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

Friday, August 17, 2018

Officer Down


Police Officer Charles G. Irvine, Jr.
Milwaukee Police Department, Wisconsin
End of Watch Thursday, June 7, 2018
Age 23
Tour 2 years
Badge 2353

Police Officer Charles Irvine was killed in a single-vehicle crash while pursuing another vehicle.

His patrol car left the roadway and collided with a support wall of an overpass at the intersection of West Silver Spring Drive and North 76th Street. Officer Irvine suffered fatal injuries in the crash. His partner was transported to a local hospital with serious injuries.

Officer Irvine had served with the Milwaukee Police Department as a sworn officer for two years and was assigned to the Fourth District. He had previously served with the department as a Police Aide for two years. He is survived by his fiancee, mother, brother, and grandparents.
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. 

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Why am I not surprised...the DOJ wants to emasculate a police force.

And women, children, and minorities will be hardest hit.

One of the great results of the end of the Obama regime is the war on cops has been slowed. But it's not over yet. The bureaucracy is still going hard and fast against local police, the premice of what they are concerned over is a lie (Hands Up! Don't Shoot!), and if others get hurt in the process, they are still going for the goal. Federalization of local and state police. And we see another example of the DOJ needing a purging:
ACLU, Black Lives Matter say plans to reform the Chicago police don't go far enough

Chicago police officers would be encouraged to avoid arresting people over minor offenses and would need permission from supervisors to make arrests related to certain infractions under a proposal by activist groups involved in the litigation over potential reforms to the troubled Police Department.

On Tuesday morning, the groups — which include the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois and Black Lives Matter Chicago — released their first organized responses to the proposed court agreement Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan introduced last month.

The criticisms are an attempt to influence the draft of the consent decree before it is submitted to a federal judge, which is expected to happen by early September. The activist organizations, the Emanuel administration and Madigan’s office are still wrangling over details of a potential court order that would eventually serve as a judicially enforceable mandate governing how officers use force and how they will be held accountable, among other issues...

...The groups proposed that the department be required to create a policy that encourages officers to use the “least intrusive response appropriate under the circumstances as reasonably understood by the officer at the time” in dealing with minor offenses. The suggested policy would encourage police to give warnings or divert people to “mediation or public health program(s)” rather than citing or locking them up. For a number of offenses, a supervisor would need to approve the arrest “unless not practicable under the circumstances.” Those crimes range from gambling and prostitution offenses to obstructing, resisting or assaulting a police officer

The activist groups also want the department to be forced to enact a policy on foot pursuits, which have often led to shootings and other uses of force. The consent decree proposed by Emanuel and Madigan leaves room for the creation of a policy but does not mandate it.

And the groups want officers to report every incident in which they point a Taser or a gun at a person, or even draw their firearms. The question of whether the department will have to report instances in which cops aim guns at people has been a sticking point between Madigan’s office and the Emanuel administration. Madigan’s office wants the incidents reported, and city officials apparently do not.

The potential consent decree would be one of the most substantive consequences of the scandal sparked in late 2015 by the release of video of Officer Jason Van Dyke, who is white, shooting black teenager Laquan McDonald 16 times. Van Dyke is scheduled to stand trial on murder charges next month.

The video touched off heated protests and led to an investigation of the police force by the U.S. Department of Justice. That inquiry led to a January 2017 report that described a broken Police Department in which badly trained police officers have engaged in brutality and misconduct with little fear of consequences...

OK, you give cops fear of consequences, such as being assertive and going out to prevent crime, there will be a reaction. Cops will simply log on at the beginning of the shift, answer their calls for service, go home at the end of the shift, and not care if they pass by a man getting assaulted or a woman getting her purse grabbed.

Do you want evidence of this? I posted on this in American Thinker last year. A point I made in that article was cops are, by their nature, not trusting. You screw them over and over, and then make correction, it will take time before they believe it.

Rahm Emanuel, the fish have been delivered to your door. But don't worry, the city will still elect you again and again. You have the magical "D" behind your name, and I don't see them ready for their own Rudy Giuliani. Yet.

God help the people of Chicago.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Officer Down


Collection Operations Manager Christopher Todd Bacon
United States Department of Homeland Security - Customs and Border Protection - Office of Intelligence, U.S. Government
End of Watch Thursday, June 7, 2018
Age 51
Tour 22 years

Collection Operations Manager Christopher Bacon was killed in a vehicle crash near the intersection of U.S. 2 and County Road 46 near Crookston, Minnesota.

His department vehicle struck the back of a tractor-trailer at approximately 1:00 pm.

Manager Bacon was a U.S. Army veteran. He had served with the United States Customs and Border Protection for 22 years and was assigned to the CBP Office of Intelligence Collection in Grand Forks, North Dakota. He is survived by his wife and four 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. 

Monday, August 13, 2018

Officer Down


Trooper First Class Walter Greene
Connecticut State Police, Connecticut
End of Watch Thursday, May 31, 2018
Age 51
Tour 28 years
Cause 9/11 related illness
Location New York
Incident Date Tuesday, September 11, 2001
Weapon Aircraft; Passenger jet

Trooper First Class Walter Greene died from illnesses he contracted while inhaling toxic materials as he participated in the rescue and recovery efforts at the World Trade Center site following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.

Trooper Greene and his canine, along with other members of the Connecticut State Police's search and rescue team, had responded to the World Trade Center immediately following the attacks to search for possible survivors.

Trooper Greene was a U.S. Marine Corps veteran and had served with the Connecticut State Police for 28 years. He is survived by his wife and three sons.

On the morning of September 11th, 2001, seventy-two officers from a total of eight local, state, and federal agencies were killed when terrorist hijackers working for the al Qaeda terrorist network, headed by Osama bin Laden, crashed four hijacked planes into the World Trade Center towers in New York City, the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, and a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

After the impact of the first plane into the World Trade Center's North Tower, putting the safety of others before their own, law enforcement officers along with fire and EMS personnel, rushed to the burning Twin Towers of the World Trade Center to aid the victims and lead them to safety. Due to their quick actions, it is estimated that over 25,000 people were saved.

As the evacuation continued, the South Tower unexpectedly collapsed as a result of the intense fire caused by the impact. The North Tower collapsed a short time later. Seventy-one law enforcement officers, 343 members of the New York City Fire Department and over 2,800 civilians were killed at the World Trade Center site.

A third hijacked plane crashed into a field in rural Pennsylvania when the passengers attempted to re-take control of the plane. One law enforcement officer, who was a passenger on the plane, was killed in that crash.

The fourth hijacked plane was crashed into the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, killing almost 200 military and civilian personnel. No law enforcement officers were killed at the Pentagon on 9/11.

The terrorist attacks resulted in the declaration of war against the Taliban regime, the illegal rulers of Afghanistan, and the al Qaeda terrorist network which also was based in Afghanistan.

On September 9th, 2005, all of the public safety officers killed on September 11th, 2001, were posthumously awarded the 9/11 Heroes Medal of Valor by President George W. Bush.

The contamination in the air at the World Trade Center site caused many rescue personnel to become extremely ill and eventually led to the death of several rescue workers.

On May 1st, 2011 members of the United States military conducted a raid on a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, and killed Osama bin Laden.

Please click here to visit the memorials of all of the law enforcement officers killed in this terrorist attack.
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. 

Friday, August 10, 2018

Officer Down


Sergeant Daniel Scott Baker
Dickson County Sheriff's Office, Tennessee
End of Watch Wednesday, May 30, 2018
Age 32
Tour 10 years
Badge 95

Sergeant Daniel Baker was shot and killed while responding to a call about a suspicious vehicle in the area of Sam Vineyard Road and Tidwell Switch Road.

Dispatchers lost contact with Sergeant Baker after he arrived at the scene and other officers were sent to make contact with him. His vehicle was tracked by GPS and located several miles away by an officer from another agency. His body was located inside of the vehicle.

The subject who shot him was found days later and was arrested with Sgt. Baker's handcuffs.

Sergeant Baker was a U.S. Marine Corps veteran and had served with the Dickson County Sheriff's Office for 10 years. He is survived by his wife, children, and family including his father and stepbrother, who serve as law enforcement officers with the Spring Hill Police Department.
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, August 8, 2018

Officer Down


Special Agent in Charge David J. LeValley
United States Department of Justice - Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Government
End of Watch Saturday, May 26, 2018
Cause 9/11 related illness
Location New York
Incident Date Tuesday, September 11, 2001

Special Agent in Charge David LeValley died as the result of cancer that he developed following his assignment to assist with search and rescue efforts at the World Trade Center site immediately following the 9/11 Terrorist Attacks.

He spent several weeks at the contaminated World Trade Center site.

Special Agent LeValley had served with the FBI for 22 years and was assigned to the Atlanta Field Office.

On the morning of September 11th, 2001, seventy-two officers from a total of eight local, state, and federal agencies were killed when terrorist hijackers working for the al Qaeda terrorist network, headed by Osama bin Laden, crashed four hijacked planes into the World Trade Center towers in New York City, the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, and a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

After the impact of the first plane into the World Trade Center's North Tower, putting the safety of others before their own, law enforcement officers along with fire and EMS personnel, rushed to the burning Twin Towers of the World Trade Center to aid the victims and lead them to safety. Due to their quick actions, it is estimated that over 25,000 people were saved.

As the evacuation continued, the South Tower unexpectedly collapsed as a result of the intense fire caused by the impact. The North Tower collapsed a short time later. Seventy-one law enforcement officers, 343 members of the New York City Fire Department and over 2,800 civilians were killed at the World Trade Center site.

A third hijacked plane crashed into a field in rural Pennsylvania when the passengers attempted to re-take control of the plane. One law enforcement officer, who was a passenger on the plane, was killed in that crash.

The fourth hijacked plane was crashed into the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, killing almost 200 military and civilian personnel. No law enforcement officers were killed at the Pentagon on 9/11.

The terrorist attacks resulted in the declaration of war against the Taliban regime, the illegal rulers of Afghanistan, and the al Qaeda terrorist network which also was based in Afghanistan.

On September 9th, 2005, all of the public safety officers killed on September 11th, 2001, were posthumously awarded the 9/11 Heroes Medal of Valor by President George W. Bush.

The contamination in the air at the World Trade Center site caused many rescue personnel to become extremely ill and eventually led to the death of several rescue workers.

On May 1st, 2011 members of the United States military conducted a raid on a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, and killed Osama bin Laden.

Please click here to visit the memorials of all of the law enforcement officers killed in this terrorist attack.
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, August 7, 2018

A look at a major issue in our armed forces....

A friend posted this link on Facebook and it is a very interesting read. Last year, I was reviewing an article on the current state of the Army and the author made the point, the Army is broken. However, unlike in the post Vietnam era, there is no leadership coming up and vowing we will fix this:
...The army is in a free fall and the situation is even more dire than those dark days in the early and mid- 1970’s, when the army was reeling from a myriad of problems: a hostile public who never understood the sacrifices made in Southeast Asia and the heroism of its soldiers there; from drug problems, criminals gangs and race riots in the barracks.

The army was broken after Vietnam, but most of its senior leaders were stronger than those today, and they upheld the values of the institution. With the help of young officers and NCO’s who had survived Vietnam, they vowed to rebuild the army and create an all-volunteer, highly-motivated, modern force which, if called upon to fight a war, would go all the way and never look back.

General Fred Franks, who commanded VII Corps in the Gulf War and who lost a leg in Cambodia in 1970, referred to an almost religious devotion among the army’s leadership to rebuild it. Franks called it ‘the hot blue flame that burned brightly.’

After Vietnam, the problems in the army were mainly at the bottom, unlike today, where the army and the military is a fish rotting from its head.

In the 1970’s, under leadership from people like Bill DePuy, Shy Meyer, Donn Starry, Glen Otis and Dick Cavazos the army developed a new doctrine for war known as air land battle, and received new equipment most commonly known as the Big Five: the M1 Abrams tank, the Bradley, the Apache, the Blackhawk and the Patriot. The army now had equipment that outclassed most of what the Soviet Army and its Warsaw Pact allies possessed.

Most importantly, the army had a new breed of soldiers; they were volunteers who wanted to serve; they were tough, smart and better paid. Some wanted to make it a career, others wanted to earn enough money to go to college. Some were there for the mere adventure. Under the leadership of Vietnam vet NCO’s; men who knew what went wrong and more importantly, how to insure the mistakes never happened again, the army was reborn...
Something I learned ages ago, wars are fought by nations, but they are won by men in battle. And as our national leadership looses awareness of that fact, the more dangerous our world becomes.

I've discovered this website, War on the Rocks, and the columns are very interesting. I found this article on the needs for a close combat training facility very insightlfull.
When Dauntless Isn’t Enough: The Moral and Strategic Imperative to Fix America’s Close Combat Units

Nearly 80 years ago, the German blitzkrieg took Europe by storm. Often lost in discussions about the German military’s panzers and Luftwaffe is that the assault on France would have never succeeded had it not been for “the remarkable performance of the German infantry.” Yes, it was the world’s best infantry small units that set the conditions for the German blitzkrieg in Sedan, France, allowing Germany to capture almost all of Western Europe in a month’s time. When the German Army was stopped at the Meuse River in Sedan, these small units, led by carefully selected and trained sergeants, crossed the water obstacle via small boats and then rapidly destroyed dozens of “pillbox” positions that anchored the French defensive system. The speed in which the Wehrmacht’s close combat “storm-troopers” destroyed these positions enabled their armor forces to cross the Meuse and continue their attack to the English Channel faster than the French could respond.

Fast-forward four years to Operation Overlord, when thousands of American and allied infantry formations crossed this channel with a mission to destroy the German military. At Normandy’s landing beaches and in the bocage, or hedgerows, just beyond them, German infantrymen were dug-in and determined to halt the allied assault. Most War on the Rocks readers are likely familiar from watching Saving Private Ryan with what happened to Alpha Company of the 116th Regimental Combat Team at Omaha Beach’s Dog Green Sector. While certainly tragic, what happened to 39,000 infantrymen in the six weeks after D-Day as they attempted to bust out of the bocage was far worse. The casualty learning curve — measured in blood — for multiple U.S. infantry divisions exceeded 100 percent. Infantrymen lucky enough to survive the brutal, close-in combat learned hard lessons, adapted, and taught thousands of combat replacements better ways to fight, including more effective ways to employ combined arms. These efforts eventually enabled the destruction of the German infantry units in the bocage. Similar to the panzer dash to Dunkirk in 1940, the courageous actions and severe butcher’s bill of U.S. infantry units were what ultimately enabled Patton’s race to Berlin...

...Realities for America’s Infantrymen in a World with Nuclear Weapons

Since 1945, U.S. policymakers have sent the nation’s close combat personnel into battle in every decade, including the past 17 years without interruption. In these conflicts, America’s infantrymen have suffered more than 80 percent of the nation’s casualties...

...Yet, today, only 19 percent of the Marine Corps’ 648 active-duty infantry rifle squads are led by the appropriately trained, sergeant squad leader that they are required to have. No, that wasn’t a typo. Only 19 percent of what are, in theory, the most important units in the Marine Corps are led by someone with the currently required training and experience. But even when that standard is met, it is not enough. Multiple Marine War on the Rocks authors, including an infantry sergeant, have described how current Marine training is insufficient and unrealistic. While the U.S. Army has figured out ways to place more experienced soldiers in charge of their infantry squads, small unit leadership development is insufficient and realistic training deficiencies are also systemic, as highlighted by Maj. Gen. Robert Brown, a recent Maneuver Center for Excellence commander, and John Spencer of West Point’s Modern War Institute. Special Operations Command appears to have figured out how to meet both the small unit leader experience and training requirements. But that command doesn’t have the necessary capacity to meet American policymaker demand on its own.

Most of the costs involved in fixing these problems would be rounding errors in the defense budget. So why do these problems persist? Simply because the simple solutions to fix them are routinely met with resistance. And this resistance comes either from misinformed priorities or inaccurate claims of insufficient funding...

Something’s got to give. And, to date, manning, equipping, and training (and optimally supporting) the nation’s close combat forces has borne the brunt of the cost. Rep. Niki Tsongas, the ranking member of the House Armed Services tactical air and land forces subcommittee, recently highlighted her concerns with this funding imbalance: “While the Marine Corps certainly has a need for aircraft of many types, the ratio of spending on aircraft compared to ground equipment is striking.”

I would add the Pentagon itself has often missed out on defense cuts. The Army has lost divisions and brigades, but the staff of DA just keeps getting larger and larger. For some reason we need "diversity specalists," but we won two world wars without them.
...Is this what is best for America?

Ultimately, this is why fixing the described infantry manning problem, as senior Army and Marine leaders have discussed for years now, is central to achieving the goal of U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis’ “Close Combat Study.” We will explain in a future article what’s being done across the board to fix these problems, but now we want to focus on one vital solution: the creation of a world-class, joint close combat leader training center to certify those given the privilege to lead the .02 percent of the American population that serve in U.S. infantry units.

Why a Joint Close Combat Leader Training Center?

To answer this question, let us consider a bit more history. During World War II and the Korean conflict, the “exchange ratio” for American air forces was extremely favorable. The ratio between enemy and friendly killed in air-to-air combat over Europe versus the German Luftwaffe was nine to one and, against Japan, 13 to one. In Korea, against North Korean and Russian pilots, the advantage was also 13 to one. For a time in Vietnam, however, the ratio dropped embarrassingly: In 1967, it approached parity.

The response within the Air Force and Navy was immediate and dramatic. Both services began to restore traditional dominant ratios by creating advanced tactical fighter schools, made famous by Tom Cruise: Top Gun for the Navy and Red Flag for the Air Force. These services’ air components, joined in 1978 by the Marine Corps’ aviation combat element’s MAWTS-1, quickly developed new tactics for air-to-air combat. The shock and embarrassment of this tough era also led to the development of a new series of aircraft, such as the F-15, F-16, and F-18. Since Vietnam, these aircraft, in the hands of American and Israeli pilots, have achieved incredible exchange ratios, well over 200 to one...

...Time for a Joint Close Combat Leader Training Center

This center’s primary mission should be to certify America’s joint close combat leaders. This should be done by providing annually three 14-week long certification courses. This is slightly longer than Top Gun and almost half the length of the Air Force’s Weapons School. To ensure sufficient capacity for all of the services and key allied infantry leaders, each course should have space for 450 students, who, upon graduation, return to lead their pre-assigned units for a period of no less than two years. The center’s secondary mission should be to lead joint close combat experimentation efforts. These experimentation efforts can occur during the close combat leader certification courses and in the time periods between classes.

The center’s commanding general should be a follow-on assignment for the commander of Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC). Bringing this level of experience and expertise to the mission is increasingly critical as the U.S. defense secretary continues to emphasize the need for Marine and Army close combat units to perform missions that have typically been thought of as falling in the domain of special operations. The general’s instructor cadre should comprise the most capable and successful non-commissioned and staff non-commissioned officer close combat leaders from across JSOC, SOCOM, the Marine Corps, the Army, and America’s closest allies’ military forces. An elite cadre of civilian personnel should support the commanding general by operating the command’s combat conditioning and health center, as well as the immersion simulation, additive manufacturing, and experimentation laboratory facilities.

Fort Bliss in Texas would be an optimal location for enabling close combat leaders to gain maximum proficiency in employing live ordnance, including from long-range, joint firing platforms. Fort Bliss also enables close combat leaders to train with the variety of information warfare capabilities that can support their units. Equally important, Fort Bliss is home to the Army’s world-class Sergeants Major Academy. The joint force’s top enlisted leaders attend the Sergeants Major Academy. These senior enlisted leaders can provide countless benefits in the development of the nation’s future close combat leadership.

The center’s core complex should include a world-class training facility comprising a combat conditioning and health facility similar to elite collegiate Division I sports’ programs. It should also have an enhanced and expanded, multiple hundred-thousand square foot infantry immersion simulation laboratory. This simulation facility should take the Camp Pendleton “tomato factory” and tactical decision kit models to an entirely new level: Think “tomato factory on steroids.” Additionally, the center should have combined arms urban and subterranean facilities similar to Marine Corps Base 29 Palms’ Range 230 and Range 220, as well as an artificially created jungle warfare training area. The complex should also include an additive manufacturing shop modeled on those recently used by ISIL, although projected forward to what a group like this will have in ten years. This shop should be part of the command’s joint close combat force experimentation laboratory. And the headquarters should have a subordinate command located at the Mountain Warfare Training Center in Bridgeport, California, where each class will conduct three weeks of mountain and cold weather training.

The course design should consist of the following five phases:

Phase I: Core Foundation (four weeks in length and then integrated throughout the course, with a train-the-trainer approach)

Physical training and nutrition on par with Division I collegiate athletes;

Hand-to-hand close combat instruction;

Teaching the students how to train their small units;

How the brain works, with emphasis on decision-making and the brain under extreme stress;

Human factors and Killology;

Threat doctrine focused on China, Russia, North Korea, and Iran, as well as Al Qaeda, ISIL, and other violent extremist organizations;

Marksmanship, day and night (daily repetitions);

Joint command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance;

Joint kinetic combined arms integration;

Joint non-kinetic, or information warfare, capabilities integration;

Joint assault support — waterborne, surface, and aircraft — integration;

Manned-unmanned teaming integration;

Additive manufacturing impact on combat;

Tactical combat casualty care;

And Phase I comprehensive physical, mental and psychological exam; must pass to advance.

Phase II: Urban Combat Foundation (three weeks, with JSOC operator mentors)

Case Studies: Monte Cassino (1944), Okinawa (1945), Seoul (1950), Hue (1968), Baghdad (2003), Najaf (2004), Fallujah (2004-2007), Ramadi (2004-2007), Al Qaim and Tal Afar (2005), Sadr City (2008), and Mosul (2017);

Eighty small unit, force-on-force, combat simulation repetitions for each student based on the above case studies;

Eighty small unit live-fire repetitions for each student based on the above case studies;
Inter-service and Special Operations Command urban combat competition;

And Phase II comprehensive physical, mental and psychological exam.

Phase III: Thick Vegetation and Jungle Combat Foundation (three weeks in length, with JSOC operator mentors)

Case Studies: Guadalcanal (1942), Normandy bocage (1944), Leyte (1944), Ia Drang Valley (1965), Binh Nghia (1966-1967), Cu Chi (1966-1967), Khe Sanh (1968), and Sangin (2010-2011);
Eighty small unit, force-on-force, combat simulation repetitions for each student based on the above case studies;

Eighty small unit live-fire repetitions for each student based on the above case studies;
Inter-service and SOCOM thick vegetation and jungle combat competition;

And Phase III comprehensive physical, mental and psychological exam.

Phase IV: Mountain and/or Cold Weather Combat Foundation (three weeks in length, Bridgeport, California, with JSOC operator mentors)

Case Studies: Liri Valley (1944), Ardennes counter-offensive (1944-1945), Chosin Reservoir (1950), Khe Sanh (1968), Dong Ap Bia (1969), Shah-i-kot Valley (2002), Abbas Ghar (2005), Wanat (2008), Ganjgal (2009), and Kamdesh (2009);

Eighty small unit, force-on-force, combat simulation repetitions for each student based on the above case studies;

Eighty small unit live-fire repetitions for each student based on the above case studies;

Inter-service and Special Operations Command mountain and/or cold weather combat competition;

And Phase IV comprehensive physical, mental and psychological exam; must pass to advance.

Phase V: Certification Week and Graduation Ceremony (one week in length, with JSOC operator mentors)

Every student must pass a final comprehensive physical, mental and psychological exam to receive certification as a U.S. close combat leader;

Graduates are given special recognition in their records as one of America’s close combat leaders, promotion priority, and monthly close combat leader pay.

Establishing a joint close combat leader training center with the proposed leadership and instructor cadre, who have access to world-class facilities on par with those that exist for collegiate athletes and the services’ aviation components at Fallon Naval Air Station, Nellis Air Force Base, and Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, is a long overdue and vital step. This step will ensure that Gen. Dunford’s intent to never again send America’s close combat units into a fair fight is met. Additionally, in one of, if not the most rapidly changing and complex security environment the U.S. military has ever encountered, this step will ensure America’s close combat units can constantly learn, adapt, and share the best tactics, techniques, and procedures to gain maximum advantage against all potential adversaries.

Retired Major General Bob Scales is a former Commandant of the Army War College, an artilleryman and author of the book Scales on War: The Future of America’s Military at Risk, published by the Naval Institute Press.

Scott Cuomo is a Marine Infantry Officer and MAGTF Planner currently participating in the Commandant of the Marine Corps Strategist Program at Georgetown University.

Jeff Cummings is a Marine Infantry Officer and currently serves as a Military Faculty Advisor at The Expeditionary Warfare School, Marine Corps University.
I think this is a great idea for training a new generation of leaders in our ground forces. I only pray something like this would not be corrupted like the Army's elite training schools have (forgive me, I don't belive two women "passed" Ranger School). A good ides for debate, but we must again understand what we have the armed forces for:

"...to win our wars."

Monday, August 6, 2018

I'll call myself guilty here....

If I have one addiction, it’s books. Since I was a 10 year old, I’ve loved to read novels, then non-fiction, biographies, and concentrating on military, intelligence, and politics. And I currently have around one-hundred books on my “to read” bookshelf. Ill get to them eventually, but I’m amazed to find there is a term for my obsession.

The Japanese word describes piling up books to save for later ... even if you'll never actually read them.


"Even when reading is impossible, the presence of books acquired produces such an ecstasy that the buying of more books than one can read is nothing less than the soul reaching towards infinity." – A. Edward Newton, author, publisher, and collector of 10,000 books.

Are you one of us? A master of tsundoku? Mine takes the shape of the aspirational stack by my bedside table – because I am going to read every night before bed, of course, and upon waking on the weekends. Hahaha. My tsundoku also takes shape in cookbooks ... even though I rarely cook from recipes. And I think I most fervently practice tsundoku when I buy three or four novels to pile in my suitcase for a five-day vacation. Sometimes not even one sees its spine cracked.

Thank heavens the Japanese have a word to describe people like us: tsundoku. Doku comes from a verb that can be used for "reading," while tsun "to pile up." The ol' piling up of reading things.

"The phrase 'tsundoku sensei' appears in text from 1879 according to the writer Mori Senzo," Professor Andrew Gerstle, a teacher of pre-modern Japanese texts at the University of London, explains to BBC. "Which is likely to be satirical, about a teacher who has lots of books but doesn't read them." Even so, says Gerstle, the term is not currently used in a mocking way.

Tom Gerken points out at BBC that English may in fact seem to have a similar word in "bibliomania," but there are actually differences. "While the two words may have similar meanings, there is one key difference," he writes. "Bibliomania describes the intention to create a book collection, tsundoku describes the intention to read books and their eventual, accidental collection."

Mmm hmm, guilty as charged.

It's interesting to consider the future of books right now – and the potential fate of words like tsundoku. We have dedicated e-readers and phones and tablets that could easily spell doom for the printed page. We have tiny houses and a major minimalism movement, both of which would seem to shun the piling of books that may go eternally unread. We have increasing awareness about resources and "stuff" in general; is there room for stacks of bound paper in the modern world?

While generally uncluttery, treehugging me thinks that transferring my tsundoku to a list of digital editions rather than a stack of physical ones might be the way to go ... but the truth is, real books that one can hold in the hands are one of the things that I am loathe to abandon. I love the smell, the weight, the turning of pages. I love being able to easily flip back a few pages to reread a sentence that persists in my memory. And maybe, apparently, I love buying books that, ok, maybe I don't seem to actually read.

So here's the deal I've made with myself. I will resist fast fashion and crummy unsustainable food and a bunch of plastic crap that I don't need. And in return, I will allow myself to engage in some tsundoku – besides, it's not actually a waste because of course, I'm going to get to that teetering stack of books someday, really! And if the Japanese have a poetic word for it, it must be alright.

I’ll confess here, I’m guilty. I love books, they can bury me with a good bio or Tom Clancy novel with me. And like caffeine, I can think of worse addictions.

Officer Down


Police Officer Anthony Christie
Savannah Police Department, Georgia
End of Watch Friday, May 25, 2018
Age 37
Tour 2 years

Police Officer Anthony Christie was killed when his patrol car was struck by a tractor-trailer.

He had responded to a head-on collision on I-16, near Dean Forest Road. He was assisting at the scene of the collision and was seated in his patrol car when it was struck by a tractor-trailer.

Officer Christie was a U.S. Navy veteran and had served with the Savannah Police Department for two years. He is survived by his wife.
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. 

Friday, August 3, 2018

There's only room for one hysterical queen in this band....

Thankfully, that was Freddy Mercury.

In an era of semi-talented morons who call themselves artist, Mercury was the true item. His music writing was incredible, and his voice was nothing short of astonishing. I remember seeing him when I watched Live Aid in 1985:



Taken far too soon, one of the more famous victims of AIDS in the 1980s. But going back to his talent, someone put this video on YouTube. It segregates the voices from the instruments and other noises. What you hear is pure Freddy Mercury. Enjoy.



In November, Bohemian Rhapsody premiers, and the wife and I will spend the money and inconvenience to go see it live in the theater. Here are two of the trailers.





A rare occasion of actually looking forward to a Hollywood production!

Have a great weekend!

Officer Down


Senior Special Agent Paul Scott Ragsdale
United States Department of Justice - Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, U.S. Government
End of Watch Thursday, May 24, 2018
Age 41
Tour 16 years

Senior Special Agent Paul "Scott" Ragsdale suffered a fatal heart attack while participating in control and arrest techniques training at Coppell High School in Coppell, Texas.

He suddenly collapsed during the training. He was transported to Baylor Scott & White Medical Center, in Grapevine, where he passed away.

Special Agent Ragsdale had served with the ATF for 16 years and was assigned to the Dallas Field 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. 

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

What's going on in the World Today 180801

HYPERLINKS MAY REQUIRE AN EMAIL:

USA

Boeing Delivers Multiple Laser Weapon Systems To Warfighters

Laser weapons are moving from development and testing to production and deployment, with the need to counter the growing threat from small unmanned aircraft leading the way.
Boeing has delivered multiple Compact Laser Weapon Systems (CLWS) to the U.S. Marine Corps for testing by an operational unit.

With power levels of 2-10 kW, the modular CLWS is one of the first high-energy laser system to begin the transition from development to production. But Boeing is also moving ahead with work on more powerful tactical and strategic laser weapons, says Ron Dauk, directed energy program manager.

CLWS uses industrial fiber lasers packaged by Boeing with a small beam director and integrated power and thermal management to produce a system that stands alone, or can be installed in a container or mounted on a Stryker armored vehicle.

The system is being used to train soldiers and show the capability that laser weapons bring to the battlefield.

“It gives you a low cost per shot against quadcopters and a deep magazine,” Dauk says. “As long as there is power, it can keep firing...”

AFRICA

NOTHING SIGNIFICANT TO REPORT

ASIA

NOTHING SIGNIFICANT TO REPORT

EUROPE

Pentagon announces $200 million in aid for Ukraine

US soldiers march along main Khreshchatyk Street during during a military parade to celebrate Independence Day in Kiev, Ukraine, Aug. 24, 2017. (Efrem Lukatsky/AP)

Days after President Donald Trump challenged whether the U.S. should honor its Article 5 collective defense commitments to defend tiny NATO member Montenegro, the Pentagon reassured its Eastern European allies it would continue to be a deterrent presence against Russian aggression and committed an additional $200 million to the defense of Ukraine.

The funds will go toward “training, equipment and advisory efforts to build the defensive capacity of Ukraine’s forces,” the Pentagon said in a statement Friday.

The new funds bring the total amount of U.S. assistance to $1 billion since Russian-backed forces invaded Crimea in 2014...

EU signs its biggest free trade deal with Japan

The European Union and Japan have signed one of the world's biggest free trade deals, covering nearly a third of the world's GDP and 600 million people.

One of the biggest EU exports to Japan is dairy goods, while cars are one of Japan's biggest exports...

LATIN/SOUTH AMERICA

Communist-run Cuba starts rolling out internet on mobile phones

HAVANA (Reuters) - Communist-run Cuba has started providing internet on the mobile phones of select users as it aims to roll out the service nationwide by year-end, in a further step toward opening one of the Western Hemisphere’s least connected countries.

Journalists at state-run news outlets were among the first this year to get mobile internet, provided by Cuba’s telecoms monopoly, as part of a wider campaign for greater internet access that new President Miguel Diaz-Canel has said should boost the economy and help Cubans defend their revolution.

Analysts said broader web access will also ultimately weaken the government’s control of what information reaches people in the one-party island state that has a monopoly on the media. Cuba frowns on public dissent and blocks access to dissident websites.

“It’s been a radical change,” said Yuris Norido, 39, who reports for several state-run news websites and the television. “I can now update on the news from wherever I am, including where the news is taking place.”

Certain customers, including companies and embassies, have also been able to buy mobile data plans since December, according to the website of Cuban telecoms monopoly ETECSA, which has not broadly publicized the move.

ETECSA has said it will expand mobile internet to all its 5 million mobile phone customers, nearly half of Cuba’s population, by the end of this year. ETECSA did not reply to a request for more details for this story.

Whether because of a lack of cash, a long-running U.S. trade embargo or concerns about the flow of information, Cuba has lagged behind in web access. Until 2013, internet was largely only available to the public at tourist hotels in Cuba...

AFGHANISTAN

NOTHING SIGNIFICANT TO REPORT

CHINA

In China, Unweaving the Tangled Web of Local Debt

Highlights

- A slower economy, sluggish construction growth, weaker local government revenue and a sharp jump in maturing debt could boost the risk of default for some local government-related debt, particularly in the central and southwest regions.
- Despite previous announcements, Beijing may step in to assist or even bail out some loans if defaults accelerate.

- The urgency of the risk will compel the central government to accelerate efforts to revamp the country's tax structure, but its ability will be limited by the uncertain economic situation.

The sword of Damocles is hanging over Chinese local governments. After the 2008 financial crisis, Beijing began embracing economic stimulation as it scrambled to prop up growth and protect its near-universal employment. In doing this, the central authorities demanded that local governments bear the brunt of the fiscal and financial responsibilities for road, railway and other infrastructure projects; it rewarded them with lucrative credit and looser oversight amid a skyrocketing real estate market. A decade later, local debt – and the tangled web behind some of the loans – has become the greatest pain to the economy as local revenue fails to keep pace with spending, investment returns fall and the property market dips. And all of these are plucking at the single thread holding the sword over the heads of local governments, threatening the once unimaginable: default – along with all the resulting social and political fallout...

IRAN

Iran Takes U.S. to Court Over Nuclear Deal and Reimposed Sanctions

Iran has sued the United States at the International Court of Justice in a new, if dubious, strategy to nullify the nuclear sanctions reimposed by President Trump, which are starting to inflict pain on Iran’s already troubled economy.

The International Court of Justice, the principal judicial organ of the United Nations, said in a statement on Tuesday that the lawsuit was based on a treaty signed by Iran and the United States more than a half-century ago — well before the 1979 Islamic Revolution that overthrew the American-backed shah and ushered in the prolonged estrangement in relations between the countries.

The United States vowed to fight what it called a “baseless” lawsuit.

Mr. Trump ordered the nuclear sanctions reimposed on May 8 as part of an announcement withdrawing his government from the 2015 nuclear agreement negotiated by Iran and major powers, including the United States, under the Obama administration.

Mr. Trump has assailed that agreement, which lifted the sanctions in return for Iran’s verifiable pledges to use nuclear power peacefully, as “the worst deal,” despite support for it by the other participants, including Britain, France and Germany, major American allies...

Iran: Currency Reaches New Low

What Happened: Iran's rial reached a historic new low July 30, trading at an average of 112,000 rials to one U.S. dollar on the black market, Bloomberg reported.

Why It Matters: Iranian officials are at a loss for how to keep Iran's currency from continuing to depreciate in value and cause further instability in the country.

Background: Following its departure from the Iran nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the United States has targeted Tehran with sanctions, causing market instability in the country.



IRAQ

Iraq's Water Crisis Gives the Public One More Reason to Protest

Highlights

- Water shortages will plague Iraq throughout the summer, causing a decline in agricultural production and a greater risk of social unrest in the southern part of the country.

- Political gridlock in Baghdad will impede progress on water management, while fighting over water at the provincial level will influence discourse at the federal level.

- Turkey will focus on maintaining and advancing its own strategy in Iraq without making any substantial changes over its water use....


ISRAEL

NOTHING SIGNIFICANT TO REPORT

KOREAN PENNSULEA

Back to the Basics: Above and Beyond CVID with North Korea

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s high-profile post-summit visit to North Korea—the first to follow Kim and Trump’s initial meeting—ended without much progress, revealing the Trump administration’s struggle to craft a strategy that will jumpstart denuclearization efforts. Nearly a month after the June summit in Singapore, both the US and North Korea are still sending mixed messages as to whether and how they will approach denuclearization, fueling skepticism about North Korea’s willingness to give up its nuclear weapons and hinting at the US’s lack of a coherent strategy in dealing with the regime.

The US has continuously reiterated its goal, before and after the June summit, to achieve the complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearization (CVID) of North Korea. Contrary to its spoken commitment, however, no discussion of CVID appears in official documents shared or co-drafted with North Korea, inviting criticism of Trump’s loud yet (allegedly) ineffectual negotiating skills from those who believe that a deal could and should be made on the firm basis of CVID.

The Trump administration may still be occupied with the concept of CVID. In truth, though, CVID is no longer a realistic goal with North Korea and it is highly unlikely that Kim would accede to such an arrangement. We need to face this reality and recognize that denuclearization will not and cannot be permanent or irreversible as long as there is a desire to reverse it. Furthermore, denuclearization will not by itself put an end to the longstanding North Korean threat to the outside world. Any denuclearization deal—big or small, vague or specific—with the current North Korean regime is almost certainly reversible, but such a deal with a normal North Korea would be considerably less so. In this regard, future negotiations with North Korea should focus on not just denuclearization but also the normalization of the country...



North Korea working on new missiles, US officials say, despite thaw

North Korea appears to be building new ballistic missiles despite recent warming ties with the Trump administration and pledges to denuclearise, reports say.

Unnamed US officials told the Washington Post that spy satellites had spotted continuing activity at a site that has produced ballistic missiles.

Reuters quotes an official as saying it is unclear how far the work has gone.

After the first meeting between sitting leaders from the two countries, the two men pledged to work towards denuclearisation. Mr Trump later said North Korea was "no longer a nuclear threat".

But Mr Trump was criticised at home for making concessions without securing any firm commitment from Mr Kim to end the nuclear and missile programmes.

These are not the first reports that North Korea may be continuing its weapons programme, casting doubt on the real impact of the summit in Singapore...

RUSSIA



Russia fears leak of hypersonic missile secrets to West

Media captionRussia released military footage - including its new ultra-fast missiles

Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) has raided a space research facility after a suspected leak of hypersonic missile secrets to Western spies.
The state space agency Roskosmos said its security staff were co-operating with FSB officers on a criminal case.

Russia's Kommersant daily says about 10 staff at a Roskosmos facility called TsNIIMash are under suspicion. A director's office was searched.
Hypersonic missiles fly at more than five times the speed of sound (Mach 5).

On Thursday the Russia defence ministry released video of two new hypersonic missile systems - called Kinzhal and Avangard. Both can deliver nuclear warheads.
But Russian military expert Pavel Felgenhauer told the BBC he was very sceptical about their effectiveness and dismissed the video as "propaganda". He called the spy investigation "politically embarrassing".
The suspects in the secrets case could be charged with high treason, Kommersant reports...

MIDDLE EAST GENERAL

Displaced Syrians march close to Israel; airstrike kills 10

BEIRUT — Dozens of Syrians displaced by a government offensive marched toward the Israel-occupied Golan Heights in a rare peaceful protest on Tuesday, shortly after a suspected Russian airstrike hit a school serving as a shelter in southwestern Syria, killing at least 10 people, according to activists.

The marchers waved white flags at Israeli soldiers as they walked toward the frontier in the Golan Heights, demanding protection from the relentless airstrikes, before they turned back.

The brief protest came as Syrian and Russian airstrikes have intensified in the Quneitra countryside and the southwestern Daraa province.

Tuesday’s airstrike hit in the village of Ain el-Tineh in Quneitra province, about 7 kilometers (4 miles) from the Israeli frontier, according to a Syrian search and rescue team...

CYBER ISSUES

When It Comes to Cyberattacks, Iran Plays the Odds

Global Security Analyst, Stratfor As tensions rise with the United States, hackers in Iran are expected to boost their attacks in the coming months.(Shutterstock)

Highlights

-While Iran is capable of carrying out conventional military action, cyberspace is the more likely theater for its current conflict with the United States.

-Iran's cyber threat groups tend to use unsophisticated yet tried-and-true tactics while targeting many individuals.
Awareness, knowledge and preparation are the best tools to defend against such tactics.

-The war of words between the United States and Iran appears to be heating up in cyberspace. In recent weeks, the tension has grown palpable as the United States leads the drive to reimpose sanctions on Iran beginning Aug. 6. U.S. President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have traded heated threats with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the leader of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps' Quds Force.

Though both sides are certainly capable of direct physical attacks, conventional warfare is not in their immediate interests. Iran has embraced cyberattacks as part of its asymmetric response to its Middle Eastern rivals and the United States, and this latest round of belligerence will likely be played out through cyber actions. And even though Iran doesn't pose as great a threat as China or Russia, its persistence and reliance on unsophisticated, yet tried-and-true tactics allow it to be successful in both cyber espionage and disruptive cyberattacks...



TERRORISM

NOTHING SIGNIFICANT TO REPORT

MISC

How Silicon Valley Became a Den of Spies

The West Coast is a growing target of foreign espionage. And it’s not ready to fight back.

SAN FRANCISCO—In the fall of 1989, during the Cold War’s wan and washed-out final months, the Berlin Wall was crumbling—and so was San Francisco. The powerful Loma Prieta earthquake, the most destructive to hit the region in more than 80 years, felled entire apartment buildings. Freeway overpasses shuddered and collapsed, swallowing cars like a sandpit. Sixty-three people were killed and thousands injured. And local Soviet spies, just like many other denizens of the Bay Area, applied for their share of the nearly $3.5 billion in relief funds allocated by President George H.W. Bush.

FBI counterintelligence saw an opening, recalled Rick Smith, who worked on the Bureau’s San Francisco-based Soviet squad from 1972 to 1992. When they discovered that a known Soviet spy, operating under diplomatic cover, had filed a claim, Smith and several other bureau officials posed as federal employees disbursing relief funds to meet with the spy. The goal was to compromise him with repeated payments, then to turn him. “We can offer your full claim,” Smith told the man. “Come meet us again.” He agreed.

But the second time, the suspected intel officer wasn’t alone. FBI surveillance teams reported that he was being accompanied by a Russian diplomat known to the FBI as the head of Soviet counterintelligence in San Francisco. The operation, Smith knew, was over—the presence of the Soviet spy boss meant that the FBI’s target had reported the meeting to his superiors—but they had to go through with the meeting anyway. The two Soviet intelligence operatives walked into the office room. The undercover FBI agents, who knew the whole affair had turned farcical, greeted the Soviet counterintelligence chief.

“What,” he replied, “You didn’t expect me to come?”

We tend to think of espionage in the United States as an East Coast phenomenon: shadowy foreign spies working out of embassies in Washington, or at missions to the United Nations in New York; dead drops in suburban Virginia woodlands, and surreptitious meetings on park benches in Manhattan’s gray dusk.

But foreign spies have been showing up uninvited to San Francisco and Silicon Valley for a very long time. According to former U.S. intelligence officials, that’s true today more than ever. In fact, they warn—especially because of increasing Russian and Chinese aggressiveness, and the local concentration of world-leading science and technology firms—there’s a full-on epidemic of espionage on the West Coast right now. And even more worrisome, many of its targets are unprepared to deal with the growing threat.

Unlike on the East Coast, foreign intel operations here aren’t as focused on the hunt for diplomatic secrets, political intelligence or war plans. The open, experimental, cosmopolitan work and business culture of Silicon Valley in particular has encouraged a newer, “softer,” “nontraditional” type of espionage, said former intelligence officials—efforts that mostly target trade secrets and technology. “It’s a very subtle form of intelligence collection that is more business connected and oriented,” one told me. But this economic espionage is also ubiquitous. Spies “are very much part of the everyday environment” here, said this person. Another former intelligence official told me that, at one point recently, a full 20 percent of all the FBI’s active counterintelligence-related intellectual property cases had originated in the Bay Area. (The FBI declined to comment for this story.)...

Officer Down


Chief of Detectives William Allee
New York City Police Department, New York
End of Watch Thursday, May 24, 2018
Age 76
Tour 40 years
Cause 9/11 related illness
Incident Date Tuesday, September 11, 2001
Weapon Aircraft; Passenger jet
Offender 19 suicide attackers

Chief of Detectives William Allee died from illnesses he contracted while inhaling toxic materials as he participated in the rescue and recovery efforts at the World Trade Center site following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.

Following the attack, Chief Allee went to Ground Zero and worked feverishly, inhaling a great deal of dust and debris. The experience left Allee with months of breathing problems. He eventually developed leukemia as a result of his exposure to the toxins in the air.

Chief Allee served with the New York City Police Department for 40 years and retired in 2003.

On the morning of September 11th, 2001, seventy-two officers from a total of eight local, state, and federal agencies were killed when terrorist hijackers working for the al Qaeda terrorist network, headed by Osama bin Laden, crashed four hijacked planes into the World Trade Center towers in New York City, the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, and a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

After the impact of the first plane into the World Trade Center's North Tower, putting the safety of others before their own, law enforcement officers along with fire and EMS personnel, rushed to the burning Twin Towers of the World Trade Center to aid the victims and lead them to safety. Due to their quick actions, it is estimated that over 25,000 people were saved.

As the evacuation continued, the South Tower unexpectedly collapsed as a result of the intense fire caused by the impact. The North Tower collapsed a short time later. Seventy-one law enforcement officers, 343 members of the New York City Fire Department and over 2,800 civilians were killed at the World Trade Center site.

A third hijacked plane crashed into a field in rural Pennsylvania when the passengers attempted to re-take control of the plane. One law enforcement officer, who was a passenger on the plane, was killed in that crash.

The fourth hijacked plane was crashed into the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, killing almost 200 military and civilian personnel. No law enforcement officers were killed at the Pentagon on 9/11.

The terrorist attacks resulted in the declaration of war against the Taliban regime, the illegal rulers of Afghanistan, and the al Qaeda terrorist network which also was based in Afghanistan.

On September 9th, 2005, all of the public safety officers killed on September 11th, 2001, were posthumously awarded the 9/11 Heroes Medal of Valor by President George W. Bush.

The contamination in the air at the World Trade Center site caused many rescue personnel to become extremely ill and eventually led to the death of several rescue workers.

On May 1st, 2011 members of the United States military conducted a raid on a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, and killed Osama bin Laden.
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, July 30, 2018

Officer Down


Trooper Samuel Newton Bullard
North Carolina Highway Patrol, North Carolina
End of Watch Monday, May 21, 2018
Age 24
Tour 3 years
Badge E532

Trooper Samuel Bullard was killed in a vehicle crash while involved in a pursuit on I-77, near mile marker 82 in Yadkin County, at approximately 11:00 pm.

He and another trooper were conducting a drivers license checkpoint when a black BMW sped through and refused to stop. The troopers pursued the vehicle onto I-77. When the lead trooper no longer saw Trooper Bullard behind him, and could not raise him on the radio, he broke off the pursuit and turned around. Trooper Bullard's vehicle was located at mile marker 82 at a bridge abutment fully engulfed in flames.

The vehicle that was being pursued was later found abandoned. The driver was identified, arrested, and charged with murder, felony eluding, and driving on a revoked license.

Trooper Bullard had served with the North Carolina Highway Patrol for three years and was assigned to Surry County.

He is survived by his fiancee, parents, brother, sister, grandparents, and extended family.
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. 

Friday, July 27, 2018

Sweet Child of Mine...

As we head into the weekend, and my garage awaits (God help me, it's bad!) I'll leave you with this great cover of a GnR classic.

Enjoy...and have a great weekend.

Thank you for the link Charlotte C!

Officer Down


Police Officer Amy Caprio
Baltimore County Police Department, Maryland
End of Watch Monday, May 21, 2018
Age 29
Tour 3 years, 8 months
Badge 5785

Police Officer Amy Caprio was intentionally struck and killed by a vehicle driven by a juvenile burglary suspect in front of 7 Linwen Way in the Perry Hall area of Baltimore County.

She had responded to calls about a burglary in progress in the neighborhood at approximately 2:00 pm and was given a description of a black Jeep Wrangler. As she arrived in the area she located the vehicle, which had previously been stolen, and followed it to the dead-end of the cul-de-sac where she challenged the driver to exit the vehicle. The juvenile driver opened the door and then accelerated towards Officer Caprio, fatally striking her.

A volunteer firefighter who lived nearby immediately performed CPR until Officer Caprio was transported to Franklin Square Hospital where she was pronounced dead.

The vehicle's driver abandoned the vehicle nearby and was taken into custody a short time later and charged as an adult with first-degree murder. The three other juveniles involved in the burglary were also apprehended and charged as adults with Officer Carpio's murder.

Officer Caprio is survived by her husband, parents, and sister.
Rest in Peace Sis…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, July 25, 2018

Officer Down


Police Officer Ayrian Michelle Williams
Monroe Police Department, Louisiana
End of Watch Monday, May 21, 2018
Age 26
Tour 6 months
Badge 211

Police Officer Ayrian Williams was killed in a vehicle crash while responding to assist another police officer at approximately 6:45 p.m.

She was travelling on the 1700 block of South 8th Street when another car pulled out in front of her. She attempted to avoid striking the car, but her patrol car entered a culvert and then went airborne, colliding with a tree. She was transported to St. Francis Medical Center where she succumbed to her injuries.

Officer Williams had served with the Monroe Police Department for six months. She is survived by her mother, brother, two sisters, and grandmother.
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, July 23, 2018

Officer Down


Sergeant Kent Donald Swanson
Shelley Police Department, Idaho
End of Watch Monday, May 21, 2018
Age 47
Tour 16 years

Sergeant Kent Swanson suffered a fatal heart attack while responding to a disturbance call at approximately 10:30 pm.

Another officer on scene performed CPR until he was transported to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

Sergeant Swanson had served with the Shelley Police Department for 16 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. 

Friday, July 20, 2018

Officer Down


Police Officer Thomas Coulter
Daytona Beach Police Department, Florida
End of Watch Monday, May 21, 2018
Age 25
Tour 1 week

Police Officer Thomas Coulter suffered a fatal heart attack while conducting physical training in front of the Daytona Beach Police Department headquarters, on Valor Boulevard, on May 18th, 2018.

He was participating in a team job with other newly-hired police officers when he began to feel ill and collapsed. He was transported to a local hospital where his condition worsened. He passed away on May 21st, 2018.

Officer Coulter had served with the Daytona Beach Police Department for one week. He is survived by his wife of six 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. 

Some of my favorites...

One of my all time favorite actors with one of my all time favorite comedians. George C Scott roast Don Rickles.

And here is Billy Crystal at Muhammad Ali's funeral.

Enjoy some comedy for the weekend.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Ferguson is still the same after four years....

I really found this interesting. A governement relif mission failed. And they are surprized how?
Starbucks and other corporations came to Ferguson after Michael Brown was shot. But not to the neighborhood where he died.

Four years after Michael Brown was shot by police, the neighborhood where he was killed still feels left behind

When Starbucks opened here in 2016, politicians celebrated, predicting that the coffee chain would revitalize a city marred by violent protests over Michael Brown’s killing two years earlier.

Other corporations jumped in with multimillion-dollar commitments to help rebuild the majority-black town that became a global symbol of racial and economic inequality.

But four years after the unrest, nearly all of the new development is concentrated in the more prosperous — and whiter — parts of town, bypassing the predominantly black southeast neighborhood where Brown was fatally shot by a police officer while walking to his grandmother’s home.

The investments, rather than easing the economic gap, have deepened that divide.

“This is the forgotten Ferguson,” said Francesca Griffin, a St. Louis native who moved to the inner-ring suburb 13 years ago for the more-affordable home prices. “Time and time again, West Florissant Avenue just gets left out. And people are losing hope.”

The growing disparity is the result of decisions, large and small, that capture the difficulties of overcoming a legacy of racial segregation, economic exclusion and political disenfranchisement.

In Ferguson’s case, obstacles have included a corporate mind-set willing to take on only so much risk, a seeming lack of political will and a disadvantaged community’s inability to promote its own interests.

Of the more than $36 million in bricks-and-mortar development that poured into the city after 2014, only $2.4 million — for a job training center — has directly benefited this isolated pocket of Ferguson, according to an analysis of building-permit data provided by the city...

Read the rest if you will, but I'll focus on "obstacles have included a corporate mind-set willing to take on only so much risk." No kidding, that is the factor when you put out money in an investment. How much risk the investor is willing to accept is in direct correlation to what much benefit they will realize. And quite frankly, there is not much potential for great benefit in a community that destroyed itself based upon a lie ("Hands Up! Don't Shoot!) and not expects others to rebuild it.

The lack of the basic understanding of economics by liberal politicians is nothing short of astonishing to me. Especially seeing they understand it for themselves, right Obama, with your 60 million dollar advance for a book you will never write and likely won't read. But on a more serious note, I hear inner city politicians complain about "food deserts," areas where there are no major grocery stores. As to be expected, these race baiters complain of "racism." No, it's not racism, it's the fact they won't want their employees robbed or shot. Again, the correlation of risk and benefit.

Ferguson, you made your bed, now it's up to the good people in that city (the men and women who've invested in it before Brown was shot, and lost it after the poverty pimps destroyed the city) to rebuild it.

What's going on in the World Today 180719

HYPERLINKS MAY REQUIRE AN EMAIL:

USA

Naval Update Map: July 19, 2018


Air Force cuts pilot training by five weeks

New system looks to provide solution to aviator retention crisis

By Sig Christenson

Billy Calzada
T-38 instructor pilot Josh Thomson uses a computer flight simulator at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph. Thomson is assigned to the 560th Flying Training Squadron.

The Air Force has cut as much as five weeks from the time required to teach novice pilots to earn their wings, a move that will help it replace rapidly departing veteran aviators.

But some instructors are wary of the change, warning that it could lead to a disastrous future for the service.

The new syllabus already is in use and for the first time in decades will trim the duration of undergraduate pilot training — called UPT — from 54.7 weeks to an average of 49.2 weeks.

A key element is that the best students will be able to finish the course faster.

Several veteran instructor pilots, speaking on condition they not be identified because of possible retribution, expressed concern that the syllabus makeover is too much, too fast, and could lead to unintended and even deadly consequences...

Army Is Spending Half a Billion to Train Soldiers to Fight Underground:

The Army is training and equipping 26 of its 31 combat brigades for subterranean warfare.

U.S. Army leaders say the next war will be fought in mega-cities, but the service has embarked on an ambitious effort to prepare most of its combat brigades to fight, not inside, but beneath them.

Late last year, the Army launched an accelerated effort that funnels some $572 million into training and equipping 26 of its 31 active combat brigades to fight in large-scale subterranean facilities that exist beneath dense urban areas around the world.

For this new type of warfare, infantry units will need to know how to effectively navigate, communicate, breach heavy obstacles and attack enemy forces in underground mazes ranging from confined corridors to tunnels as wide as residential streets. Soldiers will need new equipment and training to operate in conditions such as complete darkness, bad air and lack of cover from enemy fire in areas that challenge standard Army communications equipment...

Production of howitzers flawed as Army nears $1.3B decision

Manufacturer faces poor welding, other issues, Pentagon says

BAE Systems’ manufacture of the U.S. Army’s new howitzer is hobbled by poor welding, supply chain problems and delivery delays even as the service nears a $1.3 billion decision on full production, according to the Pentagon’s contract management agency.

Among the setbacks have been a six-month halt in deliveries last year because of welding flaws and the return of 50 of 86 vehicles that had already been delivered due to repair production deficiencies.


Nevertheless, Army officials plan to meet on Thursday to decide on approval of full-rate production, the most lucrative phase for London-based BAE. That would trigger $1.3 billion in contract options and increase vehicle production to about 60 from 48 a year, according to a Pentagon program assessment...


F-35 Engine Upgrade Would Enable Directed Energy Weapons

Pratt & Whitney is refining its proposed upgrade path for the F135 Joint Strike Fighter engine to include increased power and thermal management system (PTMS) capability following feedback on its initially proposed upgrade package from the F-35 Joint Program Office.

Additional power and thermal management capability will enable the use of directed energy weapons and other advanced offensive and defensive systems and, if approved, would feature in an upgrade package called Growth Option 2.0 (GO2). Pratt & Whitney, which would roll PTMS into a suite of compressor and turbine enhancements originally proposed in the first upgrade package, G01, says the complete upgrade could be available within four years of getting the official go-ahead.

Growth Option 1.0, which was floated with the JPO in 2017, offered 5% fuel reductions and as much as 10% higher thrust. Offered as a cost-neutral upgrade, it was always meant to form part of a longer-term, two-stage improvement road map for the F-35 engine under plans first unveiled by the manufacturer in 2015. However, with the move to combine GO1 and 2 into a more complete enhancement package, Pratt is tailoring the revised proposal to closer match the F-35 upgrade road map recently outlined under the C2D2 continuous improvement strategy.
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AFRICA

U.S. intelligence documents on Nelson Mandela made public

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Thousands of pages of U.S. intelligence documents on Nelson Mandela were made public on Wednesday, revealing that Washington continued to monitor the South African anti-apartheid hero as a potential Communist menace even after he was released from prison, a group that sued to obtain the papers said.

Former U.S. President Barack Obama delivers the 16th Nelson Mandela annual lecture, marking the centenary of the anti-apartheid leader's birth, in Johannesburg, South Africa July 17, 2018. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko
The Washington-based group Property of the People released the papers to mark the 100th anniversary of Mandela’s birth. It said it obtained them after years of litigation.

“The documents reveal that, just as it did in the 1950s and 60s with Martin Luther King Jr and the civil rights movement, the FBI aggressively investigated the U.S. and South African anti-apartheid movements as Communist plots imperiling American security,” the group’s president Ryan Shapiro said in a statement.

ASIA

The Japanese Death Cult's String of Futility

Highlights

◾From the late 1980s to the mid-1990s, Aum Shinrikyo launched the most ambitious weapons-of-mass-destruction program ever by a non-state actor.
◾Despite devoting years of effort and tens of millions of dollars, the program met with only limited success.
◾Using more readily available weapons such as guns and explosives remains far cheaper and more effective in causing mass casualties.

On July 6, Japanese authorities executed Shoko Asahara, the founder of the apocalyptic Aum Shinrikyo cult, and six of his followers, closing the book on one of the most high-profile acts of terrorism in modern Japanese history. Aum Shinrikyo is best known for the March 1995 attack in which the group released the nerve agent sarin on five different trains in the Tokyo subway system, killing 12 people and sickening hundreds of others. But the group's most infamous action was far from its first attempt to inflict mass casualties on an unsuspecting public.

Not many people are aware that before the subway assault, Aum Shinrikyo used a variety of biological and chemical agents to conduct a number of assassination attempts and other attacks. It was responsible for 20 confirmed attacks or attempts between 1990 and 1995, 13 using chemical agents and seven using biological agents. The Japanese government further suspects that Aum Shinrikyo was behind another 13 attacks that remain unsolved. In addition, there were six others that are believed to be the work of individual members or copycats. The group also reportedly executed 20 or so dissident members using VX nerve agent.

EUROPE

Stuck Between the U.S. and the EU, Poland Explores Its Options

In this photograph, demonstrators carry Polish and European Union flags during a 2016 rally in Gdansk, Poland.

Highlights

◾Friction between the United States and the European Union will force Poland to find a balance between its main security ally and its main economic partners.

◾Poland will seek to preserve its alliance with the United States on issues varying from energy to security.

◾While Poland will remain skeptical of European integration, it will not do anything to jeopardize its membership in the Continental union.

These are turbulent times for U.S.-EU relations. In recent weeks, the White House and the European Union have clashed over various issues, including the Iran nuclear deal, defense and trade, and have produced friction that could disrupt the political, economic and security institutions that the United States and Europe created after World War II. The developments give most European countries cause for concern, but the issues represent a particularly significant challenge for Poland, because its main security ally — the United States — is at odds with its main economic partner — the European Union. The disputes threaten Poland's interests, but this period of difficulty also presents Warsaw with a variety of options and opportunities.

Poland's geopolitical relevance cannot be overstated. The largest country on the European Union's eastern flank has one of the fastest-growing economies in the bloc and is an important part of Germany's supply chain. It is also the only member of the European Union that shares a land border with both Russia (in Kaliningrad, one of the most heavily militarized areas on the Continent) and Ukraine (which has been in a military conflict with Russia since 2014). In addition, Poland, once the poster child for European integration, is now governed by a nationalist party that questions the benefits of European federalization and seeks alliances with like-minded countries in the region. Given that state of affairs, events in Poland have an impact that travels well beyond its borders...


Ukrainian troops keep Russia on their minds as they train with US Marines

MYKOLAIV REGION, Ukraine — The U.S. Marines were firing at a fictional enemy, but the Ukrainian marines firing by their side during the past few days had one very real adversary on their mind: Russia.

Exercise Sea Breeze, which launched July 9 and brings together 19 nations, is a lot like many other annual drills at the operational level, and it brought with it the standard messages from U.S. officials about European partnership and cooperation.

But in this case, Ukrainians are going to use what they learn to fight separatists backed by Russia, which took the Crimean Peninsula from them in 2014 and whose leader, Vladimir Putin, is scheduled to meet with President Donald Trump on Monday in Helsinki.

Trump and Putin will discuss Ukraine, conflict in Syria and Russian election meddling in the U.S., Trump said last week.

Trump did not rule out recognizing as legitimate Russia’s seizure of Crimea, which he said happened on President Barack Obama’s watch.

The Russian takeover of the peninsula, where both the Russian and Ukrainian navies had headquarters, divided the Ukrainian 1st Marine Battalion, as many marines stayed in Crimea and sided with Russia.

Since then, the marines loyal to Ukraine — like U.S. Marines, their motto is “Always Faithful” — have deployed frequently to the country’s eastern region to fight the Russia-backed separatists...

LATIN/SOUTH AMERICA

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AFGHANISTAN

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CHINA

China's Unlikely Weapon: Tourists

Highlights

China will increasingly play gatekeeper to the country's growing middle-class market for luxury goods, manufactures and food products. This consumer class will only gain more clout in the coming decades.

Flows of Chinese tourists will be an unexpected tool of statecraft, raising the potential for sharp disruptions to the travel and aviation sectors.

These risks are particularly high in South Korea, Japan and Taiwan, but extend across Southeast Asia and into the islands of the Indian Ocean and the South Pacific.

Decades of explosive economic growth has handed China numerous tools it can use to exert its influence abroad. Massive defense outlays, foreign direct investment and the sprawling Belt and Road Initiative are the most visible expressions of China's economic might. But amid these earthshaking projects, the Chinese consumer has slowly gained clout. And as mounting trade tensions with the United States have shown, China can and will regulate access to its growing market...


IRAN

Iran opens new centrifuge rotor factory: nuclear chief

Tehran has vowed to boost uranium enrichment capacity to pressure remaining signatories to live up to the nuclear deal.

An Iranian factory has started to produce rotors for up to 60 centrifuges a day, upping the stakes in a confrontation with the United States over the Islamic Republic's nuclear programme.

The announcement by the head of Iran's atomic agency on Wednesday came a month after Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei ordered agencies to prepare to increase uranium enrichment capacity, if the nuclear deal with world powers falls apart after Washington's withdrawal.

Under terms of the 2015 agreement, which was also signed by Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany, Iran agreed to curb its nuclear programme in exchange for sanctions relief...

The other signatories have scrambled to save the accord, arguing it offers the best way to stop Iran from developing a nuclear bomb.

Iran has said it will wait to see what the other powers will do, but signalled it is ready to get its enrichment activities back on track. It has regularly said its nuclear programme is just for electricity generation and other peaceful projects...

...Salehi also told state TV on Wednesday the effort to acquire uranium has resulted in a stockpile of as much as 950 tonnes.

He said Iran imported 400 tonnes since the 2015 landmark nuclear deal, bringing its stockpile to between 900-950 tonnes - up from 500 tonnes.

Salehi said that's enough for Iran to reach its longtime goal of 190,000 centrifuge machines to enrich uranium.

The nuclear accord limits Iran's uranium enrichment to 3.67 percent, enough to use in a nuclear power plant but far lower than the 90 percent needed for an atomic weapon.

However, since the US pulled out of the deal in May, Iran has vowed to boost enrichment capacity to put pressure on the remaining signatories to live up to the agreement.

IRAQ

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ISRAEL

Israel: Hamas to Wind Down Arson Attacks With Kites

What Happened: After a report that Israel's government might have no choice but to embark on a military campaign in the Gaza Strip if airborne arson attacks using kites do not cease, Hamas has reportedly agreed to gradually decrease the attacks, The Times of Israel reported July 18.

Why It Matters: While neither Hamas nor Israel wants to go to war, miscalculations or mistakes from either side could lead to one.

Background: Individuals in the Gaza Strip have repeatedly used incendiary devices tied to kites to set fires near the Israel-Gaza border. A major economic crisis is enabling Palestinian factions to challenge Hamas' legitimacy as the leader of Palestinian militancy.

KOREAN PENNSULEA

The Singapore Summit in Perspective: Lessons from the Israeli-Arab Conflict
By: Stephen J. Blank
July 10, 2018
Commentary, Foreign Affairs

The path toward North Korea’s denuclearization will be strewn with obstacles and will be difficult to navigate. It will also be time-consuming, given the inherently intractable and complex verification challenges that lie ahead. Likewise, ending the state of war on the peninsula will take time. After 70 years of hostility between North and South Korea, it would be na├»ve to expect instant results in the process of political reconciliation, establishing a sustainable peace regime and normalizing relations.

Moreover, Americans are notoriously impatient for results and have difficulty dealing with diplomatic complexities. To maintain perspective when dealing with the North Korean challenge, it might be instructive to ponder some of the problems associated with the resolution of the Israeli-Arab conflict and the Camp David summit process that led to a formal peace treaty between Israel and Egypt.

We should first remember that initially only Egypt signed a peace treaty with Israel—and only after strenuous US mediation to broker a deal. By contrast, the US is a combatant in the Korean War and one of the main protagonists in this process, not a trusted mediator and broker as it was at Camp David. Second, the Korean question, unlike brokering Egyptian-Israeli peace, involves overcoming the division of what was previously a unified polity into two hostile camps and thus has elements of resolving a civil war; a notoriously difficult and lengthy process.

The Trump administration may have backed off its previous position that North Korea’s complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearization (CVID) must happen immediately at the beginning of the negotiations, although there are conflicting accounts of the “asks” in the negotiation process. It is likely that the process will be closer to Kim Jong Un’s vision of a phased and incremental process of denuclearization involving mutual concessions by both sides....


A Black Korean in Pyongyang

Ethnic identity is the latest issue to split the two Koreas.

Steven DenneyJuly 17, 2018, 9:43 AM
This photo taken on July 5, 2018 shows players from North (red) and South Korea (blue) competing during a friendly men's basketball match at the Ryugyong Chung Ju-Yung Indoor Stadium in Pyongyang. (KIM WON-JIN/AFP/Getty Images)
This photo taken on July 5, 2018 shows players from North (red) and South Korea (blue) competing during a friendly men's basketball match at the Ryugyong Chung Ju-Yung Indoor Stadium in Pyongyang. (KIM WON-JIN/AFP/Getty Images)
For the 12,000 North Koreans packed into Pyongyang’s Chung Ju-yung Gymnasium earlier this month, South Korean athlete Ra Gun-ah must have been an unexpected sight. Ra is a 6-foot-8 power forward. He’s also black.

Ra, also known as Ricardo Ratliffe, first moved to South Korea from the United States in 2012 and became a South Korean citizen this January. That may seem surprising: South Korea has a long history of ethno-nationalism and laws that excluded outsiders and defined citizenship in racial terms. The Nationality Act, promulgated in 1948, specified that only children of an ethnically Korean father deserved nationality.

Revisions to the act, starting in the late 1990s, opened the naturalization process to children with foreign fathers, spouses of South Korean citizens, and incomers like Ratliffe, among other changes. Social attitudes have gradually followed the law. But while South Korean concepts of identity and belonging have radically changed, North Korea’s haven’t — and that could be a problem.

The basketball game, in which the North and South mixed their teams, calling one “peace” and the other “prosperity,” was part of an increase in inter-Korean cultural exchanges. As the barriers between the two countries begin to erode, a cloistered Korea will be meeting a global Korea.

What North and South Koreans think defines the Korean nation has diverged considerably...


RUSSIA

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MIDDLE EAST GENERAL

Saudi Arabia: Israel Asks U.S. to Limit Saudi Nuclear Deal

What Happened: Israel's government has asked Washington to include certain limits in the nuclear energy deal it is negotiating with Saudi Arabia to ensure that Riyadh cannot start a nuclear weapons program, Axios reported July 8.

Why It Matters: Israel wants to restrict Saudi capabilities to enrich uranium and potentially start a nuclear weapons program, despite the Saudi goal of attaining full control over a uranium enrichment process.

Background: Saudi Arabia has been attempting to gain nuclear power capabilities for more than a decade and is currently in negotiations with multiple countries, including China, Russia and the United States.

CYBER ISSUES

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TERRORISM

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MISC

10 Technologies That Are Reshaping Aerospace

Hypersonic Acceleration

The U.S. military has gone from ignoring to prioritizing hypersonics in barely two years after decades of on-again, off-again research frittered away a technological lead over Russia and China. Now there are at least three U.S. high-speed strike missiles in development and an urgent requirement to defend against its adversaries’ hypersonic weapons. DARPA’s rocket-accelerated Tactical Boost Glide and scramjet-powered Hypersonic Air-Breathing Weapon Concept demonstrators are to fly in 2019, and Lockheed Martin’s rocket-powered Hypersonic Conventional Strike Weapon is planned to be operational with the Air Force in 2022. If sustained, this push also will ramp up ground- and flight-testing for reusable systems.

Aviation Electrified

With a half-dozen prototypes flying and scores more projects of variable credibility, the electric vertical-takeoff-and-landing (eVTOL) market is lifting off. But achieving stable flight will require the air-taxi sector to demonstrate high safety and low noise, as well as overcome challenges from aircraft certification and vehicle manufacturing to airspace integration and infrastructure development. But as Uber’s 2020 target for demonstration flights draws closer, serious funding and several major players are already on board the urban air-mobility bandwagon, including Airbus, Bell, Boeing and Embraer.


Credit: Kitty Hawk


Alternative Energy

Today’s batteries are poor repositories for energy compared with aviation fuel, but the potential for reduced energy costs and emissions has the aviation industry interested. And it goes beyond propulsion: The potential for clean and quiet auxiliary power on aircraft has manufacturers exploring alternatives to today’s small turbines, such as fuel cells. NASA is researching systems that produce hydrogen for solid oxide fuel cells by reforming kerosene. It also is looking further into the future, from safer, high-energy-density lithium-air batteries to flow batteries running on charged liquids that are handled like fuels.

Going Beyond

From inspecting miles of railway tracks and surveying square miles of farmland, to mapping mines and delivering packages, unmanned aircraft are poised to be let off the leash. The ability to fly beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) of the operator is expected to unlock the true commercial potential of drones. Pilot projects from Canada and the U.S. to Switzerland and the UK, and beyond to Australia and Japan, are helping to develop the technology and operations—and define the regulations and policy—for BVLOS, whether over short distances in urban environments or long ranges in national airspace.

Lasers Versus Drones

The threat from small unmanned aircraft is driving a high-tech response, as directed-energy weapons move rapidly from laboratory to field testing and potential deployment as a cost-effective countermeasure. With a low cost-per-shot and the ability to keep firing as long as there is power, high-energy lasers look likely to be fielded first to counter inexpensive drones while higher-power systems are perfected that can intercept rockets and cruise missiles, and then go on to defend combat aircraft, arm special-operations gunships and, ultimately, knock out ballistic missiles in their boost phase.

Tracking From Space

Space-based air traffic surveillance is set to go live by year-end with launch of the remaining spacecraft in Iridium’s new constellation of low-Earth-orbit communications satellites hosting Aireon’s automatic dependent surveillance–broadcast (ADS-B) payload. Operational trials are planned to begin over the North Atlantic in early 2019. With backing from five air navigation service providers and agreements with others, Aireon will provide global aircraft tracking and emergency location. And it will not be alone: Aerial & Maritime plans to offer space-based ADS-B from 2021 using nanosatellites from GomSpace.

Low-Cost Launch

Small satellites came first, but smallsat launcher startups are moving rapidly to provide a more cost-effective and convenient route to low Earth orbit than a piggyback ride on one of the industry’s big boosters. Rocket Lab’s Electron has flown, Virgin Orbit wants to air-launch its LauncherOne by summer’s end, and Vector launch hopes to make its first orbital flight from Kodiak, Alaska, toward the end of 2018. Building on this commercial activity, DARPA is offering a $10 million top prize for launching two payloads from two locations, with only days’ notice, in a competitive challenge to be staged late in 2019.

Large-Part Printing

Aerospace has faced two key challenges in embracing additive manufacturing. The first has been moving to high-strength metal from low-strength polymer parts and is well underway, with 3D-printed titanium components flying on Airbus and Boeing aircraft. The second is moving from the small parts that can be produced today to the large components used in aircraft structures, and is beginning. The next challenge is in reimagining how components can be engineered, which requires new tools and new thinking by designers. And what lies ahead? Additively manufactured fiber-reinforced composites and 3D printing space already are advancing.

Robots on the Move

Robots are used routinely in aircraft assembly, bringing speed and repeatability to the drilling and fastening of large structures. But such machines are inflexible, immovable monuments designed to perform one task on one aircraft type or family. A glimpse of a possible automated future is provided by demonstrations of “cobots,” smaller robots that work alongside humans on complex assemblies, or German research institute Fraunhofer’s mobile robot, which can move itself around the factory floor to precision-machine aircraft structures where they stand.

AI Inside

Autonomy and artificial intelligence (AI) are set to become as essential to aviation as aerodynamics and propulsion. AI is taking root on the ground, where machine learning is being applied to extracting knowledge from data, but competition for bandwidth means AI will have to take flight and move from the data center to the aircraft—to be co-located with the sensors collecting the data being analyzed and used. Edge computing—low-power supercomputers on chips—and massive onboard data storage also will be key enablers for increasingly autonomous flight and mission capabilities.