20 September 2017

USA: Bonhomme Richard ESG completes deployment with 31st MEU

By MC2 Sarah Villegas, ESG 7 Public Affairs

In this file photo, ships of the Bonhomme Richard Expeditionary Strike Group form up with ships from the Royal Australian Navy and Royal New Zealand Navy during exercise Talisman Saber in July. (Royal Australian Navy/LSIS Helen Frank) >>

OKINAWA, Japan - The amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) and dock landing ship USS Ashland (LSD 48) arrived in Okinawa, Japan, to offload the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), Sept. 19, capping a multi-month deployment in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.

The Bonhomme Richard Expeditionary Strike Group and 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, deployed together since early June, successfully completed multiple certifications, participated in Talisman Saber 17, and conducted port visits throughout Australia.

The Blue-Green Team participated in the biennial exercise Talisman Saber off the coast of Australia to achieve interoperability and strengthen the U.S.-Australia alliance. The bilateral training tested watchstanders in nearly every domain—surface, air, undersea—and increased proficiencies in the ESG’s primary mission of landing forces ashore.

News Report: India to Investigate Pakistan’s Alleged Role in DPRK Nuclear Program

The Indian Ministry of External Affairs has announced that they will be conducting an investigation into potential links between India’s rival Pakistan and the North Korean nuclear programs, promising to “hold accountable” those who have assisted North Korea’s nuclear ambitions.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj "deplored North Korea's recent actions and stated that its proliferation linkages must be explored and those involved must be held accountable," according to Foreign Ministry spokesman Raveesh Kumar on Monday.

While Kumar did not directly name Pakistan in his comment, he did say that he was "giving you enough material to try to figure out what we are talking about."

Pakistan, a nuclear power, has been accused on many occasions of assisting North Korea in its nuclear ambitions. In 2004, Abdul Qadeer Khan, the founder and chief scientist of Pakistan's nuclear program, claimed that he had sold nuclear secrets to North Korea, Libya, and Iran. 

News Report: Russia Pitches Aggresively For MiG-29K $12 Bn Indian Deal

MiG-29K on the deck of INS Vikramaditya
Indian Navy had issued a detailed request for information in January this year for 57 multi-role fighter aircraft to which Russian, French, Swedish and American companies had replied with their intent.

New Delhi (Sputnik) — With an eye on a big ticket deal involving supply of 57 naval multi-role fighter jet for Indian Navy's aircraft carriers, Russian manufacturer MiG has offered to jointly develop the MiG 29 K fighter jets with an Indian counterpart under the 'Make in India' program with complete transfer of technology. MiG is planning to submit a detailed proposal to the Indian government in this regard soon.

The procurement plan currently is in request for information stage. MiG CEO Ilya Tarasenko has claimed MiG-29K aircraft have serious tactical and technical advantages compared to Boeing’s F/A-18.

“We are considering various options for long-term and perspective cooperation, including those within the framework of the Make in India program. The Indian side has sent an RFI to companies that produce aircraft, which is one of the procedures preceding the official tender. MiG corp. has received such a request, now we are preparing our proposal,” Ilya Tarasenko, MiG CEO told to PTI in a written interview.

News Report: Al Qaeda Operative on a Mission to Radicalize Rohingyas Held in New Delhi

According to Delhi police, All Qaeda operative Shumon Haq, a British national of Bangladeshi origin, was on a mission to radicalize Rohingya Muslim immigrants in India to fight in Myanmar.

New Delhi (Sputnik) – Indian security agencies have arrested a British National of Bangladeshi origin having links with terror outfit Al Qaeda.

“He was on a mission to radicalize Muslims of north-eastern states especially Rohingya Muslims to prepare for jihad against the Buddhists in Myanmar. He is British national of Bangladeshi origin. He had also gone to Syria and fought for Al Nusra front. He was arrested in Bangladesh for his terror links and jailed for three years. He fled to India when he was granted bail. His motive was to radicalize Rohingya Muslims. He was in contact with Rohingyas settled in different parts of India,” P S Kushwaha, Deputy Commissioner of Delhi Police told Sputnik.

According to an estimate, almost 40,000 Rohingya Muslims are living in various parts of India.

The Indian government has already made it clear that Rohingyas living illegally in the country are a threat to its security and that they would be deported soon.

This story first appeared on Sputnik & is reposted here with permission.

News Report: US Navy Blames Collisions on Operations Pace, Failure to Prioritize Safety

USS Fitzgerald, after colliding with a container ship 
Carla Babb

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Navy is blaming the high pace of operations, budget uncertainty and naval leaders who put their mission before safety for recent deadly incidents at sea.

The destroyer USS John S. McCain collided with an oil tanker last month off the coast of Singapore, leaving 10 U.S. sailors dead and five injured. And the USS Fitzgerald, another destroyer, collided with a container ship in waters off Japan in June, killing seven sailors.

The collisions are still under investigation, but at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing Tuesday, the chief naval officer, Admiral John Richardson, said a failure of leadership throughout the service was the main contributing factor in the deadly collisions.

"I own this problem," Richardson testified.

He vowed to make safety the most important goal of the Navy in the wake of recent events, acknowledging that commanders of vessels on forward deployments too often put the mission first, at the expense of safety.

"Only with those [safety certifications] done and the maintenance properly done can we expect to deploy effectively and execute the mission," he said.

At the start of Tuesday's committee hearing, U.S. Senator John McCain extended his "deepest condolences" on behalf of all Americans to the family members of those killed, some of whom sat in the hearing room. The USS John S. McCain was named in honor of the Arizona Republican's father and grandfather, both of whom were Navy admirals.

News Report: Military Options Against N. Korea Fraught With Danger

Hwasong-14 Ballistic Missile preps for launch (July-4-2017)
Brian Padden

SEOUL — In his United Nations General Assembly speech Tuesday, American President Donald Trump said the United States is "ready, willing and able" to "totally destroy" North Korea in response to its "reckless pursuit" of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles.

His comments come just two days after U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said the U.N. Security Council would be "perfectly happy" handing responsibility for dealing with North Korea to the Pentagon. When asked about her comments, U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on Monday said there are military options the U.S. can take without putting Seoul at great risk, but he declined to go into detail when pressed by reporters.

But regional security analysts Grant Newsham with the Japan Forum for Strategic Studies in Tokyo, and Bong Young-shik with the Yonsei University Institute for North Korean Studies in Seoul have told VOA there are major risks associated with any of the measures that have been publicly discussed.

News Report: UN Chief - Millions Live Under Shadow of DPRK Nuclear Threat

Margaret Besheer

UNITED NATIONS — United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres opened his first General Assembly gathering Tuesday, warning that North Korea's nuclear ambitions are the world's most serious challenge.

"Today proliferation is creating unimaginable danger, and disarmament is paralyzed," Guterres said in New York.

"Millions of people live under a shadow of dread cast by the provocative nuclear and missile tests of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea," the secretary-general said, referring to North Korea by its formal name. "I condemn those tests unequivocally."

Guterres commended the unity of the U.N. Security Council in its recent tightening and imposing of economic sanctions on Pyongyang, saying the move sends "a clear message" to the leadership there.

"Fiery talk can lead to fatal misunderstandings," he warned. "The solution must be political — this is a time for statesmanship — we must not sleepwalk our way into war."

News Report: Aung San Suu Kyi Denounces Human Rights Violations in Rakhine State

Aung San Suu Kyi
Richard Green

Myanmar's de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi says her government condemns all human rights violations in western Rakhine state, where over 400,000 Rohingya Muslims have been forced to flee to safety into neighboring Bangladesh.

In an address Tuesday in the capital of Naypyitaw before a group of foreign diplomats, the Nobel Peace laureate, who serves as Myanmar's state councilor, said her country does not fear international scrutiny, and offered her assurance that any human rights violations or "acts that impair stability and harmony" will be dealt with "in accordance with strict norms of justice."

But she insisted that all "allegations are based on solid evidence before we take action."

She said Myanmar will set up a verification process for those refugees who wish to return home, and vowed their request "will be accepted without hesitation." But she also said many Muslims have remained in their homes, which have not been destroyed in the conflict, and invited the diplomats to join her government in finding out why those Muslims have integrated successfully in Rakhine state.

News Story: Trump attacks North Korea, prods allies for more military support in UN speech

By: Leo Shane III

WASHINGTON — In a wide-ranging speech before the United Nations, President Donald Trump attacked Iranian leaders as “murderous,” taunted the North Korean leader as “rocket man” and promised to drive out Islamic terrorist groups in the Middle East.

He also criticized UN countries for making the United States shoulder a “disproportionate share” of military responsibilities throughout the world, adding that America cannot ensure global peace on its own.

The appearance this week before the international coalition was Trump’s first as commander in chief, and security issues dominated his remarks. They echoed his campaign trail promises of making foreign governments shoulder more security responsibilities, remarks which have raised concerns among American allies.

“The United States will forever be a great friend to the world, and especially to its allies,” Trump said. “But we can no longer be taken advantage of or enter into a one-sided deal where the United States gets nothing in return.

“As long as I hold this office, I will defend America’s interest above all else. But in fulfilling our obligations to our own nations, we also realize that it’s in everyone’s interest to seek a future where all nations can be sovereign, prosperous and secure.”

Read the full story at DefenseNews

News Story: Japan deploys PAC-3 missile interceptor near North Korea flight path

A Japanese Patriot PAC-3 Missile System
By: Mari Yamaguchi

TOKYO (AP) — Japan on Tuesday moved a mobile missile-defense system on the northern island of Hokkaido to a base near recent North Korean missile flyover routes.

Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera said a Patriot Advanced Capability-3 interceptor unit was deployed at the Hakodate base on southern Hokkaido “as a precaution” as part of government preparations for a possible emergency.

The relocation came after a North Korean missile was test-fired last week and flew over southern Hokkaido and landed in the Pacific off the island’s east coast — the second flyover in less than a month.

The PAC-3 was brought from another base in Yakumo town on Hokkaido, about 80 kilometers (50 miles) northeast of Hakodate. The system has a range of about 20 kilometers.

Read the full story at DefenseNews