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US air strike kills 3 ISIS
by Reuters -
29th Apr 2019

A US air strike killed three fighters from the Islamic State in the Somalia’s semi-autonomous Puntland region, a U.S. military official said, two weeks after the group’s deputy leader was killed in another strike.

A witness said missiles struck two wells on the outskirts of Timirshe, south-east of Puntland commercial capital Bosaso.

The US military stepped up its campaign of air strikes in Somalia since President Donald Trump took office, saying it has killed more than 800 militants in two years.
“This air strike eliminated IS-Somalia members in a remote location in northern Somalia,” Major General Gregg Olson, US Africa Command (AFRICOM) director of operations, said in an emailed statement.

AFRICOM also claimed responsibility for the death of IS deputy Abdulhakim Dhuqub on April 14.

“We heard the crash of four missiles on the outskirts of Timirshe,” resident Ahmed Nur told Reuters.

He said the wells were used by militants from both ISIS and their more powerful Islamist rivals al Shabaab, an al Qaeda affiliate fighting Somalia’s UN-backed government.

Al Shabaab was pushed out of Mogadishu in 2011 but retains a strong presence in southern and central Somalia.

It frequently clashes with the much smaller IS force in the north thought to number less than 200 fighters.

A Puntland intelligence official said the air strike targeted both groups.

“There are casualties and we are investigating. In recent battles al Shabaab captured three bases from IS,” he told Reuters requesting anonymity.

https://www.defenceweb.co.za/security/national-security/us-air-strike-kills-is-three/
 

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Army takes another stab at ‘rucksack portable’ unmanned aircraft
By: Jen Judson   3 hours ago


U.S. Army Soldier assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3rd Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), launch the RQ-11 Raven during platoon live fire exercise at Fort Campbell, Ky. Jan. 25, 2018. (Capt. Justin Wright/U.S. Army)

WASHINGTON — The Army is taking another stab at procuring rucksack-portable unmanned aircraft systems after trying a variety of different ways to establish the capability in the force over roughly the past decade.

For instance, the service tried back in 2012 and 2013 to issue a capabilities production document for rucksack-portable UAS and even issued contracts to a group of companies in 2013 to supply small UAS on demand, but nothing’s really gained traction as the quintessential capability.
The Army’s Raven and Puma UAS — both small, hand-launched aircraft — have continued to be in operation, but aren’t as portable as the service has wanted, particularly down at the platoon level.

The tiny Black Hornet UAS has been selected as a soldier-borne sensor, but the Army still wants to find short-, medium- and long-range UAS that can fit in a backpack, according Brig. Gen. Thomas Todd, the service’s program executive officer for aviation.

Todd’s program office has been tasked by the Maneuver Center of Excellence at Fort Benning, Georgia, to pursue rucksack-portable UAS and this time the Army is prepared to move out quickly.

“We think we will be very agile and get a capability out there in relatively short order,” Todd told Defense News in a recent interview.

The service plans to award Other Transaction Authority contracts this fiscal year to companies to move out on providing enough systems for units to test and evaluate, Todd said. The plan is to get the UAS into users hands at the beginning of fiscal year 2020, he added.

OTAs allow the service to move more quickly with more flexibility than other contracting mechanisms. The Army, for example, recently awarded OTAs to two companies to provide unmanned aircraft prototypes for a Future Tactical UAS that platoons will evaluate before the service decides to buy.

The Army has taken a step forward, according to an April 29 statement from PEO Aviation, by setting up a partnership between the PEO’s project manager for UAS, the Defense Innovation Unit and the Maneuver Center of Excellence, that is tasked to “identify and prototype new capabilities with commercial companies that specialize in on-demand, eye-in-the-sky technologies.”

The team has established the Short Range Reconnaissance program, the statement reads, to deliver an “inexpensive, rucksack portable, vertical take-off and landing drone that provides the soldier on the ground with a rapidly deployable scouting capability to gain situational awareness.”

Six OTAs have been awarded to companies to provide “object detection in both daytime and nighttime environments,” according to the statement.
Using quadcopters, the companies will, over the next several months, develop solutions for a next-generation small UAS, it adds.

For most of the companies, it will be the first time working with the Defense Department, according to the statement.

“The goal is to move with speed through the prototyping phase, with companies meeting key milestones, and then transition the best technology to production to be fielded within months, not years,” the statement says.

https://www.defensenews.com/land/2019/04/29/army-takes-another-stab-at-rucksack-portable-unmanned-aircraft/
 

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Pilot error caused F-15C crash near Japan, investigation found
By: Stephen Losey
25.04.2019

A KC-135 Stratotanker from the 909th Air Refueling Squadron refuels an F-15C Eagle near Okinawa, Japan, in December 2014. An accident investigation board report found that an F-15C from Kadena Air Base in Japan crashed due to pilot error during a training mission. (Senior Airman Maeson Elleman/Air Force)

An F-15C from Kadena Air Base in Japan crashed into the ocean last June due to pilot error, according to an accident investigation board report released Tuesday.

The report, released by Pacific Air Forces, found that the pilot made a mistake during a June 11, 2018, training sortie with an F-22 to practice basic fighter maneuvers. The F-15 was from the 44th Fighter Squadron, 18th Wing, at Kadena.

The F-15 pilot, who was the lead, was performing a defensive maneuver and climbed at 65 degrees, the report said. He then felt the fighter’s nose was not tracking the way he wanted it to, so significantly dropped the fighter’s nose to 65 degrees down and hard to the right, the report said. This resulted in a dramatic change in G-forces, from 1.2 Gs to -0.3 Gs, which caused the F-15 to go into “a negative G departure from controlled flight."
The fighter then transitioned to an inverted, negative-G spin and crashed into the Pacific Ocean, about 70 miles south of Kadena Air Base, at about 6:17 a.m., the report said.

The pilot ejected from the fighter at 1,100 feet above ground level and sustained serious injuries because of his extremely low ejection altitude, the report said. He was rescued by rescue forces from the Japan Air Self-Defense Force from Naha International Airport, and taken to a military hospital at Camp Foster, Japan.

The F-15 broke apart on impact and was completely destroyed, resulting in a loss of nearly $42.4 million.

The accident investigation board president found that the crash was caused by the pilot’s improper application of the stick forward, with full right rudder, which caused the plane to simultaneously yaw and roll and depart from controlled flight.

The pilot’s spatial disorientation from the negative G forces, lack of emergency training for how to handle such negative-G departures from controlled flight, and short amount of time to analyze the situation and recover also “substantially contributed to the mishap,” the report said.

The pilot was current, qualified and experienced, the report said, and the aircraft was maintained properly and experiencing no malfunctions that contributed to the mishap.

PACAF said that after the crash, the 18th Operations Group at Kadena revised its training standards to give pilots more time to make decisions when experiencing similar situations. The group also increased its training and evaluation requirements for the handling characteristics for advanced aircraft.

https://www.airforcetimes.com/news/your-air-force/2019/04/24/pilot-error-caused-f-15c-crash-near-japan-investigation-found/?utm_source=clavis
 

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Air Force leaders want airmen to hit the books to be ready against China, Russia and others
By: Kyle Rempfer   1 hour ago

Cyber-warfare specialists serving with the 175th Cyberspace Operations Group of the Maryland Air National Guard engage in weekend training at Warfield Air National Guard Base, Middle River, Md., Jun. 3, 2017. (J.M. Eddins Jr./Air Force)

In 2025, airmen will need to know more to do their job than ever before in Air Force history.

Problems they will face include frequent cyber attacks, a renewed nuclear deterrencemission, emerging anti-satellite weapons, calling in close-air support in contested airspaceand fifth-generation fighter aircraft that are really a collection of systems within a system.

How does the Air Force prepare its personnel for an increasingly technical fight against peer adversaries and even non-state actors?
The answer is create more education options: not just checking off a bachelor’s degree or master’s degree box for promotion, but life-long, 21st century learning opportunities, according to Air Force Sec. Heather Wilson.

“We’re trying to do it across the board so it’s as easy for an airman to choose to develop their understanding of Pashtun with an app on their phone as it is to figure out and get the training they need in augmented reality, or off their phone ... to fix a next-generation engine," Wilson said at the Future Security Forum in Washington, D.C., Monday.

Wilson added that the Air Force is currently engaging with American universities to look at how certificates and other kinds of education programs can be made available for airmen to train in the realm of cyber operations — a critical arena of future warfare.

Wilson and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Dave Goldfein want airmen to actively pursue these new education opportunities, and new guidance from leadership will help them achieve just that.

“The chief and I just signed out several pieces of guidance that we hope will change culture over time,” Wilson said, pointing to the tendency of airmen to resist certain assignments for fear of leaving the operational world.

Pursuing education can no longer be thought of as something that takes airmen out of the line of duty. Whatever “ivory tower” stigma exists within the service needs to be pushed aside if its airmen are to remain on the cutting edge in an era of increasingly high-tech warfare.

The biggest change will be to promotion categories, which will be rolled out this month, she added. In the past, every officer in the Air Force would compete against one another for promotion.

“But how we want to develop you as an acquisition officer is probably different from how we want to develop you as a maintenance officer,” Wilson said. "Yet, we threw you all into the same mix for promotion and hoped this big system just results in enough talent being pulled through in different areas.”

The new system will look more like the Navy, which has much more stratification for its career fields, such as surface fleet, submarine and special warfare missions. Except for lawyers and doctors, the Air Force has not really had that division.

“We are finding ourselves very short on senior level expertise in space, in research and development and logistics, because we’re not promoting properly and developing people,” Wilson said.

The Air Force will be shifting to “six sub-categories," according to Wilson, who added that one will be for space and one for special operations, among others. "Within those large categories, we will develop people for leadership along their career and you will promote and compete against people within your category.”

The change will start this year, but the effect will be felt in 10 years, according to Wilson.

Another change is the new PhD Management Office. “If you have a PhD in the Air Force, your assignments will be managed like general officer assignments,” Wilson said.

Before, if someone wanted to get a PhD in electrical engineering or cyber security, it was thought of as a dead end, according to Wilson. That will no longer be the case, as the service is looking to groom increasingly skilled talent.

A final change is for instructor duty, which will now be part of the consideration for promotion.

“You will now be rewarded for instructor duty,” Wilson said. “We are now boarding and recommending people for instructor duty and you’re not going to be able to do it unless you’re the best of the best.”

“Historically, we didn’t value instructor duty," she added. "If you taught at Lackland or at the Air Force Academy or ROTC ... that was kind of because you couldn’t get a better position and it was kind of a dead end. So now we’ve flipped that.”

The need to make these changes in the Air Force reflects other changes happening across the world.

Nations that develop a “continuous loop of learning” will succeed, Wilson said. “And nations and communities that don’t will be left behind.”

https://www.airforcetimes.com/news/your-military/2019/04/29/air-force-leaders-want-airmen-to-hit-the-books-to-be-ready-against-china-russia-and-others/
 

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April 29, 2019
Lockheed awarded $13.9M for work on AEGIS Speed to Capability cycles
By Allen Cone

A missile is launched from the USS John Paul Jones during a Missile Defense Agency and U.S. Navy test over the Pacific Ocean by the AEGIS baseline system in 2014. Photo courtesy Missile Defense Agency

April 29 (UPI) -- Lockheed Martin has exercised a $13.9 million in support of the U.S. Navy's AEGIS combat system.

The AEGIS speed to capability development contract includes systems engineering, modeling and simulation, and design cycles. The contract also includes completion of the development and fielding of the AEGIS Baseline 9 AEGIS Weapon System and integrated AEGIS Combat System on AEGIS Technical Insertion for 12 configured destroyers as well as TI 12 and TI 08 configured cruisers, the Defense Department announced Friday.

Ninety-seven percent of the work will be performed in Lockheed Martin Rotary and Mission Systems' plant in Moorestown, N.J., and 3 percent in Johnstown, Pa. Work on the contract is expected to be completed by May 2020.

Naval fiscal 2019 research, development, test and evaluation funding in the amount of $1.9 million has been obligated at time of award and will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year.

Last year Lockheed signed an $8.9 million contract for Speed to Capability development and work on the Baseline 9 system.

AEGIS, which stands for Advanced Electronic Guided Interceptor System, is integrated into ships. The automated and centralized computerized and radar weapon system can track targets -- sometimes more than 100 at once, according to the Navy.

The weapons system is installed on 22 U.S. Navy cruisers and 62 destroyers.

The first engineering development mode of the SPY-1 radar system was installed in the test ship USS Norton Sound in 1973. The first AEGIS ship, the USS Ticonderoga, was commissioned in 1983 and deployed six months after commissioning.

AEGIS baselines are released every four years but software updates are distributed rapidly to handle emerging threats and add high-priority capabilities, an effort the Speed to Capability development aims to improve.

"Lockheed Martin applies unique software engineering methodologies to enable the U.S. Navy to reduce the time, cost, and effort required to create, deliver, and maintain the systems on the surface and submarine fleets," according to the company.

The system realized more than $166 million in cost avoidance over the last three years, according to Lockheed.

"We focus on updates that provide significant performance improvements and capability while keeping software changes to a minimum, which means about 5,000 to 15,000 lines of source code as opposed to millions of lines," Tomy Joseph, ASToC manager for Lockheed, said in a post on its website. "The teams take full advantage of the Aegis Common Source Library and the open-architecture design of Aegis to deliver capabilities to the fleet."
 

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Lockheed awarded $9.1M for AEGIS work in Romania, Poland
April 29, 2019
By Allen Cone

The Aegis Ashore Missile Defense System Romania was officially certified on May 12, 2016. Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Sean Spratt/{link:U.S. Navy/Flickr


April 29 (UPI) -- Lockheed Martin has been awarded a $9.1 million contract for support and ship integration and engineering of the AEGIS Ashore system in Poland and Romania.

Work on the system includes technical data package and test package/procedure development; technical documentation; feasibility studies; configuration management support; lifecycle and system engineering; environmental qualification testing; topside analysis; Ballistic Missile Defense engineering; and combat system alignment.

The project includes alignment and integration of advanced naval weapon systems with Arleigh Burke-class ships -- all of which run the AEGIS Weapons System -- and will be completed by September, the Defense Department announced Friday.

Twenty-nine percent of the work will performed in Camden, N.J.; 15 percent in Deveselu, Romania; 15 percent in Redzikowo, Poland; 13 percent in Moorestown, N.J.; 9 percent in Norfolk, Va.; 9 percent in San Diego and 5 percent in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The remaining 5 percent will be done at other unidentified locations.

Naval fiscal 2019 operations and maintenance funding in the amount of $3.2 million will be obligated at the time of award and will expire at the end of the current fiscal year.

The AEGIS Ashore is part of the European Phased Adaptive Approach, which is designed to defend the U.S. military and its allies in Europe against possible ballistic missile attacks.

The EPAA includes one AEGIS Ashore system each in Romania and Poland.

The system in Romania has been operational since 2016. Because of construction issues at the Redzikowo military base not related to the system, the Polish system won't be operational until 2020, DefenseNews reported earlier this month.

The scheduled update to the Aegis Ashore system in Romania is part of regular updates performed on all AEGIS systems -- the majority of which are ship-based, according to an European Command statement in April.

While the AEGIS system undergoes maintenance and upgrades, the U.S. Army's Terminal High Altitude Area Defense will be headed to Romania this summer from Fort Hood, Texas

"Aegis Ashore Romania is an important part of the European Phased Adaptive Approach, which is designed to protect European NATO allies and U.S. deployed forces in the region against the growing threat posed by the proliferation of ballistic missiles outside the Euro-Atlantic area," European Command said in a statement. "This site provides a defensive capability to deter future conflicts, and to defend ourselves, and our NATO allies, should deterrence fail."

 

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Boeing awarded $127.6M contract for nuclear bomb life extension
By Allen Cone
April 29, 2019

An F-15E drops a B61-12 test unit during a development flight test at the at the Nevada Test and Training Range on July 21,2015. Screenshot from video by Staff Sgt. Cody Griffith/U.S. Air Force


April 29 (UPI) -- Boeing has been awarded a $127.6 million contract for the Air Force's B61-12 nuclear bomb life extension program.

The new contract modification, which covers Lot 1 and Lot 2 long lead items, brings the cumulative value of the previously awarded contract to $131.9 million, the Defense Department announced Friday. Fiscal year 2018 and 2019 procurement funds, and fiscal year 2019 research and development funds in the amount of $29.2 million are being obligated at the time of award.

Work will be performed in Saint Charles, Mo., with completion expected by Aug. 31, 2020.

The National Nuclear Security Administration, which is part of the Energy Department, maintains and enhances the U.S. nuclear weapons arsenel without nuclear explosive testing.

"The B61-12 Life Extension Program is essential to enabling the NNSA to accomplish its mission to certify the effectiveness of the nation's nuclear deterrent," according to the agency.

With almost 50 years of service, the B61 nuclear gravity bomb, deployed from U.S. Air Force and North Atlantic Treaty Organization bases, is the oldest and most versatile weapon in the U.S. stockpile.

Numerous modifications have been made to improve the B61's safety, security, and reliability, and four B61 variants remain in the stockpile: the 3, 4, 7, and 11.

"However, the aging weapon system requires a life extension to continue deterring potential adversaries and reassuring our allies and partners of our security commitments to them," the agency said.

The NSSA wants to extend the life of the B61 nuclear gravity bomb by at least 20 years, as well as increase the security, performance and safety of the weapon system.

The first production of the 12-variant unit will occur in fiscal year 2020. The bomb will be approximately 12 feet long and weigh about 825 pounds.

The NNSA has asked for $793 million in fiscal year 2020 to continue developing and begin production of the B61-12 gravity bomb life-extension program, and $899 million to refurbish the existing warhead by the new air-launched cruise missile under development by the Air Force, according to the Arms Control Association.

 

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Exercise Judicious Response Epic Guardian 2019 begins in Morocco
Written by Africom -
30th Apr 2019

At the invitation of the Governments of the Kingdom of Morocco, the United Kingdom and the United States, US Africa Command and subordinate service components have commenced the joint exercise Judicious Response Epic Guardian 19 in and around Agadir, Morocco.

Military personnel from the Royal Moroccan Armed Forces and the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defence are participating alongside US personnel in the exercise, which began on 29 April. Exercises Judicious Response and Epic Guardian have previously been held as two separate, annual exercises that promote cooperation and understanding between regional allies and partner nations.

Previous iterations of Epic Guardian were held in Ghana, Malawi, Cameroon, Djibouti, Cabo Verde, Burkina Faso, and the Seychelles. This is the second iteration of Judicious Response to be held on the African continent, US Africa Command said. All prior iterations were Command Post Exercises held in Stuttgart, Germany, the location of US Africa Command headquarters.

https://www.defenceweb.co.za/land/land-land/exercise-judicious-response-epic-guardian-2019-begins-in-morocco/
 

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Fired Marine Commanding Officer Was Arrested on Drunk Driving Charge
29 Apr 2019
By Gina Harkins

Col. John B. Atkinson, incoming commanding officer, after a change of command ceremony at Lejeune Hall, Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., on June 23, 2017. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Timothy A. Turner)

Col. John B. Atkinson, incoming commanding officer, after a change of command ceremony at Lejeune Hall, Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., on June 23, 2017. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Timothy A. Turner)

A Marine colonel who was fired from his job as commanding officer of a Virginia-based unit was arrested earlier this month for allegedly driving while intoxicated.

Col. John Atkinson was arrested April 12 in Prince William County, Virginia, according to police records. Atkinson, 49, was released after agreeing to appear in court May 24.

It's Atkinson's first alleged offense. He could not immediately be reached for comment.

Maj. Gen. Vincent Coglianese, head of Marine Corps Installations Command,fired Atkinson from his job as commanding officer of Headquarters and Service Battalion in Quantico, Virginia, last week.

Marine officials declined to say whether he's facing additional punishment.

"It would be inappropriate to comment on the circumstances that led to the decision to relieve Col. Atkinson due to the ongoing investigation," Maj. Simba Chigwida, a Marine Corps Installations Command spokesman, told Military.com.

Atkinson, who lives just outside Prince William County, allegedly refused a blood or breathalyzer test at the time of his arrest, according to court records. Doing so can result in the court suspending a driver's license for a year, Virginia law states.

In January, he was also fined for driving without a license, according to court records.

If found guilty, Atkinson faces a minimum $250 fine and could have his license revoked for a year.

Marine Corps commanders must be held to high standards, Chigwida said, and they receive training to prevent these situations.

"These expectations are reinforced during mandatory commanders' courses for new commanders and regular, recurring meetings with installation commanders," he said. "The purpose of the directed Commandants Combined Commandership Course is to educate commanders, sergeants major, and their spouses on the fundamental authorities, responsibilities, programs, and practices that contribute to a successful command tour."

Marine Commandant Gen. Robert Neller also institutionalized the Protect What You've Earned campaign, which is designed to help eliminate alcohol misuse, sexual assault, suicide and domestic violence. Leaders are encouraged to inspire good behavior among their Marines and initiate conversations with their troops about good decision-making.

"The topic of responsible use of alcohol and protecting what you've earned is something we emphasize constantly to all of our Marines," Chigwida said.

https://www.military.com/daily-news/2019/04/29/fired-marine-commanding-officer-was-arrested-drunk-driving-charge.html?ESRC=eb_190430.nl
 

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Gitmo Task Force Commander's Firing Comes After Criticism of Detainee Treatment
29 Apr 2019
By Matthew Cox
Rear Adm. John Ring, Joint Task Force Guantanamo Commander, speaks to JTF Troopers during an All Hands meeting at the Camp Bulkeley Lyceum on May 17, 2018. (National Guard/Sgt. Zachary Tomesh/112th MPAD/JTF GTMO PAO)

Rear Adm. John Ring, Joint Task Force Guantanamo Commander, speaks to JTF Troopers during an All Hands meeting at the Camp Bulkeley Lyceum on May 17, 2018. (National Guard/Sgt. Zachary Tomesh/112th MPAD/JTF GTMO PAO)

Just one day before his abrupt firing as commander of detention facilities at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Rear Adm. John Ring said publicly that detainees there may not be receiving adequate medical treatment.

Adm. Craig Faller, commander of U.S. Southern Command, relieved Ring as the head of Joint Task Force-Guantanamo on Saturday due to a loss of confidence in his ability to command.

On Friday, Ring was quoted in a Defense One article as questioning the U.S. policy that prevents the transfer of detainees to the United States, even in the case of a medical emergency.

"I'm sort of caught between a rock and a hard place," Ring said in Defense One. "The Geneva Conventions' Article III, that says that I have to give the detainees equivalent medical care that I would give to a trooper. But if a trooper got sick, I'd send him home to the United States. And so I'm stuck. Whatever I'm going to do, I have to do here."

Ring was scheduled to move onto another assignment after a change of command in June, but his abrupt firing "had nothing to do" with his comments in the Defense One story, Army Col. Amanda Azubuike, spokeswoman for SOUTHCOM, told Military.com on Monday.

Guantanamo Bay currently houses 40 detainees, including Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, who allegedly planned the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
Ring was also quoted as saying that some of the detainees are "prediabetic" and could develop serious health conditions as they get older.

"Am I going to do dialysis down here? I don't know. Somebody has got to tell me that," he told Defense One. "Are we going to do complex cancer care down here? I don't know; somebody has got to tell me that."

Ring was relieved as a result of an investigation that began in March and ended in mid-April, before the Defense One story was published, Azubuike said.

The New York Times reported Sunday that Ring had been outspoken in the past about the facilities at Guantanamo Bay. Last June, he told reporters that the "top-secret prison where the military segregates high-value detainees, called Camp 7, would become inadequate as the prisoners aged," according to The New York Times.

The timing of Ring's firing seemed interesting, however, to human rights attorney Patricia Stottlemyer, who posted this tweet Sunday:
"JTF GTMO commander is fired days after he stated that the inadequate medical care at #Guantanamo placed him at odds with his obligations under the Geneva Conventions. There's a statutory bar on transferring detainees to US even for emergency medical care."

The bar on transfers has been part of the National Defense Authorization Act for several years, Stottlemyer told Military.com in an interview.
"The Senate has, for several years, included in its version of the NDAA a provision that would allow for the temporary transfer of detainees to the US for emergency medical treatment, but it has not made it into the final bill," said Stottlemyer, an associate attorney at Human Rights First, an independent advocacy organization.

Guantanamo Bay was also in the news recently as a potential site under consideration by the Department of Homeland Security for detaining migrant children apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border, several media outlets reported.

"It's a terrifying prospect that we detain migrant children at all, but certainly putting them somewhere where they would have less access to adequate medical care ... it makes that independent monitoring and providing adequate care for these children much more difficult," Stottlemeyer said.

https://www.military.com/daily-news/2019/04/29/gitmo-task-force-commanders-firing-comes-after-criticism-detainee-treatment.html?ESRC=eb_190430.nl

More on this story: US Armed Forces
 

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APRIL 30, 2019
Boeing awarded $5.7B for KC-46 Pegasus combat capability work
By Allen Cone


A KC-46 departs Boeing's plant headed for McConnell Air Force Base on Jan. 25. Photo courtesy of Boeing


April 30 (UPI) -- Boeing has been awarded a $5.7 billion post-production contract for combat capability for the U.S. Air Force's troubled K-46 Pegasus refueling tanker aircraft.
The indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract, announced Monday by the Department of Defense, includes non-recurring and recurring requirements centered on user-directed and Federal Aviation Administration-mandated KC-46 air vehicle needs.


The KC-46 fleet is planned to replace the Air Force's Boeing KC-135 Stratotankers.
The company's $49 billion KC-46 program has seen multi-year delays and expenditure overruns. And deliveries have been halted multiple times because of foreign materials found in the jets after arrival from the factory.

Work on the new contract will be performed at Boeing's plant in Seattle and is expected to be complete by April 28, 2029.
Fiscal 2018 research, development, test and evaluation funds in the amount of $9.1 million have been obligated on the first delivery order at the time of award.

The military aerial refueling and strategic military transport aircraft are built from from empty Boeing 767 jet airliners in Everett, Wash., then transferred to a facility at the south end of Paine Field called the Military Delivery Center. That's where the jet's military systems, including the refueling and communications equipment, are installed.

The first two KC-46s were flown from Boeing's facilities to McConnell Air Force Base, Kan., in January, but deliveries were stopped within weeks.
The Air Force halted deliveries of the aircraft on Feb. 21 due to foreign object debris, including trash and industrial tools. Eight tools were found in aircraft under production at Boeing's facility, and two more in tankers delivered to the U.S. Air Force, according to an internal Boeing memo.
After inspections by the Air Force and the creation of an additional inspections plan, deliveries resumed about one week later.


In April, however, the Pentagon again halted accepting deliveries aircraft due to foreign object debris. The Air Force and Boeing has been working on an even more intense inspection process, including draining fuel tanks on all new aircraft so that they can be inspected for foreign object debris -- as with the rest of the planes -- Defense News reported.

Boeing plans to deliver 36 aircraft this year, said Mike Gibbons, Boeing vice president.

Boeing awarded $5.7B for KC-46 Pegasus combat capability work
 

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USS Harry S. Truman will not be retired early, vice president Pence says
May 1, 2019


Vice President Mike Pence speaks to Sailors during an all-hands call in the hangar bay aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75). Photo: US Navy

US Navy aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) will not be retired halfway through its service as was earlier planned, US vice president Mike Pence told sailors aboard the carrier during a visit on April 30.

CVN 75 was set to be decommissioned 25 years early in an effort to cut costs and enable a drive towards modernization.

The plan was to mothball the carrier ahead of its mid-life refueling overhaul and thereby save over $3 billion.

“We are keeping the best carrier in the world in the fight,” Mike Pence was quoted as saying. “We are not retiring the Truman.”

The vice president was visiting the carrier at its Norfolk homeport where it returned following a dynamic force deployment in December 2018.

“This ship has served as a constant sign to the world that we will always ensure our security,” said Pence. “We will always stand for peace through strength. During each deployment in its prolific career, USS Truman has taken the fight to the enemy on our terms, on their soil.”

The decision not to retire the US Navy’s eighth Nimitz-class aircraft carrier was praised by senator Tim Kaine. “As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, I have pushed hard against the Administration’s plans to mothball the Truman at the midpoint of its working life. I am gratified that the Administration listened and is now committed to the refueling. This is the right call for our national security.”

“It appears the Trump administration’s plan to retire the USS Truman decades ahead of schedule was a budget gimmick all along,” senator Mark Warner commented. “While I am glad the administration ultimately reconsidered this terrible idea, the incoherence here has not been good for morale or defense planning.”

Congresswoman Elaine Luria, a 20-year navy veteran and vice chair of the HASC Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, said she was glad that the administration reversed itself because this “would have been an awful decision for Hampton Roads and America.”

“As someone who served two years on the USS Harry S. Truman, I have firsthand knowledge of its value and ability to bring sustained power anywhere on Earth,” Luria said.

 

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US Navy exercises option for two more Navajo-class ships under $128M contract
May 1, 2019


Photo: US Navy

The US Naval Sea Systems Command has awarded Gulf Island Shipyards a $128.5 million contract modification to exercise options for the construction of additional two towing, salvage and rescue ships.

These will be the second and third ships in the class which will be known as Navajo-class, in honor of the major contributions the Navajo people have made to the armed forces.

Designated T-ATS 6, the new class of vessels will be based on existing commercial towing offshore vessel designs and will replace the current T-ATF 166 and T-ARS 50 class ships.

According to the contract modification, work under the contract is expected to be complete by November 2021.

The initial contract includes options for potentially seven additional vessels, and each additional ship will be named in honor of prominent Native Americans or Native American tribes.

Gulf Island Shipyards was awarded a $63.5 million contract for the detail design and construction of the new towing, salvage and rescue ship which will be based on existing commercial towing offshore vessel designs and will replace the current T-ATF 166 and T-ARS 50 class ships in service with the US Military Sealift Command.

The T-ATS will serve as open ocean towing vessels and will additionally support salvage operations and submarine rescue missions. The first ship in the class will be built at the company’s shipyard in Houma, Louisiana, and is expected to be completed in March 2021.

 

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USS Montgomery becomes first LCS to complete SWATT
April 30, 2019

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USS Montgomery (LCS 8) launches a RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) during a missile exercise. Photo: US Navy

Littoral combat ship USS Montgomery (LCS 8) became the first ship in its class to complete Surface Warfare Advanced Tactical Training in the US 3rd Fleet area of operation (AOR).


The training, which concluded April 22, provided the crew of the Independence-class USS Montgomery (LCS 8) advanced level training to increase their tactical proficiency, lethality, and interoperability.


Montgomery conducted several training exercises during the multi-day training event, including anti-submarine, surface, and air warfare. Complex live-fire events included torpedo countermeasure exercises and gunnery exercises.


“SWATT is the culmination of a phased training approach which prepares our ships and our sailors to win the fight,” said Capt. Matthew McGonigle, commander, Littoral Combat Ship Squadron ONE. “The Montgomery crew demonstrated that they are ready, capable and committed to meet the mission the navy and our nation requires of them.”


Naval Surface and Mine Warfighting Development Center mentors, warfare tactics instructors (WTIs), and technical community experts planned the events, briefed shipboard teams, and embarked to train and mentor watch teams throughout the duration of the advanced tactical training. Training evolutions used a formalized plan, brief, execute, debrief (PBED) process.

 

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May 1, 2019
Raytheon receives $419 million for Sidewinder missiles, parts
By Ed Adamczyk

Aviation ordnance men lift an AIM-9M Sidewinder air-to-air missile to load it onto an F/A-18 Hornet aboard USS Nimitz. Photo by Yesenia Rosas/ U.S. Navy/UPI | License Photo

May 1 (UPI) -- Raytheon Missiles Systems was awarded a $419 million contract modification to build the Lot 19 AIM-9X missile, the Defense Department announced on Tuesday.

The contract modification covers tactical missiles, captive test missiles, air training missiles, parts and spare parts for the missile, known as the Sidewinder.

The parts include optical target detectors, guidance units, steering equipment and electronic units, and the contract also calls for materials in support of repairs, depot maintenance and refurbishment.

The missile has been in service, with modifications, since 1956, and is standard equipment in the military forces of many nations. Work will primarily be performed at Raytheon's Tucson, Ariz., facility, as well as facilities across the United States and Canada, and completed by October 2022.

The U.S. Navy and the U.S. Air Force are the major funders of the contract, with lesser amounts from the governments of Qatar, Australia, South Korea, Norway, Slovakia, Japan, Denmark, Morocco, Belgium, the United Arab Emirates, Singapore, Oman, Switzerland, Saudi Arabia, Poland, Turkey, Romania, Taiwan, Finland, Indonesia, Israel and Malaysia. All the countries are customers under the Defense Department's Foreign Military Sales program.

The Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting agent.

 

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