Saturday, December 14, 2013

U.S. Navy Photo of the Day

The U.S. Navy flight demonstration squadron, the Blue Angels, fly in the Delta Formation over the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77).
ATLANTIC OCEAN (Dec. 10, 2014) The U.S. Navy flight demonstration squadron, the Blue Angels, fly in the Delta Formation over the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) off the Florida coast near Mayport Naval Station. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Terrence Siren/Released)
h/t: Rev. Paul

2013 Army Navy Gala Video

Army-Navy Game: Gen. Odierno Spirit Video

USS Harry S Truman (CVN 75) Army Navy Spirit Video

Army-Navy Game: With All Due Respect...

USS Constitution Army Navy Spirit Video

Army-Navy Game: Military Intelligence Concerns

#ArmyNavyGame Pep Rally

USS Gettysburg (CG 64) Army Navy Spirit Video

USS Vella Gulf (CG 72) Army Navy Spirit Spot

Army-Navy Game: Beat the Midshipmen!

CNO Army Navy Spirit Video

Friday, December 13, 2013

USS Lake Erie (CG 70) Army Navy Spirit Video

USS Milwaukee (LCS 5) Christening & Launch: Dec 18, 2013

USS Milwaukee (LCS 5) Christening & Launch: Dec 18, 2013

USNA Pentagon Pep Rally

USS Nimitz - Go Navy Beat Army

SubForce Spirit Spot 2013

Sen. Tiffany's E-Update


December 13th, 2013
 

Twenty-three Bills Hit Guv's Desk
On Thursday, Governor Walker signed a wide variety of bills into law. Of the 23 bills that received the Governor's signature, I authored four of them. I was able to join the Governor as he signed SB 183, SB 278, AB 359, and AB 62 into law.
  • Senate Bill 183, now 2013 Wisconsin Act 80: I authored this bill with Representative Jeff Mursau (R-Crivitz) which streamlines shoreland zoning ordinances by removing duplicate zoning ordinances when the area is incorporated.
  • Senate Bill 278, now 2013 Wisconsin Act 81: This bill was authored with Represenative Michael Schraa (R-Oshkosh) and will help protect workers near mining sites
  • Assembly Bill 259, now 2013 Wisconsin Act 82: I authored this bill with Representative Rob Swearingen (R-Rhinelander) and it allows the Department of Natural Resources to lease state forest land within the town of Boulder Junction to the Boulder Junction Shooting Range for a maximum term of 30 years.
  • Assembly Bill 62, now 2013 Wisconsin Act 83: I authored this bill with Representatives Garey Bies (R-Sister Bay) and Terese Berceau (D-Madison) which broadens the definition of an “intoxicant” to include substances that are inhaled, ingested, or consumed.
You can see the complete list of bills signed by the Governor here.

Governor Walker Announces Timber Initiative
This week the Governor held a Forestry Economic Summit on Thursday and Friday in Madison. The event brought together many industry stakeholders and individuals engaged in the forest industry to discuss current forest management as well as future challenges and opportunities. On Thursday, the Governor announced that the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation would be awarding a $49,000 grant to the Chequamegon-Nicolet Forest Stewardship Initiative.
This grant is intended to help increase timber sale and harvesting in the Chequamegon-Nicolet Forest. This forest covers 1.5 million acres over eleven counties and every year millions of board feet of timber is going unharvested. I appreciate the Governor for recognizing the important role the logging  industry has in our economy, and I think this grant could be a good first step to renewing our focus on responsible harvest practices.

Congrats to Sartori Co.
On Wednesday, the family-owned Sartori Co. announced that it would be expanding and renovating two of its cheese making plants in Antigo and Plymouth. The $14 million project is estimated to create 53 new jobs.
The money will help update equipment in the Antigo facility that is 100 years old. It will also help make the facilities safer while bolstering the capacity to expand growth. Work will start next year, which will also mark the company's 75th anniversary.
The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation has helped facilitate this expansion and job creation by certifying up to $394,500 in Economic Development Tax Credits. These tax credits will be based on the number of new jobs created over a three-year period.


Preliminary 9-Day Deer Hunt Numbers
The preliminary 9-Day deer hunt numbers are available and show that Wisconsin had a 7 percent drop statewide in the total number of deer harvested. The northern part of the state faired the worst with a 15 percent overall drop in harvest and a 19 percent drop in the number of bucks harvested. Statewide, preliminary 2013 figures show that 226,582 deer were harvested with 97,765 of them being bucks. Last year, the 2012 preliminary numbers showed 128,917 antlerless deer harvested with 114,822 of them being bucks.
I have been hearing plenty of stories to support these numbers. The bad weather, late hunt, increased predators, aging forest habitat and a number of other factors have have been attributed to a poor 2013 hunt.
This year 633,602 gun deer licenses were sold. Nearly 27,000 of these were first-time hunters. Of the first time licenses, about at third of them were women. Overall, women accounted for 10 percent of the licenses sold going into opening weekend.
Here are the numbers from the DNR

Bobcat Hunt Expanded
On Tuesday, the Natural Resources Board approved a second bobcat management zone south of Highway 64. The approval follows studies that show bobcats are being found in the southern two-thirds of the state at an increasing rate. Currently, there is only one management zone that allows for hunting and trapping.
The proposal will still need legislative approval before it can be implemented. The harvest quotas will be set in the near future but it is estimated that a limited number of permits will be available. If approved in time, hunting and trapping could take place south of Highway 65 starting October 2014.

Thanks to My Interns
I have been very lucky the last couple months to have a great group of interns to help my staff with daily tasks. All of them are current students at the University of Wisconsin - Madison, so I want to thank them and wish them good luck on their finals next week.
From left to right: Tim Morris, Tyler Kehoe, and Gina Alagna
Not pictured: Emily Craven
AJ is a constituent of mine and is originally from White Lake, WI. It has been great to have him on board and he has done a wonderful job this semester.

Calendar of Events

Upcoming Events
Start Date

Location
12/13/2013
Merrill
12/14/2013 Gleason
12/14/2013 Children's Christmas Party Lake Tomahawk
10-12:30PM
Sloan Community Center
12/14/2013 Holiday Celebration on Ice Tomahawk
6:00PM SARA Park Ice Arena
12/14/2013 Children's Christmas Musical Gillett
6:30PM Hillside Assembly of God
12/15/2013
Manitowish Waters
11-1PM
Manitowish Waters Community Center
12/15/2013 Eagle River
12/17/2013 Woodland Strings Concert Three Lakes
Three Lakes Center for the Arts
12/25/2013 Christmas Dinner Oconto Falls
Oconto Falls Senior & Community Center
12/25/2013
Christmas Dinner
Amberg
Community Center
RSVP: Marge Barbender
715-927-0474

Pace Of Russian Rearmament Quickens

Pace Of Russian Rearmament Quickens

USNA Spirit Spot - SDBs

LCS Remote Minehunting System Completes Developmental Testing

LCS Remote Minehunting System Completes Developmental Testing


By PEO LCS Public Affairs
PALM BEACH, Fla. (NNS) -- PALM BEACH, Fla. - The remote minehunting system (RMS) successfully completed developmental testing, Dec. 9.

The objective of the developmental testing (DT) was to demonstrate that the RMS met reliability, suitability and effectiveness requirements. Preliminary analyses of the results indicate that the RMS operated as expected and the test objectives were achieved.

"This at-sea test milestone validates the success of our RMS reliability growth program," said Steve Lose, program manager for the RMS. "The system's performance during the DT gives me confidence we are ready to proceed to the operational assessment phase."

The RMS consists of the remote multi-mission vehicle (RMMV) and the towed AN/AQS-20A variable depth sonar. The system's purpose is to provide detection, classification, and localization of bottom, close-tethered, and volume mines in a single pass, as well as provide identification of bottom mines.

The RMS will be deployed on the littoral combat ship (LCS) as a component of the LCS mine countermeasures (MCM) mission package (MP). With the RMS, the Navy will be able to keep its ships out of the minefield while conducting mine-hunting operations.

The operations tested included the mission cycle, from pre-launch mission planning and vehicle readiness checks to operations in a simulated mine-field and post-mission data analysis.

The tests demonstrated the capability of the RMS and the ability of Sailors to operate the system through various phases of an RMS mission.

The testing was led by the Naval Surface Warfare Center-Panama City with LCS Squadron One, Detachment Three Sailors participating. The tests were conducted Oct. 22 through Dec. 9 off the coast of Palm Beach, Fla.

The next event for the RMS will be the system's operational assessment led by Commander, Operational Test and Evaluation Force in January 2014. This testing will also take place off the coast of Palm Beach.

During the summer of 2014 the RMS will support the developmental testing for the complete LCS mine countermeasures mission package. This will be followed in 2015 by initial operational test and evaluation (IOT&E), the Navy's final step to achieving initial operational capability for the MCM MP.

PEO LCS is affiliated with the Naval Sea Systems Command and provides a single program executive responsible for acquiring and sustaining mission capabilities of the littoral combat ship class, from procurement through fleet employment and sustainment. The combined capability of the LCS ships and LCS mission systems is designed to dominate the littoral battle space and provide U.S. forces with assured access to coastal areas.

For more news from Naval Sea Systems Command, visit www.navy.mil/local/navsea/.

Royal Navy: A Christmas story from HMS Richmond

Chinese Naval Vessel Tries to Force U.S. Warship to Stop in International Waters

Chinese Naval Vessel Tries to Force U.S. Warship to Stop in International Waters

From Russia without Love: Russia Resumes Weapons Sales to China

From Russia without Love: Russia Resumes Weapons Sales to China

Army-Navy Game: Prevent, Shape, Win

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Stratfor: Russia Strengthens Ties With Vietnam

"Russia Strengthens Ties With Vietnam is republished with permission of Stratfor."

Russia Strengthens Ties With Vietnam


Summary

Editor's Note: This is the first of a three-part series about Russia's intensifying focus on East Asia. Part 1 examines Russia's traditional interests in the region and its closer relationship with Vietnam.
Recent challenges in exporting energy to Europe have made an orientation toward Asia more desirable for Moscow. Russia's economy depends on hydrocarbon exports, and while Western Europe is attempting to become less dependent on Russia by seeking new energy sources, Asian markets have large and indiscriminate appetites for energy.
Although Russia's focus in Asia traditionally has been on China, Japan and South Korea, it also has ties to Southeast Asia, which remains a strategically significant -- though not absolutely essential -- area for Moscow's efforts to extend its influence and energy exports eastward. Notably, Moscow recently struck a spate of energy and defense deals with Hanoi in an effort to strengthen their relationship, open up new markets for Russian energy and balance against China's moves in Central Asia. Moscow's moves into Asia through Vietnam are proceeding piecemeal, paralleling Russian moves elsewhere in the region.

Analysis

More than 70 percent of Russian territory lies in Asia. Siberia and the Russian Far East -- sparsely populated regions holding significant mineral and hydrocarbon resources -- border China, North Korea, Mongolia and Kazakhstan and have a 4,500-kilometer (2,800-mile) Pacific coastline. Russia's Asian interests also lie to the south, in the former Soviet republics in Central Asia. Russia remains influential within these states and, under Vladimir Putin's leadership as president and prime minister, has made efforts to secure its southeastern flank anchored by the Tien Shan mountains. However, Russia's influence in Central Asia faces challenges from China, which naturally looks westward to extend its influence.
Central Asia is not the only area where Russian and Chinese interests collide. The Asian giants' relationship has long been tense, with Sino-Soviet border disputes erupting into violence several times during the Cold War. Russia and China clearly defined their borders in 1991 but have remained in competition abroad. Russia also has a history of conflict with Japan. The countries have been longtime rivals in the northwestern Pacific, and Japan defeated Russia in the Russo-Japanese War in 1905.
In the final years of the Soviet Union, Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev began orienting his foreign policy toward Asia in response to a rising Japan. Putin has also piloted a much-touted pivot to Asia, coinciding with renewed U.S. interest in the area, and hosted the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in 2012 in Vladivostok, near Russia's borders with China and North Korea. Russia's efforts in Asia have been limited by the country's more direct interests in its periphery and in Europe, but Moscow recently has been able to look more to the east.
Part of this renewed interest involves finding new export markets for Russian hydrocarbons. Russia's economy relies on energy exports, particularly crude oil and natural gas exported via pipeline to the West. However, Western Europe is diversifying its energy sources as new supplies come online out of a desire to reduce its dependence on Russian energy supplies. This has forced Russia to look for new export markets. Because Asia is hungry for energy supplies and is less fearful than Western Europe of a reliance on Russia, Moscow is attempting to shift its energy exports eastward, first with oil and then with natural gas.
With Northeast Asian economies experiencing robust growth, Russia's push into Asia has concentrated on Japan and South Korea, with a strong interest in securing deals with China. But such markets make up only part of the potential Moscow sees in Asia. There are a number of growing energy consumers to the south as well. 

Russia's Historical Ties to Vietnam

Vietnam is the pivot point of Southeast Asia, occupying a key position along the major corridors that connect the Strait of Malacca with the Northeast Asian economies, as well as those connecting the northeast to the smaller, dynamic economies to the south. The country is directly accessible by sea from ports in the Russian Far East.
Vietnam has long been Russia's closest partner in Southeast Asia, especially during periods in which both countries were seeking to balance against China. Historically, the country has been a major area of focus for China -- either as a potential client state extending the Chinese coastline south or as a potential thorn in Beijing's side. This is the essence of Russia's interest in Vietnam. 
Russo-Vietnamese relations stretch back to Moscow's recognition of the Viet Minh government in 1950. Ho Chi Minh, the father of modern Vietnam, worked for the Comintern in Russia in 1923 before traveling to China to orchestrate his revolution at home. Many of the early regime's senior members were educated or trained in the Soviet Union, and members of Vietnam's current technocratic class were educated in Russian universities, which still accept large numbers of Vietnamese students. Energy cooperation between Russia and Vietnam began in 1959, when the Soviets conducted the first geological surveys of North Vietnam. This cooperation became stronger in 1981, when a joint venture, Vietsovpetro, became Vietnam's first oil company, extracting crude from the Bach Ho offshore fields starting in 1987.
Russian defense assistance to Vietnam also has a long history. The Soviet Union became North Vietnam's primary benefactor in 1965 amid Hanoi's widening split with Beijing, culminating in China's full withdrawal of assistance to Vietnam in 1968. In 1979, the Soviets established a naval base at Cam Ranh Bay in response to China's invasion of Vietnam and its proxy war in Cambodia.

Moscow's Renewed Interest

In 2001, Putin made his first visit to Vietnam, ending a post-Soviet lapse in Russo-Vietnamese relations. During the visit, the countries established a strategic partnership, and Putin's 2006 visit further strengthened the two countries' relationship. In 2012, the countries upgraded their ties to a comprehensive strategic partnership, and Russia invited Vietnam to join its Customs Union. Most recently, on Nov. 12, Putin signed 27 bilateral agreements on energy and defense cooperation during another visit to Hanoi.
In addition to helping establish a Southeast Asian market for Russian energy exports, Moscow's recent moves will also strengthen Vietnam as a counter against China's growing influence to Russia's south. This is why Moscow's deals with Hanoi over the past several years have focused on energy and defense. In 2009, Russia sold Vietnam six Kilo-class submarines, with two to be delivered in 2012 and four more by 2016. In 2011, Russia delivered two Gepard-class frigates to Vietnam, which then ordered two more in September. During his recent visit, Putin suggested that Russia would begin manufacturing military technology in Vietnam and would sign an accord on training and weapons deals.
Meanwhile, Vietnam's appetite for energy is indeed increasing. The country's annual gross domestic product has grown by an average of 6.95 percent since 2000, while oil consumption grew from 176,000 barrels per day in 2000 to 388,000 barrels per day in 2012, with annual growth expected to continue at a rate exceeding 6 percent through 2020. Natural gas consumption is also outpacing gross domestic product growth and production levels. It is expected to reach 3 billion cubic meters per year by 2015, 6 bcm by 2020 and 15 bcm by 2025.
During Putin's visit and the flurry of business meetings beforehand, Russian and Vietnamese firms struck deals on liquefied natural gas, oil sales and energy exploration. Russian state-owned energy giant Gazprom acquired a 49 percent stake in Vietnam's sole oil refinery at Dong Quat and contracted to expand its capacity by 50 percent to some 200,000 barrels per day by 2015. More important, Gazprom contracted to begin to supply oil to the refinery through Russia's Eastern Siberia-Pacific Ocean pipeline -- around 60,000 barrels per day initially, with the goal of ramping up to 120,000 barrels per day by 2018. Previously, all of Vietnam's crude imports had come from the Middle East.
Russian state-owned oil company Rosneft also became a strategic partner in Vietnam's Nhon Hoi mega-refinery project, which is set to produce an estimated 600,000 barrels per day, though it has been plagued with delays and questions about its viability. Rosneft also plans to acquire a minority stake in an offshore oil block and has expressed interested in another block in the disputed South China Sea. Meanwhile, PetroVietnam, Vietnam's state-owned petrochemical company, acquired the right to explore in Russia's Pechora Sea in Siberia. Gazprom -- which began exploring for natural gas in the South China Sea in 2009 and began pumping from two blocks in October -- plans to supply Vietnam with liquefied natural gas from its planned Vladivostok project. This could supply Vietnam's two planned regasification terminals at Thi Vai (which will have a capacity of 1.38 bcm by 2014) and Son My (4.14 bcm by 2018).

Vietnam's Appeal

Vietnamese energy growth could help Russia expand its export portfolio elsewhere in Asia. Incidentally, with more options in Southeast Asia, Russia will become more capable of leveraging its options to secure deals with major Northeast Asian consumers. At the moment, no single market rivals China, but a combination of countries -- including Japan, South Korea and those in Southeast Asia -- could provide a comparable alternative. 
Vietnamese domestic energy demand is only part of the story. Russian assistance with energy and defense will also bolster Vietnam's ability to resist Chinese influence and protect vital sea routes. Russian defense assistance has come in the form of naval technology, and its energy assistance has pushed into blocks in the South China Sea, where Vietnam (along with the Philippines) has been arguing with China about sovereignty. Disputed hydrocarbon blocks in the Nam Con Son basin have been an issue in the disagreements. China National Petroleum Corp. attempted to auction these blocks in September 2012, but Gazprom's recent exploration and drilling operations, which Rosneft could join, have supported Vietnam's claims. The dispute presents an opportunity for Moscow, which could use its relationship with Vietnam as a negotiating tool to slow China's advance into Russia's periphery in Central Asia.
Next: Part 2 of this series will examine the role of South Korea in Russia's plans to strengthen its partnerships in East Asia.
Read more: Russia Strengthens Ties With Vietnam | Stratfor
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Wisconsin Airman among outstanding Soldiers, Airmen honored by National Guard leaders

Wisconsin Airman among outstanding Soldiers, Airmen honored by National Guard leaders

Vice Chief of Naval Operations meets with Royal Armed Forces of Morocco Inspector General

Vice Chief of Naval Operations meets with Royal Armed Forces of Morocco Inspector General

  Vice Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mark E. Ferguson met with Gen. Abdelaziz Bennani, Inspector General of the Royal Armed Forces of Morocco.
WASHINGTON (Dec. 12, 2013) Vice Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mark E. Ferguson met with Gen. Abdelaziz Bennani, Inspector General of the Royal Armed Forces of Morocco, during an office call at the Pentagon, Dec. 12. During the call, Adm. Ferguson thanked Gen. Bennani for his country's long-standing relationship with the United States. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Martin Carey/Released)

By Defense Media Activity - Navy
WASHINGTON, D.C. (NNS) -- Vice Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mark E. Ferguson met with Gen. Abdelaziz Bennani, Inspector General of the Royal Armed Forces of Morocco, during an office call at the Pentagon, Dec. 12.

During the call, Adm. Ferguson thanked Gen. Bennani for his country's long-standing relationship with the United States. Morocco was the first country to recognize the United States as an independent country when the two countries signed a treaty of peace and friendship in 1786. Since then, the U.S. and Morocco have sought to maintain close relations that support regional maritime security.

"As a longstanding strategic partner, we appreciate the military cooperation between our two countries," Adm. Ferguson said. "We look forward to working with our Moroccan counterparts as we work to ensure regional stability."

Adm. Ferguson also thanked Gen. Bennani for his country's strong leadership during several regional military exercises designed to increase interoperability with regional navies. During annual exercises, such as "Saharan Express" and "Phoenix Express", U.S. and Moroccan forces worked together with military forces from Europe, South America, North Africa, NATO, and the U.S. to forge strong maritime security relationships.

Assembly Common Core Committee Approves All Recommendations | MacIver Institute

Assembly Common Core Committee Approves All Recommendations | MacIver Institute

Pentagon welcomes budget deal but says more defense spending needed - Washington Times

Pentagon welcomes budget deal but says more defense spending needed - Washington Times

Maker of Physical Bitcoin Tokens Suspends Operation After Hearing from Federal Government

Maker of Physical Bitcoin Tokens Suspends Operation After Hearing from Federal Government

Americans for Limited Government: The Ryan budget fraud is even worse after you read it


The Ryan budget fraud is even worse after you read it


A $63.2 billion proposed increase in spending canceling almost 35 percent of the sequester cuts scheduled for 2014 and 2015 will be offset by just a $6.25 billion cut to spending and a $269 million increase of revenue in those years, reports the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).

The other $78.5 billion of so-called “deficit reduction” to be achieved under the proposal will not occur until 2016 through 2023, including $28 billion of proposed cuts to defense and non-defense spending that are not set to occur until 2022 and 2023.

“The supposed out year cuts are simply a cynical insult to taxpayers who now know that when push comes to shove, the cuts will not be kept,” Americans for Limited Government President Nathan Mehrens warned in a statement issued after the deal was announced.

“This is just one more example of how out of touch our national leaders are to the real priorities of the American public,” he added.

The eleventh hour deal struck by lawmakers will reduce the defense sequester by 41 percent for 2014 ($22.4 billion) and by 17 percent ($9.2 billion) in 2015, and the non-defense sequester was reduced by 61 percent for 2014 ($22.4 billion) and by 25 percent in 2015 ($9.2 billion).

Meaning even the spending increases called for in cancelling sequestration will disproportionately favor non-defense spending, just as cuts in the original sequester disproportionately hit defense spending.
But that’s not the only whopper in this grand bargain. It allegedly “reduces the deficit by $23 billion and it does not raise taxes. It cuts spending in a smarter way,” declared House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), who brokered the deal.

Doesn’t increase taxes, you say?

Besides the $6.6 billion of increased revenues CBO scores, tucked into the package is $12.6 billion over ten years from a fee of “$5.60 per one-way trip in air transportation or intrastate air transportation that originates at an airport in the United States” that was somehow magically scored not as revenue, but as a spending cut. Huh?

You got that right. In what universe is that a spending cut? It doesn’t matter. The next time you book a round-trip flight and it is $11.20 costlier, remember you’re not actually paying a tax, you personally are reducing federal spending — even though the provision itself does nothing to actually reduce transportation security spending.

Similarly, almost $7.9 billion of increased premiums paid into the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation is scored as a spending cut. So are about $6.8 billion of higher customs user fees collected in 2022 and 2023.

Just those three items total $25.9 billion — a full one-third of the supposed $78.4 billion of spending cuts are no cuts at all, but fee increases.

And, again, another $28 billion of cuts won’t occur until the 117th Congress, seated in 2021, meets to decide the 2022 and 2023 budgets. That is, if sequester has not been fully repealed by that time.
The other $24 billion of cuts are legitimate, but again, the American people will have to wait for $20 billion of them to be implemented in the out years starting in 2016.

Is postponing spending cuts really a “smarter” way to cut spending if those cuts never end up happening?

Immediately, spending will increase dramatically and air travelers will be hit with an average $1.2 billion tax hike every year.

House Speaker Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) called the proposal “modest,” and blasted conservative groups he said “came out opposed to it before they ever saw it.”

And maybe they did. But in their defense, the Ryan budget fraud is even worse after you take the time to read it.

Robert Romano is the senior editor of Americans for Limited Government. 

Read more at NetRightDaily.com

U.S. Navy Photo of the Day

An MV-22 Osprey prepares to land on the flight deck of the multipurpose amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5).
ATLANTIC OCEAN (Dec. 10, 2013) An MV-22 Osprey prepares to land on the flight deck of the multipurpose amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5). Bataan is underway with the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (22nd MEU) for a composite training unit exercise (COMPTUEX). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Mark Hays/Released)

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Littoral combat ship's maiden deployment marked by highs, lows - Stripes - Independent U.S. military news from Iraq, Afghanistan and bases worldwide

Littoral combat ship's maiden deployment marked by highs, lows - Stripes - Independent U.S. military news from Iraq, Afghanistan and bases worldwide

South Korea Air Defense Zone Rattles China | Defense Tech

South Korea Air Defense Zone Rattles China | Defense Tech

5 Technologies that Keep the IDF on the Cutting Edge

5 Technologies that Keep the IDF on the Cutting Edge


Groundbreaking technologies are advancing the IDF’s capabilities and eliminating threats. With these advanced tools in the hands of its soldiers, the IDF protects the people of Israel.
In a major speech last October, IDF Chief of the General Staff Lieutenant General Benny Gantz described the wide-ranging threats facing Israel in the near future. According to the Chief of Staff,the IDF could be forced to contend with anything from missile strikes on military sites to large-scale battles, and cyber attacks that would paralyze Israel’s infrastructure.
But after reviewing a range of doomsday scenarios, Lt. Gen. Gantz concluded his address with a message of hope and optimism. “We are strong enough to face every challenge, the expected and the unexpected,” he said. “It is our duty to invest whatever is necessary to provide the response, even by looking years into the future.”

STRATFOR: Russia's East Asian Pivot

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

U.S. Navy Photo of the Day

ATLANTIC OCEAN (Dec. 6, 2013) Sailors move a fuel hose across the flight deck of the guided-missile destroyer USS Arleigh Burke (DDG 51) to refuel an MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter from the Tridents of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 9. Arleigh Burke is conducting its final pre-deployment evaluation with the George H.W. Bush Carrier Strike Group. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jeff Atherton/Released)

Spaceflight Now | Breaking News | Chinese probe arrives in lunar orbit for moon landing

Spaceflight Now | Breaking News | Chinese probe arrives in lunar orbit for moon landing

EU Naval Force Italian Warship ITS Libeccio Reaches Halfway Point In Counter Piracy Deployment | Eunavfor

EU Naval Force Italian Warship ITS Libeccio Reaches Halfway Point In Counter Piracy Deployment | Eunavfor

United States Sixth Fleet

Monday, December 09, 2013

Freedom Departs U.S. 7th Fleet on Asia-Pacific Deployment

Freedom Departs U.S. 7th Fleet on Asia-Pacific Deployment


From U.S. 7th Fleet Public Affairs
YOKOSUKA, Japan (NNS) -- The littoral combat ship, USS Freedom (LCS 1), crossed the international date line while transiting the Pacific Ocean, Dec. 10, marking her departure from the U.S. 7th Fleet Area of Responsibility (AOR).

The 7th Fleet AOR covers more than 48 million square miles and spans from west of the international date line to the western coast of India.

Operating primarily in Southeast Asia as part of a maiden overseas deployment, Freedom joined about 100 ships and submarines deployed throughout this vast maritime region and assigned to 7th Fleet on any given day.

Since arriving in the AOR March 20, Freedom worked with many regional navies and other 7th Fleet units during a series of port visits, exercises, and exchanges. These engagements directly supported the Asia-Pacific rebalance and further reinforced cooperation and interoperability among the Navy's partners and allies.

"We put Freedom to the test over the past several months and learned a great deal about how to operate littoral combat ships forward alongside our regional partners and allies in a challenging operational environment," said Vice Adm. Robert Thomas, commander, U.S. 7th Fleet.

In the weeks prior to departing 7th Fleet, Freedom conducted separate passing exercises (PASSEX) with the Bangladesh navy ship BNS Somudro Joy (F 28) and the Brunei navy ships KDB Darulaman (PV 08) and KDB Ijhtihad (PV 17), supported humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HA/DR) efforts in the Philippines, and conducted port calls in Brunei and Guam.

As many senior Navy officials noted recently, the maritime crossroads and vital waterways that connect Southeast Asia to the global economy are exactly where the Navy needs to be present, now and well into the future. Rotational deployments of littoral combat ships will help the Navy sustain presence, expand access to vital waterways and interact with littoral regions in unprecedented ways.

"Freedom's deployment is just the beginning of littoral combat ship rotations to 7th Fleet," said Thomas. "Increased numbers of these ships will become a regular fixture in this region as a tangible demonstration of our commitment to the rebalance. Their forward presence over the long term supports our Navy's enduring commitment to security, stability and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific."

USS Freedom's first rotational deployment to Southeast Asia began March 1, when the ship departed San Diego and commenced a Pacific Ocean transit that included port visits in Hawaii, Guam and Manila. Freedom used Singapore as a logistics and maintenance hub between April 18 and Nov. 16, during which she participated in the International Maritime Defence Exhibition, three phases of the bilateral naval exercise Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training with Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei, and the multinational exercise Southeast Asia Cooperation and Training. During port visits, Freedom hosted thousands visitors from throughout Southeast Asia.

Freedom remained homeported in San Diego throughout this rotational deployment to Southeast Asia. Crew 101, which has operated the ship since a planned swap with Crew 102 in August, will take the ship home to San Diego by the end of the year.

Fast, agile and mission-focused, littoral combat ships are designed to operate in near-shore environments and employ modular mission packages that can be configured for surface warfare, mine countermeasures, or anti-submarine warfare.


For more news from Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet, visit www.navy.mil/local/c7f/.

U.S. Coast Guard: 1,200 trees, 1 historic voyage

1,200 trees, 1 historic voyage


Posted by LT Stephanie Young, Monday, December 9, 2013 
The crew of Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw helps offload more than 1,200 Christmas trees. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Courtney Marker.
The crew of Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw helps offload more than 1,200 Christmas trees. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Courtney Marker.
On most days, Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw keeps Great Lakes channels and harbors open to navigation to meet the region’s winter shipping needs. Saturday was not like most days.
Mackinaw served once again as this year’s “Christmas Ship.” Loaded with more than 1,200 Christmas trees, the icebreaker played homage to an annual Chicago tradition from the late 1800s and early 1900s.
- See more at: http://coastguard.dodlive.mil/2013/12/1200-trees-1-historic-voyage/#sthash.4ThsrLYO.dpuf

U.S. Navy: USS New York Changes Homeport

FGS Niedersachsen Completes Tour With EU Naval Force and Heads for Home | Eunavfor

FGS Niedersachsen Completes Tour With EU Naval Force and Heads for Home | Eunavfor