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26 janvier 2014 7 26 /01 /janvier /2014 12:45
Les Etats-Unis et la France cherchent à renforcer leur partenariat de défense et de sécurité

 

25 jan 2014 - Xinhua

 

Jean-Yves-Le-DrianxLe secrétaire américain à la Défense Chuck Hagel a rencontré vendredi à Washington son homologue français Jean-Yves Le Drian, s’engageant à renforcer la coopération en matière de sécurité et de défense entre les deux pays.

 

« Nous avons renforcé le partenariat de sécurité profond et durable entre la France et les Etats-Unis », a indiqué M. Hagel au Pentagone lors d’une conférence de presse avec M. Le Drian.

 

« La France est le plus ancien allié des Etats-Unis. Notre partenariat de défense continue à être de grande importance. Il est important à la fois pour l’Europe et le monde », a-t-il noté.

 

M. Hagel a annoncé en début de semaine que les deux pays ont signé un accord sur la connaissance des conditions spatiales. « Cela renforcera le partage d’informations entre nos deux pays dans ce domaine critique », a-t-il ajouté.

 

Ces dernières années, les troupes françaises et américaines ont servi côte à côte dans le monde entier, de l’Afrique à l’Afghanistan, a souligné le secrétaire américain à la Défense.

 

« Une des priorités d’aujourd’hui a été notre coopération continue et le soutien de nos efforts internationaux en Afrique, dont les contributions françaises importantes au Mali et en République centrafricaine », a déclaré M. Hagel.

 

Le ministre français de la Défense s’est dit d’accord sur le besoin de poursuivre la coopération dans le dialogue sur l’Afrique, ajoutant que lui et M. Hagel ont convenu de créer un groupe de haut niveau pour discuter de leurs analyses et initiatives communes en Afrique.

 

M. Le Drian a aussi expliqué le nouveau positionnement des forces françaises en Afrique afin de mieux identifier et cibler les terroristes dans diverses régions, de la Mauritanie à la Corne de l’Afrique.

 

Pendant ce temps, le ministre français a indiqué que le voyage avait également pour but de préparer la prochaine visite du président français François Hollande.

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25 novembre 2013 1 25 /11 /novembre /2013 18:20
Hagel Visits First Zumwalt-Class Destroyer

 

 

Nov. 25, 2013 defense-aerospace.com

(Source: U.S Department of Defense; issued November 21, 2013)

 

BATH, Maine --- Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said the not-yet-launched Zumwalt-class destroyer he toured here today “represents the cutting edge of our naval capabilities.”

 

The ship, now known as the Pre-Commissioning Unit, or PCU, Zumwalt, will become the USS Zumwalt, named for former Navy Adm. Elmo Zumwalt. Officials said the ship is about a year away from joining the fleet. (Emphasis added—Ed)

 

Now littered with large protective crates storing systems not yet installed, the ship is being fitted with new automated systems. The Zumwalt, Navy officials explained, has highly accurate long-range weapons, an impressive power generation capability and a design emphasizing “stealthy” radar-defeating materials and shapes.

 

The ship will be home ported in San Diego, Hagel noted, and it “represents an important shift … in America’s interests to the Asia-Pacific,” he told a mixed crowd of sailors, government civilians and General Dynamics employees assembled near where the ship is docked.

 

Hagel thanked General Dynamics and its workforce at Bath Iron Works, which will produce all three of the Zumwalt-class ships planned for production. The secretary called the facility “a magnificent institution that’s been part of the security of this country for 130 years.”

 

The secretary also spoke to a number of sailors and defense civilians present, who are working to get the ship ready for active duty. Hagel thanked them and their families for their service.

 

Sharon E. Burke, assistant secretary of defense for operational energy plans and programs, accompanied Hagel’s delegation on the ship tour. Later, she spoke to reporters while en route to Halifax, Nova Scotia, where Hagel landed later in the day for an international security forum that starts tomorrow.

 

Burke said that the ship’s power generation capacity -- 78 megawatts, impressed her. One megawatt of power can power about 1,000 American homes.

 

The massive amount of available power makes the ship expandable for future weapon systems such as rail guns, which “take a lot of pulse power,” Burke noted.

 

“Also, you’re running a lot of very sophisticated systems on that ship,” she said. “It gives them a lot of room to be able to run all those systems.”

 

The ship can generate 78 megawatts of power, and can channel it to propulsion, shipboard use and weapons systems. Officials said the guided missile destroyer is the first Navy ship to be fully electrical, and it was designed to use automated systems as much as possible to decrease the number of sailors needed as crew.

 

For example, officials said, automatic systems route, store and load the 300 rounds of 24-pound ammunition each of the ship’s two 155mm guns can fire. The guns have, in testing, successfully fired at a rate of 10 rounds a minute and with 20- to 40-inch accuracy at a range of more than 60 nautical miles, officials noted.

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6 novembre 2013 3 06 /11 /novembre /2013 12:50
M. De Crem en catimini à Washington pour parler des relations transatlantiques

06 novembre 2013 lavenir.net  (Belga)

 

Le ministre de la Défense, Pieter De Crem, effectue depuis lundi en toute discrétion une visite - non annoncée au préalable - aux Etats-Unis pour mener notamment des discussions avec l'administration du président Barack Obama alors que débute la course à la succession du Danois Fogh Anders Rasmussen à la tête de l'Otan, a-t-on appris mercredi de sources concordantes.

 

M. De Crem a notamment rencontré mardi à Washington son homologue américain, Chuck Hagel, qui a "salué le rôle majeur joué par la Belgique" en faveur des efforts en matière de sécurité dans plusieurs parties du monde, selon le porte-parole du Pentagone, George Little. Selon lui, la Belgique s'est notamment engagée à (continuer à) entraîner les forces de sécurité afghanes au-delà de (fin) 2014, la date prévue pour la fin de la mission de combat de la force internationale d'assistance à la sécurité (Isaf, dirigée par l'Otan) en Afghanistan. "Le secrétaire (à la Défense) Hagel a remercié M. De Crem pour son soutien inébranlable aux questions de sécurité", a ajouté M. Little. Les deux ministres "ont exprimé leur engagement à maintenir la relation étroite en matière de défense partagée par les Etats-Unis et la Belgique", a souligné le porte-parole du Pentagone.

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4 novembre 2013 1 04 /11 /novembre /2013 07:30
Israel Will Buy 6 Osprey Aircraft, Hagel Announces

 

Oct 31, 2013 ASDNews Source : AFPS

 

Calling Israel’s self-defense capabilities and its qualitative military edge “central to both Israel and U.S. security interests,” Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced tonight that Israel will buy six V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft for its air force.

 

Hagel made the announcement during his keynote address at the 100th annual Anti-Defamation League meeting in New York.

 

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19 septembre 2013 4 19 /09 /septembre /2013 07:30
Hagel: US To Retain Military Threat Against Syria

Sep. 18, 2013 Defense News (AFP)

 

WASHINGTON — The US military will maintain the threat of force against Syria in case the regime fails to abide by an agreement to relinquish control of its chemical weapons, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Wednesday.

“We should keep that military option exactly where it is. We have assured the president that our assets and force posture remain the same,” Hagel told a press conference.

“We are prepared to exercise any option that he would select.”

Hagel’s comments made clear the United States had no plans to withdraw destroyers in the eastern Mediterranean, which had been prepared to launch cruise missile attacks to punish Damascus over its alleged use of chemical weapons.

He said it was clear “the credible threat of US force” helped to persuade Syria to agree to a US-Russia accord that calls for the regime to turn over its chemical arsenal to international control.

US defense officials told AFP four destroyers equipped with Tomahawk cruise missiles remained in place in the eastern Mediterranean, ready to launch a possible attack if diplomacy fails.

Hagel and Gen. Martin Dempsey, the US military’s top-ranking officer, also said the administration was still considering whether to have the Pentagon take over the arming of Syria’s rebels from the Central Intelligence Agency, which would involve larger-scale assistance.

Despite agreeing to the deal on securing Syria’s chemical weapons, Washington and Moscow remain at odds over who carried out the Aug. 21 chemical attack outside Damascus.

Russia says the Syrian regime has handed over new evidence implicating rebel forces in the deadly incident.

But US President Barack Obama has said it was “inconceivable” that anyone other than the Syrian regime could have carried out the attack.

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11 juillet 2013 4 11 /07 /juillet /2013 19:20
Chuck Hagel secrétaire américain à la Défense (Photo Glenn Fawcett DoD)

Chuck Hagel secrétaire américain à la Défense (Photo Glenn Fawcett DoD)

July 10, 2013 Source: US Department of Defense

 

WASHINGTON --- If sequestration continues into fiscal year 2014, the Defense Department will be forced to consider involuntary reductions-in-force for the civilian workforce, draconian cuts to military personnel accounts and a virtual halt to military modernization, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said in a letter to Senate leaders today.

 

The senators had requested detailed information on how continued sequestration could affect the military.

 

In the letter, Hagel detailed the “Plan B” the department must confront if Congress does not pass legislation that averts sequestration in fiscal 2014. If the process continues, DOD will be forced to cut $52 billion more from the budget that year.

 

Hagel stressed in the letter that he fully supports President Barack Obama’s fiscal 2014 budget request and noted that if sequestration remains in effect, “the size, readiness and technological superiority of our military will be reduced, placing at much greater risk the country’s ability to meet our current national security commitments.”

 

Congress gave DOD some flexibility to handle the cuts need for fiscal 2013, but more than 650,000 DOD civilians must still be furloughed without pay for 11 days. However, the cuts in 2014 are too great even for flexibility within accounts to handle.

 

DOD hopes to avoid furloughs in 2014, the defense secretary said, but if sequestration remains in effect, “DOD will have to consider involuntary reductions-in-force to reduce civilian personnel costs.”

 

Readiness has already been diminished this year, Hagel said, and it will continue to decline if sequestration continues in 2014. Hiring freezes will also continue and facilities maintenance funds will further erode, he added.

 

If the sequestration mechanism is applied to military personnel funding, “DOD could accommodate the required reductions only by putting into place an extremely severe package of military personnel actions including halting all accessions, ending all permanent-change-of-station moves, stopping discretionary bonuses and freezing all promotions,” Hagel wrote.

 

He called on Congress to work with the department to avoid sequestration in fiscal 2014 and to approve the president’s defense budget request.

 

The president’s budget request slows military pay raises and raises fees for some military retiree’s health care. It also looks to retire older Air Force and Navy assets and calls for a new base realignment and closure program.

 

“If the cuts continue, the department will have to make sharp cuts with far-reaching consequences, including limiting combat power, reducing readiness and undermining the national security interests of the United States,” Hagel said.

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13 juin 2013 4 13 /06 /juin /2013 20:20
Pieter De Crem  source RTBF.be

Pieter De Crem source RTBF.be

13/06/13 .7sur7.be  (Belga)

 

Le ministre de Défense, Pieter De Crem, a appelé mercredi les Européens à "prendre davantage de responsabilités dans le domaine de la sécurité et de la défense", joignant sa voix à celle de ses trois derniers homologues américains et à celle du secrétaire général de l'Otan.

 

"L'Otan ne pourra pas rester la pierre angulaire de notre capacité de défense si nous laissons se distendre le lien transatlantique (unissant les pays européens et l'Amérique du nord). Durant des décennies, les Etats-Unis nous ont protégés, nous offrant ainsi le temps et l'assistance nécessaires pour voler de nos propres ailes", a-t-il affirmé lors d'un discours prononcé devant l'Institut royal supérieur de Défense (IRSD) à Bruxelles à l'occasion de la fin de l'année académique.

 

"Au cours de la dernière décennie, la contribution américaine à l'Otan a encore augmenté de 63 à 72%" des budgets de défense, a ajouté M. De Crem.

 

Selon lui, le temps est donc venu pour l'Europe "de prendre davantage de responsabilités dans le domaine de la sécurité et de la défense, sans pour autant remettre en cause le lien transatlantique".

 

"Ce lien reste de loin le principal garant de notre défense. Nous devrons donc parvenir à une situation où un seul Allié ne fournit plus que 50% des capacités critiques. En effet, une contribution européenne forte à l'Otan est la meilleure garantie d'un engagement fort des Etats-Unis à l'Otan", a poursuivi M. De Crem.

 

Ce genre de propos ont été tenus par les deux derniers secrétaires américains à la Défense, Robert Gates et Leon Panetta, ainsi que l'actuel "patron" du Pentagone, Chuck Hagel. C'est aussi un leitmotiv pour le secrétaire général de l'Otan, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, favorable à un "rééquilibrage" des dépenses militaires entre les deux rives de l'Atlantique, et qui craint que l'Europe perde "en influence sur la scène internationale" si elle poursuit la diminution de ses budgets de défense.

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24 avril 2013 3 24 /04 /avril /2013 07:30
Hagel in Riyadh as Saudi, US Plan Arms Deal

Apr. 23, 2013 Defense News

 

RIYADH — US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel arrived in Riyadh on Tuesday to seal a major arms deal that will provide the Saudi kingdom with sophisticated missiles for its American-made fighter jets.

 

Hagel flew in from Jordan after a three-day visit to Israel in his first tour of the region since he took office two months ago.

 

He was scheduled to hold a working dinner Tuesday evening with Crown Prince and Defence Minister Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz. The talks will touch on the weapons agreement as well as the Syrian war and the disputed nuclear program of Saudi Arabia’s regional rival Iran, officials said.

 

Hagel had originally planned to meet former deputy defense minister Prince Khaled bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz, but the official was sacked by a royal decree Saturday. He was replaced by Prince Fahd bin Abdullah bin Mohammed, who has been commander of Saudi naval forces since 2002.

 

Prince Khaled commanded Arab and Muslim armies in a US-led coalition that evicted Iraqi occupation forces from Kuwait in the 1991 Gulf War. He had played a major role in sealing several arms deals with the United States, including a groundbreaking agreement in 2010 to sell Saudi Arabia 84 F-15 fighter jets, 70 Apache attack helicopters, 72 tactical Black Hawk helicopters and 36 light helicopters, as well as upgrades for 70 used F-15s.

 

The delivery of the weapons to the oil-rich kingdom, thought to be the largest ever single US arms sale, would be spread across 15 to 20 years. The long-term nature of that arms deal carried special symbolism for the US-Saudi relationship, as it ensures cooperation over years that will likely see a change in the kingdom’s aging leadership.

 

The two countries share a common concern over Iran’s role in the region and the threat posed by al-Qaida militants, officials say.

 

Hagel’s visit comes as the United States unveiled plans last week to sell $10 billion worth of advanced missiles and aircraft to Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia in a bid to counter Iran.

 

Under the package, which is still being finalized, the US government will sell 26 F-16 fighter jets to the United Arab Emirates as well as sophisticated missiles for the warplanes, which officials would not specify.

 

The UAE part of the arms deal comes to nearly $5 billion, officials said.

 

Saudi Arabia would purchase the same advanced missiles provided to the UAE, allowing Saudi fighters to strike ground targets at a safe distance.

 

Hagel will next travel to Egypt and the United Arab Emirates.

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17 avril 2013 3 17 /04 /avril /2013 20:34
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9 janvier 2013 3 09 /01 /janvier /2013 08:20

chuck-hagel.jpg

 

Jan. 8, 2013 - By JOHN T. BENNETT  - Defense News

 

Former Nebraska Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel’s nomination to replace Leon Panetta as U.S. defense secretary will bring something old and something new into the national spotlight: President George W. Bush’s Iraq war and a shrinking Pentagon budget.

 

Senate Armed Services Committee members and staff are reviewing Hagel’s decades-thick policy statements, votes and views ahead of a yet-unscheduled confirmation hearing.

 

But even as that deep dive is only in its infancy, it already is clear Hagel’s sharp opposition to the 2007 surge of additional U.S. forces in Iraq — which many credit with turning around that conflict — will take center stage. And it’s a safe bet that congressional proponents of avoiding deep Pentagon spending cuts will press the nominee over what he recently labeled a “bloated” Defense Department budget.

 

That remark came during a 2011 interview with the Financial Times, in which Hagel also said, “The Pentagon needs to be pared down. I don’t think our military has really looked at themselves strategically, critically in a long time.”

 

That comment is drawing the ire of national security-minded conservatives in Washington. Already, right-leaning think tanks and organizations are circulating white papers and talking points slamming a number of Hagel’s past comments on issues, including about cutting the DoD budget.

 

“The current secretary of defense and the White House have suggested that sequestration will be a calamity for our national security,” said Danielle Pletka of the conservative American Enterprise Institute. “How can you reconcile your demand for greater cuts and the rejection of those cuts by the incumbent?”

 

Such points inevitably will be picked up by Republican senators as they prepare to question the nominee in coming weeks.

 

Hagel’s allies, such as Fred Kempe, president and CEO of the Atlantic Council, are not tipping their hand about how deeply Hagel might want to reduce military spending.

 

But in a Jan. 8 television interview, Kempe, who worked closely with Hagel in the nominee’s post as Atlantic Council chairman, noted one of his heroes is former President Dwight Eisenhower. That U.S. wartime general-turned-commander in chief “had a very, very sober view of military spending and … came in after a war and had to make some tough decisions.

 

“Ultimately, it’s President Obama’s decision in the end,” Kempe said. “Certainly in this budget situation, you’re going to have a real hard look at the defense budget. And I think he’ll [Hagel] bring his business acumen and his toughness to play in this.”

 

Iraq Payback?

 

Whether the nation is aching for a new discussion about the still-controversial 2003-2011 Iraq war, it’s about to get one.

 

The former GOP senator angered many in his own party in 2006 when he broke with the George W. Bush administration and congressional Republicans over the conduct of the Iraq war. Some sources and pundits say the attacks Hagel is experiencing now are, in large part, payback for doing so.

 

Hagel penned a controversial 2006 Washington Post op-ed that began: “There will be no victory or defeat for the United States in Iraq.”

 

The then-senator took umbrage with what was at the time one of the top U.S. goals in Iraq.

 

“The time for more U.S. troops in Iraq has passed. We do not have more troops to send and, even if we did, they would not bring a resolution to Iraq. Militaries are built to fight and win wars, not bind together failing nations,” Hagel wrote. “We are once again learning a very hard lesson in foreign affairs: America cannot impose a democracy on any nation — regardless of our noble purpose.”

 

The op-ed was deemed remarkable, in part, because of the sharp language Hagel used.

 

“We have misunderstood, misread, misplanned and mismanaged our honorable intentions in Iraq with an arrogant self-delusion reminiscent of Vietnam,” Hagel wrote. “Honorable intentions are not policies and plans.”

 

Hagel also raised concerns about the economic toll the Iraq war was inflicting on the United States.

 

“The United States must begin planning for a phased troop withdrawal from Iraq. The cost of combat in Iraq in terms of American lives, dollars and world standing has been devastating,” Hagel wrote.

 

“We’ve already spent more than $300 billion there to prosecute an almost four-year-old war and are still spending $8 billion per month. The United States has spent more than $500 billion on our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. And our effort in Afghanistan continues to deteriorate, partly because we took our focus off the real terrorist threat, which was there, and not in Iraq.”

 

Many of his views appear to place him at odds with several Armed Services Committee members, and that committee would have to approve his nomination before it moves to a full upper chamber vote.

 

One is former anking member John McCain, R-Ariz., to whom some in the GOP Senate caucus will look for guidance on how to vote if Hagel’s nomination reaches the upper chamber’s floor.

 

The Obama administration opted against a tense confirmation process for Susan Rice, who on Dec. 13 withdrew from consideration to become secretary of state over fears that McCain and other GOP senators would either block it or turn the confirmation process into a major political fight.

 

Whether the Hagel-McCain split over Iraq policy will lead McCain to oppose his friend remains an open question.

 

In 2008, McCain said he and Hagel are “close and dear friends” who simply reached different conclusions about the Iraq conflict. In the same interview, McCain called Hagel a “respected leader in America” who “served his country admirably, with honor and distinction.”

 

On Dec. 20, McCain told Defense News he had not yet decided how he would vote.

 

The Opposition

 

An anti-Hagel campaign has sprung up since his name was floated by the White House.

 

Pro-Israeli lawmakers, organizations and pundits have seized on 2008 comments Hagel made about the “Jewish lobby” intimidating U.S. lawmakers. Hagel and his allies have struck back, saying the nominee believes in the American-Israeli alliance.

 

Conservative pundits have deployed to cable TV networks to criticize his views. One is former George W. Bush-era Iraq adviser Dan Senor, a close adviser to 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

 

Senor noted that some of Hagel’s views, such as questioning whether the kinds of stiff sanctions the Obama administration has placed on Iran over its alleged nuclear ambitions actually work, place him out of synch with the president.

 

One website calls Hagel “too extreme to be secretary of defense,” and lists his views on a range of issues.

 

The Republican National Committee, in a blog post, questions whether pro-Israeli lawmakers such as Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., ultimately can support the nomination. The blog post questions if the administration can secure the 60 votes necessary to avoid a filibuster and confirm Hagel as defense secretary.

 

For his part, Schumer, in the hours after Obama announced Hagel’s nomination, is holding his cards close.

 

“Chuck Hagel, as a former colleague and a patriot with a decorated service record, has earned the right to nothing less than a full and fair process in the Senate,” Schumer said in a Jan. 7 statement. “I look forward to fully studying his record and exploring his views.”

 

Some conservative Washington hawks believe Hagel is too antiwar to advise any president on the use of American military power. Not so, say his allies.

 

“Hagel is not a pacifist, and certainly not the dove that his critics have claimed he is. He remains firmly within the foreign policy mainstream in Washington, and has supported past wars that I have opposed,” said Christopher Preble of the Cato Institute. “But his general inclination, hardened after the debacle of Iraq, is to avoid foreign crusades and to resist pressure to send U.S. troops into harm’s way in pursuit of unclear objectives that do not advance U.S. interests. That is a mindset that the neoconservatives cannot abide.

 

“I don’t believe … Obama chose Chuck Hagel in order to humiliate the Republican Party,” Preble said. “I don’t think he intended to shine the light on the bitter divide between the neoconservatives and traditional foreign policy realists. I think he picked Hagel because he likes him, and trusts him.”

 

As Washington awaits his nomination hearing, the issue to track as the nominee meets one-on-one with lawmakers, then answers hours of tough questions in a public hearing, is whether enough senators come to trust Hagel.

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