Updates on Libyan war/Stop NATO news: August 18, 2011

18 August 2011 — Stop NATO

  • U.S. Deploys Two More Predator Drones For NATO’s Libyan War
  • NATO To Test European Interceptor Missile Initial Operational Capability
  • 246,000 U.S. Troops Abroad: ‘Space Has Revolutionized How We Fight’
  • 1.2 Million Combat Hours: Robots To Give Pentagon Casualty-Free Wars
  • U.S. Navy On Arctic: Facing New Ocean For First Time In 500 Years
  • Kosovo: U.S. Backs Valued Ally Thaci, ‘Rule Of Law’
  • NATO’s New Maritime Strategy: Prowling The World’s Waterways

U.S. Deploys Two More Predator Drones For NATO’s Libyan War


August 17, 2011

U.S. sends two more Predator drones to Libya

WASHINGTON: The United States has deployed two more Predator drones for surveillance operations over Libya, a U.S. official told Reuters on Wednesday, as Muammar Gaddafi’s forces face unprecedented pressure.

The drones arrived earlier this week, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. It was not immediately clear how many U.S. drones were currently deployed on the NATO mission.

The U.S. decision to send additional drones follows calls last month by NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen for members of the alliance to provide more air support…

(Reporting by Phil Stewart; editing by Todd Eastham)


NATO To Test European Interceptor Missile Initial Operational Capability


Aviation Week
August 17, 2011

NATO Eyes IOC For BMD Shield Next Spring
By Amy Butler

-Ploeger suggests that one way to contribute an upper-tier defense would be for the alliance to cooperatively purchase Raytheon SM-3 interceptors, which are used for defenses from U.S. Aegis ships.

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — A key test is slated next week leading up to a planned declaration of initial operational capability (IOC) for NATO ballistic missile defenses next spring, says Lt. Gen. Friedrich Ploeger, a German officer and deputy for NATO’s allied air command based in Germany.

During this test, a target missile will be launched from Crete, and an actual interceptor will be dispatched as well. The goal is to allow the system to track the interceptor and test linkages between the U.S. battle management command and control architecture and NATO’s system, called ATLBMD. He did not identify which interceptor will be used.

A second trial is also slated prior to the planned IOC declaration, which is hoped for in advance of the April summit planned for member countries, Ploeger told an Aug. 16 luncheon audience at the 2011 Space and Missile Defense conference here.

Ploeger acknowledges that the NATO missile defenses are few, and linking them together will be a major task as the alliance moves forward after declaring missile defense a key mission last fall.

Many of the capabilities offered by NATO for a collective defense in Europe are in the lower tier, or shorter range. They were largely designed to support deployed forces, rather than for a homeland defense mission.

Ploeger suggests that one way to contribute an upper-tier defense would be for the alliance to cooperatively purchase Raytheon SM-3 interceptors, which are used for defenses from U.S. Aegis ships. German and Dutch frigates, he suggests, could be equipped with the missiles and add to the capabilities against longer-range threats that the U.S. can provide. And the existing sensors on these frigates can be an additive capability to the long-range sensor network eyed in the U.S. Phased Adaptive Approach.


246,000 U.S. Troops Abroad: ‘Space Has Revolutionized How We Fight’


Huntsville Times
August 17, 2011

Soldiers in spotlight at opening of Space and Missile Defense Conference in Huntsville
By Kenneth Kesner

-More than 30 nations now have or are developing a ballistic missile capability, said German Lt. Gen. Friedrich Ploeger, deputy commander of NATO’s Allied Air Command Ramstein at Ramstein Airbase in Germany. At Tuesday’s luncheon, he outlined NATO’s perspective on missile defense in Europe.

HUNTSVILLE, Alabama: Lt. Gen. Richard Formica started the 14th annual Space and Missile Defense Conference Tuesday morning by reminding the large audience of the main reason they are in Huntsville this week.
Ten soldiers lined up in front of the podium to a standing ovation. Most are recent inductees into the Army’s prestigious Sgt. Audie Murphy Club, and the group included the Space and Missile Command’s Soldier of the Year, Spc. Brandon Kitchen of B Company, 53rd Signal Battalion, Fort Meade, Md., and SMDC’s Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year, Staff Sgt. Andrew Brown of 1st Space Company, 1st Space Battalion, Colorado Springs, Colo.

Formica, the SMDC commander, said the Army has been performing ‘magnificently’ around the world, with 246,000 deployed troops, including about 114,000 in Afghanistan and Iraq. More than 6,000 soldiers and civilians have died in those wars, he said, pointing out that Alabama Army National Guard Capt. Waid ‘Chip’ Ramsey – who served with ‘selflessness and pride’ – had been laid to rest in Huntsville on Sunday.

‘They understand service and they understand sacrifice,’ Formica said, adding that it is to them that SMDC and the hundreds of contractors and leaders gathering at the Von Braun Center this week are dedicated to providing space and missile-defense capabilities.

That’s one reason why, despite tighter budgets and talk of even more reductions in defense spending, so many people are attending the conference, said Joe Fitzgerald, who worked on the SMD Conference and is also state president of the Association of the U.S. Army. Final registration is expected to be between 1,300 and 1,400, he said.

‘I believe it will exceed last year’s,’ Fitzgerald said. ‘There’s a desire to provide ongoing support to the warfighter.’

‘It’s a pretty amazing turnout,’ said Lt. Gen. Susan Helms, the first female military astronaut, now commander of the Air Force Space Command and the Joint Functional Component Command for Space, U.S. Strategic Command, at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

She pointed out that navigation used to be by sextant and clock, and communication by telegraph. Today, warfighters use satellite technology for communications, surveillance, navigation and much more at a pace almost unimaginable.

‘Space has revolutionized how we fight,’ Helms said.

But it’s presenting new challenges, including finding ways to protect space assets and the computer and communication systems that make them useful. And, of course, paying for them.

‘Budgets are tight. Costs are a challenge,’ Helms said, acknowledging that here in Huntsville she’s preaching to the choir.

She said ways must be found for more users to have access to the information and capability that a satellite or other space asset provides, and to work with private industry to use some of their space tools when needed if an enemy disrupts those used by the military.

‘We’ve got a lot of sensors in a lot of places,’ she said.


1.2 Million Combat Hours: Robots To Give Pentagon Casualty-Free Wars


U.S. Department of Defense
American Forces Press Service
August 17, 2011

Robots Could Save Soldiers’ Lives, Army General Says
By Cheryl Pellerin

WASHINGTON: Robots and unmanned systems potentially could improve enemy surveillance, reduce a soldier’s workload and save lives on the battlefield, an Army general said here this week.

Lt. Gen. Rick Lynch, commanding general of the U.S. Army Installation Management Command and assistant Army chief of staff for installation management, addressed an audience at a session of the 2011 Unmanned Systems North America conference hosted by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International.

‘As I think about what’s happening on the battlefield today,’ Lynch said, ‘I contend there are things we could do to improve the survivability of our service members. And you all know that’s true.’

His audience included some of AUVSI’s 7,000 attendees, representing the international defense enterprise; industry; commercial, civilian and first-responder developers; researchers; robotic system operators and users; and acquisition interests.

‘When I look at the 153 soldiers who paid the ultimate sacrifice,’ Lynch said, referring to soldiers who died under his command in Iraq, ‘I know that 80 percent of them were placed in a situation where we could have placed an unmanned system in the same job.’

As an Army officer and U.S. Military Academy graduate, Lynch went to graduate school at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, earning a master’s degree in mechanical engineering with a focus on robotics. As part of his thesis at MIT, he designed a robotic manipulator that could be used to load 60-pound main gun rounds in a tank moving at 30 mph.

The Army has used increasingly capable robotic and unmanned systems for nearly 10 years. As a robotics engineer, Lynch said, he’s seen some progress in the Army’s use of such systems, but he makes a case for expanded and accelerated use.

In Iraq, in a place called Arab Jabour southeast of Baghdad, Lynch commanded 25,000 soldiers who were part of Task Force Marne…

‘What I realized I was lacking on the battlefield then, and I contend it’s probably still lacking today, is the ability for a persistent stare,’ the general said.

What he did have, Lynch said, were unmanned aerial systems, which he called ‘a magnificent capability for watching that area from the air.’

‘The problem was they didn’t have sufficient loiter time, [and] … I didn’t have sufficient assets,’ he added.

Today over Iraq and Afghanistan, such systems have flown more than 1.2 million combat hours. The Army has about 4,000 robots at work in the war zones on various tasks, including detecting roadside bombs, James Overholt, senior research scientist for robotics at the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center in Warren, Mich., told American Forces Press Service.

But if unmanned aerial systems are going to improve surveillance, Lynch said, ‘we could focus on capabilities like persistent stare. I’ve seen the technology over the last 28 years – I know where we are.’

Lynch said these systems, which fly from Point A to Point B at operational speeds, could be used in modified ways to produce the same results afforded by persistent stare, Lynch said.

‘That would be powerful – an additional application on the battlefield today to improve situational awareness,’ he added.

The Army uses robotic ground systems that haul gear, navigate tunnels and rough terrain, monitor remote areas, capture and transmit images, search for roadside bombs, remove obstacles from roads and sometimes go where no soldier can safely go.

Such robots can be used to reduce a soldier’s workload, and even can make up for the reduction in the Army’s civilian workforce that will occur over the next year as the defense budget is cut.

As commander of the Army’s Installation Management Command, Lynch is responsible for what he calls ‘120,000 dedicated civilians worldwide.’ Defense cuts are reducing Lynch’s by about 7,000 by the end of fiscal 2012, he said. ‘Could we use robotics to address some of those issues?’ he asked the audience. ‘I contend the answer is yes.’

Not many of the Army’s robots, though, are completely autonomous. Most are remotely controlled or tele-operated, meaning real-time control of remotely located machines.

‘I’m an advocate of autonomous vehicle technology. … There’s a place on the battlefield for tele-operated systems, [but] we have to continue to advocate for pursuit of autonomous vehicle technology,’ he said.

In 2009, as 3rd Corps commanding general at Fort Hood, Texas, Lynch organized a Robot Rodeo. As part of the festivities, Lynch and Gen. Ann Dunwoody, commander of the U.S. Army Materiel Command, rode on a fully autonomous vehicle called TerraMax, developed by Oshkosh Defense.

‘We got in the bed of a truck that [had] traveled across country in an autonomous fashion,’ Lynch said. ‘It was she and I, and somebody sitting behind the wheel for safety reasons, but he didn’t have to touch the wheel or the brakes or the accelerator. He didn’t have to touch anything, because it was an autonomous system,’ the general added.

‘We all know that could happen,’ he said. ‘What I’m concerned about is people saying, ‘We don’t need that. Tele-operated is good enough.’ But I don’t believe that’s true.’

To reduce the workload, Lynch said, ‘we’ve got to keep the warfighter in the loop, but he doesn’t have to be dedicated to a particular mission.’

‘You can give the system a certain degree of autonomous capability so [the warfighter] can monitor and supervise multiple systems and continue his mission with a reduced workload,’ he said.

Over the last 28 years, Lynch added, he has made it a point to host some kind of robotic vehicle demonstration everywhere he’s been. ‘And I’ve seen the evolution of technology,’ he added. ‘I believe candidly we can accelerate the evolution of autonomous technology if people would just acknowledge that it’s important.’

Maj. Gen. Walter L. Davis, deputy director of the U.S. Army Capabilities Integration Center, part of the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, joined Lynch at the conference. Today, he said, unmanned systems improve persistence, endurance and protection across all warfighting functions.

‘They provide situational awareness, unmanned lethal and nonlethal fires, unattended precision target attack and acquisition, maximum standoff from threats, … and perform unmanned logistics support and services,’ he said.


U.S. Navy On Arctic: Facing New Ocean For First Time In 500 Years


Stars and Stripes
August 17, 2011

Amid melting ice, Navy assesses strategic demands in Arctic
By Geoff Ziezulewicz

NAPLES, Italy: The Navy has completed its latest assessment of the Arctic region, where melting ice is raising strategic questions as well as commercial opportunities.

‘In the past, the Arctic was largely inaccessible, but increased seasonal melting of the sea ice is opening the region and creating opportunities for oil and gas exploration, maritime shipping, commercial fishing and tourism,’ Rear Adm. David Titley, director of the Navy’s task force for climate change, said in a statement Tuesday. ‘We are confronted by a new ocean for the first time in 500 years.’

The assessment is part of a five-year plan, released in May 2009, to guide Navy policy, actions and investment regarding the Arctic.

‘With Alaska’s coastline, the U.S. can lay claim to roughly 200 thousand square miles of territorial and exclusive economic zone waters,’ Cmdr. Blake McBride, Arctic affairs officer for the Navy task force, said in a statement Tuesday.

Questions of territorial claims are among key issues for the eight Arctic nations, which include Russia, as nations jockey for control of potentially lucrative resources buried beneath the ocean floor.

The task force assessment noted that scientific research and oil and gas exploration have already increased in the region, which it said could be largely ice-free during the summer melt season in roughly 25 years, according to a Navy press release summarizing the report.

‘The Navy has over a half-century experience in Arctic submarine operations, but we have very limited experience with surface and air operations in the region,’ McBride was quoted as saying. ‘In the past, we had little need to go there.’

The 2009 five-year plan, an ‘Arctic Roadmap,’ noted the opening of the Arctic Ocean could lead to increased oil and gas development and reshape the global sea transportation system, offering ‘opportunities for growth, but also … potential sources of competition and conflict for access and natural resources.’

‘The fact that the U.S. is an Arctic nation is one that, in the past, has gone unrecognized by much of the American public due to Alaska’s separation and distance from the contiguous 48 states,’ Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., chairman of the Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, said at a July hearing on the emerging Arctic Ocean. ‘But that is changing — and the Arctic is changing.’

In 2007, there was a record low in sea ice and the trend has continued, Titley told the Senate Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard in July. Increased melting in the Bering Strait could, in a few decades, allow goods to be shipped across the Arctic instead of through the Panama Canal. ‘The changing Arctic has important national security implications for the Navy,’ Titley said.

Strategically speaking, the value of an open Arctic lies in the emerging trade routes, and who controls those is key, according to Christian Le Mière, research fellow for naval forces and maritime security at the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies.

Canada and the U.S. are at odds over the Northwest Passage, which Canada asserts is in its territorial waters, while the U.S. contends it is an international waterway, Le Mière said.

‘It’s unclear how it will be resolved, because it currently appears to be an intractable dispute,’ he said. ‘There is very little overlap between the two positions.’

[E]arlier this year, the Defense Department restructured responsibilities for representing U.S. military issues domestically and internationally.


Kosovo: U.S. Backs Valued Ally Thaci, ‘Rule Of Law’


ADN Kronos International
August 17, 2011

Kosovo: Establishing law and order is key priority, US official says

-Belgrade appealed to the UN and the EU on Wednesday to take measures to restore freedom of movement in Kosovo.
But Ricker, whose country spearheaded Kosovo’s independence drive, commented: ‘Kosovo is an independent and sovereign state and has the right to assert its authority on the entire territory’.

Pristina: Kosovo’s independence, declared by majority ethnic Albanians in 2008, is irrevocable and establishing law and order on the entire territory is a key priority, a senior United States official said Wednesday.

‘The sovereignty and the territorial integrity of Kosovo is clear and what we need is the will to establish the rule of law,’ visiting United States deputy assistant secretary of state Philip Ricker told media.

After talks with Prime Minister Hashim Thaci, Ricker said the US supported Finish diplomat Marti Ahtisaari’s plan for Kosovo’s independence, which Serbia opposes.

Serbia’s key ally Russia blocked the plan’s approval in the United Nations Security Council. But a total of 79 countries, including the US and 22 out of 27 members of the European Union, have recognised Kosovo so far.

‘We should focus on establishing peace and order in northern Kosovo and the implementation of Ahtisaari’s plan,’ Ricker said.

Kosovo minority Serbs, who form the majority of the population in the north, oppose independence and don’t recognise the Pristina government. They set up roadblocks three weeks ago to protest Kosovo police taking over two border crossings with Serbia and one Kosovo policeman was killed in clashes.

After Kosovo police withdrew from the border crosssings, a mob of Serb attackers set fire to one border post and fired on Nato peacekeepers sent to quell the violence.

The Serbian government said on Wednesday that the Nato-brokered agreement wasn’t being respected, because the Kosovo government had stopped Serbian buses from entering Kosovo, violating an agreement on freedom of movement.

Belgrade appealed to the UN and the EU on Wednesday to take measures to restore freedom of movement in Kosovo.

But Ricker, whose country spearheaded Kosovo’s independence drive, commented: ‘Kosovo is an independent and sovereign state and has the right to assert its authority on the entire territory’.


NATO’s New Maritime Strategy: Prowling The World’s Waterways


North Atlantic Treaty Organization
August 17, 2011

Maritime security: Protecting vital sea lines

The world’s seas contain some of its most important communication, commerce and transport routes. Their security is vital to the international community. NATO helps secure and protect its member countries’ maritime resources and international commerce from potential threats…

NATO adopted a new Alliance Maritime Strategy in January 2011. This further promotes operational flexibility and emphasises the importance the Alliance places on working with its partners to ensure maritime security.

Operation Active Endeavour

Under Operation Active Endeavour (OAE), launched following the terrorist attacks in the US on 11 September 2001, OAE ships patrol the Mediterranean. [T]he operation’s mandate has been regularly reviewed and its remit extended.

NATO has gained unparalleled expertise…in the Mediterranean Sea through its Active Endeavour operation. This expertise is relevant to wider international efforts…

Counter-piracy operations

Growing piracy in the Gulf of Aden and off the Horn of Africa has undermined international humanitarian efforts in Africa and the safety of one of the world’s key maritime routes – the Suez Canal. NATO has been helping to deter and disrupt pirate attacks in the region since 2008…

The current operation – Operation Ocean Shield – has a wider remit than previous operations. Not only does it provide maritime security in the region, but it also offers regional countries training to develop their own counter-piracy capacities .

NATO’s counter-piracy activities are often carried out in coordination with other organisations, such as the European Union…

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