Security News Today – 9/18/10

Posted by Chris van Avery on 20Sep10.

Global Governance: Vital But Impossible?
This morning, the Atlantic Council hosted the launch of Global Governance 2025, a report following a long collaboration with several partners. The fundamental takeaway is that, while cooperation between the United States and Europe is essential, it “is no longer enough to effectively manage global challenges.” Instead, key players from around the globe will need to develop new institutions to deal with the world’s problems. The report stresses that “formerly localized threats are no longer locally containable but are now potentially dangerous to global security and stability.” The listed challenges range from migration problems to resource scarcity to climate change to state collapse.

Japan urges calm after China severs contacts over fishermen’s detention
Japan urged China to remain calm and not inflame their diplomatic spat further Monday after Beijing severed high-level contacts and then called off a visit by Japanese youth over the detention of a Chinese fishing boat captain near disputed islands.

Japan FM Voices Concern On China Defense Spending
Japan’s new Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara on Sept. 17 voiced concern over the level of China’s defense spending, speaking hours after he was appointed and amid a tense territorial fight with China.

China’s maritime aggression should be wake-up call to Japan
The Sino-Japanese standoff over Japan’s detention of a Chinese trawler captain who acted aggressively towards the Japanese coast guard in waters near the disputed Senkaku islands is part of a larger pattern of Chinese assertiveness towards its neighbors over the past few years. This pattern includes renewed Chinese claims to the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh, Beijing’s increasingly forceful claims to sovereignty over the South China Sea, China’s effort to claim suzerainty over the Yellow Sea (where it sought to prevent recent U.S.-South Korean naval exercises), and a series of naval provocations directed at Japan.

Iraq Suffers Deadliest Day Since U.S. Drawdown
A string of bombings killed 37 people Sunday in Iraq’s deadliest day since Aug. 31, when President Barack Obama said the U.S. military’s seven-year-old combat mission there had ended. Twin car bombs exploded within moments of each other around 11 a.m. in Baghdad — one near a facility housing federal police, which killed 19 people, the other a few miles away at a busy intersection in the Mansour neighborhood, killing 10, Iraqi authorities said.

Succession in North Korea
Kim Jong-il’s stroke back in August 2008 and his continued frail health have brought the succession question to the center of the North Korean political/military agenda and to the forefront of global discussion and speculation regarding the insular communist state.

Rogues in a ‘rogue state’?
An independent attack could explain the sinking of the South Korean corvette Cheonan at such an inopportune moment for the Pyongyang hierarchy, even though the very concept of the North Korean military acting independently challenges established United States and South Korean foreign policy convention towards North Korea.

Referendum Deepens Fragmentation in Turkey
In the Turkish referendum held on September 12, voters supported the constitutional amendment package promoted by the governing Justice and Development Party (AKP). Despite earlier forecasts and opinion polls, the changes were approved by a wide margin: 58 percent voted in favor, while 42 percent opposed the amendment (Anadolu Ajansi, September 13). This rather surprising outcome will have significant implications for Turkish politics, possibly accelerating social fragmentation.

France raises terror security; new threat reported
France has stepped up its vigilance against terror threats, a top official announced Monday amid reports of various new threats, including one against the Paris transport network. “The terrorist threat is real and today our vigilance, therefore, is reinforced,” Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux said.

Terrorism concerns rise around Commonwealth Games in Delhi
Britain and Australia issued travel warnings on visiting the upcoming Commonwealth Games in Delhi, after two Taiwanese tourists were shot Sunday.

Georgia Warns Of ‘Threat’ From French Warship Sale To Russia
Georgia said Sept. 20 that French plans to supply Mistral-class helicopter carriers to the Russian navy posed a threat to regional security.

Zimbabwe’s Blood Diamond Trade Continues To Grow With Chinese Help
Zimbabwe’s generals are accumulating a secret slush fund from diamond sales, a campaign group claims. Diplomats fear the vast mines put the army in a powerful position to dictate the terms of succession after the death of Robert Mugabe.

NATO commander: Pirates find less success
Somali pirates are having fewer successful attacks against merchant ships, but the number of pirate groups is on the rise, according to a key NATO commander.

India surging to record trade deficit
Strong economic expansion is driving up India’s imports at too fast a pace for its strong export sector to match. With protectionism among trading partners, notably in the United States, on the rise, New Delhi is urging manufacturers to seek new markets.

China: Energy superpower
China’s emergence as the world’s top energy consumer – and the likelihood of it keeping that status – has immense implications for the future of great-power politics and of the planet. Washington is watching with anxiety.

Why China will continue to disappoint as a “near-peer” rival
Part of the dynamic we witness in elite US circles right now is an attempt to redirect our fears away from non-state actors and back toward the rising “near-peer”–an old Pentagon code phrase for China. It is seen as part and parcel of admitting our need to get our own economic house in order, pull back from “empire” and keep our powder dry for the real threat down the road. For many, this is a highly tempting path. But the problem with it is, the Chinese will continue to disappoint.

Red Shirts rise up again
Thousands of pro-democracy Red Shirt activists Sunday defied a state of emergency decree and demonstrated in downtown Bangkok – their first major act since government forces crushed their rebellion and drove them from the very same area in May.

Pakistan Taliban threats to West limited, analysts say
Pakistan’s Taliban militia is vowing to launch terrorist attacks in the United States and Europe, but they lack the capability to conduct global attacks on their own, according to terrorism specialists.

US Assessment Of Terrorist Threats Poor, Says Panel
Only “low confidence” should be placed in most of the risk analyses of terrorist threats conducted by the US Department of Homeland Security, concludes a review by a National Research Council panel. Created after the 9/11 attacks to cover national perils ranging from terrorism to natural disasters, the DHS got off to a rough start. Critics blasted its lack of attention to natural disasters after its bungled response to hurricane Katrina.

Brazil Building Itself Into Regional Military Power
Brazil’s signing of a new strategic cooperation accord with Britain – adding to a pile of similar deals with other European countries and the U.S. – has underlined its ambition to become Latin America’s pre-eminent military power.

Chris van Avery is an Asia-Pacific FAO and Military Professor at the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies, and blogs on a variety of topics at The Yankee Sage .

  Maritime Strategy News

Posted by Yankee Sailor on 27Feb09.

US Pacific Command waiting for Obama’s orders to shoot down

The Pentagon has said that it is prepared to shoot down a North Korean missile or rocket if it receives such orders from US President Barack Obama.

“If a missile leaves the launch pad we’ll be prepared to respond upon direction of the president,” Fox News quoted the head of the U.S. Pacific Command, Admiral Timothy Keating as telling ABC News.

North Korea announced earlier this week that it was preparing to shoot a communication satellite into orbit as part of it space program.

The U.S., South Korea and other neighboring countries believe the launch may be a cover for a missile test-fire, saying the action would trigger international sanctions.

North Korea has lashed out at critics warning it not to test a long-range missile, saying that it would punish those trying to disrupt its plan to send what it calls a satellite into orbit.

“If the puppet warmongers infringe upon our inviolable dignity even a bit … we will not only punish the provokers but reduce their stronghold to debris,” the committee said in a statement carried by the country’s official Korean Central News Agency.

Keating said the U.S. military is ready to respond to the missile launch with at least five different systems: a naval destroyer, Aegis cruiser, radar system, space-based system and ground-based interceptor.

US-China resume military ties, top officers says

China’s five-month suspension in U.S.-Chinese military contacts to protest Washington’s arms sales to Taiwan has ended with the visit this week of a U.S. Defense Department official, a top Chinese officer said Friday.

However, in opening the discussions, the Defense Ministry’s head of foreign affairs said military-to-military ties remained in a “difficult period,” and demanded that the U.S. remove unspecified obstacles to improvement.

“We expect the U.S. side to take concrete measures for the resumption and development of our military ties,” Maj. Gen. Qian Lihua was quoted as saying by the official Xinhua News Agency. Saving on Auto Insurance Puts Money Back in Your Pocket

Such routine calls are generally seen as a form of protest against U.S. military contacts with self-ruling Taiwan, which China regards as a renegade province to be reunified with the mainland by force if necessary.

China put military exchanges on hold in October over a $6.5 billion U.S. arms sale to Taiwan, including such advanced weaponry as Patriot missiles and Apache attack helicopters. China said the sale interferes with internal Chinese affairs and harms its national security.

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  Naval News Today

Posted by Yankee Sailor on 06May08.

Naval ships for Myanmar

India will send two naval ships to Myanmar containing relief material for cyclone victims, the Ministry of External Affairs said.

The decision is in keeping with India’s policy of reaching out to its neighbours during distress. The ships will carry tents, blankets, food and medicines. The cyclone, which hit Myanmar last week, killed hundreds and flattened thousands of homes and infrastructure.

US nuke carrier in S. Atlantic exercises with Argentine Navy

The huge nuclear powered aircraft carrier USS George Washington has reached Argentine waters ready to begin annual naval exercises with its Argentine counterpart in the South Atlantic

The 2008 edition, named Gaucho-Gringo is described by the Buenos Aires media as an excellent opportunity for the Argentine navy Super Etandards to operate from a carrier since the country no longer has the 25 de Mayo and is limited to joint practices with the Brazilian navy carrier Sao Paulo.

This is the third time in 20 years that the US Navy participates with nuclear carriers, (Kitty Hawk and Ronald Reagan) in exercises with South American navies.

This year’s Unitas exercise edition begun in Brazilian waters, with the participation of Brazilian, US and Argentine vessels and now continues with Argentina playing the leading role.

In Buenos Aires the fact naval exercises are taking place is seen as a significant improvement in military relations with the US, which foundered when Washington insisted on the President Nestor Kirchner administration that Argentina should support and approve special congressional immunity for US troops.

Navy chief worried over China’s nuclear submarines

The Indian Navy Chief expressed concern on Monday over the number of nuclear submarines China is acquiring. Admiral Sureesh Mehta said though India is not worried about Beijing building a strategic naval base on the Hainan Island near South China Sea, it is concerned about the numbers.

“Nuclear submarines have long legs it is immaterial where they are based,” Mehta said. Nuclear submarines can remain under water for several months unlike conventional ones. The Navy had been tracking the developments on the Hainan island for sometime now but the recent reports carried high resolution satellite images of the base. The images showed that China has deployed its new Jin class submarine at the base.

India, Brazil, S Africa conduct joint naval exercise

India, Brazil and South Africa have started a 10-day long joint naval exercise here aimed at tackling terrorism at sea.

The exercise called IBSAMAR, which started on Monday along the Cape Town will continue till May 15.

India’s INS Mumbai and INS Karmukh will take part in the event, which includes the very basic to the most advanced, and involving submarines and aircraft.

South Africa, India and Brazil, who form part of the new forum IBSA, will sport their biggest frigates and test the latest electronic systems against each other in a simulated war situation.

South African Navy captain, Charl Coetzee said: “We have a series of exercises we’ll do at sea, both from surface warfare perspective, boarding and we’ll be doing some anti-terrorist drills and flying operations. Over the weekend and in the next week a similar series of exercises will take place between the naval ships of our three countries.”

  Naval News Update

Posted by Yankee Sailor on 22Dec07.

Lest I get too far behind….

Navy probe of weld problems expands

All vessels constructed or serviced by Northrop Grumman Newport News since 2000 will be included as part of an ongoing probe of welding errors on submarines and aircraft carriers, the U.S. Navy said Wednesday.

The Navy will complete an initial assessment of critical welds on all interior, non-nuclear pipes in at least 17 vessels affected later this month. The investigation also will be expanded to include other surface ships that have been serviced by the yard in the past seven-plus years. Included in the investigation are at least seven aircraft carriers, six Virginia-class submarines, three Los Angeles-class subs and a Navy cruiser.

Depending on what the Navy and the shipyard find in a complete analysis of potential long-term problems associated with faulty welds due next spring, further actions could be required, including replacing some of the joints and conducting routine monitoring or testing of welds, said Katie Roberts, a Navy spokeswoman.

Navy marks ‘Great White’ launch

The U.S. Navy celebrated the centennial of the launching of the 16 battleships of the Great White Fleet in Norfolk, Va.

U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt pushed for the creation of the fleet, which he intended as a show of U.S. maritime power, the Newport News (Va.) Daily Press reported Sunday.

Saturday was the 100th anniversary of the day the ships — and their more than 14,000 sailors — set off on a 43,000-mile odyssey to six continents to impress potential rivals and allies with American naval might.  

Russian naval air exercises in Atlantic disrupting civilian flights, pilots warn

Air operations carried out by a Russian naval task force sailing from the North Atlantic to the Mediterranean represent a potential threat to the safety of civilian flights in the area, an international pilots’ group warned Friday.

The squadron consisting of the carrier Admiral Kuznetsov and two Udaloy-class destroyers represents the most ambitious Russian naval deployment since the 1991 Soviet collapse. During its three-month tour it is due to be joined in the Mediterranean by units of Russia’s Black Sea fleet.

When it sailed across the North Sea last week, the Kuznetsov conducted air operations close to Norway’s Gullfaks offshore oil field “without communication with any air traffic or other agency,” said a statement issued by The International Federation of Air Line Pilots’ Associations to its members.

It warned civilian pilots that similar operations below 10,000 feet (3,000 meters) could occur anywhere along the fleet’s route “without prior notification.” They could also result in communications loss due to interference from military transmissions, the group said.

Navy grounds anti-submarine planes

The U.S. Navy has grounded 39 of its surveillance, anti-submarine planes due to concerns about possible structural failures in the wings.

Ten of the four-engine propeller planes are currently deployed overseas, and Navy spokesman Cmdr. Jeff Davis said they will return to the U.S. for repairs and it has not yet been determined how or if they will be replaced.

“We are acting early, based upon engineering analysis and fleet inspections, to ground these aircraft before a problem arises,” said Davis.

The Navy has a total of 161 of the P-3C Orions, and their average age is 28. It will take 18-24 months to repair each of the planes, for a total of about three years to complete the process. Those that cannot be repaired will be pulled from service.

Japanese vessel tests antimissile system  

A Japanese naval vessel shot down a ballistic missile Monday over the Pacific Ocean, the first US ally to successfully carry out such a test. Japan plans to install the US-built interceptor system on four of its warships, in addition to land-based missile systems to defend itself from possible attack from neighboring North Korea.

Japan has stepped up military cooperation with the US since North Korea test-fired a long-range missile over Japan in 1998. Monday’s test is a reminder of tensions in Northeast Asia, including the flash point of Taiwan, over which China claims sovereignty and which it has targeted with hundreds of missiles. Analysts say Japan’s interceptor missiles could be used to defend Taiwan in the event of a Chinese attack.

In Monday’s test, an Aegis-equipped Japanese warship, the JS Kongo, tracked and intercepted a target missile fired from a US naval base in Hawaii, the Associated Press reported. The target was fired at 12:05 p.m. local time and shot down about 100 miles above the ocean at 12:11 p.m., according to the US Missile Defense Agency.

Taiwan president pushes for naval build-up

Taiwan’s President Chen Shui-bian on Tuesday pressed for a build-up of the island’s seaborne defences, warning of a possible Chinese blockade during a trip to a naval base.

Taiwan is moving slowly towards acquiring eight new submarines from the United States after gaining parliamentary approval for a two billion dollar (61.54 million US) “assessment fee” last week.

“Since Taiwan is surrounded by ocean, its external trade relies largely on shipping. Should China launch a naval blockade, Taiwan’s lifeline would suffer severe impact,” Chen said at Tsoying, southern Taiwan’s main naval base.

Brazil May Work With France on Nuclear Submarine

Brazil may team up with a French company to build a nuclear-powered submarine, part of plans to rearm the country’s military, Defense Minister Nelson Jobim said.

France is the most likely candidate to help Brazil develop military ship-building techniques to create submarines that can be fitted with a Brazilian-designed naval nuclear reactor, Jobim told reporters at the Angra dos Reis nuclear power station outside of Rio de Janeiro.

Brazil is seeking new warships to protect its expanding offshore oil reserves, resources that have transformed Brazil from an oil importer into an oil exporter, Jobim said. State- controlled Petroleo Brasileiro SA said in November its Tupi offshore field may hold as much as 8 billion barrels of oil, one of the largest finds in the last 20 years.

India-PGCC joint naval exercise to be conduced in near future

Indian Navy has proposed holding multilateral naval exercises with the Navies of the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council (PGCC).

This was stated by the naval officials in a press conference during the visit of two Indian naval warships INS Brahmaputra and INS Tabar to the UAE. This visit is a part of a tour to foster maritime goodwill with the Persian Gulf states.

According to an All India Radio Report (AIR), Indian Ambassador to the UAE, Talmiz Ahmed said “These visits are part of the historic maritime linkages that we have with the Persian Gulf for centuries.” 40 Indian naval ships have visited the Persian Gulf region as part of goodwill mission in the last three years, while Fujairah has seen visited by 11 ships, he added.

Spanish Warships For Venezuela

December 22, 2007: While Venezuela is buying billions of dollars worth of weapons from Russia, it still has a two billion dollar contract with Spain to build eight warships. Four are 2,300 ton corvettes, and the other four are 1,500 ton coastal patrol boats. The deal was agreed to in 2005, but the contracts were not signed until last year.

These ships are basically for the Venezuelan coast guard, and the two ship types are similar to U.S. Coast Guard ships. However, it’s expected that the Venezuelan ships will be more heavily armed, with anti-ship missiles from West European or Russian sources. Same with anti-aircraft missiles. The ships are to be delivered within four years.

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