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Saturday, March 23, 2019 08:03 AM




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The Man Behind 'Lt. Dan' Is All Patriotism, No Politics

Armed Forces Retirement Home Accepting Applicants

The Commanders Respond - the world’s navies


New target date set for hauling off submarine Clamagore to Florida

US envoy: NKorea denuclearization must not be incremental

Russian Defense Ministry Boasts About Revived Military Power

The Man Behind 'Lt. Dan' Is All Patriotism, No Politics



Gary Sinise just published a new memoir called "Grateful American" and it's every bit as modest as anyone who has followed his years of support for the veteran community would expect.

Except Gary's greatest talent shines through the humility with which he tells his story. To be sure, he's an extraordinarily gifted actor who has had a storied career both in serious theater and popular movies and television. But his most profound gift is his empathy for men and women who serve their country.

Of course, his particular acting talent isn't unrelated to an ability to see the world through another's eyes. Still, there are plenty of performers who don't share that insight and not many Americans share the sense of mission that Gary's has given him.

"Grateful American" is co-written with Marcus Brotherton, who also worked with Army veteran Travis Mills on his excellent autobiography "As Tough As They Come." Sinise knows Mills well from his work with veterans, and Travis makes an appearance in this book.

When Sinise tells his life story, he talks about his own family's service in WWI and WWII and how his wife Moira's brothers both served in Vietnam. When he was artistic director of Chicago's influential Steppenwolf Theatre (a group he co-founded), he directed a powerful 1984 production of John DiFusco's Vietnam War play "Tracers." That work featured Sinise and fellow future stars Dennis Farina (Det. Fontana on "Law & Order"), Gary Cole (Lumbergh in "Office Space"), Terry Kinney (McManus on "Oz") and Tom Irwin (Angela's dad on "My So-Called Life").

Along the way, he talks about growing up with a dad in the movie business: Robert Sinise edited the early, notorious movies directed by splatter-film pioneer Herschell Gordon Lewis. Gary was a terrible student, an avid musician and enthusiastic participant in the counterculture of the early 1970s.

Too young to serve in Vietnam, Sinise knew he wasn't college material and instead followed his instincts and became a driving force behind one of the most influential regional theater groups in American history. There are few actors with Gary's impact who've never received formal training. He credits a high school theater teacher with turning his stoner life around but he's done all the rest on his own.

For the rest of the 1980s and the early years of the 1990s, Sinise continued to add to his creative and artistic credits. He directed and starred alongside fellow Steppenwolf founder John Malkovich in an overwhelmingly successful production of "True West" that played in both Chicago and New York.

Sinise later directed and then re-teamed with Malkovich to star in a 1992 movie version of John Steinbeck's "Of Mice and Men." It wasn't a big hit at the time, but has come to be seen as a classic, a movie that's shown in high school literature classes all over the country.

Everything changed with "Forrest Gump." Sinise gives the movie the attention it deserves and there are plenty of making-of stories included for fans of Lt. Dan Taylor.

And, yet, it's the story of his nearly forty-year marriage to Moira, her battle with alcoholism and subsequent conversion to Catholicism that's the heart of the story. Gary and Moira's marriage survived the kind of rough times that end most relationships in the real world, and end Hollywood marriages virtually 100 percent of the time.

Another gift Sinise displays is an ability to write about patriotism minus the politics. He writes eloquently about how 9/11 inspired him to take a more active role in supporting the men and women who serve and how the 2003 invasion of Iraq convinced him to sign up for USO tours.

The second half of the book is devoted to tales of his work with the USO and with veterans groups. Fans of Detective Mac Taylor from "CSI:NY" won't be disappointed with the stories he tells about that role, but it's obvious that Sinise's life priorities have shifted to entertaining the troops with the Lt. Dan Band and working with his foundation.

He talks about patriotism and service and never mentions the current president (nor his immediate predecessor). He does namecheck dozens of servicemembers and veterans and the people who run the charities who support them. Sinise is interested in common ground. If that's not what you want from a public figure, you'd best read something besides "Grateful American."

Gary Sinise has instead written a book that can appeal to anyone who's interested in his theater and movie careers and -- at the same time -- inspire readers who know him best from his work in support of military members. It's a tough assignment to pull off, but this book delivers with generosity and ease.




Armed Forces Retirement Home Accepting Applicants


The Armed Forces Retirement Home is accepting applications for residents at its two locations in Gulfport, Mississippi and Washington, D.C.

Applications are being accepted from veterans with at least half of their service as an enlisted member, warrant, or limited-duty officer, and those who meet one of the following criteria:

•At least 60 years of age or older with an honorable discharge
•Retirees with 20 years of service or more
•Service-connected disability
•Served in a war zone or received hostile fire pay and have injuries, disease or a disability

Married couples with one member who meets the eligibility requirements above are also welcome.

Veterans who have been convicted of a felony or have drug, alcohol, or psychiatric problems cannot be admitted.

The Gulfport home has an outdoor pool, views of the Gulf of Mexico with a walking path to the beach.

The Washington, D.C. home has a wooded campus, fishing ponds, views of the U.S. Capitol and monuments and a world-famous golf course.

There are several different living arrangements available, including:
•Independent living
•Assisted living
•Long-term care
•Memory support

Those admitted to the Armed Forces Retirement Home are provided medical, dental and vision care, as well as private rooms with a shower, cable TV, and three daily meals.

There is also a wellness program, fitness center, movie theater, bowling center, hobby shops, recreational activities and resident day trips, a full-service library, barber shop, 24/7 security, beauty salon, computer center, mailboxes, ATM, campus PX/BX and off-campus shuttle and public transportation.

The 2019 rate for independent living is 46.7 percent of the resident's gross monthly income or $1,990, whichever is less. Much of the funding for the home comes from these fees as well as the monthly $.50 deduction from all enlisted members' pay.

Veterans must be able to live independently upon admission to the home. This means being able to care for personal needs, attend a dining facility for meals, and keep all medical appointments.

For further information visit:



The Commanders Respond - the world’s navies

This year, Proceedings asked the commanders of the world’s navies, “How has your nation’s maritime security environment changed in the past two or three years? How have those changes impacted the operations, budget, manning, and future plans of your Navy and/or Coast Guard?” The answers reflect the specific issues each nation’s navy is dealing with in a world where the maritime security environment is becoming more challenging.

March 2019 | Proceedings



Vice Admiral Michael Noonan, AO, Chief of the Royal Australian Navy

Australia is responsible for the third largest maritime area in the world—one that is twice the size of its landmass. The challenges to our region’s maritime security are complex and evolving. However, we must embrace these inherent challenges while adapting to an environment that is enjoying steady growth and change.

In recent years, global events have underlined the enduring importance of upholding a rules-based global order, a responsibility in which all nations must play their part. This responsibility is no more evident than in the Indo-Pacific region. The prosperity of our region is based on the actions our nations have taken and continue to take to promote and defend good order at and from the sea. Safeguarding the stability and cooperation among nations that created the conditions for this prosperity requires concerted effort.

To enable Australia to continue to play a constructive leadership role in our region’s maritime security, we are modernizing our Navy through the acquisition of the Arafura-class offshore patrol vessels, the next generation Supply-class replenishment ships, the Hunter-class frigates, and the Attack-class submarines. A continuous process of design and construction will ensure our future capabilities remain current, relevant, and lethal. In addition, we recently accepted into service the landing helicopter dock ships HMAS Adelaide and HMAS Canberra, 24 MH-60R Seahawk helicopters, our first unmanned aircraft systems squadron, and the guided-missile destroyers HMAS Hobart and HMAS Brisbane.

We continue to strengthen our regional and global relationships by participating in a wide variety of international exercises. In 2019, the Indo-Pacific Endeavour deployment will see us exercise with and visit regional partners India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam—all nations that rely on the world’s oceans as part of their economies and ways of life.

As nations continue to find and define value in the maritime environment, there will be an increasing need for capable and professional naval and maritime forces to promote and foster good order at sea and cooperation among all who operate on, under, and above the sea. It will be important that actions by all mariners meet international maritime law standards and the collective aspirations of all who rely on access to, and resources from, our world’s oceans.


Rear Admiral Wim Robberecht, Commander of the Belgian Navy

The future is always uncertain. This uncertainty becomes even more significant as we witness the rapidly increasing complexity of the world, caused by exponential changes in the fields of sociology, economy, politics, environment, and technology. This intertwined complexity is determining the position the Belgian Defense Force wants to take in the global security environment—a flexible and adaptive mind-set. Moreover, Belgium will promote a Europe with a more predominant role as security provider rather than security consumer.

The stability of NATO’s southern flank is expected to remain under pressure in the coming years, and the position of Russia on the eastern periphery will determine, for many years, Europe’s security and military position. NATO clearly has answered these instabilities by focusing on the collective defense issues while Europe keeps its focus outside the military dimension. The roles of NATO and Europe are particularly complementary in reinforcing the integrity of East European member states against Russian interference.

The Belgian ports and seaward approaches are essential for the effectiveness of NATO’s collective defense and therefore must be kept free of mines at all times. The current minehunter fleet will be replaced in the 2021–30 timeframe. Six new naval mine countermeasures (MCM) vessels with modular toolboxes will be built, allowing for conceptual flexibility and adaptability to emerging technologies throughout their service lives. The Navy will keep a strong MCM capability for which it has an expertise recognized worldwide that will remain relevant in the future.

Surface combatant capability is important to protect sea lines of communication. It is our intention to improve in the short term the antisubmarine warfare (ASW) capability of our two multipurpose frigates with the integration of the already acquired NATO frigate helicopter (NH90-NFH). In the next decade, these frigates will be replaced by two new ships as part of a Belgian-Dutch procurement program to become the spearheads of our contribution to NATO’s collective defense. The new surface combatants with dedicated ASW capability are essential to the protection of supply routes so vital for the Belgian and European economies.

Civilian and military ships are the most vulnerable when alongside the pier. The Belgian Navy will therefore develop a harbor-protection capability to counter pierside threats. The Navy will be able to engage this capability in an expeditious manner.  Read All!




New target date set for hauling off submarine Clamagore to Florida

Stay tuned for another chapter in the saga of the Clamagore, the deteriorating submarine at Patriots Point.


The Florida man who aims to haul the Cold War-era vessel to Florida to turn it into a diving reef and underwater museum says he’s aiming to pull it out of the water and put it on a barge the first of May.


“We want to get this done before the hurricane season,” said Joe Weatherby, senior project manager for Artificial Reefs International of Key West. 


But he acknowledged there are still some hurdles to overcome, including raising the final $1 million. 


“We have a lot of big players looking at it,” he said. “We have it in the red zone, and we’re looking to push it into the end zone.”

The spring moving date was included in an announcement on Wednesday that the Professional Association of Diving Instructors had endorsed the USS Clamagore Artificial Reef Project.


Backing by the world’s biggest diving association will generate publicity for efforts such as outdoor clothing retailer Salt Life’s campaign to support the project through the sale of Clamagore “On Eternal Patrol” T-shirts, Weatherby said.


The Patriots Point Development Authority gave Artificial Reefs until March 10 to come up with the $4 million for the project. It’s likely the panel will have to vote on whether to extend that deadline for the venture to continue. They approved a previous extension and have supported the idea so far.


The board would also need to see signed paperwork from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and from the Navy’s Historic Preservation Program before the Clamagore could be released, according to Patriots Point spokesman Chris Hauff.


“We don’t have a date,” he said. “It’s a very complex project, with so many different agencies involved, and sometimes that takes a lot of time.


Artificial Reefs and officials with Palm Beach County Environmental Resource Management, which is overseeing the project, had hoped to move the sub last summer, but that didn’t pan out. Palm Beach County promised $1 million to move the sub if supporters could raise the other $3 million for cleanup and installation costs.


The idea of turning the Clamagore into an underwater museum was first proposed about six years ago after officials for state-owned Patriots Point said they could no longer to afford to maintain the sub for $250,000 a year or come up with $6 million for needed repairs. But the proposal was put on hold to give veterans groups a chance to raise money to keep it afloat.


Patriots Point finally gave up on that possibility last year and gave Artificial Reefs the green light.


“I agreed with the veterans trying to save it,” Weatherby  said. “We’re working to save this icon from the scrap yard.”

The submarine is rusted, but the basic structure seems solid enough to withstand the move, Weatherby said. It’s not stuck in the mud except at low tide.


Meanwhile, the vessel remains open for tours along the Mount Pleasant waterfront, along with the aircraft carrier Yorktown, destroyer Laffey and the Vietnam Experience.



US envoy: NKorea denuclearization must not be incremental

By ROBERT BURNS | Associated Press

WASHINGTON – The Trump administration will insist North Korea follow through on its commitment to completely eliminate its nuclear weapons before the U.S. agrees to the lifting of international sanctions, the State Department's special envoy for North Korea said Monday.

In his first public comments since President Donald Trump met with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un last month, envoy Stephen Biegun said "the missing variable" in making a deal is the North's unwillingness to offer complete, verifiable denuclearization.

"We are not going to do denuclearization incrementally," Biegun said at a conference sponsored by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

He said there is room for "confidence-building" measures, such as a proposed establishment of a U.S. diplomatic liaison office in North Korea, to advance the process. But the U.S. will not agree to a step-by-step approach to eliminating the nuclear weapons, he said.

Biegun said that at last month's Hanoi summit, Trump rejected Kim's offer to eliminate a portion of his nuclear program in exchange for lifting "basically all" of the international sanctions. That was judged to be unacceptable, Biegun said, because it would have removed economic pressure that had been imposed by the international community.

Under the Kim proposal, "We'd lift that pressure in exchange for only a portion of those weapons of mass destruction programs," Biegun said. "That would have put us in a position — a very difficult position — of essentially subsidizing what would potentially be ongoing development of weapons of mass destruction in North Korea. We need a total solution."

He said this does not mean the U.S. position has hardened. He said Washington remains open to further North Korea diplomacy aimed at four priorities: transforming relations, establishing a formal end to the Korean War, achieving the North's complete denuclearization, and returning the remains of thousands of U.S. troops missing from the Korean War.

Last August, North Korea turned over 55 boxes of war remains; so far the U.S. has identified three soldiers from those remains and is expecting to announce several more soon.

"We want to heal the wounds of war," Biegun said. "We want to recover the remains of soldiers very much for the same reasons that helped us normalize relations in other places like Vietnam at the end of the conflict."



Russian Defense Ministry Boasts About Revived Military Power



MOSCOW — The Russian military has commissioned more than 1,000 new aircraft and thousands of tanks in the past few years in a massive modernization effort amid tensions with the West, the nation's defense minister said Monday.

Sergei Shoigu boasted of the military's achievements in his six years on the job, saying in a speech to lawmakers that the armed forces have turned into a highly mobile force capable of projecting power to distant areas.

Shoigu noted that the military received more than 1,000 warplanes and combat helicopters and over 3,700 tanks in 2012-2018. He added that the armed forces have received 109 ground-based intercontinental ballistic missiles and 108 submarine-launched ICBMs and formed 10 brigades armed with state-of-the-art short-range Iskander missiles.
Russia-West ties have plunged to their lowest levels since the Cold War times over Russia's actions in Ukraine, the war in Syria and the allegations of Moscow's meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Amid the tensions, NATO has expanded its presence near Russia's borders to reassure its eastern members, a buildup Russia has described as a threat to its security.

Relations between Moscow and Washington also frayed over the U.S. decision to withdraw from the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty over alleged Russian violations. The Kremlin has denied any violations and responded by also suspending its obligations under the INF treaty.

Shoigu said that the campaign in Syria that Russia has waged since 2015 showcases its military might and allowed the military to test its new weapons in combat, including shipborne and air-launched long-range cruise missiles.

He noted that the military also has seen a quick expansion in the number of drones, laser-guided artillery projectiles and other precision weapons.

The defense minister emphasized that the 1-million-strong military has nearly 400,000 professional enlisted personnel and non-commissioned officers, a major shift for the armed forces that in the recent past relied exclusively on the draft.

Shoigu said that the increase in the number of contract soldiers has allowed the military to form 136 battalions consisting entirely of professional personnel. Such battalion tactical groups are the core tactical units, allowing the armed forces to quickly deploy to any area.

He said that every brigade or regiment in the Russian army now has two battalions of professional soldiers and one made up of draftees. The minister added that the draftees aren't sent into combat.

Battalion tactical groups played a key role during Russia's 2014 annexation of Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula. Ukraine and the West also has accused Russia of sending its troops to support a separatist insurgency in eastern Ukraine — claims Moscow has denied.

Shoigu mentioned the military's effort to beef up its presence in Crimea. He also noted that the armed forces have expanded their foothold in the Arctic, deploying 475 facilities there.



Discipline, Moral Courage, and the Future Of America’s Naval Force


By Officer Candidate Nathan Glaubitz, U.S. Navy
February 2019 |Proceedings

The deaths of 17 sailors in the summer of 2017 shook the U.S. Navy to its core. Those sailors were not SEALs on the ground, fighting in an obscure corner of the world. Nor were they pilots flying combat missions over hostile territory, taking enemy fire. In fact, many were sound asleep in their racks when the tragic events of that summer unfolded. Those sailors were on board the guided missile destroyers USS Fitzgerald (DDG-62) and John S. McCain (DDG-56) when their respective ships were involved in collisions at sea with civilian vessels barely more than two months apart.

At a time when the armed forces of the United States continue to fight the Global War on Terror and face growing competition from peer nations, it is hard to believe that routine operations have become one of the Navy’s greatest challenges. As the service prepares for the future battlespace—one which includes cyber warfare and a progression into the domain of space—it must overcome these challenges and also address the shortfalls of moral conduct and discipline among some leaders that have been a plague in recent decades. The true weight of that shift in culture rests upon the shoulders of the Navy’s youngest leaders, including those still undergoing officer development as midshipmen or officer candidates, as they will be the leaders charged with facing the challenges and fighting the battles of the future.

The investigation reports released in October 2017 revealed significant failures of watchstanding and failures leadership prior to, and during, the Fitzgerald and John S. McCain incidents. These reports came as little surprise to many sailors who have witnessed training standards slip and complacency rise throughout the fleet in recent years as budget concerns and a lack of manpower have pressured the Navy to do more with less resources.

Considering the challenges of today and those ahead inspires one to consider what the future naval force will be like. It likely will return to its roots of maritime superiority by focusing on discipline in seamanship and tactical proficiency. Former Secretary of Defense James Mattis said in a 2018 memo that “all service members learn to fight well by doing the little things perfectly, otherwise they cannot possibly get all of the big things right when all goes wrong.” As the nation faces potential conflict with peer nations that possess similar technological capability, it will be important to establish an asymmetric advantage by heeding the words of Secretary Mattis and ensuring we have the most disciplined force in the world. For the Navy, that will manifest itself, at least in part, in the form of commanding officers expecting junior officers to take on greater leadership responsibilities and leaving the management of the deckplates to in the Chiefs’ mess.

The naval force of the future also is one that partners with the other services on both strategic and tactical levels. The formation, growth, and unparalleled success of U.S. Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) in interservice coordination over the past few decades should serve as a resource to current and future naval leaders in improving interservice operations. To illustrate that point one needs only remember that in 1980 the United States attempted a mission, Operation Eagle Claw, to save U.S. hostages in Iran, which required units from the Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps. Although the units involved were among the best in the best military in the world, the mission failed because of a lack of coordination and interservice training. The formation of JSOC is a direct result of that mission’s failure and there is no doubt that the special operations community has become the most elite combat force in the world, one that exemplifies the advantages of interservice coordination.

Many leaders who will serve in the future force are being trained at maritime service academies, Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) units, or Officer Candidate School (OCS). Many more still are high-school and middle-school students who have not yet made the decision to serve their country, but who will be commissioned as a naval officer through the same means nonetheless in a decade or more. Are these naval commissioning sources preparing them well for what lies ahead?

The overall quality of current Navy leaders is a testament to the training these commissioning sources provide, but the Navy believes in constant progress and so it is worth considering what parts of training require a greater focus. For example, basic seamanship, navigation, and operations at sea are a challenge for young officers currently in the fleet. Senior leaders, however, have been challenged by failures of moral conduct, discipline, and integrity; at least 16 members of a Navy command triad have been relieved of their position this year alone. The connection between these two challenges could be explained by a lack of moral courage. If just one junior officer on board the John S. McCain or Fitzgerald had the moral courage to challenge the status quo of the training or shipboard operations of their ship and his or her commanding officer had had the moral courage to evaluate what the young officer had questioned and made the right, although probably difficult, decision, then the big things might have gone right when all went wrong. How can these lessons on the importance of unwavering moral courage be effectively impressed upon the future leaders of the Navy?

It starts at the commissioning sources. Naval ROTC programs likely have the greatest experience in promoting moral courage by virtue of their integration in a civilian campus. Midshipmen in those units are exposed to the same peer pressures as every other student while being expected to maintain the standards of moral conduct, discipline, and integrity required to be commissioned as an officer. That environment introduces situations in which the midshipmen must have the moral courage to do the right thing for the right reasons, and they experience those situations for four years.

There is no question the U.S. Navy is the most capable naval force in the world. It faces challenges every day, not only from its enemies, but from within its own domain. It has persevered through a shifting landscape of vastly different battlespaces and defeated seemingly superior enemies, but the key to its success in the future lies within the ranks of its young leaders and their pursuit of excellence based on a robust foundation of strong moral character and discipline.


Can America Live with a Nuclear North Korea?

Question: Can America live with an atomic North Korea, and could any presidential administration openly admit it can? The answer: Yes it can, and no it couldn’t.

by James Holmes | January 11, 2019 | The National Interest

A friend asks: can America live with an atomic North Korea, and could any presidential administration openly admit it can? Yes it can, and no it couldn’t. The Trump administration and its successors can live with a North Korean doomsday arsenal because living with it represents the least bad option at hand. Military action is the other apparent alternative to the administration’s “ maximum pressure ” strategy of stifling the North into compliance through diplomacy and UN-approved economic sanctions . Yet the hazards, costs, and sheer uncertainty of war abound. Few presidents would embrace armed force barring an unambiguous and egregious provocation from Kim Jong-Un & Co.


Forcibly disarming Pyongyang could and probably would involve sacrificing thousands of American and Korean lives. Here’s a crude yardstick. The Korean War, a conventional conflict to preserve an independent South Korea, cost the United States some 37,000 military lives. Many more service folk suffered wounds. Thirty-seven thousand. That’s more than fivefold the combined American military death toll from the Afghanistan and Iraq wars since 9/11. And that leaves aside countless more Korean military and civilian lives expended fighting to the current standstill along the inter-Korean border.

It’s hard to see how war could be waged more cheaply than it was in 1950-1953 when the principal combatants, not to mention North Korea’s ally China and neighbor Russia, all boast nuclear weapons to accompany formidable conventional forces. And Washington must not delude itself into thinking air and sea power can do the job alone, any more than aviators and mariners repulsed the North Korean invasion in 1950. It took land forces back then—and today, in all likelihood, ground combat would be required to destroy the dug-in North Korean nuclear complex.


Any military strategy worth the name would demand that U.S. Army and Marine forces again seize and control ground—allowing them the leisure to ferret out underground facilities and armaments.

In short, a new Korean War would not be a come-and-go affair. Such a forecast is solidly grounded in the classics of strategy. For instance, Admiral J. C. Wylie points out that the proper goal of military strategy is to impose control on the foe. Aircraft and missiles flit by overhead while ships remain offshore. Though formidable, their presence is too intermittent to qualify as control. That being the case, he pronounces the soldier slogging through mud the “ultimate determinant” of who emerges the victor. The soldier goes and stays. “He is control,” proclaims Wylie. No control, no strategic success.

Or as the historian T. R. Fehrenbach puts it regarding the Korean War: “you may fly over a land forever; you may bomb it, atomize it, pulverize it and wipe it clean of life—but if you desire to defend it, protect it and keep it for civilization, you must do this on the ground, the way the Roman legions did, by putting your young men in the mud.” Wylie says much the same thing when he observes that— aviators’ and rocketeers’ assumptions notwithstanding—the ability to destroy something from aloft does not equate to controlling it.

Nor is it obvious that winning control is crucial in Northeast Asia. For the sake of discussion let’s use the Pakistani nuclear force in 2004 as a crude measuring stick for North Korean ambitions and the international response. Why 2004? Because that was six years after Islamabad’s atomic breakout, and after Islamabad started manufacturing nukes in earnest. We can date the start of Pyongyang’s bombmaking enterprise to February 2013, when, as the trusty Nuclear Threat Initiative reports, North Korean weapon scientists detonated a “lighter, miniaturized atomic weapon.”

Suppose Pyongyang manages to build up to a force comparable in numbers and capability to Pakistan’s six years in. That would make the final tally somewhere in the neighborhood of seventy-five tactical nukes. Washington grudgingly made its peace with a Pakistani bomb back then. Is forcible disarmament today worth the likely costs of sending the descendants of Fehrenbach’s legions? Doubtful. Ergo, America will learn to live with what must be lived with. It should ponder ways to reinforce atomic deterrence vis-à-vis North Korea—just as it has acclimated itself to every other new entrant to the nuclear club from the Soviet Union forward.

But foreign policy is a messy thing. It often demands a measure of duplicity. Even as it accommodates itself to an unpleasant new normal,
the Trump administration cannot admit Pyongyang’s bombmaking enterprise is here to stay for fear of gutting U.S. policy of decades’ standing. Successive administrations have made “ comprehensive, verifiable, irreversible disarmament ” the paramount goal of U.S. policy on the Korean Peninsula. Presidents and their lieutenants from both parties have restated their commitment to disarmament openly, loudly, and often.

Climbing down from bipartisan public commitments verges on impossible. Negotiations specialists such as the late, great Thomas Schelling will tell you that any leader who makes a public commitment to some policy or strategy—and does so over and over again in uncompromising language—binds himself to keep that commitment. Fail to keep faith and you appear weak and vacillating in your constituents’ eyes. No one relishes looking feckless.

So strong is this “commitment tactic,” in fact, that Schelling urges statesmen to deploy it to deter or coerce opponents. A hard bargainer deliberately takes away his own freedom to compromise. Issue a deterrent or coercive threat in public and you bind yourself to execute it. Do it convincingly enough and your antagonist will regard the threat as almost self-executing: he knows the threat will automatically go into effect if he defies it. The commitment tactic places the burden squarely on your antagonist—
but you cannot waffle lest you eviscerate your reputation for toughness, probably forever. U.S. presidents have likewise bound themselves to seek comprehensive, verifiable, irreversible disarmament in Northeast Asia.

Abandoning the ideal of disarmament would also discredit nonproliferation principles graven on the international system since the 1960s and sanctified in the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT). Under Article VI of the treaty, NPT signatories pledge to “pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control.” The pact obliges not just unofficial nuclear-weapon states such as North Korea but officially recognized nuclear powers such as the United States, China, and Russia to work toward “ global zero ,” to use the latest catchphrase for complete disarmament.

Not only does Article VI voice a worthy ideal, it’s the law of the land in the United States. After all, the U.S. Constitution designates international agreements that go through the advice, consent, and ratification process at the White House and on Capitol Hill as U.S. law. It is possible to postpone enforcing a law. It would be inadvisable for any president to openly denounce it. Chances are, then, Washington will continue to insist on complete disarmament on the Korean Peninsula but will refrain from using force to bring about that happy end. The ideal will stand. But ideals are seldom reached in human affairs—only approximated.

So there’s my somewhat bleak answer to the question posed.
Washington will probably forego military action to eliminate Pyongyang’s nightmare weapons while sorting out how to deter the North and sticking to its diplomatic line. And who knows? If Kim Jong-Un wakes up each morning and decides not to roll the iron dice—and opts for forbearance enough mornings in a row—sooner or later good things may happen in the disarmament realm. One can hope.

James Holmes is J. C. Wylie Chair of Maritime Strategy at the Naval War College and coauthor of Red Star over the Pacific . He formerly did nonproliferation work at the University of Georgia. The views voiced here are his alone.



Expeditionary Minehunting Units Growing in Size, Capabilities

SAN DIEGO, Calif. – The Navy is investing in its explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) force, doubling the number of unmanned systems platoons in the community in the next couple years and improving the technology on their unmanned underwater vehicles.

The increase will add about 100 personnel to man the new platoons and the EOD Mobile Units they report to. The investment in these unmanned systems platoons – along with the expeditionary mine countermeasures (ExMCM) companies that command and control them – is helping the Navy’s EOD community have a greater presence around the globe.

ExMCM companies include unmanned systems platoons that use the Mk 18 Mod 1 Swordfish and the Mk 18 Mod 2 Kingfish to search bodies of water for potential dangers; an EOD mine countermeasures platoon with highly trained EOD techs that can reacquire a threat and either neutralize it underwater or safely bring it out of the water for study; and a five-person post-mission analysis cell that analyzes sonar and video data and makes recommendations on how to proceed to the ExMCM company and the higher headquarters at the EOD Mobile Unit.

ExMCM companies have been particularly active recently, developing procedures to operate on and employ platoons from a variety of U.S. and international navy ships and aircraft. Along with the upcoming increase in the number of companies, they are making themselves more adaptable and capable of handling threats as they evolve.


EOD Mobile Unit 1 – based at Naval Base Point Loma in San Diego, and the only West Coast unit with ExMCM companies – invited USNI News to join a demonstration mission with an unmanned systems platoon to better understand the community and how it is growing.


EOD Mobile Unit 1 commanding officer Cmdr. Jeremy Wheat told USNI News that the ExMCM companies have been developing embarkation plans and tactics to deploy on the Littoral Combat Ship, cruisers and destroyers, amphibious and auxiliary ships and even partner-nation warships. A recent push has been developing tactics to take the unmanned systems platoons and their UUVs from a ship and employ them forward via helicopter instead of via the platoons’ 11-meter rigid-hull inflatable boats (RHIBs) to give them more range.  Read all!  ^


MQ-9 Reaper Drone Operations Begin at Polish Air Base


The MQ-9 Reaper drone officially has new surveillance missions out of Poland.


The 52nd Expeditionary Operations Group Detachment 2 last week activated MQ-9 operations out of Miroslawiec Air Base in northwest Poland, making the base fully operational for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) missions, according to a press release. The group is a geographically separated unit of the 52nd Fighter Wing at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany.


An "important change is the remotely piloted aircraft here are now operated by both contractors and U.S. military personnel," said Air Force Brig. Gen. Greg Semmel, Air National Guard assistant to the commander of United States Air Forces in Europe-Africa (USAFE), in the release. "This flexibility allows for the addition of new missions, and having U.S. military personnel expands the variety of missions we can accomplish."

The unit, in tandem with contractors, controls takeoffs, the ISR mission itself and recovery of the aircraft, which are unarmed, according to the release. USAFE did not disclose how many Reapers the base manages.

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The U.S. service members work closely with the Polish Air Force to operate the MQ-9 and bolster surveillance in the region for international security, officials said.


"I would like to express my gratitude to all of our U.S. friends for all you have done so far with the MQ-9 operation to provide for European security," said Polish Air Force Col. Lukasz Andrzejewski, 12th Unmanned Aerial Vehicle base commander at Miroslawiec. "We appreciate all the support, involvement, openness and kindness you give us every day."


Hosting the MQ-9 in Poland marks additional ISR capabilities for the U.S. overseas. Last year, unarmed MQ-9s began operating out of Greece's Larissa Air Base for additional ISR across Africa, according to Defense News.


The boost in intelligence gathering comes as U.S. officials continue to call for more eyes in the sky to keep watch over adversarial behavior, predominantly from Russia.


On Tuesday, Army Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti told lawmakers during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing that additional ISR would be useful, as it's been nearly six years since Russia occupied parts of eastern Ukraine, with Baltic countries fearful of a similar fate.

"[My final] concern is my intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capacity, given that increasing and growing threat of Russia," he said.


"I need ... more ISR," Scaparrotti said, adding he would give lawmakers more details in closed proceedings.


Speaking broadly on the U.S. footprint in Europe, Scaparrotti said he is "not comfortable yet with the deterrent posture that we have in Europe in support of the National Defense Strategy."


The Defense Department officially transitioned from the MQ-1 Predator to the Reaper last year when it deactivated the older, medium-altitude unmanned aircraft in March. The move brought the MQ-9 to the forefront of multi-role drone operations worldwide. ^


Military Members Who Turned Extremist


Coast Guard Lt. Christopher Paul Hasson was arrested last week on drug and gun possession charges and stands accused of plotting to "murder innocent civilians on a scale rarely seen in this country."

He's not the first American military member to allegedly embrace extremist views. While the men on our list represent a tiny fraction of all who served, here are some who turned radical thoughts into action.



Army veteran Timothy McVeigh perpetrated the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.

Army Sgt. Timothy McVeigh served honorably in the first Gulf War but washed out when he entered Special Forces training. He left the Army in 1991 and told friends that the military had implanted a tracking microchip in his butt.

McVeigh visited the site of the Waco siege in 1993 to show support for the Branch Davidians and started plotting against the government when that incident went bad. In April 1995, he exploded a 2.5-ton ammonium nitrate and nitromethane bomb outside the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, killing 168 people and injuring 684 others. The casualties included 19 children in the building's day care facility.


McVeigh and his partner Terry Nichols left a huge evidence trail, and they were quickly detained. Both were convicted. McVeigh was executed in June 2001, and Nichols is serving life without possibility of parole at the Federal supermax prison ADX Florence in Colorado.


The Oklahoma City Bombing remains the deadliest act of domestic terrorism in American history. Read All ^


President Trump takes bold step to transition veterans into US Merchant Marine

By Peter Navarro | Fox News

On Monday, President Donald J. Trump will sign an executive order to help sea veterans seamlessly transition into the United States Merchant Marine. By simultaneously expanding veteran opportunities for great jobs at great wages while strengthening our Merchant Marine, this action embodies a key principle of the Trump administration: economic security is national security.


The civilian men and women of the United States Merchant Marine who pilot sealift vessels represent a mission-critical component of United States military readiness. During times of conflict, these mariners transport military goods such as tanks, helicopters, or even troops – often in hostile waters and at great personal risk.

In World War II alone, nearly 10,000 merchant mariners were killed by enemy fire and died at a rate of 1 in 26 – a casualty rate higher than any branch of the United States military. Their willingness to serve and their sacrifice continue to play a vital role in America’s defense.

President Trump’s latest executive order will help sea veterans, in services ranging from the Coast Guard and Marines to the Army and Navy, transition into the civilian workforce as mariners in several ways. First, the United States government will help pay various fees associated with merchant mariner credentialing and licensing, which can exceed a thousand dollars.


Second, and of even greater value, ­­President Trump’s executive order helps enable veterans apply their education and experience on military ships toward the mariner credentialing curriculum, thereby removing other costly barriers to entry. For example, mid-career seamen, 1st mates, and engineers will no longer be forced to re-enroll in basic maritime classes, the costs of which are estimated anecdotally by veterans to be as high as $25,000. As part of this effort, the United States government will further develop online resources to help veterans navigate the process of becoming a merchant mariner.

On the economic security front, the executive order will help American veterans more quickly find high-paying jobs worthy of their skill sets. On average, water transportation workers earn $65,720 every year, well above the national occupational average of $50,620. Workers in the merchant mariner categories routinely earn even more.


This administration will always have the backs of veterans, from their days in uniform to their years in the civilian workforce.

On the national security front, this executive order will help address a significant merchant mariner shortfall. In the past several decades, the number of United States merchant mariners with unlimited oceangoing credentials who have sailed in the last 18 months has dropped below 12,000. According to estimates from the Department of Transportation, if the United States entered into a large-scale conflict that required the military’s full mobilization, we could fall short of the number of mariners needed to sustain contingency operations. In other words, after six months the most powerful country in the world could find itself challenged to supply its overseas military personnel.


On the chessboard of Trump administration workforce strategy, this executive order is part of a broader effort to assist our veterans and their spouses in their transition to the civilian workforce. For example, on May 5, 2017, President Trump signed into law the “Honoring Investments in Recruiting and Employing American Military Veterans Act of 2017.” It requires the Secretary of Labor to establish a program that recognizes, and thereby incentivizes, employer efforts to recruit, employ, and retain veterans.

The Department of Defense, through the Military-to-Mariner Transition Program, has been actively working to remove barriers to employment by aligning Personnel Qualification Standards with requirements for merchant mariner qualifications, through the United Services Military Apprenticeship Program, and funding the attainment of credentials through the Credentialing Opportunities On-Line program. This executive order will further develop those online resources.


On May 9, 2018, the president also signed the executive order on “Enhancing Noncompetitive Civil Service Appointment of Military Spouses.” This order directs federal agencies to remove barriers to spouse employment, “actively advertise and promote the military spouse hiring authority and actively solicit applications from military spouses for posted and other agency positions.” The Department of Labor is currently accepting applications until April 30, 2019 for the 2019 award year, and more information can be found at


With the signing of Monday’s executive order, President Donald J. Trump both salutes our sea veterans and celebrates our merchant mariners. The message should be clear:  this administration will always have the backs of veterans, from their days in uniform to their years in the civilian workforce. ^


Russian state TV alleged US target list features mysterious locations

By Greg Norman | Fox News

One of the military bases Russian state TV claims is a potential target if the Kremlin ever launched a nuke at the United States has been shuttered for decades -- but its deep connections to a nearby, secretive mountain bunker dubbed the “underground Pentagon” may be why it's on Russia's radar.  The graphic of alleged targets throughout the U.S. homeland shown on the broadcast Sunday also featured well-known sites, such as the Pentagon and Camp David. But it's the obscure selections -- like a Navy communications facility outside of Seattle staffed by only 21 people -- that have garnered most interest. Maryland’s Fort Ritchie appears to be the most baffling potential target...until you notice its proximity and relation to Raven Rock Mountain Complex, believed to be where the U.S. government would set up operations in the event of a catastrophic attack on the nation’s capital.

"Everyone knows the mountain is there," Robert Stanley, the mayor of Fairfield, Pennsylvania – a borough down the street from the classified site – told FOX43 in an interview last year, but "most people have no idea what’s inside."      Raven Rock Mountain Complex, which the military also calls “Site R”, was originally built during the onset of the Cold War and took on the nickname of “Harry’s Hole”, a moniker Stanley says is in reference to former President Harry Truman. Read all


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