What Antiballistic System?


As North Korea claims missile progress, Pentagon plans ICBM interceptor test
As North Korea makes headway in developing a nuclear-armed missile capable of reaching the US mainland, the Pentagon is preparing to test its missile interceptor – which has a very inconsistent record, APA reports quoting Sputnik.
First developed during the Cold War as part of former US President Ronald Reagan’s multi-billion dollar “Star Wars” effort to counter Soviet ballistic missiles, the US missile interceptor has only had nine successful tests among the 17 conducted since 1999.
After a recent successful missile test, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said the US mainland was in “sighting range for a strike,” and claimed that they have missiles capable of carrying a large nuclear warhead, though this has not been verified.
Earlier this week, US Defense Intelligence Agency Director Lt. Gen. Vincent Stewart warned a Senate hearing that if Pyongyang’s activities aren’t reined in, “the regime will ultimately succeed in fielding a nuclear-armed missile capable of threatening the United States homeland,” calling such an event “inevitable” if action isn’t taken.
Though the Pentagon has a number of missile defense systems, only one of them, the Ground-based Midcourse Defense system, is designed to counter a North Korean intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). This system is also the least reliable, according to critics.
The Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency has scheduled the test for Tuesday, when a target will be launched from the Kwajalein Atoll test range in the Pacific. The intention is that the missile will be met by an interceptor launched from an underground chamber at California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base.
Missile Defense Agency spokesman Christopher Johnson explained that the target will be custom made to resemble an ICBM, meaning it will travel at a quicker pace than test missiles used in the past.
“We conduct increasingly complex test scenarios as the program matures and advances,” Johnson said on Friday. “Testing against an ICBM-type threat is the next step in that process.”
There has been much saber rattling between Washington and Pyongyang, with the two countries trading barbs and shows of force. North Korea refuses to halt its nuclear weapons and missile testing despite international calls for denuclearization and sanctions from the United Nations.
The US has riled Pyongyang by sending a Navy carrier strike group led by the USS Carl Vinson along with the USS Michigan, a Tomahawk missile-armed nuclear powered submarine, near its waters.

This Is Our Nuclear Defense? (Ezekiel 17)

Air Force withheld nuclear mishap from Pentagon review team

460x
FILE – This June 24, 2014, file photo, shows a patch is seen on the commander’s chair

The Air Force on Friday gave The Associated Press the first substantive description of the accident after being questioned about it by the AP for more than a year.
The accident happened May 17, 2014, at an underground launch silo containing a Minuteman 3 intercontinental ballistic missile, or ICBM. The silo, designated Juliet-07, is situated among wheat fields and wind turbines about 9 miles west of Peetz, Colorado. It is controlled by launch officers of the 320th Missile Squadron and administered by the 90th Missile Wing at F.E. Warren Air Force Base at Cheyenne, Wyoming.
The Air Force said that while three airmen were troubleshooting the missile, a “mishap” occurred, causing $1.8 million in damage to the missile. The service declined to explain the nature of the mishap, such as whether it caused physical damage, saying the information is too sensitive to be made public.
The three airmen were immediately stripped of their certification to perform nuclear weapons duty. The missile was taken offline and removed from its silo. No one was injured and the Air Force said the accident posed no risk to public safety.
At the time of the accident, a group of nuclear weapons experts was nearing the end of a three-month independent review of the entire U.S. nuclear force, an examination prompted in part by a series of AP stories on troubles within the force. The experts were operating on orders from then-Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, who asked them to begin their review in March. They reported their results to him June 2.
The AP asked Lt. Col. John Sheets, spokesman for the Air Force Global Strike Command, which is responsible for the ICBM force, whether the May 17 accident had been reported to the Hagel-appointed review group. The experts were looking at a range of issues, including shortcomings in training, equipment, morale and leadership.
“No. The accident was going through the investigative process when” the review teams made their visits to ICBM bases, Sheets said. Pressed further, he said he could say no more and referred questions about this to the Pentagon, which did not immediately comment.
The Accident Investigation Board did not begin its work until Aug. 25, more than three months after the mishap. A safety investigation was begun sometime earlier. The Air Force denied an AP request for the accident investigation report in 2015 under the Freedom of Information Act.
Hans Kristensen, director of the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists, said Saturday the fact that the Hagel review group was not told about the accident “raises questions about what other accidents and incidents may have been overlooked by that investigation.”
On Friday evening, the AP was given a brief summary of the report. It said the Minuteman 3 missile “became nonoperational” during a diagnostic test on the evening of May 16, 2014. The next morning a “mishap crew” chief, who was not identified, “did not correctly adhere to technical guidance” during troubleshooting efforts, “subsequently damaging the missile.” No further details about the damage or errors were disclosed.
The investigation report summary said there were four contributing factors to the accident, and two were identified. One was the mishap chief’s failure to follow technical guidance. The other was that the mishap chief “lacked the necessary proficiency level” to anticipate the consequences of his actions during the troubleshooting.
In seeming contradiction of that second point, the Air Force said in its separate statement to the AP that the mishap team chief was properly trained for the task he was performing.
Sheets said it is possible that some or all of the three could still face disciplinary action.
The summary said the central cause of the mishap was established by “clear and convincing evidence,” but the Air Force would not disclose the cause or the evidence. It said the cause is cited in the investigation report. The Air Force refused to make that public, saying the report is classified, even though the service’s own policy requires the public release of accident board reports.
The amount of damage to the missile — $1.8 million,according to the Air Force — suggests that the airmen’s errors might have caused physical damage, Kristensen said. If so, he said, it could have been categorized by the Air Force as a “Bent Spear” event, which is an official reporting code word for a significant nuclear weapon incident. The Air Force refused to reveal how it categorized the Juliet-07 accident.
“By keeping the details of the accident secret and providing only vague responses, the Air Force behaves as if it has something to hide and undermines public confidence in the safety of the ICBM mission,” Kristensen said.
Sheets, the Global Strike Command spokesman, said Pentagon leaders were briefed on the results of the accident investigation in December. Members of Congress also were briefed, he said.

The Iraqi Horn and ISIS (Dan 8:5)


Islamic State and the battle for Iraq

Irish Times
Vincent Durac

The jihadists’ advance to Ramadi and its capture of the Syrian city Palmyra runs counter to the narrative of a vulnerable organisation weakened by airstrikes

The seizure of the central Iraqi town of Ramadi by the forces of Islamic State raises crucial questions for the government of Iraq and the international community.

The jihadists’ advance, together with their capture, on Wednesday, of the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra, runs counter to the narrative of an organisation weakened by airstrikes and increasingly vulnerable to a counteroffensive by Iraqi government forces.

The taking of Ramadi in the face of efforts by the Iraqi army and others, including the US, which provided air support, underlines once more the resilience of Islamic State and the incapacity of Iraqi troops to resist or undo its advances in spite of the investment of billions of dollars in arms and training.

The town, which is about 100km from Baghdad, is on a key transit route to the capital from the borders of Syria and Jordan. Its fall follows last year’s capture of Mosul, Iraq’s second-most-important city, and Tikrit, which the government recaptured in late March.

The fall of Ramadi – indeed, the failure of the government in Baghdad to deal with the challenge of Islamic State – reflects the inability of successive governments since the US-led invasion of 2003 to offer Iraq’s Sunni Muslim minority, which makes up more than 30 per cent of the population, a real stake in the future of the country.

Disproportionate power

The 2003 invasion reversed the previous order, in place since the times of British colonial rule, in which the Sunnis were disproportionately powerful in a predominantly Shia Muslim country. The overthrow of Saddam Hussein paved the way for the government of Nouri al-Maliki, a prominent figure in the Shia Islamic Dawa party.

What followed was the marginalisation and disempowerment of the Sunni minority, the harassment and imprisonment of Sunni political leaders, and widespread sectarian violence. Sunni-majority areas, such as Mosul and Ramadi, were neglected by the central government.

This in turn has led some Sunni Iraqis to conclude that, although Islamic State may be little better than the domination and repression of Shia-led governments, it is certainly no worse.

This is not to say that all Sunnis support Islamic State. There is widespread recognition that, in the jihadists’ atrocities against minorities and non-Muslims, Sunnis have suffered more than most. Indeed, most observers have long accepted that the defeat of Islamic State depends on the participation of Sunni forces.


Al-Qaeda in Iraq

Ramadi is the capital of Anbar province, where in 2005 Sunni Arab tribes formed a coalition in opposition to al-Qaeda in Iraq (a precursor to Islamic State), then led by Abu-Musab al-Zarkawi.

After careful negotiations, and with training and finance from the US military, which most Sunnis viewed at the time with almost as much hostility as al-Qaeda, Sunni forces succeeded in repelling al-Qaeda.

But a key difference between then and now was US support for Sunni forces fighting Islamist extremism. By the end of 2007 about 80,000 fighters had taken up arms against al-Qaeda in Iraq.

The situation today is very different. The replacement of the divisive Maliki by Haider al-Abadi has led to a shift in the rhetoric of the Baghdad government and acknowledgment of the need for greater political inclusion.

Nonetheless, although Sunnis do not seem him as sectarian in the way that Maliki was, Abadi is unlikely to embark on the radical restructuring of the Iraqi political system that would bring about the real power-sharing that Sunnis seek.

These concerns are exacerbated by the perception that Abadi is wary of arming Sunni forces that are willing to take on Islamic State.

In Washington DC earlier this month the governor of Nineveh province criticised Baghdad’s failure to provide arms for thousands of Sunni fighters who were anxious to join the long-awaited campaign to liberate the provincial capital, Mosul, from Islamic State control.

In the battle against the jihadists Abadi’s government in Baghdad has preferred to look to Shia militias backed by Iran rather than to seek Sunni support.

Relying on Shia forces is problematic, however, and likely to prove counterproductive.

Nationally, the defeat of Islamic States’ Sunni forces by Shia militias would deepen the sectarian divide that plagues Iraq. Sunnis, including the many who are hostile to the extremism of Islamic State, fear the recurrence of sectarian atrocities carried out in the past by Shia groups fighting on behalf of, but not controlled by, the government in Baghdad.

Regionally, reliance on Iran and Iranian-backed forces to defeat Islamic State will strengthen the reductive narrative of an underlying Shia-Sunni conflict that is being superimposed on conflicts across the Middle East. This is the case most notably in Syria and Yemen. This narrative ignores the local complexities of political life in the region, with the almost inevitable consequences of exacerbating and extending conflicts.

Internationally, the situation in Iraq poses further problems for western nations, especially the United States. Support for the strategy adopted by Baghdad, in which the role of Iran is crucial, seems to be drawing the US into a closer relationship with Tehran, much to the alarm of its long-standing ally Saudi Arabia.

The Saudis see themselves as leading Sunni resistance to the expansion of Shia influence in the region. They are deeply threatened by any rapprochement between Washington and Tehran.

The Saudi regime was alarmed by the United States’ failure, in 2011, to support the Egyptian president, Hosni Mubarak – a crucial ally of Saudi Arabia – or to take a more active role in the initial movement to dislodge the Iran-backed regime of Bashar al-Assad, in Syria. The Saudis now see the possibility of a successful conclusion of nuclear talks between the US and Iran as further proof of weakening US-Saudi ties.

Saudis in Yemen

Some analysts see Saudi Arabia’s direct intervention in the conflict in Yemen as an indication of a key shift in the way it pursues its interests in the region. The Saudi-led assault on the Shia Zaydi Houthi movement, which now controls Sanaa – and which the Saudis see in terms of expanding Iranian influence – signals a Saudi willingness to rely on its own resources.

The Obama administration’s implicit support for Baghdad’s reliance on Tehran to dislodge Islamic State from its Iraqi strongholds deepens the concerns of some in the new regime in Riyadh about the level of dependence on the US. Ray Tayekh of the US-based Council for Foreign Relations speculates that all of this may prompt Saudi Arabia to seek nuclear weapons to protect its interests.

As Iraq continues to unravel, the prospects for regional stability appear to be as elusive as ever.

Wishful Thinking: Curbing Babylon The Great (Dan 7)

nuclear 

New report argues for narrowing role of nuclear weapons in US policies, diplomacy and forces

The United States should minimize the role that nuclear weapons play in its security policy because they add few military options and provide “false hopes” that can be costly geopolitically as well as in human lives, according to a new report from the Stimson Center, a nonpartisan think tank.

The report (pdf) released May 14 recognizes that nuclear weapons are “indispensable” to deter other nations from attacking the U.S. and allies with such weapons, but they offer no other advantage over the conventional military superiority that the U.S. enjoys over every other nation.

The report’s co-authors are Barry Blechman, a national security expert and co-founder of the Washington, D.C.-based think tank, and Russell Rumbaugh, who is a special assistant in the Defense Department.

“These false hopes that nuclear weapons can play a range of political and military roles in U.S. security policy cause the United States to mistakenly pursue a nuclear strategy that is costly – not only in material terms, but also in geopolitical terms,” they write. “In the worst case scenarios, this strategy could be catastrophic in terms of human lives and the nation’s future.”

The authors outline in greater detail why nuclear weapons offer no military or political benefit beyond nuclear deterrence by examining U.S. conventional military superiority and offering an alternative that would serve U.S. interests better.

They write that the U.S. should fashion its diplomacy, nuclear policies and force posture – meaning current force capabilities – around pursuing negotiated arrangements to create a “verifiable international regime eliminating nuclear weapons globally.” The U.S. should also adopt policies declaring the U.S. belief of the “narrow utility” of such weapons and focus its “force structure solely on maintaining a secure, second-strike capability.”

“After seventy years of indulging fantasies of what nuclear weapons can do, it is high time to acknowledge that they do very little and adapt US nuclear policy, strategy, and forces to those facts,” concluded Blechman and Rumbaugh.

The Iranian Sickle Tries To Decapitate Saudi Arabia (Dan 8:3)

IRAN: Khamenei’s secret plans to occupy Sanaa and takeover Yemen

Sunday, 03 May 2015 22:41

NCRI – According to reports that have recently reached the Iranian Resistance, last June, Khamenei ordered the terrorist Qods Force (QF) to speed up the plan for occupation of Sanaa and to control Yemen by the Houthis. This measure followed the escalation of crisis in Iraq and the occupation of large swathes of that country by ISIS and the establishment of an international coalition in this respect. Khamenei had stated that since U.S. is preoccupied with ISIS and Iraq, as well as the nuclear talks, it is prone to overlook the Iranian regime’s intervention in Yemen, the reports said. He stressed that this opportunity may be used by the regime to spread its influence to Yemen and thus overshadow the problems it faces in Iraq.

1. On July 12, 2014, speaking to a group of QF commanders, IRGC Brigadier General Esmail Qa’ani, deputy QF commander, announced a new phase of operations by Ansarullah in Yemen. With this operation, we will place Saudi Arabia in a vulnerable position, he elaborated. These statements that were posted in a classified IRGC bulletin followed a series of military preparations and training of the Houthis in Iran, Yemen and Lebanon.

2. As Ansarullah entered Sanaa, regime’s foreign ministry’s assistant for Arabia and Africa Hossein Abdollahian noted in his remarks to a group of foreign ministry officials: “Soon, we are going to witness victories in Yemen and with the least expenditure, the Islamic republic will reap great achievements in Yemen. The future Yemen will enjoy Iran’s all out support.”

3. Based on sources inside the regime, the National Council of Resistance (NCR) issued a statement on October 12, 2014 disclosing: “Khamenei has emphasized that ‘the Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen axis’ is crucial ‘for the Islamic Republic of Iran and there should be no retreat in this regard’… It is through this ring that ‘we can surround the rest of the Arab countries, especially Saudi Arabia and Jordan,’ and put pressure on countries such as Egypt.”

4. On October 19, 2014, Khamenei’s foreign affairs adviser Ali Akbar Velayati, in his meeting with a group of Houthis in Tehran titled “Yemeni scholars and cultural figures”, noted: “In Yemen, Ansarullah should play the very role that Hezbollah is playing in Lebanon.”

5. In January 2015, following the occupation of the presidential palace in Sanaa, a delegation composed of Houthi leaders visited Tehran and met with the Office of Khamenei and the QF, as well as other organs.

6. Concurrent with these meetings, QF wrote in a classified briefing: “The unified and powerful organization of Ansarullah is Iran’s work. They were in Iran for years. For 15 years, Iran has constantly worked with the Ansarullah movement. They have reached this state through our constant support, training and sustenance and intelligence. Moreover, the QF has supported them through Hezbollah and other Arab groups. Ansarullah is completely under Iran’s command.”

7. Following the initiation of operation “Decisive Storm”, a classified QF document stipulated that it is two years now that the IRGC has transferred all sorts of weaponry to the Houthis in Yemen, including a large number of surface-to-surface and surface-to-sea missiles, and thus they have no problem of shortage of missiles and weaponry (this document is in the possession of the Iranian Resistance).

8. Up until the Arab coalition, injured Houthis were regularly transferred to Iran. Including on March 23, the QF airlifted 52 injured members of Ansarullah to IRGC Baqiyatollah Hospital in Tehran. IRGC General Qa’ani personally paid a visit to them at the hospital.

9. Mahan airliner (affiliated with the IRGC) that was forced to turn back from Sanaa on April 29 was carrying to Yemen a number of Ansarullah commanders who had been in Tehran and Lebanon. This same airliner was to transfer a number of Houthis to Tehran under the pretext that they are wounded. For the purpose, a section of Baqiyatollah Hospital had been cleared of other patients.

10. For many years, Yemen’s file was being followed by the QF, but since last year, Khamenei is directly following this file through the QF. The QF employs other governmental organs for this purpose as well. Houthi representatives in Tehran have regular meetings at Khamenei’s Office and Shabankari is responsible for the Houthis affairs in this office.

11. Since the beginning of operation Decisive Storm, regime’s leaders are constantly meeting at the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) to follow this issue. Saeid Iravani, the political and international assistant of SNSC secretariat, is responsible for coordinating Yemen’s affairs.

12. In this time span, IRGC Major General Qasem Soleimani, QF brutal commander, is following up the war in Yemen from Tehran as QF’s main mission. IRGC Brigadier General Amirian, a Soleimani deputy responsible for the Arabian Peninsula in the QF, is regime’s direct commander in the war in Yemen. He holds the daily staff meetings on this war in Tehran.

13. The QF has also set up a headquarters in Lebanon to intervene in the war in Yemen with cooperation from the Hezbollah. An IRGC classified report reads: “Hassan Nasrallah is wholly behind the war in Yemen and a large section of the work is followed through in Lebanon. He meets with the Houthi commanders and officials in Lebanon… Hassan Nasrallah works with Houthis under Qasem Soleimani’s supervision. They have their headquarters in southern Beirut and QF commanders follow on Yemen through Lebanon.”

14. Once operation “Decisive Storm” began and the routes of sending assistance to Houthis were closed, Tehran continued assisting the Houthis in the following three aspects:

– The presence of some QF commanders on the ground who practically do the planning and direct the Houthis;

– Establishment of essential communication systems so that the Houthis and the IRGC elements in Yemen could be in direct contact with the QF in Tehran to receive guidance;

– Dispatch of further forces and commanders from the Lebanese Hezbollah to help the Ansarullah. Since entry of IRGC elements to Yemen is proving more difficult, regime is dispatching Hezbollah commanders to Yemen through various routes. Some are pulled out of the front in Iraq and transferred to Yemen.

15. Some factions within the regime, especially at the foreign ministry, consider the “Decisive Storm” as a heavy and strategic blow to the regime. A classified report emphasis on several points:

– We just went too far in Yemen. Taking over Sanaa was a good move, but advancing towards Aden was a mistake. When foreign minister of Jordan brought a message of peace from Saudis to Iran and urged Iran not to interfere in Yemen, the QF miscalculated and planned Yemen’s occupation, much like Syria and Iraq.

– This is a strategic defeat in the region… similar to the case in Tikrit, Iraq where forces aligned with Iran were pushed back and U.S. threatened that it would not carry out airstrikes unless the militias are pulled back.

– IRGC cannot takeover all of Yemen with the Houthis. Had the Houthis remained in Sanaa, Saudis wanted to negotiate and we were in a better position. The move to takeover Yemen was a mistake and premature and it led to this confrontation with Iran unprecedented in the past few decades.

– Iran should have played the same way as it did with the Hezbollah in Lebanon. It should have let Mansour Hadi keep Aden. After the end of talks and overture in nuclear discussions, Iran could have gradually advanced in the region… Regrettably, IRGC brothers lack a logical and strategic viewpoint.

– IRGC commanders were surprised as they little expected this situation [the Decisive Storm]…

– Posting of reports and pictures of Haj Qassem [Soleimani] on the internet was a trap for the IRGC and got the region mobilized against Iran; weakening the forces loyal to Iran. Right now, Iran’s years of investment in Lebanon, Yemen, Syria and Iraq has been hurt.

16. Reciprocally, a classified QF report says: “There is no plan for Houthis to retreat. They are to advance. They have good resources of weaponry and missiles and can withstand. They have 180,000 mobilized forces ready to fight. They have 20,000 strong suicidal elements. Thus the Houthis are the winners and Saudi Arabia will be the loser of this play. Most significant is that after 33 years a revolution similar to the Islamic Republic revolution with the leadership of the supreme leader is taking shape in Yemen.”

17. In the current circumstances and at a time when the Houthis are ruling in Sanaa, regime’s policy at the political scene is to stress on a swift ceasefire in order to have the upper hand in the negotiations. According to classified QF reports, “this situation is unsupportable for the Saudis and the more the situation in Yemen deteriorates, it will be to the detriment of Saudis and the coalition forces will step aside; Saudis cannot have hegemony. Therefore, Ansarullah should be patient”.
Another QF report states: “If a car explodes in the capital of one of the countries in the coalition, that country shall drop out of the coalition.” Some sources state that these reports are to boost the moral and give hope to regime’s forces.

18. In a fake muscle-flexing on April 17, Deputy IRGC Commander Salami noted: “Ansarullah can attack the Saudi navy and confront a Saudi ground assault… Ansarullah have missile and armored capabilities and they have artillery. They almost have a powerful army in the region… If Saudi attacks continue, they [Houthis] would certainly respond by attacking Saudi ground forces and enter the Saudi territory. Surely, the Ansarullah will not be hands tied in face of Saudi attacks.”
By stressing on the above points, as well as many other facts and details, the Security and Anti-terrorism Commission of the National Council of Resistance of Iran emphasizes on the fact that as long as this antihuman regime is ruling Iran, it shall not abandon export of terrorism and fundamentalism and warmongering in countries in the region. Therefore, the sole solution to attain peace and tranquility in the region is to evict the Iranian regime and the forces affiliated with it from the region, especially from Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen and ultimately to topple this regime in Iran.

Security and Anti-terrorism Committee of National Council of Resistance of Iran
May 2, 2015

Babylon The Great Preparing For The Fall (Revelation 18)

Russia and China Aren’t Less Committed to Nuclear Force. So Why Are We?

RussiaChinaFlagmod
Michaela Dodge

As Russia and other nations around the world flex their “nuclear muscles,” when it comes to the United States, maintaining a credible nuclear force is certainly a tough task. Challenges include: declining research, development and acquisition budgets; uncertain prospects for modernization, and an American public that lacks a clear understanding of how nuclear weapons contribute to national security.

The U.S. nuclear force has prevented a great power war for seven decades. Yet the commitment to maintain a credible nuclear force appears shaky.

That is certainly not the case in competitor nations such as Russia, China and North Korea. While sanctions and low oil prices have crippled Russia’s economy, the Kremlin is still doggedly spending billions of dollars on modernizing its strategic rocket forces. Washington’s lack of commitment takes a toll on more than investment. It does not go unnoticed by the men and women who man the nation’s nuclear submarines, bombers, and intercontinental ballistic missiles. That only makes executing a nuclear mission more difficult, both practically and morally.

State of Affairs

Imagine being out on the vast prairie of Montana, North Dakota, Wyoming, Colorado or Nebraska in the dead of winter, the blasts of wind making the sub-zero temperatures nearly unbearable. After driving one to three hours to reach your missile alert facility, you go down into the launch control center where the 50-year-old equipment smells the same as it did to your father, who pulled alerts here before you were born. During winter, heavy snow may trap maintenance and missile alert crews in the missile field for days. When they finally get to go home, the smell of old equipment and chemicals lingers on their clothes.

Much the same can be said for the bomber crews who fly the exact same aircraft their fathers flew and their sons or daughters will likely fly.

Recent Analysis

The Heritage Foundation’s newly released “2015 Index of U.S. Military Strength” evaluates the health of the U.S. nuclear complex according to nine categories. In four of those categories—warhead modernization, delivery systems modernization, nuclear weapons complex and nuclear test readiness—the complex was rated as “weak” (the second worst rating possible).
One of the main factors behind these low scores is sequestration. Its “automatic pilot” budget regimen threatens sustained and predictable funding—a major problem for addressing issues within the nuclear complex. It has already forced a delay in plans to replace aging delivery systems. This includes everything from a new bomber and its nuclear certifications, to a replacement for the Ohio-class strategic submarine, to a follow-on intercontinental ballistic missile.
Another major factor contributing to lower scores are the government’s conflicting policies regarding the nuclear complex. We say we care about the nuclear force and the complex that supports it, yet manpower and resources available to execute the nuclear mission have been steadily declining until recently. We say we are in favor of a robust nuclear modernization program, yet proclaim, at the same time, we need to get to a world without nuclear weapons—all while refusing to truly modernize our weapons.

The president’s fiscal year 2016 budget dedicates over $75 million for the ground-based strategic deterrent, better known as the Minuteman replacement. While the current missiles are in fact woefully archaic—they were first deployed in the 1970s—there is no provision for replacing the even older silos and launch control centers from which a new missile would be launched.

On the bright side, the president’s budget accelerates by two years the Long-Range Standoff missile, an essential advancement in American capabilities. This project is particularly vital considering the limited number of available stealth bombers and the angle of attack needed to counter the tunneling efforts of our adversaries, which make targets hard to reach.

The main question, however, is what Congress will do.  At the end of the day, it’s the House and Senate that decide which programs get funded and at what level.

The Index’s low rankings indicate the areas of America’s nuclear force that are in greatest need of investment. And it’s a force that must be sustained. The nuclear mission is critical. Its ultimate purpose is to deter a catastrophic attack on our homeland, our forces abroad, and our allies. While it is true that we require a nuclear force we never hope to launch, it is important to recognize that our nuclear weapons serve to keep the peace every day.

Babylon The Great Expands Her Nuclear Arsenal (Daniel 7:7)

It’s Decision Time for the Air Force’s New Nuclear Cruise Missile
 
LRSO

LRSO
The question is—does the military need it?
by JAMES DREW
The Pentagon calls it the Long-Range Standoff Weapon, or LRSO for short, and it would replace the outdated Air-Launched Cruise Missile your grandfather’s warbird—the 50-year-old B-52 Stratofortress—still carries on bomber runs over the Pacific and Europe to deter a preemptive attack on America and her allies.
The Air Force’s budget request for fiscal year 2016 calls for around $1.8 billion in spending on the missile during the next five years. There will be two versions—one to carry an updated W80 thermonuclear warhead, and another packed with conventional explosives for non-nuclear attacks.

We’re talking about weapons that, if used, means the world is already half way to oblivion—and there’s no turning back.

LRSO will not be some new smart bomb or another bunker-busting munition, but a high-yield nuclear device capable of great destruction from an equally great distance.
The Navy has its own sea-based cruise missile—the Tomahawk. The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty signed by Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev in 1987 explicitly forbids the use of ground-launched cruise missiles.
If Congress approves funding, lawmakers will make a long-term investment in this type of weapon, ensuring its survival well past the 2030s when the United States’ aging ALCM nuclear-armed cruise missile is due to retire.

Arms race

But some in Washington are already calling for the Air Force to terminate—or at least delay—the project. Lawmakers argue the flying branch has not properly justified the missile’s mission objectives, and that it goes against the spirit of the 2010 Nuclear Posture Review.
Others contend that having a conventional and nuclear-tipped cruise missile could increase the chances of strategic miscalculation during times of heightened tensions.
With both conventional and nuclear versions, nobody except the U.S. would know which type of missile any particular bomber has on board. This creates uncertainty—which is dangerous when dealing with potential Armageddon.
The Pentagon argues this program is necessary to keep the U.S. nuclear stockpile modern and capable against potential peer and near-peer adversaries like Russia and China.
Plus, the Air Force argues that it already employs a conventional version of the ALCM, known as the CALCM.
But far fewer politicians have made up their mind about weapons on the fringes, like cruise missiles, which are nice to have but expensive to keep—and not required for the strategic deterrence mission, since most bombers already carry B61 nuclear gravity bombs.
Hans Kristensen, a nuclear weapons expert for the Federation of American Scientists, said the Air Force needs to make a more compelling case for buying the LRSO than simply arming the president with more “strike options,” as the Air Force describes it.
He said other far-reaching weapons like land- and sea-based ballistic missiles, Tomahawks, and even conventional Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missiles already cover the mission area.
“Even if there were a unique mission need that cannot be performed with other capabilities, what would be the mission?” Kristensen said in an email.

“Would it be limited use in regional escalation strategies, would it be to counter-deter Russian air-launched cruise missiles or Chinese cruise missiles, or would it be to shoot holes in air-defense systems?”

“There are some who see the LRSO as an ‘in-between’ weapon that gives the president strike options that escalate from use of nuclear gravity bombs but avoid escalating to use of nuclear ballistic missiles,” he added.
“This is a good old Cold War era tit-for-tat escalation scenario that is not essential against Russia and China and not needed against smaller regional adversaries.
The generals in charge of the U.S. strategic forces, however, argue there is a “capability gap” that only an air-launched cruise missile can fill. The Air Force detailed this gap in a classified review of alternatives submitted to the Pentagon in 2013.
The Office of the Secretary of Defense obviously agreed, since it found space in the latest budget request for LRSO. But the only real argument put forward since the project’s inception in 2011 is that a new air-launched cruise missile could punch through modern integrated air-defense systems, keeping strategic bombers out of harm’s way.
Gen. Stephen Wilson, commander of Air Force Global Strike Command, said during a January event in Washington that he wants to replace the ALCM, which he described as a “terrific weapon system.”
“It was designed in ’70s, built in the ’80s, and was designed to last 10 years,” Wilson said. “Today, we’ll use the current ALCM through 2030 … At some point we have to be able to design a new standoff missile that provides the president with options.”

“I’m going to need a missile that will be able to penetrate any of the most sophisticated air-defense systems going forward,” Wilson added.

U.S. Strategic Command chief Navy Adm. Cecil Haney argues that the nation’s nuclear stockpile is at a critical point and needs upgrades, and that’s why the Pentagon is pressing so hard for LRSO and a new ICBM the Air Force wants funded in 2016.
“I don’t have an option,” the admiral said at a Feb. 6 event in Washington. “It’s not an area that we can wish away—we have to invest in those kinds of capabilities.”

Price tag

If the Air Force gets congressional approval, work on the cruise missile could start almost immediately. Four companies — Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Raytheon—are already involved in technical studies.
In fact, the Air Force planned to begin the project this year, but pushed it back in favor of more spending on a guided tail-kit assembly for the B61 tactical nuclear bomb.
The Air Force wants $37 million in seed money for 2016 to scale up the program and to hold a competition for the first phase of development. The service has solid enough preliminary designs to jump straight into modeling, simulation and early aircraft integration work, according to budget documents.
At the same conference, Air Combat Command chief Gen. Herbert Carlisle said he welcomes the development of a new conventional cruise missile, and has created an office to coordinate those activities with the service’s Global Strike Command.

“I’m often asked whether there will be a conventional variant of that, and I say absolutely,” Wilson said in January.

“Just like we have the CALCM that was a spinoff for the ALCM, we see going forward that there will be a Long-Range Standoff Missile and there will be a conventional variant that will follow to be able to buy it in numbers and reduce the cost,” the general added.
There are more than 1,500 ALCMs and CALCMs in the Air Force’s storehouse. Each B-52 can carry 20 of the weapons—12 under the wings and eight on a rotary dispenser in the bomb bay. The ALCM has a range of 1,500 miles, but is slow and easy to detect.
The Pentagon junked the more stealthy Advanced Cruise Missile in 2012 to comply with the New START Treaty Pres. Barack Obama signed with Russian Pres. Vladimir Putin.
The Air Force is responsible for the cruise missile “delivery vehicle,” but the National Nuclear Security Administration has responsibility for the warhead. According to the agency, the cruise missile will carry a life-extended version of the W80 warhead used on the ALCM and Tomahawk.
NNSA considered the B61 warhead, but it was too heavy. It looked at the W84 from the decommissioned Gryphon ground-launched cruise missile, but there are too few of those, so last year the agency formally decided on the W80.
The first production unit of the updated W80, designated W80–4, will enter service around 2025. The entire project is worth an estimated $10 billion to $20 billion, according to some analysts.

Russians Ready To Start World War 3 (Revelation 16)

World War 3: Russian Bomber Intercepted, Tu-95 Carried Russia’s Nuclear Weapons Claims England

The Inquisitr
World War 3: Russian Bomber Intercepted, Tu-95 Carried Russia's Nuclear Weapons Claims England
Fears of World War 3 continue to rise, and when the RAF fighters scrambled to have a Russian bomber intercepted over the channel it was uncertain whether or not they actually carried Russia’s nuclear weapons. Now the British Ministry of Defense is claiming that Russian nuclear missiles were indeed on board the Tu-95 “Bear” bomber.
 In a related report by the Inquisitr, Vladimir Putin claims Russia will boast military superiority over the United States at least until 2020. The Russian military also recently claimed that Russia’s nuclear weapons were upgraded recently with new technology which supposedly makes U.S. missile defense system useless. Members of the U.S. Congress also claim that Putin has stationed Russian nuclear weapons in Ukraine already, and may even use Crimea for an invasion.

The sight of the two Russian bombers so close to British air space was yet another sign that Cold War 2 was upon us. During the confrontation, Tu-95 bombers and the RAF Typhoons came as close as 1,000 feet away from each other. They were so close that the British pilots could communicate with the Russian bomber with hand signals.

Sources within the British Ministry of Defense claims that one of the two Russian bombers intercepted carried at least one of Russia’s nuclear weapons designed to “seek and find” Trident submarines. Both Prime Minister David Cameron and Defense Secretary Michael Fallon were alerted after cockpit conversations confirmed the Russian bomber’s nuclear payload were intercepted by a Norwegian military listening post.

“We downloaded conversations from the crew of one plane who used a special word which meant the would-be attack was a training exercise,” said a senior RAF source according to Express. “They know that we can pick up their transmissions and it would only be of concern if the often used release weapon order was changed. We also knew from another source that one of the aircraft was carrying a nuclear weapon long before it came anywhere near UK airspace.”

Experts say the belief that the Russian bomber was carrying nuclear weapons is an example that Vladimir Putin is upping his game.

“This continual and increasing probing of NATO airspace by these nuclear bombers and fighter aircraft, tankers and electronic aircraft by Russian is a pattern of increased pressure by Russia designed to remind the West and NATO that they remain a large nuclear power, and a serious military power with reach,” said Justin Bronk of the Royal United Services Institute.

Some experts also claim the RAF is stretched too thin with its current defensive capabilities with threats of World War 3 on their doorstep.

“Putin is making the point that he has nuclear weapons and will carry them wherever he wants and NATO just has to take it,” said Air Cmdre Andrew Lambert, of the U.K. National Defense Association. “We have reduced the number of or Typhoon squadrons to the bare minimum. They have the Quick Reaction Alert commitments, NATO’s Baltic effort, and of course, the Falklands. So we are stretched three ways. We have too few air defense aircraft bearing in mind the commitments we now have.

Fortunately, the Russian bomber was not on a mission to start World War 3, and Vladimir Putin would have been required to give a direct order in order to make the warhead live. The other Russian bomber was apparently acting as a “mothership” during the military exercise.

Read more at http://www.inquisitr.com/1804787/world-war-3-russian-bomber-intercepted-tu-95-carried-russias-nuclear-weapons-claims-england/#Qb0emZWolEvh3gPk.99

Iranian Horn Hegemony In Yemen (Daniel 8:4)

IRAN NEWS – LATEST UPDATES AND BREAKING NEWS FROM IRANا

خبار ايران
Home News Terrorism & Fundamentalism Khamenei’s rep. in Qods Force: Yemeni rebels fight ‘enemies of Islam’
Iran in Yemen
Khamenei’s rep. in Qods Force: Yemeni rebels fight ‘enemies of Islam’

NCRI – Yemeni rebels are “similar to the Lebanese Hezbollah” and “will come into action against the enemies of Islam,” representative of the Iranian regime’s Supreme Leader in terrorist Qods Force of the Revolutionary Guards has declared.

The high ranking cleric representing Ali Khamenei was quoted by an IRGC affiliated website: “Many years ago Hezbollah was established in Lebanon, and the same was done in Iraq and Syria.”

Ali Shirazi added: “Today we are witnessing the formation of Ansar Allah in Yemen. And in the future all these groups will enter the field of fighting all enemies of Islam and Muslims.”

Ansar Allah is often is referred to as the military wing of the Houthi rebels.

This is not the first time that an official of the Iranian regime acknowledges the Iranian regime’s meddling in the affairs of the countries of the region including Yemen through creating proxy forces.

IRGC Brig. Gen. Hossein Salami, Deputy Commander of the Revolutionary Guards, stated in December that groups like Hezbollah are no longer only in Lebanon but today such forces have been formed in Syria and Yemen.

“Until the last few years, we have witnessed only the forces of Hezbollah in Lebanon who could stand up against the West’s bullying; but today, a major force has been formed in Syria and Iraq, as well as the forces of Ansar Allah in Yemen; this shows the potential the Islamic Revolution has to re-take Muslim lands from Western powers,” Hossein Salami said, speaking at a gathering in the city of Ardebil on December 6.

Meanwhile thousands of Yemenis took to the streets of Sanaa on Saturday in the largest demonstration against the Houthi since the Shiite rebels overran the capital in September.

“Down, down with the Houthi rule,” chanted the protesters who rallied following a call by the Rejection Movement – a group recently formed in provincial areas to challenge the Houthis.

Dozens of Houthi supporters tried to stop the demonstration, triggering a brief scuffle, before they left as the numbers of protesters kept increasing, an AFP correspondent reported.

In Sanaa, which Houthis seized during their offensive in September, supporters converged on the capital’s airport road. They raised green flags and banners proclaiming their slogan proclaiming their slogan — “Death to America, death to Israel, a curse on the Jews and victory to Islam” — a variation of a slogan often chanted by Iraqi and Lebanese Hezbollah and other groups affiliated to the Iranian regime.

Babylon’s Military Pundits Push For More Nukes (Daniel 7:7)

Air Force Command Says: “Modernization is a must for the nuclear enterprise”

Air Force Long Range Stealth Nuclear Bomber

Air Force Long Range Stealth Nuclear Bomber

Posted 1/21/2015   Updated 1/21/2015
by Staff Sgt. Torri Ingalsbe
Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs Command Information 

1/21/2015 – WASHINGTON (AFNS) — The Air Force’s priorities for modernization and continuous improvement in the nuclear enterprise were the top of discussion during the Air Force Association’s monthly breakfast Jan. 20 in Arlington, Virginia.

This nuclear deterrent is as relevant and is as needed today as it was in January of 1965,” said Maj. Gen. Garrett Harencak, the Air Force assistant chief of staff for strategic deterrence and nuclear integration. “And it will be, until that happy day comes when we rid the world of nuclear weapons. It will be just as relevant in 2025, ten years from now.”

To remain relevant, Harencak explained the importance of investing in programs to modernize the two legs of the nuclear triad owned by the Air Force, including the long-range strike bomber and the ground-based strategic deterrent.

“It’s not going to be inexpensive, but it’s also not going to be unaffordable,” he said. “It’s something we have to do to protect our nation. In this world, there still is a nuclear threat and our United States Air Force is there to meet it so we can defend our great nation, and our allies.”

The Air Force’s goal is to develop and purchase 80 to 100 LRSB aircraft. This modernization of nuclear-capable bombers will provide safe, secure and effective forces for generations to come, he explained.

“In what world do we send our grandchildren into combat in 80-year-old airplanes?” Harencak asked. “There are a lot of hard decisions we’ve got to make out there, but this isn’t one of them. We want them (our children and grandchildren) to win: 100 to nothing, not 51 to 49. We can afford this, and it’s desperately needed so the United States Air Force continues to be what it always has been – the force that allows alternatives and options for our president to defend America.”

In addition to investment in aircraft, the Air Force is continuously working on increasing morale and mission focus within the intercontinental ballistic missile community, with help and guidance from the Force Improvement Program.

“Our ICBMs have been referred to as America’s ‘ace in the hole,’ for more than 50 years,” Harencak said. “They still are. They are still the ante into this game that is so high that no one out there would ever be perversely incentivized to attempt to become a nuclear competitor with us. They make sure no one out there has any illusions that they could accomplish anything through the threat or use of nuclear weapons.”

To reinvigorate the ICBM community, the Air Force is on track to modernize the Minuteman III weapon system until the ground-based strategic deterrent is underway. Last year marked many changes in the community, and Harencak said the Air Force will continue to make improvements.

“What we’re doing is making sure this is a process of continuous improvement,” he said. “I am 100 percent positive we don’t have it 100 percent right – but that’s okay. We do have the processes and organizations in place to make sure we continually improve and never take our eye off the ball of the needs of Airmen in the nuclear enterprise.”

The bottom line is we must move forward to ensure America’s nuclear triad is still the best in the world, and the general said modernization and recapitalization is the way to go.

“The triad has been proven and tried and true for decades – because it works,” Harencak said. “We need to continue to make the modest investments necessary to make sure we have the absolute best nuclear deterrent going forward.”