Posts filed under ‘News Developments’

SHAKO: Gen. Beauregard’s Retreat.

Statue Removed.

Beauregard's Statue New Orleans

(4GWAR photo by John M. Doyle.)

When your 4GWAR editor took this photo of the imposing statue of Civil War general Pierre G.T. Beauregard in New Orleans in January, we did not think it would soon be a figure of controversy — and eventually removed from public view.

The heroic bronze stood outside New Orleans’ City Park and your editor had just gotten off one of the Big Easy’s lovely streetcars on our way to the New Orleans Museum of Art, which we had never visited in several previous trips to New Orleans.

The statue of the Confederate general, who ordered the first shots of the Civil War to be fired on Fort Sumter in April 1861, is one of many civic artworks around the city.

But it was one of four monuments to heroes of the Confederacy that the New Orleans City Council voted to remove last year. The city already has removed one statute of Confederate President, Jefferson Davis, as well as a memorial to a white rebellion against a biracial Reconstruction-era government in the city, according to the Miami Herald.  The last memorial to come down will be a landmark statue of General Robert E. Lee atop a pillar at a prominent downtown traffic circle.

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu called for removing the monuments in the aftermath of the 2015 massacre of nine black parishioners at a South Carolina church. The killer, Dylann Roof, was an avowed racist who brandished Confederate battle flags in photos, recharging the debate over whether Confederate emblems represent racism or an honorable heritage, the Herald noted.

Beauregard, a French creole from Louisiana is credited with championing the design of that now-incendiary battle flag. A West Point graduate, Beauregard ran unsuccessfully for mayor of New Orleans in 1858 and was in command of the troops that fired on Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor three years later, the New York Times noted.

Beauregard was second-in-command at the first Battle of Manassas (Bull Run) but his star faded during the war, partly because of his vanity and grandiosity — his detractors dubbed him “Little Napoleon” — and partly because of a long-running feud with Davis, the prickly Confederate  president, who was also a West Point grad and hero of the Mexican-American War.

According to the New Orelans Times-Picayune (and who would know better?) Beauregard was appointed superintendent of West Point in January 1861 but the appointment was rescinded one day later when Louisiana seceded from the Union. Although he came from a slave-owning family and fought for the Confederacy, Beauregard argued after the war for black voting rights and integrating schools, transportation and public places. He also had a hand in developing the city’s streetcar system after the war and headed the Louisiana Lottery, the biggest gambling operation in 19th Century America.

The Times-Picayune piece answered a question that had been bothering your editor since we first read the inscription at the statue’s base. The general’s full name was Pierre Gustav Toutant-Beauregard, yet the statute identified him simply as G.T. Beauregard. Why? It turns out Beauregard, who didn’t learn to speak English until he was sent away to school at age 12, nevertheless hated his first name, dropped it and the hyphenated last name when he enrolled at West Point.

By the way, not all of the statues in New Orleans are controversial For example, take this gilded statute of Joan of Arc near the French Market.

Joan of Arc

4GWAR photo by John M. Doyle

SHAKOSHAKO 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.

May 18, 2017 at 11:59 pm 1 comment

CALENDAR: Unmanned Systems; Veterans’ Healthcare and Close Air Support.

May Events.

Calendar1

Here at 4GWAR we’re reviving our monthly calendar of newsworthy military, aviation, unmanned systems and homeland security events. May is shaping up to be a busy month starting with the annual unmanned systems industry event meeting and trade show in Dallas May 8-11.

New treatment techniques and new technology will be among the topics discussed May 15-18 at VA Healthcare 2017 in Arlington, Virginia.

And from May 22-24 the best ways to support and protect ground troops from the air will be discussed at the Close Air Support Summit in Washington, D.C.

Robots, Drones and Droids.

More than 7,000 industry leaders and professionals from over 55 countries are expected to attend XPONENTIAL 2017, the annual unmanned systems and robotics trade show and conference, at the Hutchinson Convention Center in Dallas next week.

AUVSI Atlanta 2015

AUVSI’s 2015 conference and trade show in Atlanta. (4GWAR photo by John M. Doyle)

The exhibit hall will showcase more than 600 companies from around the world, representing more than 20 industries, including energy and construction, defense, automated vehicles and cinematography. Speakers slated to attend include: Intel CEO Brian Krzanich,  FAA Administrator Michael Huerta, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, and executives from Airbus Defence and Space, GE Oil & Gas, and Northrop Grumman.

The event is hosted by Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI).

VA HEALTHCARE.

Government officials, healthcare executives, medical educators and technology experts and companies will meet at the Sheraton Pentagon City hotel in northern Virginia (May 15-18).

VA Healthcare 2017 comes as the VA health care system copes with a surge of veterans from the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts seeking physical and mental health services. The number of veterans enrolling for VA healthcare grew from 7.9 million in 2006 to nearly 9 million last year.

Topics will include the VA nursing shortage, training personnel, the effect of combat deployments on women vets and their healthcare needs, advanced medical simulation systems and alternative medical treatments for chronic pain and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

The event is organized by Institute for Defense and Government Advancement (IDGA).

CLOSE AIR SUPPORT.

Top Air Force officials from the United States, Germany and other NATO nations will  discuss the future of close air support in an era of unconventional warfare that could see conventional conflicts break out in the Middle East, Eastern Europe or the Korean peninsula.

300px-A-10_Thunderbolt_II_In-flight-2

The A-10 Lightning II, better known as the “Warthog.

The event is sponsored by IDGA, a division of IQPC.

Topics of discussion at the Close Air Support Summit will include future use of the AC-130 gunship, A-10 ground attack jet and F-35 fifth generation fighter/bomber. Also of concern: the U.S. Air Force’s close air support strategy in future operations; the challenge of conflicts in urban environments; training tactical air traffic controllers, developing light attack aircraft to fill the gap between the heavily armored, slow-moving A-10 and the supersonic F-35, which is more lightly armed for ground attack.

The event was organized by IDGA, a division of IQPC.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

May 4, 2017 at 11:59 pm Leave a comment

AIRCRAFT: The Close Air Support Debate

Supersonic Swiss Army Knife Vs. Flying Tank.

Here is a photo of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, America’s newest fighter/bomber and the most expensive military acquisition program in U.S. history.

f-35a-lightning-ii_008-ts600

A Fifth Generation Fighter with a host of targeting and surveillance sensors, the Lockheed Martin F-35 was develop[ed with the ability – depending on the variant – to fly off an aircraft carrier or take off and land vertically on an amphibious ship or tiny airstrip. Some have called this multi-role aircraft a flying Swiss Army knife because of its advanced integrated avionics and next generation radar-evading stealth technology. It is also a flying intelligence platform with enormous processing power and sophisticated sensors.

The F-35, officially known as the Lightning II, has a range of capabilities including: air-to-air combat; close air support; ground attack and intelligence gathering for joint and coalition irregular warfare operations, as well as major combat ops.

The next photo is the Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II. Sporting the latest 1970s technology, it was built to blow up Soviet tanks in Cold War battles that never happened.  Better known as the “Warthog,” for its homely appearance, punishment-absorbing air frame and ferocious attack capabilities, the hog has won the respect of pilots and the love of ground troops in deployments from Bosnia to Iraq and Afghanistan and currently against ISIS in Iraq and Syria.

A-10 Warthog

The single seat, twin engine jet’s sturdy airframe and fearsome armament, including a 30-milimeter, seven-barrel GAU-8/A Gatling gun, have led some to call it a flying tank. But those features made it ideal for delivering close air support to troops on the ground.

Because of congressionally-mandated budget constraints, the U.S. Air Force has been trying, since 2014, to retire the approximately 300 remaining A-10s. The cost of maintaining and upgrading the 40-year-old Warthogs threatened funding for the F-35 and two other top priority Air Force programs: the long range strike bomber and a new aerial refueling tanker. The Pentagon said the Air Force could save $3.5 billion over five years by retiring the A-10 fleet rather than upgrading it. Instead, said then- Air Force Chief of Staff General Mark Welsh — himself a former A-10 pilot — the  F-35 could handle the A-10’s single mission of close air support.

But the A-10’s very vocal supporters in Congress, like Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.), disputed that claim. They maintained the F-35, flying at Mach 1.6 (approximately 1,200 mph), moved too fast to loiter over a battlefield, while its lighter 25-milimeter canon only carried 182 rounds in the Air Force variant ( 220 rounds in the Navy and Marine Corps versions), compared to the Warthog’s 1,100-round capacity.

General Electric GAU-8/A

A size comparison of the GE GAU-8 Gatling gun, used on A-10 Thunderbolt II, and a Volkswagen Beetle. (U.S. Air Force photo via wikipedia)

Other advocates argued the A-10 could also fly combat search and rescue and surveillance missions. McCain noted in a white paper that funding constraints led the Air Force to slow procurement to a maximum 48 aircraft a year between Fiscal years 2018 and 2022. He has called for buying 300 “low-cost, light-attack fighters” to bridge the gap. The Air Force plans to test light attack aircraft at the OA-X demonstration this summer at Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico.

The Air Force also says it will not begin retiring the A-10 fleet before 2021, but Congress put language in the latest defense authorization bill barring the Air Force from parking the A-10s until it proves the F-35 can take over the close air support role.

To learn more, visit the Close Air Support Summit 2017 page on the IDGA website.

April 27, 2017 at 11:59 pm Leave a comment

DEFENSE INDUSTRY: Trump Defense Budget Boost; Brazil to Spend More

Trump Seeks Defense Budget Boost.

FLW-AT4

(4GWAR photo by John M. Doyle)

President Donald Trump unveiled his fiscal 2018 spending plan Thursday (March 16) which sets the framework for a final budget request to Congress. If passed, the funding request would sharply increase military and homeland security spending while cutting the budgets of dozens of federal agencies and programs — including the State, Justice and Transportation departments.

In the wake of Trump’s so-called “skinny” budget, which will likely go through numerous amendments and changes before being voted upon by Congress, the Pentagon released a broad wish list on Thursday, which, the New York Times noted, signals what the Defense Department “would do with its proposed $54 billion windfall, filling its shopping cart with desires including Apache helicopters for the Army, anti-submarine planes for the Navy, fighter jets and more training for selected personnel.” The budget proposal calls for $639 billion in defense spending, up $52 billion from last year’s budget request. It also seeks another $2 billion for national security programs in other agencies, like safety oversight of nuclear weaponry by the Energy Department.

According to Politico’s Morning Defense, “The Trump White House is touting a boost in military spending as a major element of what it calls a ‘hard-power’ budget proposal as it seeks to win over hawkish Republicans who are pushing for an even bigger increase in investments in the military. However, GOP defense hawks have criticized the administration’s claim that its proposed defense expansion is “one of the largest in history,” noting the Trump plan is only a 3 percent increase above the Obama administration’s projection for next year, POLITICO reported.

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Brazil Budget Battle.

Trump isn’t the only leader in the Americas planning to boost defense spending while cutting spending elsewhere in the budget.

brazilian-jungle-trained

Brazilian special operations troops.

Brazilian President Michel Temer is increasing the country’s military budget by 36 percent, local media reported Monday (March 13). The defense hike comes just months after Temer pushed the approval of a controversial constitutional amendment to freeze public spending for the next two decades, according to the Venezuela-based news site, teleSUR.

Citing a report by Brazilian newspaper, Folha de Sao Paulo, teleSUR said data compiled by  Brazil’s Senate indicated military spending for this year is set to hit nearly $3.1 billion. The changes come after Brazil’s military budget was slashed under former President Dilma Rousseff’s government. In 2015, the finance minister at the time, Joaquim Levy, drastically reduced investment in the defense sector. From the US$ 3.8 billion expected to be spent in the area, it only allocated $2.1 billion, according to Senate data.

Temer’s move to increase military spending also comes after the approval of a constitutional amendment to freeze public spending for two decades. The reform ties any increase to social assistance programs to the previous year’s inflation rate, rather than GDP. This will effectively limit what all future governments can spend on health, education and social welfare for at least 20 years, according to teleSUR.

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Industry News:

Australian Drone Program

California-based unmanned aircraft maker General Atomics has launched its Team Reaper Australia group to meet the Australian military’s search for a new drone, according to C4ISRNET.

Turkey Defense Procurement

A Turkish government report on defense procurement for the next five years urges the input of domestic industry to become a global player.

The 124-page Strategic Plan for 2017-2021 was prepared by Turkey’s defense procurement agency, the Undersecretariat for Defence Industries. Turkish Defence Minister Fikri Isik defines the plan’s goal as making the Turkish industry “a global player with technological superiority,” Defense News reports.

March 16, 2017 at 11:41 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (January 13, 2017)

Mirror Image.

Armed Forces Full Honor Review for Carter

(Defense Department photo by E.J. Hersom)

The U.S. Navy Ceremonial Guard  seems to hover above a highly-polished floor (deck) as it stands in formation during Defense Secretary Ashton Carter‘s farewell ceremony at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Virginia on January 9, 2016. These sailors are assigned to Naval District Washington, D.C., which  includes the U.S. Naval Academy (Annapolis), Bethesda Naval Hospital, Naval Air Station Patuxent River (Pax River) and Camp David, all in Maryland, as well as Naval Support Facility Dahlgren in Virginia and Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling in Washington, DC.

Carter, became the 25th Secretary of Defense in February 2015. He previously served as deputy defense secretary from 2011 to 2013, and as undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics (2009-2011). Carter also worked at the Pentagon during the Clinton administration (1993-1996), as assistant secretary of Defense for International Security Policy. He received the Defense Department’s Distinguished Service Medal — its highest civilian award — five times.

Retired Marine Corps General James Mattis will succeed Carter, if confirmed by the Senate, when the Trump administration comes into office.

 

January 13, 2017 at 12:15 am Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (December 22, 2016)

Whose Broad Stripes …

Nellis, Creech Airmen raise American Flag during Las Vegas Bowl

U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kevin Tanenbaum.

Airmen hold up a really big American flag before the Las Vegas Bowl college football game at Sam Boyd Stadium in Whitney, Nevada. The oversized flag weighed nearly 1,000 pounds, requiring the muscle of more than 150 airmen.

The line in the headline comes from the first verse of the U.S. national anthem, the Star Spangled Banner.

San Diego State University Aztecs beat the University of Houston Cougars, 34-10, in the December 17 game.

December 23, 2016 at 1:02 am 2 comments

FRIDAY FOTO (December 9, 2016)

Kid, Meet the Boys of ’41.

75th Commemoration Event of the Attack on Pearl Harbor

U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Laurie Dexter

Pearl Harbor survivors greet a child during the 75th commemoration of the attacks on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on December 7, 2016. This photo reminds us that these old timers were mostly boys of just 17, 18, 19 and 20-years-old when the Japanese aircraft came in low over the island of Oahu on that fateful Sunday morning in 1941. The Defense Department went all out with photos, videos and slideshows to commemorate the Day of Infamy. But to your 4GWAR editor, this Norman Rockwell-like photo best captured the meaning of the commemoration. These ancient warriors seem enchanted to meet someone from one of the future generations they were fighting for back in ’41.

The U.S. military co-hosted the event, which provided veterans, family members, service members and the community a chance to honor the sacrifices made by those who were present during the attacks.

A Pearl Harbor fact sheet notes the Japanese strike force consisted of 353 aircraft launched from four carriers. The attack killed 2,403 U.S. personnel, including 68 civilians, and destroyed or damaged 19 U.S. Navy ships, including 8 battleships. The three aircraft carriers of the U.S. Pacific Fleet were out to sea on maneuvers, however, and the Japanese were unable to locate them.

December 9, 2016 at 12:28 am Leave a comment

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