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Opposition want U.S. bases removed

Stockholm News
May 25, 2010

A Red-Green Government would require the U.S. to withdraw all its military bases around the world, according to the opposition parties´ joint paper on Sweden´s foreign relations. This has sparked sharp criticism both from experts and from the centre-right coalition.

“It would lead to a rearmament of offensive weapons,” says a security policy analyst to news agency TT.

“It’s a headless policy, classical anti-American leftist policy which would be impossible in a government position”, says Carl Bildt, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Moderate politician, to daily Svenska Dagbladet.

For the social democrats, it is a big change in direction.

The Social Democratic government under PM Göran Persson declared, in the election year 2006, that: “The Government considers it essential to develop the transatlantic link, and Sweden’s cooperation with the United States”.

But a government led by the current Social Democratic leader Mona Sahlin, would have a different policy: “A Red-Green government will demand that the U.S. dismantle its nuclear weapons and military bases outside its borders”.

“It’s a Swedish stand against the United States. They should dismantle all bases outside its borders,” says Hans Linde, foreign affairs spokesperson for the Left Party.

This would destabilize the security situation in the Middle East as well as Asia, according to Frederick Lindvall, who is security policy analyst at the Defence Research Agency (FOI).

“Indeed, it would update the need for own nuclear weapons in countries such as South Korea, Japan and Taiwan. Also in the Middle East the need of offensive weapons would increase,” he says, to news agency TT.

The Alliance, the coalition of centre-right parties, reacts sharply to the Red-Green proposal. Foreign Minister Carl Bildt is very surprised that the Social Democrats have agreed to these formulations concerning U.S. military bases.

“We would get have problems both in our relations with the U.S. and to countries seeking their help. The Foreign Service would have to devote significant time to injury minimization of such an anti-American foreign policy.” …


US CyberCom launches with first commander

by Lance Whitney
May 24, 2010

… The mission of U.S. Cyber Command, or CyberCom, is to synchronize the Defense Department’s various networks and cyberspace operations to better defend them against the onslaught of cyberattacks.

“Given our increasing dependency on cyberspace, this new command will bring together the resources of the department to address vulnerabilities and meet the ever-growing array of cyberthreats to our military systems,” Gates said in a statement.

Last June, Gates approved the birth of Cyber Command as a unified, subdivision of U.S. Strategic Command to manage the Defense Department’s resources of 15,000 computer networks across 4,000 military bases in 88 countries. The launching of U.S. CyberCom had been stalled, awaiting Senate confirmation of Alexander. But with Senate approval having been cleared on May 7, CyberCom is now free to open for business.

About 1,000 people will work at CyberCom at Fort Meade, with most of them moving over from existing jobs.

Concerns have been raised, notably by Air Force Gen. Kevin Chilton–the commander of U.S. Strategic Command–over the segregation that currently exists among the different cybernetworks and information resources across the military.

“This segregation detracts from natural synergies and ignores our experience in organizing to operate in the air, land, sea, and space domains,” Gates said before the House Armed Services Committee in March. “The establishment of U.S. CyberCom will remedy this problem in the cyberdomain.”

To integrate the military’s vast cyber-resources, Deputy Defense Secretary William Lynn III has spearheaded the effort to launch CyberCom. With the U.S. military more dependent on information technology than forces in other countries, Lynn believes the military must be able to safeguard its own networks and be free to utilize them across the world. …


U.S. deploys Patriot missiles in Poland

May 25, 2010

A battery of U.S. Patriot missiles on Monday arrived in Morag, north-western Poland together with more than 100 soldiers that will to be stationed there, press officer of the American battery Janusz Szczypior told the PAP news agency.

The U.S. embassy reported that equipment arrived in 37 carriages. American soldiers of the 5th U.S. battalion, part of the 7th air defense infantry regiment will train Polish soldiers to operate the advanced guided missiles system in a base located just 60 kilometers from the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad.

Poland has repeatedly insisted that the base close to Russian Kaliningrad was not chosen for political or strategic reasons, but simply because it already had good infrastructure. …

A base of Patriot battery is to be deployed first temporarily in Poland and later permanently. In future Poland will also host a base of SM-3 missiles, part of the ballistic defense system.

The strengthening of short- and medium-range air defense was a condition set by Poland during negotiations on Poland’s participation in the U.S. anti-missile defense program.

In September 2009, the Obama administration proposed a new missile defense plan replacing an earlier strategy foreseeing the installation of a U.S. missile interception system in Poland and the Czech Republic.

Moscow has expressed anger at having U.S. missiles so close to its territory. A Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman said last month that Russia is concerned about the U.S. “anti-missile activity” in the Polish territory and the planned deployment of the Patriot anti-aircraft missiles there.


Missile Offense Funding Grows in Congress

Global Network – Keep Space for Peace

On May 12, the House Armed Services Strategic Forces Subcommittee voted to increase “missile defense” spending. The subcommittee, which is in charge of oversight for missile defense programs, added $361.6 million to the FY 2011 missile defense budget. This additional funding, combined with President Obama’s budget request of $9.9 billion, would bring total spending on missile defense for 2011 to $10.3 billion. Below is a list of the programs that will receive additional funding:

  • Airborne Laser: $50 million
  • PAC-3: $133.6 million>
  • AN/TPY-2: $65 million
  • Aegis SM-3s: $50 million
  • U.S. Israeli Program: $88 million

Further amendments increasing missile offense funding are likely when the full Armed Services Committee meets for mark-up of the 2011 National Defense Authorization Act on May 19.

This funding comes as social progress in the U.S. is being defunded by the Democrats who run the government.


Japan could ask U.S. to clean up returned base land

Stars and Stripes
By David Allen
May 12, 2010

Perhaps as a peace offering to Okinawa, Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama reportedly is suggesting a change to the U.S.-Japan Status of Forces Agreement that would force the U.S. to clean up returned base property.

Facing increased pressure from Okinawan officials concerning Hatoyama’s backpedaling on a promise to relocate Marine Corps Air Station outside the prefecture, part of the base proposal Japan is considering is the inclusion of a new environmental provision in the SOFA, according to Japanese media accounts.

Kyodo News reported that it obtained a draft of the relocation proposal Tuesday night. It includes modifying the 2006 U.S.-Japan agreement to realign U.S. forces in Japan by stipulating the construction of just one new runway instead of two on Camp Schwab on Okinawa’s rural northeast coast. The runway would extend into Oura Bay on pilings instead of reclaimed land as planned.

It also reportedly includes closing several bombing ranges on outer islands, moving more jet fighter training to mainland Japan and moving helicopter training to Tokunoshima, an island 125 miles northeast of Okinawa. Local officials there are also against the plan.

Okinawan officials have been pressing Hatoyama’s center-left government to make several changes in the SOFA, including adding the environmental clause. Under a 1960 agreement, the U.S. military is not obligated to repair any environmental damage on returned base property.

Under the 2006 realignment agreement, the U.S. agreed to return most of the military bases south of Kadena Air Base once the Marine air units are moved to Camp Schwab.

Tatsuo Oyakawa, chief of the prefecture’s Military Affairs Office, said he wants to be sure the returned property is environmentally sound.

In the past, Japan paid for cleaning former base property contaminated with arsenic, lead and other pollutants.

“Changing SOFA provisions is something Okinawa has been asking for many years,” Oyakawa told Stars and Stripes on Wednesday.


Hatoyama Says Won’t Relocate U.S. Military Base From Okinawa

Bloomberg Business Week
By John Brinsley
May 4th, 2010

Japan’s Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama said he won’t relocate all of an American military base from Okinawa as demanded by local residents, signaling he will yield to U.S. pressure to adhere to a 2006 agreement.

“Moving all of the base from the prefecture will be very difficult,” Hatoyama told Okinawa Governor Hirokazu Nakaima today in remarks broadcast on NHK Television. “I’m afraid the people of Okinawa will have to maintain this burden.”

Nakaima told Hatoyama at their meeting in the Okinawan capital of Naha that his constituents were united in their opposition to relocating the Marine air base from Futenma to a less crowded part of the island. More than 90,000 Okinawans rallied on April 25, calling for it to be moved somewhere else entirely in response to concerns of pollution, crime and noise.

Public criticism of Hatoyama has increased since he took office in September, in part due to his delays in deciding whether to adhere to the U.S.-Japan agreement. He has said he will work to “ease the burden” of Okinawa, which hosts 75 percent of the U.S. bases and more than half of the 50,000 American military personnel in Japan. …


Chinese Military Seeks to Extend Its Naval Power

The New York Times
By Edward Wong
April 23, 2010

The Chinese military is seeking to project naval power well beyond the Chinese coast, from the oil ports of the Middle East to the shipping lanes of the Pacific, where the United States Navy has long reigned as the dominant force, military officials and analysts say.

China calls the new strategy “far sea defense,” and the speed with which it is building long-range capabilities has surprised foreign military officials.

The strategy is a sharp break from the traditional, narrower doctrine of preparing for war over the self-governing island of Taiwan or defending the Chinese coast. Now, Chinese admirals say they want warships to escort commercial vessels that are crucial to the country’s economy, from as far as the Persian Gulf to the Strait of Malacca, in Southeast Asia, and to help secure Chinese interests in the resource-rich South and East China Seas.

In late March, two Chinese warships docked in Abu Dhabi, the first time the modern Chinese Navy made a port visit in the Middle East.

The overall plan reflects China’s growing sense of self-confidence and increasing willingness to assert its interests abroad. China’s naval ambitions are being felt, too, in recent muscle flexing with the United States: in March, Chinese officials told senior American officials privately that China would brook no foreign interference in its territorial issues in the South China Sea, said a senior American official involved in China policy. …

In late March, Adm. Robert F. Willard, the leader of the United States Pacific Command, said in Congressional testimony that recent Chinese military developments were “pretty dramatic.” China has tested long-range ballistic missiles that could be used against aircraft carriers, he said. After years of denials, Chinese officials have confirmed that they intend to deploy an aircraft carrier group within a few years.

China is also developing a sophisticated submarine fleet that could try to prevent foreign naval vessels from entering its strategic waters if a conflict erupted in the region, said Admiral Willard and military analysts.

“Of particular concern is that elements of China’s military modernization appear designed to challenge our freedom of action in the region,” the admiral said. …


Africom not setting base in Africa-US commander

Mmegi Online
Frederick Kebadiretse
April 29, 2010

The United States has no plans to have a military base in Africa, it has been revealed.

Addressing a press conference yesterday, US commander of the African Command, General William Ward said while there has been speculation that the US intends to set up a military base in Africa through Africom, this is not true. “Our planning activities can be conducted from anywhere, so we do not have any intentions of moving our headquarters to Africa, that is simply not the case and never has been,” said General Ward.

Africom headquarters is currently Stuttgart, Germany and Ward explained that they will remain there for the foreseeable future, as they have no intentions of moving. General Ward said Africans have grown to become more understanding of the objectives of the command than they were at the time of its establishment in 2007. “Too often when we visited a partner nation, there was speculation that we are looking for bases or seeking to place US troops there, but it has changed these days, Africans are more accommodative to Africom as its objectives are getting clearer to them,” he said. …