Wednesday, March 21, 2018

TheList 4681

To All,
I hope that your week has started well.
This Day In Naval History – March 20, 2018
March 20
1833Honorable Edmund Roberts, transported by USS Peacock and accompanied by USS Boxer, signs the "Treaty of Amity," with the King of Siam (now Thailand), which is first treaty between the United States and an Asian power.
1922USS Jupiter (Fuel Ship #3) is recommissioned as USS Langley (CV 1), the Navy's first aircraft carrier.
1939 - Naval Research Lab recommends financing research program to obtain power from uranium.
1945: Planes from Task Force 58 attack airfields on southern Kyushu and shipping lanes, including a Japanese convoy escorted by Coast Defense Vessel No. 29 and submarine chaser Ch 58.
1945USS Blenny attacks a Japanese convoy off the coast of French Indochina and sinks the merchant tankers No. 21 Nanshin Maru and Hosten Maru, along with fishing boat Yamakuni Maru about 40 miles south of Cam Ranh Bay.
1952During the Korean War, USS Wiltsie (DD 716) and USS Brinkley Bass (DD 887) engage shore batteries at Wonsan, Korea. Bass scores seven direct hits on one of the batteries located near the city of Wonsan.
1959USS Staten Island (AGB 5) delivers six tons of food and clothing to New Zealand territorial island south of Samoa after storm devastates the area.
1999USS Porter (DDG 78) is commissioned at Port Canaveral, FL. The guided-missile destroyer is the 28th of the Arleigh Burke-class and the fifth U.S. Navy ship to be named after Commodore David Porter and his son, Adm. David Dixon Porter.
2003: Operation Iraqi Freedom begins after USS Bunker Hill (CG 52) is among the first to launch tomahawk missiles on Iraq, along with other Navy ships in the Red Sea and Persian Gulf.
2009USS Gettysburg (CG 64) apprehends six pirates in the Gulf of Aden after a distress call from two nearby merchant vessels.
Thanks to CHINFO
Executive Summary:
National news is dominated by the continued search for the "serial bomber" following the fourth explosion in Austin, Texas; the first lawsuit filed after the bridge collapse in Miami; and anticipation of Winter Storm Toby, which will be the fourth nor'easter in less than three weeks. The Navy released a request for proposal to Newport News Shipbuilding with the hopes of receiving cost and schedule predictions by late summer or early fall for a potential two carrier buy reports USNI News. The move to purchase CVNs 80 and 81 together, which would need additional authorities from Congress, could significantly reduce costs and could see CVN-81 deliver up to a year early due to a reduction in needed man hours. The Pentagon announced Monday that the U.S. and South Korea will resume annual joint military exercises on April 1. Additionally, Navy Times reports that the USS Juneau (CL-52) has been discovered by the Research Vessel Petrel led by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen.
This day in History
Henry IV of England is succeed by his son Henry V.
In India, Nadir Shah of Persia occupies Delhi and takes possession of the Peacock throne.
The Great Fire of Boston destroys 349 buildings.
In Paris, the Legislative Assembly approves the use of the guillotine.
Napoleon Bonaparte enters Paris and begins his 100-day rule.
Edgar Allan Poe's The Murders in the Rue Morgue, considered the first detective story, is published.
Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin is published.
Army officers in Russia mutiny at Sevastopol.
The French call off the Champagne offensive on the Western Front.
The Bolsheviks of the Soviet Union ask for American aid to rebuild their army.
President Warren G. Harding orders U.S. troops back from the Rhineland.
The German dirigible, Graf Zepplin, makes the first flight to South America on regular schedule.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt names William O. Douglas to the Supreme Court.
The British Royal Air Force conducts an all-night air raid on the Nazi airbase at Sylt, Germany.
The Allies attack Field Marshall Erwin Rommel's forces on the Mareth Line in North Africa.
President Lyndon B. Johnson orders 4,000 troops to protect the Selma-Montgomery civil rights marchers.
Senator Edward Kennedy calls on the United States to close all bases in Taiwan.
Patty Hearst is convicted of armed robbery.
U.S. scientists return from Antarctica with the first land mammal fossils found there.
The United State approves AZT, a drug that is proven to slow the progress of AIDS.
Thanks to Dr. Rich
It's March 20, Happy Vernal Equinox! And more WYSG updates...
Never learned this tidbit in medical school!!  I'm sure must explain some symptoms today !?!?
MARCH 2018
Today, Tuesday, March 20, 2018 at 10:15 am MDT, the axis of the Earth will be perpendicular to the direction of the Sun's rays hitting the Earth, and the length of night and day will be nearly equal.

Why does this happen?

"The Earth's axis is always tilted at an angle of about 23.4° in relation to the imaginary plane created by the Earth's path around the Sun (the ecliptic plane). On every other day of the year, either the Southern Hemisphere or the Northern Hemisphere tilts a little towards the Sun. But on the two equinoxes (one in March and one in September), the tilt of the Earth's axis is perpendicular to the Sun's rays, like the illustration shows. On the equinox, night and day are nearly the same length – 12 hours – all over the world. This is the reason it's called an "equinox", derived from Latin, meaning "equal night.""

With our thanks to THE Bear at
March 20, 2018   Bear Taylor  
RIPPLE SALVO… #745… "AFTER TET"… "The subsequent sweeping but quick re-evaluation of U.S.-Vietnam policy brought to the fore the conflicting perspectives in a fresh round of hand wringing. The differences among the respective camps (of the Administration) about bombing North Vietnam were 'so profound' that their consideration had to be tabled while a group moved on to other issues. With the leaders at an impasse, Secretary Clifford's 4 March report to the president left undecided the fate of the air war against North Vietnam." (McNamara, Clifford and the Burdens of Vietnam, Edward Drea)… but first…
GOOD MORNING: Day SEVEN HUNDRED FORTY-FIVE immersed in a chapter of American history titled ROLLING THUNDER…
HEAD LINES from The New York Times on a cloudy Wednesday, 20 March 1968…
GROUND WAR & KHESANH: Page 1: "ARMS CACHE FOUND NEAR SAIGON BASE–South Vietnamese Capture Weapons Hidden Within Range of Tansonnhut"… "United States infantrymen continued sweeping the jungles and flatlands on the fringes of Saigon today. South Vietnamese paratroopers uncovered a weapons cache near the capital. The weapons, found on the banks of the Saigon River, included 80 122-mm rockets and 1,200 mortar rounds. The cache was within range of Tansonnhut Airport. Meanwhile, informed sources put the number of North Vietnamese troops fighting in the South at 55 per cent more than the total given before the enemy's Lunar New Year offensive. The rise has been estimated from 54,000 to 84,000… the cache of weapons had been hauled on sampans onto the river banks, 11 miles from the heart of Saigon."… Page 1: "ENEMY SAID TO GET B-52 RAID ALERTS"... "Six North Vietnamese Army defectors, two of them doctors, said today that Hanoi's intelligence agencies provided as much as 24 hours notice of American B-52 raids in South Vietnam. The defectors said that the advance information enabled North Vietnamese and Vietcong soldiers to dig in before the raid. 'Maybe nothing would happen,'said La Thanh Dong, a 33-year-old first lieutenant who defected in the Khesanh area earlier this year...Lieutenant Dong said, 'Through foreign agents and the central security service in Hanoi, we know each B-52 strike 24-hours before they take off….The North Vietnamese even knew the tentative map coordinates of most of the strikes."Page 32: "JOHNSON DEFIANT ON VIETNAM VIEW–Tells Foes Course is Set and America Will Prevail"..."President Johnson offered another defiant response this evening to the challengers of his Vietnam policy by insisting that 'we have set our course' and 'America will prevail.' Th enemy in Vietnam, the President said, has mounted an attack is calculated to break the nation's will, 'to make some men want to surrender and to make other men want to withdraw.' His purpose, Mr. Johnson added, is 'to exhort the nation to help so as to make certain that its will persists.'"…
This is an overall view of what is available. Click on the links to get a more in depth article. Lots of great history available.
75th Anniversary of World War Two
Battle of the Komandorski Islands: Forgotten Valor—The Charge of USS Bailey, 26 March 1943
On 26 March 1943, a mostly forgotten battle occurred in waters about 100 miles south of the Komandorski Islands, midway between the end of the U.S. Aleutian Island chain and the Soviet Kamchatka Peninsula. An outnumbered U.S. Navy force, centered on the heavy cruiser USS Salt Lake City (CA-25), engaged a superior Japanese force in a four-hour-long daylight long-range gunnery duel (one of the last pure surface actions in naval history). At the end of the battle, despite thousands of rounds fired, no ships were lost on either side and personnel casualties were very few. The battle has gone down in history as a case of "much sound and fury signifying nothing," to quote Shakespeare. Nevertheless, at one point the engagement was on the verge of becoming what could have been the worst defeat in U.S. naval history, with the potential loss of over 3,000 men in freezing waters. However the battle also included one of the most courageous actions in U.S. naval history, specifically the charge of the destroyer USS Bailey (DD-492, DESRON 14 embarked) with USS Coghlan (DD-606) and USS Monaghan (DD-354) in trail through a deluge of shellfire against the Japanese cruiser line at the most desperate and critical point in the battle. This action never really got the recognition it deserved. For more on the charge of Bailey, please see attachment H-016-1, and for more on the Aleutian Islands Campaign please see attachment H-016-2.
Battle of the Atlantic: The Lost Boarding Party, 10 March 1943
I thought this piece written by Captain James Bloom, MC, USN (Ret.), was particularly interesting, and was an incident I had never heard of, which in my view qualifies it as "forgotten." It is an example of extraordinary bravery by U.S. Navy personnel in far-flung places that is indeed worth remembering. Nowadays, "MIOs" (maritime interdiction operations) have become almost so routine that they may lead to complacency. They are actually extremely dangerous, as exemplified by the experience of the volunteer boarding party from the destroyer USS Eberle (DD-430) that went aboard the German blockade runner Karin in March 1943 just south of the equator in the Atlantic. Six U.S. Navy warships would be named after Sailors on the boarding team who made the ultimate sacrifice in an action that resulted in three Navy Crosses (one posthumous) and six posthumous Silver Stars. For more on this heroic boarding team, please see attachment H-016-3.
100th Anniversary of World War One
The Disappearance of USS Cyclops
On 4 March 1918, the collier USS Cyclops (Fuel Ship No. 4) departed from an unscheduled stop at Barbados en route to Baltimore and vanished with 306 people on board, including a number of passengers, and a cargo of manganese ore. There were no distress calls and no trace of her has ever been found. Although initially assumed to be lost due to German submarine or raider activity, British intelligence (which by then was reading German naval radio traffic very successfully, and sharing it with the United States) had no evidence of German activity related to Cyclops, and German records reviewed after the war showed no indication that the Germans had anything to do with the ship's loss—nor did they have any knowledge of it other than what they learned from press reports. The unexplained nature of her loss has provided for decades of fun and frolic by conspiracy buffs, and numerous and varied theories have been advanced, ranging from storms, catastrophic hull failure, mutiny, sabotage, and methane gas to space-time warp, aliens, and the Bermuda Triangle. The ship did disappear in what is now known as the Bermuda Triangle, although that term did not come into use until the 1950s. Although the idea that ships or aircraft are more likely to disappear in the Bermuda Triangle than anywhere else has been thoroughly debunked, USS Cyclops and Flight 19 (the disappearance of a flight of five U.S. Navy Avenger torpedo bombers from NAS Fort Lauderdale in December 1945) are always at the top of the list of "mysterious" events in the Bermuda Triangle for those inclined to believe in it. Catastrophic structural failure is actually the most likely cause. For more on Cyclops, and the identical fate of two of her three sisters, please see attachment H-016-4.
120th Anniversary of Spanish American War
USS Oregon's Dash to Glory
As tensions continued to rise between the United States and Spain in the spring of 1898 following the sinking of USS Maine in Havana Harbor, Cuba, the new battleship USS Oregon (Battleship No. 3) was ordered to sail from San Francisco to the U.S. east coast as fast as possible. This was not an easy strategic decision due to a recent war scare with Japan over the Sandwich (Hawaiian) Islands. Stripping Oregon from the Pacific coast would leave Japan with two battleships in the Pacific and the U.S. with none. The voyage would also not be easy because the need for haste dictated a course around the southern tip of South America via the perpetually stormy Cape Horn. Nevertheless, departing on 19 March 1898, Oregon made the 14,000-mile voyage to the U.S. east coast in 66 days, arriving at Jupiter Inlet, Florida, on 24 May. She did indeed get pounded severely while in the vicinity of Cape Horn, but that did not significantly slow her down. During her voyage, the United States declared war on Spain (announced on 25 April retroactive to 21 April), which Oregon learned about during a brief stop for coal in Rio de Janeiro on 30 April. (The Battle of Manila Bay between the U.S. and Spanish navies would occur on 1 May.) Later, while off the coast of Brazil, Oregon even suffered a stubborn coal fire in a bunker next to one of her magazines, which her crew successfully extinguished, without need to put into port. Perhaps even more amazing, Oregon suffered no breakdowns during the unprecedented transit. The prowess of her engineers became legendary in the U.S. Navy. Immediately upon arrival in Florida, Oregon was ordered to join the U.S. naval blockade of Santiago, Cuba, in which a Spanish squadron was trapped. (As tensions had increased, Spain had sent four armored cruisers to Cuba over the heated objections of Spanish navy leaders, who insisted their ships were not ready for war—they were right.) Even with the wear and tear of the arduous voyage, Oregon was still the fastest battleship in the blockade and she would play a prominent role in the final defeat of the Spanish squadron when it tried to break out of Santiago. (I will cover the Battle of Manila Bay and the Battle of Santiago in future H-grams.) Oregon's voyage had been a press sensation; newspapers hyped her progress every step of the way, making her arguably the most famous ship in the U.S. Navy to that point except for "Old Ironsides." The press bequeathed the moniker "Bulldog of the Navy." Her voyage was also used as an argument by politicians and others to bulldoze all opposition to building a canal across Panama, by any means necessary, including annexation of Panama. As fast as she was, Oregon had still not been able to get to the U.S. east coast before the war started, and leaving the west coast "defenseless" in the meantime was a serious strategic risk. Such arguments eventually carried the day in favor of building a canal (which would cost far more lives than the entire Spanish-American War). For more on USS Oregon and her descent from a national historic monument to an ignominious and sad end, please see attachment H-016-5. Attachment H-016-6 is a photograph of Oregon with a "bone in her teeth."
Item Number:1 Date: 03/20/2018 AUSTRALIA - L3 MICREO AWARDED CONTRACT FOR MOBILE PHONE IED THREAT PROTECTION (MAR 20/AMOD)  AUSTRALIA MINISTRY OF DEFENSE -- L3 Micreo, based in Queensland, has been awarded a contract to protect Australian military vehicles against a new generation of improvised explosive devices (IEDs), reports the Australian Dept. of Defense.   The new contract covers the SILVERSHIELD device, which protects against IEDs that are triggered by mobile phones.   The jamming device will be installed on 13,000 Australian military vehicles at a cost of Aus$26.9 million (US$20.8 million).   SILVERSHIELD is an evolution of the Australian-developed REDWING suite specialized force protection systems that target mobile-phone-detonated IEDs. Since 2015, REDWING devices have been installed on more than 180,000 vehicles in Afghanistan.  
  Item Number:2 Date: 03/20/2018 CAMEROON - ANGLOPHONE REBELS KIDNAP 40, INCLUDING GOVERNMENT OFFICIAL (MAR 20/AFRICAN NA)  AFRICAN NEWS AGENCY -- A wave of kidnappings has continued in Cameroon's English-speaking region even as militants released a captured civil servant, reports the African News Agency (South Africa).   Forty people, including a government official, were on their way to a political rally in Lebialem, southwestern Cameroon, over the weekend when militants seized their vehicle.   Some of the captives were released after their captors gave a speech on the rights of Anglophone Cameroon, which the rebels identified as Ambazonia.   The English-speaking separatists demanded the release of 47 political detainees.   In a separate event, an English-speaking education official was kidnapped by militants outside the southwestern town of Lewo on March 17, reported Agence France-Presse.   Ivo Leke Tambo, a recently appointed head of Cameroon's Anglophone educational board, was subsequently released, according to statements by the regional governor on Monday.   Gov. Bernard Okalia Bilai thanked tribal chiefs for their efforts in freeing Tambo.  
  Item Number:3 Date: 03/20/2018 CANADA - OTTAWA ANNOUNCES CONTRIBUTION TO MALI PEACEKEEPING MISSION (MAR 20/CBC)  CANADIAN BROADCASTING CORPORATION -- Canada will contribute troops and helicopters to the U.N. mission in Mali, reports CBC News.   The contribution could arrive as soon as this summer and will include six helicopters and up to 250 infantry and military trainers, Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan and Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland told the House of Commons on Monday.   The one-year deployment will include two CH-147 Chinooks for medical evacuations and four CH-146 Griffons for armed escort missions, the ministers said.   The helicopters are expected to arrive by August, said a U.N. spokesman.   Encouraging the participation of female peacekeepers will be a priority during the mission, said Freeland.   The Canadian contribution will replace a German force currently assisting French, Malian and U.N. troops.   Consultations with the Germans and U.N. officials are necessary before the deployment can be launched, said Gen. Jonathan Vance, Canada's military chief.   The announcement is less than had initially been planned. After coming to power in 2015, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau suggested Canada could send up to 600 troops to Mali, noted the Guardian (U.K.).   Mali is the deadliest U.N. peacekeeping mission in the organization's history, with 162 fatalities so far.    
  Item Number:4 Date: 03/20/2018 CHINA - FOREIGN MINISTER GIVEN CABINET STATUS, NEW DEFENSE MINISTER APPOINTED (MAR 20/HKFP)  HONG KONG FREE PRESS -- China's National People's Congress has approved the promotion of two senior officials to Cabinet-level positions, reported the Hong Kong Free Press.   On Monday, the congress approved the promotion of Foreign Minister Wang Yi's to state councilor and Gen. Wei Fenghe to defense minister.   Yi is a former ambassador to Japan.   Gen. Wei Fenghe previously headed China's strategic missile force and is credited with helping President Xi Jinping's military reform efforts.  
  Item Number:5 Date: 03/20/2018 EGYPT - 4 SOLDIERS, 36 SUSPECTED ISIS FIGHTERS KILLED OVER 5 DAYS IN SINAI (MAR 20/XIN)  XINHUA -- At least 36 suspected militants and four Egyptian soldiers have been killed in ongoing operations in the Sinai Peninsula, reports China's Xinhua news agency.   The soldiers and suspected terrorists were all killed in the last five days of the ongoing Sinai 2018 operation, said an army statement on Monday.   More than 345 people have been arrested during that same time, the statement said.   The Sinai 2018 campaign aims to dislodge ISIS militants from the peninsula. President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi ordered military action, which began on Feb. 9, in response to the November 2017 attack by the Islamic State terrorist group (ISIS) at a Sinai mosque that killed more than 300 people.   Since the operation began, 22 military personnel and 157 suspected ISIS fighters have reportedly been killed
  Item Number:6 Date: 03/20/2018 EGYPT - BASHIR, SISI AFFIRM COMMON INTERESTS, SEEK TO REDUCE TENSIONS (MAR 20/ALJAZ)  AL JAZEERA -- The Sudanese president has ended a visit to Egypt by emphasizing common interests and goals, in spite of recent tensions, reports Al Jazeera (Qatar).   Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi welcomed his Sudanese counterpart, Omar al-Bashir, at the Cairo International Airport on Monday.   The presidents discussed outstanding issues between their two countries, including water-sharing in the Nile and an ongoing border dispute, said an Egyptian presidential spokesman.   Both presidents said in a statement that their countries derive strength from each other.   The leaders agreed to boost cooperation in the areas of energy, electricity, transport and infrastructure, Sisi said, as cited by the Sudan Tribune.   Tensions between the two nations have come to a head in recent months.   As Ethiopia builds its Grand Renaissance Dam, one of Africa's largest infrastructure projects, Egypt has demanded that the current flow of the Nile River not be altered.   It has also claimed that it has historical rights to the majority of the water that flows throw the river, which forms the bedrock of Egypt's economy and food supply.   Sudan also claims Halaib and Shalateen, or the Halaib Triangle, as its own. The nearly 8,000-square-mile (20,580-square-km) area is administered by Egypt on the bases of colonial borders settled in 1899.   In late December 2017, Sudan filed a complaint to the United Nations in protest of a maritime border demarcation agreement between Saudi Arabia and Egypt.   At the same time, Sudan entered into an agreement with Egypt's regional rival, Turkey, to construct a naval dock on the site of an old Ottoman port in Suakin, on the Red Sea.  
  Item Number:7 Date: 03/20/2018 FRANCE - FORMER PRESIDENT SARKOZY FACES QUESTIONS OVER FOREIGN ELECTION CONTRIBUTIONS (MAR 20/GUARDIAN)  GUARDIAN -- Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy is being questioned by police over allegations that he took millions of euros in campaign funds from the late Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi, reports the Guardian (U.K.).   Sarkozy, who was president of France from 2007 to 2012, was questioned Tuesday morning at a police station in Nanterre in northwest Paris.   He attended the questioning voluntarily, said an official at the court cited by CNN.   Officials are investigating claims that Sarkozy received as much as 50 million euros (US$61.5 million) from Qaddafi during his 2007 campaign. Such a donation would violate both the maximum limit on allowable donations and restrictions on foreign financing.   It is the first time Sarkozy has been questioned by police as part of the investigation, which was opened in 2013.   Initially, the investigation -- which has focused on allegations of corruption, influence trafficking, forgery, abuse of public funds and money laundering -- did not name a suspect.   The criminal file was spurred by a 2012 investigative story by the website Mediapart which alleged that Libyan officials approved a 50 million euro payment in support of Sarkozy.   Sarkozy claimed the documents were false but had until today refused to speak with police on the matter.   Another former minister and Sarkozy ally, Brice Hortefeux, was also being questioned on Tuesday in relation to the allegations, reported Reuters
  Item Number:8 Date: 03/20/2018 GERMANY - N. KOREAN MISSILES CAN BE ARMED WITH NUCLEAR WARHEADS, REACH GERMANY, SAYS INTEL OFFICIAL (MAR 20/REU)  REUTERS -- The top German intelligence agency says North Korea's nuclear-capable missiles can reach central Europe, reports Reuters, citing local sources.   Ole Diehl, the deputy director of the Federal Intelligence Service (BND), told lawmakers last week that it was "certain" that North Korea could strike central Europe and Germany with nuclear missiles, according to the Bild am Sonntag newspaper.   Diehl also told Bundestag members during the closed-door meeting that the BND saw talks between North and South Korea as a positive development.   The BND declined to comment on the leaked assessment
Item Number:9 Date: 03/20/2018 LIBYA - SON OF FORMER DICTATOR TO RUN FOR PRESIDENT (MAR 20/LIBEX)  LIBYAN EXPRESS -- The son of Libya's former dictator has announced that he will compete in the 2018 elections, reports the Libyan Express.   A spokesman for the Libyan Popular Front party announced Saif al-Islam Qaddafi's candidacy at a press conference on Monday.   The son of deposed leader Muammar Qaddafi will focus on reconciliation, stability, reconstruction and fostering a climate of tolerance, the spokesman said from Tunisia.   The younger Qaddafi is currently sought by the International Criminal Court (ICC) on charges of crimes against humanity, noted Russia Today.   Qaddafi will make a public statement soon to discuss his vision for Libya, said the spokesman. He has not been seen in public since being released from militia custody in June 2017. He is presumed to be living in Tunisia
  Item Number:10 Date: 03/20/2018 SAUDI ARABIA - BIN SALMAN FENDS OFF CRITICISM OF YEMEN CAMPAIGN AHEAD OF D.C. VISIT (MAR 20/ALJAZ)  AL JAZEERA -- The visit of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to Washington to meet with President Donald Trump has raised concerns in the United States, reports Al Jazeera (Qatar).   Bin Salman's two-week trip begins with a personal visit with Trump on Tuesday and is expected to focus on revamping the kingdom's image and attracting support for reforms spearheaded by the young leader.   The trip comes as lawmakers are mulling legislation that would limit the scope of U.S. cooperation with Saudi Arabia in Yemen.   In February, three U.S. senators introduced the Yemen War Powers Resolution. Pursuant to the War Powers Act, the resolution called for the removal of U.S. forces from hostilities in Yemen.   Officials from the State Dept. joined leaders from the Defense Dept. to caution legislators that the proposed measure would harm U.S.-Saudi relations, according to the New York Times.   The State Dept. is also reviewing a new Saudi arms deal, which includes 60,000 precision guided munitions worth more than US$1 billion.   Saudi Arabia has come under increased scrutiny for the humanitarian costs of their war in Yemen, which began in March 2015. More than 10,000 Yemenis have been killed since the Saudi-led intervention to restore Abed Rabbu Mansour Hadi to power.   Since 2015, the Pentagon has provided "non-combat assistance" to the Saudis, including aerial refueling, intelligence assessments and other military advice
Item Number:11 Date: 03/20/2018 SPAIN - DEFENSE MINISTRY PREPARES NEW 15-YEAR ACQUISITION PLAN (MAR 20/DEFAERO)  DEFENSE-AEROSPACE -- Defense Minister Maria Dolores de Cospedal will soon submit a new 15-year investment cycle for military hardware to the Spanish Council of Ministers, reports   The 10.8 billion euro (US$13.3 billion) proposal constitutes the first phase of the investment cycle.   The proposal will include 8 x 8 combat vehicles, F110 frigates, new training aircraft, modernization of an air command and control system, A330 MRTT aerial refueling aircraft, NH90 naval helicopters and Chinook helicopter modernization, reported the Cadena Sur.   Spain owes approximately 200 billion euros (US$246 billion) on 11 programs from the previous investment cycle that are still in progress. Payments are expected to be made on those programs through 2030, the ministry said.   
  Item Number:12 Date: 03/20/2018 SYRIA - TURKISH OP IN AFRIN HINDERING FIGHT AGAINST ISIS, SAY U.S. OFFICIALS (MAR 20/CNN)  CABLE NEWS NETWORK -- U.S. officials have warned that the Islamic State terrorist group is regrouping in Syria, due in part to an ongoing Turkish operation against Kurdish armed groups, reports CNN.   "The fighting in western Syria over the last two months, including in Afrin, has distracted from the defeat ISIS campaign and provided opportunity for ISIS to begin reconstituting in some areas," a U.S. State Dept. spokeswoman said in a statement on Monday.   The U.S. has issued numerous warnings that Turkey's Operation Olive Branch could disrupt U.S.-led anti-ISIS operations, which rely on Kurdish fighters.   A statement from the Turkish Foreign Ministry dismissed the claims as "groundless."   Turkey launched its operation in northwestern Syria in January. The goal was to dislodge armed Kurdish groups from the town of Afrin. Turkey does not distinguish between armed Kurdish groups in Syria and those in Turkey. The U.S. views Syrian Kurdish groups as necessary partners in the fight against ISIS.   Turkish operations in Syria have also raised the possibility of a conflict with U.S. forces located in Manbij, east of Afrin. U.S. and Kurdish are operating together there.   On Monday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan repeated his intention to push into all Kurdish-held territory in northeastern Syria "until we completely abolish this [terrorist] corridor."    
  Item Number:13 Date: 03/20/2018 TUNISIA - SUSPECTED MILITANT BLOWS HIMSELF UP DURING STANDOFF WITH POLICE (MAR 20/REU)  REUTERS -- A Tunisian man has blown himself up after a standoff with security forces in the southern Tunisian town of Ben Guerdan, reports Reuters.   On Monday, Tunisian security forces surrounded a house where two suspected terrorists were believed to be hiding.   After a standoff, one of the men blew himself up. Security forces shot and killed the second man.   The men were accused of membership in Jund al-Khilafa, and armed group that has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State, officials said. Authorities had been searching for the suspects for a week.   In March 2016, militants loyal to the Islamic State terrorist group (ISIS) and Ansar al-Sharia took over the town, located near the Libyan border.   At least 45 people, including seven civilians and 12 soldiers, were killed in the fight to retake the town, reported Agence France-Presse at the time.   
  Item Number:14 Date: 03/20/2018 UNITED KINGDOM - NEXT-GENERATION COMBAT VEHICLE TO BE OUTFITTED WITH ACOUSTIC SHOT DETECTION SYSTEM (MAR 20/UKMOD)  U.K. MINISTRY OF DEFENSE -- Thales UK has signed a contract with General Dynamics Land Systems-UK to equip the British army's next generation armored vehicles with high-tech automated threat warning systems, reports the U.K. Ministry of Defense.   The 3.7 million pound (US$5.2 million) contract will equip 735 of the new Ajax armored fighting vehicles with a vehicle-mounted shot detection system, said the March 15 release.   The new system will be able to report the direction of enemy fire to British troops.   The Ajax is a 4.5 billion pound (US$6.3 billion) program with six variants. The vehicle is scheduled to enter service in 2020.    
  Item Number:15 Date: 03/20/2018 USA - ARMY AIMS TO ENHANCE COMMUNICATION AMONG AIR, MISSILE DEFENSE SYSTEMS (MAR 20/DN)  DEFENSE NEWS -- The U.S. Army hopes to establish a more effective missile defense force through coordination of its Terminal High Altitude Air Defense (THAAD) and Patriot medium-range air and missile defense systems, reports Defense News   Noting that the systems are already positioned side-by-side on the Korean Peninsula, Brig. Gen. Randy McIntire said the U.S. would like to take advantage of the advanced THAAD radar "to increase the battlespace of Patriot."   THAAD-Patriot integration would help support the Army's more ambitious Integrated Air and Missile Defense Battle Command System (IBCS), the service's next generation missile defense system that will connect even more air defense platforms on the battlefield, McIntire said.    
Item Number:16 Date: 03/20/2018 USA - ARMY WILL PICK INTERIM SHORAD SOLUTION BY END OF YEAR (MAR 20/DN)  DEFENSE NEWS -- The U.S. Army officer in charge of air and missile defense efforts says that an interim solution for short-range air defense (SHORAD) for U.S. Army Europe will be chosen in 2018, reports Defense News.   The service has two "very viable candidates" and "enough knowledge points" to make the decision, said Brig. Gen. Randy McIntire, the head of the Army's air and missile defense modernization programs.   The Army shifted the SHORAD capability into reserve units during as it focused on counterinsurgency operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The service now must quickly update those capabilities in response to potential near-peer threats.   Directed requirements call for a total of 144 SHORAD systems. Gen. McIntire says that the cross functional team (CFT) should be able to field a battery of 12 systems by fiscal year 2021.   The SHORAD system will be installed on the Stryker armored vehicle.

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