The U.S. Marine Corps is questioning whether it can implement the Obama Administration’s much-vaunted strategic shift to the Asia-Pacific.
“We are on our way…to a less than a 300-hundred ship Navy,” said General John M. Paxton Jr., assistant commandant of the Marine Corps. “We are on our way to a 175,000-man Marine Corps. Do we have enough people and enough ships to do it?”
The obvious answer is no. The Marine Corps says it needs 54 amphibious assault ships to do its job. That would be the number needed to deploy three Marine Expeditionary Brigades (MEBs), since each MEB requires 17 ships for a force of 17,500 Marines and all their gear.
BAGHDAD — The United States has reported accelerated arms deliveries to Iraq.
The U.S. embassy said Washington was speeding up weapons and ammunition shipments to Iraq amid the Sunni revolt in the Anbar province. The embassy cited the export of thousands of light weapons.
The U.S. recently delivered 100 Hellfire missiles to Iraq.
Since mid-January, more than 11 million rounds of ammunition, thousands of machine guns, sniper rifles, M-16s and M-4 rifles, thousands of flares, grenades and other weapons have been delivered to the ISF [Iraqi security forces],” the U.S. embassy said.
In a statement on March 16, the U.S. embassy said the deliveries included 100 AGM-114 Hellfire missiles. The statement said the Hellfires reflected a critical assessment by Iraqi and U.S. officials. Read in browser »
Today the US launched the second drone strike in Yemen in three days. The strike, which took place in northern Yemen, killed a jihadist who fought in Iraq.
The remotely piloted Predators or the more deadly Reapers fired two missiles at a vehicle as it traveled in the Khalka area of Al Jawf province province. Four “militants,” including a local commander known as Ali Juraym, were killed in the strike.
Yemeni news sources claim that Ali Juraym, whose full name is Ali Saleh Juraym Al Olyan, was an al Qaeda commander known to have returned from Iraq. Al Olyan was reportedly from the Al Sayda tribe hailing from the Al Jawf province in northern Yemen. Yemeni tribal sources said that they could not identify the other AQAP fighters who were killed with Al Olyan due to the severity of their injuries. They also confirmed that al Qaeda operatives arrived at the scene shortly after the drone strike to collect the militants’ remains.
The U.S. may be forced to withdraw troops completely from Afghanistan by the end of the year. That’s bad news if you’re the CIA and your lethal drone flights over neighboring Pakistan rely on the close proximity of Afghan airstrips.
Not surprisingly, the defense industry has already produced a solution: a new jet-powered drone that can range 1,800 miles from the nearest base.
The Avenger (formerly Predator C), whose prototype flew its first flight in 2009, is operationally ready after a new round of tests completed last month, according to its maker, General Atomics. Based on the company’s more well-known MQ-9 Reaper drone, Avenger is designed to perform high-speed, long-endurance surveillance or strike missions, flying up to 500 mph at a maximum of 50,000 feet for as long as 18 hours.
Compared to its earlier prototype, Avenger’s fuselage has been increased by four feet to accommodate larger payloads and more fuel, allowing for extended missions. It can carry up to 3,500 pounds internally, and its 66-foot wingspan is capable of carrying weapons as large as a 2,000-pound Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM).
Army Senior Warrant Officer Russton B. Kramer, a 20-year Green Beret, has learned that if you want to improve your chances to survive, it’s best to personally make modifications to the Army’s primary rifle — the M4 carbine.
Warrant Officer Kramer has been dropped into some of the most ferocious battles in the war on terrorism, from hunting Islamists in the mountains of northern Iraq to disrupting Taliban opium dealers in dusty southern Afghanistan. He was awarded the Silver Star for his bravery in Operation Viking Hammer to crush the terrorist group Ansar al-Islam in Iraq.
The warrant officer said he and fellow Special Forces soldiers have a trick to maintain the M4A1 — the commando version: They break the rules and buy off-the-shelf triggers and other components and overhaul the weapon themselves.