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Korea, US Devise Broader Air Operations Command

Korea Times
September 27, 2009
By Jung Sung-ki

A broader joint air operations command of South Korean and U.S. Air Forces is being set up here in tandem with the planned transition of wartime operational control (OPCON) in 2012, a military source said Sunday.

The Hardened Theater of Air Control Center (HTACC), the Korea-U.S. combined air operations command led by a three-star American general at Osan Air Base, has been working to expand its roles and missions after being renamed the Korea Air and Space Operations Center (KAOC), the source said on condition of anonymity.

The Master Control and Reporting Center (MCRC), a computer system to monitor and track aircraft on a real-time basis, at the KAOC is also receiving upgrades, he said.

“KAOC will be developed further to serve as an integrated joint air force command of the two allies on the peninsula by 2012, effectively orchestrating all operations of the two air forces in the case of an emergency,” the source said.

The U.S.-led Combined Forces Command (CFC) is to hand over almost all operations authority on the peninsula to South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) in 2012 before being deactivated.

But the U.S. military will still lead air operations after the transformation to take advantage of its dominant aerial assets against North Korea in time of war. …


We (Lindis Percy represented CAAB) joined a demonstration at Osan US Air base during the Global Network Against Weapons and Power in Space internattional conference in Seoul (May 2009).

US military deaths in Afghanistan region at 769

(Associated Press)
September 26th, 2009

… at least 769 members of the U.S. military had died in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Uzbekistan as a result of the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001, according to the Defense Department. …

Of those, the military reports 589 were killed by hostile action. …

Outside the Afghan region, the Defense Department reports 70 more members of the U.S. military died in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Of those, three were the result of hostile action. The military lists these other locations as Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, Cuba; Djibouti; Eritrea; Ethiopia; Jordan; Kenya; Kyrgyzstan; Philippines; Seychelles; Sudan; Tajikistan; Turkey; and Yemen. …


War causes death and injury – there is no estimate of how many civilians have died in this conflict. All life is precious.

Barack Obama ready to slash US nuclear arsenal

Julian Borger
September 20, 2009

Pentagon told to map out radical cuts as president prepares to chair UN talks.

Barack Obama has demanded the Pentagon conduct a radical review of US nuclear weapons doctrine to prepare the way for deep cuts in the country’s arsenal …

Obama has rejected the Pentagon’s first draft of the “nuclear posture review” as being too timid, and has called for a range of more far-reaching options consistent with his goal of eventually abolishing nuclear weapons altogether, according to European officials.

Those options include:

• Reconfiguring the US nuclear force to allow for an arsenal measured in hundreds rather than thousands of deployed strategic warheads.

• Redrafting nuclear doctrine to narrow the range of conditions under which the US would use nuclear weapons.

• Exploring ways of guaranteeing the future reliability of nuclear weapons without testing or producing a new generation of warheads.

The review is due to be completed by the end of this year, and European officials say the outcome is not yet clear. But one official said: “Obama is now driving this process. He is saying these are the president’s weapons, and he wants to look again at the doctrine and their role.” …


Japan Lawmaker Pushes to Scale Back U.S. Bases

September 22, 2009
Wall Street Journal – Asia
By Yuka Hayashi

As Japan’s new ruling party begins to question its military alliance with the U.S., one freshman lawmaker whose personal history reflects the longstanding ties between the two nations is already pressing the issue.

Denny Tamaki, a newly elected member of the Democratic Party of Japan, is the son of a local woman and a U.S. serviceman. His main goal is to sharply shrink the U.S. military presence in Okinawa, a remote southern island that hosts roughly half of some 45,000 U.S. troops stationed in Japan.

“It’s about time the Japanese government let Okinawa go back to its original self,” says the former radio talk-show host, 49 years old. Despite his fondness for American music and movies, Mr. Tamaki argues it is time the two grew more distant. “I am an embodiment of Okinawa’s postwar history,” he says. “No one is more qualified to tackle the base issues.” …

The U.S. has used Japan as a primary host for its military presence in East Asia. The Japanese government spends roughly $2 billion a year to help cover the costs. The presence of U.S. forces let Japan keep its own military small and focused on self-defense, freeing up resources to help fuel its postwar boom. …

Mr. Tamaki was raised by his mother in Okinawa and knows little about his father. …

As he grew more involved in politics, he became increasingly aware of the hard feelings caused by the bases. Okinawa’s main island hosts 34 U.S. facilities that together take up about 20% of its land, leading to occasional clashes. A military helicopter crashed on a college campus near Futenma in 2004, and a series of attacks on local women by American soldiers caused an uproar. …


Pentagon Plans for Deployment of Special Forces to States Outside Afghanistan

Deirdre Tynan
September 17, 2009

The US military is preparing for a worst-case scenario in Central Asia. The Pentagon is presently developing plans covering the potential deployment of elite Special Forces to Central Asian states other than Afghanistan.

In each of the Central Asian states, US Special Forces 3rd Group are preparing to conduct “foreign internal defense” missions — military shorthand for counter-insurgency operations fought by host nation troops with training and other forms of assistance provided by Washington.

The 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne), stationed in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, currently consists of four operational battalions. At least one battalion will be deployed to Central Asia on every rotation of troops serving in Afghanistan.

According to a military handbook, Joint Tactics, Techniques and Procedures for Foreign Internal Defense (FID), published under the auspices of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in 2004, “the United States will normally consider FID support only if the following three conditions exist: the existing or threatened internal disorder threatens US national strategic goals; the threatened nation is capable of effectively using US assistance; and the threatened nation requests US assistance.”

It adds: “assistance will normally focus on civil-military operations (primarily, the provision of services to the local populace), psychological operations, communications and intelligence sharing, and logistic support.” …

The prospect of US forces carrying out foreign internal defense operations in Central Asia is generating mixed views. Some analysts described it as routine, while others call it risky. All agree, however, that Russia will be agitated by any deployment.


US formally leaves controversial Ecuadorian base

September 19, 2009

The United States formally left the Manta military base in Ecuador yesterday via a 9.00 a.m. local time ceremony in which Ecuador took full control of the Pacific Coast facilities.

The Ecuador government formally resumed control of Manta, a military base on its Pacific coast, 10 years after was leased, rent-free, to the US military for anti-drug operations.

During the handover ceremony, Ecuador’s Foreign Minister Fander Falconi said that the exit of US soldiers was “a triumph for national sovereignty.”

He also said that the lease agreement, signed in 1999, had not been properly legalized because it had only been approved by then foreign minister Heinz Muller and the legislature’s foreign affairs committee, not by the full legislature nor all Ecuadorians.

He also made a call for nations to avoid relations “based on subordination” and foreign military bases. …

The 1999 agreement was slammed by Ecuadorian social and political organizations, who also denounced US personnel and the base for violating Ecuadorians’ human rights.


GAO: Pentagon lacks clear missile defense assessment

Stars and Stripes
September 18, 2009
By Geoff Ziezulewicz,

RAF MILDENHALL, England — A day before the Obama administration announced its intent to scrap the controversial European missile defense shield, the U.S. Government Accountability Office released a report calling for better Pentagon stewardship overall for missile defense programs worldwide.

In its Sept. 16 report for the U.S. House of Representatives’ Armed Services Committee, the GAO found that the Pentagon had not taken a big-picture look at the technical and manning needs of various costly missile defense efforts around the world that collectively fall under the Ballistic Missile Defense System.

As such, the report notes, the Defense Department is missing a foundation for making sound decisions about what will be required for the various missile defense initiatives.

“Without a full assessment of its overall requirements, DOD lacks the information it needs to make the best possible policy, strategy and budgetary decisions for ballistic missile defense,” the report states.

While combatant commands have analyzed missile defense needs by region, as have certain service branches, no overall analysis has been conducted, according to the GAO.

In some cases, the Pentagon put missile defense elements into use before first ensuring that the military services had created units and trained troops to operate the systems, according to the GAO, even though the DOD typically requires that major weapons systems be fielded with a full array of organized and trained personnel. …


US missile move 'changes nothing'

September 17, 2009

Barack Obama’s decision to drop plans to put missile interceptors in Poland and a radar station in the Czech Republic won’t affect RAF Fylingdales and RAF Menwith Hill, the Ministry of Defence has said.

A spokesman said: “For us, everything is normal. The announcement doesn’t affect the UK position at all. The bases in North Yorkshire will continue to provide an early warning system that the United States taps into, as it currently does. That agreement still stands. In addition, the UK will continue to work on a missile defence plan as part of an overall Nato agreement, whatever those plans might be.”

Around two years ago RAF Fylingdales was upgraded for missile defence with early-warning radar equipment. This was around the same time that the Prime Minister said the satellite ground station at Menwith Hill would monitor satellite warnings of potentially hostile missile launches.


China’s New Weapons May Threaten U.S. Bases, Ships, Gates Says

September 16, 2009
By Tony Capaccio

China is developing new weapons that could threaten the U.S. military presence in the Pacific, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said today.

“We should be concerned less with their potential ability to challenge the U.S. — fighter-to-fighter or ship-to-ship — and more with their ability to disrupt our freedom of movement and narrow our strategic options,” Gates told an audience of airpower advocates during a speech in suburban Maryland.

“Investments in cyber and anti-satellite warfare, anti-air and anti-ship weaponry, and ballistic missiles could threaten American’s primary way to project power and help allies in the Pacific — particularly our forward bases and carrier strike groups,” Gates told the Air Force Association, a private organization of Air Force retirees and contractors.

His comments reflect a growing concern within the U.S. intelligence and military community over the range and sophistication of China’s weaponry. …


Colombia refuses to come clean on US bases and stalls UNASUR debate

September 16, 2009
By Patrick J. O’Donoghue

The meeting of Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) defense and foreign ministers in Quito has ended without any general consensus on military agreements with non-UNASUR countries.

Colombia, whose allowance of US military bases in its territory is under question, refused to provide member nations with firm guarantees that the US presence in Colombia would not filter across the border into neighboring countries.

Venezuelan Executive Vice President, Ramon Carrizalez said the meeting stalled when Columbia refused to provide information that would tender greater “transparency and generate a line of confidence.” The Venezuelan position is that the agreement between Colombia and the USA means strengthening the USA’s strategic capacity in the region and is a direct threat to Venezuela and its oil installations.

Venezuela’s purchase of weapons from Russia was reviewed by member nations and the Venezuelan government insisted that the weapons are to defend its borders from attacks by US and Colombian forces, owing to the seven bases where the US will install military aviation and equipment. …