Stop NATO news: February 14, 2012: Pentagon: Obama Asks Congress For $613 Billion Defense Budget

14 February 2012012

  • Pentagon: Obama Asks Congress For $613 Billion Defense Budget
  • U.S. Special Operations Command Wants Operations In Asia, Africa, Latin America
  • Russia To Deploy New Air Defense Systems On Border
  • China Opposed To Expanding U.S. Military Presence In Asia-Pacific
  • NATO Strengthens Ties With Armenia
  • Venezuela Slams NATO Powers For Pushing Syrian Government Overthrow
  • Georgia’s Saakashvili: U.S. Visit ‘Strategic Breakthrough’
  • Afghanistan: Georgian Foreign Ministers Meets With Top NATO Commander
  • Pakistan Summons U.S. Ambassador Over Balochistan Interference
  • U.S. Air Forces In Europe Commander Visits Turkish Air Base

Pentagon: Obama Asks Congress For $613 Billion Defense Budget

Xinhua News Agency
February 14, 2012

Obama asks Congress over 600 bln USD for Defense budget

WASHINGTON: The U.S. Defense Department on Monday said President Barack Obama sent to Congress earlier in the day a proposed defense budget of 613.9 billion U.S. dollars for fiscal year 2013 that is to begin in October. The Pentagon said the budget represents a shift in defense priorities and spending cuts.

According to the Pentagon, the request includes 525.4 billion in discretionary budget authority to fund base defense programs and 88.5 billion war fighting expenses, primarily in Afghanistan.

The budget request applies a strategic guidance released earlier this year to force structure and investment. The defense strategic guidance, ‘Sustaining U.S. Global Leadership: Priorities for 21st Century Defense,’ shifts U.S. defense priorities to the Asia Pacific region…

‘This budget plan represents a historic shift to the future, recognizing that we are at a strategic point after a decade of war, ’ said Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.

The 88.5 billion in war fighting expenses is 26.6 billion below the fiscal 2012 enacted budget of 115.1 billion. The Pentagon said the proposed budget reflects the withdrawal of combat troops from Iraq in December 2011, as well as savings due to operational progress in Afghanistan and the transition to Afghan responsibility for security.


U.S. Special Operations Command Wants Operations In Asia, Africa, Latin America

Stars and Stripes
February 13, 2012

Admiral seeks freer hand in deployment of US Special Forces

Adm. William H. McRaven, commander of U.S. Special Operations Command, is looking to expand the role of the nation’s elite forces, The New York Times reports. McRaven wants more autonomy and new authority to move special operators faster, and to regions where they have not operated in the past, such as Asia, Africa and Latin America.

White House, military and Congressional officials told the Times that SOCOMM ‘has embarked on a quiet lobbying campaign’ to seek out the changes in how and where special forces troops are deployed – and the budget to be unveiled Monday will see an increase in the command’s coffers.

The Pentagon has increasingly used Special Operations forces in recent conflicts and missions now made public, such as the raid into Pakistan that killed Osama bin Laden last May, the raid into in Somalia in January that rescued two kidnapped aid workers, and the rescue mission in April 2009 that freed a cargo ship captain kidnapped by Somali pirates.

The new concepts would leave a projected 12,000 Special Operations Forces deployed around the world…


Russia To Deploy New Air Defense Systems On Border

Russian Information Agency Novosti
February 13, 2012

New S-400 air-defence systems to be deployed on Russian border

Several new air-defence systems S-400 Triumph are due to be deployed on the Russian border this year, the Russian Air Force Commander, Alexander Zelenin, has told the RIA Novosti news agency. He failed to specify the regions of deployment.

Earlier, the Commander of the Russian Baltic Fleet, Vice-Admiral Victor Chirkov, has made public the Defence Ministry plan to deploy an S-400 system in the country’s westernmost exclave, Kaliningrad region, in April this year.


February 13, 2012

More S-400 Triumf systems to enter service in Russia by year-end

More units of the S-400 Triumf missile defense system will be put on service in the Russian Armed Forces before the end of this year, Air Force chief Alexander Zelin said on Monday.

A new generation anti-aircraft system, the S-400 Triumf is designed to protect Russia’s major political, economic and military infrastructure facilities, Zelin said.

This mobile system is capable of tracking over 100 targets at ranges of over 400 km, he added.


China Opposed To Expanding U.S. Military Presence In Asia-Pacific

February 13, 2012

China opposed to expanding US military presence in Asia-Pacific

China and other Asian nations are opposed to the expanding US military presence in Asia and the Pacific.

The Chinese Vice-President Xi Jinping pointed out in a written interview with The Washington Post daily that to deliberately bring strategic security to the fore and consolidate military alliances is by no means what many regional nations would like to see happening around them.

China welcomes the US role in maintaining peace, stability and prosperity in the region, but hopes that Washington will fully respect and take account of the key interests and lawful concerns of Asia-Pacific nations, Xi Jinping said.


NATO Strengthens Ties With Armenia
February 13, 2012

ArmeniaNATO cooperation deepens-President

YEREVAN: Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan received on Monday the NATO Secretary General’s Special Representative for the Caucasus and Central Asia James Appathurai.

The sides praised high relations and deepening cooperation between Armenia and NATO in all fields, the presidential press service informed Armenian

Sargsyan considers last year effective enough on developing cooperation with NATO, stressing that active political contacts continued and Armenia enlarged its participation in supporting NATO troops in Afghanistan. Besides, the ArmeniaNATO Individual Partnership Action Plan for 2011-2013 was confirmed.

Appathurai thanked the President for Armenian servicemen’s service in Afghanistan.

They also touched upon regional security challenges and the recent developments in the Karabakh peace process.


Venezuela Slams NATO Powers For Pushing Syrian Government Overthrow

Xinhua News Agency
February 14, 2012

Venezuela slams Western powers for seeking regime change in Syria

UNITED NATIONS: Venezuela on Monday criticized Western countries for their efforts to arm, finance and train opposition militia in Syria to topple the Syrian government, saying that ‘they do not believe in political dialogue for finding a peaceful solution to the situation in Syria.’

The statement came as Jorge Valero, Venezuela’s deputy foreign minister to North America and permanent representative to the UN, was taking the floor at a plenary meeting of the UN General Assembly on the human rights situation in Syria.

‘On behalf of humanitarian assistance, of the defense of human rights, and of the ‘Responsibility to Protect’, imperial powers, and some of their allies, arm, finance, advice and train opposition militias to overthrow the government of President Bashar al-Assad,’ he said.

‘It is evident that these powers and their allies do not want peace, they do not care about human rights or democracy, they do not believe in political dialogue for finding a peaceful solution to the situation in Syria,’ he said. ‘They seek a regime change in order to replace — through violence — the government of President Bashar al-Assad.’

‘For that reason, they belittle the political reforms that the Syrian head of state has carried out,’ he said. ‘For this reason, they despise the mediation efforts of the Russian Federation, which seek a peaceful and negotiated to the situation in that country.’

‘Let’s remember that in the case of Libya, the initiative of peace promoted by the African Union was demonized,’ he said.

‘If a ‘strong commitment’ towards the sovereignty, the independence, the territorial unity of Syria, and with the principles of the Charter of the United Nations wants to be reaffirmed then, the international political, military, financial and media support, provided to the opposition and terrorist groups in that country, must stop,’ he said.

‘The media, at the service of imperialism, consistently attacks the initiative of dialogue and peace brought forward by the Russian Federation,’ he said. ‘They denaturalized the dignified position taken by Russia and China in the Security Council, which prevented this body from endorsing a coup against the Syrian president.’

On Feb. 4, Russia and China, the two permanent members of the Security Council, vetoed an Arab-European draft resolution which demands al-Assad to step down because they said it was ‘unbalanced.’


Georgia’s Saakashvili: U.S. Visit ‘Strategic Breakthrough’

Civil Georgia
February 13, 2012

Saakashvili Says Results of His U.S. Visit ‘Strategic Breakthrough’

Tbilisi: President Saakashvili said that his recent trip to the U.S. during which he met with President Obama was ‘a strategic breakthrough’ for Georgia as it resulted into prospect of free trade treaty with the U.S. and Washington’s assistance to increase Georgia’s self-defense capabilities.

‘The most important about this visit was that for us it was actually a strategic breakthrough in respect of the U.S. direction and in general in respect of strengthening [Georgia’s] international positions,’ Saakashvili said while meeting lawmakers from his ruling National Movement party on February 13.

‘And the second issue – for the first time in history the U.S. announced about assisting Georgia in its self-defense,’ Saakashvili said again without going into details of what specifically this assistance directed towards increasing Georgia’s ‘self-defense capabilities’ would imply. He said that this process of assistance to Georgia’s ‘self-defense’ would continue for years.

‘These two issues are really a strategic breakthrough for Georgia,’ Saakashvili added.


Afghanistan: Georgian Foreign Ministers Meets With Top NATO Commander

Rustavi 2
February 13, 2012

Foreign Minister held meetings in Afghanistan

Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia Grigol Vashadze paid a working visit to the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, where the foreign ministers of the two countries signed a cooperation agreement. The sides discussed the prospects for intensifying cooperation and agreed to begin to work on the formation of a bilateral economic commission.

Grigol Vashadze has also held a meeting with General John R. Allen, Commander, International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). The sides discussed the ISAF mission details and the issues of further cooperation. General John R. Allen expressed his gratitude towards Georgian peacekeepers and hailed their commitment to the imposition peace and stability in Afghanistan.


Pakistan Summons U.S. Ambassador Over Balochistan Interference

Associated Press of Pakistan
February 14, 2012

Pakistan conveys ‘serious concerns’ to US

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Monday officially conveyed to the United States its serious concern with regard to the hearing held by the US Foreign Affairs Sub-Committee on Oversight and Investigations in relation to Balochistan.

The Foreign Office said in a statement that the US Charge d’ Affairs, Richard Hoagland, was called to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and was officially conveyed the government’s serious concern.

‘This was unacceptable as it amounted to interference in the internal affairs of the country,’ Hoagland was informed…


U.S. Air Forces In Europe Commander Visits Turkish Air Base

U.S. Air Forces in Europe
February 13, 2012

COMUSAFE discusses budget cuts, future plans during visit to Turkey
By Staff Sgt. Kali L. Gradishar
39th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

INCIRLIK AIR BASE, Turkey: Gen. Mark A. Welsh III, U.S. Air Forces in Europe commander, travelled through Turkey visiting service members of the 39th Air Base Wing and the 425th Air Base Squadron, a geographically-separated unit in Izmir, Turkey.

…He…shared his knowledge of recent and upcoming changes at the wing, command, Air Force and Department of Defense levels.

The USAFE commander met with Airmen in various squadrons and toured operations, as well as viewed recent changes to quality-of-life projects on base.

Welsh praised Incirlik as the Air Force’s second largest fuel operation and largest disbursing agency, as an installation with countless mission inspections and for bringing in an abundance of USAFE and Air Force level awards garnered by individuals and units.

The USAFE commander described changes occurring on many levels, to include the new global strategy directing where the Defense Department is heading in the future.

‘If you’re in the U.S. military and you’re assigned to the Pacific, you might leave, but the unit and mission are probably going to stay. The forces we have remaining in the Middle East following our drawdown in Afghanistan will remain in place. In Europe, we will maintain our strategic partnerships,’ he explained. ‘We don’t have closer allies than the ones here.’

In Africa and Latin America, the global strategy indicates we will rely on ‘low footprint, low cost approaches,’ he said.

He also discussed topics affecting the entire Air Force, as well as individual Airmen, including service member and civilian force shaping and deployments.

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