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8 avril 2014 2 08 /04 /avril /2014 16:20
US Army leads development of improved coating for howitzer breech spindles

An M776 howitzer's corroded chrome-plated standard obturator spindle sits next to a newly plated production at the US Army Aberdeen test center in Maryland, US. Photo Conrad Johnson, RDECOM.


8 April 2014 army-technology.com


The US Army Research, Development and Engineering Command's (RDECOM) Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center (ARDEC) is working on a project to identify, evaluate and implement an improved coating process for howitzer breech spindles.


Working in collaboration with the Product Manager Towed Artillery Systems (PM TAS), the ARDEC has shortlisted three new coating and application processes for further testing based on performance and cost. It had been evaluating 12 material formulations in small samples.


The selected processes include high power impulse magnetron sputtering from Sheffield Hallam University, accelerated plasma arc from Phygen Coatings, and electroless nickel plating.


The team had developed a list of ten primary metrics necessary for a new coating and application process, which included resistance to corrosion, mechanical wear and high temperatures.


In an effort to ensure that the coatings withstand the rigours of soldier use, the team has joined forces with the Aberdeen test center for live-fire testing on a howitzer range.


After the first round of firing, the spindle undergoes 30 days of weathering in a caustic and acidic propellant byproduct, called a swab water. This is to replicate potential combat conditions, and is followed by another round of firing and then a final weathering cycle.


ARDEC project technical lead and materials engineer Dr Christopher Mulligan said the new processes are vastly outperforming the legacy chrome electroplating in terms of corrosion and wear.

"The new technique will boost the howitzer performance, reduce the logistical burden on the soldier, and reduce environmental hazards."


The team has also identified and funded a newly developed chemical vapour deposition type coating known as Carbonyl from Canada, and is planning to start testing over the next few months.


A final decision is expected to be made within 90 days of the completion of testing of all processes, with an aim for a production-ready coating within six months to a year.


The new technique will boost the howitzer performance, reduce the logistical burden on the soldier, and reduce environmental hazards. According to Mulligan, it will save the government more than $2m each year.


The evaluation of foreign processes and materials is being funded through the foreign comparative testing (FCT) programme.

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8 avril 2014 2 08 /04 /avril /2014 16:20
Military selects BAE Systems cross-domain application


April 8, 2014 By Richard Tomkins (UPI)


The U.S. Defense Information Systems Agency picks BAE Systems application as the enterprise-wide standard for cross-domain information sharing.


A BAE Systems application for secure information sharing has been chosen by the U.S. military as an enterprise-wide standard.


The system chosen by the U.S. Defense Information Systems Agency is XTS Guard, a cross-domain solution that enables secure information sharing between networks of various security classifications.


A single XTS Guard can handle 20 domains and carry various types of data at high speed, the company said. XTS Guard is being used by DISA’s Cross Domain Enterprise Services to ensure its ability to securely share information among authorized users within the Department of Defense and across the Global Information Grid.


“The DOD has an unprecedented need to share information securely while maintaining the highest level of cyber security,” said DeEtte Gray, president of BAE Systems’ Intelligence & Security sector. “With more than 700 worldwide deployments, our XTS Guard has a longstanding track record of securing sensitive data of all classification levels, and it’s an important tool for defending against insider threats.”

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8 avril 2014 2 08 /04 /avril /2014 16:20
US Global Strike Command Issues Master Plan


April 7, 2014 defense-aerospace.com

(Source: US Air Force Global Strike Command; issued April 7, 2014)


AFGSC Releases 2014 Strategic Master Plan

BARKSDALE AFB, La. --- Lt. Gen. Stephen Wilson, commander of Air Force Global Strike Command, recently approved the Air Force Global Strike Command Strategic Master Plan for 2014.

The objective of the plan is to provide AFGSC Airmen with a roadmap to capture the command's priorities, Wilson said.

The plan is designed to "capture my priorities and guidance for the command," he added, and provides a framework for progression with the presentation, employment, sustainment and modernization of global strike capabilities.

Additionally, the SMP is the primary means by which the AFGSC commander communicates his strategic vision and priorities to the command to support the President and the combatant commanders.

"The SMP reminds us of our enduring mission, vision and command values," Wilson said. "It also reviews the current context of that mission - our strategic environment, to include threats and challenges. Finally, it captures my priorities for the command as we move forward."

Those priorities include:
-- Deter and assure with a safe, secure, and effective nuclear force
-- Win the current fight around the globe
-- Continue to strengthen and empower the team
-- Shape the future

Wilson told Airmen that the SMP was designed to provide general strategic direction for the command, and is designed for every Airman in AFGSC.

"It is only a framework - your energetic and disciplined effort will provide the specifics to realize the command priorities, and to accomplish our mission to provide safe, secure, and effective forces for nuclear deterrence and global strike operations in support of the President and our combatant commanders," Wilson said. "As a team, I am confident that we will meet that challenge."

Airmen who would like to read the Strategic Master Plan can read it here.

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8 avril 2014 2 08 /04 /avril /2014 16:20
Canadian satellites "on target" to revolutionise maritime domain awareness


04/02/2014 Richard de Silva – Defence IQ


The Canadian government under Prime Minister Stephen Harper is prioritising sovereignty as the top focus for its Arctic strategy, according to a public statement made this year at the World Economic Forum. It is also looking to strengthen regulations of the oil-and-gas and mining sectors and ocean shippers in the region.


To achieve this, a robust surveillance and communications network is a must but, with budgets as tight as they are, there remains anxiety over the ability to meet full expectations. In efforts to lower long-term costs and provide the widest coverage available, Canadians are looking to the stars. The RADARSAT Constellation Mission, an initiative to cover surveillance requirements from national defence through to environmental protection, continues to receive strong backing ahead of its completion deadline of 2018.



As one of Canada’s most sophisticated satellites, RADARSAT-2 offers a next-generation synthetic aperture radar (SAR) earth observation satellite. Launched in December 2007, it provides all-weather, day-and-night coverage of the entire globe to support fishing, shipping, oil and gas exploration, offshore drilling, mapping and ocean research. To date, it has become an essential resource for protecting Canada’s territories, including its interests in the Arctic, a region that has a notorious lack of surveillance infrastructure compared to much of the other corners of the world.

There are some recent concerns that the success of RADARSAT-2 is proving to be a headache for the Canadian government. According to a November 2012 admission by the Department of National Defence (DND), estimates by the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) have indicated that the government’s “data allocation will expire by August 2017” due to the exponential growth of the demand for information in maritime domain awareness, a statement that has since been contradicted by sources at the CSA.

Federal departments had initially agreed to an allotment of $445 million worth of data in exchange for financial contribution to building the satellite, which is owned and operated by MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. of British Columbia. The company is open to selling more credits but budget approval is always an uphill struggle and other international organisations are also demanding a share.


Canada’s case for space

Canadian space assets are already used extensively in support of both domestic and expeditionary maritime domain awareness operations. Space-derived data, especially RADARSAT-2 and space-based collection from the automatic identification system (AIS) – including its integration into the terrestrial AIS and the occasional use of commercial electro-optical imagery – are all key components of Canada’s maritime domain awareness programme. It is therefore an undeniably integrated approach.

In essence, radars detect the majority of the targets within the country’s area of interest and the AIS is a key to identifying the targets detected. As an example, there are approximately 7,000 ships criss-crossing between Gibraltar and Halifax. If those trying to view the big picture were to use radar exclusively, they would not be able to discern which of those 7,000 targets are actually of a security concern. By overlaying the AIS on top of that, analysts are able to identify vessels. The problematic targets then can be the subject of additional scrutiny through the input of intelligence sources or civil agencies.

Of course, a ship may have a technical issue with its AIS which would prevent identification, so near real-time vessel detection is achieved through strategically placed satellite ground infrastructure and special radar processors that allow for the very rapid generation of ship detection reports.

While the Armed Forces are naturally concerned most with sovereignty issues, the same capabilities can be used to support whole of government missions, including safety and navigation resource monitoring, pollution control and so on. In particular, ice monitoring is a critical necessity for the safety of navigation.


Enhancing satellite value

Next to demand, the amount of SAR data that RADARSAT-2 collects per orbit has increased in recent years. Since the surveillance satellite programme first began, programme managers have anticipated this trend and have focussed efforts on automation. Analysts working in the maritime domain awareness area can collect and download within the Canadian AOR in an almost real-time fashion. The SAR processor and the software that it runs through to automatically detect ships first determines the characteristics of that ship and then converts it into an OTH-Gold track message that can be sent on to a recognised maritime picture command and control system. From the beginning of that process to the end, the system can guarantee to its end users, the Canadian Navy, that they will receive data within 30 minutes. On the vast majority of occasions, the time is less than 15 minutes and even running as little as 8 minutes.

The process is as efficient and as quick as one can get to using a common radar to see a ship in the ocean and then populating it on a radar plot. The upside of the OTH-Gold messages is that with each track, instead of being a 150 megabit image, offers a 30 kilobit OTH-Gold track, which includes an image chip so the Navy has some idea of what the ship looks like. This track can be easily moved through normal communications or even emailed to ships not connected to the command and control system, as demonstrated during a recent RIMPAC exercise. The dissemination of data can therefore be done in a flexible way, but the key remains in an automation process that boasts a very low error rate. Currently, the Canadian system has an error rate far less than 10 per cent.


Meeting the launch date

According to the CSA and DND, the RADARSAT Constellation Mission (RCM) “remains on target for a 2018 launch”. The paradigm shift compared to earlier methods lies in the deployment of three satellites, but with a constellation designed to be scalable up to six, should future requirements demand. In this way, the capabilities of the system are distributed across several satellites, increasing revisit, and introducing a more robust, flexible system that can be maintained at lower cost and launched into orbit using smaller, less expensive launch vehicles. RCM will provide complete coverage of Canada's land and oceans at least once a day, as well as daily access to 95 per cent of the world to Canadian and International users.

“In the majority of our area of interest, we will get ship reports at least every 12 hours and, in the strategically important Arctic, we will get the ship reports every eight hours,” says Colonel Andre Dupuis, Director of Space Requirements at the DND.

“That's all the way out to 2,000 nautical miles and that is, frankly, unheard of in the maritime domain awareness world, where your entire AOR can get a refresh to provide commanders and decision-makers with a real understanding of what the maritime environment looks like from a security and defence perspective.

“It will completely revolutionise how allied navies look at monitoring the open ocean.”

RCM developments will mean that 50 per cent of radar coverage is available to support expeditionary operations, be they in the Arctic or in the South China Sea, which will monitor ship traffic for both cooperative vessels using AIS or uncooperative targets. Everything that Canada is undertaking in the field of maritime domain awareness, particularly in its use of space assets, can be enacted at the unclassified side. Thus, a huge capability will emerge to allow for easily consumable information sharing between partners, allies, governments and private organisations.

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8 avril 2014 2 08 /04 /avril /2014 15:55
Préparation opérationnelle-Les évolutions - Crédits : ADC Drahi

Préparation opérationnelle-Les évolutions - Crédits : ADC Drahi


08/04/2014 CNE A. Philibert - Armée de Terre


Si l’acquisition des savoir-faire fondamentaux demeure le socle commun à toutes les unités, la diversité et la complexité des projections conduisent à une évolution de la préparation opérationnelle. Les régiments pourront accroître l’efficacité de leur entraînement avec la création de nouveaux espaces et l’arrivée de nouveaux moyens. Le schéma est spécifique en fonction de la mission et intègre l’emploi de la simulation.


Le déclenchement de l’opération SERVAL au Mali et de l’opération SANGARIS en RCA a confirmé la nécessité de maintenir un haut niveau de préparation opérationnelle (PO), pour garantir la capacité de l’armée de Terre à répondre au contrat opérationnel fixé par l’état-major des armées. Ce contrat découlant du Livre blanc ne remet pas en cause la politique générale de PO existante. Mais l’environnement reste soumis à des contraintes financières et matérielles fortes. Les modalités de mise en œuvre de la PO doivent être adaptées à ce contexte. Le principe de différenciation est confirmé, afin de former le personnel au juste niveau exigé par la mission qui lui est confiée et à temps avant sa projection. La loi de programmation militaire 2014-2019 implique de faire au mieux avec davantage les moyens dédiés à la PO (espaces d’entraînement, simulation, parcs d’équipements, etc.). Le maintien de l’équilibre général de la PO impose de consolider les outils existants.


La préparation opérationnelle décentralisée1 (POD) et la mise en condition avant projection (MCP) demeureront l’effort de l’armée de Terre, en vue de répondre au triple besoin qui ressort des opérations récentes :

    le haut niveau d’aguerrissement et de maîtrise des savoir-faire fondamentaux individuels et collectifs ;

    la forte cohésion des chaînes de commandement et la capacité à agréger des unités de circonstances, répondant à la variété des engagements ;

    une capacité élevée d’intégration interarmes, voire interarmées, à tous les niveaux.


Les forces terrestres de demain

    66 000 hommes projetables environ ;

    7 brigades interarmes ;

    200 chars lourds et 250 chars médians ;

    2 700 véhicules blindés multirôles et de combat ;

    140 hélicoptères de reconnaissance et d’attaque ;

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8 avril 2014 2 08 /04 /avril /2014 11:55
Comité exécutif de la défense surface-air



08/04/2014 Armée de l'air


Du 1er au 3 avril 2014, la onzième session plénière du comité exécutif de la défense surface-air s’est tenue à Dijon.


Ce séminaire bisannuel a réuni le général Hugues Neret, chef d’état-major du commandement des forces aériennes et président du comité exécutif (COEX) ainsi que ses deux co-présidents : le général Claude Mathey, général adjoint préparation opérationnelle environnement du commandement des forces terrestres et le capitaine de vaisseau Guillaume Chove, adjoint de l’amiral commandant la force d’action navale pour les domaines transverses.


Les débats se sont orientés autour de dossiers d’actualité tels que les contrats opérationnels et la préparation opérationnelle comme par exemple "NAWAS", exercice interarmées mettant en œuvre des moyens pour faire face aux menaces aériennes. Ce fut également l’occasion de préparer le prochain comité de direction de la défense surface-air qui se déroulera le 5 juin 2014 à l’état-major des armées, à Paris.

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8 avril 2014 2 08 /04 /avril /2014 11:55
Patricia Adam : "Le débat contradictoire sur le nucléaire militaire n'avait jamais eu lieu"

Un sous-marin nucléaire lanceur d'engins (SNLE) de la marine nationale. photo Marine Nationale


08/04/2014 Jean Guisnel Défense ouverte - Le Point.fr


Dissuasion, Centrafrique : la présidente de la commission de la Défense de l'Assemblée nationale s'exprime sur deux dossiers du moment.


La commission de la Défense de l'Assemblée nationale a entamé un cycle d'auditions sur la dissuasion nucléaire. Une occasion de demander à sa présidente, Patricia Adam, les raisons de cette initiative et le sens qu'elle lui donne. Elle s'exprime également sur un autre dossier chaud, la Centrafrique, en proposant que ce pays soit placé sous tutelle internationale, sur le modèle de ce qui s'était produit au Cambodge, de février 1992 à septembre 1993.


Le Point.fr : Plusieurs personnalités françaises, dont les anciens Premiers ministres Alain Juppé et Michel Rocard, demandent que la France rejoigne le mouvement pour un désarmement nucléaire global. Vous avez décidé de lancer une série d'auditions et d'engager un débat sur la dissuasion nucléaire. Pourquoi ?


Patricia Adam : J'ai pris cette initiative au moment où nous débattions de la loi de programmation militaire. Un amendement avait été déposé par les écologistes, exigeant la fin de la dissuasion nucléaire. Il n'a bien évidemment pas été adopté. Mais il a révélé une demande de débat contradictoire en la matière, qu'il convenait d'encadrer, afin qu'il soit le plus complet possible et s'attache à tous les aspects de la question, y compris les plus complexes. Il était donc nécessaire que le Parlement se saisisse des problématiques stratégiques, industrielles, financières et éthiques se rapportant à la dissuasion, sans que cela prive le président de la République d'aucune de ses prérogatives. Sur le budget de la dissuasion, sur la prolifération, sur le respect du TNP, on a entendu beaucoup de contre-vérités. Nous avons donc engagé un cycle d'auditions sur plusieurs mois, et ce travail donnera lieu à la publication d'un document de référence consultable par tout citoyen se sentant concerné par cette question.


Suite de l’entretien

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8 avril 2014 2 08 /04 /avril /2014 11:50
Joint Warrior tests British Army's ability to react

A paratrooper from 16 Air Assault Brigade takes up a defensive position on arrival at the Kinloss airfield [Picture: Senior Aircraftwoman Tracey Dobson, Crown copyright]


8 April 2014 Ministry of Defence


The British Army has demonstrated its specialist air manoeuvre capabilities on the biggest military exercise in Europe.


An aviation assault to capture the airfield at Kinloss Barracks marked 16 Air Assault Brigade’s arrival on Exercise Joint Warrior.

Troops from the 3rd Battalion The Parachute Regiment battle group landed at Kinloss in Chinook, Merlin and Puma helicopters, protected by Apache attack helicopters, to assault the airfield. Once secured, more troops and heavier equipment were delivered across the day by C-130 Hercules transport aircraft.

Airfield capture is a key skill required for the brigade’s role as the Air Assault Task Force, which is ready to deploy anywhere in the world at short notice to conduct the full range of military operations from non-combatant evacuation to war-fighting.

Paratroopers from 16 Air Assault Brigade
Paratroopers from 16 Air Assault Brigade are inserted into Kinloss airfield by Puma helicopter [Picture: Mark Owens, Crown copyright]

Brigadier Nick Borton, commander of 16 Air Assault Brigade, said:

Joint Warrior provides an excellent opportunity for 16 Air Assault Brigade to work alongside the Royal Navy and RAF in its role as the British Army’s very high-readiness formation for contingency operations.

This is realistic and well-resourced training that reflects the type of operations that the brigade could be called on to do, both in terms of the tactical challenges and their expeditionary nature.

The mission we have achieved in a short space of time, and what we will go on to do across the exercise, is a powerful demonstration of the unique flexibility, reach and agility of airborne and air assault troops.

Paratroopers from 16 Air Assault Brigade
A paratrooper from 16 Air Assault Brigade takes aim as a Danish Air Force C-130 Hercules takes off from Kinloss airfield [Picture: Mark Owens, Crown copyright]

Exercise Joint Warrior involves 13,000 military personnel from 8 countries, more than 30 warships and 25 different types of aircraft. Taking place twice a year, the training aims to test how the Royal Navy, Army, and Royal Air Force work together and with allied forces.

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8 avril 2014 2 08 /04 /avril /2014 11:50
LMV - photo Composante Terre

LMV - photo Composante Terre


8/04/14 – 7 sur 7.be (Belga)


Le ministre de la Défense, Pieter De Crem, est contrarié car il ne peut pas acheter de nouvelles jeeps blindées en raison des mesures d'économies imposées à l'armée. La décision pour cet achat important a été reportée à la prochaine législature, rapportent mardi Het Belang van Limburg et la Gazet van Antwerpen.


Sur la période 2012-2014, la Défense doit économiser un total de 382 millions d'euros.


Le ministre souhaitait acheter 97 jeeps blindées pour un montant de 30 millions d'euros avant la fin de cette législature, mais les restrictions budgétaires ne le permettront pas. Ces véhicules sont toutefois nécessaires afin de remplacer les jeeps Iltis qui datent de 1982 et ne sont pas blindées.


L'armée va par ailleurs devoir diminuer de 8% ses dépenses destinées aux programmes d'entraînement de ses différentes composantes.

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8 avril 2014 2 08 /04 /avril /2014 11:45
Chad starts pulling peacekeepers from Central African Republic



07 April 2014 defenceWeb (Reuters)


Chad began withdrawing its troops from Central African Republic's peacekeeping mission on Friday as a U.N. report accused its soldiers of killing 30 civilians and wounding 300 in an attack on a crowded market last week.


Chad's Foreign Minister Moussa Faki Mahamat denied the allegation, saying the troops had been ambushed by Christian "anti-balaka" militia and had responded.


A series of violent incidents involving Chadian troops has stoked fury in the former French colony, culminating in Chad's decision on Thursday to withdraw its troops from the African Union peacekeeping force, known as MISCA.


The decision was met with joy in the streets of the capital Bangui on Friday, although the government said in a statement it regretted their withdrawal.


"Chadian officers under MISCA command and around 200 soldiers have left in the direction of Chad," Hassan Sylla, Chad's communications minister, said.


Chad, the Central African region's dominant military power, had around 850 soldiers serving in the peacekeeping force.


Sylla said the first troops left aboard a convoy of a dozen military trucks, escorted to the edge of Bangui by MISCA peacekeepers. French TV news channel France 24 broadcast images of a military plane that had arrived at Bangui's airport to help repatriate the troops.


Chadian forces were also preparing to leave the towns of Bossangoa, Kaga Bandoro, Batangafo, Ndele, Bouca and Kabo, Human Rights Watch researcher Peter Bouckaert said on Twitter, raising fears the power vacuum could leave Muslims vulnerable in the inter-communal violence that has killed thousands.


Chad's troops have been accused of siding with the mainly Muslim Seleka rebels whose seizure of power last year led to tit-for-tat violence with Christian militia.




The U.N. human rights office carried out a preliminary investigation, interviewing survivors in hospital and visiting the scene of the March 29 attack. Spokesman Rupert Colville said a convoy of pick-up trucks from Chad's regular army entered the market in the capital's PK12 district and started firing.


"It allegedly opened fire on the population without any provocation. As people fled in all directions in panic, the soldiers continued to fire indiscriminately," he said.


While Chadian troops participate in the African Union force deployed in Central African Republic, the soldiers were not part of the peacekeeping contingent, the investigation found.


"At the time of the shooting the market was full of people, including many young women and girls buying and selling produce," Colville told a news briefing in Geneva.


Speaking on Radio France Internationale, Chad's Foreign Minister blamed the shooting on Christian militia he said had ambushed the Chadian troops. "Naturally they responded and that provoked an outcry," he said.


MISCA General Jean-Marie Michel Mokoko also told France 24 the Chadian soldiers acted after being targeted by anti-balaka.


Civil society groups had collected 240,000 signatures for a petition seeking the withdrawal of the Chadian troops.


"It's exactly what we asked for. The charges against Chadian forces in MISCA are well founded. This is a cause for joy," said Gervais Lakosso, who helped organise the petition.


"It seems too good to be true," said a manager at a stationery shop in the capital.


The withdrawal is seen as a blow for France, which has deployed 2,000 troops in a bid to restore peace to its former colony, a landlocked nation rich in gold, diamonds and uranium that has seen little but instability since independence in 1960.


A new interim civilian government took over from Seleka in January but has struggled to contain the violence.


"We've made very clear and the (U.N.) Secretary General has made very clear that there is a desperate need for a good size peacekeeping force," said Colville. "He has requested 10,000 troops in all. We're nowhere near that number at this point."


A long-promised European force of 800 troops tasked with securing Bangui's airport and improving security in the capital is due to start deploying by the end of the month.


French military spokesman Gilles Jaron said on Friday the new force would be made up of 450 French troops, bringing the total number of French soldiers in the country to 2,450.

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8 avril 2014 2 08 /04 /avril /2014 11:45
photo EMA (Archives Mars 2013)

photo EMA (Archives Mars 2013)



08-04-2014 par RFI


Des tirs de roquettes ont touché la ville de Kidal au Mali, lundi. Une attaque attribuée aux islamistes qui ont occupé le nord du pays pendant plusieurs mois en 2012, avant d'en être chassés par une coalition internationale dirigée par la France. Ils sont néanmoins toujours actifs dans cette vaste région où ils commettent à intervalles réguliers des attaques, dont certaines sont meurtrières.


Il semble que la nouvelle stratégie des islamistes soit d’attaquer à la roquette les villes du nord du Mali. Cela inquiète les observateurs et acteurs sur le terrain. Récemment, le secrétaire général des Nations unies, Ban Ki-moon, a pris la parole pour évoquer les craintes : « La situation au nord du Mali se dégrade ».


Plusieurs services de sécurité de la région sont formels : il semble bien que pour acheminer armes et combattants, les jihadistes soient parvenus à ouvrir un couloir efficace entre la Libye en crise et le nord du Mali.


En face sur le terrain, l’armée française est en réalité la seule force qui fait vraiment le poids. La Mission de l’ONU au Mali, la Minusma, n’a pour le moment mobilisé que la moitié des unités combattantes qu’il faut. Et ce qui manque le plus à ses troupes, ce sont des moyens militaires de combat, surtout des hélicoptères.

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8 avril 2014 2 08 /04 /avril /2014 11:45
African Union peacekeepers in the Central African Republic

African Union peacekeepers in the Central African Republic



07 April 2014 defenceWeb (Retuers)


French and African soldiers serving in Central African Republic are "overwhelmed" by the "state of anarchy" in the country, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Saturday, a day after Chadian troops began withdrawing from the peacekeeping mission.


The U.N. Security Council is due to approve next week a 12,000-strong U.N. peacekeeping force for the former French colony. The force will take over authority from African Union troops in an attempt to restore order to the country.


But that force is not expected to arrive until September, stoking fears of a security vacuum as the interim government struggles to control intercommunal violence that has killed more than 2,000 people since December.


During a brief visit to the impoverished country on his way to Rwanda, Ban appealed for more help and said the international community was at risk of repeating the mistakes of the 1994 Rwanda genocide, where some 800,000 died.


"I commend the African Union and French forces for making a difference," he said in a speech before the interim government. "But they are under-resourced and overwhelmed by the sheer scale of the need."


Until the U.N. force can be established, Ban called for "the immediate deployment of more troops and police", though he did not say where he thought the extra forces might come from.


A long-promised European Union force is expected to start deploying at the end of this month, adding 800 new troops."The international community failed the people of Rwanda 20 years ago. And we are at risk of not doing enough for the people of the CAR today," Ban said.


At the same gathering, the head of the interim government, Alexandre-Ferdinand Nguendet, requested an end to a U.N. embargo on arms exports to his country. "That way, the army can play its role," he said.




Two thousand French peacekeepers and 6,000 African Union forces have failed to stop a conflict that erupted after the mostly Muslim Seleka rebels seized power a year ago in the majority Christian state.


Christian militias, known as anti-balaka, sprang up to protect the population after Seleka took to looting and killing but now stand accused of human rights abuses themselves and last month were branded as "terrorists" by the African Union.


Highlighting the tensions in Bangui, gunshots were heard around noon on Saturday coming from the Seleka barracks, a Reuters witness said. Earlier in the day, Seleka members stabbed a member of the national army, a resident said. It was not clear whether the victim survived.


Chad, which has been at the heart of the peacekeeping mission, began withdrawing around 850 troops on Friday after allegations they were involved in attacks on civilians.


A U.N. report on Friday accused Chad of killing 30 civilians and wounding 300 in a crowded market, although Chad denied the allegation, saying its troops were ambushed by anti-balaka.


"The U.N. report is a pack of lies based on imaginary facts. It contributes to the media campaign against Chad," said government spokesman Hassan Sylla on Saturday.


The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, plans to visit Central African Republic next week.

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8 avril 2014 2 08 /04 /avril /2014 11:45
HMS Portland photo Dean Wingrin

HMS Portland photo Dean Wingrin



07 April 2014 by Dean Wingrin


The British Royal Navy (RN) is making use of the opportunities provided by the Naval Base Simon’s Town maintenance facilities to conduct exercises with the South African Navy (SAN).


The Type 23 anti-submarine frigate HMS Portland arrived in Cape Town last Friday as part of a routine seven month deployment as the Royal Navy’s Atlantic patrol ship.


Having left Devonport on 13 January 2014, Portland has just spent three months on maritime security activities off the coast of West Africa before heading south to South Africa.


Commander Sarah West, Commanding Officer HMS Portland, said that the presence of Portland reinforces the particularly strong partnership that extends between the RN and the SAN, from the strategic to the tactical level. West is the first female Commander of a Royal Navy ship.


The Royal Navy sends two ships a year for a maintenance period in Simon's Town, with other ships using the facilities on an ad-hoc basis.


“That's because we value the work that goes on there. It also provides us with an excellent opportunity to work with the South African Navy,” West said.


Prior to her arrival in Cape Town, Portland conducted exercises for 24 hours with the South African Navy submarine SAS Charlotte Maxeke, during which time West said that the South African submarine “demonstrated her effectiveness and professionalism.”


West told defenceWeb that the South African Navy has the advantage in knowing the waters off southern Africa very well, making the exercises with the diesel-electric submarine (SSK) very challenging.


“The submarine took advantage of the distinct thermal layers,” West explained, including the ability to submerge below the sonar level.


“We think she took advantage of that and the environmental conditions because it was quite choppy out there, so we couldn’t actually see her periscope if it had come up,” West clarified.


Portland also launched her Lynx Mk 8 maritime helicopter during the exercise, although the helicopter is not fitted with sonar.


Despite the challenging conditions, West felt it was a very good experience, providing a tremendous training benefit for both the RN and the SAN.


“From a navy that does not have an SSK, it really is beneficial to us to be able to train with such an asset. It is very, very quiet, a very good piece of kit,” West noted.


Following a two day R&R break at the Table Bay V&A Waterfront, Portland will commence a two-week maintenance period at Naval Base Simon’s Town. Once alongside, the ship will disembark its Lynx helicopter to visit 22 Squadron at AFB Ysterplaat. This South African Air force squadron operates the Super Lynx and Oryx helicopters.


The aircrew of both units will engage in some enjoyable flying, but also conduct tactical and operational flying. Not only will they be able to exchange practices and procedures, but this will allow them to build up a shared experience while exercising should they be called upon to perform operations together.


The success of the joint exercise with the SAN certainly has made an impression on the RN. “We're looking to make that a regular occurrence, we're looking to bring more units down and do it on a more regular basis,” West said.


HMS Portland is one of thirteen Type 23 Duke Class frigates serving as the mainstay of the surface fleet in the Royal Navy. Commissioned into the RN on 3 May 2001, HMS Portland was originally developed to hunt submarines with a towed array sonar. She was upgraded in 2012 with improvements to her main 4.5” Mk 8 MOD1 gun and the installation of additional and improved sensors and computer systems. This, the RN says, makes her one of the most advanced frigates at sea today, able to operate globally and undertake a wide range of roles.


Whilst in Cape Town, the ship’s company will engage in various sporting outreach activities with children from the local community.


Following the maintenance period at Naval Base Simon’s Town, Portland will continue her patrol in the south Atlantic, visiting South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands.

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8 avril 2014 2 08 /04 /avril /2014 11:40
Le patron de l'Otan appelle la Russie à ne pas jouer l'escalade dans l'Est de l'Ukraine



08 avril 2014 Romandie.com (AFP)


PARIS - Le secrétaire général de l'Otan, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, a appelé mardi la Russie à ne pas jouer l'escalade dans l'est de l'Ukraine et a mis en garde contre les conséquences graves d'une intervention qui constituerait une erreur historique.


J'appelle la Russie à reculer et à ne pas jouer l'escalade de la situation dans l'est de l'Ukraine, a déclaré M. Rasmussen lors d'une conférence de presse à Paris.


Si la Russie intervenait davantage en Ukraine, ce serait une erreur historique, a ajouté le patron de l'Alliance atlantique, mettant en garde Moscou contre une isolement sur la scène internationale.


L'agression illégale de la Russie contre l'Ukraine est le plus grand défi posé à la sécurité de l'Europe en une génération, a martelé M. Rasmussen en référence à la prise de contrôle de la région ukrainienne de Crimée fin février par des troupes russes. Dans la foulée, les autorités séparatistes ont organisé en deux semaines une référendum pour le rattachement de la Crimée à la Russie.


Cette région des bords de la mer Noire fait désormais partie de la Russie même si la communauté internationale ne reconnaît pas son annexion.


Le patron de l'Otan a répété que la crise ukrainienne forçait l'Otan à revoir ses plans de défense.


La tension s'est brusquement aggravée dimanche quand des partisans du rattachement avec Moscou se sont emparés de bâtiments officiels à Kharkiv et Donetsk, deux grandes villes de l'Est, descendant les drapeaux ukrainiens bleu et jaune pour hisser le blanc-bleu-rouge russe.


A Donetsk, les séparatistes ont proclamé sous les vivats une république populaire de Donetsk.


Le gouvernement ukrainien pro-européen a dénoncé un plan du grand voisin russe pour qu'une armée étrangère passe la frontière et envahisse le territoire ukrainien. Le président russe Vladimir Poutine souffle le chaud et le froid depuis des semaines et répète que la Russie est prête à défendre par tous les moyens les populations russophones des républiques de l'ex-URSS en cas de violences.


L'envoi de jusqu'à 40.000 soldats russes aux frontières de l'est de l'Ukraine a fait craindre une invasion.


Une élection présidentielle anticipée est prévue le 25 mai et les favoris en sont des pro-européens soucieux d'arrimer à l'Ouest ce pays de 46 millions d'habitants, frontalier de plusieurs Etats membres de l'Union européenne. Kiev soupçonne Moscou de vouloir torpiller ce scrutin par des troubles ou des demandes de référendums, sur la fédéralisation, l'autonomie ou le rattachement à la Russie.

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8 avril 2014 2 08 /04 /avril /2014 11:40
Russia warns Ukraine against missile technologies proliferation

Yuzhmash produces the silo-based Voyevoda (SS-18, or Satan in NATO classification) inter-continental ballistic missiles capable of carrying eight-piece nuclear warhead.


Apr 08, 2014 (XNA)


Moscow - Russia on Monday drew Kiev's attention over media reports that a Ukrainian military-space enterprise had allegedly been negotiating with third countries on missile technology sale.


Referring to the Yuzhmash plant based in the city of Dnepropetrovsk in eastern Ukraine, the Russian Foreign Ministry reminded that Ukraine is a participant of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) and a signatory of The Hague Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missile Proliferation (HCoC).


Moscow said Kiev has been bearing serious political obligations and must be especially restrained when it comes to technologies of building the missiles with the range over 300 km and workload over 500 kg.


"According to the MTCR, the most likely outcome of these negotiations must be refusal to hand over those technologies," the ministry said in a statement.


Yuzhmash produces the silo-based Voyevoda (SS-18, or Satan in NATO classification) inter-continental ballistic missiles capable of carrying eight-piece nuclear warhead. Yuzhmash also produces Dnepr space rockets conversed from the Voyevoda.


Russia reminded that participants of the HCoC have obligations not to facilitate, nor to support other countries in their efforts to build the ballistic missiles capable to carry weapons of mass destruction.


Russia hoped that despite complicated political situation in Ukraine in the absence of legitimate authorities, the leaders of the country should show due responsibility and stick to their obligations under the MTCR and HCoC not to undermine non- proliferation regimes.


Established in 1987 by Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States, the MTCR has been signed by 34 countries to date. The Hague Code of Conduct was signed in 2002 with the number of its participants currently reaching 137.

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Russie: une dizaine de sous-marins nucléaires modernisés d'ici 2020



MOSCOU, 8 avril - RIA Novosti


Les Forces navales russes seront dotées d'ici 2020 d'une dizaine de sous-marins nucléaires polyvalents modernisés, a annoncé mardi aux journalistes un représentant de la Marine.


"D'ici 2020, une dizaine de sous-marins des projets 971, 945 et 949 devraient être modernisés", a indiqué la source se référant au commandant en chef de la Marine russe, l'amiral Viktor Tchirkov.


A l'issue des travaux de modernisation, les appareils en question seront dotés d'équipements de survie et de systèmes de communications modernes ainsi que de complexes de navigation et de sonars, a expliqué l'interlocuteur de l'agence avant d'ajouter que la durée de service des sous-marins serait multipliée par deux.


Les travaux en question sont assurés par les chantiers navals Zvezdotchka de Severodvinsk et Zvezda (Extrême-Orient russe), a encore précisé la source.

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8 avril 2014 2 08 /04 /avril /2014 11:35
China: The Pundits Of War Are Unleashed



April 8, 2014: Strategy Page


China watched, and supported the recent Russian operation to take the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine with great interest. The land grab had a bracing effect on the other countries that, until 1991, were part of the ancient Russian Empire. The Crimean operation was the second such land grab Russia has undertaken in the last five years. The first was against tiny Georgia in 2008. Many of these former Russian subjects feel that the Russians are trying to get their empire back. Ask many Russians that question and most agree that it would be a nice thing. Some Russians are more outspoken and bluntly call for the empire to be reassembled no matter what.  Poland and the Baltic States managed to join NATO after the Cold War ended and are hoping that the mutual defense terms of the NATO alliance will dissuade Russia. Nevertheless all four, plus Finland, have increased their military readiness this year and are seeking assurances from the West that they will have help against Russia. Many Finns have called for Finland to join NATO, but a large minority has opposed this because of the fear it would anger the Russians. There was a similar division in Ukraine but now more Finns are thinking that NATO membership is preferable to trusting Russia to always behave. Even Sweden, never part of the Russian empire and successfully neutral since the early 19th century is thinking about joining NATO for protection from an increasingly aggressive Russia.


China sees an opportunity here. That’s because the former Soviet stans of Central Asia (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan) have another option; China. The stans have been very receptive to Chinese diplomatic and economic cooperation. This bothers Russia, but not to the extent that threats are being made, as was the case with the former imperial provinces to the west. The stans also have a problem with never having been democracies. When the Russians conquered them in the 19th century the local governments were monarchies or tribes. When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, locals who were former Soviet officials held elections and manipulated the vote to get themselves elected "president for life." But many people in the Stans want clean government and democracy, as well as continued independence from Russia. China is no help with that because the Chinese prefer dictators. But China does offer more economic opportunities and protection from what happened ti Ukraine and Georgia.


Another reason for China to back Russia is the fact that China is also an empire trying to reclaim lost territories. That some of those territories are currently Russia’s Far East (areas bordering the Pacific) is not officially discussed in Russia or China but is no secret to many Russians and Chinese. That is a problem for another day as currently Russia and China support each other’s imperial ambitions (as in Ukraine and the South China Sea) and help each other out to deal with any associated problems, especially the UN or economic sanctions. China is also helping by putting economic pressure on Ukraine by suing Ukraine to cancel a $3 billion loan.  


Yet another reason China is watching this carefully is because China is violating an international maritime borders treaty it signed by claiming all of the South China Sea. What happens to Russia for violating the 1994 agreement to protect Ukrainian borders in return for Ukraine getting rid of its Cold War era nukes. Russia simply says the 1994 agreement does not apply and that attitude will influence what China does with its numerous offshore territorial disputes. Another problem with violating the 1994 agreement is the message it sends to states like Iran and North Korea. The message is that if you really want to keep invaders out you need nukes. Iranians believe the negotiations to limit Iranian nuclear research and development are an effort to block Iran from getting nuclear weapons. Most Iranians see nukes as a necessity for maintaining Iranian dominance in the region. Iran has been the regional superpower for thousands of years. Once you get a taste of superpower status, it’s a hard thing to put behind you.


Russia and China are using nationalism, in this case the promise of the restoration of lost imperial territories, to distract the population from the corruption and mismanagement of their government officials. This is an ancient political technique that depends on near-total control of information available to their populations. The Internet threatens that and this is a new risk for those planning to build and maintain an empire. That’s because empires are costly and inefficient. Britain realized that by the 1940s and that’s the main reason they got rid of theirs so quickly after 1945 and why the United States never took advantage of its power to create one. But the allure of empire remains, sort of as the ultimate luxury a state can indulge. Again, the Internet spreads the bad news about the real cause, and effect of empire. China tries to cope with this by concentrating on imperial ambitions (natural resource rights from the ownership of uninhabited rocks and reefs in the South China Sea and elsewhere off the coast) that have some practical appeal. When empires involve conquered people the cost goes way up, as the Chinese are rediscovering in their northwest (Turks) and southwest (Tibetans). A growing number of Russians and Chinese are aware of these angles and are not happy about it. But both Russia and China are still police states with state-controlled media. Holding anti-government opinions is dangerous, especially if you express these traitorous thoughts in public.


To expand their empire as cheaply as possible China is relying a bullying, not battles. So in the last year the Chinese Coast Guard has received over a dozen new patrol ships. These are vessels of from 1,000-3,000 tons displacement with relatively small crews but lots of storage space and not many weapons. Coast guard ships are not usually heavily armed but the Chinese ships are increasingly being seen equipped with water cannon, extra searchlights and equipment for grappling with other ships. These tools are used to interfere with foreign fishing ships and transports that go to parts of the South China Sea that China has declared Chinese territory (even though other nations have a stronger legal claim). Using water cannon, bright searchlights (to blind the crews of other ships) and aggressive maneuvering (to include grappling with smaller foreign ships and forcibly moving them) the foreign ships can be “persuaded” to back off. The Chinese coast guard vessels will also use these tactics against foreign warships and if the foreigners shoot back the Chinese can declare themselves the victims of an unprovoked attack and call in more fire power.


The Chinese are also preparing for the possibility that the victims of this bullying might shoot back. Thus it was not surprising that Chinese Army WZ-10 helicopter gunships have been seen practicing operating from LST type amphibious ships, which have a landing pad similar in size to that found on larger Coast Guard patrol ships. The seven ton Z-10 is smaller than the 10 ton American AH-64 and also has a crew of two. The Z-10 is armed with 30mm autocannon and can carry up to a ton of rockets or missiles. This gives China immediate backup if the Coast Guard harassment tactics fail and additional firepower is needed in a hurry. Then again, a helicopter gunship coming off the back of a Coast Guard cutter can be pretty scary if you aren’t expecting it.


China is carrying out its military buildup with Chinese made weapons. One benefit of that is that is provides yet another export. Over the last five years China has displaced France as the fourth largest arms exporter in the world. While Russia had a record year for arms exports in 2013, moving $13.2 billion worth of weapons, military equipment and defense services, those sales are increasingly threatened by more rapidly growing exports from China. Russian officials admitted that they did not expect to increase weapons sales over the next few years, largely because arms sales worldwide, both for export and domestic consumption is shrinking. Currently about half of Russian sales are aircraft (jets and helicopters) and 25 percent are anti-aircraft systems. Russia still gets orders because they are cheaper than Western stuff, and nearly as good. What the Russians were less willing to discuss was the growing competition from China.


Some areas of the Chinese military buildup are for protecting China from internal threats. Thus China is now training police to be hackers. Not just imparting defensive skills, but training selected cops to launch attacks. It’s unclear what this is for although it’s most likely related to the growing incidence of Internet based criminal activity inside China. Apparently several units of police Cyber War experts are being organized. Some will probably be dedicated to helping Chinese firms and local governments improve their network security, but at least one of these new organizations will have an offensive capability, probably for harassing groups perceived as internal (foreign or Chinese) enemies of China.


There are more serious internal threats that police hackers won’t help solve. China is suffering from some catastrophic long-term problems that gets little attention in the news but are nevertheless very real and unavoidable. For example, there are several disastrous demographic problems approaching. This began in the late 1970s when, to control population growth most couples were restricted to only one child. This has been widely enforced, to the point where the average number of children per couple has been 1.7. But many of those couples aborted a child if it was a female, because much more importance is attached to having a male heir. Thus there are 35 million more males than females, and the number is growing. These surplus males are coming of age, and the competition for wives is causing problems. Women are taking advantage of their scarcity, but men are also going to neighboring countries to buy, or even kidnap, young women to be wives. This is causing ill will with neighbors.


The biggest problem, though, is the growing shortage of workers. As the population ages, all those one child families means there will be more elderly than the economy can effectively support. Currently there are 11 working age Chinese for every retiree. By 2050, there will only be two for each retiree. At that point, retirees will comprise 30 percent of the population (versus 13 percent now.) Traditionally, children cared for their parents in multi-generation households. That model is dying out, and China is faced with huge pension cost increases at the same time they expect their economy to be the mightiest on the planet. But at that point, the largest single government expense will be the care of the elderly, and this will impose crushing taxes on those of working age. Many working age Chinese are worried about this, for there is no easy solution in sight. China can relax the one-child policy, which it is apparently doing, but the newly affluent Chinese are less eager than earlier generations to have a lot of kids. To make matters worse there is not much in the way of pensions or health care for most of the elderly to begin with. The government recognizes this is a real problem but does not, and will not have the cash to deal with it.


Then there is corruption, which has been a problem for thousands of years. The Chinese government continues to proclaim its aggressive efforts against corruption. In 2013 the government said that it investigated 150,000 corruption cases and recovered over $8 billion. Most Chinese still encounter corruption daily and don’t really get the impression that the government is making a serious dent in the problem. The bigger crooks still seem to get away with it while the little guys get punished. The anti-corruption effort is not the only government program that is underperforming. The Internet censors have failed to keep out all the bad news about the Chinese economy that the government would rather not be publicized. This is mainly about the faltering growth rate (down from ten percent or more to seven percent a year or less since 2008).


China also has problems with popular sentiments that contradict official policy. Case in point is the growing anger over pollution. This is the result of three decades of rapid economic growth and a culture of corruption that allowed the pollution to grow and the government to keep it out of the news. But eventually people noticed and have been increasingly open and direct in demanding some action to deal with it. So in late 2013 the government responded in a way no one expected; pollution data was declared public data and all government organizations and businesses were ordered to make their pollution data public. Not everyone is complying but given the growing boldness of angry citizens and availability of pollution monitoring equipment, any cheaters are vulnerable to getting caught and then exposed to a public shaming on the Internet. For commercial firms this can mean lost business. For government officials this can mean more scrutiny than corrupt bureaucrats are comfortable with. With this new openness policy the government is making itself less unpopular and harnessing the power of the anti-pollution groups (who represent most of the population) for a joint effort in dealing with the dirty air and water.


Senior Chinese leaders are becoming increasingly bold in dealing with popular discontent, aware that throughout Chinese history such discontent often led to popular uprisings that brought down dynasties and made life very unpleasant for those in charge. Many of the lower ranking bureaucrats are less concerned with this as they are more interested in stealing as much as they can while they have the opportunities. But if decisions at the top can make this more difficult to do, then there will be less corruption and bad behavior by officials. The most senior people are making moves like this because they understand that they do not “rule” China as much as they preside over a huge bureaucracy which resists unpopular orders and is more responsive when the senior leadership makes decisions that simply put more pressure on bureaucrats to behave.


The other item the government wants kept out of the news is the problem in the banking system and how decades of corruption there are catching up with the government ability to keep the plundering and manipulation from crippling the economy. The fact of the matter is that there are a lot of zombie banks operating, that were essentially bankrupted by uncollectable debts (the corruption angle) that the government cannot cover for. There is also the property bubble, caused by all the building loans banks issued for stuff that is still unsold. This has caused growing downward pressure on property prices, which is lowering the net worth of a lot of Chinese. More and more Chinese (especially business owners and executives) are asking important questions about all this but the government would rather not discuss the issues.


The international financial community is getting nervous about the Chinese government’s ability to deal with this uniquely Chinese financial bubble. While in the West the usual bubble is one based on real estate or stock market speculation, in China there is a less well known bubble involving an unofficial banking system that provided loans to highly speculative (and often, by Chinese standards, illegal) undertakings. These “shadow banks” were also very corrupt, doling out bribes and fees to corrupt businesspeople and government officials. The problem is that all this off-the-books financial mischief has got its hooks into legitimate assets (as collateral or a source of cash to keep operating or expand). The number of bad loans (that are not, and probably never will be repaid) has been growing and that is threatening to reduce the cash the official banks have free to keep the economy going. If the government mishandles this mess the Chinese economy could suffer widespread bankruptcies and high unemployment. It could take several years to recover and during that time there could be a popular uprising. A dip in the Chinese economy (at $8 trillion second only to the American $14 trillion) would ripple throughout the global economy. It would be 2008 all over again, but possibly worse. So it’s not just China’s problem.


That economic growth has been good to the military. The Chinese defense budget increased again this year by over ten percent to $132 billion. Some U.S. intelligence analysts believe the real defense spending is now closer to $200 billion. Like other communist nations the Chinese keep a lot of military stuff outside the defense budget, so their actual defense spending is much higher. Official Chinese defense spending has more than doubled in the last decade. This has triggered an arms race with its neighbors. Russia is in the midst of a new military upgrade program that would increase defense spending by a third and devote over 700 billion dollars into the next decade to buying new equipment. Japan, already possessing the most modern armed forces in the region, is increasing spending to maintain their qualitative edge. A decade ago China and Japan spent about the same on defense, but now China spends more than three times as much. Even India is alarmed. Spending only a third of what China does, the Indian generals and admirals are demanding more money to cope. India and China are actually devoting a lot of their additional spending to just bringing their troops up to date. Both nations have lots of gear that was new in the 1960s and 1970s. They don't expect to be as up-to-date as the U.S., which spends over $500 billion a year, but there's plenty of newer, much better, and often quite inexpensive equipment to be had.


China insists that its growing military power is for defense only. That makes sense, as a lot of money is going into the navy, which protects the imports (mainly of food and raw materials) and exports (of manufactured goods) that are driving the unprecedented economic growth. The Chinese try to explain away the military buildup opposite Taiwan as political theater. This may be true, for a failed attempt to take Taiwan by force would not only disrupt the economy (and create a lot of unhappy Chinese) but would be a major failure by the government. Dictatorships cannot survive too many such failures, or too many angry citizens. So it makes sense that the Chinese military growth is largely for defense. But those large defensive forces can also be used to bully or intimidate neighbors, which is what the neighbors are worried about.


Despite the official Chinese line that the growing military is only for defense, the government also maintains a list of approved (as pundits for electronic media and books) retired generals and admirals who will say things that the government approves of but does not want to openly and officially discuss. This often involves the possibility 0f war with various potential enemies. For over a decade these guys have talked about the coming war with the United States. Now they are talking about the “inevitable” war with Japan over territorial disputes and lingering Chinese anger for all the damage Japan did to China during World War II.


April 7, 2014: Responding to Japanese concerns about the growing ballistic missile threat from North Korea and China, the U.S. agreed to send two more Aegis ballistic missile defense ships to Japan. These Burke class destroyers will arrive by 2017 and be based in Japan.


April 5, 2014: China has made it clear (and rather public) to Pakistan that massive (and much needed) Chinese investment is contingent on keeping the Islamic terrorist violence away from these Chinese financed (and often Chinese run) projects. The government is taking extraordinary measures to provide the security the Chinese demand but time will tell if it is adequate.


April 4, 2014: After two years of negotiations India and Israel have agreed to a deal where Israeli defense firms will work with DRDO (the Indian Defense Research and Development Organization) and several state-owned defense firms to design and build an integrated anti-missile defense system. India already has a tested and proven anti-missile ABM (Anti-Ballistic Missile) but wants something like the anti-missile system Israel has developed and deployed over the last two decades. This new arrangement implies that Israel is willing to share some of its ABM technology (among the best in the world) with India to provide some defense against Chinese and Pakistani nuclear missiles.


April 1, 2014:  Japan has overturned its long-time (since World War II) ban on exporting weapons. This makes it possible for Japan to equip other members of the growing anti-Chinese coalition with the most modern weapons. Japan is immune to Chinese threats of economic retaliation, which is what China usually employs to keep its neighbors from getting modern weapons from Europe or the United States.  


March 31, 2014: This month China commissioned the first of twelve Type 052D destroyers. This was no surprise because in late 2013 this ship was seen on sea trials in the East China Sea. This new destroyer design appears very similar to the American Aegis equipped destroyers (especially the Burke Class). Five more 52Ds are under construction and one of them is ready for sea trials. China plans to build at least twelve. The development of the 52Ds was a deliberate, and apparently successful, effort to considerably close the quality gap between American and Chinese destroyers and do it quickly.


Talks between North Korea and Japan and hosted by China ended on a positive note with North Korea agreeing to actually talk about kidnapped Japanese in future sessions. These were the first such talks since 2009. Actually there was some contact in 2012 in Mongolia between Red Cross officials from both countries. Then, as now, the main topic was Japanese citizens that North Korean agents kidnapped 13 Japanese in the 1970s and 80s. The talks in Mongolia produced nothing except an agreement to continue the process later with more senior officials. That was aborted when North Korea announced the resumption of long range missile tests at the end of 2013. Obtaining more information on these kidnapping victims is a big issue in Japan, but North Korea has never been eager to release anything, other than the fact that the kidnapping program did exist. Japan refuses to resume foreign aid, which North Korea needs, until the questions about the kidnapping program are answered. This has become a big issue in Japanese politics but the North Koreans refuse to cooperate. Now North Korea says it is willing to talk about cooperating.


March 30, 2014: The government revealed that it had formally charged Gu Junshan, the former deputy head of logistics for the army of corruption and had already seized more than $20 million from him, friends and family members. All this began in 2012 when Gu Junshan was removed from his job and the government introduced new rules which forced senior military officers to disclose their personal financial details. It was later revealed that Gu Junshan had used numerous methods to enrich himself. This included taking bribes from suppliers and officers seeking jobs in logistics (where there were more opportunities to steal). Corruption in the military has been a problem in China for thousands of years. The communists thought they had cured it, but after they took control of China in the late 1940s the rot began to reappear. There have been several major efforts since then to keep the corruption from getting out of hand (and doing serious damage to combat capabilities). This latest public anti-corruption effort is an indicator that the government believes the generals and admirals are a little too corrupt. The investigation and prosecution of Gu Junshan indicates that the most senior military officers are not immune to justice. The government has also announced more anti-corruption inspections of military bases and those who work there. These are audits seeking to detect corrupt practices and find out who was responsible.


In Taiwan there have been growing public demonstrations against a proposed new law that would allow massive Chinese investment in Taiwan. For decades it has been the other way around. But allowing Chinese investors in is seen as a way for China to take over Taiwan by, literally, buying most of it. 


March 29, 2014: The Philippines defied a Chinese blockade of Second Thomas Reef and evaded a large Chinese coast guard ship that was literally blocking the approach of Filipino ships. China was angry at the Philippines because of the continued presence of eight Filipino marines on Second Thomas Reef. Today’s successful resupply mission leaves the marines well stocked. China says this is an intolerable affront to Chinese sovereignty. This sort of statement is how China warns victims that an attack is coming and the Philippines has asked the United States for some backup here. The U.S. responded by saying it supported peaceful resolution of this dispute. By that the Americans mean they want the Chinese to wait for the recent submission of the dispute to the Permanent Court of Arbitration. This could result in a legal decision by 2015 but China has indicated that it will not abide by any such ruling. Challenging such a decision exposes China to trade sanctions, which would stall economic growth and create a recession that could cause unrest. The Chinese leaders are eager to avoid that. A military assault on the Filipino LST would also create the risk of legal and economic backlash as well as the lesser risk of military escalation. The next step appears to be a tighter blockade of the Filipino garrison to starve them out. Chinese civilian and military ships blocked two earlier efforts by Filipino supply ships to deliver food and water to Second Thomas Reef and stationing more ships there to enforce the blockade might work. The supplies can and have been air dropped. Resupply by air is expensive and uncertain during bad weather. For the last year China has been increasing pressure on the Philippines to remove small detachments of sailors and marines stationed on nine islets and reefs in the Spratly Islands. In particular the Chinese want this detachment, stationed on a World War II era landing ship (the BRP Sierra Madre) removed. The Filipino navy deliberately grounded the LST on Second Thomas Reef in 1999 to provide a place for an observation team. In 2013 Chinese patrol ships came within nine kilometers of the LST, which China insists is there illegally. The Philippines warns China that it will resist any attempts to use force against the grounded ship. The initial response from China was constructing more buildings (on stilts) on nearby Mischief Reef (which is only 126 kilometers from the Philippines’ Palawan Island). Second Thomas Reef and nearby Reed Bank are 148 kilometers west of the Philippines (Palawan Island) and well within the Philippines’s EEZ (Exclusive Economic Zone). Although the EEZ is recognized by international law (and a treaty that China signed and uses to defend waters off its own coast) China says that does not apply here because all the islets in the South China Sea belong to China and there is no room for negotiation on that point.  Most countries in the region (except Japan, which would rather not dwell on this) note that this was how Japan behaved before World War II. Official U.S. policy is to try and get everyone to calm down and be less provocative. American P-3C maritime patrol aircraft regularly fly over the Spratly Islands and photograph Chinese installations and naval activities. This data is shared with the Philippines and perhaps others. China is the biggest offender in the Spratly Island disputes and shows no sign of slowing, or backing, down. Now China is warning the world that it is ready to escalate but is afraid that the world will call their bluff.


March 22, 2014: In the United States it was revealed that the United States had been hacking into one of China’s major computer hardware companies (Huawei Technologies) in order to secretly plant Cyber War software to be activated in wartime or to deal with any Chinese aggression. This was no surprise to the Chinese and revealing details enabled China to improve its Cyber War defenses.

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source Japan MoD

source Japan MoD


Apr 8, 2014 ASDNews (AFP)


Closer defence ties between Japan and Australia should not raise concerns in regional superpower China, Prime Minister Tony Abbott said Tuesday, after sealing a major free trade and security deal with Tokyo.


Canberra and Tokyo struck the agreement Monday to enhance trade and security ties, including joint development of defence equipment, elevating the bilateral relationship to a new level.


Read more

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8 avril 2014 2 08 /04 /avril /2014 11:35
Intelligence: Pakistan Tries A DNI



April 8, 2014: Strategy Page


Pakistan recently decided to form the NID (National Intelligence Directorate) in order to pool intelligence gathered by over 30 Pakistani agencies. Even many Pakistani intelligence officials are not sure how many government and military intelligence collecting organizations there are in Pakistan. An effort is under way to compile a definitive list. The NID was created because of the growing number of instances in which counter-terrorism efforts failed because vital information existed but was not known or available to the army or police. Not unusual, but there have been a growing number of cases in which vital information was available within the intelligence community but there was no easy way to connect the agency with the information with the army or police units tasked with actually doing something about the problem. The NID is supposed to solve the problem but many inside Pakistan and in intelligence agencies worldwide doubt it.


Much of this doubt comes from a failed American effort to do what NID is attempting. Back in 2004 the United States decided, for the same reasons, to create a similar agency called the DNI (Director of National Intelligence). The DNI was to control all intelligence. This promptly ran into resistance from the CIA which had, for a long time, filled the role as the "Central" Intelligence Agency. The DNI got things rolling quickly by proposing that the chief intelligence officer (the CIA "station chief") at each U.S. embassy be someone other than a CIA officer. The main alternatives proposed were someone from the DIA (the Department of Defense intelligence agency) or the NSA. The problem, as the CIA saw it was that if the intelligence station chief is from NSA or DIA, the senior CIA guy there would have another layer of bureaucracy to go through, and this would slow things down. Although the DNI, technically, has the power to order this change, the CIA unofficially threatened to use its considerable influence (in Congress, the media and elsewhere) to oppose the move.


This proposal actually makes some sense. For example, there are a lot of talented espionage operatives in NSA and DIA who would make good station chiefs. Moreover, in many small countries, the DIA has more agents and intelligence operations than the CIA. Same deal with the NSA whose electronic eavesdropping is often the primary source of intel on some nations. But the CIA countered by pointing out that the CIA has been handling the station chief duties competently for decades, so why change something it is working well.


All of these turf wars are the result of the huge growth in intelligence activities since the end of World War II over sixty years ago. As some of these new agencies, especially DIA and NSA, grew quite large, it became a problem getting everyone to play from the same sheet of music. Each intelligence agency has its own little fan club in Congress, and elsewhere in the federal government and among major defense contractors, and knows how to play the media game to get what they want. This is very similar to the situation in Pakistan.


With fifteen different intelligence organizations, the problem of coordinating all of them is nothing new. The CIA was created in the 1947 to coordinate intelligence activities for the president. Unfortunately, each of the fifteen organizations has a different boss, a different mission, different traditions and, well, you get the picture. Just to drive the point home, here are the fifteen intelligence agencies, along with short description of what they do, and who they do it for.


Everyone talks about getting the intelligence agencies to work together, but in over half a century, no one has been able to make it happen. In fact, no one, at the moment, is making a serious effort to make it happen. It's also illuminating to remember what one real Russian czar said about the subject, "I do not rule Russia, 10,000 clerks do."


Speaking of Russia, other nations have had similar problems with competing intel agencies. For decades after World War II, the Soviet Union had two different organizations running spies overseas. Most of the effort was from the KGB (a sort of combined CIA/FBI/Border Patrol/Coast Guard/Etc.) and a much smaller GRU (military intelligence). GRU was thought to be more dangerous, perhaps because they were a smaller operation and hustled a bit more as a result. Having two Soviet spy agencies to worry about did make counterintelligence more difficult.

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8 avril 2014 2 08 /04 /avril /2014 11:30
Visite du chef d’état-major de la marine égyptienne en France


08/04/2014 Marine nationale


À l’occasion de son passage à Paris le 7 avril, le vice-amiral d’escadre Oussama Ahmed El Guindy, commandant des forces navales égyptiennes, a été reçu par l’ amiral Bernard Rogel à l’Hôtel de la Marine. Ce fut l’occasion de faire le point sur la coopération bilatérale avec la marine de ce pays à la position géographique stratégique.


Carrefour entre l’Europe, l’Afrique de l’Est et le Moyen Orient, l’Egypte administre en effet le canal de Suez, point maritime névralgique entre la Méditerranée et la mer Rouge. Construit par Ferdinand de Lesseps en 1869, ce canal a permis de réduire fortement les transits entre l’Europe et l’Asie en évitant le contournement du continent africain. Les 20.000 navires qui le traversent chaque année génèrent toujours 10 % du PIB de l’Egypte. L’importance du canal de Suez, à la fois pour l’Egypte et pour le trafic maritime mondial, explique que la présidence de l’autorité du canal soit traditionnellement confiée à un ancien chef d’état-major de la marine, actuellement le vice-amiral d’escadre Mamish.


Voie essentielle de navigation pour les unités de la Marine nationale rejoignant l’océan Indien, il est emprunté en moyenne une trentaine de fois par an par nos bâtiments. Outre cette conséquence de la géographie, les relations navales entre nos deux marines se concrétisent par des escales régulières. Le navire-école égyptien Shalateena ainsi fait relâche à Toulon l’année dernière. En 2014, l’exercice Cleopatra, organisé tous les deux ans, se tiendra du 31 mai au 3 juin au large de Toulon. La frégate de lutte anti-sous-marine Montcalm, le bâtiment de commandement et de ravitaillement Marne devraient y participer, ainsi que cinq bâtiments égyptiens. L’objectif de cet entrainement majeur sera de conduire une opération aéromaritime commune de surveillance et de contrôle de zone.


Avant de quitter la France, le vice-amiral d’escadre El Guindy se rendra en Bretagne pour visiter une FREMM.

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8 avril 2014 2 08 /04 /avril /2014 11:25
Exercise Southern Warrior

Caption from the British Army

First Battalion The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers (1RRF) have been taking part in live-firing training on Exercise Southern Warrior in the Falkland Islands. The Rifle Company dismounted exercise is facilitated by HQ British Forces South Atlantic Islands (BFSAI). Soldiers also had the opportunity for battlefield study and low-level adventure training.

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8 avril 2014 2 08 /04 /avril /2014 11:20
Boeing Updates Timing of C-17 Production Line Closure



Apr 7, 2014 ASDNews Source : The Boeing Company


Boeing [NYSE: BA] today adjusted slightly the timing for ending C-17 Globemaster III production and closing its Long Beach, Calif., C-17 final assembly facility after a successful two-decade production run of the world’s premier airlifter.


Based on current market trends and the timing of expected orders, Boeing anticipates completing C-17 production in mid-2015, an adjustment of approximately three months from an initial estimate of late 2015. The company announced plans to end C-17 production in September 2013.


Boeing expects inventory–related charges of approximately $50 million, which will be recorded in the first quarter, as a result of this announcement.

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8 avril 2014 2 08 /04 /avril /2014 11:20
Airbus Defense and Space Delivers 17th HC-144A Aircraft to USCG



Apr 7, 2014 ASDNews Source : Airbus Defense and Space


    HC-144A Ocean Sentry Continues as the Coast Guard's Primary Maritime Patrol Aircraft


Airbus Defense and Space, Inc. has delivered the 17th HC-144A Ocean Sentry maritime patrol aircraft to the U.S. Coast Guard. The Ocean Sentry is based on the Airbus CN235 tactical airlifter with more than 235 currently in operation by 29 countries. This is the second of three HC-144A's planned for delivery this year.


The latest aircraft will join a fleet of 16 Ocean Sentries operating from Coast Guard Air Stations in Cape Cod, Mass.; Mobile, Ala.; and Miami. The Coast Guard is planning to stand up the fourth HC-144A air station in Corpus Christi, Texas, later this year.


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8 avril 2014 2 08 /04 /avril /2014 11:20
Navy to Deploy Electromagnetic Railgun Aboard JHSV



Apr 7, 2014 ASDNews Source : US Navy


The U.S. Navy plans to install and test a prototype electromagnetic railgun aboard a joint high speed vessel in fiscal year 2016, the service announced today.


This test will mark the first time an electromagnetic railgun (EM railgun) has been demonstrated at sea, symbolizing a significant advance in naval combat.


EM railgun technology uses an electromagnetic force - known as the Lorenz Force - to rapidly accelerate and launch a projectile between two conductive rails. This guided projectile is launched at such high velocities that it can achieve greater ranges than conventional guns. It maintains enough kinetic energy that it doesn't require any kind of high explosive payload when it reaches its target.


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8 avril 2014 2 08 /04 /avril /2014 11:20
Nucléaire: Washington suspend la coopération avec Moscou


MOSCOU, 8 avril - RIA Novosti


Washington compte suspendre sa coopération avec Moscou dans le cadre du programme de sécurité nucléaire Nunn-Lugar en raison de la crise ukrainienne, rapporte mardi le journal russe Kommersant citant Anne Harrington, responsable de la National Nuclear Security Administration.

"Nous avons suspendu tous les travaux concernant la protection physique des entreprises nucléaires en Russie. Pour le moment, entre 40 et 70% des équipements nécessaires y sont installées, mais nous sommes obligés de reporter la fin des travaux", a fait savoir Mme Harrington.

Lancé en 1991, le programme Nunn-Lugar prévoit l'octroi d'une assistance américaine aux ex-républiques soviétiques dans le domaine du démantèlement des armes nucléaires et chimiques. Le budget total du programme s'est élevé à 8,79 milliards de dollars, indique Kommersant.

En 2012, le ministère russe des Affaires étrangères a déclaré que les propositions de Washington concernant la prorogation du programme ne correspondaient pas aux intentions de Moscou. Les Etats-Unis se sont alors déclarés prêts à négocier sur ce sujet.

Les deux parties ont par la suite convenu de réformer le programme avant de conclure en juin 2013 un accord provisoire qui réduisait le nombre de projets communs russo-américains et limitait l'accès des inspecteurs US aux sites nucléaires.

Les pays ont néanmoins accepté de poursuivre leur coopération dans la sécurité des matières radioactives, la gestion de l'uranium enrichi et le stationnement des sous-marins nucléaires. Tous ces projets seront désormais suspendus.

Washington renonce notamment aux projets prévoyant le transfert du plutonium et de l'uranium hautement enrichi dans un dépôt unique ainsi que le déploiement de systèmes de protection dans les sites d'Oziorsk (Oural) et d'Arzamas-16 (Russie centrale).

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