Thursday, October 03, 2013

CIA ramping up covert training program for moderate Syrian rebels - WaPo

CIA ramping up covert training program for moderate Syrian rebels - The Washington Post

The CIA is expanding a clandestine effort to train opposition fighters in Syria amid concern that moderate, U.S.-backed militias are rapidly losing ground in the country’s civil war, U.S. officials said.

But the CIA program is so minuscule that it is expected to produce only a few hundred trained fighters each month even after it is enlarged, a level that officials said will do little to bolster rebel forces that are being eclipsed by radical Islamists in the fight against the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad....

-bth: so we are training but so few that they will be required to lose.  How does this middle of the road strategy help anyone?

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Cleanup in Arlington National Cemetery’s Section 60 upsets families of war dead - WaPo

Cleanup in Arlington National Cemetery’s Section 60 upsets families of war dead - The Washington Post

...The cemetery’s executive director is planning to meet with families Sunday to discuss the new enforcement approach. The cemetery’s advisory board, meanwhile, “is wrestling with these issues as they develop and recommend a permanent policy,” said Lynch, the spokeswoman. “The fact is that Arlington National Cemetery is not the Vietnam War memorial or the World War II memorial — it is a functioning cemetery, and we must remain true to that mission.”

In the first years of the war, Section 60 resembled other areas of the cemetery. As the death toll from the wars mounted, the mementos built up. Army curators collected some objects for storage in a climate-controlled facility. The rest of the photos, letters and children’s drawings were usually left until they became “unsightly,” said Ami Neiberger-Miller, a spokeswoman for TAPS, a nonprofit organization that works with military families who have lost relatives in the war....

-bth: while true that Section 60 appears disporderly it also appears to be visited by families like ours and to be done with respect and love by the families that visit there.  One day I arrived to find someone had left their combat infantry badge and a unit patch on John's grave there then a week later all was taken by I guess the local grounds crew.  Section 60 may be just a cemetery to the administrators but they also need to remember that there is and will be no memorial for this war(s) for at least ten years if ever.  Section 60 is the memorial.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Iran Claims Data from Downed CIA RQ-170 Decoding Completed - IHLS

Iran Claims Data from Downed CIA RQ-170 Decoding Completed - i-HLS

Iranian officials say they have completed decoding the surveillance data and software extracted from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) UAS that the United States lost possession of nearly two years ago near the city of Kashmar.

Hossein Salami, the lieutenant commander general of Iran’s Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution, told the country’s Fars news agency that analysts have finally cracked the systems used within the RQ-170 Sentinel obtained in December 2011....

-bth: this is not good. Perhaps they won't be able to build a stealthy drone, but they certainly now have the software to build a pretty good one.

Iran Guards chief criticises Rouhani-Obama call - Jordan Times

Iran Guards chief criticises Rouhani-Obama call | The Jordan Times

...“If we see errors being made by officials, the revolutionary forces will issue the necessary warnings,” added the commander of the elite Guards who consider themselves as defenders of the values of the revolution.

The criticism came despite appeals earlier this month by both Rouhani and supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei for the Guards, to steer clear of politics.

Jafari said Washington should respond to the goodwill shown by Rouhani in New York by “lifting all sanctions against the Iranian nation, releasing Iranian assets frozen in the United States, ending its hostility towards Iran and accepting Iran’s nuclear programme”.

The commander of the Guards air wing General Amir-Ali Hadjizadeh told the corps’ own sepahnews.com website that “US hostility can’t be forgotten with a phone call and a smile”.....

-bth: IRG demands 1) lifting of all sanctions 2) releasing frozen assets, 3) ending hostilities toward Iran, 4) accepting Irans nuclear program, 5) respecting the pride of Iran.

How China Would Fight the US (And Win) - The Diplomat

How China Would Fight the US (And Win) | Flashpoints | The Diplomat

...Chinese military planners have stated time and time again they have no plans to try and match U.S. forces ship for ship, or carrier for carrier. China’s military — at least for the moment — is much more focused on the area around the first island chain, while America’s defense planners are focused on projecting power globally — two very different missions.

This is why understanding China’s much discussed “counter-intervention” strategy or A2/AD is so important. China intends to make things as difficult for America in the event of a conflict as possible. Why bother developing multiple carrier battle groups that would cost billions to build and billions more to maintain? If China can use large amounts of cruise and ballistic missiles, modern conventional submarines, sea-mines and other less costly assets to keep U.S. forces far from areas of contention or do real damage in a fight, that would suit Beijing just fine.

Unfortunately, a simple comparison between militaries is not as easy as the headline writers would have us believe. The true test for a nation’s military is quite simple: can it achieve the goals its leadership lays out and the internal goals it sets for itself? Sadly, that does not lend itself to a sexy headline (although we'll do our best…); however, this is the question we must ask of China’s military today and going forward.