Marine with Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force 12.2. US Marine Corps Photo
Marines are building on decades of experience in fielding responsive Marine Expeditionary Units (MEUs)—embarked on board Navy Amphibious Ready Groups, (ARGs)—to deliver an even faster first punch.
The new Marine Air Ground Task Force-Crisis Response (MAGTF-CR), will operate in the Mediterranean to give the United States quicker response times to trouble in Africa and the Middle East. Instead of a ship-deployed force, the unit will be based around a company of infantry Marines, six MV-22 Ospreys, and two KC-130J Hercules fixed-wing aircraft. This is a surprising move for a Marine Corps that wants to return to amphibious roots. Read More
Syrian protestors asking for a no-fly zone in 2011. European Pressphoto Agency
With the human toll mounting, the United States getting more involved in training, aid, and arms transfers, and continued calls for intervention, U.S. policymakers are grappling with the administration’s relatively non-interventionist stance on Syria. U.S. concerns about the increasing power of jihadist groups within rebel ranks, the possibility of loose chemical weapons, and the overarching desire to shorten the conflict remain. How has the course of events changed the logic of a no-fly zone, or intervention to secure chemical weapons? Read More
USMC CH-53E following a Tuesday crash 55 miles from Seoul. Reuters Photo
U.S. Forces Korea is investigating a so-called “hard landing” of a Tuesday U.S. Marine Corps CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter, according to a release from the Seoul-based command. Read More
Undated picture of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and his advisors.
Parsing harrowing threat from hot air is an essential task for monitoring the Korean peninsula. North Korean leaders and propaganda outlets unfailingly respond to times of crisis with apocalyptic language.
After the 2010 bombardment of the disputed Yeonpyeong island, for example, North Korea warned of a “merciless shower” and vowed renewed war would turn Seoul into a “sea of fire.”
Kim Jong-un, since succeeding his late father in December 2011, has overseen new missile tests, and in February 2013 declared his country was conducting its third nuclear test. With that latest crisis have come new rounds of grave statements. Read More
The Defense Intelligence Agency has “moderate confidence,” North Korea has progressed enough to arm a missile with an atomic warhead, according to a passage of the unnamed DIA report read during a Thursday House Armed Services Committee meeting by Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colo.
However, according to missile experts from IHS Jane’s and the Department of Defense, the threat from a North Korean nuclear missile is low. Read More
Chinese President Xi Jinping
China’s head of state has always sought to label his regime with a maxim designed to both inspire and define his new national policies. The new president, Xi Jinping, apparently has adopted—in that respect—fulfilling “China’s dream,” described in China’s Communist Party newspaper as “the greatest dream of modern times is realizing the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation . . . to achieve national prosperity, revitalization of the nation and its people’s happiness.” Xi has not directly included in his “dream” a rigid insistence on all of the nation’s sovereignty claims, most particularly those in the East and South China Seas, but there is no indication that he will diverge from this position, established in Beijing under his direction of the government organization (the Leading Small Group) responsible for these maritime issues. Read More
Laser Weapon System (LaWS) aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Dewey (DDG-105) in San Diego, Calif. in 2012. US Navy Photo
The Navy will deploy a laser weapon designed to counter small boats and unmanned aerial vehicles to the Middle East in 2014, chief of Naval Research Rear Adm. Matthew Klunder and Naval Sea Systems Command chief engineer Rear Adm. Tom Eccles said in a joint Monday briefing at the Navy League Sea Air Space Exposition 2013 at National Harbor, Md. Read More
Sea Based X-Band Radar or SBX-1
The recent deployment of SBX-1, the oil derrick-sized missile radar system, is not tied to the rising tensions in North Korea, said Pentagon spokesman George Little in a briefing to reporters on Tuesday. Read More
Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong
Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong called for the U.S. and China to build a greater degree of “strategic trust in each other,” in a Tuesday speech hosted by the U.S.-ASEAN Business Council in Washington, D.C. Read More