Visiting U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis clearly said during talks with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Friday afternoon that the Senkaku Islands in Okinawa Prefecture are within the scope of Article 5 of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty, which obliges the United States to defend Japan, according to a senior government official who attended the meeting.
At the opening of the meeting, Abe said he hopes and is certain the two countries “can demonstrate in our country and abroad that the Japan-U.S. alliance is unshakable.” In response, Mattis said that he intended to make clear during the meeting that Article 5 of the security treaty will be important five years or 10 years from now, just as it was a year ago or five years ago.
Mattis arrived in Tokyo on the day to hold talks with the prime minister, Defense Minister Tomomi Inada and other members of Abe’s Cabinet to exchange views on the security environment in East Asia and to address mutual security concerns. The new U.S. defense chief’s visit to Japan marks the first by a U.S. Cabinet member under the administration of President Donald Trump. The ministerial meeting with Inada is scheduled for Saturday, after which they will hold a joint press conference.
During these talks, the two sides are also expected to confirm that the United States will firmly uphold the “nuclear umbrella” (see below) over Japan in its defense.
During his presidential election campaign last year, Trump was ambiguous about defending the Senkakus and also suggested that if Japan doesn’t contribute its due share to shouldering the burden of stationing U.S. forces in Japan, it would be acceptable for Japan to possess its own nuclear weapons to confront North Korea’s nuclear threat. These remarks caused apprehension on the Japanese side.
“Today, the first American to orbit the Earth, NASA astronaut and Ohio Senator John Glenn, passed away. We mourn this tremendous loss for our nation and the world. As one of NASA’s original Mercury 7 astronauts, Glenn’s riveting flight aboard Friendship 7 on Feb. 20, 1962, united our nation, launched America to the forefront of the space race, and secured for him a unique place in the annals of history.
“While that first orbit was the experience of a lifetime, Glenn, who also had flown combat missions in both World War II and the Korean War as a Marine aviator, continued to serve his country as a four-term Senator from Ohio, as a trusted statesman, and an educator. In 1998, at the age of 77, he became the oldest human to venture into space as a crew member on the Discovery space shuttle — once again advancing our understanding of living and working in space.
“He earned many honors for both his military and public service achievements. In 2012, President Obama awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor the country can bestow, and he also received the Congressional Gold Medal.
“Glenn’s extraordinary courage, intellect, patriotism and humanity were the hallmarks of a life of greatness. His missions have helped make possible everything our space program has since achieved and the human missions to an asteroid and Mars that we are striving toward now.
“With all his accomplishments, he was always focused on the young people of today, who would soon lead the world. ‘The most important thing we can do is inspire young minds and advance the kind of science, math and technology education that will help youngsters take us to the next phase of space travel,’ he said. ‘To me, there is no greater calling … If I can inspire young people to dedicate themselves to the good of mankind, I’ve accomplished something.’ Read the rest of this entry »
The Defense Department has more than 1 million contractors, civilians, and uniformed personnel on its payroll.
Anna Giaritelli reports: A Pentagon-commissioned study in 2015 found the Defense headquarters wasted $125 billion. But upon learning of the study’s results, military leaders ordered the findings never be released to the press or public, according to a report published Monday evening.
In January 2015, the Pentagon learned it could cut $125 billion in administrative costs at the Arlington, Va., facility over the next five years. But Defense leaders chose to keep the report secret in fear lawmakers would cut funding, the Washington Post found.
The Defense Business Board study stated all of these cutbacks could take place without any military employees being terminated. The federal advisory board of corporate executives and consultants recommended that some employees be encouraged into early retirements and their positions be eliminated through attrition, while overcompensated contractors would be cut back. Read the rest of this entry »
General James Mattis. General Mattis retired from the Marine Corps as a full general in 2013, where he served as the eleventh commander of the United States Central Command. He also served as the commander for NATO supreme allied transformation, and as commander of the United States Joint Forces Command. Mattis is an Annenberg Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Hoover Institution.
Years of flat budgets amid an increasing operational tempo has thrown Marine aviation into a readiness crisis, forcing pilots to scrounge museum aircraft for parts simply to keep their aircraft flightworthy. Nevertheless, Marine aviators must prepare for high-intensity warfare against increasingly sophisticated foreign adversaries.
Can the Marine Corps triage aircraft readiness if sequestration continues? How will the Marines integrate next-generation technology as diverse as autonomous vehicles, the revolutionary F-35B Joint Strike Fighter, and a new heavy-lift helicopter into future operational concepts? Read the rest of this entry »
70 years after the atomic bombings, time stands still on the island of Tinian
Mark Schreiber writes:Imagine disembarking on the shore of a remote tropical island. Walking cautiously past swaying palm trees into the heavy undergrowth, you soon encounter what appears to be the fossilized bones of an enormous prehistoric creature. The thick parallel lines might have been ribs, and the long straight stretches its spine or appendages. Naturally you’re moved to wonder how it appeared when alive, how it moved about and what it ate.
For dyed-in-the-wool history buffs or those merely looking for an exotic place off the beaten track to relax, Tinian beckons. It’s an easy trip from Japan. If you take a Delta Airlines flight to Saipan during daylight hours, be sure to request a window seat on the right side of the aircraft. On the plane’s approach to neighboring Saipan, you’ll get a fantastic bird’s-eye view of the “ribs” of that prehistoric creature — the four runways of North Field — which in the waning months of World War II was the largest operational U.S. air base in the world.
Home to barely 3,000 people, the 101-sq.-km island of Tinian is one of three inhabited islands of 14 that make up the U.S. Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas. Over a period of half a century — between 1899 and 1944 — Tinian went from being controlled by Spain to Germany, Japan and finally the U.S., which in July 1944 captured the island in an eight-day campaign that was largely overshadowed by the bigger and bloodier battle on Saipan, located just 9 km to the north.
From the late 1930s, Japan had begun to augment its military presence in the Nampo Shoto (groups of islands south of the main archipelago), sending 1,280 convicts from Yokohama Prison to Tinian to expand Hagoi Field, located at the north end of the island, with a 1,450-meter-long runway.
Once in American hands, teams of U.S. Navy construction battalions (known as “CBs” or “Seabees”) swarmed over the island, eventually moving an estimated 11 million tons of coral to build runways, taxiways, buildings and some 145 km of roads. The former Japanese airstrip was extended for use by the U.S. Air Force’s new long-range B-29 bombers, adding three more 2,440-meter runways.
It was from North Field’s runway, “Able,” that a specially modified B-29 christened Enola Gay, took off in the early hours of Aug. 6, 1945, to drop the first atomic bomb ever used in warfare on the city of Hiroshima.
I’d visited Tinian once before in 2007, but left to my own devices failed to find several of the places I’d wanted to see. This time I had much better luck, thanks to an introduction to the island’s resident historian, Don Farrell.
Farrell, who’s married to a native of Tinian, has taken up the story of his new home with gusto. In addition to publishing an illustrated guidebook for visitors in 2012 titled “Tinian: A Brief History,” he’s currently nearing completion of his magnum opus, a detailed history of the atomic bomb project that promises to shed new light on Tinian’s role in the war.
Arriving at the lobby of the Tinian Dynasty Hotel and Casino clad in sandals, Bermuda shorts, aloha shirt and a baseball cap, Farrell appears like a modern-day Robinson Crusoe — if Crusoe had driven a Mazda pickup truck.
“What would you like to see?” he asks me while delivering a firm handshake.
“What do you say we retrace the actual route the bomb parts took from their arrival on the island?” I suggest.
After stopping for bottled water and gasoline, we head north. Our first destination is Tinian’s small port, where the heavy cruiser USS Indianapolis, on a top-secret mission, delivered the housing and key components of the uranium bomb on July 26, 1945. (Four days later a Japanese submarine would sink the ship east of the Philippines, with great loss of life.)
No ships, or people, are in port and there’s little left to see. We turn around and head northward on a bumpy, but still negotiable, road marked “8th Avenue.” (The roads in Tinian, named after streets in Manhattan, also include Broadway, Columbus Avenue and Riverside Drive.)
On our way north, we deviate up an overgrown hillside leading to the ruins of the Rasso Jinja, a Shinto shrine at the top of Mount Lasso, which at 171 meters marks the highest point on Tinian. Little remains of the shrine or the B-29 homing tower that stood close by. What can be seen is the concrete foundation of the old U.S. Army hospital. Read the rest of this entry »
White House Lets Guard Down, Accidentally Agrees to Fly U.S. Flag at Half-Mast to Honor Marines Killed in Tennesee ShootingPosted: July 21, 2015
Breaking news from CNN’s Jake Tapper: President Obama has ordered all flags to be flown at half-staff to honor the four Marines and one Sailor killed in the recent systemic assassinations in Chattanooga, Tenn.
— The Lead CNN (@TheLeadCNN) July 21, 2015
The news came just a few hours after Tapper fact-checked Donald Trump’s email blast to the media noting that Trump had ordered all flags at Trump properties around the country to be flown at “half-mast.” So, just to be sure: even Donald Trump ordered flags lowered before President Obama did?
Most military personnel, except for those on field maneuvers or MPs, are not allowed to be armed on base.
Mike Glenn writes: On Friday, Defense Secretary Ash Carter approved what the Pentagon referred to as “immediate force protection steps” in the wake of Thursday’s mass shootings in Chattanooga, Tenn. that left four U.S. Marines dead and a Navy Sailor wounded. A press release from the Defense Department did not elaborate on the measures.
One of the shootings was at a local recruiting station. I’ve heard some people say these offices – where young people usually get their first notion of what military life is all about – should have security barriers to prevent such tragedies. Beyond the fact that the accused Chattanooga shooter never went inside the office, I think that’s going to be a non-starter for an obvious reason.
Military recruiters rely on casual walk-in traffic to help make their quota. That’s why the offices can often be found in strip shopping centers or malls. If you start forcing potential Marines, Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen to pass through x-ray machines and take off their shoes like they are going through a TSA line at the airport before they ever step foot in the office, many of them are simply going to take a pass on a hitch in the military
Carter also asked the military services to give him suggestions for ensuring the safety of service members at military installations. But will he allow service members to defend themselves?
Most military personnel, except for those on field maneuvers or MPs, are not allowed to be armed on base. Read the rest of this entry »
Random Violence, Legitimate Grievances, and High Horses: ISIS Burned Up To 40 People Alive, Says Iraqi OfficialPosted: February 21, 2015
Anbar provincial council chairman Sabah Karkhout said he was advised by his field commanders near the al-Baghdadi front line that ISIS militants killed at least 40 police officers and tribesman, and that most of the victims were “burned to death.”
ISIS seized control of most of the town last week. It’s just nine miles north of the Ayn al-Asad airbase, where some 400 U.S. military personnel are stationed to train Iraqi pilots in the fight against ISIS.
CNN cannot independently confirm that the people were burned to death.
Don’t get on your high horse people. http://t.co/67xtTRgMO9
— Jonah Goldberg (@JonahNRO) February 21, 2015
Iraqi Security Forces have given accounts in situation reports obtained by CNN that speak of Iraqi forces and tribesmen killed by ISIS, but it was not clear whether their bodies burned before or after their deaths.
ISIS has not published any images of the reported killings as they have frequently done in the past.
At a news briefing Wednesday, Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby said he’d heard about the reported killings, adding that the United States had purported images of the incident that were being analyzed. Read the rest of this entry »
Byron York writes: Members of the House Armed Services Committee met with Jordan’s King Abdullah Tuesday not long after news broke that ISIS had burned to death a Jordanian pilot captured in the fight against the terrorist group.
“He said there is going to be retribution like ISIS hasn’t seen. He mentioned ‘Unforgiven’ and he mentioned Clint Eastwood, and he actually quoted a part of the movie.”
— Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter Jr., who was in the meeting with the king.
In a private session with lawmakers, the king showed an extraordinary measure of anger — anger which he expressed by citing American movie icon Clint Eastwood.
“He said there is going to be retribution like ISIS hasn’t seen,” said Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter Jr., a Marine Corps veteran of two tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan, who was in the meeting with the king. “He mentioned ‘Unforgiven’ and he mentioned Clint Eastwood, and he actually quoted a part of the movie.”
“He’s angry. They’re starting more sorties tomorrow than they’ve ever had. They’re starting tomorrow. And he said, ‘The only problem we’re going to have is running out of fuel and bullets.”
Hunter would not say which part of “Unforgiven” the king quoted, but noted it was where Eastwood’s character describes how he is going to deliver his retribution. There is a scene in the picture in which Eastwood’s character, William Munny, says…(read more)
Yemen: ‘When President Obama Declares Something a ‘Success Story,’ You Know It Has ‘TOTAL FAILURE’ Embedded in its DNA’Posted: January 24, 2015
U.S. Halts Some Counterterror Efforts in Yemen
Greg Miller and Craig Whitlock reporting for The Washington Post — The Obama administration has been forced to suspend certain counterterrorism operations with Yemen in the aftermath of the collapse of its government, according to U.S. officials, a move that eases pressure on al-Qaida‘s most dangerous franchise.
Michelle Malkin writes:
Four months ago, America’s King Midas in Reverse crowed about the fruits of his triumphant foreign policy in jihad-infested Yemen. A “light footprint” approach to counterterrorism operations, he claimed, was the most effective path to stability. In addition, Obama has shoveled nearly $1 billion in American tax-subsidized foreign aid to Yemen.
Four months later, Iran-backed Shia rebels seized a Yemeni presidential palace. The president and his entire cabinet tendered their resignations on Thursday, creating a vacuum that al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula is ready and eager to fill. ISIS is gaining its own Sunni foothold in the Muslim terror-breeding ground. And while the JV team at the State Department dithers with hashtag games and selfies, adults at the Pentagon want to evacuate U.S. embassy personnel and other Americans before it’s too late…(read more)
Armed drones operated by the CIA and the U.S. Joint Special Operations Command remain deployed for now over southern Yemen, where al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula is based. But some U.S. officials said that the Yemeni security services that provided much of the intelligence that sustained that U.S. air campaign are now controlled by Shiite rebels, known as Houthis, who have seized control of much of the capital.
“The agencies we worked with… are really under the thumb of the Houthis. Our ability to work with them is not there.”
— Senior U.S. official
Even before the disintegration of the government, officials say, the growing chaos in Yemen had resulted in a steady erosion in intelligence-gathering efforts against AQAP and a de facto suspension in raids by Yemeni units trained, equipped and often flown to targeted al-Qaida compounds by U.S. forces.
Michelle Malkin continues…
The Yemen chaos didn’t happen overnight. The White House has allowed jihad to fester there from Day One. Reminder: In late January 2009, the U.S. Embassy in Yemen came under gunfire. American diplomatic staff had been warned of a pending attack. That same month, two former Yemeni Gitmo detainees, Said Ali al-Shihri and Abu Hareth Muhammad al-Awfi, released a video publicly recommitting to “aid the religion,” “establish the rightly guided caliphate” and “fight against our enemies” after undergoing terrorism “rehab” in Saudi Arabia.
Why has Obama so wantonly aided and abetted our enemies? Appeasement of the international human rights crowd and agreement with the soft-on-jihad lawyers infesting his own Justice Department. As I’ve reported previously, Attorney General Eric Holder’s law firm, Covington and Burling, provided dozens of dangerous Yemeni Gitmo detainees pro bono legal representation and sob-story media relations campaigns. At least nine Obama DOJ appointees represented or advocated for Gitmo denizens before taking positions in our government….(more)
“The agencies we worked with . . . are really under the thumb of the Houthis. Our ability to work with them is not there,” said a senior U.S. official closely involved in monitoring the situation. In a measure of U.S. concern over the crisis, officials also signaled for the first time a willingness to open talks with Houthi leaders, despite their suspected ties to Iran and antipathy toward the United States.
The developments have unraveled a campaign that President Barack Obama described last year as a model for how the United States should fight terrorist groups, and avoid being drawn more directly into overseas conflicts. The turmoil in Yemen has exposed the risks of that strategy, with U.S. officials now voicing concern that the suspension in operations in Yemen could enable AQAP — which has launched a series of plots against the United States and claimed credit for the attacks in Paris this month — to regroup. Read the rest of this entry »
Obama’s American Sniper
Dan Henninger writes: Barack Obama was 15 minutes into his State of the Union speech when I arrived home to watch it, having just walked back from seeing “American Sniper.”
“Watching a movie about a Navy SEAL who served four tours fighting in Iraq was not the best way to enhance the experience of a Barack Obama speech. As a matter of fact, it was pretty unbearable.”
Because Clint Eastwood directed “American Sniper” the movie is about more than the story of Chris Kyle, the highly skilled rifle marksman from Texas. In 2006, Mr. Eastwood presented two movies about the famous World War II battle of Iwo Jima. “Letters from Iwo Jima” told the story from the perspective of Japanese soldiers, and “Flags of Our Fathers” from the Americans’ side.
“Watching “American Sniper,” it is impossible to separate these catastrophes from seeing what the Marines did and endured to secure northern Iraq. Again, anyone is entitled to hate the Iraq war…”
So “American Sniper” is not a crude paean to “our boys” in the Iraq war. What it does is convey the extraordinary personal, psychological and physical sacrifice of the U.S. Marines who fought al Qaeda i”n Fallujah, Ramadi and the other towns of Iraq’s Anbar province beginning in 2003 and through the period of the Anbar Awakening, which ended with the Marines pacifying the province.
“…But no serious person would want a president to make a decision that would allow so much personal sacrifice to simply evaporate…”
It’s just a movie, so even “American Sniper’s” small slice only hints at the price America paid—some 3,500 combat deaths and another 32,000 wounded—to bring Iraq to a point of relative, if fragile, stability in 2011.
“…Which, in his serene self-confidence, is what Barack Obama did. That absolute drawdown was a decision of fantastic foolishness.”
Opinions will differ, often bitterly, on the war in Iraq and the reasons for it. In the movie, a painful funeral scene captures that ambivalence. But what is just not possible to choke down is President Obama’s decision in 2011 to reduce the U.S.’s residual military presence to virtually zero. It was a decision to waste what the Marines and Army had done. Read the rest of this entry »
For Fox News Latino, Andrew O’Reilly reports: The first new state penitentiary in nearly two decades to open in Mexico’s Baja California Norte, El Hongo, was hailed as a model prison when its first inmates were bused into the maximum security facility back in 2002.
[Participate on Twitter #MarineHeldInMexico]
Located on a windswept, arid plain dotted with creosote and mesquite bushes about 30 miles from downtown Tijuana, the prison houses some of the region’s most dangerous criminals – murderers, rapists and drug cartel hitmen, to name a few.
— Greta Van Susteren (@gretawire) May 28, 2014
And for the last two weeks, the jail has been the home of U.S. Marine Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi. The active U.S. Marine reservist who served two combat tours in Afghanistan was moved to El Hongo after spending over a month in the notorious La Mesa prison in Tijuana.
Tahmooressi was detained in the early morning hours of April 1st as Mexican officials surrounded his black Ford F-150 pick-up loaded with everything he owned – including three registered firearms – after he made a wrong turn and ended up in Mexico. Read the rest of this entry »
TOKYO—Yuka Hayashi reports: Japan plans to establish a 3,000-troop unit specializing in amphibious operations “as swiftly as possible,” the defense minister said, publicly outlining details of the new unit for the first time as tensions with China continue over disputed islands.
“Our nation has numerous remote islands and islands of various sizes, and they give us the basis for our exclusive economic zone that ranks sixth in the world…That makes it important to provide defense for islands over the coming years.”
Japan has undertaken an ambitious project to create a force similar to the U.S. Marine Corps, and Japanese Self-Defense Force Troops have been receiving increasingly frequent training from their U.S. counterparts in the past few years.
A plan to strengthen amphibious capabilities was laid out in Japan’s new defense guidelines released in December. In detailing some of the specifics Sunday, Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera said the new force is expected to include units specializing in handling types of equipment currently unfamiliar to Japanese troops, such as amphibious vehicles and the V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft.
Escaping violence in South Sudan
(CNN) — Marie-Louise Gumuchian. Barbara Starr and Antonia Mortensen report: About 150 U.S. Marines are poised to enter turbulent South Sudan to help evacuate Americans and provide security for the U.S. Embassy, if ordered to do so, two U.S. military officials said Monday.
An estimated 100 U.S. citizens are believed to be in South Sudan, where steady violence is stoking fears of an all-out civil war in the world’s newest country.
“By positioning these forces forward, we are able to more quickly respond to crisis in the region, if required,” read a statement from U.S. Africa Command.
It cited the example of Benghazi, where an attack last year killed U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.
The Syrian Electronic Army (SEA) hacked into and defaced the marines.com website in the early hours of September 2.
by AWR HAWKINS
According to International Business Times, the website was restored to normal shortly after the cyber attack took place. The SEA has been involved in numerous cyber attacks over the past six months, including “attacks on the New York Times and Twitter.”
President Barack Obama has offended the bayonet community
TMZ spoke with multiple people in the bayonet industry who tell us they were shocked and even offended when Obama brought up the weapon during last nights debate. FYI–Obama was going after Romney when he said:
“You mentioned the Navy, for example, and that we have fewer ships than we did in 1916. Well, Governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets, because the nature of our militarys changed.”
According to the official U.S. Marine Corps website, every Marine is STILL required to complete a bayonet training program … because “the weapon becomes just as effective [as a rifle] in close combat situations.
“We spoke with Dan Riker from Bayonet Inc. — a leading military surplus outlet that specializes in bayonets — who tells us he believes Obamas comment was “ignorant … because our soldiers still use bayonets.”
He adds, “[Bayonets] are still distributed to the military all the time — he should get educated on it”For the record, Riker says he wont be voting for Obama … “and I didnt vote for him last election either.”
- It Begins… Bayonet Company Rips Obama: “He Should Get Educated” (thegatewaypundit.com)
- Do troops still use bayonets? (washingtonpost.com)
- ‘Horses and Bayonets’ Goes from Obama’s Mouth to Parody Tumblr in 9 Minutes (theatlanticwire.com)
- Military Weapons Distributor Calls President Obama “Ignorant” For “Bayonets” Comment (hiphopwired.com)
- Obama compares naval ships to horses and bayonets; Twitter explodes in snark-storm (twitchy.com)