Friday, February 16, 2018

Fw: TheList 4657

The List 4657

To All
I hope that your week has been going well.
This Day In Naval History – February 15, 2018
Feb. 15
1856—The stores-ship, Supply, commanded by Lt. David Dixon Porter, sails from Smyrna, Syria, bound for Indianola, TX, with a load of 21 camels intended for experimental use in the American desert west of the Rockies.
1898—The battleship Maine explodes in Havana Harbor and nearly three-quarters of the battleship's crew die as a result of the blast. Popular opinion blames Spain, and the Spanish-American war starts soon after.
1943—USS Gato (SS 212) sinks Japanese stores ship Suruga Maru in Bougainville Strait and USS Pickerel (SS 177) attacks a Japanese convoy and sinks cargo vessel Tateyama Maru off the east coast of Honshu.
1944—While serving as commander of a Catalina patrol plane, Lt. Nathan Gordon responds to a report of U.S. Army Fifth Air Force personnel shot down over Kavieng Harbor in the Bismarck Sea. Risking his life and under Japanese fire, he makes a daring rescue mission, saving 15 service members from certain death or capture by the enemy. For his "extraordinary heroism," Gordon is awarded the Medal of Honor.
1960—Icebreakers USS Burton Island (AGB 1) and USS Glacier (AGB 4) become the first U.S. Navy vessels to reach Thurston Peninsula in the Antarctic.
1944 Allied Bombers level the abbey at Monte Cassino
Thanks to CHINFO
Executive Summary:
National headlines were dominated by the school shooting that killed 17 in Parkland, Fla., as well as news of a bipartisan deal on immigration being worked in the U.S Senate. Cmdr. Jessie Sanchez, the former XO of USS John S. McCain, has received a punitive letter of reprimand after being found guilty of dereliction of duty reports Stars and Stripes. Article 32 hearings for the former commanders of the Fitzgerald and the McCain as well as three Fitzgerald officers are scheduled for March 6-8. USNI News reports that the Navy intends to reach a fleet of 326 ships with an average of 131 ships deployed by FY 2023. To achieve this increase in deployment, the Navy is considering more forward deployed LCSs in addition to buying 98% of authorized billets. Additionally, PACOM Commander Admiral Harry Harris testified that while North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile ambitions pose the most immediate threat to U.S. national security interests in the region, China's growing military and economic power pose a more long-term challenge to American influence.
February 15
The first serious fist fight occurs in Congress.
New Jersey becomes the last northern state to abolish slavery.
Union General Ulysses S. Grant launches a major assault on Fort Donelson, Tenn.
Charges of treason against Jefferson Davis are dropped.
The U.S. battleship Maine blows up in Havana Harbor, killing 268 sailors and bringing hordes of Western cowboys and gunfighters rushing to enlist in the Spanish-American War.
The British threaten to use natives in the Boer War fight.
The London Zoo announces it will install lights to cheer up fogged-in animals.
U.S. Congress passes the Civil Works Emergency Relief Act, allotting new funds for Federal Emergency Relief Administration.
Hitler orders that all British merchant ships will be considered warships.
British forces in Singapore surrender to Japanese General Tomoyuki Yamashita.
The Germans break the American Army's lines at the Fanid-Sened Sector in Tunisia, North Africa.
American bombers attack the Abbey of Monte Cassino in an effort to neutralize it as a German observation post in central Italy.
Royal Canadian mounted police arrest 22 as Soviet spies.
Joseph Stalin and Mao Tse-tung sign a mutual defense treaty in Moscow.
Andrei Gromyko replaces Dmitri T. Shepilov as the Soviet Foreign Minister.
Eighteen members of the U.S. figure skating team are lost in an airplane crash in Belgium.
Canada's maple leaf flag is raised for the first time.
Thirteen U.S. helicopters are shot down in one day in Vietnam
U.S. gas stations threaten to close because of federal fuel policies.
With our thanks to THE Bear at
February 15, 2018  Bear Taylor  
RIPPLE SALVO… #712… Last hurrah: "…any final attempt, competition, performance, success or the like."…
The window of opportunity–clear weather for a day or two in mid-February–quickly closed as the northeast monsoon moved back over the region. At the same time, the requirement for additional air support for the troops at Khesanh, and the President's wavering confidence in the bombing all combined to put the brakes on Rolling Thunder ops in the heartland of North Vietnam. The exception was the meager all-weather capability of our fighter-bombers. Wayne Thompson summarizes the situation in "To Hanoi and Back."…
"In yet another attempt to make use of the clear weather on the 14th, a flight of four F-4s from Ubon dropped Walleye television guided bombs on the thermal power plant associated with the Thai Nguyen iron works, some thirty miles north of Hanoi. At least one of the Walleyes made a direct hit. Two were obscured by dust and smoke that may also have interfered with their guidance systems. Although the Walleye could be very accurate, its relatively small warhead sometimes failed to do enough damage even when right on target. At any rate, the power plant was soon operating and remained on the target list.
"During the weeks of bad weather which followed, there was little more that Seventh Air Force or the Seventh Fleet could do in the Hanoi-Haiphong region. Meanwhile, Thailand finally permitted fighter aircraft based there to be used in South Vietnam, nearly a year after Thailand-based B-52s. Thus, the principal response of the Thailand-base fighters to the Tet offensive came in the hills around Khesanh, where they joined B-52s and other fighters in delivering an unprecedented tonnage of bombs on so small an area–a hundred thousand tons in a few weeks, about as much as the Hanoi-Haiphong region had suffered in three years.
"Since B-52s were not used near Hanoi-Haiphong, most major targets in North Vietnam were adequately protected from American air power by the northeast monsoon. The solo missions of Navy and Marine A-6s and the less accurate flights of four F-4s or four F-105s (guided by radar at Phou Pha Thi in Laos) could not do more than harass the enemy. Some of the Red River port facilities on the south side of Hanoi were attacked for the first time without much damage. Unfortunately the most prominent target gives the bad weather attackers was one demanding greater accuracy than they could muster. They were supposed to turn off the voice of Hanoi Hannah by bombing Radio Hanoi. Not surprisingly, they failed, while the White House paid close attention. After the A-6 attempt, Walt Rostow was informed that Radio Hanoi had kept to its usual schedule 'which would indicate that our plane missed.' " ….More at
Watch: Sukhoi Su-30MKM Sky Dance over Singapore – Thrust Vectoring Demo
One of the stars of the Singapore Airshow flying display is the two-seater twin-engine Sukhoi Su-30MKM, which is a variant of the Russian-built Su-30 multirole fighter built specifically for the View More ›
Thanks to Chuck….Boyington's claims of kill numbers have always had a question mark..
Black Sheep
Colorized photos….
Ba Ba Black Sheep
Thanks to Bill
How New Russian Submarine Tactics Are Threatening To Overwhelm Aging U.S. Fleet
Carolos Munoz, Washington Times, 13 February
Thanks to the Naval History and Heritage Command
H-015-3: "Remember the Maine!  To Hell with Spain!"
H-Gram 015, Attachment 3
Samuel J. Cox, Director NHHC
February 2018 
The design of the USS Maine was pretty much an abberation. She had a long list of cutting-edge technological advances and an even longer list of major design flaws. In the nine years it took to build her, thanks to constantly changing requirements, budget shortfalls, shortages of key material for the untested advanced technology, inadequate industrial base, shipyard strikes, poor workmanship, and other factors, the Maine was obsolete before she was even finished. Originally intended to be an armored cruiser, she was completed as a battleship, but was inadequately armed (two twin 10-inch gun turrets, a host of smaller-caliber weapons, and even torpedo tubes) to be a match for battleships in other navies of the day, and she was far too slow to act as a commerce-raiding cruiser. In fact, the impetus for the construction of the Maine was the acquisition by the Brazilian navy of the battleship Riachuelo in 1883 and the realization (and embarrassment) that the Brazilian navy was the strongest navy in the Western Hemisphere—and the Chilean and Argentine navies were on pace to surpass the U.S. Navy as well. Following the U.S. Civil War, the U.S. Navy had been allowed to severely decline in terms of numbers and quality, primarily due to lack of funding, but also lack of national (or even Navy) consensus about the role of the service: to be able to fight other Navies as a fleet, or just to raid opposing nations' commerce as individual ships.
Congress authorized construction of the Maine in 1886, and she was the largest naval vessel to be built in a U.S. yard to that time. Maine was finally commissioned in 1895. During the 1890s, Congress had at long last authorized a major increase in U.S. naval strength and three battleships of the Indiana class (four 13-inch guns) were completed shortly after the Maine, and significantly out-classed that ship in all respects (although even they were obsolete by 1903). Maine initially operated with the North Atlantic Squadron. By the outbreak of the Spanish-American War in 1898, the U.S. Navy was much improved in terms of numbers and quality of ships, although it was still no match for the major navies of Europe. However, it would prove to be more than a match for the navy of Spain, which had been allowed to fall into a very decrepit state.
With the increase in tensions with Spain due to the rebellion in the Spanish colony of Cuba, the Maine, under the command of Captain Charles Dwight Sigsbee, was ordered to steam from Key West to Havana in January 1898 to protect U.S. interests in Cuba. These were considerable, and there was a very vocal lobby in the U.S. advocating annexation of Cuba as a U.S. colony, much to the consternation of Spain. U.S. newspapers hyped reports of Spanish atrocities, generating great sympathy in the American public for the rebels in Cuba. A number of U.S. newspapers practiced what has come to be known as "yellow journalism," i.e., only a loose association with the facts, the original "fake news," if you will, willing to publish just about anything to increase circulation.
The explosion of the Maine about 2140 on 15 February 1898, obliterated the forward third of the ship. Maine sank in relatively shallow water with the remains of her superstructure still above water. Most of the officers (18 of 20) survived, including Captain Sigsbee, because the officers' quarters were in the stern. The crews' quarters were in the forward part of the ship and therefore loss of life among the enlisted crew was extremely heavy. The New York Journal (owned by William Randolph Hearst) and the New York World (owned by Joseph Pulitzer) seized on the disaster as an opportunity to increase circulation, immediately blaming Spain, and offering rewards ($50,000, a huge sum at the time) for the conviction of the criminals who had killed American Sailors. Although most political, military (and even newspaper) leaders did not find it plausible that Spain would have deliberately done such a thing, the inflammatory newspaper coverage resulted in what can only be termed as "hysteria" on the part of the American public. On 13 April 1898, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 311–6 to authorize Republican President William McKinley to use military force to end the hostilities in Cuba (between Spain and the rebels). The vote in the Senate was closer at 42–35 for the resolution. The resolution was not technically a declaration of war, but that is how Spain interpreted it. Soon the war would be on.
The first investigation of the Maine explosion was conducted by the Spanish (the "Del Peral and De Salas" inquiry) and concluded a spontaneous combustion in the coal bunker adjacent to the magazine was the cause of the blast. This conclusion was ignored by the American press. The Spanish investigation also noted that no cables had been found, indicating that a mine could not have been electrically detonated, and that the dead calm conditions made striking a contact mine unlikely. Captain Sigsbee also noted that numerous Spanish officers expressed their sympathy. Spanish government correspondence indicated a serious concern that Spain would be blamed for the explosion and a strong desire that the United States would not reach that conclusion.
The U.S. Navy quickly formed a court of inquiry to investigate the explosion. The board consisted of line officers, and was initially composed entirely of officers junior to the Maine's captain before a more senior officer, Captain William T. Sampson, was placed in charge. The board arrived in Havana on 21 February and took testimony from survivors and witnesses, although this phase was rushed due to the potential for imminent outbreak of war. The board also did not avail itself very well of technical advice from engineers (then separate from line officers) in reaching its conclusion on 28 March that a submerged mine was the cause of the explosion of two or more of Maine's forward magazines. This conclusion was based on witnesses who reported two explosions in quick succession and a part of the keel at frame 18 being bent inward, indicating an external explosion. The U.S. board also noted that it could find no evidence fixing the responsibility on any person or persons.
In 1911, the U.S. Navy conducted another court of inquiry (the "Vreeland Board" led by Rear Admiral Charles Vreeland) in conjunction with an effort to recover the remains of U.S. Sailors before clearing the wreck from Havana Harbor. This time, the board included certified engineers. A cofferdam was placed around the wreck, allowing for inspection (and removal of remains). The Vreeland Board concluded that the bent keel was the result of the explosion of the magazine and not due to an external cause, and that the initial explosion was farther aft and a lower order than determined by the Sampson Board, but still reached the conclusion that a mine was the cause of the magazine explosion. (Some recent computer analysis has indicated that it would not have taken a very large external charge to have detonated the magazine.) After the Vreeland investigation, the recovered remains of Maine's Sailors were buried at Arlington National Cemetery, and the hulk was refloated, towed out to sea, and ceremoniously scuttled.
In 1974, for whatever reason, Admiral Hyman Rickover took an interest in the sinking of the Maine and commissioned an independent study, which he published in 1976 in the book How the Battleship Maine Was Destroyed. The research by the team was pretty exhaustive. The conclusion was that the Maine was most likely destroyed as a result of spontaneous combustion in a coal bunker next to the magazine. As the U.S. Navy (and other navies) transitioned to steel warships, they also transitioned from burning anthracite coal to much more volatile bituminous coal in order to generate greater power and speed. Under certain circumstances, bituminous coal was capable of spontaneous combustion, and such fires had been reported on other U.S. Navy warships before the Maine disaster, and other navies had lost ships as a result (although unstable cordite would prove to be a far more effective way for warships to blow themselves up in the first decades of the 20th century). It should be noted, however, that both the Sampson and Vreeland Boards had members with first-hand experience with coal bunker fires, which were a common enough occurrence so that ships had procedures in place to guard against them (which actually worked in other cases in the U.S. Navy). Both those boards concluded that a coal fire was not the cause. There is also modern analysis of the bituminous coal burned by Maine based on data from where it was mined, which indicates that it actually had properties very much like anthracite, making spontaneous combustion less likely.
There have been a number of TV documentaries, additional books, and other studies, including computer simulations, since Rickover's book that have attempted to determine the exact cause of the blast. These have resulted in some additional evidence that the blast was external and some other that it was internal. There are certainly other things besides a coal fire that could have resulted in an internal blast, although there is no evidence that conclusively points to another cause, such as unstable ammunition. Personally, I find that the Maine was subject to a mine explosion to be highly unlikely, but there are weaknesses in the coal fire theory as well. Most of the evidence, in my view, still points to an internal cause, but sometimes, 120 years of history just refuse to give up their mysteries and we may never really know what caused the Maine to blow up, kill 261 Americans, and start a war.
(A key source for this item is H. G. Rickover, How the Battleship Maine Was Destroyed, Government Publishing Office, 1976. An article on the web "How Likely was a Coal Bunker Fire Aboard the Battleship Maine?" by Patrick McSherry provides no direct support to the mine theory, but does expose some weaknesses in the coal fire theory.)
Published:Mon Feb 12 17:29:32 EST 2018
Thanks to Chuck
Hey Buddy, Can You Give Me a Hand?
Published on Feb 12, 2018
Item Number:1 Date: 02/15/2018 AFGHANISTAN - TALIBAN CALLS FOR DIALOGUE IN DEFIANT LETTER (FEB 15/VOA)  VOICE OF AMERICA NEWS -- The Taliban has published a defiant open letter aimed at the American people, calling for a negotiated end to the 17-year war, reports the Voice of America News.   The Taliban released the letter on Wednesday, pointing to what they said were Taliban gains and U.S. losses. Notably, the Taliban denied any loss of territory to the U.S.-led coalition, citing the recent Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) report as proof.   Among other accusations, the letter says that efforts to drive a wedge between Al-Qaida and the Taliban paved the way for the recent emergence of Islamic State fighters in the country.   Coalition countries have lost thousands of citizens and billions of dollars but failed to establish a legitimate Afghan government, the letter says. Opium production was also up.   "If you want peaceful dialogue with the Afghans specifically, and with the world generally, then make your president and the warmongering congressmen and Pentagon officials understand this reality and compel them to adopt a rational policy towards Afghanistan," says the letter.   Meanwhile, during a visit to eastern Afghanistan this week, Gen. John Nicholson, the commander of the U.S.-led Resolute Support mission, said increased offensive operations were producing results.   "The success of Afghan operations around the country, supported by Resolute Support and U.S. forces, has caused the enemy high casualties everywhere. This has caused them to stop their attempts to seize provincial capitals, to stop trying to seize districts," the general said.   Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has publicly refused to enter into dialogue with groups who had a hand in a series of terror attacks that killed 150 in Kabul last month.   "The Afghan government can only negotiate to end the war if the Taliban are ready. The recent attacks show this is not the case," said the U.S. State Dept. in response to the letter
Item Number:2 Date: 02/15/2018 ALGERIA - MINE BLAST KILLS 5 NEAR BORDER WITH TUNISIA (FEB 15/ELK)  EL KHABAR -- Five Algerian soldiers have been killed and two injured after their vehicle hit a landmine in the eastern Tebessa province, reports El Khabar (Algeria).   At least one officer was killed in Wednesday's explosion, which occurred near the Tunisian border, reported Xinhua, China's state news agency.   The explosion occurred in an area frequented by security forces, noted Garda World (Montreal).   The area between the two countries is a known hotbed for militant activity, including elements of Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb
Item Number:3 Date: 02/15/2018 BELGIUM - BRUSSELS SIGNS ON TO EUROPEAN AERIAL REFUELING PROGRAM (FEB 15/NATO)  NATO PRESS RELEASE -- The Belgian government has joined a multinational program to acquire a fleet of Airbus aerial tanker-transport aircraft, reports NATO.   Belgium signed the agreement on Wednesday during a ceremony at NATO Headquarters in Brussels.   The initiative, supported by NATO and the European Union, was launched in 2016 by Luxembourg and the Netherlands, who ordered two A330 multirole tanker-transports.   The fleet has grown since then. With Belgium joining the program, the multinational fleet is expected to reach eight aircraft, with deliveries taking place between 2020 and 2024.   The multinational fleet will fly from a main operating base in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, and a forward operating base in Cologne, Germany.   The unit is intended to increase European air-to-air refueling capabilities and reduce dependence on the United States
Item Number:4 Date: 02/15/2018 CAMEROON - REGIONAL OFFICIAL STILL MISSING AFTER BEING KIDNAPPED BY SUSPECTED SEPARATISTS (FEB 15/VOA)  VOICE OF AMERICA NEWS -- Militants have abducted a senior regional official in Cameroon's northwestern English-speaking region, reports the Voice of America News.   Joseph Namata, the top official in the Batibo subdivision, was kidnapped on Sunday as he prepared to attend a ceremony in the town, according to his wife.   Gunmen were able to get the official into his car without alerting his security detail, authorities believe. The car was later found burned.   The abduction took place on the same day that three gendarmes were killed.   Government officials in Cameroon's two English-speaking zones have faced intimidation and attacks over the past year. This is the first kidnapping of an administration official.   Members of the anglophone minority in Cameroon have been demanding independence. Violence has increased amid a government crackdown.  
  Item Number:5 Date: 02/15/2018 CYPRUS - NATIONAL GUARD CHIEF MAKES VISIT TO ISRAEL (FEB 15/JP)  JERUSALEM POST -- The head of the national guard in Cyprus is making an official visit to Israel, reports the Jerusalem Post.   On Wednesday, Lt. Gen. Elias Leontaris arrived in Israel and visited the Israeli military headquarters in Tel Aviv.   During the visit, Leontaris was expected to discuss joint security challenges and future military cooperation with Lt. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot, the chief of the Israeli General Staff.   The Cypriot general is also scheduled to visit the military's counterterrorism facility in central Israel.   The two countries have been strengthening bilateral ties, including a number of recent joint exercises.  
Item Number:7 Date: 02/15/2018 ETHIOPIA - PRIME MINISTER RESIGNS AFTER YEARS OF PROTEST (FEB 15/BBC)  BRITISH BROADCASTING CORP. -- Ethiopia's prime minister has resigned amid growing opposition and protests, reports the BBC.   In a speech on Thursday, Hailemariam Desalegn said he will stay on as a caretaker until the government has chosen a replacement.   The announcement came after the government released hundreds of political prisoners, including some prominent members of the opposition, reported the Washington Post.   Desalegn is also the head of the ruling political coalition. He submitted his resignation from both positions.   Members of Ethiopia's political elite see the former prime minister as weak, said the BBC. Desalegn assumed power in 2012.   The Horn of Africa country has been gripped by years of protests that began in 2015 and killed hundreds, primarily in the Oromia and Amhara regions.   Ten people were killed and dozens injured during a recent opposition protest.   Activists and watchdogs have accused the government of favoring development in the capital region and favoring certain groups in the multi-ethnic country.  
  Item Number:8 Date: 02/15/2018 JORDAN - US$6 BILLION AID AGREEMENT INKED WITH WASHINGTON (FEB 15/ALJAZ)  AL JAZEERA -- Amid growing concerns about instability, the U.S. has signed a five-year, US$6.375 billion aid deal with Jordan, reports Al Jazeera.   On Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson signed the agreement in Amman with his Jordanian counterpart, Foreign Minister Ayman al-Safadi.   Each year, US$750 million will be earmarked for economic support funds and US$350 million for the military, said the State Dept.   The accord provides an increase over the previous US$1 billion in annual aid to Jordan, noted the New York Times.   With this deal, the U.S. is now the only international donor to Jordan. Saudi Arabia, the U.A.E. and Kuwait chose not to renew a US$3.6 billion aid program that ended in 2017.   The move comes amid worries of instability in the Middle Eastern kingdom. An ally of the U.S. and one of the few Arab countries to maintain open ties with Israel, Jordan is widely portrayed as a key to regional stability.   Protests, however, have rocked the country since the government raised the maximum price of bread in January, increasing the price between 50 and 100 percent to reduce a US$700 million deficit.   Demonstrators have called for the revocation of the decision and the resignation of the current government.  
  Item Number:9 Date: 02/15/2018 LIBERIA - NIGERIAN DEFENSE CHIEF URGES MILITARY TO JOIN REGIONAL SECURITY PROJECTS (FEB 15/LIBOBS)  LIBERIAN OBSERVER -- The head of the Nigerian military has called on the Liberian military to join more regional security efforts, reports the Liberian Observer (Monrovia).   Gen. Abayomi Gabriel Olonisakin made his remarks on Monday during an event at the Barclay Training Center in Monrovia, the Liberian capital.   The time has come for the Liberian armed forces to look outward after years of consolidating internal security following civil wars in the late 1990s and early 2000s, the general said.   There are a number of regional challenges, including terrorism and conflicts caused by resource scarcity, climate change and migration challenges, said Olonisakin.   Liberia and Nigeria share a history of working together to secure regional peace and security, he said.  
  Item Number:10 Date: 02/15/2018 SOUTH AFRICA - WITH ZUMA FINALLY OUT, RAMAPHOSA STEPS IN (FEB 15/GU)  THE GUARDIAN -- Cyril Ramaphosa has been elected president of South Africa, less than a day after his predecessor resigned under political pressure, reports the Guardian (U.K.).   Widely expected to succeed Jacob Zuma, Ramaphosa was confirmed president in a Parliamentary vote on Thursday. Zuma had served as president since 2009 and was slated to leave power in 2019.   Ramaphosa won a difficult internal party election in December and is seen as the leader of the African National Congress party's reformist wing.   The former deputy president's first priority is expected to be addressing South Africa's lack of economic growth. Unemployment exceeds 30 percent, noted the BBC.   In a televised statement, Zuma denied any wrongdoing but said he accepted the party's decision, reported Reuters.   Zuma was under increasing pressure for a series of scandals, largely relating to corruption.   On Wednesday, South African police raided the house of a well-known family close to Zuma. At least eight members and associates of the Gupta family have been arrested on charges of money laundering and fraud.  
  Item Number:11 Date: 02/15/2018 SOUTH KOREA - MILITARY AIMS TO REDUCE NON-COMBAT ACTIVITIES (FEB 15/YON)  YONHAP -- The South Korean military has announced plans to eliminate or reduce hundreds of routine non-combat activities as part of a reform program, reports the Yonhap news agency (Seoul).   The armed forces organize or support around 953 ceremonies, festivals and other events around the country every year that are not directly related to combat readiness, officials said.   Meanwhile, the North Korean military continues to grow as a threat.   The Defense Ministry has decided to cut 60 of these events and reduce the size of 299 others.   Change of command ceremonies and major anniversary celebrations will be simplified as well.   The move is anticipated to save about US$346,000 and keep more than 28,800 troops focused on their oeprational tasks, the ministry said.  
  Item Number:12 Date: 02/15/2018 USA - NAVY SECRETARY NAMES 3 NEW SHIPS (FEB 15/NNS)  NAVY NEWSSTAND -- U.S. Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer has announced the names for two new littoral combat ships and one expeditionary fast transport ship, reports the Navy NewsStand.   The next Freedom-class littoral ship will be named Nantucket (LCS 27), in honor of the maritime history of the island in Massachusetts.   The Savannah (LCS 28) is the next Independence-class littoral combat ship and honors the oldest city in Georgia.   The Freedom class is built by Fincantieri Marinette Marine in Marinette, Wis., while the Independence class is built by Austal USA in Mobile, Ala.   The next Spearhead-class expeditionary fast transport will be named Newport (T-EPF 12) in honor of the city in Rhode Island. The vessel will be built by Austal USA
  Item Number:13 Date: 02/15/2018 USA - PAKISTANI COUNTERTERROR EFFORTS CONTINUE TO FALL SHORT, SAYS DNI (FEB 15/CNN)  CABLE NEWS NETWORK -- U.S. intelligence agencies doubt Pakistani claims that it has increased efforts against militant groups, reports CNN.   On Tuesday, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats delivered this assessment to the Senate Intelligence Committee.   Pakistan has sought to give the appearance of cooperation while failing to take significant action against militant and terrorist groups operating on its soil, he said.   However, Islamabad's actions "do not reflect a significant escalation of pressure against these groups and are unlikely to have a lasting effect," said Coats. The intelligence agencies believe Pakistan is unlikely to change its behavior soon, he said.   In a report released concurrently with the testimony, the U.S. intelligence community warned that Pakistan would likely continue its drift towards Beijing's influence.   "Pakistan's perception of its eroding position relative to India, reinforced by endemic economic weakness and domestic security issues, almost certainly will exacerbate long-held fears of isolation and drive Islamabad's pursuit of actions that run counter to U.S. goals for the region," said the report.  
  Item Number:14 Date: 02/15/2018 USA - PENTAGON AIMS TO CUT DOWN ON NON-DEPLOYABLE PERSONNEL (FEB 15/MILTIMES)  MILITARY TIMES -- Under a new policy, the Pentagon will begin letting go of troops who have been non-deployable for the previous 12 months, reports Military Times.   "This new policy is a 12-month deploy or be removed policy," Robert Wilkie, the undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, told a Senate panel on Wednesday.   There are exceptions, noted Wilkie. These include pregnancy and wounded soldiers.   The full details of the new policy are expected to be issued publicly on Thursday.   Currently, about 13 to 14 percent of service members are unable to deploy at a given time, said Wilkie. This comes to around 286,000 personnel.   The undersecretary attributed much of the shortage to an overreliance on medical waivers and service members who have missed routine medical services and appointments
Item Number:15 Date: 02/15/2018 USA - SENATE FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE ENDS DE FACTO BAN ON ARMS SALES TO GULF (FEB 15/DN)  DEFENSE NEWS -- The head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee says he will resume the review of weapons sales to Arab Gulf states, reports Defense News.   "I am lifting my blanket hold on sales of lethal military equipment to the [Gulf Cooperation Council] and will resume informally clearing those sales if the administration can make the case that the purchasing state is taking effective steps to combat support for terrorism," said Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) in a Feb. 8 letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.   Corker acknowledged that the ban, imposed after a group of states led by Saudi Arabia imposed a blockade on Qatar, had shown little success in resolving the dispute, reported the Hill (Washington, D.C.).   Still, Corker wrote, "weapons sales are part of our security cooperation with these states."   All parties to the dispute are strong partners in the fight against terrorism, he said, suggesting that approval might be forthcoming
  Item Number:16 Date: 02/15/2018 USA - SIKORSKY WINS MORE WORK FOR CH-53K HEAVY-LIFT HELO PROGRAM (FEB 15/DOD)  DEPT. OF DEFENSE -- The Naval Air Systems Command has awarded Sikorsky a contract modification for additional CH-53K heavy-lift helicopters, reports the Dept. of Defense.   The $126.5 million modification covers long lead items in support of the low-rate initial production of seven Lot III CH-53K aircraft.   Work will take place in Stratford, Conn., and is scheduled to be completed in January 2019.

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