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Greenert and Amos Talk Future of Navy and Marine Corps

Greenert and Amos Talk Future of Navy and Marine Corps

Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Jonathan Greenert and Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. James Amos speak at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) as part of their national defense speakers series on July 11, 2013. US Navy Photo

Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Jonathan Greenert and Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. James Amos speak at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) as part of their national defense speakers series on July 11, 2013. US Navy Photo

The commandant of the Marine Corps and the chief of naval operations made the case for forward presence in an era of declining defense spending at a Washington to a national security forum think tank last week as events in Egypt threaten to spiral out of control.

Adm. Jonathan Greenert explained how the Navy and the Marine Corps can react quickly to situations citing the movement of USS Kearsarge (LHD-3) and USS San Antonio (LPD-17) into the Red Sea following the Egyptian military’s removal of President Mohamed Morsi from office as an immediate example of forward presence’s value and tailored forces. The ships were sent closer to the conflict, “because we don’t know what’s going to happen” in Egypt. “We can’t garrison and respond. It will be too late,” to handle a possible evacuation of Americans from the country, Greenert said. Read More

Countering Piracy in the Gulf of Guinea

Countering Piracy in the Gulf of Guinea

A crew member prepares to board a tanker that was hijacked by pirates in Benin on 24 July 2011. UN Photo

A crew member prepares to board a tanker that was hijacked by pirates in Benin on 24 July 2011. UN Photo

The winds of global piracy have shifted, as attacks by pirates off West Africa now exceed those of their Somali counterparts. The Nigeria-based pirates may not yet inspire Hollywood films, but they have prompted regional governments to take collective action. A June 24–25 summit in Yaounde, Cameroon, brought representatives from the Economic Community of West African States, the Economic Community of Central African States, and the Gulf of Guinea Commission together to draft a code of conduct concerning the prevention of piracy, armed robbery against ships, and illicit maritime activity. It has been signed by 22 states. Read More

New Age in Carrier Aviation Takes Off With X-47B Landing

New Age in Carrier Aviation Takes Off With X-47B Landing

Northrop Grumman's X-47B just before landing on the USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77) on July, 10 2013. US Navy Photo

Northrop Grumman’s X-47B just before landing on the USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77) on July, 10 2013. US Navy Photo

The Navy has entered a new age in carrier aviation with the successful landing of the unmanned Northrop Grumman X-47B on the USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77), the service announced at 1:45 p.m. EST on Wednesday.

Call sign Salty Dog 502 left Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md. shortly after 12:00 p.m. EST and flew to the Bush controlled through a complex series of algorithms and navigational sensors and landed on the deck of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier guided not with a joystick and throttle controls but by an operator with a mouse and a keyboard.


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Opinion: Military Pay and Benefits Unsustainable

Opinion: Military Pay and Benefits Unsustainable

Sailors assigned to Naval Branch Health Clinic at Naval Support Activity, Bahrain, wait for a uniform inspection on June, 17 2013. US Navy Photo

Sailors assigned to Naval Branch Health Clinic at Naval Support Activity, Bahrain, wait for a uniform inspection on June, 17 2013. US Navy Photo

Study after study show that the U.S. military’s pay and compensation system is unsustainable. Defense experts from all across the Washington Beltway forecast a steep decline in readiness and capability due to escalating personnel costs and overall declining defense budgets. There is an urgent need for a frank discussion on pay and compensation reform throughout the ranks.

Whereas the think tanks and defense experts have offered up all manner of fiscal programs, processes and policies to the chopping block of change or disposal, the fact is military pay, compensation and benefits have received particular attention—and with good cause. The money we make, the money we are promised in retirement, the money that maintains our health care—and that of our families—is eroding our ability to do our jobs. Read More

Navy Awards Raytheon $276 million Next Generation Jammer Contract

Navy Awards Raytheon $276 million Next Generation Jammer Contract

EA-18G Growler from Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 129 during night flight operations aboard the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) in February 2013.

EA-18G Growler from Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 129 to launch during night flight operations aboard the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) in February 2013.

Raytheon has won a $276 million contract to develop the Navy’s Next Generation Jammer (NGJ) for the service’s electronic attack air fleet, according to a contract released late Monday.

Raytheon beat out Northrop Grumman and a teaming effort between ITT Exelis and BAE Systems for the 22-month contract to develop the replacement to the ALQ-99 jammer — first introduced in the 1970s — currently in use by the Navy and the U.S. Marine Corps. Read More

Joint China-Russia Exercise More Political Than Military

Joint China-Russia Exercise More Political Than Military

People's Liberation Army Navy guided missile destroyers in April, 2012. PLAN Photo

People’s Liberation Army Navy guided missile destroyers in April, 2012. PLAN Photo

China and Russia made headlines this past weekend when they participated in the rather blandly titled Joint Sea 2013. Despite the name, Joint Sea was China’s  largest ever joint naval exercise, and one of the more noteworthy bits of naval activity in the past several years. Eighteen surface ships, one submarine, three airplanes, five ship-launched helicopters and two commando units took part in the exercise, participating in a variety of activities including antisubmarine warfare, close maneuvering, and the simulated takeover of an enemy ship. Chinese and Russian officials alike were quick to note that Joint Sea wasn’t directed at any third party, something that might sound insincere but that actually reflects the reality that Chinese and Russian interests in the Pacific are very different. Read More

NAVSEA Awards Three Contracts for Oiler Development

NAVSEA Awards Three Contracts for Oiler Development

USNS Tippecanoe (T-AO 199). Monterey is deployed in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility on June 30, 2013. US Navy Photo

USNS Tippecanoe (T-AO 199). Monterey is deployed in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility on June 30, 2013. US Navy Photo

Naval Sea Systems Command has issued three contracts to shipyards for work toward the Navy’s next-generation fleet oiler (T-AO(X)).

General Dynamics NASSCO, Huntington Ingalls Industries and VT Halter Marine, “were each awarded firm-fixed price contracts at or below the not-to-exceed amount of $1.7 million as contained in the solicitation for Trade-Off Industry Studies,” according to a Wednesday release from NAVSEA. Read More

Underwater Art Galleries Keep Memory of Ships Alive

Underwater Art Galleries Keep Memory of Ships Alive

An image from The Sinking World of Andreas Franke, an art exhibition currently on display aboard the wreck of the Coast Guard Cutter Mohawk, almost 90 feet below the Atlantic Ocean. Image courtesy of Andreas Franke

An image from The Sinking World of Andreas Franke, an art exhibition currently on display aboard the wreck of the Coast Guard Cutter Mohawk, almost 90 feet below the Atlantic Ocean. Image courtesy of Andreas Franke

Austrian artist Andreas Franke has turned an artificial reef made from the hull of a World War II Coast Guard cutter into a fine art gallery with a naval twist.

Almost 90 feet below the Gulf of Mexico, Franke has hung a dozen magnetized picture frames on the side of USS Mohawk CGC (WPG-78), a 1,005 ton cutter sunk July 2, 2012 to create an artificial reef 28 miles of coast of Florida.

The images on display are pictures of the ship taken shortly after Mohawk was sunk super imposed with models Franke shot in his Vienna studio, the diver/photographer told USNI News on Tuesday. Read More

NAVSEA: LCS Missile Competition Could Start Next Year

NAVSEA: LCS Missile Competition Could Start Next Year

The Griffin Missile, Raytheon Photo

The Griffin Missile, Raytheon Photo

The U.S. Navy could start its investigation into its new surface-to-surface missile for its Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) program as early as next year, Naval Sea System Command officials told USNI News on Monday.

Currently, NAVSEA is testing the Raytheon Griffin IIB as part of the Surface Warfare (SuW) mission package, only, “as an interim capability,” according to a statement provided to USNI News. Read More

Opinion: Despite Arms Deal U.S. Influence of Syrian Rebels Limited

Opinion: Despite Arms Deal U.S. Influence of Syrian Rebels Limited

Free Syrian Army fighters. Reuters Photo

Free Syrian Army fighters. Reuters Photo

As the United States begins providing arms to Syrian rebels , it enters an increasingly complex arena of arms-trafficking and proxy warfare. The highly factionalized Syrian rebellion and the combined third-party actors supporting it—often with competing aims—mean U.S. attempts to shape the Syrian conflict through military support will depend not simply on American resources and intentions, but the dynamics of the civil war and the network of actors that facilitates its logistics. With the U.S. role in Syrian arms-trafficking shifting from one of restraint to one of support, the difficulties encountered in producing viable political outcomes in Syria are likely to persist. Read More