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Canada Evaluates Participating in US Missile Shield

Defense News
By David Pugliese
May 2, 2013

Canada’s potential participation in the US military’s continental missile defense system is once again under consideration, sparking a debate in Canada on whether it makes sense to take part in the ground-based interceptor shield.

Canadian defense sources say work is underway to see what the country could contribute to the US missile defense system. The most likely contribution would be land for the installation of early warning radars, a proposal that will be presented to US officials in the near future.

In 2004, then-Liberal Party Defence Minister David Pratt said the Canadian government was considering making sites available to the US in Canada’s Arctic for use as missile defense radar sites. But a year later, in a major about-face, then-Prime Minister Paul Martin announced that Canada had decided not to join the US missile shield after all.

But with a Conservative Party government in power, the discussions on what the country can contribute are back on.

Canada’s interest is centered on the Ground-based Midcourse Defense system, which is composed of ground-based interceptor missiles, and support and fire control systems. The interceptors are located at Fort Greely, Alaska, and Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.

On April 21, Canadian Public Safety Minister Vic Toews said on television that discussions about Canada’s role in the US missile defense system are needed. “I think we need a broader discussion about that, and I’m not prepared to venture an opinion at this time,” he said when asked about news reports Canada is prepared to join the system. …

Read on: www.defensenews.com/article/20130502/DEFREG02/305030007/Canada-Evaluates-Participating-US-Missile-Shield

S. Korea, U.S. to end annual military drill amid tension

Yonhap News
By Kim Eun-jung
April 29, 2013

South Korea and the United States are set to complete a two-month joint military drill, the Combined Forces Command said Monday, amid high inter-Korean tensions due to the North Korea’s warlike threats and an endangered joint industrial complex in the communist nation.

The Foal Eagle exercise, which began in March after Pyongyang’s Feb. 12 nuclear test that invited additional U.N. sanctions to be slapped against the isolated nation, has heightened tension on the Korean Peninsula as the communist country angrily responded to the exercise that involved nuclear-capable bombers and stealth F-22 jets sent from overseas U.S. bases. The exercise officially ends Tuesday.

Although Pyongyang has routinely called the annual training a rehearsal for a northward invasion, its rhetoric turned more hostile this year under young leader Kim Jong-un, even threatening nuclear strikes against the South and the U.S.

In early March, the North announced that it had nullified the 60-year-old armistice agreement that ended the Korean War, though Seoul and the U.N. said the pact cannot be discarded unilaterally.

Further raising tensions, Pyongyang in early April barred South Korean workers from entering the Kaesong industrial complex, leading Seoul to pull its workers from the site after Pyongyang rejected its ultimatum to join formal negotiations on restarting the stalled operations.

Built in 2004 just north of the border, the industrial complex has served as a rare symbol of inter-Korea cooperation and a valued source of hard currency for the impoverished North.

In response to the exercise, the North has placed two intermediate-range Musudan missiles and several other Scud missiles on its east coast and hidden them in underground facilities since early April, sparking speculations that it may conduct a provocative launch. …

Read on: http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/national/2013/04/29/2/0301000000AEN20130429005400315F.HTML

Okinawans protest Japan policy on US occupation of Okinawa

April 28, 2013

While the Japanese mainland celebrated Sunday, Okinawans staged a protest rally over the national 61st anniversary of the country receiving its postwar independence through a treaty with the United States.

Many here see Tokyo’s decision in 1952 to allow the continued U.S. occupation of Okinawa while brokering mainland Japan’s freedom as a betrayal – a move that led to generations of unrest and political friction over the large foreign military presence on the island that continues to complicate U.S.-Japan relations today.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, a conservative elected last fall, stoked anger from Okinawans and the prefectural government by deciding to mark the anniversary, which island residents call a “day of humiliation”. Despite a public statement by the administration calling for the nation to remember Okinawan suffering, the island’s prefectural assembly recently cast a vote unanimously opposing the Sunday’s anniversary celebration.

“Prime Minister Abe woke a sleeping dog” and rekindled sorrow and disappointment, said Takeshi Onaga, mayor of Naha, Okinawa’s capital.

Thousands gathered at a seaside park Sunday for a rally against what many residents see as the island’s U.S. military plight at the hands of Tokyo. On Thursday, Onaga and more than 600 people gathered in Naha for a forum on the anniversary celebration of the San Francisco Treaty, which officially ended the war with Japan, granted the country its sovereignty – except for Okinawa and two other smaller island areas – and laid out a plan for war reparations.

The U.S. occupation and government administration of Okinawa continued until 1972, when it was returned to Tokyo’s control. It has since remained the base for the majority of U.S. military forces stationed in Japan, including one of the largest air bases in the world and Marine jungle-warfare training grounds …

Read on: www.presstv.ir/usdetail/300751.html

US says more Gitmo inmates have joined growing hunger strike

April 29, 2013

US authorities have again pointed out to the steady spreading of the hunger strike by foreign inmates in its notorious Guantanamo prison and torture facility.

Lt. Col. Samuel House announced on Saturday that 100 of the 166 prisoners at the American military base in Cuba have now joined the strike, amid insistence by some inmate lawyers that all of the detainees have joined the hunger strike to protest their indefinite detention.

According to Col. House, 19 of the hunger strikers are currently being force-fed with liquid nutrients through a nasal tube in efforts to prevent dangerous weight loss.

The military official further stated that five of protesting inmates have been transferred to the camp’s hospital for observation, adding that they do not have any life-threatening conditions. …

Read on: www.presstv.ir/detail/2013/04/29/300881/us-says-gitmo-hunger-strikers-on-rise/

The US Doesn’t Have Any Good Military Options In Syria

Business Insider Australia
By Michael Kelley
April 29, 2013

There is evidence that troops loyal to Syrian Bashar al-Assad have used chemical weapons, and U.S. lawmakers are urging President Obama to respond.

But it’s not that simple.

The military options range from one-off missile strikes on infrastructure linked to chemical weapons, to carving out no-fly zones, and even as far as putting 20,000 U.S. troops in Jordan for a ground invasion.

All carry risks. Invasion has it’s obvious drawbacks (which the U.S. learned in Iraq), and establishing a humanitarian area in the north by destroying Syrian air defenses and artillery may have the same effect.

Once you set up a military no-fly zone or safe zone, you’re on a slippery slope, mission creep and before you know it, you have boots on the ground,” Bruce Riedel, a former CIA analyst and Middle East expert at the Brookings Institution, told Reuters. “Or you end up like Libya where you don’t really have a control mechanism for the end-game, should you end up with chaos.” …

Read on: http://au.businessinsider.com/us-military-options-in-syria-2013-4

Sbirs Gets Second Set Of Eyes In Orbit

Aviation Week
By Amy Butler
April 23, 2013

The second Space-Based Infrared System (Sbirs) satellite has achieved “first light,” and officials expect that it will be certified to warn commanders of ballistic missiles by year’s end, says Jeff Smith, vice president for the program for prime contractor Lockheed Martin. First light means the covers for the sensitive infrared payloads — a scanner and a starer — were removed. The system is now being calibrated.

The Sbirs satellite, the second to be placed in geosynchronous (GEO) orbit, was launched March 19 on an Atlas V from Cape Canaveral.

GEO-1 was launched in May 2011. Its scanner has yet to be certified to deliver Integrated Tactical Warning/Attack Assessment (ITWAA) messages. These messages are used to tip off U.S. missile defenses about incoming targets. The Air Force has prioritized use of the scanning sensor first, leaving the newer staring sensor for certification later.

As a replacement for the Defense Support System (DSP), Sbirs will be responsible for providing information on targets — such as launch point, vector and impact point.

Its data will be fed into the Missile Defense Agency’s Command, Control Battle Management and Communications System, which links to sea- and ground-based interceptors in the field. …

Read on: www.aviationweek.com/Article.aspx?id=/article-xml/asd_04_23_2013_p03-01-572052.xml

Russia prepares replacement for soviet-era railway-based missiles

Aplril 23, 2013

Russia has started design works to create a new railroad-based missile system to replace weapons destroyed in the mid-2000s under the old START treaty and are now allowed by the “New START”.

The design bureau that developed Russia’s most modern ballistic missiles the Bulava, Topol and Yars, has started research and development of the new project – the railway car based ICBM – Deputy Defense Minister Yuri Borisov told the press on Tuesday.

Currently work is at a primary stage and does not require significant investment. The overall costs to design a completely new railway-based missile has not yet been determined, he added.

If complete and launched into production, the missile would replace the RT-24 system, also known as SS-24 Scalpel – the intercontinental weapon disguised as an ordinary freight train, which made its detection and preemptive destruction extremely difficult.

Russia decommissioned its railway car based missiles in 2005 and destroyed all the systems by 2007 as part of the START II treaty on nuclear arms reduction with the US. The ‘New START’ treaty (which is also called START III in Russia) that came into force in 2011 does not limit the use of railway car based systems and allows Russia to restart production. …

Read on: http://rt.com/politics/redesigns-missiles-railway-based-soviet-era-243/

U.S. seeks $220 million for Israel missile defense

Space Daily
April 23, 2013

The Pentagon has stepped up efforts to fund Israel’s anti-missile shield with the Missile Defense Agency requesting $220 million in fiscal 2014 for Israel’s air force to buy more Iron Dome batteries.

It’s the first time the MDA has specifically sought funds for Iron Dome, developed and built by Haifa’s Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, in its annual budget process.

That underlines the U.S. Defense Department’s effort to maintain military aid for Israel despite major cutbacks in defense spending.

The agency is also expected to seek another $520 million to fund other Israeli anti-missile systems, including the David’s Sling and the high-altitude Arrow 3, which is under development.

“The money, if approved, would be on top of the $486 million the White House and Congress have requested or added for Iron Dome in recent years after formal budgets were submitted,” The Jerusalem Post reported.

The House of Representatives and the Senate indicated in 2012 “they wanted to approve spending as much as $680 million for Iron Dome through 2015.”

Iron Dome, designed to shoot down short-range missiles and rockets and recently upgraded to counter longer-range weapons as well, became operational in early 2012. But the Israeli air force, which has responsibility for air defense, has only acquired five batteries, several of those with direct U.S. funding on top of the annual $3.1 billion in U.S. military aid Israel receives.

That allowed Israel to deploy all five batteries during an eight-day November clash with Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip.

By official count, Iron Dome successfully intercepted 84.6 percent of the rockets it engaged, including several that for the first time targeted Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Iron Dome’s Tamir interceptors engage only those projectiles its computer calculates will hit populated areas and ignores the rest.

Several missile scientists and others have questioned the system’s kill rate, with one saying it was closer to 5-10 percent of rockets engaged than the government’s assessment of 84.6 percent. …


NATO-Russia Talks Make Little Progress On Missile Defense

April 23, 2013

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen says that the latest meeting of the NATO-Russia Council “maintained an active dialogue” but did not make significant progress on the key issue of missile defense.

NATO foreign ministers met in Brussels on April 23 and were joined by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

Lavrov said Moscow was studying changes to the U.S. missile-defense program, but still wanted guarantees that the system would not be used against Russia.

The NATO ministers earlier discussed the situation in Syria, and Rasmussen said the alliance was committed to protecting all of its members, including Turkey.

Rasmussen said NATO was “extremely concerned” about the possible use of chemical weapons in Syria.

Lavrov said any reports that chemical weapons have been used in Syria should be investigated carefully, noting that prior allegations were proven wrong.

Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry held bilateral talks on the sidelines of the meeting.

Those talks were expected to focus on Syria, in the wake of Kerry’s recent visit to the Middle East. …

Read on: www.rferl.org/content/nato-foreign-ministers-meeting/24965761.html