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LOOKING AHEAD: December defense and homeland security events

Busy December.

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December 3-5

Egypt Defense Expo – At the  Egypt International Exhibition Centre, New Cairo, Egypt

December 5-6

IQPC Border Management Summit in San Antonio, Texas at the Hilton Garden Inn San Antonio-Live Oak Conference Center

December 5-7

IDGA’s Future Ground Combat Vehicles summit in Detroit, Michigan at the Sheraton Detroit Novi hotel.

December 5

9:00 a.m. – 10 a.m. The Air Force Association’s Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies presents  a discussion on “Air Force Operations: Increasing Readiness and Lethality” featuring Lieutenant General Mark Kelly, Air Force deputy chief of staff for operations, at the Key Bridge Marriott’s Potomac Ballroom, Salon A in Arlington, Virginia.

11 a.m.-12:15 p.m. —  Book launch event for Dr. Max Abrahm’s newly released Rules for Rebels: The Science of Victory in Militant History (Oxford University Press). Presented by the Center for Strategic and International Studies’ Transnational Threats Project at 1616 Rhode Island Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20036.

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(U.S. Coast Guard photo by Seaman Benjamin Nocerini)

12:30 p.m. — United States Coast Guard commandant Admiral Karl L. Schultz, discusses America’s presence in the Arctic as a matter of national security at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, 529 14th St. NW, 13th Floor, Washington, DC 20045.

December 6

9:30 a.m.-10:30 a.m. — Richard V. Spencer, 76th Secretary of the Navy, discusses the state of the Navy and Marine Corps and innovation in the naval domain at a Maritime Security Dialogue jointly sponsored by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and the United States Naval Institute (USNI). At CSIS Headquarters, 1616 Rhode Island Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20036.

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December 3, 2018 at 11:56 pm Leave a comment

ARCTIC NATION: Giant NATO Exercise

Trident Juncture.

Marines conduct cold-weather training in Iceland

Before setting out for NATO’s Trident Juncture exercise in Norway, U.S. Marines took cold-weather training in Iceland in October.  (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Marine Corps Lance Corporal Menelik Collins)

Fifty thousand troops, 250 aircraft, 65 naval vessels and about 10,000 ground vehicles have converged on Norway — and nearby waters — for  Trident Juncture 2018, the largest  military exercise by western nations since the end of the Cold War.

Military and civilian personnel from the 29 member countries of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and two Nordic neighbors, Sweden and Finland, are taking part in the enormous war game, which started October 25 and runs through November 7.

One of the largest contingents, after the Norwegian hosts, comes from the United States, which has sent some 14,000 personnel — including 6,000 sailors  from the USS Harry S Truman Carrier Strike Group and more than 1,000 Marines from the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit. The Truman was the first U.S. aircraft carrier to enter Arctic waters since 1991.

U.S. Marines with 2nd Tank Battalion travel

Marines travel to the next objective during Trident Juncture 18 near Hjerkinn Norway, November 2, 2018. (U.S. Marine Corps Lance Corporal Menelik Collins)

Other troops and weapons platforms included:

Eight Finnish Air Force F/A-18 Hornet fighter attack jets; Sweden’s 191st Mechanized Battalion; a joint Swedish-Finnish army battalion; the Spanish Navy frigate ESPS Cristobal Colon; the Dutch Navy frigate HNMLS De Ruyter, and four British Hawk light multirole fighters, four Royal Navy minehunters –HMS Cattistock, HMS Enterprise, HMS Grimsby and HMS Ramsey and two Type-23 frigates – HMS Westminster and HMS Northumberland.

NATO officials stressed Trident Juncture was a defensive exercise. “It is not directed against any country,” said NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, adding “We are transparent in what we do. And we welcome the international observers — from Russia and many other countries.”

However, Stoltenberg noted : “We exercise to strengthen our ability to operate together, to test and certify the NATO Response Force, and to send a clear message.” While he didn’t specify what that message was, it was obvious to most observers the message was aimed at the increasingly aggressive Russian government.

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NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg (above) speaks with Canadian troops at exercise Trident Juncture 2018 while Norwegian Defense Minister Frank Bakke-Jensen (light blue jacket) listens. (Norwegian Armed Forces/Forsvaret photo by Torbjorn Kjosvold)

4GWAR has previously reported, Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula in 2014 and its hybrid warfare campaign in support of pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine, has alarmed Western nations — especially those bordering the Baltic Sea like Poland, Estonia, Sweden and Finland.

But Moscow has complained about what it sees as NATO provocation by holding a massive military exercise on its doorstep. It sent it’s own message by sending a low-flying Tupolev TU-142, a Cold War era plane, over the Norwegian exercise.

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ARCTIC NATION is an occasional 4GWAR posting on the Far North. The U.S. “National Strategy for the Arctic Region” describes the United States as “an Arctic Nation with broad and fundamental interests” in the region. “Those interests include national security needs, protecting the environment, responsibly managing resources, considering the needs of indigenous communities, support for scientific research, and strengthening international cooperation on a wide range of issues.”

November 4, 2018 at 11:59 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (August 31, 2018)

Prepare to Repel Boarders.

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(U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Casey Scoular)

OK, this is not your standard Navy drill — anymore. But in the Age of Sail, these long, spear-like poles with sharpened points on the end were a good way to discourage enemy sailors (or pirates) from trying to force their way aboard your ship.

Boarding in the Age of Sail was more difficult and dangerous than in previous eras of open-decked sailing vessels. Defenders could seek cover in “closed quarters” in the ship’s roundhouse or foredeck, shooting through small loopholes at the exposed boarders.  If not in closed quarters, defenders sometimes resorted to the boarding pike, trying to kill or wound boarders while keeping them at a distance, and of course might use any of the weapons that the boarders themselves used, according to a Wikipedia article on naval boarding.

These sailors, assigned to the historic USS Constitution, are conducting War of 1812-era boarding pike drills during weekly heritage training in Boston, near Old Ironsides’ berth at the Charlestown, Massachusetts Navy Yard. Launched in 1797, the Constitution is the oldest commissioned naval vessel in the world still afloat.

August 31, 2018 at 1:53 pm 1 comment

FRIDAY FOTO (July 13, 2018)

Underwater Raiders.

MRF conducts bi-lateral dive training with Jordanian SOF

(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Corporal Jon Sosner)

Marine Raiders swim underwater during dive training in Aqaba, Jordan, on July 8, 2018. The Marines are assigned to Maritime Raid Force of the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit.

Marine Special Operations officers, specialists and critical skills operators — collectively known as Marine Raiders — are the Marine Corps component of Special Operations Command.

And yes, it’s the same Aqaba captured by T.E. Lawrence in the film, Lawrence of Arabia.

 

July 13, 2018 at 12:42 am Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (June 22, 2018)

Dark Confetti.

Puma 2 Lethality Demonstration During Saber Strike 18

(U.S. Army photo by Specialist Hubert D. Delany III)

Polish army Rak 120 mm self-propelled mortar systems fire for effect during a lethality demonstration for Exercise Puma 2 at Bemowo Piskie Training Area, Poland, June 15, 2018, as part of Saber Strike 18.

Saber Strike is a multinational military exercise held annually since 2010. This year’s exercise included approximately 18,000 participants, including the United States, Britain, Germany and Norway. The exercise was hosted by NATO members Poland, Lithuania,  Latvia and Estonia.

In all, units from 19 allied and partner nations participated. The lead components were U.S. Army Europe and the Lithuanian Armed Forces.

For more photos and information click here for Poland, here for Lithuania. and here for Latvia.

Russia has complained that such beefed up NATO exercises close to its borders are provocative. However, Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 and the intrusion of Russian aircraft and naval vessels into its neighbors’ territorial waters and airspace has prompted concerns among Nordic, Baltic and Balkan states.

“Transparency is central to lowering tensions and open dialogue. Saber Strike 18 is not a provocation of Russia but an exercise with our allies. This is what normal deterrence business looks like,” according to the U.S. Army Europe website.

June 23, 2018 at 10:00 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (June 8, 2018)

Like a thunderbolt.

KC-135 refuels A-10's over Afghanistan
(U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sergeant Corey Hook)

The very landscape of Afghanistan appears to be dressed in camouflage colors as an Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt II heads for an aerial refueling rendezvous with a KC-135 Stratotanker.

Longtime visitors to 4GWAR know we are big fans of the Cold War-era A-10, better known by its nickname, Warthog. The 40-plus-year-old attack aircraft, designed as a tank destroyer, has also won the affection of numerous ground troops for its tenacity in close air support in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Here’s a closer look at the A-10 …

KC-135 refuels A-10's over Afghanistan

(U.S.Air Force Photo by Staff Sergeant Corey Hook)

These photos were taken May 28, 2018 during an aerial refueling mission over Afghanistan with A-10s from the 163rd Fighter Squadron and a KC-135 Stratotanker from the  340th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron.

To see more photos, click here.

June 8, 2018 at 6:48 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (September 29, 2017)

Invictus.

Invictus Games 2017

(U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Daniel Luksan)

Medically retired U.S. Marine Corps Lance Corporal Sarah Rudder competes in the 200-meter dash in Toronto, Canada during Invictus Games 2017, an international Paralympic-style event. Rudder, who lost her leg due to injuries suffered at the Pentagon on 9/11, won seven gold medals at last year’s games in Orlando, Florida.

The poem Invictus, by English Victorian poet, William Ernest Henley, himself an amputee, ends with the famous lines:

I am the master of my fate,
      I am the captain of my soul.

For more photos, click here, here, here and here.

September 29, 2017 at 1:38 am Leave a comment

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