Stop NATO News: January 25, 2012

25 January 2012012

  • Fifth Generation Warplanes And U.S. Global ‘Domain Dominance’
  • Ex-President: Saakashvili May Draw Georgia Into War With Iran
  • U.S.-Japan Military Exercises Underscore New Strategy Guidance Focus
  • Pakistan: Opposition Parties Stage Walk-Out In Senate Over U.S. Drone Strikes
  • U.S., Czech Defense Chiefs Discuss ‘Unequivocal’ NATO Ties
  • Defense Minister Wants Czech Troops In Afghanistan For Two More Years

Fifth Generation Warplanes And U.S. Global ‘Domain Dominance’

U.S. Department of Defense
American Forces Press Service
January 24, 2012

Air Force Leaders Say Strategy Calls for F-22, F-35 Capabilities
By Jim Garamone

-‘These capabilities give our leaders the ability to hold any target at risk, anywhere in the globe, at any time. I think it is important for any adversary to understand we possess those capabilities and intend to continue the development.’
-Americans have become used to having domain dominance, Miller said, expecting U.S. service members to be able to operate on land, at sea, in the air with a fair degree of autonomy as they pursue national objectives.

WASHINGTON: Fifth-generation fighter aircraft are key to America maintaining domain dominance in the years ahead, Air Force officials said here today.

Lt. Gen. Christopher D. Miller, deputy chief of staff for strategic plans and programs, and Maj. Gen. Noel T. ‘Tom’ Jones, the service’s director for operation capability requirements, said the technology – exemplified in the F-22 and F-35 – assumes greater importance in combating growing anti-access, area-denial capabilities.

The generals spoke during a media roundtable in the Pentagon.

Fifth-generation aircraft are particularly valuable as part of the new defense strategy guidance that President Barack Obama unveiled here earlier this month, they said. That strategy explicitly affirms that the United States military must be able to defeat ant-access, area-denial threats.

There is a continuing competition between nations developing anti-access capabilities and others devising ways to defeat that, the general said.

‘Fifth-generation aircraft are a key ability that the Air Force is bringing to the nation’s ability to operate in those environments,’ he added.

The Air Force has flown against anti-access environments since it was founded. American fighters countered this capability in the skies over Korea and Vietnam. Airmen faced off against surface-to-air missiles ringing Hanoi. In the Persian Gulf War, airmen defeated the ground-to-air threat over Iraq, and most recently, they knocked out the anti-access capabilities around Tripoli.

F-22s and F-35s bring maneuverability, survivability, advanced avionics and stealth technology to the fight. Both planes are multi-role capable, able to fight air-to-air and air-to-ground.

‘These capabilities give our leaders the ability to hold any target at risk, anywhere in the globe, at any time,’ Jones said. ‘I think it is important for any adversary to understand we possess those capabilities and intend to continue the development.’

Another aspect of the strategy includes the ability to operate against adversaries across the spectrum of conflict. F-22s and F-35s are particularly relevant at the top of the spectrum, ‘where we can’t always set the conditions for our operations as easily as we have in the last couple of decades of military conflict,’ Miller said.

This is an extremely valuable capability that must be nurtured, the generals said.

Americans have become used to having domain dominance, Miller said, expecting U.S. service members to be able to operate on land, at sea, in the air with a fair degree of autonomy as they pursue national objectives.

‘This is not a birthright,’ Miller said. ‘That is something we have had to work very hard in the past to gain, … and we can’t take for granted that we are going to be able to support the joint team in future environments unless we maintain a high-end capability to target an adversary’s air forces, their surface-to-air forces and basically be able to seize control of parts of the air space and other domains the joint commander needs.

‘It’s an Air Force capability,’ he added, ‘but it’s a key Air Force contribution to the joint warfighting capability of the nation.’


Ex-President: Saakashvili May Draw Georgia Into War With Iran

January 24, 2012

Georgian President Saakashvili ‘eyeing Iran war to hold power’

To keep his post, Georgia’s President Mikhail Saakashvili may draw the country into a war against Iran, former Georgian leader Eduard Shevardnadze believes.

‘I don’t rule out that to retain the [presidential] chair Saakashvili may join a military campaign against Iran, which would become a catastrophe for our country,’ Shevardnadze said, as cited by ‘Georgia on-line’ news portal.

The issue may be discussed at the upcoming meeting between Saakashvili and US President Barack Obama in the White House on January 30, Shevardnadze noted.

‘Any anti-Iranian campaign on Georgian territory shouldn’t be accepted,’ the former Georgian president stressed.

Georgian expert on the Caucasus Mamuka Areshidze says that if a military operation against the Islamic Republic begins, Georgia would face extreme difficulties, Regnum agency reports.

‘According to some estimates, in this conflict Georgia would be responsible for providing combat service support with the use of its aerodromes and hospitals,’ he said. The expert added that such a scenario would lead to certain threats for Georgia. ‘There would only be negative consequences. But all that is secondary compared to the measures that Russia might take,’ Areshidze stated.

For many analysts the beginning of a war against Iran is just a question of time, rather than a hypothetical possibility.

Elizbar Javelidze from the Georgian opposition movement Public Assembly says Washington is gearing up for attack. In Georgia, the US is sponsoring the construction of hospitals and other facilities that could be used, if war is launched.

‘A big war between the US and Iran is beginning in the Persian Gulf. $5 billion was allocated for the construction of these 20-bed military hospitals,’ Javelidze said.


U.S.-Japan Military Exercises Underscore New Strategy Guidance Focus

U.S. Department of Defense
American Forces Press Service
January 24, 2012

U.S.-Japan Exercises Underscore New Strategy Guidance Focus
By Donna Miles

WASHINGTON: Two bilateral command post exercises with Japan kicked off yesterday and today, reflecting the growing strategic importance of the Asia-Pacific region as outlined in the new defense strategy guidance President Barack Obama announced earlier this month.

Japanese and U.S. military forces launched Keen Edge 12 yesterday at Yokota, Japan. The biennial exercise continues through Jan. 27.

Today, Exercise Yama Sakura kicked off, with operations to run through Feb. 5.

Both exercises are designed to increase interoperability of U.S. and Japanese forces and their readiness to defend against external threats, officials said.

By providing realistic, combined and joint training that enhances both countries’ combat readiness posture, they in turn provide for regional stability and security, said Navy Lt. Cmdr. Bill Clinton, a U.S. Pacific Command spokesman.

Keen Edge historically has been part of an annual exercise series that alternates between field training exercises, called Keen Sword, and command-and-control exercises.

About 500 U.S. personnel and about 1,380 Japanese forces are participating in this year’s CPX, during which headquarters staffs will use computer simulations to practice steps they would take in the event of a crisis or contingency.

Participants will practice responding to events ranging from non-combatant evacuations and force-protection scenarios to integrated air and missile defense to enhance bilateral coordination and cooperation, officials said.

Forces involved will use the computer-based Joint Theater Level Simulation System to direct and respond to exercise events. This system, officials reported, helps provide a realistic environment for commanders and staffs as they react and respond in real time to events generated by computer simulation.

U.S. participants in Keen Edge 2012 hail from U.S. Forces Japan headquarters; 13th Air Force, with headquarters at Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii, and in Japan through its Detachment 1; U.S. Naval Forces Japan; U.S. Army Japan; and Marine Forces Japan.

Meanwhile, nearly 800 U.S. military personnel and more than 3,500 Japanese forces are participating in Yama Sakura, the largest bilateral exercise between the U.S. Army Pacific and Japanese ground forces since the Great Tohoku Earthquake in March.

About 150 U.S. soldiers from the 8th Army headquarters element at Yongsan Garrison, South Korea, will serve as the higher command for participating U.S. forces, which include members of U.S. Army Japan.

The exercise, officials said, will focus on bilateral and joint planning, coordination and interoperability of ground-based elements of the U.S. and Japan security alliance.

During senior-level talks between U.S. and Japanese military leaders last month about future operations and engagement between the two countries, Air Force Lt. Gen. Ted Kresge, 13th Air Force commander, said interoperability strengthens the bilateral alliance.

Meanwhile, 8th Army officials said Exercise Yama Sakura helps to ensure its ability to operate with its other U.S. and Japanese counterparts to defend South Korea as well as maintain regional security.

‘This exercise improves 8th Army’s ability to deter or defeat aggression on the Korean peninsula,’ said Army Brig. Gen. David J. Conboy, 8th Army’s deputy commander. ‘It also helps strengthen the Republic of Korea-United States alliance by enabling critical staff coordination and collaboration at the multinational level.’

Clinton said engagements like these support the new defense strategy guidance that recognizes the challenges as well as opportunities in Asia and the Pacific.

That strategic guidance, announced earlier this month, provides a strategic vision intended to guide the military through 2020 with its heavy focus on the region.

‘Through continuous evaluation of our force posture and engagement activities, we will work with our regional partners and allies to maintain the military strength to protect our interests, defend our allies and deter potential adversaries from acts of aggression and intimidation,’ Clinton said.

U.S. relationships with Asian allies and key partners will remain critical to the region’s future stability and growth, Navy Adm. Robert F. Willard, U.S. Pacific Command’s commander, told the Annual Hawaii Military Partnership Conference on Jan. 6, the day after the guidance was announced.
In addition to strengthening existing alliances that have provided a vital foundation for regional security, Willard said, the United States also will strive to forge closer ties with emerging regional partners.


Pakistan: Opposition Parties Stage Walk-Out In Senate Over U.S. Drone Strikes

Daily Times
January 25, 2012

Opposition stages walk-out in Senate over drone strikes
By Tanveer Ahmed

ISLAMABAD: Senators from opposition parties on Tuesday staged a token walkout from the Senate against resumption of drone attacks in the country’s tribal areas.

Leader of the opposition Maulana, Abdul Ghafoor Haideri, said the government and army had made no announcement that they would defend Pakistani territory against drone strikes.

Responding to this, Interior Minister Rehman Malik said the US government should care about the voice of the people of Pakistan. ‘This [drone strikes] is a direct hit by the US on the territory of Pakistan, which is not acceptable,’ he added. He said the Senate should pass a resolution, which would be presented in the UN to stop US aggression in Pakistan.


U.S., Czech Defense Chiefs Discuss ‘Unequivocal’ NATO Ties

U.S. Department of Defense
American Forces Press Service
January 24, 2012

Panetta, Czech Republic Counterpart Discuss Key Issues
By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.

WASHINGTON: Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta hosted the Czech Republic’s top defense official here today to discuss several key issues, Pentagon spokesman Navy Capt. John Kirby said.

Among the topics Panetta discussed with Defense Minister Alexandr Vondra was ‘the unequivocal commitment of the United States to the NATO alliance,’ Kirby said.

They also discussed the 2012 NATO summit, which will be held in Chicago in May, and the Czech Republic’s proposal for a multinational aviation training center, he added.

‘Secretary Panetta thanked the minister for the Czechs’ critical contributions to operations in Afghanistan, and they both discussed plans for the transition,’ Kirby said. ‘They also exchanged views on the budget challenges each country is facing and expressed satisfaction that the language for a Reciprocal Defense Procurement Agreement has been agreed.’

Panetta and Vondra agreed to maintain communication as they prepare for future meetings, the Pentagon spokesman added.

‘The ministers agreed to continue a close dialogue in the coming months ahead as they prepare for the NATO defense ministerial in Brussels next month and for the Chicago summit,’ he said.


Defense Minister Wants Czech Troops In Afghanistan For Two More Years

Czech News Agency
January 24, 2012

Minister wants Czech soldiers to stay in Afghanistan until 2014

Washington: Czech Defence Minister Alexandr Vondra wants Czech soldiers to stay in Afghanistan until 2014, while their current mandate expires at the end of 2012, Vondra told CTK and Czech Radio at the beginning of his visit to Washington today.

He is to meet his U.S. counterpart Leon Panetta later today.

Vondra (senior government Civic Democrats, ODS) said he would like to propose to the government and parliament in the spring that Czech troops´ deployment in Afghanistan be extended by another 24 months.

Vondra did not specify how strong Czech troops should serve in Afghanistan in the following two years.

‘I do not want to tell the numbers. I suppose that our helicopters may return there and that our special forces will terminate their mission this year. I think that we will definitely still focus on the training, this is the most important part,’ Vondra said.

Afghanistan is one of the topics that Vondra and Panetta are to discuss today.

‘We are in America and I always say together in, together out. We must do our utmost for Afghanistan to be able to govern and provide security by its own forces after 2014,’ Vondra said.

Czechs are, for instance, training Afghan helicopter pilots. The Czech Republic would like to establish a NATO helicopter pilot training centre in Pardubice, east Bohemia.

This project, in which Croatia also participates, is another issue that Vondra will discuss with Panetta today. They will follow up the talks on the plan that Czech PM Petr Necas (ODS) led with Obama in Washington last autumn.

Vondra also wants to make an agreement with Panetta on ‘mutual obtaining of defence orders’ that would make it easier for Czech firms to win defence and security contracts in the United States.

The fact that Vondra pushed through the purchases of equipment for the Czech military without intermediaries last year has opened the path to this agreement, he said.

The agreement is actually completed, both countries should sign it in the spring, he added.

After the talks with Panetta, Vondra is to meet three Senators, Richard Lugar, John McCain (both Republicans) and Carl Levin (Democrat), as well as Congressman Michael Turner (Republican).

Vondra will also talk to members of the National Security Council and deliver a speech to the Atlantic Council think-tank on NATO, its May summit in Chicago and the Central European approach to transatlantic relations.

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