Thursday, March 29, 2018

TheList 4688

The List 4688

To All,
I hope that your week has been going well. Today we recognize National Vietnam War Veterans Day. See more below.
This Day In Naval History – March 29, 2018
March 29
1844—Uriah P. Levy, the U.S. Navy's first Jewish flag officer, is promoted to the rank of captain. He also becomes the first of the Jewish faith promoted to commodore and is instrumental in persuading Congress to abolish flogging in the Navy.
1863—Union troops brought ashore by USS Norwich to Jacksonville, FL, ransack and loot the residents before evacuating the city. Also on this date, USS South Carolina, captures the schooner Nellie off Port Royal, SC.
1944—USS Haddo (SS 255) torpedoes and sinks Japanese army cargo ship Nichian Maru in South China Sea. Also on this date, USS Tunny (SS 282) torpedoes the Japanese battleship Musashi off Palau, necessitating for her to be repaired in Japan.
1944—USS Ericsson (DD 440) and USS Kearny (DD 432), along with three submarine chasers, sink German U 223, which had sunk five Allied merchant vessels, including U.S. Army transport ship SS Dorchester of Four Chaplains fame on Feb. 3, 1943.
1954 - Carrier aircraft began reconnaissance near Dien Bien Phu, Indochina
1973 - Naval Advisory Group and Naval forces, Vietnam disestablished and last U.S. prisoners of war left Vietnam.
1975 - Evacuation of Danang by sea began
1960—The first fully integrated Fleet Ballistic Missile system test, an A1X test vehicle, is launched from USS Observation Island (EAG 154).
1985—The U.S. Navy awards a contract to the McDonnell Douglas Corporation for development of night attack capabilities for the F/A-18 Hornet aircraft.
1991—USS Francis Hammond (FF 1067), USS Shasta (AE 33), USS Niagara Falls (AFS 33) assist a Sri Lankan merchant vessel burning in the Arabian Gulf.
Thanks To CHINFO
Executive Summary:
Top national headlines include the removal of David Shulkin as secretary for Veterans Affairs, as well as the leaders of North and South Korea agreeing to meet April 27 for an historic summit. The Wall Street Journal reports that President Trump ousted Shulkin, nominating White House physician Rear Admiral Ronny L. Jackson to serve as the next VA secretary. The New York Times reports that Africa Command has released a statement saying that an American drone strike in southern Libya killed Musa Abu Dawud, a high-ranking official in Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb. Dawud was responsible for training recruits in Libya as well as providing money and weapons that allowed the group to threaten Western interests in the area. Additionally, guided-missile cruiser USS Hue City rescued three fisherman off the coast of George Tuesday morning reports Navy Times.
Today in History
1886: The first batch of Coca Cola was brewed over a fire in a backyard in
Atlanta, GA. Dr. John Pemberton created the concoction as a "hangover" cure
and a stomach ache/headache remedy. He advertised it as a "brain tonic and
intellectual beverage". Cocaine was an ingredient of Coke until 1904 when
Congress banned it. It went on sale to the public on May eighth that year.
1973: After their single "The Cover Of Rolling Stone" was first played, Dr.
Hook and the Medicine Show were actually pictured on the front of that
particular magazine. The next week, their single went gold. Inside, a
"Rolling Stone" writer confirmed that members of the group (Dr. Hook and
the Medicine Show) bought five copies of the mag for their moms, just like
in the song's lyrics!
1992: Democratic presidential front-runner Bill Clinton acknowledged
experimenting with marijuana "a time or two" while attending Oxford
University, adding, "I didn't inhale and I didn't try it again."
And today is:
National Lemon Chiffon Cake Day
Thanks to Laurel.  A great bit of history. There was a very interesting TV documentary on the finding and identifying of King Richard the III remains.
Don't know if you have heard anything about King Richard III being reburied in England.  This is a well written article on his reign and things even we Americans have to thank him for, given that our system of laws comes from the English. 
Today in History
March 29
Led by Ragnar Lodbrok, Viking raiders sack Paris. In exchange for leaving, the Vikings collect a large ransom from the Frankish defenders. [From MHQ—The Quarterly Journal of Military History]
The armies of two kings, Henry VI and Edward IV, collide at Towton.
A permanent European colony is established in present-day Delaware.
Composer Ludwig van Beethoven is buried in Vienna amidst a crowd of over 10,000 mourners.
U.S. troops under General Winfield Scott take possession of the Mexican stronghold at Vera Cruz.
The United States purchases Alaska from Russia for $7.2 million dollars.
British troops of the 90th Light Infantry Regiment repulse a major attack by Zulu tribesmen in northwest Zululand.
Coca-Cola goes on sale for the first time at a drugstore in Atlanta. Its inventor, Dr. John Pemberton, claims it can cure anything from hysteria to the common cold.
A regular news service begins between New York and London on Marconi's wireless.
The German government announces a raise in taxes in order to finance the new military budget.
The Italians call off the fifth attack on Isonzo.
Italy firebombs the Ethiopian city of Harar.
The British sink five Italian warships off the Peloponnesus coast in the Mediterranean.
The Chinese reject Gen. Douglas MacArthur's offer for a truce in Korea.
Rodgers and Hammerstein's musical The King and I opens on Broadway starring Gertrude Lawrence and Yul Brynner.
President Harry Truman removes himself from the presidential race.
The 23rd amendment, allowing residents of Washington, D.C. to vote for president, is ratified.
Cuba opens the trial of the Bay of Pigs invaders.
Leonid Brezhenev becomes First Secretary of the Soviet Communist Party. He denounces the American policy in Vietnam and calls it one of aggression.
France launches its first nuclear submarine.
Lt. William L. Calley Jr. is found guilty for his actions in the My Lai massacre.
The last U.S. troops withdraw from South Vietnam.
Egyptian president Anwar Sadat declares that he will reopen the Suez Canal on June 5, 1975.
Eight Ohio National Guardsmen are indicted for shooting four Kent State students during an anti-war protest on May 4, 1970.
A court in Rome acquits six men in a plot to kill the Pope.
H-Gram 017: 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War
27 March 2018
This special edition H-gram is published in conjunction with Vietnam War Veterans Day, which is commemorated on 29 March.
In a live television broadcast on 31 March 1968, President Lyndon B. Johnson shocked the nation by announcing he would not run for reelection in the fall of 1968. His decision was partly motivated by his plummeting approval rating caused primarily by the momentous events that occurred in Vietnam in January–March of 1968; in particular, the surprise Tet Offensive by North Vietnamese and South Vietnamese Communist (Viet Cong) forces that attacked over 150 cities, government, and military installations in South Vietnam, as well as the protracted bloody fighting during the siege of Khe Sanh and the recapture of the city of Hue, resulting in the highest weekly U.S. casualties (over 500 KIA per week) during the entire war.
The Tet Offensive was actually a massive military defeat for the Vietnamese Communists, and casualties among the Viet Cong were so high that they never really recovered as an effective fighting force, resulting in ever-greater involvement in South Vietnam by North Vietnamese Army regular forces for the duration of the conflict. Nevertheless, despite their staggering losses, the Tet Offensive was a psychological, propaganda, and strategic success for the Vietnamese Communists.
Although frustration with the course of the war was already mounting among the American people and politicians, the prevailing attitude before the Tet Offensive, was "either do what it takes to win this quickly, or get out." After the offensive, the attitude became increasingly, "just get out." Recognizing even before the Tet Offensive that popular support for the war effort was starting to wane, the Johnson administration and senior U.S. commanders in Vietnam had embarked on an extensive "success offensive," using all manner of metrics (e.g., kill-ratios, body counts, villages "pacified," etc.) to show that the United States was winning the war in Vietnam, and that victory was near. The Commander of U.S. forces in Vietnam, General William Westmoreland, even publically stated that the enemy was incapable of mounting a major offensive. And then they did. What the metrics failed to show was the will of the enemy to fight on despite its grievous losses. What the American people then saw was a war with high casualties and no end in sight, and public and political support rapidly diminished.
During President Johnson's broadcast, he also announced that negotiations between the United States, South Vietnam, North Vietnam, and the Viet Cong would commence in May 1968, and that the United States would cease bombing in North Vietnam (Operation Rolling Thunder) north of the 19th parallel (although not announced in the broadcast, bombing would continue between the 17th parallel (border between North and South Vietnam) and the 19th parallel) and along the "Ho Chi Minh Trail" supply route through Laos and Cambodia, and that Operation Sea Dragon. Additionally, U.S. naval bombardment of targets along the coast of North Vietnam would also cease north of the 19th parallel. Over the next months, the negotiators would argue mostly about the shape of the negotiating table, and American strategy would shift to "Vietnamization" (i.e., shifting the burden of fighting increasingly to the South Vietnamese Army, an "exit strategy" that was ultimately doomed.
Lost in what was the political and strategic debacle of the first months of 1968 in Vietnam was the fact that the U.S. Navy accomplished its assigned missions with extraordinary effectiveness, including playing a key role in preventing major cities in the Mekong River Delta of South Vietnam from falling to the Viet Cong during the Tet Offensive, continuing to strike numerous targets in North Vietnam despite increasingly lethal air defenses, providing extensive air strike and airborne intelligence support to the U.S. Marines holding out in Khe Sanh, preventing a North Vietnamese supply infiltration surge into South Vietnam via the sea, destroying numerous resupply vehicles and vessels, and killing large numbers of North Vietnamese and Viet Cong Troops.  What the U.S. Navy failed to do, along with the rest of the U.S. military, was to break the will of the Vietnamese Communists to fight.
Whether the strategies and tactics advocated by U.S. military commanders responsible for conducting the war in Vietnam would have resulted in victory is still debatable. What is not really debatable is that political restrictions and micromanagement from Washington, DC, greatly complicated military efforts, were frequently counterproductive and, in some cases, cost lives unnecessarily. To be fair, the Johnson administration was deeply concerned about a Soviet attack in Western Europe or Chinese intervention in the Vietnam War (as the Chinese had in Korea), which significantly affected the forces that could be committed to the war in Vietnam, as well as how those forces could be used. Nevertheless, concepts in vogue at the time such as "flexible response" and "graduated escalation" may have sounded good in political science class (and to Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, also a casualty of Tet, who resigned on 28 February 1968), but they also allowed the enemy time to adapt and counter U.S. escalatory measures, and they represent a case study in how not to win a war.
For more on U.S. Navy operations in Vietnam in January–March 1968 period, please see attachment H-017-1; however, it may be useful to read first attachment H-017-2, "Rolling Thunder—A Short Overview." I also highly recommend RADM (Ret.) Jerry "Bear" Taylor's daily "Rolling Thunder Remembered" blog. With over 200 combat missions over Vietnam, Bear speaks with a perspective I cannot match.
Sources for this H-gram include, NHHC publications: War in the Shallows: U.S. Navy Coastal and Riverine Warfare in Vietnam 1965–1968 by Dr. John Sherwood; Naval Air War: The Rolling Thunder Campaign by Norman Polmar and Edward J. Marolda; Knowing the Enemy: Naval Intelligence in Southeast Asia by Richard a. Mobley and Edward J. Marolda; and other publications from the NHHC series, "The U.S. Navy and the Vietnam War." Other sources consulted include: Flying Warrior: My Life as a Naval Aviator During the Vietnam War by Jules Harper, and History of the U.S. Navy, Volume Two, 1942–1991 by my Naval Academy advisor, Dr. Robert W. Love Jr.
The recently completed NHHC nine-volume series "The U.S. Navy and the Vietnam War" is available on the NHHC publications webpage and includes:
Published:Tue Mar 27 16:11:11 EDT 2018
Thanks to John
Enjoy an accurate and funny job interview.
Great job interview & funny 
With our thanks to THE Bear and Mighty Thunder at
29 March 2018 – 50th Anniversary Rolling Thunder – Presidential Proclamation
March 29, 2018   Mighty Thunder  
Rolling Thunder: A Short Overview
On 2 March 1965, Operation Rolling Thunder missions commenced against North Vietnam. The goal of the operation was to discourage the Hanoi regime's direction and support of an insurgency that threatened to destroy the Republic of Vietnam. The campaign sought to strike targets sufficiently valuable to pressure the North Vietnamese into concessions but in a limited manner that would not result in too many civilian deaths, the destruction of the North Vietnamese regime, or a Soviet or Chinese intervention. Targets chosen therefore tended to be interdiction targets, such as bridges and railway lines, plus ones connected with the industrial base and war economy, such as POL (petroleum, oil, lubricants), power plants, and weapons and ammunitions storage depots. Absent from the list were many air defense targets, which were either too close to heavily populated areas or, in the case of airfields, too provocative.
The Rolling Thunder campaign had five distinct phases:
In Phase I (March-June 1965), a variety of targets, including ammunition depots, radar sites, and barracks, were hit in an attempt to persuade North Vietnam to come to the negotiating table. It accomplished little other than hardening the resolve of the Communist regime and spurring the creation of one of the world's most sophisticated air defense networks.
Phase II (July 1965-January 1966) targeted roads, bridges, boats, and railroads. Phase III (January-October 1966) focused on POL resources. Phase IV (October 1966-May 1967) shifted the campaign to industrial facilities and power-generating plants. Significantly in Phase IV, U.S. warplanes struck targets in Hanoi for the first time, but these more aggressive tactics did not have much impact on the North Vietnamese leadership or its forces in South Vietnam. Overall, the air campaign only produced limited interdiction gains by early 1967 but had cost the United States greatly in the number of aircraft lost. A DoD report released to the press on 9 January 1967 claimed a loss of 599 fixed-wing aircraft from all the services and 255 helicopters—a total of 854 aircraft.
Phase V (May 1967-October 1968) focused on what remained of North Vietnam's industrial infrastructure as well as "fleeting" targets of opportunity. In January 1968, however, the Tet offensive interrupted the campaign, compelling the Navy to shift air assets to close air support missions designed to defend major positions in South Vietnam. In Operation Niagara, Task Force 77 and other U.S. and South Vietnamese air forces deluged the enemy forces around Khe Sanh with a rain of bombs and rockets that decimated their ranks and eliminated any prospect of a successful ground assault on the base. Flying more than 3,000 attack sorties in support of the Khe Sanh defenders during February and March 1968, Yankee Station carrier aircraft strafed, rocketed, and bombed enemy positions, some as close as 100 yards to the U.S. base.
Militarily, the Tet Offensive proved disastrous for the Communists. Not only did the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese forces fail to hold onto any of the major towns or cities struck during the attack but lost over 58,000 troops in the process. Nevertheless, Tet was a turning point in the war and a strategic victory for the enemy. Having heard only positive reports on the war from
General William C. Westmoreland and other government officials during preceding months, many Americans, including President Johnson, now considered the war unwinnable. Believing that Rolling Thunder was doing little to weaken the will of the enemy to fight, President Johnson delivered a televised address to the American people on 31 March 1968 announcing a halt to bombing operations north of the 19th parallel, another offer to negotiate a cease-fire agreement with Hanoi, and his decision not to seek a second term in office. The North Vietnamese government agreed to talk and later that year met with American diplomatic officials in Paris, but it would take the United States close to four more years and a significant amount of fighting to achieve a settlement acceptable to both parties.
Halloween 1968 marked the end of Operation Rolling Thunder. During the three-and-a-half year aerial assault, Navy and Marine aircraft flew 152,399 attack sorties against North Vietnam, just short of the Air Force total of 153,784 attack sorties. These U.S. strikes dropped 864,000 tons of bombs and missiles on North Vietnam. This total compared with 653,000 tons of conventional bombs unleashed during the three years of the Korean War, and the 503,000 tons dropped in the Pacific theater during more than three years of World War II. All told, Navy pilots shot down 29 enemy aircraft during the Rolling Thunder period while losing just eight aircraft to MiGs. Experience battling MiGs and other air defenses gained during Rolling Thunder led to a variety of technological innovations in air-to-air missile technology, electronic warfare, and improved command, control, communications, and intelligence.
Six hundred Navy and 271 Marine aviators were lost during the war, most of them during Rolling Thunder. Most of the Navy prisoners of war (POWs) were shot down during Rolling Thunder missions, including Medal of Honor recipient James B. Stockdale and Senator John McCain. In total, the North Vietnamese and Chinese captured 170 naval aviators and aircrew, 160 of whom Hanoi released in 1973.
Thanks to Chuck
Item Number:1 Date: 03/29/2018 AFGHANISTAN - AIR FORCE DROPS FIRST LASER-GUIDED BOMB IN TALIBAN STRIKE (MAR 29/MIL)  MILITARY.COM -- For the first time, Afghan air force pilots have employed laser-guided bombs from Super Tucano light attack aircraft, reports   On March 22, the pilots dropped a 250-pound GBU-58 laser-guided bomb on a Taliban compound in the western Farah province, said a release from the U.S. Dept. of Defense.   The laser-guided weapon was selected because of the target's close proximity to civilians, said the Pentagon. The bomb scored a direct hit, reported the Army Times.   The operation came three months after the Afghan air force completed training with the laser-guided bomb
Item Number:2 Date: 03/29/2018 CHINA - SATELLITE FOOTAGE SHOWS LIAONING CARRIER DRILLING IN S. CHINA SEA (MAR 29/REU)  REUTERS -- A large Chinese naval contingent is exercising in the South China Sea, reports Reuters.   According to satellite imagery taken Monday, at least 40 ships and submarines accompanied the Liaoning aircraft carrier during drills near Hainan island.   The photos, provided by Planet Labs, show the group traveling in line formation.   These images provide the first visual confirmation of the Liaoning participating in naval drills.   The formation was an unusually large display of military strength, said analysts.   China's navy described the drills as part of routine annual exercises focused on combat readiness, reported Stars and Stripes.   The development comes a week after the Liaoning carrier group sailed through the Taiwan Strait, according to Taiwan's defense ministry.   The drill may also have been a response to the U.S. Navy's freedom of navigation operation near a Chinese artificial island in the South China Sea on March 23, noted CNN
Item Number:3 Date: 03/29/2018 CROATIA - DEFENSE MINISTRY OPTS FOR SURPLUS ISRAELI F-16S (MAR 29/DN)  DEFENSE NEWS -- Croatia has decided to replace its aging fleet of Russian fighter jets with used F-16D Barak aircraft from Israel, reports Defense News.   The Croatian Defense Council made the unanimous decision on March 27, the Defense Ministry said.   Plans call for purchasing 12 aircraft at a cost of US$500 million. Deliveries are expected to begin in 2020.   Israel's two-seat F-16 are fully missionized and capable of a range of combat missions, reported the Warzone blog.   Croatia said in October that it had received four offers to replace its MiG-21s.   The U.S., Israel and Greece submitted offers for new or used F-16s, while Sweden offered its JAS 39 Gripen fighter
Item Number:4 Date: 03/29/2018 FRANCE - ATTACKER ATTEMPTS TO RAM TROOPS WITH CAR; NO INJURIES REPORTED (MAR 29/BBC)  BRITISH BROADCASTING CORP. -- An attacker attempted to hit French soldiers with his car in southeastern France, reports BBC News.   The soldiers of the 93rd Mountain Artillery Regiment were exercising near their barracks in Varces-Allieres-et-Risset, near Grenoble, on Thursday when a car tried to ram into them.   No one was injured in the attack. The driver tried to hit them again before fleeing, reported the Express (U.K.).   Police arrested the suspect 9 miles (15 km) from the scene of the attack, reported Reuters.   Police called the act deliberate but said it was too early to speculate as to the motive. The attacker drove by to insult the soldiers before returning 30 minutes later for the attempted assault, officials said.   The incident comes one week after a man who pledged allegiance to the Islamic State terrorist group (ISIS) killed four people in the southern towns of Carcassonne and nearby Trebes
Item Number:5 Date: 03/29/2018 FRANCE - NAVAL AVIATORS SET TO TRAIN ON U.S. CARRIER (MAR 29/DPNN)  DAILY PRESS (NEWPORT NEWS) -- With France's lone aircraft carrier, the Charles de Gaulle, in the midst of an 18-month overhaul, the U.S. Navy will host 350 sailors from the warship for training aboard the USS George H.W. Bush carrier, reports the Daily Press (Newport News, Va.).   The training is scheduled from early-April through mid-May and will include land-based and carrier drills, including day and night flight operations on the Bush.   French pilots and crew from four squadrons will train at NAS Oceana in Virginia Beach, Naval Station Norfolk and Naval Auxiliary Landing Field Fentress in Chesapeake.   The land-based drills will be followed by two weeks of training aboard the George H.W. Bush.   The French contingent includes 27 aviators flying 12 Rafale-M fighters as well as an E-2C Hawkeye airborne warning and control system (AWACS) aircraft, reported the Navy Times
Item Number:7 Date: 03/29/2018 ISRAEL - MISSILE DEFENSE PROGRAMS SEE MAJOR BOOST IN U.S. FUNDING (MAR 29/JP)  JERUSALEM POST -- The U.S. Congress has approved US$705 million for Israeli missile defense systems for 2018, reports the Jerusalem Post.   The funding represents a US$148 million increase over previous levels. In total, the U.S. has invested US$6.5 billion in Israeli missile defense.   The additional funding was requested to support the production of Iron Dome, David's Sling and Arrow 3 systems, the Israeli Defense Ministry said. It would also support additional testing and development.   The defense systems protect against short-and medium-range missiles used by Hamas, Hezbollah and other terrorist groups, as well as long-range missiles from Iran
Item Number:8 Date: 03/29/2018 TUNISIA - TROOPS CLASH WITH MILITANTS NEAR ALGERIAN BORDER (MAR 29/MEM)  MIDDLE EAST MONITOR -- Tunisian army troops have fought with militants in the western part of the country, reports Middle East Monitor (U.K.).   The army opened fire on a group of armed men after they approached a residential area in Kasserine province, on the border with Algeria, said a Defense Ministry spokesman.   The armed group fled and the army pursued them. Combing operations in the area are ongoing, the spokesman said.   A number of armed groups have been active in the restive province for years, among them the Okba Ibn Nafaa Brigade, which has pledged loyalty to Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM
Item Number:9 Date: 03/29/2018 TURKEY - LOOSE RESTRICTIONS, BATTLEFIELD LOSSES LEAD TO U.S. WEAPONS IN HANDS OF PKK (MAR 29/ASIA)  ASIA TIMES -- Loose arms controls and loopholes in end-user agreements have allowed U.S. anti-tank weapons to fall into the hands of terrorist groups, reports Asia Times.   Numerous pictures and videos of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and affiliated groups using the AT-4 anti-tank missile have bolstered Turkish intervention in Syria, the newspaper said on March 28.   The director for the Inspectorate for Strategic Products, the Swedish arms export authority, examined the photos of eight AT-4 missiles seized by Turkish forces since 2016. Sweden originally manufactured the weapon and granted a license for U.S. production in 1982.   He confirmed that all were produced in the U.S., citing English markings and the lack of a grab handle, which is unique to those made in America.   The missiles were recovered in the western Turkish provinces of Hakkari and Sirnak, where the PKK is most active.   Missiles recovered by Turkish authorities also bear the same lot numbers on rockets taken from PKK fighters and those that were originally given to the Iraqi government by the U.S., suggesting a single point of origin.   The weapons were likely supplied to Iraqi security forces before being captured by the Islamic State terrorist group (ISIS), analysts said. A recent report by Conflict Armament Research noted that tons of U.S. weaponry supplied to Iraqi forces had been lost to ISIS since 2014.   Loopholes in the original agreement between the U.S. and Sweden allowed the U.S. to export the AT-4 without restrictions.   The U.S. vets all recipients of U.S. arms for ties to terrorist groups, said a U.S. military spokesman   The spokesman declined to comment on how the AT-4 ended up in Kurdish possession
Item Number:10 Date: 03/29/2018 UKRAINE - POLICE BUST ONLINE MARKETPLACE FOR MILITARY EQUIPMENT (MAR 29/RFE/RL)  RADIO FREE EUROPE/RADIO LIBERTY -- Ukrainian police have seized military equipment being offered for sale online, reports Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.   More than 200 pieces of military hardware, including BTR armored personnel carriers, BMP infantry fighting vehicles and Ural and GAZ off-road vehicles, were seized this week during raids, said the police chief of the Zhytomyr region, as cited by the Kyiv Post.   Police discovered the cache while investigating an oil pipeline leak in the town of Novohrad-Volynskiy about two weeks ago, he said.   The vehicles were listed for sale on the internet, said authorities.   Police are investigating where the equipment originated. Part of Operational Command North, Novohrad-Volynskiy serves as headquarters for many units, including the 30th Mechanized Brigade, the 12th Operative Support Regiment and the 54th Scout Battalion.   A search by FRE/RL found listings for similar military materiel online.   Ukraine has come under scrutiny for illicit transfer of weapons destined for the country's restive east.   A former presidential spokesman denied that the equipment was military in nature, saying it was likely sold as military surplus in 2008
Item Number:12 Date: 03/29/2018 UNITED KINGDOM - NERVE AGENT PLACED ON FRONT DOOR OF EX-SPY'S HOME, SAYS COUNTER-TERROR POLICE (MAR 29/REU)  REUTERS -- A former Russian spy living in Britain was poisoned by a nerve-toxin placed on the front door of his home in Salisbury, England, reports Reuters.   British police previously accused Russian agents of poisoning Sergei Skripal with Novichok, a nerve agent developed by the Soviet military, but did not say how the toxin was administered until Wednesday.   "Specialists have identified the highest concentration of the nerve agent, to date, as being on the front door" of his house, said Scotland Yard.   Skripal and his 33-year-old daughter, Yulia, were found unconscious on a public bench on March 4. They have been in critical condition in the hospital since.   Skripal was reportedly living at the address.   Britain has publicly accused Russia of carrying out the attack. Earlier this week, the U.S. and other allies expelled over 100 Russian diplomats.   Russia has denied any involvement in the affair
Item Number:13 Date: 03/29/2018 UNITED KINGDOM - SCIENTISTS ON VERGE OF TITANIUM BREAKTHROUGH (MAR 29/UKMOD)  U.K. MINISTRY OF DEFENSE -- British scientists have developed a new process that could reduce the complexity of titanium production, reports the U.K. Ministry of Defense.   Titanium is strong and light, but significantly more expensive than steel and difficult to make, limiting its military uses.   The FAST-forge process reduces the 40 stage production process to two steps, and is anticipated to reduce the cost of titanium production by half.   The technology allows "near net shape components to be produced from powder or particulate in two simple processing steps," said Nick Weston, who pioneered the technique.   Scientists have only completed small-scale trials to date. A new large-scale fast furnace facility has been built and will enable the testing of larger components.   A 50 percent reduction in the cost of titanium production could allow the metal to be used in submarines, where its corrosion-resistance would be invaluable, as well as armored vehicles, said scientists with the Defense Science and Technology Laboratory
Item Number:14 Date: 03/29/2018 USA - ARMY CONSIDERING 40-MM CANNON FOR BRADLEY, STRYKER ARMORED VEHICLES (MAR 29/)  -- As the U.S. Army continues shifts its focus from counterinsurgency to near-peer threats, it is looking to upgrade the cannon on its primary fighting vehicles, reports The Warzone blog.   CTAI, a joint venture between BAE and Nexter Systems, demonstrated its 40-mm Cased Telescoped Canon (CTC) to U.S. Army officials on March 21 at Fort Benning, Ga. The cannon offers anti-tank, anti-personnel and material, anti-aircraft and training rounds.   The cased telescoped ammunition sits inside the cartridge case with the propellant instead of protruding from the front, the website noted. The munitions are shorter than other similar rounds, though wider, making them easier to handle and store.   The cannon has already been selected for use on the U.K.'s Ajax fighting vehicle and France's EBRC Jaguar.   The U.S. Army has been testing a 30-mm cannon on the Stryker armored vehicle. Installing the 40-mm cannon would allow the vehicles to engage any armored vehicle with up to 5.5 inches of armor, which includes Soviet-built T-55 Tanks
Item Number:15 Date: 03/29/2018 USA - ARMY SEEKS NEW ARMED RECONNAISSANCE HELICOPTER (MAR 29/BREAKDEF)  BREAKING DEFENSE -- The U.S. Army has renewed its interest a small, fast, armed helicopter to perform scout missions, reports Breaking Defense.   Previous efforts to fill the requirement have not been successful. The Comanche program was cancelled in 2004 and the Armed Aerial Scout program in 2013.   If the Army prioritizes the small recon rotorcraft, it could undercut the larger Future Vertical Lift (FVL) project being developed for all four military services, noted analysts.   The Army has been without a scout helicopter since the Vietnam-era OH-58D Kiowa Warrior was tabbed for retirement in 2014. Currently, the AH-64 Apache, along with drones, are filling in the reconnaissance role. The Apaches are considered too large and slow for the role.   An attack reconnaissance aircraft is part of the FVL program, with plans calling for an optionally manned platform, reported
  Item Number:16 Date: 03/29/2018 USA - TRUMP OUSTS VA SECRETARY IN FAVOR OF WHITE HOUSE PHYSICIAN (MAR 29/HILL)  THE HILL -- President Donald Trump has announced that he is replacing the head of the Dept. of Veterans Affairs, reports the Hill (Washington, D.C.).   On Wednesday, Trump said he would nominate White House physician Adm. Ronny Jackson to replace Secretary David Shulkin.   Robert Wilkie, the undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, will serve as the VA secretary until Jackson is confirmed, said the president.   Jackson has served as White House physician since 2013. He also served with a trauma-response unit in Iraq.   Trump assured that Jackson, who has not overseen a bureaucracy the size of the VA, "is highly trained and qualified" to oversee the department.   Shulkin has been involved in scandals over payments, including the improper use of travel funds. He also improperly accepted two tickets to the Wimbledon tennis tournament.   He was the only remaining member of former President Obama's Cabinet.   In an op-ed published in the New York Times, Shulkin intimated that he was under pressure to accept more private-sector solutions to the department's problems.

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