31 January 2011

UK In Action: Royal Marines Training At Sea

Having completed a successful ship boarding exercise, Royal Marines from Type 22 frigate HMS Cornwall leave the scene aboard the ship's Pacific 24 seaboats. Using boarding ladders, the marines practiced the hazardous process of embarking and disembarking a ship at sea. The Royal Navy is often required to board and search vessels that are suspected of breaking international law, usually either piracy or narcotics smuggling.

Image: UK MoD

By: Widow 6-7

Monday Video: China Rips Off Top Gun?

Looks like China's new footage on their 'stealth fighter' out in 'training' is a bit too Iranian familiar.

By: Brant

30 January 2011

Order Of Battle: US Army Weapons Company

Continuing our ORBAT series of current US Army company-level combat units... Here's the weapons company from a light infantry battalion.
(click the image to enlarge)

image extracted from FKSM-71-8

By: Brant

Canadian Sniffer Dogs Protect Troops From IEDs

Canine units deployed to Aghanistan protect Canadian soldiers by detecting concealed IEDs.
The Canadian Army has been employing sniffer dogs to detect mines and improvised explosive devices (IED) not only along routes, but also in buildings and vehicles.

“We work with canine teams nearly every day, and the dogs form an integral part of our teams and sections,” explained Sergeant Alexandre Murgia, commander of a combat-engineer section of the 1st Battalion Royal 22e RĂ©giment Battle Group (1 R22eR BG).

“The dogs provide us with an added measure of security during our operations, and it’s our role to protect them from the insurgents while they’re doing their job.”

The vast majority of Canadian soldiers killed in Afghanistan have been killed by explosions. The Canadian Forces have therefore been progressively stepping up the employment of sniffer dogs in Afghanistan since 2005. Most of these dogs are German or Belgian shepherds.

The sniffer dogs represent an indispensable asset highly appreciated by the soldiers, given their ability to sense sources of danger well before humans.

“Humans are not infallible and can’t see or detect everything. When they’re with us, we feel better and we feel safer,” added Sgt Murgia.
By: Shelldrake

28 January 2011

The Future of GrogNews

Happy belated New Year everyone!

So I'm sure you've noticed that some of our regular weekly features have started to slow down. With the new year comes some new beginnings, and real life has started to intrude on the velocity with which we've been able to do things here at GrogNews.

Additionally, looking at the links and metrics for the site, we're seeing a definitely disconnect between our occasional polls asking for feedback on features and article, and the actual blog traffic showing where people are going on the site.

So we want to put it to you the readers. Please chime in with some comments on what you want from us. We've focused thus far on a combination of current military events, and military-based reference material like orders of battle and maps, with the occasional whimsy of the humor and videos thrown in.

What this hasn't left a lot of time for is the game-related material we were hoping to build on here at GrogNews. We really wanted to talk a lot more about how current events and modern hardware could tie into a variety of game-related contexts, and that just hasn't happened. I will take the biggest hit on that one, as the rest of the staff here has tended to follow my lead on game-related material, and I'd been wanting to do a lot more with the C2E2 than has happened thus far (I blame you Brian! hahaha)...

So talk to us. You can post anonymously here, but it'd be nice to know at least where you're from / how long you've been reading here. Tell us what you'd like to see, and what you'd not like to see. Are you into the photo galleries? Are you into the maps? ORBATs? Headlines? Have we discontinued something you really enjoyed, like the museum articles?

Until we get some feedback from y'all, we're limited on which way we can choose to go.

By: Brant

GrogNews Daily Headlines

There's a report out that claims that CENTCOM "wasted funds", and yet, strangely enough, there's absolutely no mention of CIDNE anywhere.

Although Secretary Gates has said he's on his way out the door, he's keeping close council on exactly when and how.

The US Senate is now looking into the tanker contract fiasco, and they want to know why the proposal details were sent to the opposing sides in the bid.

More unrest in Egypt as police clash with protesters in Cairoand fire rubber bullets into the crowdthat gathered in defiance of the government, after prayers.

The British police have started rounding up the WikiLeaks backers who started attacking websites in the wake of the last drips fiasco.

And apparently someone in the Army thought that deploying PFC Manning to Iraq was a bad idea, based on a variety of disciplinary issues. Here's betting MOS shortfalls don't trump behavioral issues next time, eh?

By: Brant

German Mission To Afghanistan Extended

The BBC reports that German troops will remain in Afghanistan for another year. In addition, contingent of Dutch personnel will be involved in police training.
The German parliament has voted to extend the military mission in Afghanistan by one year despite polls suggesting its unpopularity at home.

Germany currently has 4,860 service personnel deployed in Afghanistan as part of the international peacekeeping force Isaf.

Extending the mandate to 31 January 2012, parliament set the maximum troop number at 5,350.

Meanwhile, Dutch MPs approved a police training mission for Afghanistan.

Germany's mission extension was passed by a large majority in the Bundestag in Berlin - 420 votes in favour, 116 against and 23 abstentions.


Germany is the third-biggest troop contributor to Isaf after the US and UK.

Opinion polls suggest the deployment, which has seen the deaths of 45 German soldiers since 2002, is deeply unpopular with the German public.

In The Hague, the Dutch parliament approved a 545-strong police training force for Afghanistan, after the minority Liberal-Christian Democrat government won backing from three small opposition parties.
By: Shelldrake

27 January 2011

GrogNews Daily Headlines

The Pentagon is having to fight the new Republican legislators on their proposed military cuts. Hey, gotta bring home the pork, right?

The US and Japan are holding joint war games focused on ballistic missile threats, among other things.

Dugway Proving Ground was in a lockdown, and has now reopened.

The Afghan police are saying they'll round up the culprits in a Taliban stoning that was caught on a cell phone video, in which several faces are clearly identifiable. The problem isn't the stoning guys... Lock 'em up and throw away the key if you want; drop 'em off a very high bridge. Really, who cares? Do you really think it'll deter the illiterate-and-proud-of-it Islamonutjobs from acting like it's still the 8th century, only with AK47s?

You know what, it's a bad day to be a MidEast despot... First, Tunisia is coming apart at the seams, and anti-government protests are catching on like a fever, as Egypt's unrest enters a third day, and now Yemen is getting into the act, as thousands of protesters there call on the president to make like a tree and leave.

One wonders if the drug catapult discovered on the Mexico border would eligible for the annual Punkin' Chunkin'....

The DHS is finally ending the absurd and perpetually-yellow DHS to color-coded ‘Threat Level’ advisories. No more Bert & Ernie level threats...

By: Brant

Russia Warns NATO Of Cyber Attack Danger

I wonder whether the creators of Stuxnet appreciated the potential for a regional disaster when the computer worm was used to attack Iran's nuclear facilities.
A recent cyber attack on Iran's nuclear program could have triggered a disaster comparable to the one in Chernobyl 25 years ago, Russia's envoy to NATO said Wednesday.

Dmitry Rogozin urged NATO to join Moscow in investigating who created and unleashed the mysterious and destructive computer worm known as Stuxnet. The virus hit Iran's nuclear facilities last year, temporarily crippling its uranium enrichment program, which can make both nuclear fuel and the fissile core of warheads.

Iran is under four sets of U.N. Security Council sanctions for refusing to freeze the activity, which it says it needs to create fuel for a future nuclear power network.

Rogozin told journalists at NATO headquarters that the virus could have caused the control system of Iran's Bushehr nuclear reactor to malfunction, leading to the release of poisonous radioactive dust into the atmosphere, as happened in Chernobyl.


Rogozin, who attended the panel's meeting on Wednesday along with Russia's military chief, Gen. Nikolai Makarov, said greater cooperation is needed between NATO and Russia in cyber defense. The former Cold War rivals already are cooperating closely in other fields such as missile defense, the war in Afghanistan, counter-narcotics, the battle against terrorism and maritime piracy.
By: Shelldrake

UK In Action: Saxon Rides Again

A Saxon Armoured Personnel Vehicle from the Cheshire Regiment moves at speed into battle. Soldiers from The Cheshire Regiment, 1 Mechanised Brigade 3 (UK) Armoured Division take part in Exercise Iron Anvil at the British Army Training Unit, Suffield, Canada.

Image: UK MoD

By: Widow 6-7

26 January 2011

This Sucks

From Pundit Kitchen, for your enjoyment.

By: Guardian

GrogNews Daily Headlines

Look, we all think he's an ass-clown, but right now, the government can't positively link PFC Manning to WIkiLeaks.

President Obama wants military recruiters back on campuses after they were supposed banned over the government's DADT policy. Was that ever the real reason, or was that just an excuse for anti-war campus refugees to needle the military?

There's an Army Captain who has built an iPhone app for soldiers in Afghanistan. Of course, there have been plenty of others doing this, too, like MAJ Motes out of the Signal schoolhouse [PDF link], who has been building smartphone apps for iPhones and Droids for a while now.

After the bomb in the Moscow airport, heads are rolling in the administration, as Russian president Medvedev has fired a police chief and other officials. The head of NORAD, reassuringly, has soothed the public by noting that
this sort of airport attack could happen in the US, too. Thanks, boss.

Egypt's government has outlawed more anti-government protests. Up next? Protesting the outlawing of protests!

By: Brant

Most Canadian Forces Personnel Overweight Or Obese

A recent report indicates that many Canadian soldiers have a couch potato physique. I guess that 6am runs are no longer the norm.
Canadian Forces personnel are getting fatter, more sedentary in their work, less physically active and becoming heavier drinkers, according to a new military study.

The Health and Lifestyle Information Survey also found that members are still reluctant to seek out mental health services for fear it will hurt their military careers, despite several new Defence initiatives to reduce the stigma of doing so.

The document, which surveyed about 3,700 full-time Forces members for the 2008-2009 period, found there was a three per cent increase in the number of obese people since the last survey in 2004, even with a renewed push on fitness promotion.

Almost 29 per cent were of normal weight, while 48 per cent were overweight and an alarming 23.5 per cent were deemed obese.

"The study results certainly indicate to us that, like the rest of the Canadian population, we’re not immune to this epidemic of obesity," Col. Colin MacKay, the military’s director of health protection, said Tuesday from Ottawa.

"We’re also, though, identifying that there are a good number of members interested in trying to take steps to improve their health and to take steps to increase their levels of physical activity and improve their nutrition."

The survey, which was recently posted on the National Defence website, doesn’t offer explanations for the numbers but suggests that inadequate physical fitness, poor diets and sedentary jobs are to blame.
By: Shelldrake

24 January 2011

UK In Action: Damn Cold!

A BV206, Carrier Full-Tracked Articulated, used by the instructor personnel in the mountains above Bardufoss, Norway during Exercise Clockwork 06. Exercise Clockwork 06 was a 14-week training exercise, which ran from December 05 to March 06 and was held at the Norwegian Air Force base of Bardufoss. Its aim was to prepare personnel from all three services to operate in extreme cold weather environments, such as might be experienced during winters in the Balkans or Afghanistan. Throughout the flying phase of the exercise, Joint Helicopter Command Battlefield helicopter crews from the Royal Air Force, Army and Royal Navy, practiced such skills as snow landings in 'whiteout' conditions, moving personnel from point to point and conducting navigation exercises. Personnel from 33 Squadron RAF Benson, also practised carrying under slung loads beneath their Puma helicopters, during both day and night operations. The 3rd phase of the exercise, saw participants attend a cold weather survival course, during which they spent 5 days and 4 nights in the Arctic environment of the 500 metre high Norwegian mountains surrounding Bardufoss, where temperatures dropped as low as minus 32 degrees and visibility fell to just a few metres. Mandatory for all personnel who had not done survival training, they learnt how to survive in the sub zero temperatures by digging snow holes, navigating in the harsh terrain and responding to an enemy attack.

Image: UK MoD

By: Widow 6-7

GrogNews Daily Headlines

An Israeli-commissioned inquiry has found that that the Gaza aid flotilla raid "was legal". Of course, critics of Israel will see anything other than "it was completely Israel's fault, based on their mere existence" as a coverup/whitewash/excuse-fest/etc.

South Korea has released a video of their raid on the hijacked ship where they rescued a ship and its crew from Somali pirates.

Bowing to reality, Israel's Foreign Minister is drafting plans for a provisional Palestine.

WikiDrips claim that only 1% of the diplomatic docs in their possession have been published.

By: Brant

23 January 2011

Order Of Battle: US Army Light Recon Troop

Continuing our ORBAT series of current US Army company-level combat units... here's your light wheeled recon troop
(click the image to enlarge)

image extracted from FKSM-71-8

By: Brant

China's Stealth Fighter: Designed in America?

Ah irony. While we buy piles of junk from China by way of Wal-Mart, the Chinese are reverse-engineering US stealth technology by way of the Balkans.

Balkan military officials and other experts have told The Associated Press that in all probability the Chinese gleaned some of their technological know-how from an American F-117 Nighthawk that was shot down over Serbia in 1999.
Nighthawks were the world's first stealth fighters, planes that were very hard for radar to detect. But on March 27, 1999, during NATO's aerial bombing of Serbia in the Kosovo war, a Serbian anti-aircraft missile shot one of the Nighthawks down. The pilot ejected and was rescued.
It was the first time one of the much-touted "invisible" fighters had ever been hit. The Pentagon believed a combination of clever tactics and sheer luck had allowed a Soviet-built SA-3 missile to bring down the jet.
The wreckage was strewn over a wide area of flat farmlands, and civilians collected the parts — some the size of small cars — as souvenirs.
"At the time, our intelligence reports told of Chinese agents crisscrossing the region where the F-117 disintegrated, buying up parts of the plane from local farmers," says Adm. Davor Domazet-Loso, Croatia's military chief of staff during the Kosovo war.
"We believe the Chinese used those materials to gain an insight into secret stealth technologies ... and to reverse-engineer them," Domazet-Loso said in a telephone interview.
A senior Serbian military official confirmed that pieces of the wreckage were removed by souvenir collectors, and that some ended up "in the hands of foreign military attaches."
Efforts to get comment from China's defense ministry and the Pentagon were unsuccessful.

By: Brant

Victoria Cross Awarded To Australian Soldier

Australia's highest military honour has been awarded to Cpl Benjamin Roberts-Smith (Australian Special Air Service Regiment) for conspicuous gallantry in action against the Taliban.
Cpl Benjamin Roberts-Smith, 32, was given the medal for single-handedly overpowering Taleban machine-gunners attacking his platoon last June.

"You went to Afghanistan a soldier, you came back a hero," Australian PM Julia Gillard said at the awards ceremony.


On 11 June 2010, Cpl Roberts-Smith was leading a mission in the volatile Kandahar province when his men came under machine-gun fire from fortified Taliban positions. He decided to draw their fire away from his men, who were unable to move under the hail of bullets. The corporal deliberately revealed his position to the insurgents, shooting dead one insurgent and then overpowering two others.

"He will always know, as we know now, that in the heat of the battle he did not fail when mateship and duty called," Ms Gillard said.

Cpl Roberts-Smith is the second person to have received the Victoria Cross for Australia, which was created in 1991 and is a separate award from the British VC.
Read the official citation here.

By: Shelldrake

22 January 2011

Leave No Man Behind: Korean War Edition

Another airman's remains from the Korean War have been identified.

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of a serviceman, missing in action from the Korean War, has been identified and returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Air Force 1st Lt. Robert F. Dees, 23, of Moultrie, Ga., will be buried Jan. 22 at the Longstreet Historical Cemetery in Ozark, Ala. On Oct. 9, 1952, he was flying an F-84 Thunderjet, attacking several targets in North Korea. After he and three aircraft from the 430th Fighter-Bomber Squadron completed their attack on their primary target, they began their bombing run against enemy boxcars on the railroad near Sinyang. Other members of his flight reported seeing an explosion near the target they were attacking. They believed it to be the crash of Dees’ aircraft and could not raise any radio contact with him. Airborne searches over the battlefield failed to locate him or his aircraft.

Following the armistice in 1953, the North Koreans repatriated 4,219 remains of U.S. and allied soldiers during Operation Glory. In November 1954, they turned over remains which they reported were recovered from Sinyang. Accompanying the remains were portions of a pilot’s flight suit and a pneumatic life preserver. But after two attempts, the Army’s mortuary at Kokura, Japan, was unable to identify the remains. They were buried in 1956 as “unknown” at the Punch Bowl Cemetery in Hawaii.

Beginning in the late 1990s, analysts from DPMO and the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) undertook a concentrated review of Korean War air losses, as well as a review of the Kokura mortuary files. They made a tentative association to Dees, based on U.S. wartime records as well as the information provided by the North Koreans. These remains were disinterred from the Punch Bowl Cemetery in June 2010.

By: Brant

GrogNews Weekend Headlines

Erik Prince's latest venture? He's training Somalis on counter-piracy and policing. Maybe he should use the South Koreans as a perfect example of counter-piracy operations.

The US told China that a more militant North Korea would result in a redeployment of US forces to the Korean peninsula. The "threat" seems to have sunk in, as China is now leaning on the Norks to behave.

Even if the combat arms are opened up to women (like Canada, Denmark, etc), don't look for a mad rush of female soldiers to pick up combat arms gigs.

And the US Army is offering soldiers a few tips on social media.

By: Brant

Malaysian Commandos Rescue Hijacked Tanker's Crew

Yesterday's rescue of a hijacked tanker ship's crew off the coast of Somalia shows that Royal Malaysian Navy commandos can kick pirate ass just as well as their South Korean counterparts. Bravo Zulu!
Malaysian naval commandos have rescued 23 crew and captured seven Somali pirates following a firefight to free a hijacked oil tanker in the Gulf of Aden, according to reports.

The commandos were called in after the Malaysian tanker MT Bunga Laurel, sent out a distress call late Thursday after pirates armed with AK-47 assault rifles boarded and took control of the ship.

State media said the tanker was headed to Singapore with a cargo of oil worth more than 30 million ringgit (10 million dollars) when it was hijacked.

Malaysian navy chief Admiral Abdul Aziz Jaafar said the commandos, who were manning a commercial vessel protecting shipping in the area, responded to the distress call.

He said one of the navy's Fennec attack helicopters was also involved in rescue, according to the New Straits Times newspaper Saturday, which ran a front page picture of the captured pirates held at gunpoint.

"The attack helicopter kept the pirate's mother ship at bay with several rounds of machine-gun fire while the commandos boarded the tanker," he told the paper.

"The pirates were overpowered after a ... gun battle which saw three of them (pirates) suffering gunshot wounds," Abdul Aziz said.

He said the crew were uninjured as they had locked themselves in a safe room after setting off the ship's security alert system.

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak praised the swift action by the navy.
By: Shelldrake

21 January 2011

Railgun Launches USN Jet Fighter

Science fiction became science fact with the recent announcement of a successful launch of a F/A-18E Super Hornet using electromagnetic force.
Not to be outdone by NASA's plans to launch spacecraft into orbit using electromagnetic force, the U.S. Navy is also intent on using the technology to launch fighter jets from aircraft carriers. And they successfully did just that with an F/A-18E Super Hornet.

The Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS), can move a 100,000 pound jet 240mph across a 300 foot runway space. According to the Navy, not only is EMALS is a smaller and more efficient method of launching planes than steam turbines, it can deliver 30% more power. The Navy says they will to use this system to launch all aircraft from carriers going forward, including heavy strike fighters and lightweight drones.

According to Danger Room, EMALS will be fully implemented on all future aircraft carriers (the next scheduled deployment of a new carrier will be the USS Gerald R. Ford in 2015). In the meantime, they plan to test the launch system out on other aircraft, including the C-2 and T-45 planes.
By: Shelldrake

DoD Announced Interactive Sim on PTSD

The DoD has announced a new interactive simulation has launched to provide information on PTSD.

The Department of Defense (DoD) announced today the launch of an interactive simulation designed to help those dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

The National Center for Telehealth and Technology (T2) developed the ‘Virtual PTSD Experience’ to help combat veterans and their families and friends to anonymously enter a virtual world and learn about PTSD causes, symptoms and resources.

“We believe this is the first time DoD has used interactive simulations with the Web to help our military community with PTSD in the privacy of their homes," said Dr. George Peach Taylor Jr., principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for health affairs.

The Virtual PTSD Experience was designed to be used in the privacy of homes. Visitors are anonymous, which reduces the perceived stigma of asking for help with PTSD.

“We created an environment that lets people learn by doing, rather than reading text and watching videos on two-dimensional websites,” said. Kevin Holloway, the psychologist who led T2’s virtual world development. “They can learn something new each time they visit.”

The T2 Virtual PTSD Experience can be visited at http://www.t2health.org/vwproj/ .

By: Brant

UK In Action: Handheld Resupply

A Boarding Officer from HMS St Albans reaches out to fishermen with rations during an operation. The team had conducted the approach of a fishing dhow in the Persian Gulf. Such operations are conducted to safeguard the well being of the local fishermen as part of a life pattern recording. HMS ST Albans is deployed for 6 months to the Middle East where she is carrying out Counter Terrorism, Anti Narcotics and Anti Piracy Operations. She is due to return to the UK in December.

img from UK MoD

By: Widow 6-7

South Koreans Kick Pirate Ass

A South Korean commando team has stormed a ship to rescue the crew from pirates.

South Korean special forces stormed a hijacked freighter in the Arabian Sea on Friday, rescuing all 21 crew members and killing eight assailants in a rare and bold raid on Somali pirates.
The military operation in waters between Oman and Africa — that also captured five pirates and left one crew member wounded — came a week after the Somali attackers seized the South Korean freighter and held hostage eight South Koreans, two Indonesians and 11 citizens from Myanmar.
"We will not tolerate any behavior that threatens the lives and safety of our people in the future," South Korean President Lee Myung-bak said in a brief televised statement, adding that the rescue was a "perfect operation."
In photos of the operation, a small boat loaded with South Korean forces can be seen alongside the freighter. Some commandos already aboard the ship appear to be hauling others up. In other images, pockmarks from artillery fire blanket the ship's bridge.
The successful raid is a triumph for Lee, whose government suffered harsh criticism at home in the weeks following a North Korean attack in November on a South Korean island near disputed waters. Critics said Lee's military was too slow and weak in its response to the attack, which killed two marines and two civilians.

By: Brant

20 January 2011

Chinese J-20 Stealth Fighter Not So Advanced After All

The initial concern over China's stealth fighter may have not been warranted according to this report.
China’s newest combat aircraft prototype, the J-20, will require an intense development program if it is going to catch up with fast-moving anti-stealth advances.

In fact, anti-stealth will bring into question all stealth designs: How much invulnerability will current low-observability techniques offer as air defense systems adopt larger and more powerful active, electronically scanned array (AESA) radars? From the early days of AESA development, a key goal was to build a radar that could detect very small objects—such as a cruise missile at a distance great enough to target and shoot it down—or a larger object like a fighter with a very low-observable treatment.

Airborne detection of stealth aircraft may already be an operational capability. In a series of tests at Edwards AFB, Calif., in 2009, Lockheed Martin’s CATbird avionics testbed—a Boeing 737 that carries the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter’s entire avionics system—engaged a mixed force of F-22s and Boeing F-15s and was able to locate and jam F-22 radars, according to researchers. Raytheon’s family of X-band airborne AESA radar—in particular, those on upgraded F-15Cs stationed in Okinawa—can detect small, low-signature cruise missiles.

Moreover, Northrop Grumman’s lower-frequency, L-band AESA radar on Australia’s Wedgetail airborne early warning and control aircraft is larger and potentially more capable of detecting stealth aircraft at longer ranges.

Lockheed Martin also hinted at a JSF anti-stealth capability in 2009 in a reference to combat with sophisticated, foreign aircraft. “The F-35’s avionics include onboard sensors that will enable pilots to strike fixed or moving ground targets in high-threat environments, day or night, in any weather, while simultaneously targeting and eliminating advanced airborne threats,” said Dan Crowley, then-executive vice president and F-35 program general manager.

Better images emerging from China point clearly to the J-20’s use of stealth technology, but major uncertainties and questions remain unresolved.


The biggest uncertainty about the Chinese design concerns the engine exhausts, which as seen on the prototype are likely to cause a radar cross-section (RCS) peak from the rear aspect. One possibility is that a stealthier two-dimensional nozzle will be integrated later in the program; however, the nozzles on the current aircraft show some signs of RCS-reducing sawtooth treatment, suggesting that the People’s Liberation Army has accepted a rear-aspect RCS penalty rather than the much greater weight and complexity of 2D nozzles.
By: Shelldrake

More Problems With F-35 Revealed

More bad news for the JSF program. The B variant is on probation and now it seems that the F-35A variant is not performing as expected. No news on the F-35C.
The F-35 Lightning II strike fighter has previously undisclosed problems with its handling, avionics, afterburner and helmet-mounted display, according to a report by the Pentagon’s Director of Operational Test and Evaluation.

Both the Air Force F-35A variant and Marine Corps’ F-35B model experienced “transonic wing roll-off, [and] greater than expected sideslip during medium angle-of-attack testing,” the report said.

The report also says that various components are not as reliable as expected.

Additionally, the Pratt and Whitney F-135 engine has encountered an afterburner “screech,” in which airflow disruptions cause severe vibrations, preventing the engine from reaching maximum power. That problem has delayed some required testing.

According to the report, the program has already begun efforts to fix the problem. Pratt and Whitney officials were not immediately available for comment.

Further, the report indicates problems with the aircraft’s helmet-mounted display. Unlike many previous aircraft, the F-35 does not have a cockpit-mounted head-up display; the pilot instead views critical data projected on the helmet visor.
By: Shelldrake

UK In Action: Royal Horse Artillery

ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) soldiers with 7 Parachute Regiment, Royal Horse Artillery fire their 105mm Light Gun at Taliban positions. The action was in support of patrols from the 3rd Battalion the Parachute Regiment's deploying from FOB Zeebrugge, Kajaki, Afghanistan.

Image: UK MoD

By: Widow 6-7

19 January 2011

Study Abroad Program

Ranger Up, a veteran-owned and -operated vendor of great morale gear and accessories, has just announced a new pair of T-shirts for veterans of Operations ENDURING FREEDOM and IRAQI FREEDOM. Very apropos.

By: Guardian

GrogNews Daily Headlines

How do the Norks spend one-third of their GDP on the military and keep their country afloat? Oh yeah, they don't...

The legal fights over a US Navy contract, now at the Supreme Court, have been wrangling since 1991, and involve over $3 billion in money that contractors owe the government.

Another accusation of mass rapes in the Congo.

A suicide bomber in Iraq used an ambulance in Baquba to target Iraq police.

Medvedev, apparently ignoring how many of Israeli citizens are of Russian descent, is backing an independent Palestine.

By: Brant

18 January 2011

Suicide Bomber Kills 45 Iraqi Police Recruits

Another successful suicide attack against Iraqi police recruits - it takes real courage to line up at a police recruiting centre in Iraq.
A suicide bomber blew himself up in a crowd of police recruits on Tuesday, killing at least 45 people and undercutting Iraqi security efforts as the nation struggles to show it can protect itself without foreign help.

The death toll was still rising more than three hours after police said the bomber joined a crowd of more than 100 recruits and detonated his explosives-packed vest outside the police station in Saddam Hussein's hometown of Tikrit, some 80 miles (130 kilometers) north of Baghdad.

The attack starkly displayed the Iraqi forces' failure to plug even the most obvious holes in their security as the U.S. military prepares to withdraw from Iraq at the year's end. One recruit who survived the blast said the jobseekers were frisked before they entered the station's yard.

"We were waiting in the line to enter the police station yard after being searched when a powerful explosion threw me to the ground," said recruit Quteiba Muhsin, whose legs were fractured in the blast. "I saw the dead bodies of two friends who were in the line. I am still in shock because of the explosion and the scene of my two dead friends."

Loudspeakers from the city's mosques were calling on people to donate blood for the wounded. An Iraqi television station broadcast footage from the scene that showed pools of blood, bits of clothing and shoes of the victims scattered near a concrete blast wall.

Tikrit police put the death toll at 45, with 140 wounded. Dr. Anas Abdul-Khaliq of Tikrit hospital confirmed the casualty figures.
By: Shelldrake

Taiwan's Public Missile Test Less Than Successful

A public test in which 6 of 19 Taiwanese missiles failed to hit their targets has raised concerns about the preparedness of Taiwan's military.
If Taiwan's unusually public test-firing of 19 missiles Tuesday was intended as a statement following China's successful trial of a new stealth aircraft, the message came out a bit garbled.

Taiwan's president was on hand as almost a third of the missiles missed their targets, raising questions rather than reassuring the public about the self-ruled island's readiness to defend itself against an attack from the mainland.

President Ma Ying-jeou's attendance at the drills at a base in Taiwan's south was ostensibly to underscore his commitment to an effective Taiwanese deterrent, following criticism that the island's defense has been undermined by his policy of reconciling with the mainland.


The missile tests were the first held in full view of the press for almost a decade. They were meant, Ma said, "to bring more transparency into military affairs and allow the public to view the military's readiness."

But under a cloud-speckled winter sky, six of the missiles failed to hit their targets, including one RIM-7M Sparrow, which cascaded harmlessly into the South China Sea less than 30 seconds after launch. Other missiles tested included Sky Bow IIs - which have a range of 125 miles (200 kilometers) - MIM-23 Hawks and FIM-92 Stingers.
By: Shelldrake

17 January 2011

Anniversary: Vietnam, As Commemorated by the DoD

The US Department of Defense has announced the Vietnam War 50th Anniversary Commemoration Program.

The Department of Defense announced today its program to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War. The program will:

• Thank and honor veterans of the Vietnam War, including personnel who were held as prisoners of war or listed as missing in action, for their service and sacrifice on behalf of the United States and to thank and honor the families of these veterans.

• Highlight the service of the armed forces during the Vietnam War and the contributions of federal agencies and governmental and non-governmental organizations that served with, or in support of, the armed forces.

• Pay tribute to the contributions made on the home front by the people of the United States during the Vietnam War.

• Highlight the advances in technology, science, and medicine related to the military research conducted during the Vietnam War.

• Recognize the contributions and sacrifices made by the allies of the United States during the Vietnam War.

By: Brant

UK In Action: Choppers in Training

Pictured are Army Gazelle helicopters carrying trainee Forward Air Controllers (FACs) at RAF Spadeadam, Cumbria. Joint Forward Air Control Training and Standards Unit (JFACTSU) based at RAF Leeming run four-week Forward Air Controllers courses to train individuals, who from a forward position on the ground or in the air, direct the action of combat aircraft engaged in close air support of land forces. This means talking a fast ground attack aircraft onto a target, from a forward position on a battlefield. Students on the course come from all three Services, all cap badges and various different NATO countries.

Image: UK MoD

By: Widow 6-7

GrogNews Daily Headlines

The NYTimes has a great article about how the military is getting overwhelmed with data, and having trouble processing it all.

The AP is talking about a new report that says "yes, women should be allowed in combat units". It's not like this hasn't been discussed before.

The US DOJ is hoping there's not an abrupt end to DADT, so they don't get overwhelmed in various court battles.

International observers have approved of south Sudan's vote for independence, and now maybe they can use that shipment of T-72s that were headed to them from the Ukraine.

By: Brant

Iran Claims American UAVs Downed Outside Air Space

The Iranian government has changed its story regarding the American UAVs that it claims to have recently shot down. Apparently the drones were attacked outside of Iranian air space. If this is the case it would seem to be a deliberate act of aggression.
Iran said Sunday that the two U.S. pilotless spy planes that it claimed to have shot down were hit outside of Iran's air space, a local news agency reported.

The semi-official Fars news agency quoted Gen. Gholam Ali Rashid, acting chief of the country's armed forces as saying "the planes were shot down outside of Iran's airspace."

Gen. Rashid did not say why Iran targeted the planes even though they weren't in the country's air space. He did say Iran has the remains of the planes in its possession.

On Saturday, Iran said it had determined the two aircraft were operated by the U.S. after earlier this month announcing their downing.

The U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet, which is based in the Gulf, said at the time that it had no reports of any aircraft downed recently.

Iran originally said the planes were violating its air space. It's not clear when they were downed but Iranian officials have hinted that they deliberately didn't make an announcement at the time to avoid tensions with the U.S.
By: Shelldrake

Casualty Statistics For Canadian Forces (Afghanistan)

The Department of National Defence has released a summary of casualties sustained by the Canadian Forces since the start of the Afghanistan mission. Battle casualties (WIA and KIA) were heaviest between 2006 and 2009.

By: Shelldrake

Monday Video: A Light In The Black

Another MidEast BANG!

Yes, there have been a handful of Israeli videos lately. There are a bunch of good ones. Want to see something else? Suggest it below in the comments!

By: Brant

Leave No Man Behind: Vietnam Edition

The DoD has identified, and is returning home, the remains of several airmen missing from the Vietnam War.

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of two servicemen, missing in action from the Vietnam War, have been identified and returned to their families for burial with full military honors.

Air Force Col. James E. Dennany, 34, of Kalamazoo, Mich., and Maj. Robert L. Tucci, 27, of Detroit, will be buried as a group Jan. 14, in the Dallas-Ft. Worth National Cemetery.

On Nov. 12, 1969, Dennany and Tucci were flying the number three aircraft of three F-4Ds escorting an AC-130 gunship on a night strike mission over Laos. After the gunship attacked six trucks and set two of them on fire, the AC-130 crew’s night vision equipment was impacted by the glow from the fires. They requested that Tucci attack the remaining trucks. During the attack, gunship crew members observed anti-aircraft artillery gunfire directed at Tucci’s plane followed by a large explosion. No radio transmissions were heard from the F-4D following the attack and no parachutes were seen in the area. An immediate electronic search revealed nothing and no formal search was initiated due to heavy anti-aircraft fire in the area.

Beginning in the mid-1990s analysts at DPMO and the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) developed case leads they collected from wartime reporting and archival research.

In 1994, a joint U.S.-Lao People’s Democratic Republic (L.P.D.R.) team led by JPAC analyzed leads, interviewed villagers, and surveyed five reported crash sites near the record loss location with negative results.

In 1999, during another joint survey, officials in Ban Soppeng, Laos, turned over remains later determined to be human, two .38 caliber pistols and other crew-related equipment that villagers had recovered from a nearby crash site. Between 1999 and 2009, other joint U.S.-L.P.D.R. teams pursued leads, interviewed villagers, and conducted three excavations. They recovered aircraft wreckage, human remains, crew-related equipment and personal effects.

By: Brant

Anniversary: The Start of Gulf War I

20 years ago - yes, 20 - the air campaign, known as Operation Instant Thunder started.

The Gulf War air campaign was broadcast across the world on CNN.

At 2:43 A.M. two EF-111 Ravens with terrain following radar led 22 F-15E Strike Eagles against assaults on airfields in Western Iraq. Minutes later, one of the EF-111 crews – Captain James Denton and Captain Brent Brandon – destroyed an Iraqi Dassault Mirage F-1, when their low altitude maneuvering led the F-1 to crash to the ground. It was not credited to the crew but an F-15E that was also involved in the manuevering.[6]

At 3 A.M., ten U.S. F-117 Nighthawk stealth bombers, under the protection of a three-ship formation of EF-111s, bombed Baghdad, the capital. The striking force came under fire from 3,000 Anti-Aircraft guns firing from rooftops in Baghdad.

Within hours of the start of the coalition air campaign, a P-3 Orion called Outlaw Hunter developed by the U.S. Navy’s Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command, which was testing a highly specialised over-the-horizon radar, detected a large number of Iraqi patrol boats and naval vessels attempting to make a run from Basra and Umm Qasr to Iranian waters. Outlaw Hunter vectored in strike elements, which attacked the Iraqi naval flotilla near Bubiyan Island destroying 11 vessels and damaging scores more.

Concurrently, U.S. Navy BGM-109 Tomahawk Cruise Missiles struck targets in Baghdad, and other coalition aircraft struck targets throughout Iraq. Government buildings, TV stations, airfields, presidential palaces, military installations, communication lines, supply bases, oil refineries, a Baghdad airport, electric powerplants and factories making Iraqi war machine equipment were all destroyed due to extensive massive aerial and missile attacks by the coalition forces.

Here's the broadcast most people remember

By: Brant

16 January 2011

Order Of Battle: EuroCorps

Ah yes, the vaunted EuroCorps...
Eurocorps is a multinational army corps within the framework of the Western European Union common defence initiatives. Headquartered in Strasbourg, France, the force was established in 1992 and declared operational in 1995, though it draws from European defence initiatives as far back as the 1960s.
Five countries participate in Eurocorps as "framework nations": Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg and Spain. A further seven countries have pledged troops or contribute operational staff: Austria, Greece, Italy, Poland, Romania, Turkey, and the USA. Most of these countries are members of the EU (with the exception of Turkey and the USA) and of NATO (with the exception of Austria).
Eurocorps comprises approximately 1,000 soldiers stationed in Strasbourg and up to 60,000 troops pledged for deployment in EU or NATO rapid-response missions. The nucleus of the force is the Franco-German Brigade established in 1987.

So there's 60,000 troops pledged - corps-sized, got it. But only 1000 actually assigned? What's in that 1000? Let's consult the official Eurocorps website.

Multinational Command Support Brigade
Besides staff support, these capabilities are: information management, communications, command and control information systems within the HQ and between the headquarters and subordinate units, other supporting functions necessary to ensure the deployment, the strengthening and the protection of the headquarters' echelons and finally Real Life Support (RLS) such as food, lighting, ablutions, fuel, office equipment and administration.

The Multinational Command Support Brigade (MNCS Bde) is under direct Command of COMEC and performs its daily activities with the HQ Spt Bn and the CIS Coy, that are its only subordinated units.

Headquarters Support Battalion
Headquarters Company (HQ Coy)

This company provides Moral and Welfare (MWA), Billeting, In/Out processing, Laundry services, including campament material and sanitarian products, warehouse services, food, supply and storage to support the deployment. Catering and messing are provided in garrison in peacetime and for the EC CPs and the Home Base during operations. The company is also responsible for the storage of light weapons for EC HQ personnel in garrison and is able to support the Home Base and two CPs in terms of medical matters.

Transport Company (Trans Coy)

Under MNCS Bde guidance, the Trans Coy organizes the transportation of EC HQ personnel and their personal equipment during high and low intensity operations. It provides specialized transportation and a shuttle system using busses. The company executes the maintenance of all kinds of equipment (vehicles, weapons, NBC equipment, signal assets, power generators).

CP set-up Company (CP Coy)

The Coy is able to setup two EC CPs (ADV/RSC). It performs the CP's physical security by establishing an inner perimeter depending on the concept imposed. Training on fire prevention and fire fighting capacity is conducted by the CP Setup Coy.

So yeah, right now, the 60,000 strong EuroCorps, has a firefighting team, some commo weenies, and a bunch of truck-drivers assigned full-time.

By: Brant

15 January 2011

US DoD Announced Next Units to Deploy

The DoD has announced which units are the next ones headed to Afghanistan.

The Department of Defense identified today two units to deploy as part of upcoming rotations of forces operating in Afghanistan. The scheduled rotation for these replacement forces will take place in early 2011. These units are scheduled to be deployed for approximately one year.

The announcement involves a headquarters element totaling 600 Marines and sailors, and a regimental combat team totaling 5,000 Marines and sailors.

Specific units:

Headquarters, II Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward), Camp Lejeune, N.C.

Regimental Combat Team-8, Camp Lejeune, N.C.

By: Brant

DoD Recruiting & Retention Numbers Thru December, FY'11

The DoD has announced the most recent monthly update to this year's recruiting numbers.

The Department of Defense announced today recruiting and retention statistics for the active and reserve components for fiscal year-to-date 2011, through December.

Active component.

Year to Date. All four active services met or exceeded their numerical accession goals for fiscal year-to-date 2011, through December.

  • Army -- 14,533 accessions, with a goal of 14,100; 103 percent
  • Navy -- 7,069 accessions, with a goal of 7,069; 100 percent
  • Marine Corps -- 5,915 accessions, with a goal of 5,895; 100 percent
  • Air Force -- 11,692 accessions, with a goal of 11,692; 100 percent
  • Retention. All four active services met or exceeded their fiscal year-to-date 2011 retention goals
Reserve Component. Recruiting Five of the six reserve components met or exceeded their numerical accession goals for fiscal year-to-date 2011 through December.
  • Army National Guard -- 14,106 accessions, with a goal of 12,954; 109 percent
  • Army Reserve -- 7,639 accessions, with a goal of 6,949; 111 percent
  • Navy Reserve -- 1,917 accessions, with a goal of 1,917; 100 percent
  • Marine Corps Reserve -- 2,637 accessions, with a goal of 2,266; 116 percent
  • Air National Guard -- 1,564 accessions, with a goal of 1,572; 99 percent
  • Air Force Reserve -- 2,354 accessions, with a goal of 2,340; 101 percent
Attrition. Losses in all reserve components are within acceptable limits.
By: Brant

IDF Acquires Additional Submarines

Two additional German-made submarines will join Israel's navy in the near future.
The Israel Navy is making advanced preparations to absorb two new German-made Dolphin-class submarines, Israel Defence Force (IDF) journal Bamachaneh reported in its latest issue.

According to the report, the number of soldiers selected for submarine warfare has grown by 30% in the latest IDF recruitment batches, in order to man the additional submarines.

"We're at the peak of a process and we're slowly adding more crews to be trained for the position," Col. Ronen Nimni, Commander of the Naval Training Base, was quoted as saying in the report.

The Israel Navy currently has three submarines, also of the Dolphin class, so the addition of two subs means that the defence force is growing 66% bigger.

The existing three submarines carry nuclear-tipped cruise missiles of an unidentified type with a range of 800 miles.

The decision to increase the number of combat soldiers and officers in the Submarine Flotilla will also affect logistics at the Naval Training Base including a need for more spacious rooms for soldiers, more classrooms and more instructors.
By: Shelldrake

China's First Aircraft Carrier Signals A Change In Naval Ambitions

China's expanding navy has been a focal point of tension between China and other Pacific nations, including the US.
When the Soviet Union began building the aircraft carrier Varyag more than a quarter of a century ago, the 300-metre ship was expected to one day sail provocatively into the Mediterranean Sea, a Cold War challenge to American naval dominance in that part of the globe.

When it finally sets to sea under its own power some time this year or next, the Varyag will have a very different master and mission. Today, the construction project that began in 1985 in what is now the Ukrainian port of Mykolaiv is being completed in the Chinese hub of Dalian.

A world and an era away from its original intended purpose, the Varyag will instead feed fears and suspicions between the United States and China, its latest military rival.

The Varyag is far from the pinnacle of China's naval ambitions. In fact, it's not clear that the ship will ever be anything but a floating test runway for the pilots and planes that will eventually be transferred to a larger and indigenously developed aircraft carrier that China hints could be mission-ready by 2015. As many as six aircraft carriers are believed to be either planned or under construction by the People's Liberation Army Navy.

The status of the Varyag (a Cold War relic that once appeared fated to become a floating casino in Macao) is now of major concern in Washington, and among neighbours such as Japan, Taiwan and Vietnam. This fact speaks to a lingering truth about international relations: Even in a world of satellite weaponry and cyberwars, naval power remains as relevant in 2011 as it was in centuries past.
I strongly recommend reading the entire article found here.

By: Shelldrake

14 January 2011

DoD Doctrinal Terms

A handy link for you readers:


By: Brant

13 January 2011

BUB: Afghanistan Updates

Some updates from the War in Afghanistan

So here's a question: based on the "reasons" we invaded Afghanistan, have we failed?

The ten year mark will bring the conflict dangerously close to the point where it will have been going on for longer than the First and Second World Wars combined. With the conflict lasting as long as it has done and with few prospects for victory in sight one can't help but wonder if the whole thing has been a failure on its own terms.

This is not a comfortable thought and one does not like to consider it now that hundreds of British soldiers have died fighting this war, along with around 2,000 (mostly American) international troops and countless Afghans of various persuasions.

Just as in the 1914-18 war, when the current war began the consensus seemed to be that it would be pretty much over, if not by Christmas, then certainly very quickly. And indeed it proved to be the case that the military might of the West quickly deposed the Taliban regime as it would later depose Saddam Hussein in a matter of weeks.
By this fact alone we might say that the war in Afghanistan has been a success, despite the continuing presence of the Taliban in significant parts of the country.

However deposing the Taliban was not the reason we invaded Afghanistan.


Given the skepticism of the war policies, is there going to be anything any hope on the horizon for success, enabled by NATO?

While all this was going on, a debate emerged in policy circles and among policy-makers about what NATO can reasonably hope to achieve in Afghanistan, and what it should be trying to achieve. While training initiatives for Afghan troops and police continue, a look at how that training is being resourced is disheartening. According to NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan’s own year-end review, of the 2,800 trainer billets identified as critical, only 900 are filled, with 900 “pledged” but not yet present. That leaves another 1,000 billets empty, with no plans to fill them. A full 58% of the police and 52% of army training slots remain unfilled at year’s end. Despite this, NATO clings to its scenario of training enough soldiers and cops by 2014 to begin the drawdown of its forces.

Jack Segal, former chief political advisor to the commander of the NATO Joint Force Command in Afghanistan, says that the problems in Afghanistan go deeper, starting with the country’s constitution. The West imposed a strong central government in 2001, ignoring local governance, which is where the country needs it most. “The Afghan constitution needs to come on the table at some point,” Segal says. An element of this discussion must revolve around a critical security shortcoming: the local police. “If the regions—and particularly the larger tribal structures—had some say over their police, they might have more confidence in the security structure,” Segal says.


Foreign Affairs is asking What's "Plan B in Afghanistan"?

The United States and its allies are not on course to defeating the Taliban militarily. There are now about 150,000 U.S.-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) troops in Afghanistan. This is 30,000 more troops than the Soviet Union deployed in the 1980s, but less than half the number required to have some chance of pacifying the country, according to standard counterinsurgency doctrine.

Nor, with an occupying army largely ignorant of local history, tribal structures, languages, customs, politics, and values, will the alliance win over large numbers of the Afghan Pashtuns, as counterinsurgency doctrine demands. In Sebastian Junger's phrase, the United States will not capture the "human terrain" of southern and eastern Afghanistan. In November, Afghan President Hamid Karzai told The Washington Post that he wanted U.S. troops off the roads and out of Afghan homes and that the long-term presence of so many foreign soldiers would only worsen the war. "The time has come to reduce military operations," Karzai said. "The time has come to reduce the presence of, you know, boots in Afghanistan . . . to reduce the intrusiveness into the daily Afghan life." Such attitudes are common -- and profoundly inconsistent with the counterinsurgency strategy of deploying soldiers in local communities.

The quality of governance emanating from Karzai's deeply corrupt government will not significantly improve, and without a comprehensive reform of the Afghan government, U.S. success is virtually impossible. As the counterinsurgency expert David Kilcullen stresses, "You are only as good as the government you are supporting." In that context, Dexter Filkins noted in The New York Times that "Afghanistan is now widely recognized as one of the world's premier gangster-states. Out of 180 countries, Transparency International ranks it, in terms of corruption, 179th, better only than Somalia."


ADM Mullen is warning that it's going to get worse before it gets better.

"As difficult as it may be to accept, we must prepare ourselves for more violence and more casualties in coming months," Adm Mullen told reporters in Washington on Wednesday.

"The violence will be worse in 2011 than it was in 2010 in many parts of Afghanistan," he added.

Adm Mullen said that things were likely to get harder before they got any easier.

"Now is not the time to rest on our laurels, it's the time to press on our advantages and to redouble our efforts."

Last year saw a massive surge in violence in Afghanistan with more than 700 Nato troops killed.

US President Barack Obama has said US forces would begin pulling out of Afghanistan in July 2011.


Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is proposing permanent bases in Afghanistan.

A leading GOP lawmaker on U.S. military policy says he wants American officials to consider establishing permanent military bases in Afghanistan.

Sen. Lindsay Graham of South Carolina says that having a few U.S. air bases in Afghanistan would be a benefit to the region and would give Afghan security forces an edge against the Taliban.

Graham tells NBC's "Meet the Press" that he wants to see the U.S. have "an enduring relationship" with Afghanistan to ensure that it never falls back into the hands of terrorists.

The Taliban are unimpressed.

The Taliban responded Wednesday to Graham's notion.

The Taliban rebuffed Graham in a statement issued by "the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan," the title under which they ruled the nation from 1996 until the October 2001 invasion toppled the regime after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

"His remarks definitely lift the curtain from the colonialist motives of America, which the Islamic Emirate has been trying in the past decade to draw to the attention of the people of the world," the Taliban said.

"In fact, the invading America wants to establish her dominance over the region and the world under the so-called war on terror," the group said.

The Taliban said they'd never accept permanent U.S. military bases in Afghanistan.


The US has canned the IG for Afghanistan war under pressure from lawmakers.

The head of the office charged with investigating corruption in the multibillion-dollar effort to rebuild Afghanistan has resigned, the White House said Monday, following congressional demands that the White House replace him.

Arnold Fields, a retired Marine major general, was named special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction in 2008, when the office was first established along the lines of a similar effort that has uncovered hundreds of millions of dollars of waste and fraud in Iraq. Fields's resignation comes a week after he fired his two deputies, saying the organization needed "new blood."

"The President and the American people owe him a debt of gratitude for his courage, leadership, and selfless service to our nation," the White House said in a statement announcing Fields's resignation.

Fields said he intended "to use the next month to ensure a smooth transition," but no immediate replacement was named.

A bipartisan group of senators, led by Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), asked President Obama in September to "begin the process of removing" Fields based on concerns they had raised repeatedly since early 2009.


Want an alternative perspective? Here's what the Tehran Times has to say.

The West's war in Afghanistan and Pakistan is currently the longest, largest and deadliest in the world. Fatalities among U.S. troops, non-U.S. NATO and allied forces, Afghan National Army soldiers and anti-government fighters reached a record high last year: 498, 213, 800 and an unknown number (by U.S. and NATO accounts well into the thousands), respectively. The United Nations estimated 2,400 Afghan civilians were killed in the first ten months of last year, a 20 percent increase over the same period in the preceding year. Approximately a thousand people were killed by U.S. drone missile strikes in Pakistan.

It says something discouraging about a world of almost 200 nations that perhaps no more than half a dozen countries - so-called rogue states (alternatively Condoleezza Rice's ""outposts of tyranny"") - have voiced opposition to the war.

Washington's self-designated global war on terror (sometimes capitalized), in recent years more politely and antiseptically called overseas contingency operations, has not diminished in intensity but rather escalated in breadth and aggressiveness from West Africa to East Asia and against targets not remotely related to al-Qaeda, which has proven as nebulous and evasive as the West portrays it being ubiquitous.

From 2001 to the present the U.S. has engaged in and supported military operations against Marxist guerrillas in Colombia and the Philippines, ethnic Tuaregs in Mali, nominally Christian insurgents in Uganda and Shiite Houthi militia in northern Yemen in the name of combating...al-Qaeda. The Wahhabist school of extremism that characterizes al-Qaeda and analogous groups derives its doctrinal inspiration and material support from Saudi Arabia, yet last October Washington announced a $63 billion arms package with the kingdom, the largest foreign weapons deal in American history.


And Combat Barbie, Miss Katrina Hodge (former Miss England and lingerie model), is headed to Afghanistan... in uniform.

"Combat Barbie" is headed back to the brigade.

Katrina Hodge, a former Miss England who became the first British Army soldier to win the beauty crown in 2009, is trading ballrooms for battlefields and heading to war-torn Afghanistan.

Hodge, who is a corporal in her majesty's forces and has already served in Iraq, joined a new regiment in the fall after spending a year touring some of the world's swankest hotels and exotic locales on the U.K. pageant's dime.

"At the end of the day, it's my job," Hodge told Agence France-Presse. "If that's what I've got to do, then that's what I've got to do," she said.
The brunette bombshell was originally runner-up in the 2009 contest, but was awarded the crown after pageant officials stripped the original winner of her title for slugging another beauty queen at a Manchester nightclub.

By: Brant

UK In Action: Ships of the Line

During the Maritime demomstration off Oman,a FA2 Sea Harrier from 801 Squadron launches from the flight deck of HMS Illustrious, Fleet Flag Ship. Naval units of Oman and the Royal Navy in the back ground, HMS Southampton, Al Muzzar, HMS Cornwall, Qahir Al Amwaj, Fulk Al Salamah , HMS Ocean.

Image: UK MoD

By: Widow 6-7

Advanced UAVs On The Horizon

The next generation of military UAVs will be bigger, faster, and boast more firepower. Are we seeing the beginning of the end of manned fighters and bombers?
The massive Global Observer, built by AeroVironment of Monrovia, Calif., is capable of flying for days at a stratosphere-skimming 65,000 feet, out of range of most anti-aircraft missiles. The plane is built to survey 280,000 square miles — an area larger than Afghanistan — at a single glance. That would give the Pentagon an "unblinking eye" over the war zone and offer a cheaper, more effective alternative to spy satellites watching from outer space.

The estimated $30 million robotic aircraft is one of three revolutionary drones being tested in coming weeks at Edwards Air Force Base.

Another is the bat-winged X-47B drone, built by Northrop Grumman, which could carry laser-guided bombs and be launched from an aircraft carrier. The third is Boeing's Phantom Ray drone that could slip behind enemy lines to knock out radar installations, clearing the way for fighters and bombers.

These aircraft would represent a major technological advance over the Predator and Reaper drones that the Obama administration has deployed as a central element of the U.S. military campaign in Afghanistan. Unlike most of the fleet of more than 7,000 drones, the new remotely piloted planes will have jet engines and the ability to evade enemy radar.
By: Shelldrake

GrogNews Daily Headlines

Secretary Gates is getting a tour of a Chinese nuclear base, as US VP Joe Biden is hanging out in Pakistan for talks.

Is Hezbollah out to topple the Lebanese government?

Is Iran really offering more talks to the West on their nuke program?

By: Brant

11 January 2011

GrogNews Daily Headlines

An ex-NASA worker has been charged with selling military secrets to South Korea. Huh? OK.

A blast at a Georgian army base kills 3 and injures 13.

China has confirmed the flight of their new stealth jet.

Secretary Gates thinks that North Korea will pose direct threat to the US.

Secretary Clinton is in Yemen to press their counterterror efforts. Ruck up, Madam Secretary!

Assange says that they're "stepping up" the release of leaked docs. I guess they want to try to get them all out before he gets dropped off of a bridge.

By: Brant

New Anti-Ship Missiles Delivered To Iranian Navy

Iran is adding new anti-ship cruise missiles to its coastal defense arsenal, presumably to counter possible military action against its suspected nuclear weapons program.
Iran's navy has officially received new coastal-based anti-ship cruise missiles.

A handover ceremony for the missile systems was attended by Commander of the Iranian army's navy Rear Adm. Habibollah Sayyari and Iranian Defense Minister Brig. Gen. Ahmad Vahidi, the Fars News Agency reported Monday.

Vahidi said, "These sites have been developed in three forms, including light sites, independent sites and extensive sites that include target detection, missile launch pads, radar guidance systems," adding that the systems' deployment along Iran's coastline will allow Iran to identify, detect and destroy multiple targets via a single integrated command and control center.
By: Shelldrake

10 January 2011

GrogNews Daily Headlines

The Army Times tells you what to expect in 2011.

The 101st is coming home from Afghanistan, with their deadliest year since Vietnam, not including Dick Winters, the famed WWII commander of the Band of Brothers, who passed yesterday.

Clashes in Sudan over the secession of the South have left 23 dead.

China is claiming their military hardware expenditures are no threat as the US and China try to mend military ties.

The Economist has reviewed a pretty good book on the "war on terror", so far.

The war in Afghanistan is being fought with cash. Yep, in the most corrupt country in the world. Great.

Iran has rounded up "Israel-linked spies" in their investigation of the killings of nuclear scientists.

By: Brant

Monday Video: Indian Military In Action

The Indian Military gives us this weeks' Monday Morning BANG

Someone - anyone - PLEASE nominate your own videos in the comments below for future inclusion

By: Brant

War Heroes: RIP Dick Winters, US Army

One of the main men in the story of "Band of Brothers" has passed away as Dick Winters has gone to the great muster in the sky.

Dick Winters, the former World War II commander whose war story was told in the book and miniseries “Band of Brothers,” has died.
Dick Winters led a quiet life on his Fredericksburg farm and in his Hershey home until the book and miniseries “Band of Brothers” threw him into the international spotlight.

Since then, the former World War II commander of Easy Company had received hundreds of requests for interviews and appearances all over the world.

He stood at the podium with President George W. Bush in Hershey during the presidential campaign in 2007. He accepted the “Four Freedoms” award from Tom Brokaw on behalf of the Army. He was on familiar terms with Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg, producers of the HBO mini-series, the most expensive television series ever produced.

Winters was always gracious about his new-found celebrity, but never really comfortable with it. He never claimed to be a hero and said that he had nothing to do with the national effort to get him the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest military honor.

When people asked him if he was a hero, he liked to answer the way his World War II buddy, Mike Ranney, did.

“No,” Ranney said. “But I served in a company of heroes.” That became the tag line for the miniseries.

By: Brant

UK In Action: RAF Shooter

A Royal Air Force aircrewman leaves an RAF Merlin Helicopter at Camp Bastion in Helmand Province, Afghanistan following a successful mission. This image was a winner in the Royal Air Force Photographic Competition 2010.

Image: UK MoD

By: Widow 6-7