Friday, March 24, 2017

[TheList] 4416

The List 4416
To All,
I hope you all have a great weekend.
Regards,
skip

This Day In Naval History - March 24
1903 - George Dewey commissioned Admiral of the Navy with the date of rank, 2 March 1899. He was the only person to hold this rank.
1986: The first operational use of a Harpoon missile in combat is used by A-6A aircraft from VA-34 against a Libyan Combatant II G-class fast-attack missile craft. The engagement occurs after Libyan armed forces fire missiles at U.S. Navy forces operating in the Gulf of Sidra. Retaliatory strikes by A-7E Corsair II aircraft put the SA-5 missiles out of action at Surt and VA-85 aircraft then sink the missile craft.


This Day In Naval History - March 25
1813: During the War of 1812, the frigate Essex, commanded by Capt. David Porter, takes the Peruvian cruiser Neryeda, which is the first capture by the U.S. Navy in the Pacific.

1898 - Assist. SECNAV Theodore Roosevelt proposes Navy investigate military application of Samuel Langley's flying machine, beginning naval aviation
This Day In Naval History - March 26
1942 - ADM King becomes both Chief of Naval Operations and Commander, U.S.
Fleet
1943 - Battle of Komandorski Islands, prevents Japanese reinforcements from reaching Attu
1966 - Operation Jackstay in Navy's first amphibious assault in Vietnam's inland waters
1968 - Operation Bold Dragon III began in Mekong Delta

Today in History March 24
1208

King John of England opposes Innocent III on his nomination for archbishop of Canterbury.
1603

Queen Elizabeth I dies which will bring into power James VI of Scotland.
1663

Charles II of England awards land known as Carolina in North America to eight members of the nobility who assisted in his restoration.
1664

In London, Roger Williams is granted a charter to colonize Rhode Island.
1720

The banking houses of Paris close in the wake of financial crisis.
1721

In Germany, the supremely talented Johann Sebastian Bach publishes the Six Brandenburg Concertos.
1765

Britain passes the Quartering Act, requiring the colonies to house 10,000 British troops in public and private buildings.
1862

Abolitionist Wendell Phillips speaks to a crowd about emancipation in Cincinnati, Ohio and is pelted by eggs.
1900

Mayor Van Wyck of New York breaks ground for the New York subway tunnel that will link Manhattan and Brooklyn.
1904

Vice Admiral Togo sinks seven Russian ships as the Japanese strengthen their blockade of Port Arthur.
1927

Chinese Communists seize Nanking and break with Chiang Kai-shek over the Nationalist goals.
1938

The United States asks that all powers help refugees fleeing from the Nazis.
1944

The Gestapo rounds up innocent Italians in Rome and shoots them to death in reprisal for a bomb attack that killed 33 German policemen.
1947

Congress proposes limiting the United States presidency to two terms.
1951

General Douglas MacArthur threatens the Chinese with an extension of the Korean War if the proposed truce is not accepted.
1954

Great Britain opens trade talks with Hungary.
1955

Tennessee Williams' play Cat on a Hot Tin Roof opens at the Morosco Theatre in New York City.
1958

Elvis Presley trades in his guitar for a rifle and Army fatigues.
1965

The Freedom Marchers, citizens for civil rights, reach Montgomery, Alabama.
1967

Viet Cong ambush a truck convoy in South Vietnam damaging 82 of the 121 trucks.
1972

Great Britain imposes direct rule over Northern Ireland.
1985

Thousands demonstrate in Madrid against the NATO presence in Spain.
1989

The Exxon Valdez oil tanker spills 240,000 barrels of oil in Alaska's Prince William Sound.
1999

NATO planes, including stealth aircraft, attack Serbian forces in Kosovo.

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Hal sent this a couple years ago but the inches keep coming at a quicker rate now.

Thanks to Hal -

What happened to this great country of ours?  The young lady states that we are the freeist country in the world.  A panelist challenges the statement and tells her how wrong she is. So, how did it happen?  I'd say it happened an inch at a time.  Remember that was the wisdom of Josef Stalin.  Never take a yard.  People will fight over a yard. But they won't fight over an inch.  Look back over the seventy-five years.  When "Gone with the Wind"
premiered in Atlanta in 1939, people were shocked when Clark Gable said, "Frankly, my Dear, I don't give a damn."  That was the very first curse word ever used in a movie.  And do you remember that only married couples were shown in the bedroom and they were wearing pajamas, sleeping in twin beds, and they said goodnight and turned out the light.  Illegal immigrants were not a problem.  There really weren't any.  Narcotics were no problem, but drinking was.
We heard Gene Krupa on drums and it was said that he smoked marijuana.
Whatever that was.  People dressed up to go to church, to fly on airplanes, to go out for dinner.  You dressed up to go shopping. No one wore shredded Levis and tank tops.  That was a sign you were poor.  Now you have to have money to look that poor. There were no 'fast food' places.  Most people ate at home. You could feed a small family on a dollar a day.  What does it cost now?  That's inflation.  There wasn't a 'gang problem'.  There might be places you didn't venture into, like if you were white in Manhattan you knew not to go up beyond 100th street and Harlem.  Come to think of it, there were some youth gangs in New York and Jersey.  Someone wrote a book, "The Amboy Dukes".  But all that started after World War II began and suddenly there were no men in the city.  They had all gone to war. Schools were strict, and they paddled.  And it hurt.  You couldn't ditch school. 
There were Truant Officers and they came knocking on your door.  Schools had strict dress codes. No shorts, ever.  Girls wore dresses and they measured how far the hem was from the floor.  Cheat and you were sent home.
 Come back when you can follow the rules.  School children did not own cars.  In fact, most teachers didn't either.  Big city schools had no parking lots.  I look at the parking lots at the high schools near me and count the BMWs.  And believe it or not, when a lot of girls turn sixteen,
the present they want is a boob job.    A car would be second.  Now go to a
movie and prepare to be assaulted with filthy language, sex scenes, countless killings, torture, and 120 mph chases through city streets.  And the popcorn and a soda will cost more than the admission.  Why is that? The panelist says that we spend more money on defense than the next twenty-six countries, and twenty-five are allies. No doubt true. But think of what a serious downsizing of our military and the defense contractors would bring about. Unemployment, big time.   It's bad now at 14%, but see what that would do.  Probably riots in the streets.  Those of us who have been around for seventy or eighty years have seen a lot of change. Some good, but a lot of bad.
And it all happened an inch at a time.
Hal
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Thanks to Fred
Subject: How old is your Father?
Good humor is rare these days!

Teacher:  How old is your father?
Kid: He is 6  years.
Teacher: What? How is this possible?
Kid:  He became father only when I was  born.
Logic!!
Children Are Quick and Always Speak  Their  Minds
_____________________
TEACHER:     Maria, go to the map and find North  America.
MARIA:         Here it is.
TEACHER:  Correct.  Now class,  who discovered America  ?
CLASS:         Maria.
_____________________
TEACHER:  Glenn,  how do you spell  'crocodile?'
GLENN:       K-R-O-K-O-D-I-A-L'
TEACHER:   No, that's  wrong
GLENN:       Maybe it is wrong, but you asked me how I spell it.  
(I  Love this  child)
_____________________
TEACHER:   Donald, what is the chemical formula for  water?
DONALD:    H  I J K L M N O.
TEACHER:  What  are you talking  about?
DONALD:     Yesterday you said it's H to O    
______________________
TEACHER:       Clyde , your composition on 'My Dog' is exactly the same  as your brother's.. Did you copy  his?
CLYDE   :        No sir, It's  the same dog.   
(I want  to adopt this  kid!!!)
___________________
TEACHER:     Harold, what do you call a person who keeps on  talking  when people are no longer  interested?
HAROLD:     A  teacher

______________________________
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Thanks to Bud

A concise review of the travesty that unfolded over the last 8-10 years. One could ask where Batman and Robin (McCain/Graham) along with “Mush” Mullen were on all of this. The Congress was complicit in the Sequestration gambit that is at the heart of the funding debacle but the rest is a failure of leadership and those who chose not to speak out.

From: a an old Naval aviator friend

Subject: Deplorable Status of Navy & Intel Community Under BHO
This is a shocking report on how badly Obama’s actions and neglect depleted the Navy. The Army and Air force were similarly hurt. Obama and his crew did not like our military and you can read of its affects. That is why Trump is increasing the budget to rebuild our military. Db
 WOW !!!  This is a little lengthy, but well worth your time.  It's going to take a long time and a lot of money for our Navy and all the other services to recover from Obama and the "Obamaites" 
In reading over below commentary one must ask where was the Integrity of the Flag Officers  involved in all this corruption and neglect for the national security of the USA; missions & welfare of the military  - apparently there was none or these so called leaders would have retired in protest !  
Subject: [USNA-AT-LARGE] USN SITREP - worse than thought ... 

10 Mar 2017 0718
How did we get there?  You may need to ask our Navy leaders who were serving during the last Administration's 8 years. 

We posted the VADM Moran article referenced (7 Feb "Navy Will Be "Just Flat Out Of Money" earlier.  This is an OpEd by Captain Joseph John, USN, Ret. USNA '62

(Capt John: SEAL Teams, FBI - CV at:  http://combatveteransforcongress.org/leader/59)
VCNO: Navy Will Be "Flat Out Of Money" Without Supplemental Funding
By Capt Joseph R. John, February 14, 2017: Op Ed # 338

The Obama administration sliced the Pentagon budget by 52% over 8 years, putting the security of the Republic and American lives at risk.  A reduced budget imposed upon the US Navy in 2009 began the decline in the US Navy’s strength.  Then the Budget Control Act of 2011 further weakened the US Navy.  The passage of Obama’s Sequestration in 2012 by Republican and Democrat leaders in Congress, gutted the US Navy.  Sequestration could never have diminished the size of Navy’s Fleet to the pre-World War I number of ships, if Republican and Democratic Leaders in Congress hadn’t cooperated very closely with Obama to retain Sequestration, each year, every year, for 5 years.  

Obama appointee holdovers in government are seriously negatively affecting the readiness of the US Navy and hampering the execution of Naval Special Operations.  Obama holdovers are still filling appointed positions in the Pentagon, hampering the Chief of Naval Operations efforts to strengthen the US Navy.  There are 160 Obama appointee holdovers on the National Security Counsel affecting military  operations. 

There are a handful of Obama appointee holdovers at the CIA who were groomed to oppose President Trump by John Brennan &  Mike Morell (they both repeatedly lied about Benghazi).  There are Obama holdovers in NSA, DHS, EPA, and the FBI, including some members of the Muslim Brotherhood, CAIR, ISNA, MAS, etc. who are opposing President Trump.  The 9 personnel who criminally released the content of General Mike Flynn’s telephone conversations with the Russian Ambassador to the press were Obama holdovers.

 Obama’s destructive budget policy resulted in the accelerated erosion in readiness, fleet maintenance, and “Combat Effectiveness” of the US Navy’s surface, submarine, and air forces.  The below listed destructive policies, imposed on the US Armed Forces by the former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullins, USN (Ret), and Navy Secretary Ray Mabus contributed to the erosion of the strength, moral, and “Combat Readiness” of the US Navy. 

Admiral Mike Mullins, USN, force fed the Social Experiment on Diversity into the US Navy that degraded unit moral, unit cohesion, and “Combat Effectiveness”, he withheld information from Congress that 3 rescue missions by (1) a Marine Corps Fast Team 3 hours away, (2) the USS Stennis Carrier Battle Group 6 hours away & (3) two armed F-16Cs 3 hours away from Benghazi were prevented from launching to save American lives, he imposed new dangerous Rules Of Engagement on the US Navy & US Marine Corps that increased their combat casualties in Afghanistan, and he did not terminate the restriction imposed on Navy Chaplains preventing them from reading their Cardinals letters on Sundays from the pulpit to their parishioner (a violation of Freedom of Religion and Freedom of Speech).

The most inept Secretary of the Navy in US History, Ray Mabus, ordered the implementation of Admiral Mullin’s above listed destructive policies on the US Navy.  Mabus approved the reduction in number of ships in the Fleet, to less ships than the Navy had prior to 1913.  Mabus presided over the firing of many senior and Flag officers who were viewed as not being “Politically Correct”, and replaced them with newly selected senior and Flag Officer who met specific “Politically Correct” selection criteria; he directed newly promoted Flag Officers to drive “Politically Correct” destructive policies into the US Navy.  For the first time in 240 years, Mabus named newly commissioned US Naval ships for extremely liberal, progressive, and gay individuals with no military service, instead of naming those ships for the very famous deceased highly decorated and heroic U S military personnel the Navy had always named its ships after.   

The current Situation Report on the US Navy was presented in testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, by Vice Chief of Naval Operations Admiral William Moran, USN in the below listed article.  Admiral Moran said “Our long-term readiness continues its insidious decline”, and “the Navy will be flat out of money” without supplementary funding.   

He argued that financial constraints have eroded military readiness.  The Navy’s reduced budget was only part of the problem, the Navy’s Op Tempo for 15 years, in support of overseas conflicts, has been very hard on the wear and tear of ships, aircraft, and submarines.  Because of budget reductions, aircraft, ships, and submarines have been unable to train at sea, or obtain needed shipyard repairs, contributing negatively toward the Navy’s “Combat Effectiveness.”   

From 1981 to 1988, President Ronald Reagan increased the number of ships in US Navy fleet to 566 ships, which included 15 Carrier Battlegroups, 4 Battleship Surface Action Groups, 100 Attack Submarines, 35 SSNB Ballistic Missile Submarines, and 412 other ships. 

The Obama administration reduced the carrier force to 10 ships, reduced the submarine force to 58 attack submarines &14 SSNB Ballistic Missile Submarines, and reduce the remaining ships of the fleet to 192 ships.  Many of the carriers, submarines, and ships are stuck in port, because the US Navy hasn’t been able to cover the cost of repairs for ships requiring shipyard availability and because of the lack of spare parts.  The Navy hasn’t been able to purchase billions of dollars in spare parts for its aircraft, submarines, and ships making some of their operations too hazardous for Naval personnel to man and operate.  

For 8 years, China, Russia, North Korea, and Iran have been involved in a massive ship building and modernizing program for their fleets; collectively they have 231 submarines and 371 combatants surface ships between them.  

The US Navy’s has less ships in the fleet today than it had in 1913, prior to WWI, and the Navy has been prevented from funding a ship building program to keep up with China, Russia, and Iran’s fleet expansions because of the reduced DOD budget.  To meet minimum requirements, 350 US Navy ships are required in the fleet.  Normally, 1/3 of the fleet is scheduled for shipyard availability, and 1/3 of the ships are scheduled for post deployment R&R and underway training, and 1/3 of the fleet are deployable.  Today’s fleet has 91 deployable ships; President Reagan’s Navy had 189 deployable ships.

For 15 years the wear and tear on the Navy-Marine Corps fighters dramatically reduced the number of operational aircraft, their numbers are in a “death spiral.”  The only long-term solution would be to acquire both F/A-18E/F Super Hornets and the 

F-35 Joint Strike Fighter faster than the current procurement schedule.  Sixty percent of the Navy’s front line combat jet fighter, the F/A-18 Hornets, have been grounded and are unfit to fly because of maintenance issues and lack of spare parts.  The attrition in the number of aircraft and consumption of spare parts is outpacing procurement.  The Obama administration cancelled 175 strike fighters from procurement, that has to be turned around to meet high-end threats like SA-300/400s (advanced Russian anti-aircraft missiles), and the aircraft Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran operate.

Only 439 out of 1,065 US Marine Corps aircraft, are flyable because the aircraft are worn out, because of heavy maintenance issues, and the lack of funding for spare parts; 74 percent of the Marine Corps’ F-18/A(B, C, D) Hornets – some of the oldest in service – are overused, under-maintained; they are wearing out.  Because of lack of funding for fuel, spare parts, and maintenance, and because required monthly pilot flight training has been severely restricted, pilot flight proficiency and qualification have been degraded.

For 8 years, the US Navy hasn’t been able to afford the purchase billions of dollars in spare parts for its aircraft, submarines, and ships making their operations, in many cases, too hazardous for the life of the Naval personnel who operate them, to permit them, to continue operations.  The result has been a dramatic reduction in the number of deployable platforms available.

While the Navy’s strength was being hollowed out, Obama refused to let the Navy defend the nation’s right to “Freedom of Navigation.”  Obama prevented US Naval warships from performing the same standard Naval mission in the South China Sea, it previously performed for 70 years.  From 2012 to 2016, while China was in the process militarized Scarborough Shoals, in the Spratly chain of reefs, in the South China Sea, US Naval warships were prevented from sailing near the Shoals.  During that 4 year period, China was constructing airfields and missile sites on land it reclaimed from the sea bottom.  China has since claimed the Scarborough Shoals as its sovereign territory in violation of International Law.

Naval Special Warfare Operations have been compromised by Obama holdovers.  On January 29th, SEAL Team SIX led a Counterterrorist Operation, against Al Q’ieda in Yemen, in order to gather intelligence and terminate cell leaders.  SOC William “Ryan” Owens, USN (SEAL) was lost in the operation, what turned into a preplanned ambush.  Al Q’ieda received advance details and the timing of the operation; intense fire was poured into the SEALs upon landing, fire came from pre-established positions circumventing the targeted buildings.

Following the raid, Abid, Imran, and Jamal Awan, 3 Muslim brothers from Pakistan hired by the Obama administration at a salary of $160,000/year (one brother was only 22 years old) were abruptly fired by the Trump administration.  They were hired by members of the Muslim Brotherhood operating as a the Fifth Column in US government, to manage Top Secret IT communications for 50 Democrats Congressional House leaders and Democrat Congressmen on the House Permanent Select Intelligence and Foreign Affairs Committees.  They were accused of funneling Top Secret messages to outside servers; the 3 Awan brothers were accused of also stealing classified equipment. 

The 3 Awan brothers managed IT transmission of Top Secret information on Cong Debbie Schultz (D-FL), Cong Keith Ellison (D-MN), Cong Andre Carson (D-IN) and 47 other Democrat Congressmen’s computers.  They had access to Top Secret communications for Democratic Congressional members on the Intelligence and Foreign Affairs Committees who receive advance details on future Top Secret Special Operations, including advance details of the January 29th Counterterrorism Operation in Yemen by SEAL Team SIX, where the SEALs were ambushed by Al Q’ieda Terrorist waiting for them.

The policy of hiring 3 Muslim brothers from Pakistan by the Obama administration and Democrats in Congress, and holding them over compromised a Counterterrorist Operation, inflicted serious casualties on US Navy SEALs,  and compromised the National Security of the United States.

A more detailed testimony of Admiral William Moran is presented in the below listed article.  (Previously Posted by USNA-At-Large)

Copyright by Capt Joseph R. John.  All Rights Reserved.  The material can only posted on another Web site or distributed on the Internet by giving full credit to the author.  It may not be published, broadcast, or rewritten without the permission from the author.

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Item Number:1 Date: 03/24/2017 AFGHANISTAN - INSIDER BLAMED FOR DEATH OF POLICE OFFICERS AT KUNDUZ CHECKPOINT (MAR 24/TN)  TOLONEWS -- An Afghan police officer has killed nine of his colleagues at a checkpoint in the northern Kunduz province, in an apparent insider attack, reports Tolo News (Afghanistan).   The incident occurred Wednesday night at a checkpost on the Kunduz-Ali Abad highway.   After killing his fellow officers, he reportedly set their bodies on fire. The officer then collected weapons and equipment and fled to join the Taliban, said a police spokesman.   The Pajhwok Afghan News described the incident differently -- saying the police officers invited the Taliban in; they killed the sleeping police and then set the checkpoint on fire, according to this account.   The checkpoint commander was not at the post at the time of the incident, a police spokesman said
Item Number:2 Date: 03/24/2017 BELGIUM - ANTWERP CAR ATTACKER IN CUSTODY; SECURITY LEVEL RAISED (MAR 24/NYT)  NEW YORK TIMES -- Police in Belgium have arrested a man who attempted to drive a car over pedestrians in what has been described as an attempted terrorist attack, reports the New York Times.   The would-be attacker sped through a crowded shopping area in central Antwerp on Thursday, forcing pedestrians to dive out of the way, said authorities.   A rapid-response team was called after the driver was spotted by soldiers on routine patrol. The team chased and stopped the car less than a mile away and arrested the driver.   Some accounts reported that knives, a shotgun and a gas can with an unknown liquid were found in the car.   The suspect was identified only as Mohamed R., a 39-year-old man living in France of North African descent.   French President Francois Hollande called the incident "an attempted terrorist attack," reported CNN.   The mayor of Antwerp increased the state of alert and increased police security in busy neighborhoods. The Ministry of Defense also deployed more troops to patrol.  
  Item Number:3 Date: 03/24/2017 CANADA - NEW BUDGET POSTPONES DEFENSE CAPITAL EXPENDITURES (MAR 24/CBC)  CANADIAN BROADCASTING CORPORATION -- The newly released Canadian budget has significant defense cuts, reports CBC News.   The document would take Can$8.4 billion (US$6.3 billion) from defense equipment spending over the near term, with promises to return those funds and spend them over the next 20 years.   The budget also has an additional Can$624 million (US$469 million) over several years for veterans programs.   The broadcaster said the documents are unclear about the reason for the proposed major reallocation funds. References to reallocate monies in the future for new fixed-wing search-and-rescue aircraft and upgrades to the army's LAV III armored fighting vehicles were also confusing, said the CBC. Those programs are already underway.   Projects to be postponed were not specified.   The budget does offer a small increase of Can$184 million (US$138 million) for operations.   As written, the plans would probably drive Canada's defense spending below the 1 percent GDP mark, said one analyst. NATO has 2 percent GDP goal for members' defense spending
Item Number:4 Date: 03/24/2017 COLOMBIA - PRESIDENT SANTOS BLASTS VENEZUELAN MILITARY PRESENCE IN ARAUCA; MADURO SAYS TROOPS WILL BE WITHDRAWN (MAR 24/AFP)  AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE -- Colombia has accused Venezuela of deploying a camp in its territory, reports Agence France-Presse.   On Tuesday, about 70 Venezuelan troops began camping out in the Colombian border region on Arauca in the municipality of Arauquita, said Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos.   Santos said on television on Thursday that the incursion was "totally unacceptable." The leader said that Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro had assured him that the troops would be withdrawn, reported Reuters.   Colombian military personnel had been sent to the area, said Santos. "I have instructed the armed forces to stay in the area and continue exercising full sovereignty over the territory," he said.   Venezuelan Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez later said the border incursion was caused by the Arauca River changing its channel after recent flooding.  
 Item Number:5 Date: 03/24/2017 EGYPT - BOMB EXPLOSION IN CAIRO SUBURB KILLS BUILDING GUARD, INJURES FAMILY MEMBERS (MAR 24/ALJAZ)  AL JAZEERA -- An explosion in Cairo on Friday has killed one person and wounded three others, reports Al Jazeera (Qatar), citing Egyptian officials.   The man killed was a building guard who was cleaning the garden of a property in Maadi, a suburb of the capital, said a statement from the Interior Ministry.   Shrapnel injured his wife and two children, noted Reuters.   He found "an unidentified metallic object" that exploded when he handled it, the statement said.   There was no immediate claim of responsibility.   The area was cordoned off and is being searched by security forces, the statement said.  
  Item Number:6 Date: 03/24/2017 EGYPT - MUBARAK AT HOME AFTER 6 YEARS IN DETENTION (MAR 24/AFP)  AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE -- After being detained for six years, former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has been released freed, reports Agence France-Presse.   A top court acquitted Mubarak earlier this month of involvement in the deaths of about 850 protesters during the 2011 revolts that ended his 30-year rule.   Mubarak, 88, on Friday left the military hospital in Cairo where he had been held, and returned to his home in Heliopolis.   Mubarak was accused of inciting the deaths during clashes between police and protesters. He was sentenced in 2012, but an appeals court dismissed the charges two years later.   In January 2016, an appeals court upheld a three-year sentence for Mubarak and this two sons for corruption charges, but took into account time served.  
  Item Number:7 Date: 03/24/2017 FRANCE - NATIONAL DEFENSE TALKS BETWEEN S. KOREA, FRANCE RESUME IN PARIS (MAR 24/YON)  YONHAP -- Top French and South Korean defense officials are meeting to discuss bilateral cooperation and regional and global security, reports the Yonhap news agency (Seoul).   The South Korea-France National Defense Dialogue in Paris runs from Thursday through Sunday, according to a release from the South Korean Defense Ministry.   Wee Seung Ho, the deputy defense minister for policy, will meet with Phillipe Errera, the director of strategic affairs for the French Ministry of Defense.   The talks were first held in 2007. There were also discussions for the next two years. Last year, the nations' defense ministers agreed to resume the dialogue.   The discussions are expected to focus on security conditions on the Korean Peninsula; joint responses to North Korea's missile and security threats; denuclearization and non-proliferation efforts; and cybersecurity, the South Korean Defense Ministry said.   Plans also call for laying the ground for expanding and strengthening bilateral defense cooperation
  Item Number:8 Date: 03/24/2017 INDONESIA - 154 PAPUA GUERRILLAS SURRENDER (MAR 24/XIN)  XINHUA -- Scores of rebels in Papua province have surrendered to the government, says the Indonesian army, as reported by Xinhua, China's state news agency.   A total of 154 members from the Free Papua Movement give up fighting after the Indonesian army launched a "humanitarian" approach, said an army statement on Friday.   A ceremony was held in Puncak district marking the fighters' surrender, the statement said.   The movement has long sought independence for West Papua, which includes the western half of the island of New Guinea.  
  Item Number:9 Date: 03/24/2017 IRAQ - NEW PUSH BEING PLANNED ON MOSUL; 'WORST IS YET TO COME,' WARNS U.N. (MAR 24/REU)  REUTERS -- Operations against ISIS in western Mosul are on temporary hold as Iraqi forces prepare for a new push, say military officials, as reported by Reuters.   There were no operations on Friday, said a spokesman for the Interior Ministry's rapid response forces.   Attacks are expected to resume, and "new techniques" would be employed that are more effective in western Mosul's Old City, he said.   The new tactics planned will include deploying additional sniper units against ISIS sharpshooters, said a federal police officer.   ISIS fighters have been hiding in local homes to fire at Iraqi troops. This reportedly led to airstrikes or artillery fire hitting civilians.   The United Nations says about 400,000 are trapped in the Old City, with a top official saying "the worst is yet to come," reported the Independent (U.K.).   Government forces have reprotedly set their sights on the al-Nuri mosque inside the Old City, where ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared a caliphate in 2014.  
Item Number:10 Date: 03/24/2017 ISRAEL - U.S.-ISRAELI TEEN APPREHENDED FOR THREATS AGAINST JEWISH CENTERS WORLDWIDE (MAR 24/NYT)  NEW YORK TIMES -- A teenager has been arrested in Israel for making a series of bomb threats against Jewish institutions in the U.S., New Zealand and Australia, reports the New York Times.   The suspect and his father were arrested Thursday in the Ashkelon area of southern Israel after an intensive investigation.   The suspect, variously described as 18 or 19 years old, has dual U.S. and Israeli citizenship, noted the New York Post.   More than 100 threats have been made since the start of the year against Jewish community centers, schools and museums, prompting evacuations and increased security. Many of the calls were reportedly sent through the internet and featured sophisticated software to disguise location and voice.   Officials said that the suspect was the primary source of the threats, though some were apparently committed by others. No motive was given.   The suspect's lawyer said the suspect had a brain tumor that could affect his cognitive abilities and lead to "irrational" behavior.   The Daily Beast identified that suspect as Michael Kaydar. He is Jewish, according to the Daily News (New York).   He is also suspected of making threats against Delta Air Lines, forcing an aircraft to make an emergency landing in 2015, reported the BBC.  
  Item Number:11 Date: 03/24/2017 ITALY - DEFENSE CHIEF HOSTS TOP ANGOLAN GENERAL FOR COOPERATION MEETING (MAR 24/APA)  ANGOLA PRESS AGENCY -- The heads of the Angolan and Italian armed forces have been meeting in Rome to discuss bilateral cooperation, reports the Angola Press Agency.   Angolan Gen. Geraldo Sachipengo Nunda met on Wednesday with his hosting Italian counterpart, Gen. Claudio Graziano, for a working meeting.   Nunda arrived in Italy on Tuesday and is scheduled to conclude his visit on Friday.   Plans also call for the Angolan general to meet with the Italian navy's deputy chief of staff and naval commander's chief of staff.   Nunda is also expected to visit various defense industrial facilities in Italy.   Angola and Italy have been strengthening bilateral defense cooperation since 2015.  
  Item Number:12 Date: 03/24/2017 MALAYSIA - NAVY TO GET 4 LITTORAL MISSION SHIPS; INITIAL 2 TO BE BUILT IN CHINA AS PART OF JOINT PROJECT (MAR 24/BERNAMA)  BERNAMA -- The Malaysian Ministry of Defense has awarded Boustead Naval Shipyard a contract for four Littoral Mission Ships, reports Bernama, Malaysia's national news agency.   The US$263 million contract was awarded to Malaysia's Boustead Naval Shipyard, but is a joint project between the Chinese and Malaysian governments.   A Chinese shipyard will design the vessels and build and deliver the first two in 2019 and 2020. Boustead will build the other two domestically for delivery in 2021.   The 710-ton ships are 223 ft (68 m) long, with a maximum speed of 22 knots, reported Shephard Media.   Armament includes a 30-mm cannon and 12.7-mm and 7.62-mm machine guns. Two stern-launched rigid-hull inflatable boats are carried. Containerized mission modules may also be employed.  
  Item Number:13 Date: 03/24/2017 NIGERIA - NAVY IN MIDST OF OBANGAME EXPRESS MULTINATIONAL DRILLS IN GULF OF GUINEA (MAR 24/THIS)  THIS DAY -- The U.S. and Nigerian navies have kicked off a multinational exercise in the Gulf of Guinea, reports This Day (Lagos).   The Obangame Express exercise, sponsored by the U.S. Africa Command, began on March 23.   The drills focus on regional cooperation, maritime domain awareness, information-sharing and a simulated tactical interdiction operation, said a Nigerian navy spokesman.   The overall objective is to improve the capabilities of West African nations to combat piracy and other maritime illegal activity.   Thirty countries were expected to participate: Angola, Belgium, Benin, Brazil, Cape Verde, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Denmark, Equatorial Guinea, France, Gabon, Germany, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Nigeria, Norway, Mauritania, Portugal, Republic of Congo, Sao Tome & Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Spain, South Africa, Togo, Turkey, the Netherlands and the U.S.   Regional organizations, including the Economic Community of West African States and the Economic Community of Central African States will also take part, the Nigerian spokesman said.   The Nigerian contingent includes the frigates Okpabana and Centenary, Sagbama patrol ship and a helicopter.   The French corvette Jacoubet will also participate.   The Nigerian component of the training is scheduled to conclude on March 28, while the entire exercise runs through March 31, according to U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa.   The largest footprint ashore will be in Abidjan, Ivory Coast.  
Item Number:14 Date: 03/24/2017 NORTH KOREA - PYONGYANG POISED FOR ANOTHER NUKE TEST, SAY U.S., S. KOREAN OFFICIALS (MAR 24/YON)  YONHAP -- North Korea appears to have completed preparations for another nuclear test, says a South Korean official, as reported by the Yonhap news agency (Seoul).   "It's assessed that North Korea is capable of conducting a nuclear test within hours after Kim Jong-un's order," said the unnamed official on Friday.   "We are keeping close tabs on its nuclear-related facilities with combined assets with the U.S.," he said.   U.S. officials cited by Fox News had a similar assessment, saying Pyongyang was in the final stages of gearing up for a test that could come as early as the end of the month.   There was evidence that North Korea had finished digging new tunnels near its nuclear site in Punggye-ri, they said.  
  Item Number:15 Date: 03/24/2017 PANAMA - NEWLY DELIVERED FAST INTERCEPTOR CRAFT READY FOR ANTI-DRUG OPERATIONS (MAR 24/DAMENSG)  DAMEN SHIPYARDS GROUP -- Damen Shipyard Group in the Netherlands has announced the delivery of four Interceptor 1102 fast boats to Panama's air and naval service.   Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela christened all four craft in a ceremony on Feb. 6, according to a Damen release on Thursday.   During the handover ceremony, Panama's air and naval service signed a second contract for another four Interceptors, the company release said.   Both contracts include training, spare parts and maintenance.   The boats, to be based at Fort Sherman Naval Base on the Caribbean side of the Panama Canal, will be used to combat drug-trafficking in the region, noted the release.  
  Item Number:16 Date: 03/24/2017 RUSSIA - MILITANTS ATTACK MILITARY FACILITY IN CHECHNYA; 12 DEATHS REPORTED (MAR 24/TASS)  TASS -- Russian counterterrorism authorities say an attack on a military facility in Chechnya has left a dozen dead, reports Tass (Russia).   About 2:30 a.m. on Friday, six members of an "armed gang" attacked a national guard facility in Chechnya's Naursky district, said the National Anti-Terrorim Committee.   All six were killed, including two who wore fake explosive belts, said the committee.   Six national guard personnel were killed while repelling the attack, said a spokesman for the guard. An unspecified number of others were also wounded, noted Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty -- which noted that the attackers did not breach the facility.  
 Item Number:17 Date: 03/24/2017 RUSSIA - PROGRESS SEEN IN TALKS FOR REGIONAL AIR DEFENSE SYSTEM WITH KYRGYZSTAN (MAR 24/INT-AVN)  INTERFAX-MILITARY NEWS AGENCY -- The Russian and Krygyz armed forces are still pushing for the establishment of a regional air defense system, reports Interfax-AVN (Russia).   On Thursday, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Lt. Gen. Alexander Fomin hosted Deputy Chief of the Kyrgyz General Staff Nurlan Chomoyev in Moscow to discuss progress in preparations for signing a draft agreement on the air defense system.   The leaders also discussed prospects for bilateral military-technical cooperation in other areas, said the Russian Defense Ministry.   Moscow has made such agreements for regional air defense systems with Tajikistan, Kazakhstan and Armenia in recent years, as reported last year by Asia-Plus (Tajikistan).  
  Item Number:18 Date: 03/24/2017 SYRIA - RUSSIAN AIRCRAFT TAKING PART IN FIGHT WITH REBEL INSURGENTS NEAR HAMA (MAR 24/REU)  REUTERS -- Russian warplanes are supporting Syrian government forces in Hama province who are trying to repel a major rebel attack, says a Syrian military source cited by Reuters.   Rebels and allied jihadists began pushing on Tuesday against government-held areas near the city of Hama, seizing at least 11 towns and villages, according to the U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a monitoring group with a local network.   Airstrikes and concentrated artillery fire have been hitting the rebels and their headquarters and supply lines in preparation for a counterattack, said the source on Friday. Russian places are taking part, he said.   Rebel groups were focusing on the village Qomhana, about 5 miles north of Hama city, said the observatory.   Tahrir al-Sham, which includes former Al-Qaida affiliate Nusra Front, has been spearheading the recent offensive. A suicide attack has been carried out in that village, according to the monitors
  Item Number:19 Date: 03/24/2017 USA - $98 MILLION CONTRACT COVERS LIGHTWEIGHT COMBAT HELMETS FOR ARMY (MAR 24/REVMIL)  REVISION MILITARY -- The U.S. Army has awarded Revision Military the contract for its Advanced Combat Helmet Generation II (ACH Gen II) program, according to a release by the Vermont-based firm.   The five-year indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract has a maximum value of $98.1 million, said the company on Tuesday. Work is scheduled to be completed by March 6, 2022.   The new helmet is 24 percent lighter than the existing ACH. The ACH Gen II program requirements called for at least a 15 percent weight reduction compared to the existing helmet, noted Revision Military.   This pushes the envelope of attainable weight reduction, while maintaining excellent ballistic protection, the company said.   Revision Military delivered 180,000 of the previous Advanced Combat Helmets under a 2012 contract.  
 Item Number:20 Date: 03/24/2017 USA - AIR FORCE F-15CS COULD BE ON THE WAY OUT; F-16S SEEN AS POTENTIAL REPLACEMENTS (MAR 24/S&S)  STARS AND STRIPES -- The U.S. Air Force is studying a plan that would retire its F-15C Eagle fighters from active-duty, Guard and reserve units and replace them with F-16s with upgraded radars, reports the Stars and Stripes.   The service is in the "pre-decisional stage" of such a plan, Maj. Gen. Scott West, the Air Force director of current operations, told the House Armed Services readiness subcommittee on Wednesday.   "We are discussing ways to maximize [the Air Force budget] and minimize the number of systems that we operate," West said. The general did not say how much money would be saved by retiring the F-15Cs.   The Air Force has 212 F-15Cs and 949 F-16s. It was not immediately clear which of two F-16 models might replace the Eagles.   If the service decides to retire the F-15C, the move could take effect as soon as fiscal 2019, said Lt. Gen. Scott Rice, the director of the Air National Guard. 

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