Saturday, August 8, 2015

Navy plans to station armed guards at reserve centers across

The U.S. Navy plans to station armed guards at reserve centers across the nation.
The plan comes after a gunman killed four Marines and a sailor at a Navy Reserve Center in Chattanooga July 16, according to NBC News.
An email sent to Naval Reservists nine days after the attack says "VOLUNTEERS NEEDED IMMEDIATELY!" to provide "armed sentry watchstander duty" at Navy Reserve Centers beginning Aug. 17.
The Navy confirmed to NBC News that it plans to station armed personnel at all 70 reserve centers that are not located on military bases. The guards would be reservists called to active duty on an all-volunteer basis.

Read more about the attacks on Chattanooga military facilities




Guest post for Chinese Military Strategy Week by Debalina Ghoshal
In May 2015, the People’s Republic of China’s Ministry of National Defense released its latest Military Strategy white paper. The paper outlines Beijing’s national security concerns, the mission and strategic tasks of the Chinese armed forces, a series of guidelines to strengthen China’s active defense, and an approach to developing China’s armed forces in preparation to counter challenges. In it, China has also highlighted its nuclear ambitions and strategy in the overall context of expanding and intensifying the preparation for military struggle (PMS).
China’s armed forces must meet the requirement of being capable of fighting and winning, focus on solving major problems and difficulties, and do solid work and make relentless efforts in practical preparations, in order to enhance their overall capabilities for deterrence and warfighting.

The Second Artillery Force in the Xi Jinping Era
The Second Artillery Force in the Xi Jinping Era

Nuclear forces are a crucial component in Beijing’s military strategy, and the white paper describes China’s nuclear force as strategic cornerstone for safeguarding national sovereignty and security. The document stresses how the People’s Liberation Army Second Artillery Force (PLASAF) is placing emphasis on both conventional and nuclear missiles, even for precision long-range strikes, stating that
the PLASAF will continue to keep an appropriate level of vigilance in peacetime. By observing the principles of combining peacetime and wartime demands, maintaining all time vigilance and being action-ready, it will prefect the integrated, functional, agile, and efficient operational duty system.
According to the Chinese government, Beijing is developing capabilities to maintain strategic deterrence. It is also preparing itself to be able to carry out a nuclear counter-attack. The White Paper also assures that Beijing is committed to its stand on no-first-use of nuclear weapons. This is distinct from its 2013 White Paper, which made no reference to the no-first-use doctrine, leading many to wonder if Beijing was rethinking its policy. The 2015 document also states that Beijing will not attack any non-nuclear state or nuclear weapons free zone with these weapons.
The document does mention Taiwan, however, and reunification remains crucial to China’s national security. And while Beijing has reiterated its stand on no-first-use doctrine this time, however, the no-first use may not be applicable to territories, which Beijing considers its own. Therefore, in case of greater resistance from Taiwan, China’s no-first-use doctrine may not apply.
The document also stresses China’s willingness to limit its nuclear weapons to a minimum level sufficient to ensures its national security interests. Beijing also expresses its unwillingness to involve itself in a nuclear arms race with any country, emphasizing that they will optimize their nuclear force structure; improve strategic early warning, command and control, missile penetration, rapid reaction, and survivability of their forces; and deter other countries from using or threatening to use nuclear weapons against China.
China is already working on missile penetration aids and Chinese missiles could be fitted with decoys, chaff, mylar balloons, and sub-munitions. China has also developed missiles flying at depressed and lofted trajectories and is working on multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicles (MIRVs) and maneuverable re-entry vehicles (MARVs) as penetration aids. Chinese engineers are attempting to overcome a hit-to-kill intercept by enclosing the anti-ship ballistic missile (ASBM) warheads in a metallic shroud cooled by liquid nitrogen.

Chinese DF-5, via FAS.
Chinese DF-5, via FAS.

With a no-first-use doctrine, the survivability of nuclear forces is crucial and enables a minimum deterrent posture. Beijing has been working on the survivability of its nuclear forces, including replacing liquid fueled missiles with solid, with only the DF-5 and DF-5A liquid fuel missiles left in its arsenal. It has also been working on developing mobile missile systems, dummy silos near silo-based missile sites, and hard and deep tunnels (in the Hebei Mountains, for example).
China is also believed to be concentrating on an early warning system to detect enemy nuclear capable ballistic missiles. This, along with missile and air defense systems, enables Beijing to not only detect incoming ballistic missiles but also to intercept them and launch a counter-strike.
Deep, protected underground tunnels along with the early warning system will only enhance China’s ability to absorb a first strike and retaliate, thereby strengthening Beijing’s no-first-use policy. Possessing a credible early warning system would also limit the need for China to mating its nuclear warheads with delivery systems during peacetime.

PLAN nuclear ballistic missile submarine, PLAN Photo.
PLAN nuclear ballistic missile submarine, PLAN Photo.

China’s sea-based nuclear deterrent also provides survivability for its nuclear force. Beijing has already developed ballistic missile submarines of the Jin and Xia class. The Xia class submarine can fire the JL-1 submarine launched ballistic missile (SLBM) and the Jin can fire JL-2 SLBM which is of longer range than the JL-1. According to the Federation of American Scientists, naval facilities have been built to service the new ballistic missile submarine fleet which includes upgrades at naval facilities, submarine hull demagnetization facilities, underground facilities and high bay buildings for missile storage and handling, and covered tunnels and railways to conceal these activities.
While the document highlights concerns over the U.S. re-balancing strategy in the Asia Pacific region, it carefully left out concerns over the U.S. ballistic missile defense systems in Taiwan and Japan. There is also no mention of nuclear arms control and nuclear disarmament as an objective in China’s long-term nuclear strategy. At a time when analysts and practitioners of international security are apprehensive of China’s nuclear weapons and have suggested including it in nuclear arms control measures, the exclusion of any mention of control and disarmament leaves it unclear where the country really stands on the issue.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Royal Military Tattoo to support services charity for fourth year in a row | A Must See When Visiting Scotland

Royal Military Tattoo to support services charity for fourth year in a row | Deadline News:

THE Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo will once again support The Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity this year, helping projects that improve the lives of current and former personnel nationwide.
Staged from August 7-29 the Military Tattoo sees around 220,000 people travel to witness the internationally acclaimed event that showcases the talents of musicians and performers from around the world.
Making a range of donations each year to charities that operate in the arts, culture and military sectors, over £8 million has been given to date, with The Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity receiving a total of £140,000.

This year’s Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo theme is ‘East Meets West’ (Photo:Crown)

Brigadier HD Allfrey MBE, chief executive and producer of the Tattoo, said: “We are proud and priviledged to support The Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity, as their work reaches many Service and ex-Service communities here in Scotland, and more widely across the UK.
“Last year’s donation was from a successful year at the Tattoo, where our ‘Homecoming’ themed 65th Tattoo, featured the 350th anniversary of the Royal Marines and the centenary of World War One.”
This year’s Tattoo will feature a parade of talent from four continents as the show piece event celebrates ‘East Meets West’ and will be staged on a floodlit Edinburgh Castle Esplanade.
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PR drive underway, navy revives sub hopes in earnest | Bangkok Post

PR drive underway, navy revives sub hopes in earnest | Bangkok Post: opinion: "

The junta leaders have flat-out promised the navy it will get its three Chinese submarines, but they want to try a little harder to get some public support.

The government's recent decision to delay a plan to purchase three submarines from China does little to dim the navy's hopes that one day they still can be theirs.

This is probably because of the navy's trust in Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwon who has shown solid support for the 36-billion-baht plan.

It's the general who ordered the navy to dust off the plan that was rejected by the Yingluck Shinawatra administration. Gen Prawit is known for his famous statement that "the navy cannot hope for the submarines from other governments except the junta". Observers believe the delay, as ordered by Gen Prawit, is to give the navy more time to boost public understanding about the need for the country to own submarines - specifically the S26T model -  in the hope it would be able to appease public criticism.

"  It is to counter arguments of those opposing the plan who insist Thailand does not have territorial conflicts at sea and the Gulf has relatively shallow water levels. The navy now has launched a nine-page... 

The paper also argues the Gulf of Thailand's shallow seabed, only 50 metres deep, poses no problem for the submarine operations. Equipped with air independent propulsion technology, the Chinese subs can... 

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Royal Marine's granddaughter pays tribute at opening of Gallipoli 'lucky ship' - BT

HMS M.33, the Royal Navy's last surviving ship from the Gallipoli campaign, has undergone a £1.79 million refurbishment

Royal Marine's granddaughter pays tribute at opening of Gallipoli 'lucky ship' - BT: "The granddaughter of a Royal Marine who served aboard the last surviving Royal Navy ship from the Gallipoli campaign has joined hundreds of people to pay tribute to the HMS M.33 as it is officially opened to the public for the first time.

Nicknamed the "lucky ship" because it sustained no casualties, the HMS M.33 has undergone a £1.79 million refurbishment to mark the 100th anniversary of the ill-fated battle.

The ship is the the only First World War warship to allow visitors to walk her decks at its new home at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard as part of the National Museum of the Royal Navy (NMRN) alongside HMS Victory and Mary Rose Museum.

Lesley Wills, whose grandfather Royal Marine Light Infantry (RMLI) Richard Chapple was an officer steward on board between 1915 and 1918, said she was proud to attend the commemorations which included wreaths being laid at a plaque unveiled next to the ship.

The 53-year-old from Glastonbury, Somerset, explained that the family had learned about RMLI Chapple's life aboard M.33 when they discovered his diary 20 years ago, which they have loaned with other artefacts to the NMRN.

She said: "It's incredibly emotional, I haven't cried yet but I probably will. We are very grateful to those who served aboard the M.33 and at Gallipoli, it couldn't have been a nice experience, there was nothing nice about it.

"It was flat bottomed so it rocked a lot so there was an awful lot of sickness, they were nasty conditions. The food was bad, they ended up shooting boar inland and cattle raiding to bring some protein on board. They had two toilets for 72 men.

"It was not very nice at all but I think they made the best of it and they were very stoic as they had a job to do."

Professor Dominic Tweddle, director general of the NMRN, told a ceremony attended by about 200 members of the public: "Flirting with danger but never hit, she lost not a single man, she was indeed a lucky ship and she has remained lucky and today she is the last remainder of that great fleet of vessels that took part in the Gallipoli campaign.

"Beautifully restored by a dedicated team, she reminds us of those who gave their lives for their country."

The ceremony, in which three wreaths were laid at a new plaque detailing the role of the M.33, was also attended by Tracey Crouch, parliamentary under-secretary for culture, media and sport, and Dr Andrew Murrison, the prime minister's representative for First World War centenary commemorations.

More than 100,000 people lost their lives during the failed Gallipoli campaign by Britain and France to secure the peninsula in the Ottoman empire (modern-day Turkey) to secure a sea route to their ally Russia.

A spokeswoman for the NMRN said: "HMS M.33 is the only surviving navy ship from the ill-fated Gallipoli campaign and, as such, holds great historic importance.

"This is despite the fact she was constructed and sent into service so speedily that she did not even warrant a name.

"Fabricated in just seven weeks, she was one of nearly 40 'monitors' built in a rapid construction campaign following the outbreak of First World War.

"Although the Gallipoli Campaign claimed 100,000 lives of personnel from all round the world, M.33 was considered a lucky ship and, despite being showered by shell splinters, she suffered no casualties."

While in service, HMS M.33, which has a 568-ton metal hell holding two powerful six-inch guns, housed 67 men and five officers for more than three years who were deprived of home comforts.

The spokeswoman said: "With a top speed of just nine knots and a shallow draft, HMS M.33 was not built for comfort or speed but to allow her to get close in to shore and fire at targets on land."

Following the renovation funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), visitors can now access the ship by descending to the bottom of the six-metre deep dry dock, which dates back to 1801, before stepping aboard.

Sir Peter Luff, chairman of HLF, said: "The role played at Gallipoli by the Royal Navy and Monitor Class ships like M.33 in protecting soldiers in the August 1915 landings is an incredible story of perseverance, endeavour and bravery."

The NMRN commissioned Ian Clark Restoration to conserve the fabric of the ship and the team has carried out 3,600 hours of work to conserve the original steelwork in order to expose original features."

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History made with 3-carrier swap Massive naval musical chairs will save Navy $41 mil. Sailors serve on 3 flattops in 6 months

USS Ronald Reagan, a Nimitz-class nuclear-powered supercarrier, leaves San Diego Bay late Wednesday morning as part of preparations for a hull swap with the USS George Washington.
Call it the Three Presidents Crew.

In a historic game of naval musical chairs, sailors from San Diego’s aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan will serve on three different flattops over the next six months.
The Navy is saving $41 million by doing a massive, complicated crew swap involving 9,000 sailors and the carriers George Washington and Theodore Roosevelt, in addition to the Reagan.
At the end, the U.S. Navy will have a new face in Asia, and an American aircraft carrier will enter a mid-life nuclear overhaul that was at one time uncertain.
Also, San Diego will have a new hull number on its skyline – CVN 71, affectionately known as “The Big Stick” as an homage to the 26th U.S. president, namesake Theodore Roosevelt.
It’s the first time ever that three of the Navy’s 10 active-duty carriers have changed home ports all at once.
“It’s pretty hard to do something that’s never been done before in the history of the Navy,” said Spike Call, the Reagan’s command master chief.
”We’re getting an opportunity to do that, and that’s special in itself.”


Stories Not to Forget: 70 Years Since the Hiroshima and Nagasaki Bombings

As we approach the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6 and 9, there is a spate of new television programs that tell the story of the development of the bomb, its use on these two Japanese cities, and the complicated nuclear history since then.
Having worked in the security field for nearly 30 years, I’ve heard most of these stories time and again. But last month I heard a story that was new to me.
I was in Nagasaki, Japan, for a meeting we organized on technical issues of security and arms control. As part of the meeting, our local host—the Research Center for Nuclear Weapons Abolition (RECNA) at Nagasaki University—arranged for a survivor of the Nagasaki bombing to come tell us his story.

A Nagasaki Hibakusha

Mr. Yamawaki, Nagasaki July 15, 2015 (Source: David Wright)
Mr. Yamawaki, Nagasaki July 15, 2015 (Source: David Wright)
This experience was moving both because of the slice of history this person offered us, and because the living links to that history are becoming increasingly rare. The survivors, calledHibakusha, are dying or becoming too frail to tell their stories. Yet some, like Mr. Yoshiro Yamawaki who talked with us, see it as their mission to continue to talk about their experiences as long as they are able.
Mr. Yamawaki was 11 at the time of the bombing. His mother and younger siblings had moved to a relative’s house outside of Nagasaki as the Pacific war moved closer to Japan and people began to fear that the U.S. would drop conventional bombs on the city. Nagasaki was a natural target since it was an active port and home to four military plants owned by Mitsubishi. Mr. Yamawaki, his twin brother, and their 13-year-old brother were living with their father at their house in Nagasaki, just over two kilometers from what would become the epicenter of the atomic blast.
He and his brothers were lucky on the day of the bombing: They escaped serious injuries since they were outside their house, which spared them from falling debris, and were shielded by the walls of the house from the intense heat and blast of the bomb. But their luck ended there. Mr. Yamawaki’s story of roaming through the ravaged, body-littered moonscape with his brothers, looking for their father at his flattened factory near the epicenter gives some small sense of what they and others went through. A video from 2008 of Mr. Yamawaki presenting a version of what he told us is available here.

What it means for today

In one sense, Mr. Yamawaki’s story is not unique to Hiroshima and Nagaski but is a story of the horrors of war—and other disasters. The fire-bombings of Japanese and European cities during World War II, for example, caused similar tragedies.
The radiation from the atomic bombings sets them apart from other weapons, of course. Many tens of thousands of those who escaped the immediate effects of the bomb died later due to radiation exposure or battled with cancer caused by the radiation. Mr. Yamawaki is one of those.
But the biggest difference is that Hiroshima and Nagasaki marked the beginning of a new scale of warfare—arguably beyond what people then and perhaps even now can comprehend. A single bomb dropped by a lone bomber could destroy a city and kill or injure hundreds of thousands of people.
That is the real lesson for today of the bombings that took place 70 years ago. The scale of devastation that the United States, Russia, and a handful of other countries can deliver, and deliver in less time that it takes Mr. Yamawaki to tell his story, is difficult to fathom. These weapons cannot be considered to be just another weapon.
While the U.S. and Russia have cut their nuclear stockpiles dramatically since the end of the Cold War, each currently has some 4,500 weapons in their arsenal—deployed and in storage—with each weapon from 5 to 40 times as powerful as the Nagasaki bomb (100 to 800 kilotons). To appreciate what that means, you can see the effect of just one of these weapons on your city here.
If more than one weapon was used, the effects could be much worse than just the damage done on the ground. Research shows, for example, if India and Pakistan used 100 weapons, the smoke released into the atmosphere would cool large parts of the globe for a decade, limiting agricultural production and threatening a billion people with starvation.

Reducing the risks of nuclear use

Understanding this lesson has two clear implications. First, the U.S. and Russia should continue to make deep cuts to their nuclear arsenals, while working to keep other countries from acquiring weapons or building up existing stockpiles. The Pentagon has told President Obama that—independent of what Russia does—the U.S. can cut its arsenal below the limit set by the current New START treaty, down to about 1,000 deployed weapons. The president should order that reduction. Given economic pressures in Russia, it is even likely that Russia would make a similar cut. Russia is in the process of retiring its Soviet-era weapons and would need to build fewer to replace them.
Second, the kind of devastation discussed above should be incredibly difficult to unleash. Yet both the U.S. and Russia keep many hundreds of their nuclear-armed missiles on hair-trigger alert, ready to be launched in a matter of minutes. This policy is a holdover from the Cold War, and it increases the risk of the accidental, mistaken, or unauthorized use of nuclear weapons. A surprising number of incidents over the past decades—including both human and technical errors—have shown that this is not unthinkable. And increasingly sophisticated cyber attacks add to these concerns.
Indeed, some experts estimate that today the greatest risk of nuclear use is from an accidental, mistaken, or unauthorized launch.
Some of the Hibakusha have voiced their regret that the abolition of nuclear weapons will not happen in their lifetimes. But the U.S. can begin to take serious steps to reduce the risks of nuclear use today. As a start, Mr. Obama should take U.S. land-based missiles off hair trigger alert—something he can order as commander-in-chief of the military. That would be a great way to increase U.S. and international security and show that we have begun learning the key lessons from the bombings in Japan.
About the author: David Wright is a physicist and the co-director of the Global Security Program. He is a nationally known expert on the technical aspects of missile defense systems, missile proliferation, and space weapons. See David's full bio.David also blogs on All Things Nuclear.
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