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Member since: Wed Mar 16, 2005, 11:12 AM
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Marines, Navy Reach Out To Army, Air Force For Expeditionary Warfare


Marines, Navy Reach Out To Army, Air Force For Expeditionary Warfare
By Sydney J. Freedberg Jr.
on October 30, 2013 at 11:05 AM

PORTSMOUTH, VA: This is a Navy town, just minutes from the massive Atlantic Fleet base at Norfolk. But when Navy and Marine Corps leaders convened here yesterday for their annual conference on expeditionary warfare, traditionally a Navy-Marine affair, they reached out to the other services in unprecedented ways. Message No. 1: After 12 years of inland warfare in Afghanistan and Iraq, all the armed services, not just the Navy and Marines, need to refocus on rapid response to crises around the world. Message No. 2: No single service, nor even the tight-knit Navy-Marine Corps team, can handle the expeditionary warfare challenge on its own.

So yesterday, on the first day of the National Defense Industrial Association‘s 18th Annual Expeditionary Warfare Conference, the Navy and Marine Corps speakers were actually outnumbered by the other services: There were two Navy admirals and one Marine general, but two Army generals, a one-star from the Air Force, and a three-star admiral from the US Coast Guard spoke as well. (The Coasties, except in time of war, are not even part of the Department of Defense.) That line-up was more joint than it has been in years, and that was not an accident. At a time when tightening budgets are pushing the services to compete, NDIA very consciously chose to emphasize cooperation and outright interdependence.

When the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division says it can get paratroopers on the ground in 24 hours anywhere in the world, for example, obviously they’re counting on the Air Force to get them there, just as the Marines depend on Navy ships. ”This is an inherently joint business for us,” said the 82nd’s commander, Maj. Gen. John Nicholson. “Our expeditionary capability has to be a joint capability or frankly it is an exhibition,” not an expedition. Pointing to a slide of the Airborne’s major training events, he noted, “every exercise you see here is a joint exercise.”

But interservice interdependence goes far beyond that. It’s long-range Air Force bombers that can show up first to any fight at any range from the United States. It’s the Air Force – using land-based aircraft — and the Navy — using both aircraft launched from carriers and missiles launched from destroyers and submarines — that crack open anti-ship and anti-aircraft defenses so the paratroops’ transports and the Marines’ amphibious assault ships can get through. (This is particularly important against China‘s and Iran‘s increasingly sophisticated layered defenses, known as anti-access/area denial (A2/AD) systems). In the major Airborne-Air Force exercises, Nicholson said, the Air Force practices breaking through air defenses, not just dumping soldiers out of planes.
Posted by unhappycamper | Thu Oct 31, 2013, 09:59 AM (0 replies)

‘SkyNet’ Automated Systems Could Save Lots of Lives


‘SkyNet’ Automated Systems Could Save Lots of Lives
By Colin Clark
on October 30, 2013 at 4:56 PM


But on the issue of automated weapons that can kill people, the issues of fear and ethics are clearly still being grappled with at the Pentagon and in society at large. For example, Friedman ointed to the Flash Crash of May 6, 2010 when the market fell almost 1,000 points in a matter of minutes. “We have absolutely no idea what happened,” he noted of the automated trading disaster. That, of course, leaves commanders and policymakers wary of automated actions.

David Slayton, fellow at the conservative Hoover Institution, citing conversations with senior officials, said “there is a certain degree of discomfort with determining where you are going to achieve control over that kill chain.” That raises the question if we then “allow the next step to an automated system.”

Automated systems, of course, don’t get angry and are unlikely to order a retributive strike or to lose control and keep shooting after the target is killed. “Machines have the advantage over us in that they are a bit cooler and dispassionate, because they are machines,” Wingo said.

The issue is greatly complicated because there are clearly different types of attacks in the electronic world, which is what this panel was most closely focused on. Most attacks in the electronic world would be considered espionage or criminal activity. The financial world is most advanced in launching automated electronic actions, as everyone who has ever read about high-speed trading and hedge funds knows. Problems with those have wreaked havoc the cause of which is still not completely understood, said panelist Allan Friedman, an expert at the Brookings Institution.

unhappycamper comment: What could possibly go wrong?
Posted by unhappycamper | Thu Oct 31, 2013, 09:55 AM (1 replies)

Navy: We Never Said We Were Buying More Super Hornets


Navy: We Never Said We Were Buying More Super Hornets
By Sydney J. Freedberg Jr.
on October 31, 2013 at 4:30 AM

So is the Navy buying more Super Hornets or not? A solicitation notice posted on FedBizOps.gov sparked heated media speculation this week that the service might extend production of the current F/A-18E/F Super Hornet as the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program struggles.

It’s true the US Navy is the least enthusiastic of the three services buying the F-35. It’s also true that Boeing, which makes the Super Hornet, has touted it worldwide as the right-here, right-now alternative to the F-35. And, of course, there are plenty of F-35 critics — including a few in Congress — who’d love the speculation to be right. But if you look closely at the notice — and if you actually ask the Navy about it — you find there’s a lot less there than meets the eye.

Start with the first line of the solicitation itself: “The Naval Air Systems Command intends to solicit and negotiate a Fixed Price Incentive Firm, sole source contract with the Boeing Company, for the procurement of up to 36 FY15 (Lot 39) F/A-18 E/F and EA-18G aircraft. ”

Note three crucial phrases:
Posted by unhappycamper | Thu Oct 31, 2013, 09:50 AM (0 replies)

State, Kirtland (Air Force Base) begin fuel spill cleanup test


State, Kirtland begin fuel spill cleanup test
Posted: Wednesday, October 30, 2013 5:06 AM EST Updated: Wednesday, October 30, 2013 3:35 PM EST

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - State environment and Kirtland Air Force Base officials have begun the first large-scale test of a system for pumping and treating water contaminated by a huge underground jet fuel spill.

New Mexico Environment Department Secretary Ryan Flynn, Kirtland Air Force Base Installation Commander Col. Tom Miller and Albuquerque-Bernalillo County water utility member Maggie Hart Stebbins held a news conference to showcase the system, which Wednesday was to pump 70,000 gallons of contaminated water from the underground aquifer that feeds Albuquerque's water supply . The water will be pumped to nearby mobile tanks for filtering and treatment. Officials are testing the system to see if it can be used to remediate the spill, which has been estimated at twice the size of the Exxon Valdez oil spill.

The fuel came from what officials believe was a 40-year leak from underground pipes at a Kirtland aircraft fuel loading facility.
Posted by unhappycamper | Thu Oct 31, 2013, 09:42 AM (0 replies)

Still Dancing Around the First Amendment


Still Dancing Around the First Amendment
by Rosemarie Jackowski | October 29, 2013 - 3:25pm


How did we get here. Last night's meeting of the Bennington Select Board was more like a scene from Shirley Jackson's 'The Lottery', than like a Norman Rockwell painting. 'The Lottery' was written in North Bennington, just a stone's throw away from Bennington. It is the story of how small town culture often results in prejudice against anyone who is different.


The bottom line is this. It appears that the law is under consideration because of a desire to make the poor invisible to tourists. It has been stated that the poor create an 'image' problem. Instead of hiding the poor, how about helping them. The common belief is that there are 'services' for all who are in need. That is a myth. Many in Vermont go without the essentials of life. Homelessness is an issue - so much so, that recently some were considering putting up a tent city. Today it was announced that a 59 unit Econo Lodge in Shelburne is being converted to house the homeless. Instead of hiding them, they are being helped in Shelburne and other locations. Would that be a solution in Bennington?

The prejudice against the 'lower class' is very clear. Some are poor through no fault of their own. One of the leading causes of bankruptcy is medical expenses. A 2007 Harvard study showed that 60% of bankruptcies are due to medical expenses. 75% filing for bankruptcy had health care insurance. Sometimes bad things do happen to good people.

A suggestion to the town leaders: Next time a panhandler asks for help, invite him out to lunch. Maybe you will have a new understanding of the causes of poverty and also make a new friend.
Posted by unhappycamper | Thu Oct 31, 2013, 08:51 AM (1 replies)

Amtrak: Democracy vs. "The Market"


Amtrak: Democracy vs. "The Market"
by Dave Johnson | October 30, 2013 - 9:06am

Amtrak doesn’t “make money” so Republicans want to cut back on service to rural areas. This is America’s ideological tension: democracy serves We the People, plutocracy and markets serve the people who have money.

Of course you read Progressive Breakfast every morning to get the top news items of interest to progressives, but you might have missed this story Monday: Without federal aid, Amtrak could leave rural areas behind. The article discusses the importance of Amtrak in isolated areas,


But Republicans say the country “can’t afford” to serve isolated, rural areas. This, of course, after decades of tax cut after tax cut for the wealthy and corporations, while doubling military spending under Reagan and then doubling it again under ‘W’ Bush. (They also say we “can’t afford” light rail in cities to help people get to work, or high-speed rail between cities to help people and goods move around.) From the story,


It is interesting to read the comments this article has received at the various sites it is published. It is not getting the usual mass of nasty, insulting, anti-government comments from the right that you expect to see following an article like this. (At least not yet). At The Kansas City Star, for example, Gregory Hinton says, “in forty years Amtrak has lost money that the military gets in 20 days.” At the Miami Herald Clifford Timecruncher Kuhl writes, “I have to wonder how much the “indirect” subsidy is for airport costs and the air traffic control system and how it would affect the cost of an airline ticket were fliers required to pay the entire cost of air service?” At McClatchy DC Prentis Brandon notes, “The government could cover Amtrak route losses for 40 years ($600 million/year) with what they just wasted with a 16 day shutdown.” At the Witchita Eagle Tax Wayne writes, “Maybe the republicans would be willing to take a few bucks out of the farmer welfare program, (you know, the one where the republicans pay the farmers NOT to grow anything) and help Amtrak out.”
Posted by unhappycamper | Thu Oct 31, 2013, 08:44 AM (5 replies)

Dick Cheney Calls for War on Iran


Dick Cheney Calls for War on Iran
by William Boardman | October 30, 2013 - 9:44am

"Let's go make war on Iran!" said Republican Dick Cheney in somewhat different words on one of those silly Sunday shows October 26th.

This wasn't the first time Cheney had advocated for war on Iran. Or for torture. Or for assassination by drone. Or for any other war crime for which he is unlikely ever to be held accountable.

But in all fairness to the former vice president, this time he really only implied that war on Iran was inevitable. Looking at the record, however, it's hard to find any war Cheney hasn't found "inevitable," even if he had to lie to get it started, as he did with Iraq.

And Cheney's fondness for "inevitable" wars relies not merely on dishonesty, but more importantly, on personal detachment. Cheney has wanted all these wars to be inevitable for other people, not for anyone in his circle. That's the way it's been for Cheney since he copped out on the war of his generation, getting five deferments from Viet Nam because he had "other priorities" that included cheering on the warmakers who were sending more and more of other people's children to suffer and die in Southeast Asia.
Posted by unhappycamper | Thu Oct 31, 2013, 08:30 AM (5 replies)

($40 billion dollar) Aircraft carrier Ford to be christened in Newport News


Aircraft carrier Ford to be christened in Newport News
The Associated Press
© October 31, 2013


The Navy's newest aircraft carrier is set to be christened in early November.

Susan Ford Bales is scheduled to smash a bottle of American sparkling wine across the ship's hull on Nov. 9 to christen the Gerald R. Ford. She is the sponsor of her father's namesake ship.

Huntington Ingalls Industries says Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan will serve as the keynote speaker at the christening ceremony.

Construction of the Ford began in November 2009 at Newport News Shipbuilding.

unhappycamper comment: I wonder what else we could buy for $40 billion dollars.

Posted by unhappycamper | Thu Oct 31, 2013, 08:22 AM (0 replies)

Infosys to settle US visa fraud case for $34M


FILE - In this Saturday, June 15, 2013 file photo, Infosys Executive Chairman N. R. Narayana Murthy listens to shareholders during the company's 32th Annual General Meeting in Bangalore, India. Indian technology outsourcing giant Infosys announced a $34 million settlement Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2013, to end a federal investigation into allegations that company gamed immigration laws to bring thousands of lower-paid workers into the United States.

Infosys to settle US visa fraud case for $34M
By NOMAAN MERCHANT, Associated Press : October 30, 2013 : Updated: October 30, 2013 1:41pm

PLANO, Texas (AP) — Infosys announced a $34 million settlement Wednesday to end a federal investigation into allegations that the Indian technology outsourcing giant circumvented immigration laws to bring thousands of lower-paid workers into the United States.

Federal prosecutors in Texas and Infosys said the settlement would head off any criminal case.

Infosys, which operates in more than 30 countries with more than 160,000 employees, had been under investigation for using short-term B-1 visas to bring thousands of workers to the United States instead of the more expensive H1-B visa for specialized workers. The U.S. caps the number of H1-B visas issued each year, making the process highly competitive among companies looking to hire foreign employees.

Authorities accused Infosys of gaining a leg up by importing qualified workers with the B-1 visa and paying them an Indian wage, which allowed them to underbid competitors. Prosecutors said they didn't know what those workers were paid and whether they still remained in the United States, but said Infosys had agreed to changes that would bring it into compliance with American law.
Posted by unhappycamper | Thu Oct 31, 2013, 08:12 AM (0 replies)

EU spying backlash threatens billions in US trade


FILE - In this June 19, 2013, file photo, President Barack Obama, left, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, right, arrive for a news conference at the chancellery in Berlin. Reports based on leaks from former NSA systems analyst Edward Snowden suggest the U.S. has monitored the telephone communications of 35 foreign leaders. The fact that Merkel was among them has been particularly troubling to many in Europe and on Capitol Hill, given her status as a senior stateswoman, the leader of Europe’s strongest economy, and a key American ally on global economics, Iranian nuclear negotiations and the Afghanistan war.

EU spying backlash threatens billions in US trade
By JUERGEN BAETZ — Associated Press
Published: October 30, 2013 Updated 26 minutes ago

BRUSSELS — The backlash in Europe over U.S. spying is threatening an agreement that generates tens of billions of dollars in trans-Atlantic business every year — and negotiations on another pact worth many times more.

A growing number of European officials are calling for the suspension of the "Safe Harbor" agreement that lets U.S. companies process commercial and personal data — sales, emails, photos — from customers in Europe. This little-known but vital deal allows more than 4,200 American companies to do business in Europe, including Internet giants like Apple, Google, Facebook and Amazon.

Revelations of the extent of U.S. spying on its European allies is also threatening to undermine one of President Barack Obama's top trans-Atlantic goals: a sweeping free-trade agreement that would add an estimated $138 billion (100 billion euros) a year to each economy's gross domestic product.

Top EU officials say the trust needed for the negotiations has been shattered.


Perhaps someone will listen when corporations start to complain.
Posted by unhappycamper | Thu Oct 31, 2013, 07:48 AM (0 replies)
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