Categories
Defense News

With New Plan, Pentagon Embraces Climate Change Fight – Breaking Defense Breaking Defense


The Pentagon is preparing to deal with climate change in a more serious way than ever before. (File)

WASHINGTON: A new Pentagon strategy calls for the military services and all defense-related organizations — including contractors — to make changes to mitigate potential vulnerabilities from climate change and reduce emissions.

The 32-page report, released Thursday, states that the Defense Department must adapt to a world where military operations, installations and even weapon systems can all be impacted by climate change.

“Climate change is going to be the context of the world that we live in from now on,” Richard Kidd, the deputy assistant secretary of defense for environment and energy resilience, told reporters during a roundtable on Friday. “No entity can opt out of their responsibilities or requirements to take necessary steps in either adaptation or mitigation.”

The strategy lays out five lines of effort, outlining how the Pentagon can incorporate climate change into its future planning and operations.

Perhaps most notably for the defense industry, the department must harden its supply chains to the effects of climate change, the strategy states. One way it can do that is by leveraging its purchasing power to invest in environmentally-friendly technologies like microgrids and power storage systems that can also improve the survivability of the military.

Related: Next DoD Budget To Feature Detailed ‘Investments’ To Battle Climate Change: Hicks

“To remain agile and flexible in responding to changing conditions, actions will include energy demand reduction to reduce logistics requirements and establish metrics and measures for tracking progress,” the strategy states.

The Pentagon will also seek greater transparency from industry on current levels of greenhouse gas emissions and companies’ plans for reduction.

“Some of our contractors are in fact leaders in this area,” Kidd said. “They have very aggressive greenhouse gas reduction goals and can account for greenhouse gases through most of the steps in the supply chain. But other contractors are not quite there yet. Our goal is to bring all the contractors up to what is best practice.”

The department plans to target places in the supply chain where it can reduce emissions, while also having a positive impact on operations or resiliency, Kidd said. For example, the Defense Department wants to see more domestic production of batteries used in aircraft, on ships or by dismounted troops, which serves a dual purpose of reducing the vulnerability of the US military to supply chain interruptions in the foreign market.

“By bringing that battery manufacturing onshore to the United States, we significantly reduce the carbon impacts while improving the integrity of our supply chain. And that sort of example cascades out through hundreds of items that we buy or purchase,” he said.

The other lines of effort include:

  • Ensuring the Department has access to quality data on climate and the environment, and that it creates processes to include that information in the decision-making process, reducing costs and the risk to operations. 
  • Training troops to withstand extreme weather conditions and making certain that equipment can also function in very hot and cold temperatures.
  • Mitigating the risk of floods, wildfires and other natural disasters on military installations by continually assessing the risk to bases and other facilities.
  • Enhancing cooperation with partner nations and other US agencies that can increase knowledge about climate change, contribute to resiliency, and reduce costs.

Kidd said it would be difficult to point to specific increases in funding in the upcoming fiscal year 2023 budget that were made as a result of the strategy, because much of the added money is going to “existing investment streams” such as military construction projects or the acquisition of fuel-efficient equipment.

However, there are several areas the department has identified “that could use some significant increases in [funding],” he said. Kidd declined to elaborate on those needs ahead of the FY23 budget.

Existing efforts such as the Energy Resilience and Conservation Investment Program (ERCIP) — a part of the military construction budget that funds projects that contribute to energy efficiency — and the Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration initiative, which helps avoid land-use conflicts with local areas that could inhibit training, could also receive greater attention in future budgets, he said.



Source link

Categories
Defense News

The Picture Show : NPR


A view of one of the monuments and a road in the Valley of the Gods

President Biden today restored the boundaries of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase Escalante national monuments in Utah that were dramatically reduced under former President Trump. He also reimposed fishing restrictions at a third monument off the coast of New England.

Former President Barack Obama created the national monument in 2017 just before he left office but the Trump administration cut down the size of the protected area by 85%. Now with Biden’s restoration and a slight increase that includes 11,200 acres that were added during the Trump-era changes, the monument will be approximately 1.3 acres.

Native American tribes are marking today as a victory in a long-fought battle to protect Bears Ears.

Here is Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, the nation’s first indigenous cabinet member, commenting today at the White House.

“Bears Ears is a living landscape,” Haaland said. “When I’ve been there, I’ve felt the warmth and joy of ancestors who have cared for this special place since time immemorial.”

The rugged desert terrain in Southeast Utah is filled with towering red rock formations, significant Native American archeological sites, sprawling fields of sage-colored scrub brush, and of course it’s namesake, the Bears Ears buttes.

Here are some of photos NPR photographer Claire Harbage visited the area on her reporting trip in July 2021:

The Bears Ears buttes at Bears Ear National Monument in San Juan County, Utah in July. Biden also restored Grand Staircase-Escalante and Northeast Canyons and Seamounts national monuments on Friday.

Claire Harbage/NPR


hide caption

toggle caption

Claire Harbage/NPR


The Bears Ears buttes at Bears Ear National Monument in San Juan County, Utah in July. Biden also restored Grand Staircase-Escalante and Northeast Canyons and Seamounts national monuments on Friday.

Claire Harbage/NPR

A view of one of the Bears Ears with a cow grazing in front in July.

Claire Harbage/NPR


hide caption

toggle caption

Claire Harbage/NPR


A view of one of the Bears Ears with a cow grazing in front in July.

Claire Harbage/NPR

A view of one of the Bears Ears in July. Biden will restore the monument to a slightly expanded size on Friday.

Claire Harbage/NPR


hide caption

toggle caption

Claire Harbage/NPR


A view of one of the Bears Ears in July. Biden will restore the monument to a slightly expanded size on Friday.

Claire Harbage/NPR

Mule Canyon Ruin an ancient Anasazi site in Bears Ears. The land holds great importance to several Native American tribes.

Claire Harbage/NPR


hide caption

toggle caption

Claire Harbage/NPR


Mule Canyon Ruin an ancient Anasazi site in Bears Ears. The land holds great importance to several Native American tribes.

Claire Harbage/NPR

A view in The Valley of the Gods, part of the area that was removed from the national monument when Trump reduced it’s size by 85% in 2017.

Claire Harbage/NPR


hide caption

toggle caption

Claire Harbage/NPR


A view in The Valley of the Gods, part of the area that was removed from the national monument when Trump reduced it’s size by 85% in 2017.

Claire Harbage/NPR

The view from Moki Dugway Scenic Highway in Southeast Utah an area that will be included in the Bears Ears National Monument with Biden’s restoration.

Claire Harbage/NPR


hide caption

toggle caption

Claire Harbage/NPR


The view from Moki Dugway Scenic Highway in Southeast Utah an area that will be included in the Bears Ears National Monument with Biden’s restoration.

Claire Harbage/NPR

A truck drives on a flat road and stirs up a lot of dust

A view of a rock formation in The Valley of the Gods. Deb Haaland, interior secretary advised Biden to restore the monument in June.

Claire Harbage/NPR


hide caption

toggle caption

Claire Harbage/NPR


A view of a rock formation in The Valley of the Gods. Deb Haaland, interior secretary advised Biden to restore the monument in June.

Claire Harbage/NPR

Left: Flowers growing near the Mule Canyon ruins in July. Right: A small lizard blends into a hiking path, also near Mule Canyon.

Claire Harbage/NPR


hide caption

toggle caption

Claire Harbage/NPR


Left: Flowers growing near the Mule Canyon ruins in July. Right: A small lizard blends into a hiking path, also near Mule Canyon.

Claire Harbage/NPR

Moki Dugway, a scenic gravel road that is cut into a cliff in Southeast Utah and winds it’s way down 1,200 feet to the valley below.

Claire Harbage/NPR


hide caption

toggle caption

Claire Harbage/NPR


Moki Dugway, a scenic gravel road that is cut into a cliff in Southeast Utah and winds it’s way down 1,200 feet to the valley below.

Claire Harbage/NPR

Dusk settles over The Valley of the Gods. The new boundary of Bears Ears not only restores Obama’s original boundaries but also include 11,200 acres that were added during the Trump-era changes.

Claire Harbage/NPR


hide caption

toggle caption

Claire Harbage/NPR


Dusk settles over The Valley of the Gods. The new boundary of Bears Ears not only restores Obama’s original boundaries but also include 11,200 acres that were added during the Trump-era changes.

Claire Harbage/NPR



Source link

Categories
Defense News

US Army Unveils Upgraded UH-60 Black Hawk Helicopter


The US Army unveiled six upgraded UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters at the Eastern Army National Guard Aviation Training Site (EAATS) in Pennsylvania this week.

The army’s Utility Helicopter Program Office delivered the aircraft to the EAATS in late July, making it the first unit equipped with the Black Hawk UH-60V. The aviation school’s pilot instructors have been training on the aircraft since their arrival.

Black Hawk Upgrade

The Sikorsky UH-60V is an upgrade on the UH-60 L model, which entered service in 1989 to replace the original UH-A first deployed 11 years ago.

According to the army, the UH-60 V’s upgraded cockpit has similar features and capabilities to the UH-60 M model, with a certified GPS (global positioning system) RNAV (random navigation) database, advanced flight planning, and mission capabilities. 

The service added that the “updated cockpit increases a pilot’s situational awareness while reducing the workload, resulting in a more capable and safer aviation platform.” Moreover, the UH-60V was the first US Army aircraft with open system architecture.

The interior of a UH-60V Black Hawk helicopter on display at the unveiling on October 6, 2021.
The interior of a UH-60V Black Hawk helicopter on display at the unveiling on October 6, 2021. Photo: Brad Rhen/US Army

Test pilot and pilot instructor for EAATS Chief Warrant Officer 5 Jake Russell shared his experiences of the UH-60V. “Whether using the GPS navigation capability in the national airspace system or flying tactical routes in the battlespace, the UH-60V’s integrated avionics package provides the necessary information for safe and efficient mission execution.” 

In-House Upgrade

Highlighting the importance of the program, Army Program Officer-Aviation Brig. Gen. Robert Barrie called it the army’s “first real opportunity to upgrade its current helicopter platforms apart from their original manufacturers.”

“In order for us to bring capability onto this platform, it necessitated a significant investment both in dollars and time,” Barrie said. 

“And because our threat is evolving faster than we are, and because our dollars are limited, it was absolutely essential that we find a way to bring capability onto our platforms more affordable and more rapidly, and that’s what this platform is the first of our ability to do.”



Source link

Categories
Defense News

Poland Kicks Off Homegrown SHORAD System: Narew – Breaking Defense Breaking Defense


Poland’s Newa-SC system is one of the capabilities to be replaced by the Narew. (Polish MoD)

WARSAW: During the 29th International Defense Industry Exhibition (MSPO) the Polska Grupa Zbrojeniowa (PGZ) consortium signed what may be the most important contract in the history of the Polish defense industry — a framework agreement for the acquisition of a short-range air defense missile system under the code-name “Narew.”

Underlining the significance of the signing was the presence of Polish president Andrzej Duda and Minister of National Defense Mariusz Błaszczak, who blessed the new agreement.

Duda declared the contracts a sign of “further progress in the modernization of the Polish Armed Forces,” calling it the “largest and most complex contract in the history of Polish Armed Forces — dozens of billions of zlotys and a total of almost 400 launchers.” He also noted the potential economic impact on a variety of Polish firms who could take part in the Narew project in the coming years.

Among the members of the consortium are Huta Stalowa Wola, Jelcz, Mesko, Ośrodek Badawczo-Rozwojowy Centrum Techniki Morskiej, PCO, PIT-Radwar, Wojskowe Zakłady Łączności Nr 1, Wojskowe Zakłady Uzbrojenia, Wojskowe Zakłady Elektroniczne and Zakłady Mechaniczne Tarnów – a broad coalition that shows how important Narew will be to the Polish deomstic defense industry.

To be clear, there is a long way to go before anything comes of Narew. This signing was just the starting point to define the terms and conditions for granting and completing implementation procurements.

The scope of the executory agreements involves the development and delivery of components and subsystems for 23 systems, including technology and technical expertise acquisition, industrial capacity development, project management, and system integration. The adopted formula — with a framework agreement that serves as an umbrella for a number of smaller deals — aims to minimize the risk and allow optimization of program management, both for the military and industry.

The estimated value of the contract is 50-70 billion zlotys, roughly a $12.5 to $17.6 billion range. According to Poland’s MND, signing contracts with suppliers of individual elements of the system should end in 2023. The goal is to integrate Narew capabilities with existing Polish radar systems as well as the Patriot systems already procured from the US.

RELATED: NATO’s Big Concern from Russia’s Zapad Exercise: Putin’s Forces Lingering in Belarus

Overall, Narew will consist of newly-procured vehicles; engagement control stations; engagement operation centers; EO systems; mobile communication nodes; a multimode fire control radar called “Sajna,” which serves as an early warning radar with passive coherent location and passive emitter tracking capabilities; as well as air defense missiles and launchers, which will be acquired from a foreign partner under the technology transfer.

While that foreign partner has not been selected, it is expected that MBDA will push to provide the missiles and launchers for the system. America’s Raytheon Technologies, Norway’s Kongsberg Defence and Aerospace, and Israel’s Rafael and Israel Aerospace Industries are also expected to be in the mix.

According to the schedule, the first live firing of the Narew system elements is to take place in 2026. As designed, Narew will replace three aging capabilities with one new system: the Army’s obsolete 2K12 Kub (SA-6 Gainful) mobile surface-to-air missile system and 9K33 Osa (SA-8 Gecko) mobile, low-altitude, short-range tactical surface-to-air missile system, along with the Air Force’s Newa SC (SA-3 Goa) surface-to-air missile system.

The basic task of the Narew system will be protection of the Polish Armed Forces units and facilities and air bases, complementing the Wisła (Patriot) medium range air defense and anti-ballistic missile system, to create a national, allied and coalition air defense system in all-weather, day and night conditions. The Narew system will be used primarily to engage multi-role aircraft, cruise missiles and UAVs operating on low altitudes.

“Building an air and missile defense system, identified as a priority in the National Security Strategy, is a nationwide task. We are proud that the implementation of another strategic project has been entrusted to the Polish defense industry. Today our companies also obtained other contracts, which confirm the significant role of PGZ in the system of modernization and maintenance of weaponry and military equipment of the Polish Armed Forces,” said Sebastian Chwałek, president of the Management Board of PGZ.



Source link

Categories
Defense News

California is the first state to ban ‘stealthing,’ nonconsensual condom removal : NPR


California’s governor has signed a new law against removing a condom without a sexual partner’s consent.

Rich Pedroncelli/AP


hide caption

toggle caption

Rich Pedroncelli/AP


California’s governor has signed a new law against removing a condom without a sexual partner’s consent.

Rich Pedroncelli/AP

California just became the first state in the U.S. to outlaw ‘stealthing,’ a slang term for the nonconsensual removal of a condom during sex.

The law, signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday, makes it a civil offense under state law for someone to remove a condom without their romantic partner’s consent.

“For a majority of the people, it’s like, yeah, it makes sense that this is immoral and it should be illegal,” State Assemblymember Cristina Garcia, who sponsored the legislation, told NPR.

“A lot of people told me, ‘I can’t believe it’s not already illegal,'” she added.

The California State Legislature had approved the measure without opposition.

Stealthing was a little-known phenomenon, but that’s changing

Garcia said she was motivated to write a bill to ban the practice after reading law student Alexandra Brodsky’s law journal article on the topic in 2017, which has since been credited with kick-starting a wider discussion on stealthing.

Brodsky, who is now a civil rights attorney and author of the book Sexual Justice, says few people were talking openly about nonconsensual condom removal at the time and that victims face additional scrutiny, because stealthing starts with consensual sex.

Brodsky says nonconsensual condom removal is a violation in itself, but it also poses the risk of an unplanned pregnancy or the transmission of a sexually transmitted infection.

“The experience of realizing that your partner, your sexual partner, has no concern for your autonomy, your individual dignity, your right to make decisions about who you have sex with, when and how,” Brodsky told NPR, “that’s a terrible violation regardless of whether a physical injury occurs, regardless of whether a pregnancy occurs.”

A 2018 survey of patients at a sexual health clinic in Melbourne, Australia, found that 32% of women and 19% of men who have sex with men had experienced stealthing.

Pop culture has also cast a spotlight on nonconsensual condom removal.

A plot line in the BBC show I May Destroy You revolves around the main character, Arabella, having sex with a man who removes his condom during sex without her knowledge.

When Arabella confronts him about it, he says he thought she could feel that he wasn’t wearing the condom anymore.

Perpetrators can now be sued for stealthing

Stealthing won’t be a crime under California law but rather a civil offense, allowing people who experience it to sue the perpetrators directly in civil court if they choose to.

“Civil litigation keeps decision-making in the hands of survivors, which can be particularly important in the wake of sexual violence, which is itself a denial of the victim’s right to make decisions about their lives,” Brodsky said.

Only a small percentage of sexual assault cases brought to police ever go to court, she added, and many victims may not want to involve law enforcement.

“There are a lot of survivors who don’t want to see the person who hurt them in prison but really could use some help rebuilding their lives, paying for mental health care, paying off medical debt, being able to take some time off from work in order to heal,” Brodsky said.

Garcia, the California assemblymember, says she hopes the new law will lead to others like it — as well as a more nuanced understanding of the many different kinds of sexual violence.

“I do hope that other states follow,” she said. “I do hope that this elevates the discussion.”



Source link

Categories
Defense News

Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan (TTP) consolidates power in tribal areas


Member of the Shehryar Mehsud Group swear alligiance to the Wali Noor Mehsud, the leader of the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan. Image from TTP website.

The Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan (TTP) is consolidating its power in Pakistan’s volatile tribal areas.

With increased muscle, backing and resources, the TTP – which sent thousands of fighters into Afghanistan to help the Afghan Taliban conquer the country over the summer – can now refocus its efforts on relaunching its insurgency in order to overthrow the Pakistani state.

The Shehryar Mehsud Group rejoined the the TTP this month and its leaders pledged allegiance to Mufti Noor Wali Mehsud, according to two statements released on the group’s website.

In total, nine Taliban and Al Qaeda-linked groups have sworn allegiance to Wali and taken up the banner of the TTP since July 2020 (see groups listed below). Many of these groups have close ties to Al Qaeda and the constellation of Pakistani jihadist groups. These groups likely will aid Wali and his TTP in relaunching its insurgency against the Pakistani state.

The Shehryar Mehsud Group was one of several Pakistani Taliban factions that split from the TTP after the TTP named Mullah Fazlullah its emir in Nov. 2013. Fazlullah replaced Hakeemullah Mehsud, the popular TTP leader from South Waziristan who waged a successful and deadly insurgency against the Pakistani state during his tenure as the second emir of the TTP. As emir of the TTP from 2009 until his death in late 2013, Hakeemullah engineered the deaths of thousands of Pakistani civilians, soldiers, and policemen. Taliban fighters under his command launched suicide attacks and assaults in mosques, shrines, hospitals, markets, hotels, police stations and military bases.

Fazlullah’s appointment led to divisions within the TTP. The terror group, which was founded in Dec. 2017 by Baitullah Mehsud in South Waziristan, was traditionally led by Mehsud tribesmen. Fazlullah, who hailed from Swat in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, was an outsider of the traditional TTP leadership circles, and his leadership style was unpopular. Coupled with Pakistan’s offensive against the TTP, the group splintered. [See LWJ reports, Discord dissolves Pakistani Taliban coalition and Mehsud faction rejoins the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan.]

Fazlullah was killed in U.S. drone strike in Afghanistan in 2018. He was replaced by Mufti Wali Noor Mehsud. Also known as Abu Mansoor Asim, Wali is a veteran jihadist who fought alongside the Afghan Taliban against the Northern Alliance and against the U.S. and its allies after the Oct. 2001 invasion. Wali has served as a military commander and has led the TTP in the Pakistani city of Karachi. More importantly, Wali is a religious scholar who rose to the rank of judge within the TTP. His credentials gave him the needed clout to reorganize the TTP.

While opposed to the Pakistani military, the TTP has some cards up its sleeve in its efforts to overthrow the country and impose an Taliban regime. Its main allies, the Afghan Taliban and Al Qaeda, were victorious in Afghanistan and the country is now a terror safe haven. The Taliban played a key role in helping conquer Afghanistan, and it will expect support, even if covert, from the Afghan Taliban. Wali, the TTP emir, swore allegiance to the Taliban’s emir in Aug. 2019, just days after the Taliban took over Afghanistan.

The Pakistani military, its Inter-Service Intelligence Directorate and powerful elements of the state handcuff themselves by continuing to play both sides of the jihadist coin. The Pakistani state also played a key role in supporting the Afghan Taliban by providing safe have, support, weapons, cash, and other forms of support. The Afghan Taliban and other groups such as Lashkar-e-Taiba are considered “good Taliban” by the state, as they help promote the foreign policy goals of Pakistan – primarily strategic depth against India and jihad in the Indian territory of Kashmir and Jammu.

However, the so-called “good Taliban” are allied with groups like the TTP and Al Qaeda, the so-called “bad Taliban” which actively seek to overthrow the Pakistani state. The good Taliban provide shelter, support, manpower, and such to the bad Taliban, which attacks the state. This is the “Wheel of Jihad.”

Taliban and Al Qaeda-linked groups that have joined the TTP since July 2020

The Amjad Farooqi Group joins the TTP.

The Amjad Farooqi Group, led by Muneeb Bhai, joined the TTP in July 2020. According to the TTP, Bhai was “a close associate of Ustad Ahmad Farooq.” Farooq was a deputy emir of Al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent, Al Qaeda’s branch in south and central Asia. The U.S. killed Farooq in a drone strike in early 2015.

Amjad Farooqi was a Pakistani jihadst and member of Jaish-e-Mohammad. He was involved in the assassination attempt on former Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf. Farooqi served as a close aide to Qari Saifullah Akhtar, the leader of the Harakat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami. He also served as the group’s representative to al Qaeda’s International Islamic Front. He is thought to have been involved in the Indian airliner hijacking that led to the release of both Maulana Masood Azhar, the future leader of the Jaish-e-Mohammed, and Sheikh Omar Saeed, a senior al Qaeda and Jaish-e-Mohammed operative involved in the death of U.S. journalist Daniel Pearl. Farooqi was killed by Pakistani forces in 2004. Al Qaeda lionized Farooq after he was killed.

—-

The Hakeemullah Mehsud Group rejoins the TTP.

In July 2020, Mukhlis Yar Hifazullah, who led a Taliban faction that was loyal to Hakeemullah Mehsud, swore allegiance to Wali and rejoined the TTP. While little is known of Mukhlis Yar Hifazullah, his previous patron Hakeemullah was integrally linked to Al Qaeda, the Afghan Taliban, and the host of Pakistani and South and Central Asian jihadist groups operating in the region.

—-

Jamaat-ul-Ahrar and Hizb-ul-Ahrar rejoin the TTP.

Jamaat-ul-Ahrar (JuA) and Hizb-ul-Ahrar (HuA) rejoined the TTP in Aug. 2020. However, both groups, along with Lashkar-e-Islam, had previously reconciled with the TTP in 2015. It is possible that JuA emir Omar Khalid Khorasani and HuA emir Omar Khorasani renewed their allegiance to the TTP and swore their oath to Wali.

JuA was listed by the U.S. government as a terrorist organization in 2016. Omar Khalid al Khurasani is closely linked to Ayman al Zawahiri, al Qaeda’s emir, and has called for the imposition of sharia law and the establishment of a global caliphate. Khurasani has also said that a primary goal of the Pakistani Taliban is to obtain nuclear weapons. [See LWJ reports, Taliban commander wants Pakistan’s nukes, global Islamic caliphate, and Jamaat-ul-Ahrar celebrates 9/11 attack.]

—-

The Amir Usman Saifullah Kurd Group joined the TTP.

In Aug. 2020, Maulvi Khush Muhammad Sindhi swore allegiance to Wali, and his Amir Usman Saifullah Kurd Group joined the TTP. The Amir Usman Saifullah Kurd Group was part of Lashkar-e-Jhanghvi, the virulent anti-Shia terror group with ties to Al Qaeda and a host of terror organizations. Sindhi previously served as the emir of Harakat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami, (HUJI), another Al Qaeda ally in Pakistan. Previous leaders of HUJI include Ilyas Kashmiri, who served as Al Qaeda’s military commander, and Qari Saifullah Akhar, who was directly linked to Osama bin Laden and Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate. The U.S. killed Kashmiri in Pakistan in 2011, and the Afghan NDS killed Akhar in Afghanistan in 2017.

—-

Maulavi Aalim Khan Ustad and Commander Ghazi Umar Azaam joined the TTP.

In Dec. 2020, Maulavi Aalim Khan Ustad and Commander Ghazi Umar Azaam swore bayat to Wali, and their groups joined the TTP. Aalim Khan Ustad previously served as a commander under Hafiz Gul Bahadar, an influential Taliban commander in North Waziristan who is not aligned with the TTP. Bahadar is the consummate “good Taliban” leader. While he has not joined the TTP, he supports it while maintaining good relations with the Pakistani state. Khan had previously negotiated with the Pakistani government and formed a group called Jaish-e Muttaqi. Ghazi Umar Azaam, also from North Waziristan, is the leader of a group known as Musa Shaheed Karvan.

—-

Ustad Aslam’s group joins the TTP.

In Aug. 2021, a group of Taliban fighters led by Ustad Aslam joined the TTP. Aslam, who is also known as Qari Yasin, is an Al Qaeda commander from Punjab who operates in North Waziristan. Aslam was “involved in several high-profile terrorist attacks, including the assassination attempt on former president Gen. Pervez Musharraf, the attack on the GHQ, the attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team and a bomb blast at Data Darbar in Lahore.” He was rumored to have been killed in a U.S. drone strike in 2017, but the reports were never confirmed.

—-

The Shehryar Mehsud Group joins the TTP

In Oct. 2021, the Shehryar Mehsud Group, along with leaders Maulana Sher Alam, Commander Asad and Dr. Hamid Akhir, joined the TTP. The Shehryar Mehsud Group had split with the TTP after Mullah Fazlullah was appointed emir. The group was founded by Shehryar Mehsud, who was killed in a bombing in Afghanistan in Kunar province in 2020. Shehryar is said to have made many enemies amongst Pakistan’s various jihadist groups. The Shehryar Mehsud Group is now led by Maulana Wali Muhammad.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD’s Long War Journal.

Are you a dedicated reader of FDD’s Long War Journal? Has our research benefitted you or your team over the years? Support our independent reporting and analysis today by considering a one-time or monthly donation. Thanks for reading! You can make a tax-deductible donation here.

Tags: Afghanistan, Bad Taliban, Good Taliban, Harakat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami, Hizb-ul-Ahrar, HUJI, Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan, Mufti Noor Wali Mehsud, Pakistan, Taliban, ttp, Wheel of Jihad



Source link

Categories
Defense News

Army Spreads Wings With ‘Dark Eagle’ Hypersonic Missile Hardware – Breaking Defense Breaking Defense


The Army is prototyping the land-based, ground launched Long Range Hypersonic Weapon (LRHW) that will provide residual combat capability to Soldiers by Fiscal Year 2023. (Spc. Karleshia Gater/U.S. Army)

WASHINGTON: The US Army announced Thursday that soldiers had received the first prototype hardware for its Long Range Hypersonic Weapon, dubbed “Dark Eagle.”

While it didn’t include the missiles themselves, the delivery is a significant milestone for the Army’s Long Range Precision Fires effort, the services top modernization priority as it pivots to near-peer threats and the Indo-Pacific. The equipment was delivered to the Army’s I Corps’ 5th Battalion, 3rd Field Artillery Regiment, 17th Field Artillery Brigade at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.

The effort is led by the Army’s Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office and will provide the service with a ground-based hypersonic launch capability. According to the Army press release, the delivery of the the new hypersonic hardware began in March 2021 and finished in September. The package included a battery operations center, four transporter erector launchers and modified trucks and trailers that make up the LRHW ground equipment.

“Today marks an important milestone in equipping our nation’s first hypersonic battery,” said Lt. Gen. L. Neil Thurgood, Director of Hypersonics, Directed Energy, Space and Rapid Acquisition, who also oversees the Army Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office. “From a blank piece of paper in March 2019, we – along with our industry partners and joint services — delivered this hardware in just over two years. Now, Soldiers can begin training.”

As previously reported by Breaking Defense, the Army has stated that the Long Range Hypersonic Weapon can fly further than 2,775 km, or 1,725 miles. That means that if the LRHW was based in Guam, its coverage area would include Taiwan, increasingly a potential conflict zone.

The next step for the service is to train soldiers on the equipment, including unloading and unloading the system from C-130 transport planes, according to Bob Strider, deputy direction of the Army Hypersonic Project Office, who spoke at the Space and Missile Defense Symposium in August.

“We are moving very rapidly toward getting this capability put in place,” he said then. “We’re very, very confident that we’re going to meet our 2023 fielding date.”

The Army and Navy are developing similar capabilities, the difference being in the way the two services launch the missile. Both services are set for two Joint Flight Tests in fiscal year 2022, Strider said in August, with officials from the Missile Defense Agency in attendance as well.



Source link

Categories
Defense News

Colorado hospital system will require vaccine for its organ transplant list : Coronavirus Updates : NPR


Colorado’s UCHealth hospital system is requiring any prospective organ transplant recipients to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Here, a man receives a COVID-19 vaccine in Thornton, Colo., earlier this year.

Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images


hide caption

toggle caption

Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images


Colorado’s UCHealth hospital system is requiring any prospective organ transplant recipients to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Here, a man receives a COVID-19 vaccine in Thornton, Colo., earlier this year.

Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images

A large hospital system in Colorado says people on its organ transplant wait list won’t be offered an organ if they refuse to get the COVID-19 vaccine, citing the “significant risk the virus poses to transplant recipients.”

UCHealth, which operates 12 hospitals from its headquarters in Aurora, Colo., says it has long been standard practice to require many organ recipients or donors to get vaccines such as hepatitis B or the MMR shot.

Organ wait list status hinges on the COVID-19 vaccine

The hospital system added COVID-19 to its vaccine list a few weeks ago. But the change is drawing notice now, after Colorado state Rep. Tim Geitner publicized the case of a woman who says the hospital told her has no chance of receiving a kidney transplant because she isn’t vaccinated.

“UCHealth denies life saving treatment,” the Republican lawmaker said via Twitter.

In the letter Geitner posted, the woman was informed that she would remain on the hospital’s wait list for a kidney — but that her status would be deemed “inactive” until she gets the vaccine, according to an image of a letter addressed from UCHealth that Geitner shared online.

Unvaccinated people are at far greater risk, the hospital system says

A hospital official told NPR that they are unable to share or confirm information about specific patients. But in response to a flurry of questions about its policy, UCHealth said that people who undergo an organ transplant are routinely subject to a number of health requirements, from a drug regimen to prevent rejection to abstaining from tobacco or alcohol — and getting vaccines.

The “vast majority” of its patients who are hospitalized with COVID-19 are unvaccinated, according to UCHealth. And it says organ recipients are at increased risk for the worst outcomes from the coronavirus.

“Various studies show that between 20% and 30% of unvaccinated transplant recipients who contract COVID-19 have died,” the hospital system said in an update posted late Wednesday.

The vaccine requirements and other measures “are in place to ensure patients have the best chances of recovery and good outcomes, UCHealth said.

In late summer, UCHealth adopted a vaccine requirement for all of the employees at its hospitals and other facilities.

“An unvaccinated person is about 50 times more likely to be hospitalized for COVID-19 than a vaccinated person, and nearly 300 times more likely to die if infected,” the hospital said at the time.

Organ transplant groups have backed the COVID-19 vaccine

Organ transplant wait lists are highly competitive, with hopeful recipients greatly outnumbering the available kidneys, livers and other organs that become available each year.

“On any given day there are around 75,000 people on the active waiting list for organs,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “but only around 8,000 deceased organ donors each year, with each providing on average 3.5 organs. Living donors provide on average only around 6,000 organs per year.”

This year, both the American Liver Foundation and the National Kidney Foundation have called for wide access to the COVID-19 vaccine and booster shots for organ recipients, citing their immunocompromised health status.





Source link

Categories
Defense News

Australian Army Trials Electric Bikes for Reconnaissance


The Australian Army has begun trials on “stealth” e-bikes for battlefield information gathering.

Soldiers of the 2nd/14th Light Horse Regiment (Queensland Mounted Infantry) 2/14LHRs (QMI) who tried the reconnaissance bicycle for the first time credited it for their improved performance.

One of the first soldiers to pioneer the bicycle in trials, Corporal Thomas Ovey, explained its capabilities. “It allows us to do safe-handing of information, whether that’s information people have found on the battlefield, or even if one of the troops takes photos on their phone and wants to send it back to headquarters.”

Detachable Part Of Boxer Combat Vehicle

The bicycle comes as a detachable part of the Boxer combat reconnaissance vehicle and helps it in sighting routes, said Ovey. He added that the bicycle also helps to reconnoitre creek lines to determine “whether we can get the vehicle through.”

“They’ll call us up, we’ll get the stealth bikes out, head down there and grab the information. It’s a lot quicker.

“We cover more ground much faster, and it saves time instead of waiting for troops to come to us when they’ve found something.

“It’s easier to punch out the e-bikes and return.”

Features

Trooper Damian Day (front) and Corporal Thomas Ovey conduct a scouting patrol on the Australian “electric pushies.” Image: CPL Nicole Dorrett/ Ministry of Defense, Australia

The bicycle has a maximum speed of 90km/h (56m/h) and can cover 100km (62m) on a single charge, using less power than standard electric bicycles while making less noise.

Moreover, Corporal Ovey finds the e-bike more exciting: “This is one of those things about the job that’s exciting, fun and awesome.”

The bicycle trial report will be released at the end of the year, determining whether they are employed in combat brigades.



Source link

Categories
Defense News

NSA Renews Focus On Securing Military Weapons Systems Against ‘Capable’ Rivals – Breaking Defense Breaking Defense


NSA Headquarters at Night (Trevor Paglen)

NSA Headquarters at Night (Trevor Paglen)

WASHINGTON: The head of the National Security Agency’s Cybersecurity Directorate said that one of his agency’s top priorities has become protecting US weapons systems from cyber threats, representing a shift in focus brought about by the rise of an increasingly multipolar world with highly capable cyber adversaries.

“We spent the past 20 years in Afghanistan, where our weapons systems were not targeted by the foe,” because it lacked the technical capability, NSA’s Rob Joyce told the annual Billington Cybersecurity Summit on Wednesday. “But near-peer adversaries have the capabilities to exploit us when we do things incorrectly,” Joyce continued, referring to China and Russia. Joyce also said Iran and North Korea remain a concern as increasingly capable cyber adversaries.

“In terms of weapons systems, we have computers on wings, at sea, and on land. We don’t think of [weapons systems] that way, but none of them work without computers,” Joyce observed.

Indeed, the Defense Department’s Joint All Domain Command and Control (JADC2), viewed by officials as a sort of holy grail for future warfare, is envisioned to be a large of network — or an interconnected network of service-specific networks — that will rely on many traditional information technologies. As such, allowing these networks and their components to be compromised would pose a grave threat to warfighters’ safety and their ability to conduct missions.

The threat is not theoretical nor is the risk abstract, as the military learned last October when it “failed” in a wargame against an “aggressive red team” meant to emulate China or Russia. That catastrophic exercise prompted the Joint Chiefs of Staff to redouble their focus on securing cyber and space networks, which knit disparate warfighting systems together.

Weapons systems fall under the umbrella of a special class of government information technology called National Security Systems (NSS), which have always been the predominant domestic purview of NSA’s cybersecurity efforts. So the shift in focus is not around the historical role and responsibility of NSA, but rather an acknowledgement that the US faces more technologically savvy cyber actors who could — and probably already are — looking for cyber vulnerabilities in these systems.

Joyce said one aspect of NSA’s focus on NSS entails getting to the defense industrial base “to view weapons systems end-to-end” for security while building them and to treat securing the systems not as a one-off task, but rather “knowing they will be under threat” constantly.

Despite their importance, there is no current authority that can issue cybersecurity directives for NSS. The House’s version of the 2022 National Defense Authorization Act requires NSA’s director, Gen. Paul Nakasone, to identify “impediments” to establishing an authority for issuing cyber directives for NSS.

Currently, the Department of Homeland Security, through the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, issues cyber directives for executive branch agencies. The Joint Functional Headquarters-Department of Defense Information Network issues directives for military and subordinate components. But no authority can currently issue cyber directives for the special class of NSS, which also include intelligence systems, classified networks, and networks that host NSA’s cryptologic activities. The need for such an authority is unclear, given that in practice, the NSA is adequately motivated and very likely ahead of other authorities on proactively mitigating cyber vulnerabilities in the NSS under its purview.

In addition to securing weapons’ systems from cyberattacks, Joyce said that NSA’s other top priorities include “understanding nation-states intentions” and developing next-generation cryptologic systems that will still protect secrets amid the widely predicted advent of quantum computing, particularly via post-quantum cryptography.

As for nation-states, Joyce said NSA’s goal is to get at foreign threat actors “at scale.” To do this, Joyce said NSA’s Cybersecurity Collaboration Center has formed fruitful partnerships with the private sector.

“Bringing in industry’s big data and combining it with what we know about foreign threats is kind of that chocolate and peanut butter moment,” Joyce said.

This includes, Joyce said, leveraging NSA’s signals intelligence (SIGINT) capabilities, which he called NSA’s “secret sauce” — a day after Nakasone called SIGINT NSA’s “superpower.”

Joyce also echoed his boss’s comments on Tuesday about ransomware. “Six months ago, ransomware was viewed [by NSA] primarily as a criminal issue,” Joyce said. Given recent events, he added, that’s no longer the case.



Source link