14 December 2018 Military News
- Afghanistan, China, Pakistan Set to Hold Talks in Kabul VOA 14 Dec 2018 -- Afghanistan is set to host a three-way meeting Saturday with neighbors China and Pakistan to discuss peace as well as economic and counterterrorism cooperation.
- Pakistan PM Says US to Meet With Taliban VOA 14 Dec 2018 -- Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan says the United States is scheduled to meet soon with the Afghan Taliban, and that Islamabad has facilitated the dialogue at Washington's request.
Defense Policy / Programs
- U.S. and Japan strengthen alliance at Yama Sakura 75 Army News 14 Dec 2018 -- Throughout the command post at Camp Higashi-Chitose, Hokkaido, Japan, Soldiers from America's First Corps and the Japan Northern Army discuss ideas and strategies, use interpreters and gestures to navigate the language barrier and learn the nuances in the ways each force operates at Yama Sakura 75, Dec. 10-16, 2018.
- DOD Releases 2019 Basic Allowance for Housing Rates DoD 14 Dec 2018 -- The Department of Defense released the 2019 Basic Allowance for Housing rates today. BAH rates will increase an average of 2.55 percent when the new rates take effect on January 1, 2019. An estimated $21 billion will be paid to approximately one million service members.
- Artificial Intelligence Can Free Imagery Analysts to Focus More on the Unknown AFPS 14 Dec 2018 -- Analysts at the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency may spend as much as half their time poring over satellite imagery of activities they're already familiar with, taking place in locations where everybody is already looking.
- VX-1 Pilots Complete First E-2D Aerial Refueling Training NNS 14 Dec 2018 -- Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 1's E-2D Hawkeye Operation Test Team completed aerial refueling (AR) training on Dec. 3, to become the first fleet aviators to be AR qualified on the E-2D.
- Maiden Voyage Complete, Michael Monsoor Arrives Home NNS 14 Dec 2018 -- The future USS Michael Monsoor (DDG 1001) arrived at its homeport of San Diego Dec. 7, successfully completing her sail around from Bath Iron Works (BIW) in Bath, Maine to California, the home state of her namesake – Medal of Honor recipient, Master-at-Arms 2nd Class Michael A. Monsoor.
- Michigan, Virgin Island National Guard conducts Emergency Deployment Readiness Exercise Army News 14 Dec 2018 -- "When the Weather Channel becomes our favorite channel on TV, it comforts us to know it is now also the favorite channel of the Michigan National Guard, who has shown a commitment for assistance when the next big storm threatens our islands," said Brig. Gen. Deborah Howell, Virgin Islands National Guard Adjutant General.
- Joint Task Force Civil Support is prepared for any CBRN disaster Army News 14 Dec 2018 -- Task forces can be formed at the time of a crisis, but a unit in Newport News, Va., Joint Task Force Civil Support (JTF-CS), works 365 days a year with people on call 24/7 for the past 19 years.
- Officials Detail Progress on Security Clearance Investigations, Transfer to DOD AFPS 14 Dec 2018 -- Defense Department and Office of Personnel Management officials continue to make progress on the security clearance backlog even as they move forward with merging the National Background Investigations Bureau into DOD.
- Deputy Secretary General thanks Albania for contributions to NATO NATO 14 Dec 2018 -- Deputy Secretary General Rose Gottemoeller visited Tirana on Friday (14 December 2018), thanking Prime Minister Edi Rama for Albania's valuable contributions to NATO. In a press point with Defence Minister Olta Xhaçka, Ms. Gottemoeller praised Albania's contributions in Kosovo and Afghanistan, as well as in NATO's multinational battlegroup in Latvia. She stressed that NATO is committed to Albania's security, including with plans for a fifty-million Euro investment at Kuçovë Air Base. While in Tirana, Ms. Gottemoeller also met with Foreign Minister Ditmir Bushati and other senior officials.
- NATO Troops in Kosovo Conduct Military Drills on Its Roads Sputnik 14 Dec 2018 -- NATO forces have been present in Kosovo since 1999 as a part of an operation to put an end to the conflict between Kosovo Albanians and the Federal Yugoslav Army and police. Following the end of the NATO campaign, some of the alliance's forces remained in Kosovo after it emerged as a partially recognised state.
- Statement by the NATO Secretary General on the adoption of the laws on the transition of the Kosovo Security Force NATO 14 Dec 2018
- Lawmakers In Kosovo Approve Creation Of Army, Inflaming Tensions With Serbia RFE/RL 14 Dec 2018 -- Lawmakers in Kosovo have passed legislation to build a full-fledged army, a move that has inflamed tensions with its former wartime foe Serbia.
- Moscow Condemns Creation of Kosovo Army as 'Gross Violation of UN Resolution' Sputnik 14 Dec 2018 -- The formation of the Kosovo army is fraught with the recurrence of an armed conflict in the region, the decision grossly violates the UN Security Council's resolution and aims to aggravate the situation in the Balkans, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement Friday.
- Kosovo Votes to Form Army, Angering Serbia VOA 14 Dec 2018 -- Kosovo's parliament has voted to convert and expand its lightly armed security force into a standing army, a move backed by the United States but opposed by neighboring Serbia.
- Kosovo's Future Army to Be NATO Ally - Leader Thaci Sputnik 14 Dec 2018 -- The leader of the self-proclaimed republic of Kosovo, Hashim Thaci, said that the national army of Kosovo, planned to be created, will become an active partner and a committed ally of NATO.
- Serbian Envoy Slams Kosovo's Army Creation: Blow to Stability of Entire Balkans Sputnik 14 Dec 2018 -- Kosovo's decision to create a national army is politically absurd and dangerously undermines stability and security of Serbia and the entire Balkan region, Serbian Ambassador to Russia Slavenko Terzic told Sputnik.
- Kosovo Parliament Votes to Create Its Own Army, Angers Serbia - Reports Sputnik 14 Dec 2018 -- The authorities of the self-proclaimed republic decided in October to change the mandate of the Kosovo Security Force (KSF) and transform it into a national army, despite criticism from NATO.
- Russian Military Satellite Meridian to Be Launched in Early 2019 - Source Sputnik 14 Dec 2018 -- Russian military satellite Meridian will be launched from Plesetsk Cosmodrome in the first quarter of 2019, a source in the aerospace industry told Sputnik.
- Russian Tu-160 Strategic Bombers Left Venezuela on Friday - Venezuelan Army Sputnik 14 Dec 2018 -- Russian Tu-160 strategic bombers left Venezuela earlier on Friday, the Venezuelan army said in a statement.
- Russia ready to discuss mutual arms inspections with US to save INF pact Press TV 14 Dec 2018 -- Russia's Foreign Ministry has reportedly expressed Moscow's readiness to discuss mutual inspections with Washington in a bid to save the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) amid US threats to withdraw from the pact.
- Russia Will be Bound by No Obligations If US Quits INF Treaty - Moscow Sputnik 14 Dec 2018 -- Previously, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that Washington would suspend participation in the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty if Russia "didn't return to full compliance". Moscow, for its part, has denied claims regarding violations of the treaty, adding that the US was creating a pretext to withdraw from the accord.
- South Korea, US Fail to Agree on Sharing Costs for USFK's Stationing – Reports Sputnik 14 Dec 2018 -- Seoul and Washington failed to agree on the amount of South Korea's financial contributions for the stationing of the US Forces Korea (USFK) in South Korea, the Yonhap news agency reported, citing a government official.
- Japanese Gov't Starts Reclamation Work for US Base Sparking Protests in Okinawa Sputnik 14 Dec 2018 -- The Japanese government launched the landfill work aimed at relocating the US Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in the southern Japanese prefecture of Okinawa on Friday, sparking protests by local residents and strong opposition of Okinawa's authorities who have long fought it.
- Russia, India reach 'unprecedented' military agreements Press TV 14 Dec 2018 -- Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu has held "intensive discussions" with his Indian counterpart in New Delhi, where they reached an "unprecedented" level of military and technical cooperation, despite increasing pressure from the United States.
- India Gets First Private UAV Production Facility with Israeli Support Sputnik 14 Dec 2018 -- The 20-acre facility will start operations with the manufacturing of complete carbon composite aerostructures for the Hermes 900 UAV, followed by the Hermes 450 UAV, catering to the global markets.
- Indian Parliament's Lower House Adjourns Over Rafale Deal Verdict Uproar Sputnik 14 Dec 2018 -- The Indian Parliament's lower house, also called Lok Sabha, has been adjourned until December 17 after there was an uproar in the House over the Supreme Court's verdict in favour of the government on the Rafale fighter jets deal.
- Relief for Indian Gov't as Supreme Court Refuses to Order Probe in Rafale Deal Sputnik 14 Dec 2018 -- India's major opposition party the Indian National Congress had alleged there was a major scam in the procurement of 36 Rafale fighter jets from France in 2016 under a government to government deal by the Narendra Modi government.
- First upgraded PzH2000 howitzers delivered to the Artillery Battalion Ministry of National Defense Republic of Lithuania 14 Dec 2018 -- On December 14 first two upgraded heavy self-propelled artillery systems, PzH2000 (Panzerhaubitze 2000) howitzers bought from the German Armed Forces were delivered to the Lithuanian Armed Forces General Romualdas Giedraitis Artillery Battalion.
- Range of Iran's Sayyad-3 missiles to increase IRNA 14 Dec 2018 -- Deputy Commander of Khatam al-Anbiya Central Headquarters has announced that the range of Sayyad-3 air defense missiles will be enhanced.
- Maduro Orders Military to Be Combat Ready for Defeating 'Imperialistic Plots' Sputnik 14 Dec 2018 -- Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said he had instructed the Armed Forces to maintain the highest level of combat readiness to defeat "imperialistic plots."
- US asks Saudi, UAE to pay $331mn more for Yemen War aerial refueling Press TV 14 Dec 2018 -- Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates should pay the US military $331 million more for the aerial refueling they received during the Yemen war, the Pentagon has said, citing an "accounting error."
- Bulgarian Leader Favors U.S. Jets To Replace MiGs RFE/RL 14 Dec 2018 -- Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov says U.S. F-16 fighter jets are the best choice to replace the Balkan NATO member's aging fleet of Soviet-designed MiG-29s.
- DoD News: Contracts for December 14, 2018
- US Navy Contractors Massively Targeted by Chinese Hackers - Report Sputnik 14 Dec 2018 -- Neither the US Navy, nor Chinese officials, has commented on the report yet, but Washington has earlier accused Beijing on multiple occasions of using its hackers for corporate espionage against American companies.
- 14 December 2018 - Daily Press Briefing by the Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General United Nations 14 Dec 2018
- UN to Begin Work on Monitoring for Yemeni Port Truce VOA 14 Dec 2018 -- The U.N. Security Council voiced its support Friday for progress made at intra-Yemeni talks this week in Sweden, with the council set to work on a resolution endorsing a deal for a cease-fire around the port city of Hodeida.
- Iran welcomes initial agreements among Yemenis IRNA 14 Dec 2018 -- Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi said on Friday that Iran welcomes the initial agreements among the Yemenis under UN secretary general, describing the confidence-building positive steps and initial agreements as promising.
- Hudaydah residents receive first aid packages since recent truce deal Press TV 14 Dec 2018 -- Residents of the besieged port city of Hudaydah have received their first aid packages since a truce deal was signed between opposing factions to halt hostilities in the city.
- Truce agreement victory for Yemeni nation: Abdulsalam Press TV 14 Dec 2018 -- Yemen's Houthi movement says a ceasefire agreed between the warring sides in Yemen is a victory for the war-torn country as it will stop Saudi attacks on the strategic city of Hudaydah.
- Security Council welcomes Yemen breakthrough, but lasting peace remains a 'daunting task' UN News 14 Dec 2018 -- Senior UN officials briefed the Security Council on the details of a UN-brokered ceasefire in Yemen on Friday in and around the key port city of Hudaydah, which is expected to restore a humanitarian lifeline to millions across the country, and kickstart imports of commercial goods.
- Yemen ceasefire deal: 'Potential' now to restore humanitarian lifeline to millions UN News 14 Dec 2018 -- The freshly agreed Yemen ceasefire deal covering the key Red Sea governorates of Hudaydah and Taiz has been welcomed by the World Food Programme (WFP), which on Friday expressed hope that it would improve access for humanitarians and, just as crucially, commercial shipping.
- US-coalition attack on Syria kills 57 in November IRNA 14 Dec 2018 -- The UN Secretary General António Guterres has announced that the US coalition attacks on Deir ez-Zor, eastern Syria, killed 57 civilians in November.
- US-backed Kurdish militants slam Turkish threats as 'declaration of war' Press TV 14 Dec 2018 -- The so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a US-backed coalition of mainly Kurdish militants that maintains a grip on northeastern Syria, together with its component, the People's Protection Units (YPG), have censured Turkish threats of a new operation in the crisis-hit Arab country as a "declaration of war", calling on world powers to stop the assault.
- Turkish forces to enter Syria's Manbij if US-backed YPG remains there: Erdogan Press TV 14 Dec 2018 -- Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan says Ankara will send its forces to the Syrian town of Manbij if the United States does not remove the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) militia from the area.
- Assad says Syria reconstruction to cost $400bn Press TV 14 Dec 2018 -- Syria's President Bashar al-Assad predicts that Syria's reconstruction will cost between $250 billion and $400 billion, Russia's Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov has said after meeting with the Syrian head of state.
- US-backed Fighters Battle IS in Last Syrian Stronghold VOA 14 Dec 2018 -- Fierce fighting is ongoing in eastern Syria as U.S.-backed Syrian fighters are trying to advance against the Islamic State (IS) terror group in its last major stronghold in the country.
- UN urges Congo to halt violence before long-delayed election Press TV 14 Dec 2018 -- United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet has urged the Congolese authorities to halt violence after the government said it was stepping up security for the long-delayed presidential elections scheduled for December 23.
- Peacekeeping chief honours Tanzanian troops in Zanzibar, a year on from deadly DR Congo attacks UN News 14 Dec 2018 -- A year on from the brutal killings of 15 United Nations peacekeepers from Tanzania in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the head of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) paid a visit to some of the victims' families on Friday, to honour the memory of the soldiers who died in what was the biggest single loss of 'blue helmets' in recent history.
- DR Congo elections: 'Excessive use of force' in campaign must be avoided, says Bachelet UN News 14 Dec 2018 -- Deadly pre-election violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) sparked by police reportedly firing live ammunition at opposition supporters, has been condemned by the UN's top rights official, Michelle Bachelet.
- UN Rights Chief Calls for End to Pre-Election Violence in DR Congo VOA 14 Dec 2018 -- The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, has condemned the latest eruption of violence against opposition rallies in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
- Australia Recognizes West Jerusalem as Israel's Capital VOA 14 Dec 2018 -- Australia will recognize West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel but will not immediately move its embassy from Tel Aviv. Prime Minister Scott Morrison will also acknowledge the aspirations of Palestinians for a future state with its capital in East Jerusalem.
- Israel steps up raids on West Bank after troops killed Press TV 14 Dec 2018 -- Israel has ramped up its raids across the occupied West Bank after two soldiers were killed near Ramallah, arresting dozens of Palestinians during a crackdown overnight.
- Six soldiers killed in militant attack on paramilitary convoy in Pakistan Press TV 14 Dec 2018 -- Six Pakistani soldiers have been killed when a paramilitary convoy came under attack by gunmen in Pakistan's southwestern province of Balochistan.
- US Sanctions 3 Accused of Fueling S. Sudan Conflict VOA 14 Dec 2018 -- The U.S. Treasury Department has imposed sanctions on three individuals it accuses of "expanding or extending" the conflict in South Sudan.
- The United States Sanctions Three Individuals for Threatening Peace in South Sudan US Dept. of State 14 Dec 2018 -- Today, the United States imposed sanctions on three individuals for their roles in the conflict in South Sudan. Israel Ziv and Obac William Olawo were designated by the Department of Treasury's Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) for being leaders of entities whose actions expanded or extend the conflict in South Sudan.
- Treasury Sanctions Three Individuals for Their Roles in the Conflict in South Sudan US Treasury 14 Dec 2018 -- Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) imposed sanctions on three individuals pursuant to Executive Order (E.O) 13664: Israel Ziv and Obac William Olawo, for being leaders of entities whose actions have the purpose or effect of expanding or extending the conflict in South Sudan, and Gregory Vasili, for actions that have undermined peace, stability, and security in South Sudan.
- UN investigates systematic sexual violence across South Sudan UN News 14 Dec 2018 -- Widespread and systematic sexual violence across South Sudan, just a few months after the country's top two politicians signed a renewed commitment to peace, was at the top of the UN Commission on Human Rights in the country's agenda on Friday, as members ended their first fact-finding mission.
- New Africa Strategy Pits US Against China, Russia VOA 14 Dec 2018 -- The United States unveiled a new Africa strategy Thursday designed to prioritize American interests and challenge efforts by China and Russia to develop economic, political and security partnerships across the continent.
- US plans to counter China, Russia influence in Africa: Bolton Press TV 14 Dec 2018 -- US National Security Adviser John Bolton says the United States plans to counter the rapidly expanding political and economic influence of China and Russia in Africa.
- U.S. Sets New Africa Strategy, Condemns 'Predatory' Practices Of Russia, China RFE/RL 14 Dec 2018 -- The United States has denounced the "predatory" practices of Russia and China in Africa as it unveiled a refocus of its strategy that will include an end to "indiscriminate assistance across the entire continent."
- Former Trump Attorney: President Untruthful About Russia VOA 14 Dec 2018 -- U.S. President Donald Trump's former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, said Friday he believes the president is not telling the truth about his campaign's involvement with Russia.
- Bipartisan U.S. Senate Resolutions Rebuke Trump Policy On Saudi Arabia, Yemen RFE/RL 14 Dec 2018 -- The U.S. Senate has backed a resolution to end American military assistance for Saudi Arabia's war in Yemen and separately pinned blame for the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi directly on Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman.
- Kremlin Says Allegations Against Accused Russian Agent Butina Groundless RFE/RL 14 Dec 2018 -- The Kremlin says that allegations against Maria Butina, a Russian woman accused of acting as an agent of Russia's government in the United States, are "groundless."
- Russia: Allegations Against Butina Are 'Unfounded' VOA 14 Dec 2018 -- The Kremlin said Friday that the allegations against the Russian woman who pleaded guilty in a U.S. court to being a spy are "unfounded."
- Kasparov: Russia Increasingly Losing Its Standing On World Stage RFE/RL 14 Dec 2018 -- A prominent Kremlin critic says Russia has been rapidly losing its standing on the world stage due to President Vladimir Putin's "aggressive" policies.
- House Condemns Iran's Persecution of Baha'i Minority VOA 14 Dec 2018 -- The U.S. Baha'i community has welcomed a resolution by the U.S. House of Representatives condemning Iran for "state-sponsored persecution" of minority Baha'is in the Islamic Republic.
- UN agencies launch emergency plan for millions of Venezuelan refugees and migrants UN News 14 Dec 2018 -- A new plan to cover the urgent needs of millions of Venezuelan refugees and migrants, coordinated by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM), was launched in Geneva on Friday.
- Preparing Africa for ravages of climate change 'cannot be an afterthought' – COP24 UN News 14 Dec 2018 -- Africa is at a "tipping point" as global warming increases, and urgent action needs to be taken across the continent now, to mitigate risks and safeguard a decade of social and economic gains, according to a new report launched on Thursday by the United Nations Development Agency (UNDP) at the COP24 climate conference, in Katowice, Poland.
- Six keywords representing China's diplomacy in 2018: Chinese FM People's Daily 14 Dec 2018 -- China's diplomacy achieved new progress this year and can be summarized using six keywords and phrases, including openness, cooperation and steady progress amongst others, said Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi Tuesday, Xinhua News Agency reported.
- Steady growth to continue in 2019 People's Daily 14 Dec 2018 -- China will keep its major economic indicators within a reasonable range next year, continue to speed up reform in the economic system and push forward all-around opening-up, according to a meeting of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee on Thursday.
- China Denies Arrest of Two Canadians Is Tied to Meng Case VOA 14 Dec 2018 -- China is defending its arrest of two Canadian citizens and denying there is any link with Canada's recent detention and release on bail of a Chinese tech executive.
- Saudi crown prince considering 'game-changing' handshake with Israeli PM: Report Press TV 14 Dec 2018 -- Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is seriously considering a summit meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, with US President Donald Trump playing host, a report says.
- Pompeo: US to Hold Saudi Journalist's Killers Accountable VOA 14 Dec 2018 -- U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Friday that he had noted the historic rebuke of longtime ally Saudi Arabia by U.S. lawmakers.
- Lukashenka Says Belarus Will Never Be Part Of Russia RFE/RL 14 Dec 2018 -- Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka says his country will never be part of the Russian Federation.
- Criminal Syndicates, Terrorist Groups Increasingly Converge in Africa - INTERPOL Sputnik 14 Dec 2018 -- Transnational criminal syndicates and terrorist groups in Africa are growing more integrated and interconnected, the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) said in a press release on Friday.
- In France, Manhunt Continues for Other Potential Suspects VOA 14 Dec 2018 -- A day after killing the alleged assailant in a bloody Christmas market shooting in eastern France, police are searching for other potential suspects. The Islamic State group, without providing evidence, claimed responsibility for Tuesday's attack that killed at least three people, wounded more than a dozen others and left a country on edge.
- Strasbourg attack suspect killed after gun battle with police: French officials Press TV 14 Dec 2018 -- Suspected gunman Cherif Chekatt has been killed in a brief gun battle with the police after killing three people in a Christmas market attack in the French city of Strasbourg. He had evaded arrest for 48 hours.
- Western Officials Discuss Hezbollah's Latin Efforts VOA 14 Dec 2018 -- A U.S.-led Western Hemisphere ministerial on counterterrorism this week discussed Hezbollah's activities in Latin America, with some analysts suggesting member countries are stepping up efforts to prevent the Lebanese militant group from funneling funds from the region to make up for the money lost from close ally Iran because of U.S. sanctions.
- NASA Successfully Tests Orion Launch Abort System Sputnik 14 Dec 2018 -- The Orion spacecraft completed a successful cold weather ground test of a launch abort system, aerospace giant Northrop Grumman said in a press release.
- Spurned in Brussels, May Faces Talk of Cabinet Mutiny in London VOA 14 Dec 2018 -- British Prime Minister Theresa May was firmly rebuffed Friday by European leaders, who rejected her bid to reopen negotiations on Britain's deal to leave the European Union. They held out little hope of offering any legal assurances that would help her sell a contentious withdrawal agreement to an unenthusiastic House of Commons.
- Russian Orthodox Church Asks UN, Western Leaders For Help In Ukraine RFE/RL 14 Dec 2018 -- The Russian Orthodox Church has called on international leaders to "protect" its followers in Ukraine in the face of what it called official pressure on Moscow-appointed clerics.
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