Thursday, February 22, 2018

Fw: TheList 4662

The List 4662
To All
I hope that your week has been going well.
This Day In Naval History – February 22, 2018
Feb. 22
1865 - RADM Porter's gunboats' bombardment cause surrender of Wilmington, NC .
1870 - After arriving on USS Nipsic, and supported by USS Guard and USS Nyack, the Darien Expedition, commanded by CDR Thomas O. Selfridge, Jr., begins active operations ashore at Caldonia Bay to survey the Isthmus of Darien, Panama, for an interoceanic ship canal.
1909The Great White Fleet returns to Hampton Roads, Va., following its 14-month round-the-world cruise.
1943USS Iowa (BB 61), the lead ship of the last class of American fast battleships, is commissioned.
1944U.S. Navy Task Group (TG) 39.4, commanded by Capt. Arleigh Burke, bombards Japanese airstrips, pier area, and anchorages at Kavieng, New Ireland Island, while DESRON 12 shells Rabaul.
1945USS Becuna (SS 319) sinks Japanese merchant tanker Nichiyoku Maru off Cape Padaran Bay despite the presence of two escort vessels.
1974Lt. j.g. Barbara Ann (Allen) Rainey becomes the first Navy-designated female aviator.
Thanks to CHINFO
Executive Summary:
National news is dominated by a CNN-hosted town hall in Florida featuring Sen. Marco Rubio, NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch, and family and friends of the Parkland shooting victims; Rev. Billy Graham's death; and the U.S. women's ice hockey's gold medal win over Canada in a shootout. USNI News reports that the Navy has developed a training simulation that recreates the chain of errors that led to the fatal collision of USS Fitzgerald. The simulation will not only serve as a tactical primer but also serve to change a culture that made last year's collisions possible. The Navy has also begun randomly selecting officers of the deck to assess OOD skills across the Navy, reports Navy Times. The initiative intends to help identify strengths and weaknesses, provide commanding officers with an outside assessment that can aid in further training, and help inform the overall community about shortfalls. Additionally, reports that Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has completed his review on transgender individuals serving in the military and that his recommendations will likely be forwarded to the White House sometime this week.
1968          Tet Offensive ends »
February 22
Jews are expelled from Zurich, Switzerland.
Mikhail Romanov is elected czar of Russia.
The last invasion of Britain takes place when some 1,400 Frenchmen land at Fishguard in Wales.
Spain signs a treaty with the United States ceding eastern Florida.
Russia and Britain establish the Alaska/Canada boundary.
Jefferson Davis is inaugurated president of the Confederacy in Richmond, Va. for the second time.
Nathan Bedford Forrest's brother, Jeffrey, is killed at Okolona, Mississippi.
Federal troops capture Wilmington, N.C.
Frank Winfield Woolworth's 'nothing over five cents' shop opens at Utica, New York. It is the first chain store.
A fistfight breaks out in the Senate. Senator Benjamin Tillman suffers a bloody nose for accusing Senator John McLaurin of bias on the Philippine tariff issue.
The Great White Fleet returns to Norfolk, Virginia, from an around-the-world show of naval power.
Canadian Parliament votes to preserve the union with the British Empire.
The American Relief Administration appeals to the public to pressure Congress to aid starving European cities.
Columbia University declares radio education a success.
Pope Pius rejects Mussolini's offer of aid to the Vatican.
Adolf Hitler is the Nazi Party candidate for the presidential elections in Germany.
All plane flights over the White House are barred because they are disturbing President Roosevelt's sleep.
President Franklin Roosevelt orders Gen. Douglas MacArthur to leave the Philippines.
The Atomic Energy Commission discloses information about the first atom-powered airplane.
French forces evacuate Hoa Binh in Indochina.
U.S. is to install 60 Thor nuclear missiles in Britain.
A Soviet bid for new Geneva arms talks is turned down by the U.S.
Moscow warns the U.S. that an attack on Cuba would mean war.
Operation Junction City becomes the largest U.S. operation in Vietnam.
Britain and the U.S. send warships to the Persian Gulf following an Iranian offensive against Iraq.
The Strange Disappearance of Admiral Wilcox
(USNI FEB 18)…Richard J. Bauman

Man overboard" is perhaps the most chilling phrase one can hear on board a ship. And when those words were heard on the morning of 27 March 1942, one of the most baffling incidents in U.S. naval history began. To this day it has never been satisfactorily resolved.
That morning, a U.S. Navy task force was zigzagging through the wintry North Atlantic, bound for a rendezvous with Royal Navy ships near Scapa Flow, off the north coast of Scotland. The 13-ship task force included the battleship Washington (BB-56), the aircraft carrier Wasp (CV-7), two heavy cruisers, and eight destroyers. In command was Rear Admiral John W. Wilcox Jr., on board the Washington. Almost four months after the 7 December 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, this tiny armada was the strongest force the U.S. Navy could muster in the Atlantic.
On the Washington 's bridge, Lieutenant (junior grade) William Fargo, officer of the deck, tried to see through the snow and freezing spray, alert for any indication of an enemy assault—from the sea, under the sea, or the air. Forward of the bridge, the barrels of the 16-inch guns were glazed with ice. Waves slammed over the ship's bow, drenching the deck with icy water.
On the fantail, a lookout shivered in his foul-weather gear. His eyes swept the gray waves and the battlewagon's wake for anything out of the ordinary. According to the ship's log, at 1031 came the heart-stopping cry: "Man overboard!" The fantail lookout could see a man in the water. The Washington and all other ships in the task force were under radio silence, so Captain H. H. J. Benson ordered the message to be relayed to the other ships by whistle and flags.
Two of the task-force destroyers closed toward the flagship's wake. The cruiser Tuscaloosa (CA-37), in the murky light some distance behind, signaled that a man could be seen in the water, apparently swimming toward a life ring. But moments later, the destroyer Livermore (DD-429) reported sighting the man floating face down in the raging, heaving sea. Neither ship could recover him. The question on board the Washington , and all the other task-force ships, from skipper to seaman, was the same: Who was the man overboard?
A roll call of every officer and seaman was made, in all 2,000 men, and every man of the Washington 's crew was accounted for. Captain Benson ordered a recount, and this time he ordered officers to sight each man in his charge as his name was called. After all, there was no doubt that someone had fallen overboard—no fewer than six officers and men on three ships had seen the man struggling in the water.
The task force plowed through sea and weather, and the missing man was long-since lost now. But who was he? The second head count was the same as the first. All officers and men were accounted for. Benson still believed there was an error, but he nonetheless ordered that the report be submitted to Admiral Wilcox.
An officer took it to the admiral's cabin. The Marine sentry on duty outside opened the door—and the cabin was empty. Where was the admiral? The ship was searched. He was not on board. The answer to the puzzle suddenly was clear. Only one man was not listed in the ship's muster rolls—Admiral Wilcox—who had to be the missing man.
In a later board of inquiry, it was revealed that shortly before the admiral was spotted in the water, several men had seen him on deck. They reported that he looked pale, and a couple of men thought he acted confused while trying to get from one part of the ship to another.
The board of inquiry determined that "The loss at sea of Rear Admiral Wilcox was not caused in any manner by the intent, fault, negligence, or inefficiency of any person or persons in the naval service or connected therewith. . . . John W. Wilcox, Junior, late Rear Admiral, U. S. Navy, died on March 27, 1942, in the line of duty and not as the result of his own misconduct."
Of course, many things could have precipitated that plunge into the icy Atlantic. Two popular notions were that Admiral Wilcox had been swept into the sea after suffering a heart attack or getting seasick. Whatever the cause of Admiral Wilcox's accident, he is the only U.S. admiral ever to have been lost overboard at sea.
Thanks to Doctor Rich
Thanks to YP … who opines "I just pass uplifting material like this along without examination.  It weren't, it should be".
After Action Report On Recent Russian & Merks River Crossing Rumble in Syria
When the ROE is "find em, fix em and kill em"!
[Be sure to send a thank you note to Congresswoman McSally for saving the BRRRRRT…A-10.  The grunts NEED that sucker.]
Further reporting, such as it is, on the Dair Ezzor Turkey Shoot.
1. Sov... err... Russians built a bridge over the Euphrates which was the designated 'deconfliction line'. Why? Reasons. 'Committee of Nations' or something. Engineers definitely involved.
2. 'Hybrid' force of mixed Russian contractors including multiple non-ethnic Russians (Serbs, Kossack, other non Slavics) as well as local Syrian Army 'commandos' attacked across temporary bridge. The 'Russian' side were 'Blackwater' equivalent mercenaries from a company generally called 'Wagner' which is the nom de plume of the boss. (Like if you called Blackwater 'Prince'.)
3. Unit was partially mechanized, battalion strength. (One thing everyone agrees upon is 'about 600-700 personnel.') Had some towed artillery as well as 'T-55 and T-72 MBT as well as armored personnel carriers.' (Type unknown.) Full on 'we're taking that position and you're not stopping us' … full court press.
4. Unit crossed bridge, arty deployed.
5. Arty opened fire while most of unit was still in approach column formation. (Normal) One portion moved to flanking positions.
5A. Minute the arty opened fire the SHIT GOT REAL, REAL QUICK.
6. Reapers took out artillery and most of armor with Hellfire. From the few videos, pretty much before they knew what hit them. There had to be quite a few Reaper drones up or they were feeding guidance to Hellfire from Apaches (see below.)
7. F-15E Eagles came in for clean-up and to check for anti-air defenses.
8. Warthogs showed up just to go BRRRRRRT!
9. AC-130 Spectre started fucking up their day for the hell of it.
10. To add insult to injury, B-52s which, you know, just HAPPENED to be in the area, just minding our own business, just passing by from Diego Garcia which is a few thousand miles away, on our way to... somewhere... nothing to see here... decided to prove they could drop their entire load as precision guided weapons and just more or less DID A JDAM ARCLIGHT ON THEIR ASS. At that point, more or less because CENTCOM said 'Why not? ARCLIGHT is always pretty to watch...'
11. The whole thing being so over it was ridiculous, AH-64 Apaches basically did 'hostile Bomb Damage Assessment' and complained there were no targets left.
12. Oh, and then the Kurds, to just really FUCK with these guys, released water from a dam upstream and broke their bridge. So they had to ford back with their wounded.
13. Nobody knows how many dead and wounded. Russians are saying 'only 8 Russian citizens' but that doesn't quite cover the whole of who may have been involved. One repeated number is 200 dead (remember, mixed Syrians, Russians and other ethnics) as well as pretty much the rest of the force wounded. (Not to mention pretty thoroughly demoralized.) One Kurd wounded. Probably fell off a stool laughing to tell truth.
14. Military hospitals in Russia are reliably reported 'overflowing.'
This was much less a 'battle' than a message. Towards the end we had to just be pounding ground to make sure they got it.
Messages, really.
A. Don't fucking cross that river.
B. Hey, North Korea! LOOK WHAT I CAN DO!
C. Hey, Putin, about Donbas... This is what we can do to your 'freedom fighters' (AKA: mercenaries) at any time.
D. To everyone in general: You need to remember who's boss.
Mattis is playing dumb. 'What Russians? There were Russians? Really? I'm seeing that in the media but I got no briefing on there being Russians in that column. Our bad. Sorry about that.'
Then there's the fact that the strike was NOT approved by the President.
Because he gave CENTOM the approval on things like that.
And CENTCOM handled it like a BOSS.
Oh, and when the forces crossed the river the Russians were informed … and informed that we intended to take 'self-defense' actions.
So they can't even say they weren't warned.
I'm not sure we warned them we'd be using BUFFs. 
This is more the sort of thing I'd expect in late summer.
'Shit! We haven't expended our budget! Are there any Russians we can fuck up very badly with all these unexpended munitions?'
Last thought: It had to be shitty being on the receiving end of that."
With our thanks to THE Bear at
February 22, 2018  Bear Taylor 
PRESIDENT GEORGE WASHINGTON: Born 22 February 1732, died 14 December 1799. "If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter." Founding Father, warrior, leader, statesman… oohrah…
RIPPLE SALVO… #719… NYT, 22 FEB 1968… Page 1: "SENATOR WILLIAM FULBRIGHT SAYS ROBERT McNAMARA DECEIVES PUBLIC ON TONKIN–ASSERTS SECRETARY OF DEFENSE OFFERED ONE-SIDED ACCOUNT OF 1964 RAIDS IN GULF OF TONKIN–SENATOR WAYNE MORSE DECLARES DESTROYER WAS A SPY SHIP"… "Senator J.William Fulbright, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, accused Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara today of deceiving the American public by presenting a one-sided story of the Gulf of Tonkin incident. The Senator suggested that the Defense Secretary was suppressing information that cast doubt on whether two American destroyers came under North Vietnamese attack in August, 1964."..
Thanks to Carl
7 of the most Audacious SAS Operations during World War 2
Thanks to Super
Carrier Operations
Boom passes "This was written by the late Peter Bacque: • Comments from a newspaper reporter, and civilian pilot, after his first visit to an operating aircraft carrier: "For us, it was: noisy, hot, cold, crowded, confusing, smelly (I like the smell of jet exhaust, but I don't like the smell of that much jet exhaust), tiring, bewildering, claustrophobic, boring, terrifying and out of control. It was also: fascinating, amazing, confounding, admirable, and impressive beyond measure. 
"The fact that more or less everything and everybody on the carrier has to fit more or less perfectly together organizationally, mechanically, aerodynamically, temporally, meteorologically and militarily -- or somebody gets exhausted, wet, hurt, hungry or dead -- to do the job -- and do it day in and day out -- of making sure that America's enemies are the ones who get exhausted, wet, hurt, hungry or dead is truly one of the most impressive feats of the human mind and heart." "
Thanks to Carl…entertaining
Check out the links in the article!  Interesting!!
How John Wayne Got Rid of the KGB Agents Hired to Kill Him
Why Stalin loved Tarzan and wanted John Wayne shot
Book tells how John Wayne survived Soviet assassination
Item Number:1 Date: 02/22/2018 EGYPT - CLEOPATRA DRILLS UNDERWAY WITH FRENCH NAVY (FEB 22/EGYPTTODAY)  EGYPT TODAY -- The Egyptian and French navies have launched a bilateral naval exercise, reports Egypt Today.   The drills, which run from Feb. 20 to Feb. 23, are expected to cover navigation at sea, dealing with hostile targets and visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) operations, said a statement from the Egyptian armed forces.   "The drills comes in conjunction with the navy units executing set operations within the comprehensive Operation Sinai 2018, to boost the sea theater in the Mediterranean and Red Seas, to preserve navigation and to prevent infiltration and smuggling along Egyptian coastlines," said the statement, as cited by the Ahram Online (Cairo).   The exercise will include activities with the Red Sea's southern command, the military said
  Item Number:2 Date: 02/22/2018 ISRAEL - ARMY INTELLIGENCE HELPED FOIL JULY 2017 ISIS PLOT IN AUSTRALIA, SAYS NETANYAHU (FEB 22/DEWELLE)  DEUTSCHE WELLE -- Australian authorities foiled a plan to bomb a jet in 2017 with help from Israeli intelligence, says Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as cited by Deutsche Welle.   The Israeli role in stopping the plot was acknowledged by Netanyahu in a speech to U.S. Jewish leaders in Jerusalem on Wednesday.   The prime minister alluded to other terrorist attacks foiled with the help of Israeli intelligence but did not elaborate.   In July 2017, Australian authorities arrested two suspected Islamic State (ISIS) militants.   The pair was accused of plotting to bring down an Etihad Airways jet flying from Sydney to Abu Dhabi. It is believed that they attempted to smuggle explosives onto the plane in their luggage, but cancelled before checking in because the luggage was too heavy.   Australian Federal Police said they received the foreign intelligence tip 11 days after the duo cancelled their plan.   The tip-off led to raids in Sydney in which two Lebanese-Australian brothers were charged.   Australian Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton praised the cooperation between Australian and Israeli agencies
  Item Number:3 Date: 02/22/2018 ITALY - KEEL LAID FOR NEW MULTIROLE AMPHIBIOUS SHIP (FEB 22/FINCA)  FINCANTIERI -- Fincantieri has announced the keel-laying for the multipurpose amphibious ship it is building for the Italian navy.   The milestone on Feb. 20 marks the start of slipway work on the warship, said a release from the Italian shipbuilder.   The landing helicopter dock will be about 705 feet (215 m) long and have a top speed of 25 knots. It will be powered by a combined diesel/electric and gas turbine (CODLOG) propulsion system.   The amphibious ship can carry up to four LCM landing craft and will be equipped with logistics equipment, full hospital and a dentist's office, said Fincantieri.   Delivery is scheduled for 2022
  Item Number:4 Date: 02/22/2018 MALAYSIA - TOP ABU SAYYAF GROUP OFFICIAL AMONG 10 ARRESTED IN SABAH (FEB 22/BEN)  BENAR -- Malaysian police have arrested 10 people accused of ferrying members and recruits of the terrorist Abu Sayyaf Group to the Philippines, reports Benar News (Malaysia).   Authorities conducted multiple raids in the eastern Sabah state from Jan. 5 to Feb. 6, Malaysian police chief Mohamad Fuzi Harun said on Wednesday.   The suspects, seven Filipinos and three Malaysians, allegedly helped members of the Islamic State (ISIS) travel to the Philippines in order to join Abu Sayyaf fighters for training and attacks.   Abu Sayyaf, which has fought the Philippine government for years and engages in extensive kidnapping operations, has declared its allegiance to the Islamic State terror group.   Four other people who have yet to be arrested were involved in the plan, said investigators. It was unclear if the ISIS fighters reached their destination.   The suspects were also trying to set up an Abu Sayyaf cell in Sabah to support efforts to smuggle ISIS militants from around the region to the southern Philippines, reported Channel News Asia.   One of the suspects is the deputy of Furuji Indama, the Abu Sayyaf chief based in Basilan, said a Malaysian security source. Furuji succeeded Isnilon Hapilon, who was killed last year during fighting in Marawi
Item Number:5 Date: 02/22/2018 MONTENEGRO - GRENADE LOBBED AT U.S. EMBASSY KILLS ATTACKER (FEB 22/IBT)  INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS TIMES -- An unidentified attacker was killed by his own grenade at the U.S. Embassy in Montenegro, reports the International Business Times.   The attacker approached the building in Podgorica on Wednesday night and threw his grenade over the wall and onto the embassy grounds, said witnesses cited by the New York Times.   The individual dropped a second bomb that did not detonate, according to Analytical Report (Podgorica).   No one in the embassy was injured, said Steve Goldstein, the U.S. undersecretary for public diplomacy and public affairs. There was no damage other than a crater from the blast, said Montenegrin police.   The attacker's motivation was not immediately known. Police officials identified the attacker as Dalibor Jaukovic, 43, who was born in Serbia, but was living in Podgorica, reported Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.   Montenegro joined NATO in March 2017, a move that was criticized by Russia and some Montenegrins who favor closer ties with Moscow
  Item Number:6 Date: 02/22/2018 NETHERLANDS - MODERNIZATION FOR APACHE ATTACK HELICOPTERS SOUGHT FROM U.S. (FEB 22/DSCA)  U.S. DEFENSE SECURITY COOPERATION AGENCY -- The U.S. State Dept. has approved a potential Foreign Military Sale to the Netherlands for upgrades to its attack helicopters, reports the U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency.   The proposed US$1.2 billion deal covers items and services to support the upgrade/remanufacture of 28 AH-64D Block II Apache attack helicopters to the AH-64E configuration, the agency said on Feb. 20.   The program includes the modernization of 51 T700-GE-701C engines to the T700-GE-701D standard; 17 AN/APG-78 fire-control radar and subcomponents; 28 AN/ASQ-170 modernized target acquisition and designation sights (MTADS)/AN/AAR-11 modernized pilot night-vision sensors (PNVS); 28 AN/APR-48B modernized radar frequency interferometers (MRFI); 70 embedded GPS/inertial navigation systems plus multi-mode receiver; training equipment; spare and repair parts; and associated technical and logistics support.   The remanufactured Apaches will improve the ability of the Netherlands to meet current and future threats, said the DSCA
Item Number:7 Date: 02/22/2018 NIGERIA - 76 SCHOOLGIRLS KIDNAPPED BY BOKO HARAM RESCUED BY MILITARY; OTHERS STILL MISSING (FEB 22/REU)  REUTERS -- The Nigerian military has rescued 76 schoolgirls kidnapped by the Boko Haram terrorist group, reports Reuters.   The rescued students returned to their village of Dapchi in Nigeria's northeastern Yobe state on Wednesday, said one of the girls' parents.   Soldiers recovered the bodies of two girls during the raid. It was unclear when they died.   At least 13 of the girls are still believed to be missing.   Boko Haram attacked the village on Monday. The fighters arrived in trucks painted in camouflage and mounted with heavy guns.   Ninety-one people were absent from roll-call at their school the next day.   Police officials said that eleven people had also been abducted from nearby Gaidam.   Authorities attempted to downplay the scale of the kidnapping. Parents of students said government officials had warned them not to confirm the disappearance. Information Minister Lai Mohammed, dispatched to the area by President Muhammadu Buhari, refused to confirm the kidnapping.   In 2014, the terrorist group kidnapped more than 270 girls from the town of Chibok, in neighboring Borno state
Item Number:8 Date: 02/22/2018 QATAR - DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS RESTORED WITH CHAD (FEB 22/ALJAZ)  AL JAZEERA -- The governments of Chad and Qatar have restored diplomatic relations, six months after they were cut, reports Al Jazeera (Qatar).   Relations were severed in August after the start of a Saudi-led blockade against Qatar. Chad closed the Qatari embassy and expelled its diplomats, accusing Doha of trying to destabilize the country via its northern neighbor, Libya, reported Reuters.   Qatar denied the accusations.   A memorandum of understanding restoring diplomatic relations was signed on Tuesday in Doha during a meeting between Qatari Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani and his Chadian counterpart, Cherif Mahamat Zene.   The two countries agreed to return their ambassadors with immediate effect, said a Qatari Foreign Ministry spokeswoman.   The ministers also discussed developing and strengthening bilateral relations
Item Number:9 Date: 02/22/2018 RUSSIA - NEW COMMISSION WITH PAKISTAN TO FOCUS ON TERRORISM (FEB 22/VOA)  VOICE OF AMERICA NEWS -- The governments of Pakistan and Russia have agreed to set up a body on military cooperation against the Islamic State terrorist group, reports the Voice of America News.   "We have confirmed Russia's readiness to continue boosting Pakistan's counterterrorism capacity, which is in the entire region's interests," Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Tuesday in Moscow.   Lavrov hosted his Pakistani counterpart, Khawaja Asif, for talks earlier this week.   The Russian foreign minister questioned the NATO-led coalition's efforts in Afghanistan against ISIS. According to data from the two countries, thousands of ISIS militants are in northern and eastern Afghanistan and their numbers are growing.   This increases the risk of the terrorist expanding into Central Asia and Russia, he said.   Lavrov and Asif also pledged to support a peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan
Item Number:10 Date: 02/22/2018 SOMALIA - AIRSTRIKE KILLS 3 AL-SHABAAB FIGHTERS IN SOUTH (FEB 22/AFRICOM)  AFRICA COMMAND -- U.S. forces have killed three members of the Somali terrorist group Al-Shabaab, reports the U.S. Africa Command.   The airstrike was conducted on Feb. 19 in the southern city of Jilib, said an AFRICOM release on Feb. 21.   There were no civilian casualties, said the release.   The U.S. has conducted four airstrikes in Somalia this year, said Air Force Maj. Karl Wiest. Other strikes targeted locations in Kismayo and the capital city, Mogadishu, noted the Long War Journal.   The U.S. conducted a record 35 strikes in 2017
Item Number:11 Date: 02/22/2018 TAJIKISTAN - MILITARY OPENS NEW COMMAND CENTER IN DUSHANBE (FEB 22/APLUS)  ASIA-PLUS -- The Tajik Armed Forces Management Center has been officially opened in the capital, Dushanbe, reports Asia-Plus (Tajikistan).   President Emomali Rahmon and Defense Minister Sherali Mirzo attended the ceremony on Wednesday.   The Armed Forces Management Center is the supreme command-and-control center for the Tajik Defense Ministry and armed forces. It is connected to the administrative centers of the Gorno-Badakshshan autonomous region, Sughd and Khatlon provinces and the Rasht region in eastern Tajikistan, said a release from the Tajik president's office.   The center features an advanced classified video-conferencing system.   Plans call for establishing similar command centers for the Tajik air force, air defense force, ground troops and rapid-response troops, as well as 10 command centers at military bases, reported Interfax-AVN (Russia).   Mobile command units are also said to be in the works
Item Number:12 Date: 02/22/2018 USA - ANSARUL ISLAM IN BURKINA FASO DESIGNATED AS GLOBAL TERRORIST ORGANIZATION (FEB 22/STATE)  U.S. STATE DEPT. -- The militant group Ansarul Islam has been listed as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) by the U.S. government, reports the U.S. State Dept.   The decision aims to deny the group the resources necessary to plan and carry out further terrorist attacks, said the Feb. 20 statement.   The designation blocks all of the group's property and interests in property subject to U.S jurisdiction and Americans are generally prohibited from engaging in any transactions with the group, said State.   Ansarul Islam is primarily active in Burkina Faso. A December 2016 attack by the group killed 12 soldiers, one of the deadliest in the country's history.   Ansarul Islam is believed to cooperate with other terrorist groups in the Sahel region, including the Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims (JNIM
Item Number:13 Date: 02/22/2018 USA - FORMER BOLIVIAN PRESIDENT, DEFENSE MINISTER TO FACE CIVIL TRIAL (FEB 22/AFP)  AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE -- A federal judge has ruled that a former president of Bolivia will face a civil trial in a U.S. court, reports Agence France-Presse.   Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada and Carlos Sanchez Berzain, his defense minister, are accused of planning extra-judicial killings in October 2003.   The judge ruled that the two will stand trial on March 5 in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., according to documents revealed on Wednesday.   Sanchez de Lozada and Sanchez Berzain reside in the United States. U.S. law permits civil suits in American courts for judicial killings.   This will be the first time a former head of state faces a trial in the U.S. for human-rights abuses, said the Center for Constitutional Rights, based in New York City, which is among the team of lawyers representing the relatives of eight of the victims.   The suit was brought by relatives of victims of the massacre on Oct. 11, 2003, when troops opened fire on protesters who were blocking oil and gas shipments to the capital. The protesters were led by the current president, Evo Morales.   Sanchez de Lozada resigned less than one week later and fled to the U.S.   The lawsuit alleges that the killings were a calculated effort to kill political opponents
Item Number:14 Date: 02/22/2018 USA - NAVY BOOSTS TRAINING FOR HIGH-INTENSITY CONFLICT (FEB 22/USNIN)  USNI NEWS -- U.S. Navy and Marine commanders have stepped up the quality of their training events to prepare for potential conflicts with a peer or near-peer adversary, reports USNI News.   Commanders are also looking for new ways to make training more complex and operationally relevant.   Maj. Gen. Eric Smith, the commander of the 1st Marine Division, told the West 2018 conference earlier this month in San Diego that all of his training is now based on actual operational plans.   Previous training against notional adversaries started at lower levels of conflict before working its way up.   Efforts are also being made to prepare Marines for high-intensity conflict, including aviation and chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) threats.   Submarine crews are stepping up their training against other subs and renewing their focus on tactical development, said Vice Adm. Joseph Tofalo, the head of U.S. Naval Submarine Forces and U.S. Naval Submarine Force Atlantic.   Naval aviation training is also being strengthened, including upgrading ranges to be more representative of advanced threats, said Vice Adm. DeWolfe Miller, the commander of Naval Air Forces and Naval Air Force Pacific
Item Number:15 Date: 02/22/2018 USA - NAVY PERSONNEL CHIEF SEEKS LONGER FORWARD-DEPLOYED TOURS (FEB 22/NTIMES)  NAVY TIMES -- The head of personnel for the U.S. Navy is seeking to extend the length of forward-deployed tours for sailors, reports the Navy Times.   Vice Adm. Robert Burke has asked the Pentagon for an exception to policies that, if approved, would allow for an increase of overseas-based sea duty tours for a maximum of up to four years.   Such tours are currently limited to a maximum of three years.   The move would allow the Navy to keep sea duty billets manned longer and save money in transfer costs, officials said.   The request was submitted in November 2017 and is still being reviewed, said a spokesman for the chief of naval personnel.   It is not clear how the policy might affect those currently on overseas tours or those with orders in hand
Item Number:16 Date: 02/22/2018 YEMEN - HOUTHIS CHANGE TRACK AS PRESSURE MOUNTS (FEB 22/ASHARQ)  ASHARQ AL-AWSAT -- A series of battlefield defeats has forced Houthi rebels in Yemen to change their rhetoric and tactics, reports Asharq Al-Awsat (London).   During a rally on Wednesday, Saleh al-Samad, the head of the group's political body, called for reconciliation with supporters of slain president Ali Abdullah Saleh.   The former president allied himself with the Houthis before defecting in December 2017. He was killed by the rebels days later.   Samad also said that the Houthis would release within three days the rest of Saleh's supporters who were kidnapped by the rebel group. The rebels have already released around 3,000 people detained after the assault that killed the former president.   The Houthis are prepared to stop firing missiles into Saudi Arabia in exchange for a halt to airstrikes, he said.   Pressure has been increasing on the group.   At least 100 Houthi fighters were killed over the weekend in fighting around the port city of Hodeidah, reported Gulf News (Dubai). Coalition forces have been battling to cut the Houthi-held city's supply lines to the contested city of Taiz.   Coalition airstrikes on Houthi positions in Nahdayn on Wednesday reportedly destroyed several of the group's missiles.

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