Posts filed under ‘amphibious warfare’

FRIDAY FOTO (January 28, 2022)

Jungle Training.

(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Corporal Jonathan Willcox) Please click on the photo to enlarge image.

Marines participate in a squad competition at Camp Gonsalves, Okinawa, Japan on January 6, 2022.

The week-long competition tests jungle survival skills, basic infantry tactics and weapons handling.

January 27, 2022 at 11:53 pm Leave a comment

BALTIC-2-BLACK: Tensions Grow on Ukraine-Russia Border; Moscow Eyes Svalbard Presence in Hybrid-Strategy

UKRAINE:

Biden Reassures Ukrainian President.

President Joe Biden has reassured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of U.S. support for Ukraine’s sovereignty, as the country steels itself for a potential Russian invasion on its eastern frontier.

According to a White House readout of the December 9 call, “President Biden voiced the deep concerns of the United States and our European Allies about Russia’s aggressive actions towards Ukraine and made clear that the U.S. and our Allies would respond with strong economic and other measures in the event of a further military intervention.”

Biden also told Zelenskyy that the United States and its allies were “committed to the principle of ‘no decisions or discussions about Ukraine without Ukraine,’” reiterating his calls for Russia to de-escalate tensions and choose diplomacy, POLITICO reported.

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(Black Sea region map Norman Einstein via wikipedia)

Seeking Help from Parners, Allies.

Biden also held a separate call December 9 with the Bucharest Nine,” a group of NATO members on Europe’s eastern edge close to Russia — including the Baltics and Poland — that are particularly sensitive to aggressive moves by Moscow, the Washington Post reported.

Thursday’s conversations took place roughly 48 hours after Biden spoke on a two-hour video call with Russian President Vladimir Putin, when he warned the Kremlin leader that severe economic consequences would follow if he once again decides to invade neighboring Ukraine.
During their call, Biden and Putin agreed that their teams would arrange talks on what the Kremlin calls sensitive European security issues, including Putin’s complaints about NATO activities in and around Ukraine, which is not a NATO member. The Kremlin has denied any plans to invade, accusing Washington of fueling a war scare.
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U.S. Not Sending Troops
President Joe Biden said Wednesday that U.S. support for Ukraine against a worrisome buildup of Russian forces will not include additional U.S. troops, at least for now.

“That is not on the table,” Biden told reporters December 8 at the White House. “The idea that the United States is going to unilaterally use force to confront Russia invading Ukraine is not on, in the cards right now,” Defense One repored. 

Ukraine is not a member of NATO and does not enjoy the collective protection of Article 5, which calls every alliance member to arms when one is attacked. Ukraine seeks to join NATO but Russia opposes its entry into the alliance.

In an exclusive interview for Defense One’s Outlook 2022, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said Biden emphasized in his phone call with Putin that if Russia moves against Ukraine, the United States would levy economic consequences; provide more military gear to Kiev; and deploy an “increased U.S. troop presence and increased capabilities in countries like Poland, the Baltics, [and] Romania.”

But Sullivan reiterated that the U.S. does not intend to send more troops to Ukraine.

Meanwhile, the final elements of a $60 million security systems package to Ukraine — initially announced in August — will ship this week, a Pentagon spokesman said December 9.

U.S. Marines, assigned to 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 2d Marine Division, cut through barbed wire during the Exercise Sea Breeze 2021 in Oleshky Sands, Ukraine, July 2, 2021. The multinational maritime exercise cohosted by U.S. Sixth Fleet and the Ukrainian Navy in the Black Sea since 1997, is designed to enhance interoperability of participating nations and strengthen maritime security and peace in the region. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Trey Fowler)

Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby told reporters that the last portions of the existing security package, which includes small arms and ammunition, is shipping now. Other parts of that security assistance package, meant to help Ukrainians defend their sovereignty against Russian aggression, included the Javelin missile system, which is already in the hands of Ukrainian servicemembers.

The $60 million package previously included 30 Javelin Command Launch Units and 180 missiles. The Javelins were delivered to Ukraine on October 23. “The United States has committed more than $450 million in security assistance to Ukraine in 2021, and this is part of our ongoing commitment to supporting Ukraine’s ability to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Marine Corps Lieutenant Colonel Anton Semelroth, a Defense Department  spokesman said in an email to reporters.

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Putin’s No-Ukraine-in-NATO Demand.

On December 1, Vladimir Putin demanded ‘‘legal guarantees’’ that NATO would never expand eastward, ratcheting up the stakes as the West scrambled to respond to Russia’s military buildup near Ukraine, the New York Times reported.

Putin, who sees Ukraine’s deepening military partnership with the United States and other NATO countries as an existential threat, wants to start talks with the West to reach an agreement that would block the alliance’s expansion. He spoke in the midst of what Western officials describe as a growing threat of military action by tens of thousands of Russian troops massing close to the border with Ukraine — a former Soviet nation that seeks to join NATO.

‘‘The threat on our western borders is, indeed, rising, as we have said multiple times,’’ Putin said at a ceremony for ambassadors at the Kremlin December, according to the Times. ‘‘In our dialogue with the United States and its allies, we will insist on developing concrete agreements prohibiting any further eastward expansion of NATO and the placement there of weapons systems in the immediate vicinity of Russian territory.’’

Putin’s demand is a nonstarter for NATO. ‘‘It’s only Ukraine and 30 NATO allies that decide when Ukraine is ready to join NATO,’’ Jens Stoltenberg, NATO’s secretary general told reporters in Riga, Latvia. ‘‘Russia has no veto, Russia has no say, and Russia has no right to establish a sphere of influence trying to control their neighbors.’’

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ARCTIC:

From the Barents Sea to the Baltic to the Black Sea

An expert on Polar geopolitics warns that Russia to enhance its presence in Svalbard, a Norwegian-controlled archipelago in the Arctic, the Independent Barents Observer reports.

In an interview with the Norwegian-based Arctic news site, Dr. Elizabeth Buchanan, says “a hybrid-strategy is underway in which Russia bolsters its legitimate presence in Svalbard on one hand while raising tensions in the maritime space on the other hand.” A lecturer in strategic studies at Australia’s Deakin University, says Moscow “isn’t about to annex Svalbard, Russia doesn’t want such a fight.”

Instead, she says Russia will try to assert its rights under a 1920 Treaty that gave Norway sovereignty over the islands, but Russia coal limited mining and other economic and scientific rights.

In recent years, the islands have risen in strategic importance as they reside just north of the intersection of the Barents, Greenland and Norwegian seas (see map above) . Whomever controls Svalbard is also likely to control the important gateway from the shallow Barents Sea to the deeper North Atlantic. For Russia’s Northern Fleet, the so-called Bear Island Gap between mainland Norway and the archipelago’s southernmost island is key to conducting sea denial operations in and over the maritime areas further south, potentially threatening NATO’s transatlantic sea lines of communication, according to the Observer.

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BALTIC-2-BLACK is an occasional 4GWAR posting on the rising tensions between Russia and the West in the regions of the Baltic Sea and the Black Sea, where former Russian satellite nations like Poland and Romania border against Russian territory. Both NATO, and the United States in particular, have stepped up their presence in the region since Russia began throwing its weight around after annexing Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula in 2014. Since then, some Scandinavian countries have been boosting defense budgets even restoring a military draft as Russian aircraft and naval vessels have acted more aggressively in the region.

December 10, 2021 at 12:04 am Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (November 19, 2021)

Yellow Sky.

(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Corporal Jonathan Willcox) Click on image to enlarge.

Marines with the Light Armored Reconnaissance Company of the 4th Marine Regiment, 3d Marine Division, tend their Light Armored Vehicle (LAV-25) during Exercise Iron Sky 21.2 on Wake Island, November 6, 2021.

Iron Sky demonstrated joint integration and operational mobility with the U.S. Air Force 62nd Airlift Wing and other units. The exercise allowed the Marines to fine-tune expeditionary airfield security operations.

The Marines have been using the amphibious, eight-wheeled reconnaissance and assault vehicle since the 1980s, and now they’re in the market for a replacement – the  Armored Reconnaissance Vehicle.

In the shift from two decades of fighting in the deserts, mountains and towns of Iraq and Afghanistan, the Marines are returning to their amphibious roots as part of Navy’s plan to create a highly mobile, dispersed force to counter China’s area-denial, anti-access capabilities in the Western Pacific.

The Marine Corps has shed its Abrams battle tanks and most of its heavy artillery for mobile, long range rocket and missile systems that will create a persistent — but mobile — force of small units on key islands and choke points that could knock out enemy ships from a great distance, creating their own anti-access zone. The concept is known as expeditionary advanced base operations or EABO.

Wake Island has a long history in the defense of strategic points in the Pacific. A undermanned Marine Corps defense battalion and a handful of Marine aviators (aided by hundreds of civilian contractors) held off invading Japanese troops from December 8 to December 23, sinking two destroyers and a submarine, downing 21 Japanese planes and inflicting more than 1,000 casualties — including 900 dead — before being overwhelmed. The failed Japanese landing on December 11 marked one of the few times in World War II (on either side) that an amphibious assault was repulsed. That first victory was also the first U.S. tactical success in the war, boosting morale as seen in this movie trailer for Wake Island (1942).

November 19, 2021 at 11:58 pm Leave a comment

SHAKO: Marine Corps Turns 246: Veterans Day 2021; National Veterans/Military Families Month; National Native American Heritage Month

BUSY NOVEMBER.

November has long been a time of reflection for those in the U.S. military and those who care about them. November 10, marks the official birthday of the United States Marine Corps. November 11 is Veterans Day, the day Americans honor all of those who served in uniform. The Defense Department has declared November to be National Veterans and Military Families Month. November is also National Native American Heritage Month, and the Pentagon has honored the service of  American Indians and Alaska Natives who — from the Revolutionary War to present-day missions around the world — contribute greatly to national defense.

This post will focus of the two big days this week, and address National Veterans and Military Families Month, and National Native American Heritage Month next week.

UPDATES  with new photo and video

Success to the Marines.


Major Gen. Jason Q. Bohm, head of Marine Corps Recruiting Command, prepares to slice during the Cake Cutting Ceremony for the Marines’ 246th Birthday at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia on November 4, 2021. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Corporal Jennifer Sanchez)

Marines all around the globe celebrate November 10 as the birth of the Corps in 1775, when the 2nd Continental Congress authorized the formation of two battalions of Marines — more than seven months before the United States declared their independence.

Captain (later Major) Samuel Nichols — considered the Corps’ first commandant — advertised in and around Philadelphia for “a few good men” and signed them up at Tun Tavern in that city. Those early Marines first saw action in the Bahamas in a March 3, 1776 raid on New Providence Island, to capture naval supplies from the British.

New Providence Raid, March 1776. Oil painting on canvas by V. Zveg, 1973. (U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph)

As we have noted in the past, 4GWAR has a warm spot in its heart for the USMC, partly because this blog was also created in November — Nov. 12, 2009 — just two days after the Corps’ birthday.

The Marines take their birthday very seriously, especially since 1921, when then-Commandant Major General John LeJeune issued Marine Corps Order No. 47, Series 1921, summarizing the history, tradition and mission of the Marine Corps and directing that the order be read to every command on every subsequent Nov. 10, the Marine Corps Birthday.

Since 1952, the Marine Corps has maintained another tradition: the cake cutting ceremony. The 20th USMC commandant, Gen. Lemuel C. Shepherd Jr., formalized the ceremony, stating the first piece of cake must be presented to the oldest Marine present, who passes it to the youngest Marine.

General Lejeune’s Order No. 47,is read to the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force, Information Group during cake cutting ceremonies on November 5, 2021 at Camp Lejeune North Carolina.

Here is a link to a 13-minute 2020 video of the Marines’ 245th birthday celebration in Washington, featuring General David Berger, the commandant of the Marine Corps and a 100-year-old retired colonel, who received the traditional first piece.

Veterans Day 2021.

November 11, 2011 is Veterans Day, a federal holiday in the United States. It was first proclaimed by then-President Woodrow Wilson in 1919 as Armistice Day, marking the end of the First World War on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918. Back then they thought it was the “War to End all Wars.” Nov. 11 has since become a day honoring all veterans of all wars as well as vets of peacetime service.

A few years after the First World War, the United States buried an unknown soldier killed on the battlefields of France in a new tomb, a monument to all the slain, at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, just across the Potomac River from Washington. On Memorial Day and Veterans Day there is always a solemn ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown (the original soldier has been joined by fellow nameless warriors from World War II, Korea and Vietnam.

Visitors participate in the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Centennial Commemoration Flower Ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia, Nov. 9, 2021. (U.S. Army photo by Elizabeth Fraser/ Arlington National Cemetery)

For the first time in nearly a century, visitors were allowed to walk on the plaza and lay flowers in front of the tomb as part of a two-day centennial event. While ceremonies are held at the tomb almost every day, this particular commemoration was mandated in the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act, NPR reported. It recognized the internment of the World War I Unknown Soldier and the dedication of the tomb exactly one hundred years ago, on November 11, 1921.

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SHAKO is an occasional 4GWAR posting on military history, traditions and culture. For the uninitiated, a shako is the tall, billed headgear worn by many armies from the Napoleonic era to about the time of the American Civil War. It remains a part of the dress or parade uniform of several military organizations like the corps of cadets at the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, New York.

November 10, 2021 at 11:58 pm 1 comment

FRIDAY FOTO (October 22, 2021)

Preparation is Everything.

(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Aaron Lau)

Firefighters and Sailors, assigned to the littoral combat ship USS Detroit (LCS 7), respond to simulated fires during a fire drill aboard the ship on October 6, 2021. The Detroit is homeported at Naval Station Mayport, Florida.

We thought the lighting and composition of this photo is amazing. Please click on the photo to enlarge the image.

The U.S. Navy takes fires very seriously. At Naval Service Training Command in Great Lakes, Illinois — the Navy’s only enlisted boot camp – recruits are trained in firefighting as one of five basic competencies, which also include: Damage control, watch standing, seamanship and small-arms handling/marksmanship.

The importance of firefighting aboard ship was driven home in July 2020 when the amphibious assault ship, USS Bonhomme Richard, caught fire beside the pier at Naval Base San Diego, California and burned for four days. No lives were lost but the 22-year-old Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) was a total loss. It had been in San Diego since 2018 undergoing more than $250 million in modernization improvements. When the fire was finally out and the damage assessed, Navy leaders determined it was too costly to rebuild and decided to scrap the huge vessel.

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Latest Developments in Bonhomme Richard fire investigation.

The Navy issued two devastating reports October 20, following a lengthy investigation into the causes and response to the fire. The suspected arson fire that destroyed the $2 billion combat ship spread uncontrollably because of a cascading chain of errors including insufficient training of the crew, an accumulation of combustible repair and maintenance materials, and most of the ship’s fire stations being out of commission at the time of the fire.

There were four categories of causal factors that allowed for the accumulation of significant risk and led to an ineffective fire response, according to the Navy. They included the material condition of the ship, the training and readiness of the ship’s crew, the integration between the ship and supporting shore-based firefighting organizations, and lastly, the oversight by commanders across multiple organizations. The investigation concluded “a lack of familiarity with requirements and procedural noncompliance at multiple levels of command” contributed to the loss of ship.

“The loss of this ship was completely preventable,” said the Navy’s Number 2 commander, Vice Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Bill Lescher.

The investigation also found that a raft of systemic reforms put in place following a 2012 shipyard fire in Maine that destroyed the submarine USS Miami were not followed, helping fuel Bonhomme Richard’s demise in the process, according to the Navy Times.

Additionally, the report recognized the “bravery, ingenuity, and resourcefulness in the actions of Sailors across the San Diego waterfront and others who had a role in the response,” and identified 10 meritorious performance recommendations for actions taken during the firefighting efforts, SEAPOWER reported.

The cascade of errors and breakdowns involved 36 Navy personnel, the investigation found, including the commander of the Bonhomme Richard and five admirals, who failed to maintain the ship, ensure adequate training, provide shore support, or carry out proper oversight, according to CNN.

The preliminary hearing for the crew member charged with starting the fire, who has not been identified, is scheduled for November 17.

October 23, 2021 at 12:53 am Leave a comment

SHAKO: WAR WITH MEXICO — 1846

Invasion.

On this date 175 years ago, August 17, 1846, Colonel Stephen W. Kearny, commanding the U.S. Army’s 1st Dragoons Regiment entered Santa Fe (in what is now the state of New Mexico) and occupied the town without resistance from the local populace.

Colonel Stephen Watts Kearny, U.S. Army 1st Dragoons (via wikipedia)

It was the first time since the War of 1812 that a large U.S. force crossed an international boundary to invade another country.

It was also the first time U.S. forces planned to take permanent control of an area populated by people who spoke a different language and generally had a different culture than that of the United States.

Kearny was dispatched from Fort Leavenworth (Kansas) to Santa Fe by President James Knox Polk on June 16, 1842. It was just a month since Congress passed war legislation and two battles had been fought in the disputed border area along the Rio Grande.

After a difficult, horse-killing trip with little water or forage along the Santa Fe Trail, Kearny issued a proclamation before he arrived in Santa Fe, that said in part, he came to “New Mexico with a large military force for the purpose of seeking union with, and ameliorating the condition of the inhabitants.” He advised the locals that “so long as they continue in such [cooperative] pursuits they … will be respected  in their rights, both civil and religious.”

Mexican-American War map.

The colonel wasted no time, however, building a fort overlooking the main plaza of Santa Fe to remind the New Mexicans and Indians — who had been raiding villages in the region — of U.S. authority.

This blog is the first in a series of, at first occasional and later regularly scheduled, posts taking a look at the war between the United States and Mexico from 1846 to 1848 and its implications for both countries.

It was a war of many firsts from the first large-scale joint Army-Navy amphibious landing in a foreign country, at Vera Cruz, to the Army’s first encounter with bloody urban warfare in Monterrey. The rugged geography of Mexico, desserts, mountains,  challenged U.S. planning, transportation and logistics. The war also was a training ground for the most recent graduates of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York. Young officers like Ulysses Grant, George Meade, P.G.T. Beauregard, Braxton Bragg and Thomas Jackson would rise to command troops on both sides in the American Civil War.

There were also moral issues. As young Lieutenant Grant would write years later, after his term as the 18th U.S. president, that it was “the most unjust war ever waged by a stronger against a weaker nation.”

U.S. infantry and dragoon on the march in Mexico.

August 17, 2021 at 11:59 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO on SUNDAY (August 15, 2021)

Meeting the Challenge.

(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Tia Dufour)

U.S. Marine Corps officer candidates with Alpha and Delta Companies conduct the  at Officer Candidates School, Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia on August 9, 2021.

A 2013 article on the Quantico website describes some of the challenges along the 2.91-mile obstacle course. They include commando crawl, high crawl under barbed wire and balancing while running on elevated logs. Then picking up 40mm ammo cans and carrying them up and down hills and through knee-deep swamp water. After putting down the ammo cans, candidates pick up stretchers — each weighted down with three sandbags — and carry the load up and down trails with  more obstacles. After taking a quick break to hydrate, teams had to pick up a log and run back down the trails to face more obstacles, ending with a rope climb.

The Montford Point Challenge was created in 2011 to honor and celebrate the sacrifice and heroism of the Montford Point Marines They were the first African American Marines — who, from 1942 to 1949 — were segregated from white recruits.   They received basic training —  initially from all white officers and drill instructors — at Montford Point, a facility at the Marines’ Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.

Despite the hardships and indignities endured at a segregated basic training facility in the Jim Crow South, Montford Point Marines went on to serve at Peleliu and Iwo Jima in the Pacific during World War II and the Chosen Reservoir in Korea and paved the way for an integrated Marine Corps, according to the Military.com website.

For more information about how and why the Montford Point facility came to be — despite the misgivings of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and the opposition of the Marine Corps Commandant — click here.

Here is a video (almost 9 minutes long) showing part of what officer candidates go through today in the Montford Point Challenge.

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Uprooted tree and the utility pole it destroyed. (4GWAR photo by John M. Doyle. Copyright 2021 Sonoma Road Strategies).

This FRIDAY FOTO is appearing two days late because of a storm-related interruption of 4GWAR Blog’s wifi and internet service. We regret the delay.

On the plus side, it has shown us the weak points in our technology set-up and left us resolved to become more resilient.

August 15, 2021 at 7:42 pm Leave a comment

BALTIC 2 BLACK: Black Sea Exercise Ends; Poland buying Abrams tanks; Norway-German submarine deal

From the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea, Russia’s Neighbors Are Nervous

In recent years, Baltic and Nordic nations have been rattled by Russia’s antagonistic behavior. There have been numerous reports of Russia probing Nordic defenses, from an underwater vehicle  entering Swedish waters, to Russian bomber flights violating Swedish and Finnish airspace. Estonia was hit by a massive cyber attack, believed to be Russian in origin, in 2007. Concerns about a resurgent Russia have grown in the Black Sea region since Russia attacked neighboring Georgia in 2008, seized Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 and has supported Ukrainian separatists fighting a bloody hybrid war in eastern Ukraine since 2018.

While the United States and its allies have imposed sanctions on Russia, the U.S. military has been upping its presence in the Baltic and Black seas — as well as the Barrents Sea in the Arctic — to deter Russian belligerence.

Sea Breeze 21, “Who’s Provoking Whom?

Sounding like a script from a Cold War era newscast, the United States and its allies accuse Russia of dangerous aggressive behavior during a recent multinational training exercise in the contested waters of the Black Sea.

Noting that Russian aircraft overflew U.S. Navy ships at dangerously low altitudes during the recently ended Exercise Sea Breeze 21, Admiral Robert Burke said the Russians were creating a tactical risk that could morph into a strategic issue. “And that’s a big concern with this increasing aggressiveness,” Burke said, adding “We’re not going to flinch and we’re not going to take the bait.”

The guided-missile destroyer USS Ross sails in formation during Exercise Sea Breeze 2021 in the Black Sea on July 9, 2021.  (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communications Specialist 2nd Class Damon Grosvenor))

Burke, the commander of U.S. Naval Forces in Europe and Africa, said the latest bad behavior underscores Moscow’s increasingly provocative actions in the air and at sea, SEAPOWER reported in an article by your 4GWAR editor.

Russia’s embassy in Washington called for the exercises to be cancelled, and the Russian defense ministry said it would react to protect its own national security, Al Jazeera reported on June 28, the day Sea Breeze 21 began.

Upping the ante, Russian warplanes later practiced bombing simulations of enemy ships in the Black Sea during the U.S.-Ukrainian exercises, as the friction grew following an earlier incident with a British warship.

For nearly a decade, a resurgent Russia has mounted a huge military buildup in the North Atlantic, the Eastern Mediterranean, the Arctic and the Black Sea. “They want to be in control of those waters, for their own exclusive use,” Burke said, adding “We can’t cede that to the Russians.”

When officials notified Russian authorities about their plans three weeks before Sea Breeze 21 began, Moscow reacted by closing off half of the western part of the Black Sea and announcing their own ship bombing exercise. “If it wasn’t so threatening, it would be laughable,” Burke told a live-streamed edition of the United States Navy Memorial’s SITREP speakers series July 20.

(Black Sea region map Norman Einstein via wikipedia)

Sea Breeze, a long-standing exercise in the Black Sea to enhance interoperability and capability among participating forces in the region, has grown from eight participants in 1997 to 32 this year. The 2021 exercise included 5,000 personnel, 30 ships and 40 aircraft supplied by 17 NATO members, U.S. allies like Australia, and partner nations like Sweden and Senegal.

The admiral praised U.S. and allied commanders for their restraint. “When a strike aircraft overflies a destroyer at 100 feet altitude, right over top, our COs are making a judgment call of whether that strike fighter is on an attack profile or not,” Burke said. “It could be argued that they’re baiting us into shooting first. We’re not going to do that first without provocation, but I’m also not going to ask my commanding officers to take the first shot on the chin,” he added without elaboration.

A Marine, assigned to 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment  2d Marine Division, cuts through barbed wire during Exercise Sea Breeze 2021 in Oleshky Sands, Ukraine on July 2, 2021.  (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Trey Fowler)

In June, Russia said one of its warships fired warning shots and an aircraft dropped bombs near Britain’s Royal Navy destroyer, HMS Defender, to force it away from territorial waters, claimed by Russia, near Crimea — which Moscow seized in 2014. Russia denounced the Defender’s maneuver as a provocation and warned that the next time it might fire to hit intruding warships, according to the Associated Press.

The Royal Navy insisted the Defender wasn’t fired upon on and said it was sailing in Ukrainian waters when Russia sent its planes into the air and shots were heard during the showdown.

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Poland Buying M1 Abrams tanks

Poland’s defense minister announced July 14 that the NATO member will buy 250 M1A2 Abrams SEPv3 tanks from the United States, confirming previous reports of a planned acquistion, according to Defense News.

The Abrams M1A2 SEPv3 is an upgrade to the U.S. Army’s current main battle tank. The upgrade was designed to defeat or suppress enemy tanks, reconnaissance vehicles, infantry fighting vehicles, armored personnel carriers, anti-tank guns, guided missile launchers (ground and vehicle mounted), bunkers, dismounted infantry and helicopters.

A soldier provides ground guidance for an M1A2 SEP V2 Abrams Tank at Ware Range, Fort Benning, Georgia on July 20, 2021. (U.S. Army Reserve photo by Staff Sergeant Austin Berner)

The announcement came just two months after Polish defense leaders said they were buying 24 armed drones from fellow NATO member Turkey.

The U.S. and allies in NATO have made reinforcing Poland and the nearby Baltic states a focal point since Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine. Since then, U.S. tanks from units rotating overseas have been a consistent presence in Poland, according to the Stars and Stripes website.

Baltic Region (Map: CIA World Factbook)

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Norwegian-German Submarine Deal.

The military procurement agencies of Germany and Norway have reached an industrial agreement to buy new, common submarines from Germany’s Thyssekrupp Marine Systems, the Norwegian government announced July 8, 2021.

The identical submarines will be delivered starting in 2029, with operational service expected to last into the 2060s. The agreement on industrial cooperation will help open up the German market to the Norwegian defense industry, according to the announcement. A ceremony in Kiel, Germany this Fall will include the unveiling of a model of the new, common of the 212CD class submarines.

Norway will order four submarines from Thyssenkrupp for 45 billion crowns ($5.3 billion), while Germany will purchase another two, the defense ministries of both countries, said, Reuters reported.

As part of the deal, Norway and Germany also agreed to buy missiles jointly, and to finance the development of a new type of naval strike missile from Norway’s Kongsberg Defence and Aerospace.

In 2017, Norway and Germany, both NATO members, agreed in principle to build the submarines as part of a closer cooperation of their navies.

July 29, 2021 at 8:52 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (July 2, 2021) UPDATE

The Marines are looking for a few good …

(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sergeant Andrew Jones) Please click on the photo to enlarge the image.

.

U.S. Marines with Platoon 3241, Lima Company, 3rd Recruit Training Battalion, stand in formation at Marine Corps Recruit Depot (MCRD), San Diego, on May 6, 2021.

This company of Marines was the first gender integrated company made at MCRD San Diego, previously female recruits were trained in female-only companies at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, South Carolina. The Marine Corps was the last U.S. armed service to cease training male and female recruits separately.

The Marine holding the red pennant is the guidon bearer, or guide. The Marine on the left in dress blues is the platoon honor graduate who will take possession the guidon near the end of the graduation and turn it over to one of the Lima Company drill instructors in a short ceremony before receiving her honor award from the battalion commander. One of the female drill instructors, sword in hand, is visible on the right.

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Updating this post to clarify that: While the Marine Corps has begun forming training companies with both all female and all male platoons, there are no gender-integrated platoons of recruits. This update also corrects that there are no male Marines in the photo of this graduating female platoon.

July 2, 2021 at 3:09 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (June 4, 2021)

The Modern Day Marine.

(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Corporal Brienna Tuck)

A Marine tests the connectivity of the Networking On-the-Move (NOTM) Airborne communications system during flight operations May 27, 2021 from the USS America, the Navy’s only forward-deployed amphibious assault ship.

The NOTM Family of systems is a Satellite Communications (SATCOM)-based on-the-move, command and control (C2) combat capability for all elements of the Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF).

A force multiplier on the battlefield, NOTM provides forward and main integrated C2 capabilities for bounding assaults to the edge of the battlespace; commanders are no longer geographically tethered to the COC. The NOTM capability is currently employed both in ground and air platforms, according to the Marine Corps.

You may have heard that the Marine Corps is divesting itself of heavy weapons platforms such as tanks and towed artillery to pay for new investments in cyber space, artificial intelligence and high mobility land and amphibious vehicles. Don’t worry the Marines will still have firepower, but it will be ground-based anti-ship missiles and high mobility rocket systems.

We outlined most of the major changes in this article for SEAPOWER magazine.

“The Marine Corps is redesigning the force for naval expeditionary warfare in actively contested spaces. Marine Corps readiness is focused on building a more lethal force by training for advanced and persisent threats; growing cyberspace activities,” according to Navy-Marine budget documents. “These efforts will help ensure the Marine Corps is prepared to operate inside actively contested maritime spaces in support of fleet and joint force operations,” they add.

The Marine Corps is increasing and maturing yber capabilities through Marine Forces Cyber Command with an expansion of cyber mission forces teams who support operations across the globe. Major information warfare program funding is also planned.

June 4, 2021 at 8:05 pm Leave a comment

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