Entries Tagged as ''

Police: Anti-American demos in Afghanistan cities

CBS News
February 22, 2012

An Afghan protestor, left, shouts slogans near burning security booth in front of the US base of Bagram during an anti US demonstration in Bagram north of Kabul, Afghanistan, Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2012. More than 2,000 angry Afghans, some firing guns in the air, protested on Tuesday against the improper disposal and burning of Qurans and other Islamic religious materials at an American air base in Bagram north of Kabul.

Police say anti-American demonstrations are under way on the outskirts of the Afghan capital and in another city over an incident that the U.S. says was inadvertent burning of Muslim holy books at a military base.

Kabul provincial police spokesman Ashmatullah Stanekzai says hundreds of people are gathering on Wednesday outside the Camp Phoenix base on the main highway linking Kabul with the eastern Jalalabad city, closing the main trade route.

Police in Jalalabad say thousands are gathering in parts of the city to demonstrate.

The U.S. apologized Tuesday for the burning of books, including Qurans, that had been pulled from the shelves of a detention center library adjoining Bagram air base because they contained extremist messages or inscriptions. …

Read on: www.cbsnews.com/8301-501712_162-57382397/police-anti-american-demos-in-afghanistan-cities/

Afghans angry over Quran burnings attack US base

By Amir Shah and Patrick Quinn
February 23, 2012

Afghan police on Thursday fired shots in the air to disperse hundreds of protesters who tried to break into an American military base in the country’s east to vent their anger over this week’s Quran burnings incident.

The fresh violence came one day after clashes between Afghan troops and protesters broke out in the capital and in three eastern provinces over the incident, leaving at least seven people dead and dozens wounded.

The Quran burnings have roiled Afghans and set off riots in an illustration of the intensity of the anger at what they perceive as foreign forces flouting their laws and insulting their culture. The U.S. has apologized for the burnings, which took place at a military base near Kabul, and said it was a mistake.

In the eastern Laghman province, protesters hurled rocks on Thursday and tried to remove the razor wire from the perimeter of the American base in Mehterlam, the provincial capital.

The demonstrators failed to push through and get inside the walls of the facility…

Read on: http://news.yahoo.com/afghans-angry-over-quran-burnings-attack-us-084708643.html

US spies increasingly pessimistic on Afghan war

February 19, 2012

Whenever the U.S. military leadership talks about the decade-long occupation of Afghanistan, it sounds as though all is going swimmingly. Sure, there’s the occasional colonel who starts speaking out of turn about how bad things are, but mostly top officials are solid in their optimism.

Not so with the U.S. intelligence community, which is offering extremely bleak assessments in public testimony to Congress, conceding that the situation is actually going extremely poorly. …

DIA head Lt. Gen. Ronald Burgess warned of “endemic corruption and persistent qualitative deficiencies in the army” as preventing serious security gains, adding that the Taliban “remains confident of eventual victory.” Antiwar

“I would like to begin with current military operations in Afghanistan, where we assess that endemic corruption and persistent qualitative deficiencies in the army and police forces undermine efforts to extend effective governance and security,” Lt. Gen. Ronald Burgess, head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, told the Senate Armed Services Committee at its annual worldwide threat hearing. latimes.com

Read on: www.presstv.ir/usdetail/227408.html

U.S. Navy satellite launch scrubbed again

February 17, 2012

A second attempt to launch a U.S. Navy communications satellite into space was scrubbed late Friday due to poor weather, a spacecraft-launch service said.

The next opportunity for an Atlas V rocket launch will be Wednesday, said United Launch Alliance, a joint venture of Lockheed Martin Corp. and Boeing Co., created to provide spacecraft-launch services to the U.S. government. …

Once in orbit, the satellite is expected to become four smaller satellites… Ground crews are to establish communications, and each satellite is to be sent to a planned orbit within 10 days, creating constant global communication for troops on the ground. …

In full: www.upi.com/Science_News/2012/02/17/US-Navy-satellite-launch-scrubbed-again/UPI-77281329530139/

Airborne Laser Test Bed is put to rest in the Boneyard

Laser Focus world
By John Wallace
February 17, 2012

The U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) announced this week that the Airborne Laser Test Bed — a megawatt-class 1.3 µm chemical oxygen-iodine laser (COIL) mounted in a modified Boeing 747 and intended to shoot down ballistic missiles in their boost phase — has been put into “long-term storage” at the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group at Davis Monthan Air Force Base. This location, also known as the “Boneyard,” is where excess and unused military aircraft are taken for preservation.

The Airborne Laser achieved high-power “first light” in ground testing in 2008, then was tested in flight several times over the next few years with varying success; however, it never reached the couple-hundred-kilometer range required to make the system useful in practice. …

Read on: www.laserfocusworld.com/articles/2012/02/airborne-laser-test-bed-is-put-to-rest-in-the-boneyard.html

MDA Seeks Big Increase in Space Spending

Space News
By Titus Ledbetter III
February 14, 2012

The U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) is seeking a significant funding boost for a space-based missile tracking system …

The overall 2013 MDA budget request is $7.7 billion, compared to the agency’s current year budget of $8.4 billion. This sum does not include missile defense efforts that are not directly overseen by the MDA, such as the Patriot Advanced Capability 3 interceptor. The Pentagon’s total request for missile defense efforts next year is $9.7 billion, down from $10.4 billion this year.

The MDA’s 2013 request allocates $297.3 million for the Precision Tracking Space System (PTSS), a proposed constellation of satellites that would track ballistic missiles during the midcourse portion of flight. Congress allocated $80.7 million for the program in 2012, or about half of what the MDA had requested.

The agency’s 2013 PTSS program goals include the completion of preliminary designs for the spacecraft platform, optical payload and communications payload, according to budget documents. The agency will rely on the Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Md., to develop a PTSS prototype to be launched in 2015. An industry team is expected to be chosen in 2014 to build between nine and 12 operational spacecraft planned to begin launching in 2018. …

In full: www.spacenews.com/military/120214-mda-seeks-increase-spending.html

U.S., Japan May Scrap Accord on Marines in Okinawa

The Chosun Ilbo
VOA News
February 14, 2012

Japan and the United States appear to be heading toward canceling a 2006 accord that would have relocated a strategic American military facility to a less crowded part of the island of Okinawa. This comes as the city at the heart of the base controversy has elected a new mayor.

Impeded by activists and local politicians who want U.S. military bases and their personnel moved off Okinawa instead of relocated to other parts of the island, influential Japanese officials, according to sources, are concluding the agreed-to plan with Washington will not be implemented.

That would mean the Futenma Marine Corps Air Station remains operational in the middle of the heavily congested city of Ginowan.

On Sunday, voters in Ginowan elected Atsushi Sakima as their new mayor.

Cheers of “banzai” erupted in Sakima’s campaign headquarters when word came he was assured victory over a leftist anti-base hardliner. But Sakima also campaigned on a pledge to have the Marine air station removed from the island. …

Read on: http://english.chosun.com/site/data/html_dir/2012/02/14/2012021400456.html

450 Bases and It’s Not Over Yet

Huffington Post (blog)
Nick Turse
February 13, 2012

The Pentagon’s Afghan Basing Plans for Prisons, Drones, and Black Ops

In late December, the lot was just a big blank: a few burgundy metal shipping containers sitting in an expanse of crushed eggshell-colored gravel inside a razor-wire-topped fence. The American military in Afghanistan doesn’t want to talk about it, but one day soon, it will be a new hub for the American drone war in the Greater Middle East.

Next year, that empty lot will be a two-story concrete intelligence facility for America’s drone war, brightly lit and filled with powerful computers kept in climate-controlled comfort in a country where most of the population has no access to electricity. It will boast almost 7,000 square feet of offices, briefing and conference rooms, and a large “processing, exploitation, and dissemination” operations center — and, of course, it will be built with American tax dollars.

Nor is it an anomaly. Despite all the talk of drawdowns and withdrawals, there has been a years-long building boom in Afghanistan that shows little sign of abating. In early 2010, the U.S.-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) had nearly 400 bases in Afghanistan. Today, Lieutenant Lauren Rago of ISAF public affairs tells TomDispatch, the number tops 450.

The hush-hush, high-tech, super-secure facility at the massive air base in Kandahar is just one of many building projects the U.S. military currently has planned or underway in Afghanistan. While some U.S. bases are indeed closing up shop or being transferred to the Afghan government, and there’s talk of combat operations slowing or ending next year, as well as a withdrawal of American combat forces from Afghanistan by 2014, the U.S. military is still preparing for a much longer haul at mega-bases like Kandahar and Bagram airfields. …

Read on: www.huffingtonpost.com/nick-turse/450-bases-and-its-not-ove_b_1273018.html

USEUCOM Releases Command Statement on Force Posture

U.S. European Command (eucom.mil)
February 16, 2012

The United States has enduring interests in supporting peace, prosperity, unity, and freedom in Europe and Eurasia as well as in bolstering the strength and vitality of NATO. As demonstrated by recent and ongoing operations, Europe remains our partner of choice in addressing current and emerging security challenges around the globe. The United States will maintain a robust, visible military presence in Europe, which will be capable of deterring and defending against aggression throughout Europe and Eurasia, and meeting our collective defense commitments under NATO’s Article 5. We will continue to enhance the NATO alliance’s readiness and interoperability and promote the strength, adaptability, security, sovereignty and territorial integrity of our allies and partners across Europe and Eurasia.

Consistent with the new NATO Strategic Concept, our force posture in Europe will evolve to meet the full range of 21st century challenges.

  • We will enhance the ability of our forward presence in Europe to address ballistic missile threats with an AN/TPY-2 radar in Turkey and by forward-stationing Aegis-Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD)-capable ships in Rota, Spain, and establishing land-based SM-3 BMD sites in Romania and Poland.
  • We will enhance regional special operations forces’ responsiveness by continued partnership with the NATO Special Operations Forces Headquarters.
  • We will create an aviation detachment in Poland to enhance training opportunities.

We will also work with NATO allies to develop a “smart defense” approach to pool, share, and specialize capabilities. …

U.S. Air Forces in Europe (USAFE)

  • As a reduction of legacy aircraft, one Air Force A-10 squadron from Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, has been identified for inactivation in fiscal year 2013.
  • The 603rd Air Control Squadron at Aviano Air Base, Italy, will be inactivated in fiscal year 2013.

U.S. Army, Europe (USAREUR)

  • Following the V Corps headquarters deployment to Operation Enduring Freedom later this year, the Army will reduce the V Corps Headquarters structure, and it will not return to Europe.
  • The 7th Army/USAREUR headquarters has been transformed to include a deployable contingency command post. This command and control capability can deploy within Europe and, when augmented, can provide command and control for joint and coalition forces in small-scale operations.
  • Two brigade combat teams (BCTs) identified for inactivation are the 170th BCT in fiscal year 2013 and the 172nd BCT in fiscal year 2014.
  • As the U.S. Army reduces force structure, the U.S. Army in Europe will see a reduction of approximately 2,500 Soldiers from enabling units over the next five years.
  • To enhance capacity and interoperability with NATO, the United States will allocate a U.S.-based heavy brigade combat team to reinvigorate its commitment to the NATO Response Force. As part of this commitment, we will also seek ways to enhance multi-national training at the world-class Joint Multinational Training Command in Grafenwöhr, Germany, in a post-ISAF environment. We will rotate a battalion-sized task force from the allocated U.S.-based heavy brigade combat team to conduct multinational training exercises on a frequency to be determined later in consultation with our allies.
  • As previously announced, Baumholder remains an enduring U.S. Army, Europe community along with the Grafenwöhr/Vilseck/Hohenfels complex, Ansbach, Kaiserslautern, Wiesbaden, and Stuttgart, Germany; Vicenza, Italy; and Army communities located in the Benelux. Those locations identified as not enduring include Bamberg and Schweinfurt, which will be returned to the host nation no later than fiscal year 2015.

Read in full: www.eucom.mil/article/23125/useucom-releases-command-statement-on-force-posture