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April 19, 2014 / 19 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Pentagon’

Pentagon Allows Kippa and Beard If They Don’t Endanger a Mission

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014

The Pentagon made clear in an order that troops may accommodate religious beliefs in their garb or grooming as long as it does not frustrate their mission.

“The new policy states that military departments will accommodate religious requests of service members unless a request would have an adverse effect on military readiness, mission accomplishment, unit cohesion and good order and discipline,” Navy Lt. Cmdr. Nathan J. Christensen, a Pentagon spokesman said Wednesday.

The requests will be decided on a case-by-case basis, Christensen said.

Under the order, Jewish servicemen could be permitted to wear a kippah or a beard.

Among the factors that would influence a decision, a Pentagon statement listed, are “safe and effective operation of weapons,” and health and safety hazards to the personnel wearing the apparel.

 

Pentagon Official: U.S. Still Considering Drone Sale to Turkey

Thursday, October 24th, 2013

U.S. sales of drones to Turkey are still under consideration.

“The United States continues to work through our approach to exporting unmanned systems to our closest allies, including Turkey,” a Pentagon official told JTA on Tuesday.

The official would not comment directly on reports originating in the Turkish press that the Obama administration had canceled the sale of 10 Predator drones to Turkey in retaliation for Turkey’s alleged exposure to Iran of 10 operatives working for Israeli intelligence.

A spokesman for the State Department, which finalizes such sales, also would not comment, citing the policy of not making such sales public until Congress had been notified.

The drones each cost at least $4.5 million.

US Suspends Delivery of F-16s to Egypt Due to Political Turmoil

Thursday, July 25th, 2013

The United States was prepared to deliver four F-16 Fighter jets to Egypt as recently as last week, but on Wednesday, July 24, the U.S. administration announced that there would be no delivery at this time.

The move is one that surprised few, as the U.S. administration had been far more favorably disposed to the recently ousted President Mahmoud Morsi than it has been to either President Hosnai Mubarak who was removed in the Tahrir Square Revolution in 2011, or to the current government leaders whose tactics have been viewed as heavy-handed.

“Given the current situation in Egypt we do not believe it is appropriate to move forward at this time with the delivery of F-16s,” Pentagon spokesman George Little told reporters on Wednesday.  Little explained that the decision to delay delivery of the warplanes came from U.S. President Barack Obama.

The delay was relayed to Egypt’s army chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in a telephone call by U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel earlier in the day.

Under a $2.5 billion deal signed in 2010, the United States is committed to providing 20 F-16 fighters to Egypt. Eight jets were delivered earlier this year and four more F-16s were due to be shipped over in coming weeks.

The Pentagon’s announcement that the F-16s would not be delivered at this time followed a decision made on July 19 by the British government to suspend arms exports to the Egyptian military.

Despite the decision to delay delivery, the United States plans to go ahead with a planned joint military exercise with Egypt known as “Bright Star.”

Egypt receives $1.3 billion in U.S. aid each year.

Meanwhile, the current Egyptian leadership continues on the path it began by ousting Morsi.  The public prosecutor ordered the arrest of the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood Wednesday on charges of “inciting violence.” And army chief al-Sisi called for nationwide protests, the purpose of which is to oppose “violence and terrorism.”

State of Unreadiness

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013

My colleague Timothy Whiteman at Liberty Unyielding highlighted recently the number of Air Force squadrons that will have to cease training later this year because the Air Force doesn’t have funds for the flying hours.  This is real, and it is astounding.  It will mean that, at a certain point in the near future, as early as this fall, if no additional funds become available, the cost of mounting an operation big enough to eliminate Iran’s nuclear weapons-related installations is likely to be too high.

This is because there will be no force depth to either sustain follow-on operations or overcome the geographic constraints U.S. forces are increasingly likely to face.  Assuming all of the Air Force’s stand-downs and readiness-losses do occur, the available front-line forces would be maxed out with a moderately scoped strike package.  To meet the task, they would require the most favorable basing options that could be available in the Persian Gulf under today’s conditions – but which may not be available.  If we don’t have those favorable basing options and the Air Force squadron groundings remain on track, the Iran strike goes from all-but-under-resourced to impossible.

There will not, after all, be two aircraft carriers on station near Iran, with their combined eight squadrons of Navy strike-fighters (more on that below).  It will in theory be possible to deploy a second carrier, but doing so is pretty much certain to require more money from Congress.  (Doing so would also enlarge and accelerate the readiness snowball for the Navy’s carrier force, a snowball that will inevitably become an avalanche of carrier unreadiness in the next three years, if world problems require unplanned operations during this period.)

The Air Force will have to carry the load of a strike on Iran, if there is to be one in the foreseeable future.  The Air Force’s forward-deployed squadrons will continue to train and conduct operational flights.  The B-2s and some of the B-52s, which can deploy immediately and/or operate globally from their bases stateside, will remain combat ready.  But the strike-fighter squadrons at their home bases in the States, which would be called on if a major operation had to be ordered, will be in an impaired state of readiness.  The aircrews will fall out of combat qualification when they haven’t been able to get their training hours in (and some aircraft maintenance will be deferred as well).  If the president wanted to order a new operation, beyond our current military commitments, it is not clear what would happen.

Geography rules

This is a good time to briefly review the features of the hole we are backing into, with respect to an Iran strike.  (I wrote more about some of them in February).  The features of this hole can be grouped geographically and in terms of military resources.

Geographically, the potential axes of approach to Iran for a nuclear-facilities strike have been whittled down significantly, through political attrition and strategic disuse.  Five years ago, U.S. forces might have approached from multiple axes, including possibilities like operating intelligence or refueling aircraft out of Turkey, or inserting special forces from Iraq.  These were at least political possibilities at that time; today, they fall between unlikely and not happening.

Moreover, it is no longer guaranteed that we would be able to launch the Air Force’s strike-fighter aircraft from Qatar or Kuwait, still less from a base in UAE or Oman.  We don’t normally operate Air Force aircraft from Bahrain, but even Bahrain – long our closest partner in the Gulf – may not be a fallback option.  Iraq will not be an option at all, and Afghanistan would object to being used as a base for launching attacks on Iran.  The same can be said of Pakistan.

If the Air Force has to launch most of the aircraft for this operation, we have a serious problem.  B-2s and B-52s launch from elsewhere, of course, but for certain types of bombing, they will require fighter escort protection while over Iran.  Refueling tankers orbiting over the Gulf will require fighter protection as well, as will the EA-3 Sentry airborne command and control platform.

We may or may not have the use of other nations’ air space to approach Iran (e.g., Kuwait’s, Jordan’s, Saudi Arabia’s, or Oman’s); if we don’t, there will be one way in and out of the Persian Gulf air space through which manned bombers will have to transit.  That in itself is a significant vulnerability.  Geographically, there is a real possibility that the U.S. would be limited to bringing aircraft in through the air space over the Strait of Hormuz.  If there is nowhere local for aircraft to recover – e.g., Oman – that limitation would effectively knock the Air Force strike-fighters out of a small operation.

Pentagon Asking Congress to Sell Israel 1,725 Bunker Busters

Tuesday, December 11th, 2012

The Defense Security Cooperation Agency has notified Congress that it intends to sell Israel some 6,900 tail kits which can turn “dumb” bombs into satellite-guided “smart bombs,” including bombs capable of penetrating hardened targets, Bloomberg Business Week reported.

Some of the hardened targets one would immediately think about are those underground nuclear plants the Iranian government has been so chatty about this past decade or so.

According to BBW, the sale will includes 1,725 all-weather satellite-guided Joint Direct Attack Munition, or JDAM tail kits with BLU-109 bombs, which are 2,000-pound, hard-target penetrators.

Bombs delivered this way are among the most precise weapons in the U.S. and Israeli arsenal. They can be dropped by F-15 and F-16 fighter jets.

The BLU-109 is a so-called bunker buster, designed to “defeat an enemy’s most critical and hardened targets,” such as protected weapons storage sites, and penetrate as much as six feet of reinforced concrete, according to a U.S. Air Force fact sheet.

The BLU-109 has a steel casing about 1 inch thick, filled with 530 lb of Tritonal. It has a delayed-action tail-fuse.

The sale will replenish Israel’s inventory after the attacks on Arab terrorist enclaves in Gaza last month. During Israel’s Operation Pillar of Defense, Israeli forces carried out more than 1,000 attacks in Gaza

According to equities.com, the Government of Israel has requested a sale of 6,900 Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM) tail kits (which include 3,450 JDAM Anti-Jam KMU-556 (GBU-31) for MK-84 warheads; 1,725 KMU-557 (GBU-31) for BLU-109 warheads and 1,725 KMU-572 (GBU-38) for MK-82 warheads); 3,450 MK-84 2000 lb General Purpose Bombs; 1,725 MK-82 500 lb General Purpose Bombs; 1,725 BLU-109 Bombs; 3,450 GBU-39 Small Diameter Bombs; 11,500 FMU-139 Fuses; 11,500 FMU-143 Fuses; and 11,500 FMU-152 Fuses.

Also included are spare and repair parts, support equipment, personnel training and training equipment, publications and technical documentation, U.S. Government and contractor engineering and technical support, and other related elements of program support. The estimated cost is $647 million.

Worth every penny.

According to the Pentagon, the proposed sale of munitions will not alter the basic military balance in the region.

That’s good.

Pentagon Defends Operation Pillar of Defense

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

Pentagon spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Stephen Warren issued a statement on behalf of the United States backing Israel’s decision to conduct targeted attacks against sources of terror against civilians in the south of the country.

“We’re monitoring the situation closely,” Warren said.  ”We stand by our Israeli partners in their right to defend themselves against terrorism”.

Panetta: Iran Diplomacy Window Still Open, Israel Won’t Strike

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said at the Pentagon news conference on Tuesday that he doesn’t believe that Israel has made a decision to attack Iran’s nuclear sites, adding that international sanctions are increasing pressure on Iran to make concessions, the Pentagon has announced.

Negotiations with Iran have stalled, with the latter still refusing to give the global powers access to all its nuclear facilities. Led by the European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, the global powers are looking signs of movement from Iran on the access issue, before starting a new round of high-level talks.

“From our point of view, the window is still open to try to work toward a diplomatic solution,” Panetta said.

Israeli officials have been saying time is running out on its ability to bomb Iran’s facilities before they begin to produce nuclear weapons. Defense Minister Barak has said that Iran is approaching within months a “zone of immunity.”

The Fordo enrichment facility, located deep under a mountain near the holy city of Qom, will be difficult to destroy with the weapons.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey said at the press conference that, based on his review of Israel’s military arsenal, an Israeli strike “could delay but not destroy Iran’s nuclear capabilities.”

Israel’s arsenal includes non-stealth F-16 and F-15 fighter jets and an unspecified number of large, deep-penetrating GBU-28, 5,000-pound bunker-buster bombs.

Early this week, Netanyahu said that the Iranian threat “dwarfs” all others. On the same day, Israel’s Home Front Command announced it was testing a nationwide text-messaging system to alert the public to incoming missiles.

According to an Aug. 12 Dialog Institute poll, 46 percent of Israelis now oppose a strike on Iran without U.S. support, down from 58 percent in March. An August 10 Ma’ariv poll found that 35 percent of Israelis believe that Israel should attack Iran alone if necessary, compared with 19 percent in a July 20 poll.

Dr. Tawfik Hamid on the Situation in Egypt

Thursday, August 2nd, 2012

(((CLICK BELOW TO HEAR AUDIO)))

Dr. Tawfik Hamid, an alternative Arab thinker and former Egyptian extremist, joins Yishai.  Retired US Army Lt. Gen. and former Pentagon inspector general Mick Kicklighter, described Hamid to Wired Magazine’s Danger Room, by saying “Hamid is a great scholar whose knowledge of terrorism is extremely valuable.”  And that “There is no doubt about his first-hand experience and depth of knowledge. He is truly a treasure.”  Do not miss this segment as it truly provides an insider’s insight into the mindset of those that want Israel destroyed.

Yishai Fleisher on Twitter: @YishaiFleisher
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Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/tv/radio/dr-tawfik-hamid-on-the-situation-in-egypt/2012/08/02/

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