13 February 2012 — Stop NATO
- Pentagon Chief Uses NATO For Missiles, Global Hawks, Wars
- Poland: U.S. To Add Air Force Unit To Missiles
- Poland: U.S. Plans To Provide Missiles, Bombs For F-16s
- NATO-Georgia Commission Meets At Alliance’s Headquarters
- Guam: U.S. Holds Air Force Exercises With Japan, Australia
- U.S. Military Chief, Egyptian Field Marshall Meet In Cairo
- Post-Afghan Warfighting: Canada Conducts Arctic Military Exercise
- Computer Game Simulates NATO-Russian War In Arctic
- Dutch Troops Withdrawn From U.S-NATO Mali Drills Amid Fighting
- Passy: After Four Wars, U.S. Can Boost Use Of Bulgarian Bases
Pentagon Chief Uses NATO For Missiles, Global Hawks, Wars
U.S. Department of Defense
February 10, 2012
Panetta Provides Perspectives From Trip to NATO, Germany
WASHINGTON Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta issued a message today providing his perspectives from a trip he took last week to participate in a meeting of NATO defense ministers at the alliance’s headquarters in Brussels and to visit with U.S. service members and attend a security conference in Germany.
Here is the secretary’s message:
I’ve recently returned from a trip to Europe where I had a series of very productive meetings with my NATO counterparts in Brussels, Belgium, uplifting visits with patients and troops at Ramstein Air Base and Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, Germany, and then attended the Munich Security Conference.
This was the second occasion I’ve had to meet with the NATO Ministers of Defense at NATO headquarters in Brussels. Over two days of meetings, I took this opportunity to personally brief the defense ministers on our new strategic guidance and recent budget decisions, forthcoming changes to U.S. forces in Europe, and to reassure our allies of the continued U.S. commitment to a strong and forward-looking NATO alliance.
It was important to make clear to our European allies that even as our posture there evolves, we remain committed to NATO – the most successful military alliance in history – and we’ll continue to maintain an innovative, robust, and visible presence in Europe. As part of that robust presence, I told our allies that we will soon begin rotating a battalion-sized task force to Germany for exercises and training, as part of the rapidly deployable NATO Response Force, and we will also establish an aviation detachment in Poland to provide better training opportunities. We are also moving ahead with European missile defense – establishing land-based SM-3 missile sites in Romania and Poland, deploying Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense ships to Spain, and a radar in Turkey.
Now is a time for every NATO nation to make the most of the fiscal and security challenges we face to become more united as an Alliance and to strengthen our collective capabilities through such initiatives as Smart Defense. We took a big step forward on this front with an agreement to fund the Alliance Ground Surveillance system – consisting of five Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicles and a ground control station. AGS has been in the works for many years, and is the first ISR capability NATO has ever purchased as a pooled resource. As I said in Brussels, it’s a good deal, it’s a big deal, and it’s a done deal.
Most importantly, the NATO meetings provided an opportunity to bring together all ISAF troop contributing nations to discuss where things stand in Afghanistan…General Allen gave a progress update on the incredible efforts of our troops engaged in winter operations, always a challenge in that country’s mountainous terrain…
One thing I made clear in all my meetings was that even as Afghans assume the security lead, ISAF will continue to be fully combat ready – and we will engage in combat operations alongside our Afghan brothers as necessary. We also discussed the need for an enduring partnership, and presence in Afghanistan, post 2014, as well as the need to sustain the ANSF with international support…
The message I came away with from my meetings in Brussels, and that I want to share with you, is that our Alliance remains strong, and fully committed to finishing the job in Afghanistan…
There is total unity on the transition plan and timeline. I look forward to working further with our allies on the details of this plan when we meet at the Chicago Summit in May, the first U.S. hosted NATO summit since 1999.
I ended my trip to Europe by delivering a speech to an audience at the Munich Security Conference, along with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Held in the historic Bayerischer Hof Hotel, the conference brings together heads of state and military leaders from both sides of the Atlantic. In my remarks, I again emphasized the importance of the NATO military alliance, one that over the past decade of war, from Afghanistan to Libya, has proven its relevance to the security challenges of the 21st century.
Poland: U.S. To Add Air Force Unit To Missiles
February 8, 2012
US air force to increase presence in Poland
The U.S Air Force will open an aviation detachment unit at ?ask in central Poland this year, despite announcing cuts of two US army brigades in Europe.
The town is currently the home of the 32nd Air Base of the Polish Army Air force, one of the two bases in Poland which house F-16 fighter jets.
This month US ambassador Lee Feinstein received a personal briefing from General Mark Welsh at the Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany about planned future initiatives involving the Polish and American air forces.
Poland is also to host the third phase of the European Phased, Adaptive Approach (EPAA) to missile defense which was declared by president Obama in 2009.
’Our new missile defense architecture in Europe will provide stronger, smarter, and swifter defenses of American forces and America’s Allies,’ said the President.
The news comes as US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta reassured European allies last weekend that Washington remains committed to security on the continent despite President Barack Obama announcing a new austerity drive which will involve cutting two brigades stationed in Europe.
Panetta said the US armed forces will retain 37,000 soldiers in Europe.’Our military footprint in Europe will remain larger than in any other region of the world,’ Panetta told the Munich security conference.
Ambassador Feinstein will also attend the Euro-Atlantic Security Forum at the Institute of Strategic Studies in Krakow tomorrow.
Poland: U.S. Plans To Provide Missiles, Bombs For F-16s
United Press International
February 7, 2012
Poland seeks U.S. munitions
WASHINGTON: Poland is seeking to purchase missiles, bombs and other items from the United States for use on F-16s flown by its air force.
The materials requested, worth an estimated $447 million, would be procured through a Foreign Military Sales contract.
‘The proposed sale will improve Poland’s capability to meet current and future operational needs,’ the U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency said in its notification to Congress. ‘The upgrade will allow Poland to continue to bolster its regional leadership while increasing NATO interoperability.’
The request from Poland includes 93 AIM-9X-2 Sidewinder Block II Tactical Missiles, four CATM-9X-2 Captive Air Training Missiles, 65 AIM-120C-7 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles and 1,095 bombs of various varieties.
Also requested are F-100-PW-229 Engine Core Modules, night vision devices with spare intensified tubes, Autonomous Air Combat Maneuvering Instrumentation P5 pods, a Joint Mission Planning System and five years of follow-on support and sustainment services for its F-16 fleet.
Spare and repair parts, documentation and training equipment would also be part of the deal.
NATO-Georgia Commission Meets At Alliance’s Headquarters
Trend News Agency
February 11, 2012
Meeting of Georgia-NATO commission held in Brussels
Tbilisi: The annual action plan [Annual National Program] of Georgia has been discussed by members of the Georgia-NATO commission at the meeting in Brussels.
This tool is ‘very important for Georgia’s integration into NATO’, head of the Georgian delegation, Georgian Deputy Foreign Minister Tornike Gordadze said.
He said important issues concerning relations between Georgia and NATO, including the situation in the occupied territories, were discussed at the commission’s meeting.
‘Discussion of the NATO Chicago summit was especially important since it’s a major event in the Organization’s life,’ the deputy minister said.
Mr Gordadze said the sides discussed the results of the meeting between the Georgian and U.S. presidents in Washington.
Besides participation in the commission’s meeting, the Georgian delegation held a separate meeting with the U.S. delegation to NATO. Mr Gordadze noted that issues of the upcoming Chicago summit were discussed at this meeting.
Guam: U.S. Holds Air Force Exercises With Japan, Australia
U.S. Air Force
February 10, 2012
Cope North kicks off at Andersen AB
by Airman 1st Class Whitney Tucker
36th Wing Public Affairs
ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam: More than 1,000 military members from units spanning the Pacific are ready to kick off exercise Cope North 2012, which runs from Feb. 11 through 24.
The trilateral, multinational exercise is designed to enhance air operations between the U.S. Air Force, the Japan Air Self Defense Force and the Royal Australian Air Force.
During Cope North, participating forces will demonstrate the ability to effectively deploy forces and train together to improve aircrew abilities to employ tactical air power as a multinational force, exercise officials said. Andersen AFB has hosted Cope North for 10 years as a bilateral training event between the JASDF and U.S. Air Force. This year’s exercise marks the first time the RAAF will participate, further demonstrating the regional allies’ resolve to promote security and cooperation in this area of responsibility.
…Maj Greven, the lead planner for this year’s Cope North [said that] ‘Large force employment training will be the focus of the second week. Additionally, JASDF and USAF will conduct live surface attack tactics training on the Farrallon de Medinilla range in the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands.’
For only the fourth time in Cope North history, dedicated opposing forces will be integrated in the exercise for training purposes.
‘The aggressor aircraft will primarily be played by F-16 Fighting Falcons out of the 18th Aggressor Squadron from Eielson AFB, Alaska,’ Greven said. ‘The B-52 Stratofortresses out of the 23rd Bomb Squadron from Minot AFB will be one of the units that will participate as both blue air, or friendly forces, as well as being tasked to simulate opposing forces during some days of the exercise.’
U.S. Military Chief, Egyptian Field Marshall Meet In Cairo
U.S. Department of Defense
February 11, 2012
Dempsey Discusses Issues With Egypt’s Defense Leaders
By Cheryl Pellerin
CAIRO: The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff met here today with Egypt’s top defense officials to discuss a wide range of issues related to the long-standing security relationship between the two countries, said Marine Corps Col. Dave Lapan, the chairman’s spokesman.
The meetings occur on day three of Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey’s second visit to the region, which included a stop in Afghanistan.
The chairman met here with his counterpart, Lt. Gen. Sami Hafez Enan, chief of staff of the Egyptian armed forces. He also met with Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi and with other officials this afternoon at the Ministry of Defense in Cairo.
Discussions included Egypt’s investigation into the allegedly illegal foreign funding of pro-democracy nongovernmental organizations by more than 40 Egyptian and American activists, including 19 U.S. citizens.
Officials of the Cairo Criminal Court have prevented some Americans involved in the investigation from leaving the country, including Sam LaHood, son of U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. He and several others have taken refuge at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo. So far no trial date is set.
Lapan declined to give details of Dempsey’s ‘private’ discussions with Egyptian defense officials.
The chairman also visited the U.S. Embassy, where he met with Ambassador Anne W. Patterson and was briefed by the Egypt country team. Afterward he posed for photographs with members of the Marine Corps detachment assigned to the embassy.
Later, after a wild motorcade ride through the Saturday streets of Cairo, Dempsey arrived at the Ministry of Defense with Patterson.
There he met with Enan and Tantawi. He also met with Maj. Gen. Mohamed el-Assar, assistant minister of defense and a member of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces; Maj. Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi, director of military intelligence; Maj. Gen. Ibrahim Mohamed Noshy, chief of the Egyptian Army’s training authority; and others.
This afternoon, Dempsey participated in a wreath-laying ceremony at the pyramid-shaped monument on the site of the Unknown Soldier Memorial and the Anwar Sadat Tomb in Cairo.
Post-Afghan Warfighting: Canada Conducts Arctic Military Exercise
February 10, 2012
Arctic Ram: A Canadian military training mission to the North
…About 1,500 troops, mostly from 1 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group based in Edmonton, are part of the mission in the Northwest Territories to train in parachute jumping and other winter warfare skills alongside the Canadian Rangers.
As the war in Afghanistan winds down, the military aims to improve its cold-weather skills to better maintain and assert Canada’s arctic sovereignty.
The mission will include three days of parachuting, a live fire practice range for the LAV IIIs (light armored vehicles), and training for divers.
Computer Game Simulates NATO-Russian War In Arctic
February 9, 2012
Arctic warfare computer game includes Canadian navy
Game Naval War: Arctic Circle includes HMCS Halifax in simulated sea battles
A new computer game about Arctic warfare will be released this spring.
The game, Naval War: Arctic Circle, is set in the Arctic in the year 2030. The world at odds over Arctic sovereignty and resources.
‘You would be the admiral of the armed forces of your side of whatever conflict,’ said Norwegian developer Jan Haugland.
Over the internet, players would lead Russian or NATO forces in battle. The playing field is 36,000 kilometres of ice-free Arctic waters.
The game depicts real ships — one of which is HMCS Halifax.
The frigate has patrolled waters off the coast of Africa, the Persian Gulf and the Arabian Sea. The Royal Canadian Navy says it’s one of the most capable frigates in the world with powerful weapons and highly trained staff on board.
HMCS Halifax is the only Canadian vessel fighting the make-believe war.
The game also features fake news articles about escalating international tensions around the Arctic.
Dutch Troops Withdrawn From U.S-NATO Mali Drills Amid Fighting
February 7, 2012
‘Security’ brings Dutch marines home early
A group of 30 Dutch marines and commandos are being brought back from Africa to the Netherlands early. They were due to take part in international military exercises in Mali towards the end of the month.
The Malian and United States authorities have cancelled the Flintlock military exercises 2012 for security reasons. The exercises were scheduled to involve 2,000 soldiers from 16 countries. The Dutch contingent has been preparing for the exercises in Senegal and Burkina Faso.
The Netherlands has been taking part since 2007 in the Flintlock exercises, which are held biannually and form part of US military exercises in Africa. The aim of the exercises is to train African soldiers and improve co-operation between countries…
Last year opposition MPs tabled questions about the Dutch involvement in Flintlock. Defence Minister Hans Hillen wrote that the Dutch view them as a good opportunity ‘to train in climatically and geographically challenging circumstances in Africa’.
Because Flintlock sees Dutch soldiers taking part only in exercises, the government isn’t obliged to inform parliament as it would if personnel were deployed in an actual mission abroad. Opposition MPs have again tabled questions about the latest involvement in Flintlock.
Passy: After Four Wars, U.S. Can Boost Use Of Bulgarian Bases
Sofia News Agency
February 8, 2012
US-BG: Brotherly Friendship but at a Slight Standstill
President of Atlantic Club of Bulgaria, http://www.atlantic-club.org
-Both parties – Bulgaria and the USA – came to the conclusion that the bilateral relations are excellent, with the two dynamic embassies deserving much gratitude in this respect. By the way, that is totally natural given the 22-year evolution of the Bulgarian-US relations that have overcome the obstacles of four wars that have been won together (and that led to the freedom of four nations on two continents).
-A request for Bulgaria’s participation in the project for the F-35 mutipurpose fighter jet (however virtual its future might be) can lead to our inclusion in that or another similar program. Here, too, there are some 10 countries deemed to be special allies of the USA that have been invited to work in a team.
-Innovations, innovations, innovations! This should be the motto of Bulgaria’s relations with the USA. By taking into account the fact that innovations most often go through the military sphere.
A visit by a US Secretary of State – such as the visit of US State Secretary Hillary Clinton in Bulgaria on February 5 – is always good news for the host country. It is always a matter of recognition about the respective nation and its relations with the USA, and – let’s face it – for the government itself….
The Bulgarian public clearly understood what priorities the USA had during the visit of State Secretary Hillary Clinton to Bulgaria: energy security and diversification (in the common interest of both the USA and Bulgaria); shale gas (an issue on which the Bulgarian position saw various transformations); the open government program (to which the Bulgarian side visibly failed to respond); the UN Security Council veto on the Syria resolution.
We also learned that the common Bulgarian-US military bases could be used more intensively in the future, which is truly good news against the backdrop of the reduction of the US military spending.
Both parties – Bulgaria and the USA – came to the conclusion that the bilateral relations are excellent, with the two dynamic embassies deserving much gratitude in this respect. By the way, that is totally natural given the 22-year evolution of the Bulgarian-US relations that have overcome the obstacles of four wars that have been won together (and that led to the freedom of four nations on two continents), the three years of alliance at the UN Security Council, and Bulgaria’s Chairmanship of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
My life has run in such a way that I ended up being one of the few Bulgarians who have worked directly or indirectly with the four American Presidents since 1990 – George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama. I know from experience that sometimes Americans are ready to give. But under three conditions: that you are a decent nation; that you know what to ask for; and that you know how to ask for it.
The first of these conditions may already be deemed largely completed with Bulgaria’s accession to NATO in 2004. Or it has at least been completed to such an extent that it would not prevent the realization of more large-scale Bulgarian expectations.
Unfortunately, no such expectations were mentioned publicly during Hillary Clinton’s visit in Bulgaria. I was sad to come to the conclusion that Bulgaria’s last large-scale political project in its ties with the USA was formulated an entire decade ago – back in 2003: the creation of US military bases in Bulgaria (actually, it started together with the Bulgarian request for inclusion in the US Visa Waiver program).
Making Future Generations Grateful
As I was watching the press conference of Hillary Clinton and Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov, I was thinking – why shouldn’t we ask for something that will make the future generations grateful to the present Bulgarian government? But what?
It is true that there are projects in which missed opportunities are permanent and irrepairable. That is the case with the NATO missile shield in Europe which will not station any of its elements in Bulgaria. We missed that opportunity. But there are other hi-tech areas in which we can aspire for joint participation together with the Americans. For example, an agreement with the USA in the framework of its space program. It has defense, civilian, scientific and technical, and even image aspects. Space defense is yet to become a true concern for humanity, and Bulgaria’s early alliance with the USA would be a very promising policy. And the sending of a Bulgarian astronaut into space on a NASA flight could be only the most visible peak of such cooperation. To date, NASA has sent into space 45 astronauts from partner nations, and Bulgaria is comparable to them under a number of indicators.
A request for Bulgaria’s participation in the project for the F-35 mutipurpose fighter jet (however virtual its future might be) can lead to our inclusion in that or another similar program. Here, too, there are some 10 countries deemed to be special allies of the USA that have been invited to work in a team.
A special bilateral agreement with the USA in cyber defense – NATO’s priority – can have a strong projection in the development of the IT sector in Bulgaria.
Of course, the United States could be a very useful ally in defense of the interests of Bulgarian companies in international NATO tenders in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kosovo. Bulgaria’s membership in NATO, and all the more so – in the EU makes us a completely legitimate bidder for the winning of such tenders, all we need to do is formulate our demands, and stand our ground.
Innovations, innovations, innovations! This should be the motto of Bulgaria’s relations with the USA. By taking into account the fact that innovations most often go through the military sphere.
*Dr. Solomon Passy (SolomonPassy@gmail.com), is the founder and President of the Atlantic Club of Bulgaria. He was Bulgaria’s Foreign Minister in 2001-2005. He chaired the UN Security Council (in 2002, 2003). He was the Chairman-in-Office of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe in 2004. He was the Chair of the Bulgarian Parliament Committees on Foreign Policy, Defense, and Security and a Member of Parliament in 1990-1991, 2001, 2005-2009.