13 December 2018 Military News
- Afghan forces eliminating Taliban field commanders seen obstacle to peace Press TV 13 Dec 2018 -- Afghan forces, backed by US aerial raids, are targeting Taliban field commanders whom they see as a major obstacle to possible peace talks with Kabul and Washington, officials and security sources say.
Defense Policy / Programs
- 421st Fighter Squadron and AMU receive first F-35A AFNS 13 Dec 2018 -- The 421st Fighter Squadron received its first F-35A Lightning II Dec. 12. The squadron is the last of three squadrons in Hill Air Force Base's 388th Fighter Wing to take possession of combat-ready aircraft, bringing the 388th Fighter Wing closer to full strength.
- Media Availability With Deputy Secretary Shanahan and Under Secretary of Defense Griffin at NDIA Hypersonics Senior Executive Series DoD 13 Dec 2018 -- Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick M. Shanahan; Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering Michael D. Griffin
- DOD Scaling Up Effort to Develop Hypersonics AFPS 13 Dec 2018 -- The Defense Department is looking to step up its development of hypersonic weapons – missiles that travel more than five times faster than the speed of sound – DOD leaders said at the National Defense Industrial Association-sponsored "Hypersonics Senior Executive Series" here today.
- Naval Weapons Station Seal Beach Announces Economic Impact Study Results NNS 13 Dec 2018 -- Naval Weapons Station Seal Beach announced the results of a recently completed economic impact and community involvement study December 12.
- Artificial intelligence experts address getting capabilities to warfighters Army News 13 Dec 2018 -- Two Defense Department artificial-intelligence experts testified on Capitol Hill yesterday on DOD's efforts to transform delivery of capabilities enabled by artificial intelligence to the nation's warfighters.
- Navy to Christen Littoral Combat Ship St. Louis DoD 13 Dec 2018 -- The Navy will christen its newest Freedom-variant littoral combat ship, USS St. Louis (LCS 19), during a 10 a.m. CST ceremony Saturday, Dec. 15, in Marinette, Wisconsin.
- Under Secretary of the Navy Strengthens Alliances in Norway NNS 13 Dec 2018 -- Under Secretary of the Navy, Thomas Modly, completed a three-day partnership-building visit to Norway, Dec. 12.
- Stennis CSG and Essex ARG Conduct Integrated Operations in C5F NNS 13 Dec 2018 -- The John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group (CSG) and the Essex Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) commenced integrated operations in the Arabian Sea, Dec. 12.
- US Air Force Nuke Tail Kits Cleared For 2020 Production Sputnik 13 Dec 2018 -- The US Air Force has cleared Boeing to start producing hardware for the B61-12 nuclear gravity bomb, according to a recent announcement.
- 'Wrong Direction': US Navy Struggles with Ship Maintenance, Delays Sputnik 13 Dec 2018 -- The US Navy has lost the equivalent of 17 ships for operational tasking this year due to maintenance backlogs and delays in repair, according to an analysis from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released Wednesday.
- Russia to Closely Monitor Washington's Compliance With INF Treaty - Russian MFA Sputnik 13 Dec 2018 -- The statement comes shortly after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that Washington would suspend its obligations under the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty in 60 days unless Russia "returns to full and verifiable compliance". Moscow, for its part, has consistently denied any violations of the treaty.
- Russian Tu-160 Strategic Bombers Take to the Skies Over the Caribbean Sputnik 13 Dec 2018 -- Two Russian Tu-160 strategic bombers, an An-124 military transport aircraft, and an Il-62 plane arrived in Venezuela on 10 December to conduct interoperability drills with the Venezuelan Air Force this week. The event caused a negative reaction from US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo who slammed the deployment of Russian bombers.
- Russian Law Enforcement Equipment With Advanced ShAK-12 Assault Rifles Underway Sputnik 13 Dec 2018 -- The equipment of the Russian law enforcement with the advanced ShAK-12 assault rifles, which US media call super guns, is underway, Yury Amelin, the representative of the Russian TsKIB SOO small arms design bureau which is part of the Rostec state defence contractor, told Sputnik.
- OAS Expresses 'Greatest Concern' Over Arrival Of Russian Military Planes In Venezuela RFE/RL 13 Dec 2018 -- The Organization of American States (OAS) has expressed the "greatest concern" about the arrival of nuclear-capable Russian aircraft in Venezuela.
- NATO Secretary General and President Poroshenko discuss developments in and around the Sea of Azov NATO 13 Dec 2018 -- NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko met on Thursday (13 December 2018) to discuss developments in and around the Sea of Azov and the Alliance's strong support for Ukraine.
- NATO Pledges Support For Ukraine Over Sea Of Azov Incident RFE/RL 13 Dec 2018 -- NATO has pledged support for Ukraine's navy more than two weeks after Russia seized three of Kyiv's naval ships and arrested 24 sailors in the Kerch Strait that links the Black Sea with the Sea of Azov.
- NATO to Provide Secure Comms Equipment to Kiev Before 2019 – Stoltenberg Sputnik 13 Dec 2018 -- NATO is going to deliver secure communications equipment for the Ukrainian army before the end of this year, the alliance's Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has stated.
- Two-seat J-15 fighter jet boosts carrier capability: experts People's Daily 13 Dec 2018 -- A modified two-seat variant of the J-15 fighter jet was spotted at a Chinese aircraft carrier training base in a recent TV program, suggesting the carrier-based warplane is already being tested and expected to greatly expand the carrier's combat capability with electronic warfare equipment that one pilot cannot manage.
- The Best Defense? Japan's Controversial F-35 Carrier Upgrade Confirmed Sputnik 13 Dec 2018 -- The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force has confirmed long-held suspicions that the JS Izumo, a helicopter carrier, will be retrofitted into a full-on aircraft carrier to accommodate F-35B aircraft, Japanese media report.
- India, Russia Set Up Working Group for Military Co-operation Sputnik 13 Dec 2018 -- During the 18th meeting of the India-Russia Inter-Governmental Commission on Military Technical Cooperation (IRIGC-MTC) held in New Delhi on Thursday, the two countries agreed to set up an additional institutional working group.
- Six factors shaping Iran's missile decision-making calculus IRNA 13 Dec 2018 -- Iranian ex-diplomat and former nuclear negotiator Hossein Mousavian in an article named 6 important factors affecting Iran's missile decision-making calculus.
- FM Zarif tells US to cease 'hypocritical absurdities' about Iran missiles Press TV 13 Dec 2018 -- Iran has lashed out at the US for its "hypocritical" remarks about Tehran, saying the one to blame for regional miseries is Washington and those who buy its lethal weapons.
- Amid military reform, China unlikely to attack Taiwan soon: report CNA 13 Dec 2018 -- China is unlikely to flex its muscles on a large scale in the Taiwan Strait any time soon as its military reform is still in progress, a local think tank said in a report Thursday.
- U.S. Diplomat To Press European, Balkan Allies On 'Russia's Aggression' RFE/RL 13 Dec 2018 -- A senior U.S. diplomat on December 13 held talks with officials in Bratislava and attended the signing of an agreement under which Slovakia is to buy 14 F-16 military jets from Lockheed Martin as it seeks to replace Soviet-era jets.
- Maduro Says Visits by Foreign Military Aircraft to Continue Amid Tu-160 Arrival Sputnik 13 Dec 2018 -- Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has said foreign military aircraft will continue arriving in the South American country over the coming months amid a visit by Russian planes to Venezuela.
- Humvees Shine Headlights On Kosovo's Controversial Vote On Army RFE/RL 13 Dec 2018 -- Kosovo received 24 armored, high-mobility, multipurpose vehicles, or Humvees, this week from the United States.
- 13 December 2018 - Daily Press Briefing by the Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General United Nations 13 Dec 2018
- Conclusion of Yemen Consultations in Sweden US Dept. of State 13 Dec 2018 -- Press Statement
- US Senate Votes to End Backing for Saudi War Effort in Yemen VOA 13 Dec 2018 -- The U.S. Senate on Thursday dealt a historic rebuke to Saudi Arabia, a longtime U.S. ally, passing a resolution to end American support for the kingdom's military intervention in Yemen's civil war and another measure condemning the killing of a dissident Saudi journalist.
- US Senate Votes to End Military Assistance in Yemen War Sputnik 13 Dec 2018 -- S.J. Resolution 54, "a joint resolution to direct the removal of United States Armed Forces from hostilities in the Republic of Yemen that have not been authorized by Congress," passed the US Senate on Thursday afternoon.
- UN Yemen Medicators in Sweden Announce Plans for Reciprocal Withdrawal in Hodeidah SPA 13 Dec 2018 -- Secretary General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres announced that the Yemeni legitimate government and the Houthi rebels reached an agreement on a number of issues during the consultations held in Rimbo, Sweden.
- Yemen Rival Parties Agree to Hand UN Control of Hodeida VOA 13 Dec 2018 -- Talks between Yemen's two opposing sides outside the Swedish capital, Stockholm, ended Thursday with a key agreement to hand control of the key Red Sea port of Hodeida to the United Nations. But delegates failed to agree on reopening Sana'a Airport or resolving economic disputes. They will tentatively attend a fresh round of talks late next month.
- Iran hails 'promising' deal between warring Yemeni sides Press TV 13 Dec 2018 -- Iran has hailed preliminary deals between Yemeni parties as "promising", expressing hope that they would prepare the ground for the next round of talks in order to reach a final agreement.
- UN chief: Yemen's Houthis, ex-govt. agree to ceasefire in Hudaydah Press TV 13 Dec 2018 -- UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says the Yemeni warring parties have reached an agreement on a ceasefire in the Red Sea port city of Hudaydah, as a new round of peace talks aimed at ending nearly four years of a brutal Saudi-led war on its southern neighbor came to a close in Sweden.
- Yemen talks: Truce agreed over key port city of Hudaydah UN News 13 Dec 2018 -- The announcement of a ceasefire between Yemen's warring parties in and around the key port of Hudaydah, was hailed by UN Secretary-General António Guterres on Thursday as a deal which would improve the lives of millions of people.
- US Senate Advances Resolution to Pull Support From Saudi Arabia in Yemen Sputnik 13 Dec 2018 -- The US Senate voted on Wednesday to start debate on a resolution that would end US involvement in the war in Yemen.
- Pentagon: Turkish Unilateral Action in Northeast Syria Would Be 'Unacceptable' Sputnik 13 Dec 2018 -- A Turkish unilateral military operation in northeast Syria if launched would be unacceptable and Ankara should consult with the United States to address the security situation, Defense Department spokesperson Cmdr. Sean Robertson told Sputnik.
- Four million Syrian children have only known war since birth: UNICEF UN News 13 Dec 2018 -- Half of Syria's children, that's four million, have grown up only knowing a life of violence, as the war-battered country enters its eighth year of conflict, the United Nations Childrens Fund (UNICEF) said on Thursday.
- Israel won't succeed if it launches another war on Lebanon, says Hariri Press TV 13 Dec 2018 -- Lebanese Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri says the Tel Aviv regime would not succeed in case it opts to launch a new military aggression against his country.
- New Anti-Russia Sanctions to Complicate Talks on Kerch Strait Crisis - Berlin Sputnik 13 Dec 2018 -- The introduction of additional sanctions against Russia over the recent incident with Ukrainian ships in the Azov Sea will complicate talks on the de-escalation of the situation, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said on Thursday.
- EU Leaders Prolong Economic Sanctions On Russia RFE/RL 13 Dec 2018 -- EU leaders at a summit in Brussels on December 13 said economic sanctions against Russia for its actions in Ukraine will be prolonged for another six months with the official rollover expected next week.
- US House Designates Myanmar Campaign against Rohingya Minority 'Genocide' VOA 13 Dec 2018 -- The U.S. House of Representatives approved a resolution by a vote of 394-1 Thursday, declaring Myanmar's military campaign against the country's Rohingya Muslim minority a genocide.
- Rising insecurity in Central Africa Republic threatens wider region, Security Council told UN News 13 Dec 2018 -- Rising violence in the Central African Republic threatens to spill across the border into neighbouring countries, creating further instability, a senior United Nations official warned on Thursday, urging continued and coordinated regional efforts to bolster peace and security.
- Former Al-Shabab No. 2 Arrested in Somalia VOA 13 Dec 2018 -- The former deputy leader of al-Qaida-linked militant group al-Shabab has been arrested in southern Somalia, sparking clashes between his supporters and pro-government forces that left eight people dead.
- Remarks by National Security Advisor Ambassador John R. Bolton on the The Trump Administration's New Africa Strategy The White House 13 Dec 2018
- Fact Sheet: President Donald J. Trump's Africa Strategy Advances Prosperity, Security, and Stability The White House 13 Dec 2018
- National Security Advisor Unveils Administration's Africa Strategy AFPS 13 Dec 2018 -- National Security Advisor John Bolton today unveiled the Trump administration's Africa strategy designed to counter Chinese influence on the continent and push African nations to show some results from the aid they receive from the United States.
- Sweeping Change to US Policy for Africa Announced VOA 13 Dec 2018 -- The United States is immediately instituting a new policy for Africa that was just approved by President Donald Trump, his national security adviser, John Bolton, announced Thursday.
- US Rethinking Peacekeeping Role in Africa VOA 13 Dec 2018 -- The United States is rethinking its role in U.N. peacekeeping missions across Africa, with White House National Security Adviser John Bolton and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis looking to place U.S. forces and resources elsewhere.
- US to Reorient Trade Deals, Aid to Africa VOA 13 Dec 2018 -- The Trump administration has unveiled a new strategy toward Africa, saying that U.S. interests and priorities must come first in all dealings with the continent.
- Trump's ex-lawyer Cohen sentenced to 3 years in jail People's Daily 13 Dec 2018 -- Michael Cohen, U.S. President Donald Trump's former long-term personal attorney, was sentenced Wednesday to three years in jail after pleading guilty to a series of crimes, including campaign finance violations, tax evasion and lying to Congress.
- I 'never directed Michael Cohen to break the law': Trump Press TV 13 Dec 2018 -- US President Donald Trump says he has "never directed Michael Cohen to break the law" after his longtime attorney was sentenced to three years for campaign finance violations and other crimes.
- Gazprom, Partners Invested Over 6 Bln Euros in Nord Stream-2 - Wintershall CEO Sputnik 13 Dec 2018 -- More than 6 billion euros ($6.8bln) has been invested in the construction of the Nord Stream-2 gas pipeline, Wintershall CEO Mario Meren wrote in an article published on the Danish news portal Altinget.
- Russia Criticizes U.S., EU Calls To Block Nord Stream 2 Pipeline RFE/RL 13 Dec 2018 -- Russia has rejected renewed U.S. and European calls to block the Moscow-backed Nord Stream 2 natural-gas pipeline project under the Baltic Sea.
- Russian National Butina Pleads Guilty To U.S. Charge Of Foreign-Agent Conspiracy RFE/RL 13 Dec 2018 -- A Russian woman has pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiring to act as a foreign agent in a case that the U.S. government said highlighted Moscow's efforts to influence Washington's foreign policy.
- Russian National Butina Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy Against US Sputnik 13 Dec 2018 -- Russian national Maria Butina has pleaded guilty in US court on Thursday to one count of conspiracy against the United States.
- Accused Russian Agent Pleads Guilty to Conspiring Against US VOA 13 Dec 2018 -- A Russian woman pleaded guilty Thursday in Washington to acting as a Kremlin agent to conspire to build ties with the powerful National Rifle Association gun rights group in the U.S. and infiltrate Republican Party circles to pass information back to Moscow.
- Russia Expels Slovak Diplomat In Spy Dispute RFE/RL 13 Dec 2018 -- Russia has declared a Slovak military diplomat persona non grata following Bratislava's expulsion of a Russian diplomat suspected of spying last month.
- Russia expels Slovak diplomat in apparent tit-for-tat move Press TV 13 Dec 2018 -- The Russian Foreign Ministry says it has declared a military attaché in the Slovak Embassy in Moscow as "persona non grata" and ordered the diplomat to leave Russia.
- South Korea Rules Out Visit by North Korean Leader This Year VOA 13 Dec 2018 -- South Korea says a visit by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to Seoul before the end of the year is unlikely.
- Europe: 'Working twenty-four seven' to set up Iran payment channel Press TV 13 Dec 2018 -- Europe is "working twenty-four seven" to launch the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), a payment mechanism aimed at facilitating business with Iran in the face of US sanctions, an official says.
- Pompeo's anti-Iran claims another mockery of UNSC: Zarif Press TV 13 Dec 2018 -- Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif hits out at US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for making another "mockery" of the UN Security Council (UNSC) by taking the podium there to brag about Washington's violation of a resolution adopted by the same council on the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.
- Iran's 20% uranium enrichment option 'no bluff' if JCPOA parties fail to save it Press TV 13 Dec 2018 -- Iran's nuclear chief says the Islamic Republic is not "bluffing" when it says it is ready to resume twenty-percent uranium enrichment in the Fordow nuclear facility in case other parties to the Iran nuclear deal fail to save the 2015 accord.
- China Confirms Detention of Second Canadian VOA 13 Dec 2018 -- China has confirmed that a second Canadian citizen has been detained under suspicion of endangering China's national security, in an apparent retaliation for Canada's arrest of a high-ranking Chinese tech executive.
- Xi reiterates China's adherence to multilateralism, opening-up People's Daily 13 Dec 2018 -- President Xi Jinping reiterated on Wednesday that China will adhere to the path of multilateralism and open its door wider to the world.
- US senators say Saudi Arabia should remove MbS from power Press TV 13 Dec 2018 -- Several senior US senators in Congress have warned Saudi Arabia that Riyadh must change its leadership if it wants to maintain its close ties with Washington, saying Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has become "so toxic."
- Afghanistan finds saffron as antidote to opium production Press TV 13 Dec 2018 -- The Afghan government has increased saffron production by 22 percent this year as part of a plan to create an alternative source of income for farmers dependent on opium poppy cultivation.
- Weakened UK PM in Brussels to seek EU help on Brexit deal Press TV 13 Dec 2018 -- Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May has traveled to Brussels to attend a European Union summit as she desperately seeks privileges from the bloc that could enhance her chances of going through the British parliament with a controversial EU withdrawal agreement.
- Back to Brussels: Britain's May Again Seeks EU Help on Brexit VOA 13 Dec 2018 -- British Prime Minister Theresa May goes back to Brussels on Thursday, seeking concessions in the unpopular agreement to withdraw Britain from the European Union after she survived a no-confidence vote.
- Britain's May Will Step Down Before Next Election VOA 13 Dec 2018 -- British Prime Minister Theresa May has confirmed she will step down before the next election, scheduled for 2022.
- Strasbourg Christmas Market Shooting Suspect Killed, Interior Minister Confirms Sputnik 13 Dec 2018 -- The suspect in Strasbourg Christmas market shooting was killed in a shootout Thursday evening with French police.
- French Police Kill Suspect in Deadly Shooting at Strasbourg Christmas Market VOA 13 Dec 2018 -- French police have shot dead the gunman suspected of killing three people late Tuesday at a Christmas market in Strasbourg, according to multiple media reports.
- China's Chang'e-4 probe enters lunar orbit People's Daily 13 Dec 2018 -- China's Chang'e-4 probe decelerated and entered the lunar orbit Wednesday, completing a vital step on its way to make the first-ever soft landing on the far side of the moon, the China National Space Administration (CNSA) announced.
- European Parliament calls for resumption of cross-strait talks CNA 13 Dec 2018 -- The European Parliament (EP) adopted a resolution Wednesday that includes a provision encouraging the two sides of the Taiwan Strait to resume their dialogue and reiterating the European Union's support for Taiwan's meaningful participation in international organizations.
- Ukraine Church Says Bartholomew To Grant Autocephaly To Kyiv On January 6 RFE/RL 13 Dec 2018 -- The Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople will hand over a Tomos - a decree granting independence, or autocephaly - to the future head of the local Orthodox Church in Ukraine on January 6, Archbishop Yevstratiy, a spokesman for the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate said on December 13.
- Ugandan Opposition Vents Concerns About Repression VOA 13 Dec 2018 -- Heads of Uganda's political parties have gathered to address growing criticism among opponents of longtime President Yoweri Museveni and growing political repression in the country. The roundtable discussion – known as the Inter Party Organization for Dialogue – served as a forum for leaders who are voicing concerns on whether Uganda's 2021 elections will be free and fair.
- Sri Lanka's High Court Declares President's Dissolution of Parliament Unconstitutional VOA 13 Dec 2018 -- Sri Lanka's Supreme Court has ruled that President Maithripala Sirisena's move to dissolve parliament last month was illegal.
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