Police Work, Politics and World Affairs, Football and the ongoing search for great Scotch Whiskey!

Thursday, October 11, 2018

A new crowd control technigue from Protlandia....

The usual suspects were protesting the ICE office in Portland OR (not like they would miss work or anything) and the local police objected to them obstructing the office. Now I've used a Taser, a baton, mace, and a bean bag shotgun. But I've never used a paint gun before. It works!

Nice work Portland PD.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Officer Down

Senior Corporal Earl James "Jamie" Givens, III
Dallas Police Department, Texas
End of Watch Saturday, July 21, 2018
Age 55
Tour 32 years
Badge 5484

Senior Corporal Jamie Givens was struck and killed by a drunk driver while conducting a funeral escort for another Dallas police officer at approximately 5:30 am.

The procession was being escorted by motor officers along I-20 to a location in East Texas. Corporal Givens stopped to block traffic entering the highway at Bonnie View Road. He was stationary on his motorcycle, with its emergency lights activated, when he was struck by a vehicle traveling at a high rate of speed.

He was transported to Baylor Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

The driver who struck him was arrested and charged with DUI.

Corporal Givens had served with the Dallas Police Department for 32 years.
Rest in Peace Bro…We Got The Watch

Nemo me impune lacessit

Day is done, Gone the sun, From the lake, From the hills, From the sky. All is well, Safely rest, God is nigh. 

Adam 12...End of Watch

I can't believe it's been a half century since I saw this show for the first time. And yes, I was inspired to a career as a cop by it. Maybe not the most realistic (the social issues of the 60s/70s were a bit simplified, etc), but the struggles and challenges of the street were shown. Here is a great look at Officer Reed and Malloy:
Living with the Sacrifice

with Barbara A. Schwartz

Adam-12 celebrates 50 years on the beat

The TV series introduced the public to LAPD officers Jim Reed and Pete Malloy, inspiring thousands to seek a career in law enforcement

Fifty years ago, on September 21, 1968, Adam-12 premiered on network television during a period of tension between the public and police that was inflamed by news reel images of riots at the Chicago Democratic National Convention one month earlier.

Adam-12 debuted in an atmosphere very much like today,” said Kent McCord, who portrayed LAPD officer Jim Reed, the rookie cop. Pete Malloy was portrayed by the late Martin Milner.

The Adam-12 episode guide reads like it is taken from today’s headlines: Two men with a camera follow Malloy and Reed from call to call and post photos in a newspaper that are taken out of context, sparking a brutality investigation against the officers. In another episode, ambushed officers return fire and kill an 18-year-old black man. Militants stand in front of news cameras and state that the man was “shot in the back” and “executed by the pigs.”

“We did not set out to cure the social ills of the day. The show was about the job, about two good guys in a black and white solving crimes and making people safe,” said McCord.

Retired LAPD Chief Charles Beck notes that we have cycled back in history and that is why Adam-12 remains relevant. “Every episode showed a facet of policing that still exists today,” said Beck.

Los Angeles Police Protective League President Craig Lally agrees: “The show has lasted through history because the scenarios are still the same – a lost child, traffic stops, domestic violence, family disputes and how things can go to crap really fast. This job basically comes down to people call police and police arrive on the call. That hasn’t changed in 50 years.”

Adam-12 changed the public’s perception of police

“The charm of Adam-12 was that we became a window to the public on what two cops in a black and white actually did,” McCord said.

During the first years of the show, officers told McCord and Milner that citizens had started treating them differently. People, especially kids, were no longer afraid to approach them.

“Both Marty and I were quite proud that the show had a positive influence on the profession,” McCord said.

McCord is also proud that for half a century the show has inspired people to pursue a career in law enforcement.

Lally is one of them. He became not only an officer, but an LAPD officer because of Adam-12. A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Lally watched the show as a teen and journeyed 3,000 miles to be like Pete Malloy and Jim Reed.

What drew Lally in was the realism of the show. “It was almost like a training manual. Not just for policing, but also for LAPD policies and procedures,” Lally said.

Bob Cinader, the genius behind the show’s format and realism, mandated that the actors and writers go on ride-alongs.

Milner rode in Van Nuys and McCord rode in North Hollywood.

“Going on those ride-alongs, seeing what it was that officers did, and seeing how officers were treated by the public was one of the big revelations I had. That gave me the perspective I needed to do the show,” McCord said.

LAPD provided sergeants as technical advisors who edited scripts and made suggestions during filming. McCord and Milner trained with academy instructors on defensive tactics and firearms handling.

For Lally and Beck, the most realistic aspect of the show was the relationship between the patrol partners.

McCord admits that wasn’t acting. Their on-screen relationship reflected their off-screen friendship. “I was the luckiest guy in the world to have been associated with Martin Milner. He was not only a great actor, but also a great human being. We hit it off the first time we met.”

Malloy and Reed were the first cops to be videotaped

“Jack Webb warned us when we started the show that we were reflecting on real situations and real professional men and women out there doing the job every day. We would be the public face of that profession. We were becoming part of a small fraternity and to never embarrass it,” said McCord.

McCord believes officers today, under constant video scrutiny, need to heed Webb’s warning. McCord offers acting advice to officers wearing body cameras: “You have to have the mindset that your training officer is always observing you. You have to act and react like the professional you’ve been trained to be. You have to be the example others look up to. Your training is what separates you from those you have sworn to protect and serve.”

Officers can learn from Adam-12

Chief Beck points out that today’s officers can learn from Malloy and Reed. They practiced law enforcement with great morality, treating everyone fairly and with respect regardless of what they had done, and without bias.

“Adam-12 was the ideal of the way you should act as a cop,” said Beck. “They defined what it was to be a professional police officer. They put a human face on a profession that because of its very nature can be authoritative and distant.”

McCord relates a story about an officer who thanked him for what they did on Adam-12. “He said the show saved his life. When I asked him how, he said with the way he had been doing the job it was only a matter of time before he got blown away.”

The officer explained that when he started emulating how Malloy and Reed did things on the show his life and career turned around.

Television needs another Adam-12

Over the years, McCord has proposed similar series to studio executives only to be shot down. Networks wanted flawed characters, with bad cops doing bad things, and McCord refuses to cave in to the pressure.

Most current cop shows fail to portray police in the positive light that Adam-12 did.

McCord believes the entertainment industry has a responsibility in what it presents because TV shows and movies affect what the audience perceives and presumes about cops.

Commitment to officers

Milner and McCord developed a deep understanding of patrol work. Both actors championed the cause of police officers long after the show ended. McCord wore the uniform in real life as a Los Angeles School Police reserve officer. He retired with the rank of lieutenant.

McCord continues to advocate for officers and supports many police charities.

The public expects the police to treat them fairly and be fair. McCord maintains this goes both ways. The public needs to treat the police fairly, too.

“The heroic nature of what these men and women do every time they put on the uniform and go out on the street can’t be minimized. I wish everybody had the opportunity to do what Marty and I did with ride-alongs. That changes your perception very quickly,” said McCord.

Not everyone has the opportunity to ride-along with officers. By watching Adam-12, riding with Malloy and Reed, the public can gain an understanding of what policing with integrity means and what cops throughout this nation stand for and do every day.

“Law enforcement is the most noble of professions when done correctly,” said Beck. “Adam-12 displayed that nobility. That is what made the show great.”

Time flies, and I must disagree with one point. Seeing how well Hollywood remakes of police/crime shows have gone (Ironside, SWAT, Magnum PI) I don't think we need that. And Hollywood would not want a "flawed" character, but corrupt one. All realist characters have their strengths and weaknesses. With few exceptions, TV producers only want to show police as corrupt, racist, lazy, and uncaring. If they could make them ore three dementioanl, fine, but seeing what's coming out now, I doubt it's worth it.

From a few years ago. The final OD for Martin Milner. RIP Friend...We Got The Watch.

Friday, October 5, 2018

Another symptom of a police agency in distress...

The Dallas Police Department (DPD) is hurting, and there is not easy out. Currently it has 2, 900 sworn officers to cover a city of 342 square miles. But that 600 officers less than 2010, including senior brass. And this doesn’t help:
Dallas Police Department Already Losing Some New Recruits

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – A Dallas Police Academy graduate who was set to begin working for the police department Monday, instead turned in her resignation.

The 34 recruits in Academy Class #359 graduated on Friday, offering hope of much needed reinforcement to the department’s dwindling number of officers.

“It’s disappointing, certainly,” said Deputy Chief Bill Humphrey, who oversees personnel and training, of the new officer’s quick departure.

Humphrey recalled another recruit this year who left two days before graduation. “She was going to work for [the] Allen Police Department, City of Allen. They had hired her,” he said. “When you have officers who can make 15, 16, $17,000 more in another city, that speaks to some people.”

An e-mail from Assistant Chief Angela Shaw dated Tuesday shows nine officers of 167 who’ve graduated from the Dallas Police Academy within the last year are no longer with the department. According to the data provided, two recruits left two days after graduation; another quit after six days.

“We’re paying for them to be trained, as well as we’re paying them a salary while they’re being trained, and we’re losing them,” said city council member Jennifer Gates, whose questions prompted Shaw’s e-mail.

On Wednesday city staff estimated Dallas spends about $90,000 on each academy graduate, but there’s nothing requiring them to stay and work for the Dallas Police Department.

“I’ve got a lot of residents in Dallas that are like, “‘What?! We can’t require this?’” said Gates.

“We do pay for all the training. That’s correct, but once you’re out of the Academy, there’s no binding contract. You can stay or you can leave,” confirmed Humphrey.

Smaller police departments in nearby suburbs, that require applicants to already have a Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (TCOLE) license, can sometimes pay better starting salaries, too, enticing officers to jump ship.

“So, essentially, we’re paying for other municipalities’ law enforcement officers to get their TCOLE license,” said Gates.

Council members Wednesday discussed strategies to improve officer retention. And the problem isn’t limited to the police department. Dallas Fire Rescue Chief David Coatney told the city council that he too is losing recruits to higher paying departments. “They’re moving away from us after we train them,” he said...

It’s not just the money. Police all over the country are having problems getting recruits. The cease fire in the War on Cops is too recent, and police in their nature are not trusting people. Plus after seeing what happened in Baltimore and Ferguson, cops are telling their children and friends children, “Don’t become a cop...it ain’t worth it anymore...” Family and friends used to be the feeder for police and fire recruiting. And I've spoken with a few senior officers who have had it with body worn cameras, use of force documentation, and the constant second guessing by brass and civilians who never rode a patrol. Hopefully, with a less hostile federal government, policing can begin to be more assertive. And "women, children and minorities" will be mostly helped.

Officer Down

Corrections Officer Kyle Lawrence Eng
Las Vegas Department of Public Safety - Division of Corrections, Nevada
End of Watch Thursday, July 19, 2018
Age 51
Tour 7 months

Corrections Officer Kyle Eng suffered a fatal heart attack shortly after struggling with an inmate in the Las Vegas Detention Center.

He began to feel ill after the inmate was subdued and went to the bathroom. Other officers found him unconscious in the bathroom and immediately began CPR. He was transported to University Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.

Officer Eng had served with the Las Vegas Department of Public Safety for only seven months.
Rest in Peace Bro…We Got The Watch

Nemo me impune lacessit

Day is done, Gone the sun, From the lake, From the hills, From the sky. All is well, Safely rest, God is nigh. 

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Officer Down

Corrections Officer Joseph Gomm
Minnesota Department of Corrections, Minnesota
End of Watch Wednesday, July 18, 2018
Tour 16 years

Corrections Officer Joseph Gomm was beaten to death by an inmate at Minnesota Correction Facility–Stillwater at approximately 1:30 pm.

He was supervising inmates in the prison's industry building when he was attacked by one inmate with a hammer. Officer Gomm was transported to Regions Hospital, in St. Paul, where he succumbed to his injuries.

Officer Gomm had served with the Minnesota Department of Corrections for 16 years.

Age Not available

Rest in Peace Bro…We Got The Watch

Nemo me impune lacessit

Day is done, Gone the sun, From the lake, From the hills, From the sky. All is well, Safely rest, God is nigh. 

Monday, October 1, 2018

Officer Down

Agent Cadet Immanuel James Washington
Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, Louisiana
End of Watch Wednesday, July 18, 2018
Age 38
Tour 10 years
Incident Date Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Agent Cadet Immanuel Washington suffered a fatal heart attack while participating in morning physical training at the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Training Academy in Baton Rouge.

He had just completed a 2-1/2 mile run with other cadets when he collapsed during a cool-down period. Academy staff immediately began CPR until he was transported to a local hospital. He passed away the following day.

Cadet Washington had served with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries for only three weeks. He had previously served with the Youngsville Police Department and St. Mary Parish Sheriff's Office for 10 years. He is survived by his wife and two young children. He had previously played on the University of Louisiana basketball team.
Rest in Peace Bro…We Got The Watch

Nemo me impune lacessit

Day is done, Gone the sun, From the lake, From the hills, From the sky. All is well, Safely rest, God is nigh. 

The unifying force of of military service...

Since becoming an adult, and having served in the service, I've been opposed to mandatory military service. Occasionally I hear people suggest a peacetime draft, or some type of mandatory national service. One, the Constitution in no way permits the federal government from mandating civilian indentured servitude as a requirement of citizenship (I know, a quaint concept, seeing if the Constitution allows the government to do something). Two, it will degrade the service overall. I expressed my views in an article for the American Thinker two years ago.

But I have to say this article has a interesting look at the composition of our armed forces. While I don't completely agree with the premise (Hunter Biden, the son of the former veep, served in the Navy Reserve), it's worth a read.
America’s Elite Needs to Get Back in Uniform

Military service is a unifying force in a time of deep division.

Odds are that any American reading this article doesn’t have family serving in the military. That’s the case for most Americans, perhaps especially the folks who read Foreign Policy magazine. In the United States, privately educated and upper-income people are strikingly unlikely to serve or to encourage their children to do so—only 3 percent of military recruits attended private high schools—even more so if they’re from the northern or coastal states, which are the most underrepresented areas for recruiting. U.S. military service can seem foreign or frightening. That’s a mistake—and it’s bad for the country.

Military service made no sense to me, once. As a Jewish psychiatrist’s daughter attending Bryn Mawr College and Princeton University, the military was deeply foreign to me.. Then I married into it and converted to the idea of military life...

Respectfully, she is off there. I spent 23 years in the Army and the Army Reserve, I am a daily reader of Foreign Policy. I generally find the officer corp is very well read, especially the more senior officers.

...In the military, and in a military family, you learn to do something very hard and not of your own choosing, for a cause bigger than yourself. You’re working for a cause determined by the mechanisms of democracy, standing side by side with others who are fully committed. Current U.S. civilian life has a striking absence of “common causes”—tasks that remind us that there is more that unites us than divide us.

What makes every serviceperson valuable is not their wealth, SAT score, or political opinions, but that they have sworn to support and defend, as well as bear true faith and allegiance to the U.S. Constitution, no matter the personal cost.

Almost all the people who serve report feeling proud of the work they do—96 percent in the polls from Blue Star Families, the military family organization I lead, —and report that their experience has made them better. Military service affords the opportunity to live in a relatively egalitarian society —the highest-paid general makes 11 times what the lowest-paid private makes.

Military families get subsidized health care, housing, and child care. The military is integrated; it was the first place in the United States where blacks routinely commanded whites and it built the first integrated Southern schools in the late 1940s. The safest place in the United States for an African-American teen outside the home alone at night is probably on a military base.

But perhaps most relevant in a fiercely divisive political climate is that in the military, you learn to be an American.

The Founding Fathers conceived of the U.S. military as a crucial part of a self-governing democracy; a citizen military, not an army of mercenaries or a warrior caste. They devoted more clauses of the U.S. Constitution to the construction of the military than to any other task—17 in total—and embedded responsibility for it in the executive, the legislative, and the states to bind the military to the constitutional democratic process.

But the founders also saw military experience as an essential part of informed civilian governance—a tradition that lasted for nearly two centuries. True, the founders imagined a state-based military—hence the Second Amendment—but they would likely have approved of the first populist incarnation of our modern standing army.

In the 1950s, the majority of the graduating classes from Princeton, Harvard, and Yale went on to serve in the military. In the 1970s, nearly three-quarters of members of Congress were veterans.

Now, just 1 percent of Americans are currently serving, and since the abolition of conscription in 1973, that comes disproportionately from areas and from families with a history of service. Far fewer than 1 percent of top college graduates—those who go on to newsrooms, C-suites, and government committees—have or will serve in the military...

...Kathy Roth-Douquet is CEO of Blue Star Families, a national
military family organization, and co-author, with Frank Schaeffer, of AWOL: The Unexcused Absence of America's Upper Classes From Military Service - And How It Hurts Our Country...

Again, the entire article is worth the read, but I have issues with the basis premise, for two reasons. One I've already posted above and in the American Thinker article. The other is a bit of bias, but so be it. The closer you get to America's elite universities, the more regressive (i.e. leftist) is the faculty, staff, and classes. In other words, the university students are indoctrinated in a way of thinking that is opposed to the United States as it was founded. Putting in radicals into the officer corps will only weaken the service, which only has one purpose, "to win our wars." Until the echelons of higher learning have more diversity of thought, as opposed to skin color, sex, or religion, this is a non-starter. Think I'm a bit crazed in my way of thinking? Well, could there be a more conservative institution than the United States Military Academy at West Point NY? They would never put a crazed leftist into the service, right? Right:

U.S. Army and West Point both respond about ‘official socialist organizer’ and Army officer Spenser Rapone who is espousing Communism

Spenser Rapone went viral after being discovered as a socialist organizer espousing Communism

Spenser Rapone, a West Point graduate and current U.S. Army officer is under fire after being discovered to be a vehement Communist propagandist and ‘official socialist organizer” of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA).

Rapone’s social media is filled with up to hundreds of posts, messages and photos which are now being circulated around the military and civilian communities.

U.S. Army spokesperson Valerie Mongello told American Military News:

“Both the Department of Defense and the Army have long-standing policies encouraging Soldiers to participate in the democratic process. Among other activities, Soldiers are encouraged to vote in elections and express their personal opinions on public issues. However, the Army has strict rules regarding the wear and appearance of Army uniforms.”

“All allegations of improper behavior by Soldiers are forwarded to the Soldier’s commander for review and final disposition. The appropriate Command authorities are reviewing the situation.”

Rapone has posted many images and messages on social media that show his vehement support for communism and socialism.

Rapone is a 2LT (Second Lieutenant) and an infantry officer in the 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum, NY.

He has posted pictures showing his Democratic Socialists of America membership card next to his military uniform along with many other posts...

While some may suggest different viewpoints are good for a diversity of thought, this is not divergent "viewpoints." Questioning the wisdom of the planned invasion of  Iraq as we are deploying to Afghanistan, that is a divergent viewpoint. This is a rejection of the service, the nation it serves, and the Constitution which founded our way of government. This disgrace to the Long Gray Line took an oath, in part, to "...solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion... Thankfully he's no longer in the service, good riddance to bad garbage.

The long march continues. And we don't need that in the service.


An example of why we don’t need the influence of the “smart” people in the service:
‘Castrate their corpses,’ professor says of GOP senators. White ‘genocide!’ Tucker Carlson cries.

Saturday — two days before white 'genocide’

C. Christine Fair would later call the tweet an “experiment.” Not a performance, exactly. Not a trap, really. Certainly not a genocidal death threat, whatever it looked like at first glance.

“Look at [this] chorus of entitled white men,” the Georgetown University associate professor wrote Saturday afternoon, meaning the Republican senators who were defending Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh from sexual assault allegations. “All of them deserve miserable deaths while feminists laugh as they take their last gasps,” she wrote. “Bonus: we castrate their corpses and feed them to swine? Yes.”

An experiment, she insisted. A little bait tossed into the wilds of the Internet, to see what species of hate it would attract.

Unions and competition....

I am not a big fan of forced unionization. Texas is a right-to-work state, where membership in a union is not required for your job. That being said, I've been a member of a union for 20 years because membership is beneficial to me. Particularly, I have five union funded attorney's who will represent me in legal issues arising out of my employment as a cop. Therefore, the union, in the free market, has sold me their services at a price I'm willing to pay. What a concept!

From Reason, a look at the Janusdecision, a few months after it's taken effect:
Unions Change Their Tune on Janus Supreme Court Ruling

It was the end of the world...until it wasn't.

Steven Greenhut | September 28, 2018

The U.S. Supreme Court is attacking working people by destroying public-sector unions. That's the gist of the argument that the union movement has made as the court considered Janus v. the American Federation of State, Municipal and County Employees (AFSCME). Actually, their arguments were far more overheated, both before and after the high court ruled in June that government employees may not be forced to pay dues to unions—even for collective-bargaining purposes.

"The Janus case is a blatantly political and well-funded plot to use the highest court in the land to further rig the economic rules against everyday working people," intoned a typical statement last year from the American Federation of Teachers, in expectation of the decision. "The billionaire CEOs and corporate interests behind this case, and the politicians who do their bidding, have teamed up to deliver yet another attack on working people."

It wasn't only union officials who made apocalyptic predictions. In her dissent, Justice Elena Kagan argued that the decision "will have large-scale consequences." She predicted that "public employee unions will lose a secure source of financial support. State and local governments that thought fair-share provisions furthered their interests will need to find new ways of managing their workforces. Across the country, the relationships of public employees and employers will alter in both predictable and wholly unexpected ways."

Three months after the ruling, however, union supporters have largely changed their tune. In fact, the pro-union website the74million.org argued this week that "Strangely enough, these kinds of apocalyptic predictions have given way to claims that the ruling has had little or no effect on union membership at all." Mike Antonucci concluded that Kagan's warnings may have been wrong. Instead of "wreaking havoc" on contractual relationships dealing with government workers, the main changes have come from union-friendly legislatures that are passing laws designed to mitigate the effects of the ruling. "If governments are designing new ways to manage their workforces, they are keeping it well hidden from view," he argued....

World to end tomorrow, women, children, and minorities hardest hit, got it. The rest of the article is worth the read, but this paragraph says it all:
"...In a January article for the California Policy Center, I wrote, "Even many union officials and their staunchest allies recognize that eliminating mandatory dues could be a boon to unions. It's counterintuitive, but forcing unions to compete for members rather than take their funding for granted will put an end to the complacency that has dogged these noncompetitive institutions." I've also repeatedly warned critics of public-sector unions not to expect the decision to be the death knell for these unions. It's just the beginning of a long process of encouraging unions to focus more on providing benefits rather than on using the political system to achieve their ends...."

You mean the unions are actually cleaning up their act, providing improved/more services for the money, thanks to competition. Who would have thunk of it!

Sunday, September 30, 2018

What's going on in the World Today 180930



Can The U.S. Air Force Add 74 Squadrons?

The U.S. Air Force’s proposal to increase in size by nearly 25% is being greeted with a mix of admiration and skepticism, as it sets the stage for future budget debates.

“The Air Force is too small for what the nation expects of us,” Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson said at the annual Air, Space and Cyber Conference in National Harbor, Maryland, Sept. 17.

Growth would take place over 10 years

Analysts say plan would require 40,000 more airmen

The analysis leading the Air Force to seek 386 squadrons, up from 312, is driven by the 2018 National Defense Strategy, says Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein. The strategy calls on the Air Force to defend the homeland, provide a safe and effective nuclear deterrent, meet a peer threat and deter a near-peer threat while maintaining campaign momentum against global extremism. All these objectives would have to be met while assuming a moderate risk, based on intelligence assessments of the future threat, he says.

While thorough, analysis driving the increase to forces not seen since the Cold War is not complete, Wilson notes. “There are 5-6 more studies due by next March,” she says, stressing that Air Force leadership is not naive about the affordability challenges this plan will face. “We’re engaged in a conversation right now. We haven’t laid out a complete program plan.”

The details are scant. The official breakdown would grow the force by a number of new squadrons (see graph). To equip a force of 386 squadrons, the Air Force will need 182 fighters, 60 bombers, 210 tankers and 15 airlifters over the next decade, according to John Venable, senior research fellow at the Heritage Foundation. Other estimates vary. Byron Callan of Capital Alpha Partners, for instance, projects the force would add 210 fighters, 140 tankers and 50 bombers, resulting in requests of more than $5 billion annually...

Wilson Pegs Initial Space Force Cost At $12.9B

U.S. Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson has outlined a plan to build a Space Development Agency and lay the foundation for a separate military service known as the U.S. Space Force by fiscal 2020.
The first five years of the Space Force is estimated to cost $12.9 billion, according to a Sept. 14 report included in a letter from Wilson to “colleagues.” Space Force funding would come in next February’s fiscal 2020 budget request, and the first year of the Space Force, which would fund the creation of a headquarters and combatant command, would cost $3.3 billion, according to a copy of the letter obtained by Aerospace DAILY.

That new Space Force would include space elements of the U.S. Army, Navy and Marine Corps, as well as the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), but Wilson’s letter to does not make reference to the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, which cooperates extensively with the NRO and uses Earth-observation satellites for mapping purposes.

Wilson proposes having the Space Rapid Capabilities Office assume the duties of a Space Development Agency and declare initial operational capability in fiscal 2019. The Space Rapid Capabilities Office was approved by Congress in 2018 and was given authority to move quickly and efficiently.

“Like the National Reconnaissance Office, the Space Rapid Capabilities Office, fulfilling the role of the Space Development Agency, will be staffed with members from all Services and U.S. government agencies,” the report reads. “We propose other military departments have a direct role in developing capability solutions to ensure sustainment, training, logistics and other organize, train and equip activities fully considered across the Services...”

U.S. Naval Update Map: Sept. 27, 2018




A Military Crackdown in Tajikistan Could Draw in Bigger Powers


- Tajikistan's security forces could soon launch a military operation in the eastern Gorno-Badakhshan region, raising the possibility of a wider conflict.

- The region's proximity to the Tajik-Afghan border could draw in Russia and China, both of which share a strategic interest in containing militancy in the area.

- Military movements by Tajikistan and Russia, as well as potential militant attacks against government and security forces, will determine whether the conflict escalates.
wenty years after a destructive civil war, Tajikistan is potentially facing renewed conflict. The country's military is reportedly deploying troops to the eastern city of Khorugh in preparation for a special operation there, according to opposition sources in Tajikistan. During a meeting with local officials in the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region — the capital of which is Khorugh — on Sept. 15, Tajik President Emomali Rahmon criticized local leaders for their failure to crack down on criminal and drug-trafficking groups in the region, giving them a one-month deadline to "establish order." Rahmon also reportedly replaced many of the top regional posts during his visit, including four deputy regional governors, the head of the regional police department and the head of the regional court...

India: Oil Imports From Iran to Fall Toward Zero in November

What Happened: None of India's major firms are planning on importing any oil from Iran in November, Bloomberg reported Sept. 25.

Why It Matters: Indian imports of Iranian oil could fall to near zero in November, when U.S. sanctions on such shipments will take effect. In addition to a relatively small negative impact on India's economy, the reduction in oil imports from Iran will also increase the pressure on the Islamic republic's struggling economy.

Background: India's government has not ejoyed success in negotiating an exemption from U.S. sanctions on Iranian oil, which will take effect Nov. 5.


Managing Unmanned Flight

UK Companies Look To Push UAS Industry To The Next Level

It has become an accepted article of faith that the commercial unmanned aerial systems (UAS) sector is going to become one of aviation’s biggest future markets in Europe, North America and throughout
the world. To cite just one recent study: In late May, PwC published research that estimated drone
technology could increase the GDP in the UK alone by more than £42 billion ($54
billion) by 2030.

Yet any and all such claims are predicated on such unmanned aircraft being safely and seamlessly integrated into unsegregated airspace. The financial and practical benefits of routine flights by UASs — aka drones — in nationalairspace will only be realized if and when operators have a file-and-fly capability as easy and quick to access as that enjoyed today by pilots of conventional aircraft.

Unfortunately for the boosters of the coming drone revolution, such a system does not yet exist. There are a number of significant obstacles that appear likely to impede immediate progress — from the limited practicability of equipping small drones with sensor suites necessary to avoid inflight collisions, through the lack of any system to achieve regulatory approval, and convincing a skeptical or even hostile public that the touted benefits outweigh the perceived risks...

Poland: Warsaw Hopes to Increase Its Autonomy with a New Canal

The Big Picture

At a time of uncertainty about the future of the global order, Poland is trying to strengthen its strategic autonomy in the defense, energy and trade realms. An ongoing project to build a canal connecting a Polish port to the Baltic Sea is a small piece of the bigger puzzle, which sits in line with Warsaw's overall strategy.

What Happened

The leader of Poland's governing Law and Justice party, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, has promised that Warsaw will soon start building a canal connecting the Baltic Sea and the Vistula Lagoon in the north of the country. Currently, ships using the Polish port of Elblag, in the Vistula Lagoon, can only reach the Baltic Sea through a canal on the Russian side of the lagoon, near Baltiysk in Kaliningrad. To use the Strait of Baltiysk, Poland has to pay navigation rights to Russia. In an interview on Sept. 24, Kaczynski said the canal project will enhance Poland's independence and promised that "the times when Russia dictated what we could or not do on our territory are over..."

Netherlands police arrests foil 'major terrorist attack'

Police in the Netherlands have arrested seven men over an alleged plot to carry out what they describe as a major terrorist attack involving guns and explosives.

Police say the men were trying to source AK47s, hand grenades and bomb materials to carry out their attack.

The men, aged between 21 and 34, were arrested on Thursday.

Three had been arrested previously for trying to travel abroad to join foreign militants.

Prosecutors say the man at the centre of the group is a 34-year-old of Iraqi origin, who was convicted in 2017 for trying to travel to fight for the Islamic State group.

They say they were tipped off about the plot in April 2018 by intelligence services, who said the main suspect wanted to target "a large event in the Netherlands where there would be a lot of victims".

The seven men were arrested in the central city of Arnhem and southern municipality of Weert on Thursday afternoon by anti-terrorism teams from the country's Special Interventions Service (DSI).

Prosecutors believe the suspects wanted to carry out twin attacks involving a bomb and gun attack at an event and a car bomb detonated elsewhere.

"The suspects were in search of AK47s, hand guns, hand grenades, explosive vests and raw materials for several [car] bombs," prosecutors said in a statement...


What Happens When a Major Mexican Cartel Leader Falls?


- As the most powerful and aggressive cartel in Mexico today, the Cartel de Jalisco Nueva Generacion (CJNG) will continue to drive record levels of violence as it battles rivals for control around the country.

- Because of the high levels of violence perpetrated by the CJNG, Mexican authorities will ultimately capture or kill the cartel's leader, Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes – also known as "El Mencho."

- The removal of Oseguera Cervantes, however, is likely to provoke more violence if the CJNG implodes into a host of competing smaller criminal groups.

The attack was almost cinematic: Just over a week ago, gunmen dressed as mariachi musicians shot dead five people at a restaurant in Mexico City's Plaza Garibaldi, a place of attraction for locals and tourists alike. The latest violence to grab the headlines illustrates how cartel figures are now dragging violence with them into the tourist areas and upscale neighborhoods they frequent and inhabit. In fact, an American tourist on her honeymoon was killed by a bullet meant for someone else outside a palatial Mexico City restaurant on July 7...




Taiwan Can Win a War With China

Beijing boasts it can seize the island easily. The PLA knows better.

When Chinese President Xi Jinping spoke to the 19th Party Congress about the future of Taiwan last year, his message was ominous and unequivocal: “We have firm will, full confidence, and sufficient capability to defeat any form of Taiwan independence secession plot. We will never allow any person, any organization, or any political party to split any part of the Chinese territory from China at any time or in any form.”

This remark drew the longest applause of his entire three-hour speech—but it’s not a new message. The invincibility of Chinese arms in the face of Taiwanese “separatists” and the inevitability of reunification are constant Chinese Communist Party themes. At its base, the threat made by Xi is that the People’s Liberation Army has the power to defeat the Taiwanese military and destroy its democracy by force, if need be. Xi understands the consequences of failure here. “We have the determination, the ability and the preparedness to deal with Taiwanese independence,” he stated in 2016, “and if we do not deal with it, we will be overthrown.”

China has already ratcheted up economic and diplomatic pressure on the island since the 2016 election of Tsai Ing-wen and the independence-friendly Democratic Progressive Party. Saber-rattling around the Taiwan Strait has been common. But China might not be able to deliver on its repeated threats. Despite the vast discrepancy in size between the two countries, there’s a real possibility that Taiwan could fight off a Chinese attack—even without direct aid from the United States.

Two recent studies, one by Michael Beckley, a political scientist at Tufts University, and the other by Ian Easton, a fellow at the Project 2049 Institute, in his book The Chinese Invasion Threat: Taiwan’s Defense and American Strategy in Asia, provide us with a clearer picture of what a war between Taiwan and the mainland might look like. Grounded in statistics, training manuals, and planning documents from the PLA itself, and informed by simulations and studies conducted by both the U.S. Defense Department and the Taiwanese Ministry of National Defense, this research presents a very different picture of a cross-strait conflict than that hawked by the party’s official announcements.

Chinese commanders fear they may be forced into armed contest with an enemy that is better trained, better motivated, and better prepared for the rigors of warfare than troops the PLA could throw against them.Chinese commanders fear they may be forced into armed contest with an enemy that is better trained, better motivated, and better prepared for the rigors of warfare than troops the PLA could throw against them. A cross-strait war looks far less like an inevitable victory for China than it does a staggeringly risky gamble.

Chinese army documents imagine that this gamble will begin with missiles. For months, the PLA’s Rocket Force will have been preparing this opening salvo; from the second war begins until the day the invasion commences, these missiles will scream toward the Taiwanese coast, with airfields, communication hubs, radar equipment, transportation nodes, and government offices in their sights. Concurrently, party sleeper agents or special forces discreetly ferried across the strait will begin an assassination campaign targeting the president and her Cabinet, other leaders of the Democratic Progressive Party, officials at key bureaucracies, prominent media personalities, important scientists or engineers, and their families.

The goal of all this is twofold. In the narrower tactical sense, the PLA hopes to destroy as much of the Taiwanese Air Force on the ground as it can and from that point forward keep things chaotic enough on the ground that the Taiwan’s Air Force cannot sortie fast enough to challenge China’s control of the air. The missile campaign’s second aim is simpler: paralysis. With the president dead, leadership mute, communications down, and transportation impossible, the Taiwanese forces will be left rudderless, demoralized, and disoriented. This “shock and awe” campaign will pave the way for the invasion proper.

This invasion will be the largest amphibious operation in human history. Tens of thousands of vessels will be assembled—mostly commandeered from the Chinese merchant marine—to ferry 1 million Chinese troops across the strait, who will arrive in two waves. Their landing will be preceded by a fury of missiles and rockets, launched from the Rocket Force units in Fujian, Chinese Air Force fighter bombers flying in the strait, and the escort fleet itself.

Confused, cut off, and overwhelmed, the Taiwanese forces who have survived thus far will soon run out of supplies and be forced to abandon the beaches. Once the beachhead is secured, the process will begin again: With full air superiority, the PLA will have the pick of their targets, Taiwanese command and control will be destroyed, and isolated Taiwanese units will be swept aside by the Chinese army’s advance. Within a week, they will have marched into Taipei; within two weeks they will have implemented a draconian martial law intended to convert the island into the pliant forward operating base the PLA will need to defend against the anticipated Japanese and American counter-campaigns...


Iran: Attack in Restive Khuzestan Raises Suspicions of Foreign Involvement

The Big Picture

The regional competition between Iran and Saudi Arabia is heating up. As a result, each country is concerned that the other is supporting minority groups in their populations — Saudi Arabia's Shiite community and Iran's Arab community in Khuzestan province — to stir up domestic unrest. In the wake of an attack on a military parade in Ahvaz, Khuzestan's capital, the Iranian government is on guard for signs of foreign support for insurgent groups in the restive region.

What Happened

Four gunmen opened fire on a military parade and celebration in Ahvaz, capital of Iran's Khuzestan province, on Sept. 22. The attack killed at least 25 people — including 12 members of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps — and injured more than 70 others. Though it is still unclear who committed the attack, Iranian officials were quick to point the finger at local separatist groups and at international rivals such as the United States and Saudi Arabia...








Ukraine and Russia Take Their Conflict to the Sea


- As the standoff between Ukraine and Russia intensifies in eastern Ukraine, the Sea of Azov will become a new area of contention.

- Both Ukraine and Russia will increase their military presence in the sea, and Kiev has already announced plans for a new naval base there before the end of the year.
- The military buildup could lead to growing economic disruption of shipping in and out of the sea.

Russia is stronger than Ukraine on the sea, but robust U.S. support for Kiev could alter the situation in the area.

The conflict between Ukraine and Russia has so far been restricted to ground battles over control of eastern Ukraine. Recent developments, however, suggest that the war — now in its fifth year — could soon spread to the sea. On Sept. 16, the Ukrainian government announced plans to create a naval base in the Sea of Azov before the end of the year, four days before President Petro Poroshenko confirmed Kiev's intentions in a speech to parliament. The statements come amid military buildups by both Ukraine and Russia in the Sea of Azov, which have been provoked in part by Moscow's construction of a bridge between Crimea and mainland Russia. The bridge has allowed the latter to harass Ukrainian vessels as part of larger restrictions on its shipping. As a result of the growing tensions, a flare-up is now entirely possible on the Sea of Azov, especially if the United States also brings its weight to bear in the conflict...

Russia's Plans to Deter Israeli Airstrikes in Syria Could Backfire


- Russia will bolster the Syrian air defense network in the wake of the accidental loss of its IL-20 surveillance plane in Syria.

- Its measures to enhance Syria's air defenses will not stop Israel from conducting further airstrikes in the country.

- Israel's insistence on continuing to stage attacks in Syria, combined with Russia's increasing efforts to prevent it from doing so, will improve the chances of the Syrian civil war escalating into a larger conflict.

Russia is trying to avoid disaster in Syria. After a Syrian surface-to-air missile battery accidentally shot down a Russian surveillance plane Sept. 17 while responding to an Israeli attack, Moscow is moving to secure Syria's airspace, as expected. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu announced Sept. 24 that his country would increase its support for Syria's air defense network in hopes of preventing future accidents and "ill-considered actions" by "hotheads" — namely, Israel. But Russia's actions won't stop Israel from carrying out airstrikes against Iranian assets in Syria. In fact, they may raise the risk of an escalation between Iran and Israel...


U.S. removing some missile systems from Middle East: WSJ

(Reuters) - The United States is pulling some of its anti-aircraft and missile batteries out of the Middle East, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday, citing U.S. military officials.

Kuwait says U.S. decision to remove missile systems is routine
The Pentagon will pull out four Patriot missile systems from Jordan, Kuwait and Bahrain next month, the report said, adding that the realignment step marks a shift of focus away from long-lasting conflicts in the Middle East and Afghanistan to tensions with China, Russia and Iran.

Two Patriot missile systems will be redeployed from Kuwait, and one each from Jordan and Bahrain, the report said. Patriots are mobile missile systems capable of shooting down missiles and planes...


India’s Supreme Court Limits Aadhaar, a Sweeping ID Program

The government says its identification system for public services has already saved billions of dollars, but critics are worried about data security and a surveillance state.

NEW DELHI — India’s Supreme Court limited the government’s sweeping national biometric identity system on Wednesday, but found that the program did not fundamentally violate Indians’ privacy rights.

The five-judge panel limited the use of the program, called Aadhaar, to the distribution of certain benefits. It struck down the government’s use of the system for unrelated issues like identifying students taking school exams. The court also said that private companies like banks and cellphone providers could not require users to prove their identities with Aadhaar...

...The decision affects everything from government welfare programs, such as food aid and pensions, to private businesses, which have used the digital ID as a fast, efficient way to verify customers’ identities. Some states, such as Andhra Pradesh, had also planned to integrate the ID system into far-reaching surveillance programs, raising the specter of widespread government spying.

Aadhaar, a Hindi word meaning “foundation,” was initially intended as a difficult-to-forge ID to reduce fraud and improve the delivery of government welfare programs. The plan was to scan the fingerprints, irises and faces of every one of India’s 1.3 billion residents, and then use them to check identity when someone was picking up subsidized rice or joining a government work program.

U.S.: The White House Takes a Quantum Leap

The Big Picture

Technology is a critical theater where China and the United States compete, and quantum information science (QIS) is a key part of that competition. A new strategy paper from the National Science and Technology Council represents the Trump administration's first attempt at developing a QIS policy.

What Happened

A subcommittee of the White House's National Science and Technology Council released a report, the "National Strategic Overview for Quantum Information Science," on Sept. 24. The 15-page document recommends goals for President Donald Trump's administration to pursue to help strengthen U.S. capabilities in quantum information science (QIS). Representatives from companies such as Alphabet, IBM, JPMorgan Chase, Lockheed Martin, Honeywell and Northrop Grumman met at the White House with various academics and government officials to discuss QIS strategy...

Google Maps Is a Better Spy Than James Bond

Open-source intelligence is a vital tool for governments—and for checking them.

Emily Thornberry, a member of the British Parliament, recently made a statement to the House of Commons that “relying on so-called open-source intelligence provided by proscribed terrorist groups is not an acceptable alternative” when it came to identifying the use of chemical weapons in Syria.

Thornberry’s words betray an alarming lack of knowledge not only about the situation in Syria but also about how open-source investigation has revolutionized nation-state and commercial intelligence, journalism, and conflict monitoring. This is particularly worrying because Thornberry is the shadow foreign secretary—the opposition member charged with monitoring foreign affairs and who’s most likely to take the same office if the Labour Party forms a government in the future.

Open-source intelligence, in its simplest form, refers to sources of data that are open; anyone can see and read them if they choose to. The internet, for example, is the greatest collection of open-source data that has ever existed. This vast repository is not only useful for intelligence agencies and private companies; it has also become a vital source for civil society groups to track conflict, fight corruption, and investigate crimes. Open-source intelligence is, in fact, potentially far more reliable and checkable by a democratic public than traditional closed sources...




In Pictures: Stratolaunch PGA Rocket Engine Revealed

Stratolaunch recently unveiled plans to develop a complete launch vehicle family to operate from its giant carrier aircraft. They range from the previously announced Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems Pegasus XL to ‘Black Ice’, a fully reusable spaceplane which, the company says, will eventually be capable of carrying astronauts to low earth orbit.

Designed to power the family of air-launched vehicles unveiled by the company in August, the emergence of the PGA marks a major gambit in Stratolaunch’s bid to take a slice of the growing small- and medium-payload space-launch market...

Friday, September 28, 2018

Officer Down

Police Officer Bronson K. Kaliloa
Hawaii County Police Department, Hawaii
End of Watch Wednesday, July 18, 2018
Age 46
Tour 10 years
Badge 444
Cause Gunfire
Incident Date Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Police Officer Bronson Kaliloa was shot and fatally wounded at approximately 9:30 pm as he and other officers conducted a high-risk traffic stop of a wanted subject on Highway 11, in the area of Kukui Camp Road, in Mountain View.

As officers approached the vehicle the wanted subject exited and opened fire with a handgun, striking Officer Bronson in the neck and leg. Other officers returned fire as the subject fled into a dense area of brush along the roadside.

Officer Kaliloa was transported to a local hospital where he succumbed to his wounds shortly after midnight.

The subject who murdered Officer Kaliloa was located when several associates attempted to smuggle him through a checkpoint in South Point. As a member of the agency's Special Response Team opened the rear hatch of an SUV the subject emerged from underneath a blanket an opened fire, wounding the officer. Other members of the SRT returned fire, killing the subject and wounding one of the other subjects. All of the subjects were taken into custody and held in connection with being accomplices.

Officer Kaliloa had served with the Hawaii County Police Department for 10 years. He is survived by his wife and three young children.
Rest in Peace Bro…We Got The Watch

Nemo me impune lacessit

Day is done, Gone the sun, From the lake, From the hills, From the sky. All is well, Safely rest, God is nigh. 

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

K9 Down

K9 Turbo
Columbia Police Department, South Carolina
End of Watch Saturday, July 28, 2018
Breed Labrador Retriever
Gender Male
Age 2
Tour 7 months
Cause Heat exhaustion
Incident Date Thursday, July 26, 2018

K9 Turbo died as the result of heat exhaustion while in his handler's department vehicle at C.A. Johnson High School.

Turbo had been left in the vehicle, which had its air conditioner on and its windows rolled down, while his handler was participating in active shooter training inside of the high school. When his handler returned at the end of the training Turbo was showing signs of heat exhaustion. He was taken to an animal hospital where he was treated for two days before veterinarians determined it was most humane to euthanize him.

Turbo had served as an explosives detection canine with the Columbia Police Department for seven months.
Rest in Peace Turbo…till our next roll call at the Rainbow Bridge!

In Memory of all Police Dogs

They handled themselves with beauty & grace
And who could ever forget that beautiful face
Whether at work; or at home; whatever the test
They always worked hard; and did their best

They were real champions; at work or at play
But their lives were cut short; suddenly one day
While working on the job with their partner one day
They put themselves out on a limb; out into harms way

They gave the ultimate sacrifice; any dog can give
They gave up their life; so someone could live
The best of their breed; as his partner and anyone would say
Many hearts are now broken; that he had to prove it this way

Now as the trees are blowing in the gentle breeze
The sun is shining; thru the leaves on the trees
The meadows are green; and the grass grows tall
Off in the distance they can see a waterfall

As they look over the falls; down through the creek
The water flows gently; as a rabbit sneaks a peek
Far up above; in the deep blue sky
They see the birds soar high; as they fly by

They see animals playing; at the bridge by a waterfall
Chasing each other; and just having a ball
They play all day; from morning to night
There's no more rain; just warm sunlight

Off in the distance; they hear trumpets blow
Then all the animals look up; and notice a bright glow
The harps would play and the angels would sing
As they know they've come home; they've earned their wings

We remember that they died; in the line of duty
And are now with the Lord; sharing in heaven's beauty
Off to the meadows now; where they can play and roam free
With an occasional rest stop; under a tall oak tree

No more bad guys to chase; or bullets to take
Just a run through the meadow; down to the lake
A quick splash in the water; then back to the shore
Then it's off to the forest; to go play some more

These special dogs are back home; up in heaven above
They're cradled in God's arm's; and covered with His love
We'll light a candle for all of them; in the dark of night
In loving memory of all; these very special knights

By John Quealy

Monday, September 24, 2018

Officer Down

Special Agent Nole Edward Remagen
United States Department of Homeland Security - United States Secret Service, U.S. Government
End of Watch Tuesday, July 17, 2018
Age 42
Tour 19 years
Badge Not available
Military Veteran
Cause Duty related illness
Incident Date Sunday, July 15, 2018

Special Agent Nole Remagen suffered a fatal stroke on July 15th, 2018, while on an executive protection detail for the National Security Advisor during a presidential visit to the Turnberry golf resort in Ayrshire, Scotland.

Other agents immediately began CPR after he collapsed. He was attended to by a White House doctor before being transported to Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow. He passed away on July 17th, 2018.

Agent Remagen was a U.S. Marine Corps veteran. He had served with the United States Secret Service for 19 years and was assigned to the Presidential Protection Division. He is survived by his wife and two children.
Rest in Peace Bro…We Got The Watch

Nemo me impune lacessit

Day is done, Gone the sun, From the lake, From the hills, From the sky. All is well, Safely rest, God is nigh. 

What's going on in the World Today 180924



U.S. Hypersonics Face Uphill Struggle To Match China, Russia

ORLANDO—While the U.S. may have woken to the emerging threat of Chinese and Russian hyper velocity weapons, the nation still faces an uphill battle for hypersonic supremacy, warns Michael Griffin, the Pentagon’s new undersecretary of defense for research and engineering.

Citing technical hurdles, infrastructure neglect and the legacy of “taking a decade-long holiday from the exigencies of great power competition”, Griffin says the tally of critical challenges confronting U.S. hypersonic developers is “a surprisingly longer list than you might think.”

A staunch advocate of hypersonics, Griffin says the issues go well beyond the traditional technical challenges of aerodynamics and propulsion normally associated with high-speed flight. His broad line-up ranges from concerns over the robustness of the supply chain for key technologies like thermal protection systems (TPS) to the poor state of the underfunded U.S. national test infrastructure.

Having “ceded ground” to potential adversaries Griffin says the U.S. also “needs an overarching national strategy, which I cannot honestly say is in place yet. We need to know what the time phasing is, what we are going to deploy early, what we are going to be working on mid-term and to have in place by 2030...”




Japanese Rovers Touch Down on Asteroid Ryugu

Two Japanese mini-rovers touched down on the near-Earth asteroid Ryugu early Sept. 22 and are in motion and transmitting imagery, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) confirms.

The Hayabusa 2 mothership descended from its 20 km. reconnaissance orbit to release the Minerva lander capsule with the two rover/hoppers, Minerva 1a and 1b, on Sept. 21 at 12:06 a.m., EDT.

On Sept. 22, shortly after 8 a.m., EDT, JAXA broke the suspense over the rovers' fate via Twitter. "Both rovers are confirmed to have landed on the surface of Ryugu,” the tweet said. “They are in good condition and have transmitted photos & data. We also confirmed they are moving on the surface."

The Japanese space agency also announced that the mothership, Hayabusa 2, had successfully returned to its 20 km high observation altitude...


Poland: Warsaw's Push for a U.S. Base Faces an Uphill Climb

U.S. President Donald Trump has confirmed that the White House is considering opening a permanent U.S. military base in Poland. Warsaw, which had requested the base, also sought to sweeten the pot: During his visit to the White House on Sept. 18, Polish President Andrzej Duda said his country would like to contribute up to $2 billion for its construction. The proposal is part of a Polish strategy to develop closer political, economic and military ties with the United States to head off potential Russian aggression. Poland's push happens at a bumpy time for its relations with the European Union as the European Commission and Warsaw wrangle over the question of the rule of law in the country. Warsaw, accordingly, wants to show it has friends in high places...








U.S.: Diplomat Floats the Idea of a Treaty With Iran

Speaking at New York's Hudson Institute think tank ahead of next week's key U.N. General Assembly meetings, Brian Hook, the U.S. special envoy for Iran, said Washington was seeking to negotiate a treaty with Tehran that would cover Iran's ballistic missile and nuclear weapons programs.

Is the U.S. Shifting Its Demands?

Hook's statement opens the possibility that the White House may be willing to alter its stance on what it demands from Iran. A narrow agreement over ballistic missiles and the nuclear program would mark a shift from the 12 conditions that the United States set out for Iran before removing the crippling economic sanctions that Washington reinstated after withdrawing from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), as the nuclear deal is commonly known, in May. That list of conditions is tantamount to expecting a full change in Iran's regional behavior and is a non-starter as far as Tehran is concerned. If the United States is scaling back its demands to include only Iran's ballistic missile and nuclear program, then the prospect that Iran would return to the negotiating table becomes more realistic. Including the ballistic missile program would also address a key Republican criticism of the JCPOA...

Iran’s president blames US after attack on military parade

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran’s president on Sunday accused an unnamed U.S.-allied country in the Persian Gulf of being behind a terror attack on a military parade that killed 25 people and wounded 60, further raising regional tensions.

Hassan Rouhani’s comments came as Iran’s Foreign Ministry also summoned Western diplomats over them allegedly providing havens for the Arab separatists who claimed Saturday’s attacks in the southwestern city of Ahvaz.

The Iranian moves, as well as promises of revenge by Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard, come as the country already faces turmoil in the wake of the American withdraw from Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers. The attack in Ahvaz, which saw women and children flee with uniformed soldiers bloodied, has further shaken the country.

Rouhani’s remarks could refer to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates or Bahrain — close U.S. military allies that view Iran as a regional menace over its support for militant groups across the Middle East.

“All of those small mercenary countries that we see in this region are backed by America. It is Americans who instigate them and provide them with necessary means to commit these crimes,” Rouhani said before leaving for the U.N. General Assembly in New York...






North Korea, South Korea: A New Joint Statement Signals Stronger Ties

For South Korea, good news came early out of President Moon Jae In's landmark visit to Pyongyang. On Sept. 18, Moon and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, along with their respective defense ministers, signed the September Pyongyang Joint Declaration.

The statement included two North Korean pledges related to denuclearization. The country pledged to permanently shut down the missile-engine testing facility and missile launchpad at Tongchang-ri with the presence of experts from "related countries." North Korea also said it would take further steps, including the permanent closure of the Yongbyon nuclear facility if the United States takes corresponding steps...

...Seoul is also hoping to break the impasse between Washington and Pyongyang over denuclearization. North Korea has been insisting on a phased approach and requiring progress toward a Korean War peace treaty before it moves forward with denuclearization. But the United States has been pushing for tangible concessions and disclosure of the full program upfront...”


Ukraine and Russia Take Their Conflict to the Sea


- As the standoff between Ukraine and Russia intensifies in eastern Ukraine, the Sea of Azov will become a new area of contention.

- Both Ukraine and Russia will increase their military presence in the sea, and Kiev has already announced plans for a new naval base there before the end of the year.

- The military buildup could lead to growing economic disruption of shipping in and out of the sea.
Russia is stronger than Ukraine on the sea, but robust U.S. support for Kiev could alter the situation in the area.

Technically, both Ukraine and Russia enjoy free use of the Sea of Azov under a 2003 agreement, but Moscow has subjected Ukrainian vessels to its own authorization procedures to traverse the strait since construction began on the bridge in April 2015. The Russian Transport Ministry has periodically closed access to all Ukrainian ships after a July 2017 order that enabled Russia to deny access to the Sea of Azov to any vessels except Russian warships during certain timespans. Russia duly shut off access during Aug. 27-29 and Oct. 11-13 last year. (Compounding Ukraine's problem is the design of the bridge, which is too low for Panamax vessels, which accounted for about 23 percent of all ship traffic in the area in 2016, to pass through.)

As a result, cargo flows from Mariupol have dropped 27 percent, from more than 8.9 million tons in 2015 to 6.5 million tons in 2017; from Berdyansk, they have fallen 47 percent, from 4.5 million tons in 2015 to just 2.4 million tons in 2017. Before the Ukraine conflict, freight traffic was much higher, with 15 million tons of cargo passing through Mariupol in 2013 alone...


Russia to upgrade Syrian air defences

The Il-20 aircraft was returning to a Russian base on the north-western coast of Syria (file photo)
Russia is to send new anti-aircraft missiles to Syria, a week after Syrian forces accidentally shot down a Russian aircraft during an Israeli air strike.

Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said that the S-300 surface-to-air missile defence system would be delivered within two weeks.

Fifteen Russian military personnel were killed when the reconnaissance aeroplane was downed on 17 September.

Syria and Russia say Israel was to blame, but it denies responsibility.

In remarks quoted by Russian news agency Interfax, Mr Shoigu said the delivery of the system had been suspended in 2013 following a request from Israel, but added: "Now, the situation has changed. And it's not our fault."

Russian plane downed in Syria: What may happen next?

Why is there a war in Syria?

"In parts of the Mediterranean adjacent to Syria, there will be radio-electronic jamming of satellite navigation, onboard radars and communications systems used by military aircraft attacking targets in Syrian territory," he said.

The systems will also be able to track and identify Russian aircraft.

Russia is supporting President Bashar al-Assad in Syria's civil war.

What happened last week?

The incident is reported to have occurred about 35km (22 miles) from the Syrian coast as the Ilyushin Il-20 aircraft was returning to Russia's Hmeimim airbase near the north-western city of Latakia.

Russia's Tass news agency said at the time that the plane "disappeared during an attack by four Israeli F-16 jets on Syrian facilities in Latakia province"...


Trump Has a New Weapon to Cause ‘the Cyber’ Mayhem

The U.S. president and his advisor John Bolton want to take the gloves off in cyberspace—but experts worry offensive attacks could backfire.

The White House took a first step this week to fulfill President Donald Trump’s campaign pledge to launch “crippling, crippling” cyberattacks on adversaries to protect U.S. computer systems, unveiling a new strategy that will allow the United States to take the offensive in cyberspace. But experts warn that the new cyber strategy risks exposing the United States to blowback and turning the internet into a Wild West of hacking operations.

In rolling out the administration’s new “National Cyber Strategy,” National Security Advisor John Bolton said that Trump had removed restrictions on the use of offensive cyber-operations and replaced them with a more permissive legal regime that gives the Defense Department and other agencies greater authority to penetrate foreign networks to deter hacks on U.S. systems.

“Our hands are not tied as they were in the Obama administration,” Bolton said.

Bolton described the new authority as part of an effort to “create powerful deterrence structures that persuade the adversary not to strike in the first place.” Decision-making for launching some attacks will be moved down the chain of command; previously, offensive cyber-operations generally required the approval of the president. Those envisioned in the new policy will include both offensive and defensive actions, only some of which may be made public, Bolton said..




Space: The Final Frontier for War?

The U.S. military will continue to debate the relative merits of creating a Space Force that is separate from the other branches of the U.S. armed forces.

In the absence of international standards regulating conduct in space, the risks will grow that the United States, China and Russia will accelerate their own efforts to militarize the theater.

Treaties stipulating a blanket ban on weapons in space are unlikely to succeed in the foreseeable future because of their significant limitations and concerns over the ability to verify compliance.

"Space is a war-fighting domain." It's a mantra that U.S. officials have been stating ever since the Chinese blew up their own weather satellite during an anti-satellite missile test in 2007. Eleven years on, it's a phrase that U.S. President Donald Trump repeated in March in making the case for the creation of a Space Force. Although there is a growing awareness of the militarization of space — and that the area around Earth is indeed a potential theater of war — the Space Force debate remains a predominantly bureaucratic and organizational one. But while enhanced defense in space is important, it alone will not solve the root danger of the growing risk of an extraterrestrial war among terrestrial powers..

Build Small Nuclear Reactors for Battlefield Power

There’s not much the U.S. military does that’s more dangerous than trucking fuel through a war zone. In 2009, the Army found that one soldier died for every 24 fuel convoys in Afghanistan. So if a better way could be found to generate electricity at remote bases — that’s what most of the fuel is used for — it could greatly reduce the risks to our military.

A solution could be a new micro-nuclear reactor being developed by Los Alamos National Laboratory and the Westinghouse power company. Built around heat-pipe technology, this inherently safe microreactor has no cooling water or pumps that can fail, uses passive regulation systems so that it cannot melt down, and can generate at least 1 megawatt of safe, reliable power for 10 years or more. A megawatt is enough electricity for roughly a military brigade, some 1,500 to 4,000 soldiers.

Most importantly, it’s small. The reactor core itself is about the size of the garbage can that you roll down to your curb each week. The entire microreactor system will fit on the back of a semi-truck or on a small ship. It’s small enough to bring to remote areas and islands, greatly reducing the need to send fuel convoys and troops into harm’s way...

U.S. Air Force Prepares For Future Of GPS III

GPS, the military satellite system that underlies $74 billion in business from banking to agriculture to taxi services is so easy to take for granted that it is viewed as a public utility.

“We consider to have GPS on our phones [and] our watches like turning on a light switch or a faucet and getting electricity or water,” says NASA’s Tim Dunn, a launch director at Kennedy Space Center. “It’s always there—it should be there.”

In order for that type of reliability to be maintained, 24 of the 31 satellites—four slots in six orbital planes—must be operational at any given time.

The second GPS III satellite is in storage, ready for launch

The Air Force has yet to award a contract for GPS III

The U.S. Air Force is poised to begin launching the first of 10 Lockheed Martin-made GPS spacecraft. After more than a year in storage, the first new GPS III satellite is scheduled to launch Dec. 15 on a SpaceX Falcon 9 from Cape Canaveral AFS in Florida. It arrived there last month, a decade after Lockheed Martin won an initial contract to develop and build two satellites for $1.5 billion. The Air Force is currently checking out the satellite to make sure it is fully operational before launch.