers in July of that year.

Peace negotiations have been complicated by the number of rebel groups with widely differing agendas.

They include secessionist Tuaregs, religious extremists and armed militias vying for control of lucrative trafficking routes.

 

April 29, 2015 at 11:57 pm Leave a comment

DISASTER RELIEF: U.S. Air Force, Army Special Forces, USAID and Canadian Drone Maker Aid in Nepal Earthquake Relief

Search and Rescue.

Jennifer Massey, Fairfax County Urban Search and Rescue K-9 search specialist, Fairfax, Va., and her K-9, Phayu, board a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III at Dover Air Force Base, Del., April 26, 2015. Massey and Phayu are part of a 69-person search and rescue team deploying to Nepal to assist in rescue operations after the country was struck by a 7.8-magnitude earthquake.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class William Johnson)

Jennifer Massey, a Fairfax County, Va. Urban Search and Rescue K-9 search specialist, and her dog, Phayu, board an Air Force C-17 Globemaster III at Dover Air Force Base, in Delaware as part of a 69-person team deploying to Nepal to assist in earthquake rescue operations.
(U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class William Johnson)

The U.S. Air Force has sent two large military cargo/transport planes, carrying tons of relief supplies and federal and state disaster response experts, to Nepal to assist in relief and recovery efforts following a massive earthquake that killed thousands and injured thousands more and left still more without food, water or shelter. Two Army Green Beret A-Teams, who were training in the mountainous country when the earthquake hit, are aiding in relief efforts.

The magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck the country, high in the Himalayas, Saturday (April 25) killing more than 4,000 in the capital, Kathmandu, and surrounding areas. At least 7,000 people were reported injured and untold thousands more are homeless. Click here to see map of the devastation.

On Sunday (April 26) an Air Force C-17 Globemaster III left Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, bound for Nepal’s Tribhuvan International Airport, according to a Pentagon spokesman. “The aircraft is transporting nearly 70 personnel, including a USAID Disaster Assistance Response Team, the Fairfax County (Virginia) Urban Search and Rescue team and several journalists, along with 45 square tons of cargo,” said the spokesman, Army Colonel Steve Warren.

A second C-17 carrying the Los Angeles County (California) Urban Search and Rescue team left a day later from Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina, flew to March Air Reserve Base, California, to pick up the team and is expected to land in Nepal on Wednesday (April 29), Air Force Times reported.

Twenty-six members of two Army Special Forces teams, who were training in Nepal at the time of the earthquake, are helping Nepal’s military find and help survivors of the devastating earthquake, according to Military Times. One team was in country for high altitude training, so it is helping find survivors in popular trekking trails, including Mount Everest’s base camp.

The United States is also providing an initial $10 million in emergency assistance for relief organizations in Nepal “to further address urgent humanitarian needs,” according to the White House.

The Fairfax, Virginia team — which includes firefighters, paramedics, physicians, canine handlers, communications experts and engineering and construction specialists — have established their Base of Operations in a Baseball Field in Nepal. The Los Angeles County Search and Rescue team will be based with them once they arrive in-country, according to the Fairfax team’s webpage.

Meanwhile, Canadian unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) manufacturer, Aeryon Labs — along with partners GlobalMedic and Monadrone — is deploying three of its small drones to Nepal to aid disaster relief efforts, according to AUVSI News. The drones being sent to Nepal are outfitted with thermal cameras to help locate survivors, and the Aeryon HDZoom30 camera, which has an extended zoom, to look at targets from over 1,000 feet away.

Small unmanned aircraft provide “the unmatched capability to get onsite and into the air immediately to start determining how and where to provide support to the people.” said Rahul Singh, executive director of GlobalMedic.

Click here to see aerial footage from NBC — shot by a drone — of the devastation in Kathmandu, and the Fairfax Urban Search and Rescue team’s travels to Nepal.

U.S. Air Force personnel load pallets of equipment and supplies for victims of the Nepal earthquake into a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III aircraft at March Air Force Base, California, April 26. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Taylor Queen)

U.S. Air Force personnel load pallets of equipment and supplies for victims of the Nepal earthquake into a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III aircraft at March Air Force Base, California, April 26.
(U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Taylor Queen)

 

 

 

 

 

April 28, 2015 at 11:56 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (April 24, 2015)

Double the Fun.

U.S. Navy photo by Lt. Commander Darin Russel/

U.S. Navy photo by Lt. Commander Darin Russel

Two Navy F-35C Lightning II aircraft fly in formation over the Sierra Nevada mountain range with to two F/A-18E/F Super Hornets from Naval Air Station Lemoore, California.

The flight is part of a six-day visit by the Grim Reapers of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 101 he bottom two aircraft  to NAS Lemoore, the future basing site for the F-35C. The F-35C, the military’s newest fighter aircraft, will complement the capabilities of the Super Hornet, which is the Navy’s premier strike fighter.

April 24, 2015 at 1:37 am Leave a comment

HIGH NORTH: Latvian MoD Says NATO Base Needed in Baltic Region

Baltic to Potomac.

Deputy Secretary of Defense Bob Work (right) and Latvia's Minister of Defense Raimond Vejonis pass through an honor cordon in order to discuss matters of mutual importance at the Pentagon Apr. 23, 2015.  (Photo by Master Sgt. Adrian Cadiz)

Latvia’s Minister of Defense Raimond Vejonis (left) arrives at the Pentagon to discuss matters of  mutual importance with Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work April 23, 2015.
(Photo by Master Sgt. Adrian Cadiz)

It seems like nearly every day Russia is doing something new to provoke, irritate or worry its Western neighbors, from flying combat aircraft dangerously close to Swedish and Finnish airspace to a senior Moscow official’s recent unannounced and uninvited visit to one of Norway’s Arctic islands.

In response to the potential threat, several Scandinavian nations are planning to increase their defense spending and reaching out to their neighbors across the Baltic Sea for mutual security exchanges. All three of the so-called Baltic states — Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia — as well as Poland are NATO members.

Latvian Minister of Defense Raimond Vejonis was in Washington this week, speaking at a think tank and meeting with Pentagon officials. According to a Pentagon spokesman, Vejonis met for about 30 minutes with Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work (Defense Secretary Ash Carter was out of town) to discuss “the importance of clear NATO unity against Russian aggression, continued presence of U.S. forces in the region, and ways to work together to better support NATO deterrence measures.”

Work also praised the Latvian government for committing to raise its defense spending to 2 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product (an agreed upon, but sparsely reached, NATO target for member nations) and to increase the size of Latvia’s armed forces from 15,000 to 17,000 by 2018.

Paratroopers with the 173rd Airborne Brigade iduring a training exercise with Latvian troops to show commitment to NATO obligations and interoperability with allied forces as part of Operation Atlantic Resolve.  (U.S. Army Photo by Sergeant Michael T. Crawford)

Paratroopers with the 173rd Airborne Brigade during a training exercise with Latvian troops to show commitment to NATO obligations as part of Operation Atlantic Resolve.
(U.S. Army Photo by Sergeant Michael T. Crawford)

Speaking at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a Washington policy institute (April 21), Vejonis said having U.S. and other NATO troops in Latvia for exercises like Operation Atlantic Resolve was helpful but to effectively deter further Russian aggression “we really need a visible NATO presence in the region … on a rotational basis.”

Such a strategy, he said, will keep Moscow from making a dangerous miscalculation because they think NATO is weak after President Vladimir Putin successfully annexed  Crimea from Ukraine without a NATO military response. (Ukraine is not a NATO member nation). He noted Russia’s economy “totally depends on its raw materials, especially energy.” And with oil prices slumping, “there is a requirement to deliver military victories to the Russian public to cover [the] economic gap.”

Vejonis added that Russia rebuilt a former helicopter base less just 15 miles from Latvia’s eastern border to house Moscow’s newest combat helicopters. Finland, which also borders Russia, has reported Russia is building new bases and conducting large training activities near the Finnish border.

Countries bordering the Baltic Sea. (Map via wikipedia)

Countries bordering the Baltic Sea.
(Map via wikipedia)

April 23, 2015 at 11:59 pm Leave a comment

UNMANNED AIRCRAFT: First-Ever Unmanned Aerial Refueling

Navy Drone Makes History.

X-47B successfully completes the first autonomous aerial refueling demonstration over the Chesapeake bay on April 21.  (Photo courtesy of U.S. Navy)

X-47B successfully completes the first autonomous aerial refueling demonstration over the Chesapeake bay on April 21.
(Photo courtesy of U.S. Navy)

Aviation history was made over Chesapeake Bay yesterday (April 21) as the Navy and Northrop Grumman completed the first-ever refueling  in flight by an autonomous unmanned aircraft.

Northrop Grumman and the Navy announced the first successful demonstration of aerial refueling by the tailless, bat-shaped X-47B.

We reported last week at the Navy League’s Sea-Air-Space Expo that the aircraft, officially known as the  Unmanned Combat Air System Demonstration (UCAS-D) aircraft was expected to test this procedure soon.

It wasn’t the first time the X-47B made history. In 2013 became the first unmanned aircraft to autonomously launch from and recover aboard an aircraft carrier. The X-47B — there are actually two of them — is nearing the end of its program. The Navy is not asking for any additional funding in fiscal 2016.

The next step will be the Navy’s Unmanned Carrier Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike (UCLASS) program, to introduce an unmanned carrier-based strike fighter into the fleet.

In addition to Northrop Grumman, several other major defense contractors are competing for the contract including Boeing, Lockheed Martin and General Atomics.

Here’s another photo of the operation.

X-47B prepares to engage with an Omega K-707 tanker drogue and complete the first autonomous aerial refueling demonstration over  Chesapeake Bay on April 21. (Photo courtesy of U.S. Navy)

X-47B prepares to engage with an Omega K-707 tanker drogue and complete the first autonomous aerial refueling demonstration over Chesapeake Bay on April 21. (Photo courtesy of U.S. Navy)

 

 

April 22, 2015 at 5:54 pm Leave a comment

LAT AM REVIEW: Colombian Attack; Mexican Drug Lord Seized, U.S. Coast Guard Focus on Western Hemisphere, Rio Defense Expo

U.S. Condemns Rebel Attack.

Colombia map by CIA World Factbook

Colombia map by CIA World Faxback

Eleven Colombian soldiers were killed in fighting with Marxist guerrillas last week  (April 14), prompting Colombia’s president to resume air attacks against rebel camps.

The attack and the government’s response have many observers worried they could jeopardize peace talks seeking to end a 50-year insurgency that has cost thousands of lives in Colombia.

A spokesman for the rebel group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) — which has been trying to overthrow the government since the 1960s — claimed the soldiers initiated the fighting near Cauca in western Colombia. But President Juan Manuel Santos called it a deliberate attack by the FARC and ordered the resumption of bombing raids on rebel targets. Seventeen other soldiers were wounded in the skirmish and one guerrilla was also killed.

Despite the violence, the Voice of America reported the two-year-old peace talks resumed on Thursday (April 16) in Havana, Cuba where Colombian government officials and FARC commanders are trying to negotiate an end to a war that has killed 220,000 and displaced millions since 1964.

The U.S. State Department issued a statement April 17 condemning “the brutal attack in Cauca orchestrated by the FARC.” The brief statement called the attack a “direct violation of the unilateral ceasefire FARC committed to” last December.  “We support President Santos’ decision to continue negotiations but also lift his halt of aerial bombardment of FARC,” the statement added.

The State Department said it reaffirms “our continuing support to the government of Colombia in its efforts to end the nation’s 50 year conflict.”

In February, the FARC said it would stop recruiting fighters younger than 17. Then in March, the two sides announced an initiative to work together to remove land mines, the New York Times reported. Soon afterward, Santos ordered a one-month halt to the aerial bombing of FARC encampments. Just a week prior to the latest attack, the president extended the bombing respite for another month.

Since the peace talks began, there have been other clashes with the FARC that resulted in a large number of casualties. In July 2013, the military reported that 15 soldiers died when the rebels attacked an oil pipeline, the Times added.

*** *** ***

Mexican Drug Lord Captured.

Jesus Salas Aguayo  (DEA Photo)

Jesus Salas Aguayo
(DEA Photo)

The head of another transnational drug cartel has been captured.

On Sunday (April 19) Mexican authorities said they have captured the man who has led the Juarez drug cartel since last year’s arrest of then-leader Vicente Carrillo Fuentes, the Associated Press reported.

National Security Commissioner Monte Alejandro Rubido said Jesus Salas Aguayo was caught Friday (April 17) about 130 kilometers south of the border metropolis of Ciudad Juarez. One of Salas’ bodyguards was killed and another was arrested.

Rubido said Salas Aguayo is linked to a 2010 car bombing in Ciudad Juarez, as well as a 2012 bar attack that killed 15, and the 2009 slaying of a protected witness in El Paso. The website of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration says Salas Aguayo is wanted in the United States for possession and distribution of narcotics and for conspiracy.

*** *** ***

Coast Guard Focus.

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

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

The U.S. Coast Guard says it’s not enough to seize thousands of pounds of cocaine at sea or even arrest the people transporting illegal drugs by boat.

Instead, it’s crucial to defeat the transnational organized crime (TOC) networks behind the illicit commerce in narcotics and people, according to the Coast Guard’s Western Hemisphere Strategy.

“Last year alone. the Coast Guard took 91 metric tons of cocaine out of the [trafficking] stream,” Lieutenant Commander. Devon Brennan told a briefing on the first day of the Navy League’s Sea-Air-Space Exposition. He noted that seizure figure is three times the amount of drugs seized by all U.S. law enforcement agencies “including along the southwestern border.”

But going after transnational cartels is only part of the Coast Guard’s regional strategy. “In the next decade, the Coast Guard must confront significant challenges to maritime safety, efficiency and security in the Western Hemisphere,” the Strategy states, identifying three priorities over the next 10 years: combatting [criminal] networks, Securing Borders and Safeguarding Commerce.

*** *** ***

Brazil Defense Expo.

One of the biggest defense conferences in the Americas, Latin America Aero & Defense (LAAD 2015),  just ended in Rio de Janeiro.

Armored ground vehicles, helicopters and small arms were among the items on display at the LAAD 2015 international defense and security exhibition.

“Despite budgetary uncertainties, the Brazilian Army remains steadfast in the pursuit of its key strategic projects,”  according to IHS Jane’s website.

The army’s seven key strategic projects include the SISFRON border-monitoring system; a cyber defense project; the Guarani Strategic Project for (PEE Guarani) for a family of wheeled amphibious armored personnel carriers (APCs);  and the Attainment of Full Operational Capability (OCOP) project, which aims to equip the army at a minimum level of readiness to guarantee the homeland defense mission.

Brazil’s defense strategy includes air and naval asset acquisitions to assert Brazilian control over its deepwater offshore oil reserves and to secure the waters of the Amazon Basin, which Brasilia considers a natural resources commodity as valuable as oil.

Brazil: CIA World Factbook

Brazil: CIA World Faxback

April 19, 2015 at 11:20 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (April 17, 2015)

No Day at the Beach.

(New York Air National Guard Photo by Staff Sergeant Christopher S Muncy

New York Air National Guard Photo by Staff Sergeant Christopher S. Muncy

This is not what your 4GWAR editor imagines when we think of a weekend in the Hamptons. In this photo, members of the New York Air National Guard’s 103rd Rescue Squadron, 106th Rescue Wing conduct a multi-day training course at the Francis S. Gabreski Air National Guard Base firing range, in West Hampton Beach, on New York’s Long Island. The live-fire exercise included training in tactical movement, responding to incoming fire, retrieving and caring for wounded individuals and night-time shooting.

The guardsmen of the 103rd Rescue Squadron are Special Operations para-rescue jumpers (PJs) — meaning they jump out of airplanes and helicopters on combat search and rescue missions to find, treat — if injured — and extract downed airmen and others in trouble on the ground. Six of  the 103rd’s PJs received the Bronze Star medal with “V” for valor device in 2013 for the rescue under fire of American and Afghan soldiers caught in an ambush on December 12, 2012, according to the Air Force Times.

Editor’s Note: For those unfamiliar with Army Air Force history, Colonel “Gabby” Gabreski was the top American fighter ace of the European Theater in World War II, knocking down 28 German planes. In the Air Force over Korea in the 1950s, he became a jet ace, shooting down six Russian-made MiG-16 fighter jets.

April 17, 2015 at 12:32 am Leave a comment

LATIN AMERICA: Colombian Insurgency Heats Up — Again

Eleven Soldiers Killed.

Colombia map by CIA World Factbook

Colombia map by CIA World Factbook

Eleven Colombian soldiers were killed in fighting with Marxist guerrillas Tuesday (April 14), prompting Colombia’s president to resume a bombing campaign on rebel camps — jeopardizing peace talks seeking to end a 60-year insurgency that has cost thousands of lives.

The government blamed the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, for an attack with guns and grenades on an army platoon late Tuesday night. The rebels said government troops initiated the skirmish, which occurred in the Andean state of Cauca and injured at least 17 other soldiers, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Meanwhile,  FARC rebels blamed the Bogota government on Thursday (April 16) for the renewed violence but they declined to say whether they had broken their own ceasefire. President Juan Manuel Santos called it a deliberate attack and ordered the resumption of bombing raids on FARC targets, the Voice of America reported. Santos halted the aerial bombings after the FARC’s called a unilateral truce on December 20.

Despite the violence, VoA said the two-year-old peace talks resumed on Thursday (April 16) in Havana, where Colombian government officials and FARC commanders are trying to negotiate an end to a war that has killed 220,000 and displaced millions since 1964.

More on this later in LA AM REVIEW.

April 16, 2015 at 11:57 pm Leave a comment

MARITIME DOMAIN: Navy Unmanned Aircraft; Railgun Testing; Securing the Hemisphere

News Ahoy!

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)

The Navy League’s Sea-Air-Space Exposition at the Gaylord Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland draws to a close Wednesday (April 15).

Your 4GWAR editor has been helping out the Seapower magazine team with their daily show news publication.

Here’s a sample of what we’ve been seeing.

The Navy’s unmanned demonstrator aircraft for showing how drones could be integrated into the busy flight deck of an American aircraft carrier is facing its last challenge.

Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) says that unmanned aircraft system (UAS), known as the X-47B, (see photo above) will soon start testing its ability to refuel in the air.

To see the full story, click here.

*** *** ***

Here are some other stories on the Seapower website:

Electromagnetic Railgun’s First at-Sea Test Set for Summer 2016

The first at-sea test firing of the Navy’s electromagnetic railgun is slated for late summer 2016, a Naval Sea Systems Command official said April 14.

The rail gun, which uses high-powered electromagnetic pulses instead of chemical propellants to fire projectiles that can move at seven times the speed of sound, will be mounted on a joint high-speed vessel to fire over the horizon at a target anchored in the water, said Capt. Mike Ziv, program manager for Directed Energy and Electric Weapons Systems.

To read the rest of the story, click here.

*** *** ***

Larger Fire Scout a ‘Great Fit’ for the Navy

The larger version of the MQ-8 Fire Scout unmanned helicopter has completed 297 test sorties and is slated to begin initial operational testing and evaluation in 2016, the Navy program manager said April 13.

The Northrop Grumman MQ-8C Fire Scout, is larger, faster, longer and farther-flying than the MQ-8B, with increased endurance and will reduce the burden of manned aircraft, Capt. Jeff Dodge told a briefing at the Navy League’s Sea-Air-Space Exposition.

To read the rest of the story, click here.

*** *** ***

Coast Guard Sees Combatting Crime Networks as Key to Hemispheric Security

The U.S. Coast Guard says it’s not enough to seize thousands of pounds of cocaine at sea or even arrest the people transporting illegal drugs by boat. Instead, it’s crucial to defeat the transnational organized crime (TOC) networks behind the illicit commerce in narcotics and people, according to the Coast Guard’s Western Hemisphere Strategy.

“Last year alone. the Coast Guard took 91 metric tons of cocaine out of the [trafficking] stream,” Lt. Cmdr. Devon Brennan told a briefing on the first day of the Navy League’s Sea-Air-Space Exposition. He noted that is three times the amount of drugs seized by all U.S. law enforcement agencies “including along the southwestern border.”

To read more of this story, click here.

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

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

April 14, 2015 at 11:47 pm Leave a comment

Older Posts


Posts

April 2015
M T W T F S S
 12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
27282930  

Categories


%d bloggers like this: