Posts tagged ‘Air Force’
Up Close and Very Personal.
As you might suspect from the logo on the refueling drogue, this Stratotanker is assigned to the 100th Air Refueling Wing, the U.S. military’s only permanently assigned air refueling operation in the European theater. The Strike Eagle is assigned to the 48th Fighter Wing.
Both air wings while deployed to Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, will be supporting Operation Inherent Resolve , the U.S. led air campaign over Iraq and Syria to degrade and defeat the self-proclaimed Islamic State — also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) or Daesh.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT: [UPDATED 11/25/2015] Refugee Crisis; Winning Over Muslim Immigrants; Water Woes Behind Mass Migrations
Food for Thought: Double Trouble.
They’re worried that terrorists may be hiding among the refugees swarming into Europe — like one of the attackers in Paris who killed 129 people. They also fear that refugees from Muslim countries like Syria and Iraq — even if they’re fleeting terrorism — may become radicalized by anti-Western propaganda and turn into Islamist terrorists themselves.
In the United States, the governors of more than half the states say thousands of Syrian refugees President Barack Obama wants to bring to America are not welcome. Only 1,500 Syrian refugees have been accepted into the United States since 2011, but the Obama administration announced in September that 10,000 Syrians will be allowed to enter the country as refugees next year, according to CNN.
Meanwhile, some countries in Europe, which has been swamped this year by more than 700,000 political and economic refugees from the Middle East and Africa, say they won’t take in any more people. According to Reuters, 1,500 migrants remain trapped in northern Greece unable to cross the border into Macedonia after other countries in the Balkans began limiting their intake to Syrians, Afghans and Iraqis. Meanwhile, Poland cited the Paris attacks as the reason for not taking in 4,500 Syrian refugees as part of a European Union plan to spread the immigration burden, Britain’s Daily Mail reported. Instead, Poland’s new foreign minister suggested turning the refugees into an army to fight and “liberate their country with our help.”
Here at 4GWAR, we don’t have all the answers to these expanding problems, but we offer two pieces of research that could help point the way to a solution.
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Winning Muslims’ Trust.
You know the old saying “You can catch more flies with honey than you can with vinegar”? Well, some academic researchers say their work shows harsh rhetoric and cold shoulders can make Muslims feel like they don’t belong in Europe or the United States — and that can lead to radicalization.
“Our research, forthcoming in Behavioral Science and Policy, and in partnership with the World Organization for Resource Development and Education, shows that making Muslims feel this way can fuel support for radical movements. In other words, many Western policies that aim to prevent terrorism may actually be causing it,” say in an article on “The Conversation” website via the Washington Post.
Lyons-Padilla, a research scientist at Stanford University’s Stanford SPARQ and Gelfand, a professor and Distinguished University Scholar Teacher at the University of Maryland, asked hundreds of Muslims in Germany and the United States to tell them about their experiences as religious and cultural minorities — including their feelings of being excluded or discriminated against on the basis of their religion. “We also asked how they balance their heritage identities with their American or German identities. We wanted to know if these kinds of experiences were related to their feelings toward radical groups and causes.”
Because you can’t pre-interview a potential terrorist, they measured two indicators of support for radicalism.
“We asked people how willing they would be to sacrifice themselves for an important cause. We also measured the extent to which participants held a radical interpretation of Islam. (For example, they asked whether it’s acceptable to engage in violent jihad.) “Finally, we asked people to read a description of a hypothetical radical group and tell us how much they liked the group and how much they would want to support it.” This hypothetical group consisted of Muslims in the United States or Germany upset about how they were treated by society and would stop at nothing to protect Islam.
“Overall, support for these indicators of extremism was very low, which is a reminder that the vast majority of Muslims do not hold radical views,” the researchers wrote. But the responses of some interviewees showed they felt marginalized and identified with neither the culture of their heritage nor the culture of their adopted country — in effect they were “culturally homeless.”
“The more people’s sense of self worth was threatened, the more they expressed support for radicalism,” the researchers said. “Our findings are consistent with a theory in psychology that terrorists are looking for a way to find meaning in their lives.” Extremists know and exploit these vulnerabilities, targeting Muslims whose sense of significance is low or threatened, they wrote.
The researchers add: “For people who already feel culturally homeless, discrimination by the adopted society can make matters worse. In our data, people who said they had been excluded or discriminated against on the basis of their religion experienced a threat to their self-esteem. The negative effects of discrimination were the most damaging for people who already felt culturally homeless.”
The research results suggest that cultivating anti-immigrant or anti-Islamic sentiment is deeply counterproductive. “Anti-immigrant discourse is likely to fuel support for extremism, rather than squelch it,” the authors said. To read the full article, click here.
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Beyond conflict, there is another contributing factor to the waves of refugee flooding Europe: water scarcity, according to a world renowned environment and development research organization.
“A well-documented path can connect water scarcity to food insecurity, social instability and potentially violent conflict,’ say researchers at the World Resources Institute, a Washington think tank.”As climate change amplifies scarcity worries, more secure water supplies could help the lives of millions in conflict zones,” say WRI’s , and
They say drought and water shortages in Syria are likely to have contributed to the unrest that stoked the country’s civil war — now in its fourth year. Dwindling water resources and chronic mismanagement forced 1.5 million people — primarily farmers and herders — to lose their livelihoods and leave their land. The farmers then moved to urban areas, magnifying Syria’s general destabilization.
The unstable conditions are likely to deteriorate in coming decades. Syria is projected to be among the 11 most water-stressed countries in the world by 2040. And it’s not alone in the region. Fourteen of the 33 likely most water-stressed countries in 2040 are in the Middle East. Water stress is an underlying conflict multiplier that will not go away, the trio of researchers say.
Food prices and other food-supply disruptions are caused by a complex series of factors, including the global food trade and government subsidies. But local water stress can make the situation worse over the long term, the WRI researchers says. Part of the reason Middle Eastern countries had to import so much food is that water is relatively inaccessible compared to other food-growing regions, they added.
To read the entire article, including possible solutions to water stress, click here.
Golden Light/Green Beret.
The exercise emphasizes air-to-air, air-to-ground and special forces training opportunities.
To see some photos of the Air National Guard’s participation in this exercise, click here.
(We feel it is important to note the term Special Forces, refers to the U.S. Army unit known as the Green Berets. When speaking in general of specially trained, elite small units, the term special operations forces should be used. Special operations forces — under the direction of Special Operations Command — includes units like Navy SEALS, Army Rangers, Delta Force operators, Marine Raiders, special aircraft crews in the Army and Air Force, as well as several specialist Air Force positions such as combat (air traffic) controllers and para rescue jumpers.)
Vets Getting More Attention.
Is it your 4GWAR editor’s imagination or are veterans getting more attention from the media, industry and the public this year?
There were stories about veterans’ health and employment needs on radio, television and in almost every newspaper across the country. Businesses from local restaurants to national chains like J.C. Penny, Home Depot and Meineke were offering special deals for veterans and their families. And there seemed to be a healthy turnouts at local Veterans Day parades and other outdoor events.
But there are some who think parades and solemn memorial services aren’t enough to help those who have served their country, like the author of this op ed article, that first appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer.
In May, on Memorial Day, the United States of America remembers the honored dead, those who gave their lives in this country’s wars since 1775.
Every November on Veterans Day (no apostrophe, we’ve been informed — despite what the calendars and holiday sale ads say), Americans honor all who served or continue to serve in uniform — in war and peace. November 11 is the anniversary of the armistice that ended World War I – the “War to End All Wars” — in 1918. Unfortunately, history has proven that was an overly optimistic term for what turned out to be the First World War.
After years of bloodshed in the 20th and early 21st centuries, we’d like to pause here to remember the sacrifice of all those who serve their country. Even far from a combat zone, many of them have risky jobs on aircraft carrier decks, in fast moving Humvees and high flying aircraft. There is hard work, as well as danger, in airplane hangars and ships at sea. Depots and warehouses are stuffed with equipment and supplies that can blow up, burn, sicken or maim the humans working nearby.
Those risks are illustrated in some pretty amazing images in an insurance company’s television commercial thanking “those who dared to take the oath.”
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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.
Live from Deadhorse.
For the first time ever, the U.S. Army has deployed Stryker vehicles north of the Arctic Circle — with the help of the Air Force.
According to U.S. Army Alaska, elements of the Army’s 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team were deployed via an Air Force C-17 Globemaster III transport aircraft. Four Stryker vehicles and approximately 40 soldiers were delivered to Deadhorse, Alaska as part of Operation Arctic Pegasus, a joint, multi-agency exercise. tested the rapid deployment capability
The 1st BCT regularly trains for rapid deployment across U.S. Army Alaska’s area of operation — which stretches from the Arctic Circle to the southern reaches of the Asia-Pacific region.
The average winter temperatures in the area where the Stryker platoon was deployed November 3-45, range from 23 degrees below zero to minus 11.
Click here to see an Army video of the Strykers operating in the Far North.
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Russia Seeks Mobile Nuke Power Plants for Arctic.
Russia’s Defense Ministry plans to develop mobile nuclear power plants designated for military installations in the Arctic, according to the RT website. Introduction of the first mobile nuclear power plant (NPP) could take place by 2020, RT reported.
Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu has ordered a pilot project of a mobile low-power nuclear station to be mounted on a tracked vehicle or a sledged platform to be delivered where needed in the Arctic region.
“The project has already begun and is going through a research stage now,” Yury Konyushko, CEO of the engineering company chosen to work on the project, told TASS.
Preliminary data is to be presented to the military by the end of this year, Konyushko said.
Once the ministry approves the project, full-scale development, estimated to take up to two years, will begin. After that engineering and construction of an operable prototype will be launched, RT reported.
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Arctic Coast Guard Forum.
Eight countries in the High North have organized a Coast Guard cooperative group to leverage collective resources to secure maritime safety in the Arctic.
The new Arctic Coast Guard Forum was formally set up at a ceremony in New London, Connecticut last week ( October 30).
According to Coast Guard Compass, the official U.S. Coast Guard blog, “the Arctic Coast Guard Forum is an operationally-focused, consensus-based organization with the purpose of leveraging collective resources to foster safe, secure and environmentally responsible maritime activity in the Arctic”.
The signatories to the new cooperation agreement are Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden and the United States.
The increasing number of passenger cruise ships in the Arctic and the risk of pollution are considered to be the biggest threats currently facing the Arctic region.
“Iceland’s contribution could be valuable, given the work currently being put into setting up an international Arctic rescue station, to be located in Iceland,” the Head of the Icelandic Coast Guard, Georg Kr. Lárusson, told Iceland Monitor.
“Iceland boasts good facilities for conducting rescue operations and well-trained staff in the rescue services, the Icelandic Red Cross, the police, the Icelandic Coast Guard and various other institutions,” the Icelandic Coast Guard chief added.”
A U.S. Air Force F-15C Eagle jet fighter prepares to taxi out for takeoff at 5 Wing Goose Bay, a Canadian air force base, in Newfoundland, Canada. Approximately 700 service members from the Canadian Armed Forces and the U.S. Air Force, Navy and Air National Guard participated in the 12-day exercise Vigilant Shield 16 that ended Monday, October 26.
To see more photos from Vigilant Shield, click here.
Next Generation Bomber.
Northrop Grumman has won the competition to build the next Long Range Strike Bomber (LRS-B) for the U.S. Air Force, officials announced Tuesday (October 27) at the Pentagon.
The contract award — calls for Northrop Grumman to produce 21 aircraft costing up to $550 million apiece(in 2010 dollars) — which translates to $606 million in today’s dollars. The Air Force plans to buy 100 aircraft in all, but later aircraft are expected to cost less under a as full rate production gets underway. The Air Force picked Northrop Grumman’s offering over one by a team consisting of Boeing and Lockheed Martin.
The LRS-B is designed to replace two of the Air Force’s aging bomber fleets — the Cold War era B-52 Stratofortresses, which are all over 50 years old and the supersonic B-1 Lancer bombers now over 30 years old. The B-2 Spirit stealthy bomber will still be flying into mid century.
According to the Air Force, the LRS-B provides the strategic agility to launch from the United States and strike any target, any time around the globe. The Air Force has said the aircraft could be optionally manned and the Air Force Chief of Staff, General Mark Welsh, called it a “dual capable bomber.”
The Air Force hopes to begin deploying the new bombers in the mid-2020s, the military newspaper Stars and Stripes, said. Originally, the Air Force thought it would have deployable bombers by 2018 but then-Defense Secretary Robert Gates halted the program in 2009 because of skyrocketing costs driven by new and unproven technology, according to Defense One.
“A bid protest [by the losing team] seems inevitable,” says Defense News “given that LRS-B is the first major military aircraft acquisition program since the JSF [Joint Strike Fighter] award in 2001, and likely the last until the sixth-generation fighter [in the] next decade.” A lengthy protest period could delay the program’s start.
“As the company that developed and delivered the B-2 Spirit stealth bomber, we look forward to providing the Air Force with a highly-capable and affordable next-generation Long-Range Strike Bomber,” said Wes Bush, chairman, chief executive officer and president, Northrop Grumman.
Meanwhile, the Air Force is playing it close to the vest when it comes to disclosing details — how big, how much payload will it carry, how fast does it fly, even little ones like what the new aircraft is going to be called — besides the B-3. Officials did not release any photos of what the new bomber looks like — or may look like.
Back in 2012, Smithsonian Air & Space magazine asked your 4GWAR editor to imagine what the new aircraft might look like for a stand-alone, special edition. You can see what we — along with some aviation experts and illustrator Paul DiMare — envisioned the bomber of the future might look like.
You can see that image by clicking here.
Who knows, maybe in a year or so we might be seeing the LRSB itself and have a chance to see what we got wrong — or right.