Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Fw: TheList 4672

The List 4672

To All,
A bit of history and some tidbits.
This Day In Naval History – March 7, 2018
March 7
1778Continental frigate Randolph explodes while attacking HMS Yarmouth off the coast of Barbados, killing all but four of her 305 crew.
1942USS Grenadier (SS 210) torpedoes Japanese Asahisan Maru south of Shioya Saki, causing damage to the transport ship.
1956The fleet assignment of the all-weather fighter, F3H-2N Demon, begins with the delivery of six to VF-14 at Naval Air Station Cecil Field, FL.
1958USS Grayback (SSG 574) is commissioned. She is the first submarine built from the keel up with guided missile capability to fire the Regulus II missile.
1960 - USS Kearsarge (CVS 33) rescues four Russian soldiers from their landing craft 1,000 miles from Midway Island. The Soldiers were drifting several weeks after their engine failed off Kamchatka Peninsula.
1966 - The Department of the Navy is reorganized into its present structure under the Chief of Naval Operations.
1967 - River Patrol Boats assist Operation Overload II in Rung Sat Zone, Vietnam.
1968 - Operation Coronado XII begins in Mekong Delta, Vietnam.
1994The Navy issues the first orders for women to be assigned aboard a combatant ship, USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69). 
Thanks to CHNFO
Executive Summary:
Top national news stories included the resignation of White House Economic Advisor Gary Cohn, as well as the Justice Department's lawsuit filed against the state of California over immigration policies. In an attempt to allay concerns over discrepancies between industrial base capacity and acquisition plans, Navy leaders told congress on Tuesday that the FY 19 budget request and long range shipbuilding plan were crafted with industrial base health in mind reports USNI News. Vice Adm. Bill Merz said that the 30-year shipbuilding plan prioritizes industry but that "we have to provide a balanced Navy. And with that, we are unlikely to ask for ships above our requirement." Nikkei Asian review reports that Pacific Fleet commander Adm. Scott Swift warned against "coercive economic actions" being taken by China in the Indo-Pacific region. Actors such as China and Russia "increase debt in a given country and then turn around and ask for something in return that was not part of the original negotiation," cautioned Swift. Additionally, Navy leadership states that a path to 355 ships is possible by the 2030s if Congress is willing to increase funding reports USNI News.
March 7
322 BC
The Greek philosopher Aristotle dies.
On the death of Antoninus at Lorium, Marcus Aurelius becomes emperor.
The British close the port of Boston to all commerce.
In Palestine, Napoleon captures Jaffa and his men massacre more than 2,000 Albanian prisoners.
Aeronaut Jean Pierre Blanchard -- the first person to make an aerial voyage in the New World -- dies at the age of 56.
Soprano Jenny Lind ("the Swedish Nightingale") makes her debut in Weber's opera Der Freischultz.
U.S. General Winfield Scott occupies Vera Cruz, Mexico.
The Austrian Reichstag is dissolved.
Confederate forces surprise the Union army at the Battle of Pea Ridge, in Arkansas, but the Union is victorious.
Alexander Graham Bell is granted a patent for the telephone.
The Japanese bomb the Russian town of Vladivostok.
Finland becomes the third country to give women the right to vote, decreeing universal suffrage for all citizens over 24, however, barring those persons who are supported by the state.
French aviator, Heri Seimet flies non-stop from London to Paris in three hours.
Finland signs an alliance treaty with Germany.
The Soviet Red Army occupies Outer Mongolia.
A Texas law that bans Negroes from voting is ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.
The board game Monopoly is invented.
The film King Kong premieres in New York City.
Malcolm Campbell sets an auto speed record of 276.8 mph in Florida.
Hitler sends German troops into the Rhineland, violating the Locarno Pact.
Japanese troops land on New Guinea.
U.N. forces in Korea under General Matthew Ridgeway launch Operation Ripper, an offensive to straighten out the U.N. front lines against the Chinese.
The Battle of Saigon, begun on the day of the Tet Offensive, ends.
A thousand U.S. planes bomb Cambodia and Laos.
Voyager 1 reaches Jupiter.
Military Milestones from Dueling Ironclads to Flying Tigers by  W. Thomas
Smith Jr.
This Week in American Military History
Mar. 8, 1965:  The lead elements of 3rd Battalion, 9th Marines begin coming
ashore at Da Nang, South Vietnam. Within hours, 1st Battalion, 3rd Marines
will arrive aboard transport aircraft at the nearby airbase. The Marines of
3/9 and 1/3 – both part of the 9th Marine Expeditionary Brigade – are the
first of America's ground-combat forces destined for offensive operations
against the enemy in Southeast Asia, once again putting teeth in the Marine
Corps' claim that it is "first to fight."
Mar. 9, 1847:  Thousands of American soldiers and a company-sized force of
Marines (though referred to as a battalion) under the overall command of
U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Winfield Scott and "Home Squadron" Commodore David E.
Conner begin landing at Collado Beach, Mexico, just south of Vera Cruz.
In what will prove to be "a model" for future amphibious operations, the
landings are unprecedented: The largest American amphibious operation to
date, conducted in less than five hours without a single loss of life.
A portion of Conner's dispatch to the Secretary of the Navy reads:
"Gen. Scott has now with him upwards of 11,000 men. At his request, I
permitted the Marines of the squadron, under Capt. [Alvin] Edson, to join
him, as a part of the 3rd Regiment of artillery. The general-in-chief
landed this morning, and the army put itself in motion at an early hour, to
form its lines around the city. There has been some distant firing of shot
and shells from the town and castle upon the troops as they advanced, but
without result."
Though the landings are bloodless, grim fighting will continue in the
Mexican-American War.
Mar. 9, 1862:  In day-two of the now-famous Battle of Hampton Roads
(Virginia), the Confederate Navy's ironclad warship, CSS Virginia (built
from the remains of the previously scuttled frigate USS Merrimack) and her
Union rival, the also-ironclad USS Monitor, begin exchanging shots in one
of history's first clashes of ironclads.
The battle ends in a draw with both vessels inflicting marginal damage on
one another before breaking off the fight: Technically it is a tactical
victory for Virginia because she has inflicted greater damage on the
blockading ships than they on her (Virginia had attacked and destroyed the
Union Navy's wooden warships USS Congress and USS Cumberland the previous
day before the arrival of the Monitor). But it may also be seen as a
strategic victory for the Union because Virginia fails to break the
blockade. The battle however will not be remembered for which side might
have carried the day – though that is still being debated – but rather the
lessons learned in this particular clash which greatly contributed to the
ongoing revolution in Naval tactics and ship-design and construction.
Mar. 10, 1783:  The Duc De Lauzun, a Continental Navy transport-vessel
(laden with Spanish silver currency), and her escort, the frigate Alliance
(the first of two so-named American warships), are spotted by three Royal
Navy ships – HMS Sybil, HMS Alarm, and HMS Tobago –off Cape Canaveral,
Florida. Sybil pursues the two American vessels, fires on the slow-moving
Duc De Lauzun, then is aggressively engaged by Alliance. In less than one
hour, the badly damaged Sybil disengages and flees, ending the last Naval
battle of the American Revolution.
Alliance is commanded by Capt. (future commodore) John Barry, who – as we
said Feb. 4 – is considered in some circles to be "the Father of the
American Navy," though some would argue that title belongs to Capt. John
Paul Jones.
Mar. 11, 1862:  President Abraham Lincoln – frustrated over Union Army Gen.
George B. McClellan's unwillingness to attack the Confederate Army –
relieves McClellan of his post as general-in-chief of the U.S. Army, but
keeps him on as commanding general of the Army of the Potomac. McClellan –
who will lose his command after failing to destroy Confederate Gen. Robert
E. Lee's wounded army following the Battle of Antietam – becomes the second
well-known casualty in Lincoln's series of firing, hiring, and firing
generals until the Union Army (like the already well-commanded Confederate
Army) is led by some of the most able generals in American military history.
Mar. 11, 1943:  "The Flying Tigers" – the famous volunteer group of
American fighter pilots contracted to the Chinese Air Force during World
War II and ultimately brought under U.S. Army Air Forces command as the
China Air Task Force – is absorbed into the 14th Air Force.
Commanded by Gen. Claire L. Chennault, "the Flying Tigers" were so-named
because of the tiger-shark faces painted on the noses of their P-40
Today, according to the U.S. Air Force, airmen of the 14th Air Force are
"the day-to-day operators of Air Force Space Command's space forces." And
the centerpiece of the 14th Air Force emblem is a tiger with wings.
John Browning's BAR demonstration - amazing!!
Thanks to Doctor Rich
For you gun nuts;  Another unique and interesting story from history.

Excerpts from a chapter of "Unintended Consequences", by John Ross

May 10, 1918
"Matt, I know I've been dealing with these government people for thirty years, but I tell you I will never get used to it. I had the water-cooled gun finished almost twenty years ago, and offered it to them for next to nothing. They didn't show a lick of interest until after our country joined the war. It's not as if they didn't have any advance warning. Germany has a quarter million eight millimeter Maxims up and running."
What was particularly maddening to John Browning was that he was not some stranger the government had never heard of. Browning was the man who had made the country's first gas-operated machine gun in 1889, had demonstrated for the Navy in 1891 a machine gun which fired 1800 rounds in 3 minutes without a single stoppage, and who had designed the first machine gun ever used by the U.S. military, the Model 1895 Colt 'potato digger' machine gun adopted by the U.S. Army in that year. In 1900, three-quarters of the sporting arms made in the U.S. were Browning designs. With sidearms, it was Browning's Model 1911 .45 automatic that the government had adopted when .38 caliber army revolvers had failed to stop the crazed Moro warriors during the Philippine insurrections in 1898.
The U.S. Government had implored John Browning to design an automatic rifle that could be carried by one man and fired with full control 'from the hip' on full automatic. It was the experts' theory that a line of soldiers equipped with such weapons could sweep an area clean. Browning had obliged with the 17-pound Browning Automatic Rifle whose design had been finalized three short months after the government's initial request. John and his brother Matt were now on their way from New Haven to the Winchester firing facility on the waterfront bordering Long Island Sound. The Browning Automatic Rifle, or BAR, was just now going into production, and the inventor had been asked to be present at an official demonstration for military observers. As the two men walked towards the firing range, John Browning continued the largely one-sided conversation with his brother.

"Now that they've finally got the gun into production, just about in time for the end of the war, they want us up here to watch them shoot it. What use that's going to do, I have no idea."

Despite his grousing, John Browning loved military demonstrations of his designs, and was secretly glad to be going to another one. His weapons always delivered more than the authorities expected. At the official demonstration of the Browning Model 1917 watercooled belt-fed machine gun in May of that year, the weapon had digested 40,000 rounds of ammunition without missing a beat. It had finally succumbed to the malfunction most common to John Browning's designs: it ran out of ammo.

The first shipment of BARs would go to Val Browning's division, the 79th, in July of 1918.


"So what do they have planned for this little get-together?" Matt asked his older sibling.

"Undoubtedly the standard routine. Reliability demonstration, show of controllability, ease of handling."

John said these words without rancor. Although such events had become commonplace, it still pleased the inventor a great deal to see in operation the weapons he had designed. "I'd also be amazed if they don't have some guy who's been practicing blindfolded stripping and reassembling the thing. Ever since I showed them that trick they've been talking about it. I think the Army's apt to make it part of their training with all their weapons."

John Browning was right about the blindfold demonstration and about the coming decision to make it a part of basic training. He was right about reliability and controllability being the standard elements of the exhibition. Browning was asked to be part of the demonstration, as had been his custom with earlier sessions involving other Browning designs. This, as always, pleased the inventor.

What John Browning did not know was that the people in charge had prepared an additional element as part of the afternoon's coming activities.

"Gentlemen," the Winchester representative said to the spectators assembled near the shore of the Atlantic Ocean, "you have all seen the reliability, power, and controllability of the new Browning Automatic Rifle.  It gives the infantryman effectiveness he has heretofore only dreamed about. Production is underway, and
in a matter of weeks the first shipments of these guns will be in the hands of some of our troops." He paused to let this information sink in before continuing.
"Many of you may assume that this weapon is of necessity much more cumbersome to handle than the Krag or Springfield, and that as a machine rifle, is of little use firing single shots. That is not true, as you will now see." As the Winchester rep said the words, John Browning watched a slender man of about forty five with a mustache step up to the firing line. Strong gusts of wind were blowing in from offshore, and the man removed his hat and laid it on the table, weighting down the brim with two loaded magazines.
"This is Ad Topperwein, who works for us. He's going to give a little demonstration of just how manageable this rifle is on single fire. I'll let him tell you what he's going to do." 
The factory rep stepped aside and took a seat.

Topperwein held up some steel discs for the audience to see, and then addressed the crowd.
"It's very windy today, and we need a target that won't blow around so much. The fellows in the machine shop had some inch-and-a-half steel rod, and I asked them to chuck it up in the lathe and cut off some quarter-inch thick sections." He held one of the round steel discs edgewise for the audience to view. "They shouldn't move around too much in the wind," he explained.

"What's this fellow think he's going to do with them?" John Browning whispered to his brother. "Shoot them out of the air with a seventeen-pound machine rifle that fires from an open bolt?"

It soon became apparent that that was exactly what Ad Topperwein intended to do. The audience watched with rapt attention as an assistant took a stack of the heavy steel discs and stepped seven or eight paces away from Topperwein towards the ocean. Topp picked up one of the BARs that had just been used in the endurance demonstration, pulled back the bolt, and inserted a loaded twenty-round magazine. He held the weapon at waist level.
"All twenty face-on. Throw the next one as soon as you hear the shot," Topperwein instructed his thrower.
The man nodded and tossed the first disc twenty feet into the air, spinning it like a phonograph record so that it did not tumble. Topp threw the BAR to his shoulder and the gun fired as the disc neared the apex of its ascent. Immediately the thrower sent another disc aloft.
In less than thirty seconds Topp had fired twenty shots. The audience had strained to watch the discs move or to hear the impact of the bullets on them. It appeared that some of them had wobbled, but the muzzle blast of the weapon drowned out any noise of bullet impacting steel.

"I think he hit a couple of them," Browning said to his brother with genuine admiration in his voice. At sixty-two, John Browning averaged over ninety-five percent at trap, and he could not imagine hitting a single one of the steel discs using a machine rifle firing from an open bolt.

The audience watched the thrower walk around and pick up the twenty steel discs that lay on the ground.
When he brought them over to the group for their inspection, John Browning drew his breath in abruptly.
All twenty discs had 3/8" holes in them, very near the center in each case. The metal had flowed back in a lip around the circumference of each hole, as is typical when a high velocity bullet meets mild steel, and each hole was washed with silvery metal from the cupro-nickel jacket of the .30 caliber bullet.

"The current issue round is a 172-grain bullet, but I'm shooting up some old stock with the 150-grain slug. What the soldiers are getting now is much better at long range, but the 150 is faster up close, and it's a lot faster than the old Krag load," Topp explained. "It goes through quarter-inch mild steel without giving much notice." He removed the empty magazine from the gun and replaced it with a full one. "Put 'em all up again, same way, only edgewise this time," he instructed his thrower. "Stand a couple steps closer­ this gets a little harder."
The man scaled the first disc upwards with its edge to Topperwein and the crowd, and Topp threw the BAR to his shoulder. This time when the gun fired, the blast was followed by a howling noise as the disc was driven spinning far out over the ocean. The thrower immediately scaled the next one into the air with identical results. In a short time, eighteen of the steel discs had been sent screaming out over the water, hit on the edge by a one-third ounce bullet traveling at over twice the speed of sound. Topp had missed two of the targets. 
He put the BAR back on the table and went to pick up the two discs he had missed. Ad Topperwein examined them, then turned to the awestruck crowd.
"I don't have much experience with machine guns," he allowed, "but the BAR is one of the smoothest operating rifles I've ever fired. I think all of us should thank Mr. Browning here, not only for this superb rifle, but for all of the fine weapons he's put in the hands of our servicemen."

John Browning said nothing. He was still thinking about what he had just witnessed. John Browning was also part of the gun culture.
With our thanks to THE Bear at
March 7, 2018    Bear Taylor   
RIPPLE SALVO… #732… The "PBD" is a major American historical document that emerges from the Director of the CIA's Office every morning as a Top Secret summary of the most critical foreign relations issues of the day. In September 1967 the PDB was beefed up with a daily addition "For the President's Eyes Only"– "Special Daily Report on North Vietnam." The total daily briefs are about ten pages long. Humble Host cherry picks a few items, but cannot do the document justice in this forum. RTR posts will continue to include the most pertinent of what has been declassified but encourages readers to access the documents made available in the Central Intelligence Agency Library Reading Room for a fuller understanding of the complexity of POTUS responsibilities…. More in Ripple Salvo below… but first…
Good Morning: Day SEVEN HUNDRED THIRTY-TWO of looking back and bringing forward the service and sacrifices of the warriors of the Vietnam war and, in particular, the Red River Rats and Yankee Air Pirates who alone carried the offense to the enemy homeland every day for 40 months… It was Called ROLLING THUNDER…
Item Number:1 Date: 03/07/2018 ETHIOPIA - STRIKES SPREAD ACROSS CAPITAL REGION IN RESPONSE TO EMERGENCY MEASURES (MAR 07/BLOOMBERG)  BLOOMBERG NEWS -- Strikes and protests against state of emergency in Ethiopia have spread across the largest region in the country, reports Bloomberg News.   On Monday, protesters announced three days of strikes in the Oromia territory, which surrounds the capital, Addis Ababa.   The emergency measures were implemented without the necessary two-thirds quorum, noted local analysts.   Government offices in and around the capital are closed, as are businesses. Most main roads have been shut down by debris placed by protesters.   Drivers said they were afraid of being attacked by the protesters if they defy the strike, reported France 24.   Many Ethiopians are angry at a state of emergency imposed after the resignation of Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn last month. Under the state of emergency, rallies, public meetings and strikes are restricted.   Protests have been ongoing in Oromia, home to the country's largest minority, and Amhara for two years. Hundreds have died in clashes with police and in prison.  
  Item Number:2 Date: 03/07/2018 FINLAND - DEFENSE MINISTER BLASTS PROPOSED REDUCTIONS TO MILITARY BUDGET (MAR 07/YLE)  YLE NEWS -- Finnish Defense Minister Jussi Niinisto has criticized the planned budget cuts for disproportionately affecting the military, reports the YLE News, Finland's national public broadcasting company.   Speaking at the opening of the National Defense Courses, Niinisto said the recent uptick in the Finnish economy has not resulted in a better outlook for defense spending.   The Finnish government has a stated goal of reducing public sector spending by 1 billion euros (US$1.24 billion) by 2019 as part of efforts to make it more efficient.   The defense administration is facing cuts of at least 50 million euros (US$61 million), Niinisto said
Item Number:3 Date: 03/07/2018 GERMANY - CABINET APPROVES PLAN FOR EXPANDED MILITARY MISSIONS ABROAD (MAR 07/REU)  REUTERS -- The German Cabinet has approved plans to expand Berlin's military missions abroad, reports Reuters.   The changes would increase Germany's troop contributions in Afghanistan to 1,300, government sources told the news outlet on Wednesday.   In an interview with broadcaster ARD, Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen said that the increase in German efforts should be met with increased effort from Kabul. Germany's mission in Afghanistan would likely be extended for some time, she said.   German contributions to Mali and Iraq would be expanded as well. In Mali, about 100 troops would be added to the 1,000 Germans deployed as part of a U.N. peacekeeping mission there.   In Iraq, German forces now in Kurdish northern Iraq would also deploy to the capital, Baghdad.   The changes need to be approved by the Bundestag, the lower house of Parliament
Item Number:4 Date: 03/07/2018 HONDURAS - FORMER MILITARY INTEL OFFICER ARRESTED FOR MURDER OF ACTIVIST (MAR 07/GUARDIAN)  GUARDIAN -- Honduran police have arrested nine people, including a former military intelligence officer, for the murder of an environmental activist, reports the Guardian (U.K.).   On March 2, police arrested David Castillo Mejia at the San Pedro Sula airport as he was trying to flee the country.   Police say he was the "intellectual author" of the murder of activist Berta Caceres. He is accused of providing logistics and resources to the perpetrators of the murder.   Mejia was the president of a company building a dam that Caceres campaigned against. The dam crossed indigenous land, activists said, and bypassed controls in place to ensure consultation with communities.   The former military intelligence officer is also charge with the attempted murder of Mexican environmentalist Gustavo Castro, who was with Caceres and was injured during the fatal attack.   Caceres was shot in her home in March 2016.   Eight others, including two gunmen, a company manager and two former military officers, have also been arrested in connection with the murder.  
  Item Number:5 Date: 03/07/2018 IRAN - TEHRAN STEPS UP MISSILE PRODUCTION, SAYS IRGC COMMANDER (MAR 07/FARS)  FARS NEWS AGENCY -- Iran has tripled its missile production and is now among the world's leaders in developing missile and drone technologies, says a senior Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) commander, as cited by the semi-official Fars News Agency.   Iran is committed to expanding and enhancing its missile program, especially ground-to-ground missiles, Brig. Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh said on Wednesday.   He did not elaborate on the details of the new developments or output.   The united effort to build up the country's missile and drone technologies has made Iran a world leader in the field, Gen. Hajizadeh told reporters in Tehran.   The general vowed to continue his country's progress. Youth would play an important role in the continued development of military technology, he said.   The general made his comments following a visit to Tehran by French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves LeDrian, who called on the Iranian government to reduce its missile program, reported the Times of Israel.  
  Item Number:6 Date: 03/07/2018 LIBYA - 3 KILLED IN ONGOING VIOLENCE IN SABHA (MAR 07/LIBOB)  LIBYA OBSERVER -- Three people have been killed and 12 wounded in the southern Libyan city of Sabha, reports the Libya Observer.   Violence flared on Tuesday when an armed group attacked the headquarters of the Sabha Martyrs Brigade in the al-Nasiriya neighborhood.   Witnesses said the combatants used light and heavy arms, including tanks, before the attackers withdrew.   Sabha is located about 500 miles (800 km) south of the capital, Tripoli.   The Awlad Sulaiman and Tabu tribes have been fighting in the city for weeks. Ten civilians have been killed and 25 wounded in the clashes, reported Xinhua, China's state news agency.   The fighting between the two kin groups has taken a political tint, with each side voicing support for different parties in the country's ongoing political stalemate.  
  Item Number:7 Date: 03/07/2018 NEW ZEALAND - FRIGATE ARRIVES IN CANADA FOR MAJOR MODERNIZATION (MAR 07/NZMOD)  NEW ZEALAND MINISTRY OF DEFENSE -- A New Zealand navy frigate has arrived in Canada for a major systems upgrade, reports the New Zealand Ministry of Defense.   The work is focused on surveillance, combat and self-defense capabilities as part of a larger program to keep the Te Kaha in service until 2030. Previous programs covered propulsion, heating, air-conditioning and the close-in weapon system.   The project includes the combat management system, radar and sonar.   The NZ$639 million (US$446 million) project is taking place in Esquimalt, British Columbia, by Lockheed Martin Canada. The ship arrived in Esquimalt on Tuesday.   Upgrades on sister ship Te Mana will begin in 2019
Item Number:8 Date: 03/07/2018 NIGERIA - AIR FORCE GRADUATES 1ST CLASS OF DOMESTICALLY TRAINED UAV PILOTS (MAR 07/NAF)  NIGERIAN AIR FORCE -- Nigeria has graduated its first class of locally trained unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) pilots, reports the Nigerian air force.   The five pilots received their wings from Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, the chief of air staff, at the Nigerian air force base in the northeastern city of Maiduguri on March 2.   The pilots are trained on the Chinese-made CH-3A UAV, the air force said. The air vehicle has a combat radius of about 112 miles (180 km) and can be armed with FT-5 guided bombs or AR-1 missiles, reported South Africa's Defence Web.   The program began in 2016, while training with the CH-3A began in May 2017, according to an air force spokesman. By the time they graduated, the pilots each had nearly 100 hours of flight time on the Chinese drone.   The air force will continue to train pilots domestically to maintain the necessary manpower, the spokesman said.   The pilots will be deployed to northeastern Nigeria as part of Operation Lafiya Dole, the ongoing operation against the Boko Haram terrorist group
  Item Number:9 Date: 03/07/2018 NORTH KOREA - PYONGYANG PLEDGES TO HOLD OFF MISSILE, NUCLEAR TESTS DURING PROPOSED TALKS WITH U.S. (MAR 07/JOON)  JOONGANG DAILY -- The North Korean government says it will not conduct further nuclear or ballistic missile tests for the duration of proposed talks with the United States, reports the JoongAng Daily (South Korea).   Pyongyang indicated that it wanted to have candid talks with the U.S. to discuss denuclearization and the normalization of relations during a visit to North Korea by Chung Eui Yong, the head of the South Korean president's National Security Office.   "North Korea made clear its will for denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula," Chung said. "It also assured that it has no reason to own nuclear arms if military threats against the North are resolved and the regime's security is guaranteed."   The two Koreas agreed to hold a summit at the truce village of Panmunjom in late April, he said.   The participants also decided to set up a hotline between South Korean President Moon Jae In and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un for consultations and to reduce military tensions. The leaders agreed to hold their first phone call ahead of the April talks.   Pyongyang also invited the South Korea taekwondo demonstration team and artists to visit the North as part of efforts to maintain the current detente between the neighbors
Item Number:10 Date: 03/07/2018 PHILIPPINES - ISIS GROUP IN MINDANAO HAS NEW LEADER, MILITARY SAYS (MAR 07/BEN)  BENAR -- The man who planned last year's deadly siege in Marawi in the southern Philippines has taken over as the new regional leader for the Islamic State terrorist group (ISIS), says the Philippine military, as cited by Benar News (Malaysia).   On Tuesday, military officials said that recent intelligence indicated that Humam Abdul Najib (aka Abu Dar) has replaced Isnilon Hapilon as the head of the terror group's regional branch.   Hapilon and several other leaders were killed in the five-month battle for Marawi, but Najib and some followers managed to escape with up to 500 million pesos (about US$10 million) stolen from banks.   Security officials confirmed the existence of the intelligence and said it was being investigated.   Najib was born in Mindanao and studied at an Islamic school in the northern Philippines, according to a security analyst. He reportedly fought in Afghanistan, where he was trained in explosives. He returned to Mindanao in 2012 and founded the militant group Khilafa Islamiyyah Mindanao.   Najib fought with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) but left when the group pursued a more conciliatory track with the government.   He also facilitated the entry of foreign fighters into the Philippines ahead of the attack in Marawi
  Item Number:11 Date: 03/07/2018 SAUDI ARABIA - LOCKHEED WINS DEAL TO BEGIN WORK ON LITTORAL SHIPS FOR NAVY (MAR 07/DOD)  DEPT. OF DEFENSE -- The Naval Sea Systems Command has awarded Lockheed Martin, Baltimore, Md., a contract to build multi-mission ships for the Saudi navy, reports the Dept. of Defense.   The US$481 million deal covers long lead-time materials in support of the construction of four multi-mission surface combatant (MMSC) ships.   The MMSC is derived from the Freedom-class littoral combat ship in U.S. Navy service.   Work under the contract is scheduled to be completed by October 2024
Item Number:12 Date: 03/07/2018 SOUTH SUDAN - GOVERNMENT DENIES STATE OIL COMPANY FUNDS USED FOR SECURITY SERVICES, MILITIAS (MAR 07/SUDTRIB)  SUDAN TRIBUNE -- The government in South Sudan has rejected allegations that it diverted funds from the national oil company to militias fighting in the country's ongoing conflict, reports the Sudan Tribune.   In a statement to the BBC on Tuesday, Information Minister Michael Makuei said the organization publishing the report was part of a U.S.-led effort to discredit his country.   The report, published by the non-governmental organization Global Witness earlier this month, alleges that the government redirected money from the state oil company to fund militias accused of war crimes, including rape and ethnic cleansing.   The report also alleges that Nile Petroleum, also known as Nilepet, has paid millions of dollars to politicians close to President Salva Kiir.   The report is based on secret documents and first-hand accounts, according to Global Witness. One document showed that the managing director of Nilepet received a letter requesting US$1.5 million to cover expenses for South Sudanese security services.   The secretive operations of the oil company have allowed it to finance military operations and the transfer of weapons to ethnic militias and conceal the theft of millions of dollars intended to assist with imports of essential goods, the report says.   Nilepet has also denied the allegations in the study
  Item Number:13 Date: 03/07/2018 SYRIA - 39 RUSSIAN TROOPS KILLED IN TRANSPORT AIRCRAFT CRASH (MAR 07/TASS)  TASS -- A Russian air force An-26 crashed in Syria killing all 39 servicemembers onboard, reports the Tass news agency (Russia).   On Tuesday, the Antonov transport aircraft was attempting to land at Hmeimim airbase in western Syria when it went down 1,640 feet (500 m) short of the runway, reported Interfax-AVN.   According to the Defense Ministry, hostile fire was not responsible. Initial reports suggested a technical fault may be to blame
Item Number:14 Date: 03/07/2018 TUNISIA - INDIGENOUSLY DEVELOPED PATROL BOAT LAUNCHED IN SFAX (MAR 07/TAP)  TUNISIAN NEWS AGENCY -- The SCIN shipyard in Sfax, Tunisia, has launched a domestically developed patrol boat, reports the Tunis Afrique Presse.   The 89-foot (27-m) vessel, developed by SCIN and the Tunisian Defense Ministry, was put into the water on Monday in Sfax.   The Utique can accommodate a crew of more than 10 and operate at sea for long distances, said SCIN officials.   The vessel was 40 percent cheaper to build than designs offered by foreign companies, the officials said.   A second patrol boat is slated for delivery in a month.  
  Item Number:15 Date: 03/07/2018 USA - AIR FORCE MISSION-CAPABLE RATES CONTINUE TO DECLINE (MAR 07/AFT)  AIR FORCE TIMES -- The readiness of the U.S. Air Force fleet has continued to decrease, according to the latest service figures cited by the Air Force Times.   About 71.3 percent of Air Force aircraft were mission-capable at any given time in fiscal 2017, down from 72.1 percent in fiscal 2016, and a continuation of a decline over recent years.   For example, in fiscal 2014, about three-quarters of the service's F-22 Raptor fighters were mission-capable. This has since fallen to less than half, including an 11 percent drop in the last year.   The F-35, the newest jet in Air Force service, also saw a nearly 10 percent drop in mission-capable rates.   The overall figures drop to 70 percent without the MQ-1 and MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aircraft, which consistently achieve readiness rates of around 90 percent.   The issue is the result of a number of issues, including heavy use requiring more maintenance. The service cut its maintainers ranks during budget cuts in 2014 and has struggled with maintenance since
  Item Number:16 Date: 03/07/2018 USA - JAPAN MSDF SET TO JOIN MULTISAIL DRILLS (MAR 07/NNS)  NAVY NEWSSTAND -- The U.S. Navy and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force will begin their annual bilateral MultiSail drills on Thursday, reports the Navy NewsStand.   The exercise, which runs from March 8 to March 14, focuses on interoperability between the two services.   This year's drills are focused on improving basic skills, including tracking and defeating submarines, combating other surface units, live-fire training and interoperability, said a Navy release on Tuesday.   "We have designed MultiSail to exercise how we detect, locate, track and engage simulated units at sea, in the air, on land, and underwater with our Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force allies to help us increase our interoperability in a range of mission areas," said Capt. Jon Duffy, the commander of Destroyer Squadron 15.   Participating in the training are USS Antietam (CG 54), the Arleigh Burke-class destroyers USS Curtis Wilbur (DDG 54), USS Benfold (DDG 65) and USS Mustin (DDG 89), Akizuki-class destroyer Fuyuzuki (DD-118) and a number of subsurface and other special units, the Navy said.   Lessons learned from these exercises will help the allies to develop regional capabilities to provide a full range of options to defend their interests and those of their allies and partners around the world, said the release.

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