DTN News: U.S., Iraqi Aviators Fly Together*Source: U.S. DoD issued January 25, 2010
(NSI News Source Info) CAMP TAJI, Iraq,- January 26, 2010: U.S. Division Center AH-64 Apache helicopter pilots from the 1st Cavalry Division’s 1st Air Cavalry Brigade flew a second joint mission Jan. 20 with UH-1 Huey helicopter pilots from the Iraqi air force.U.S. Army aviators move an AH-64D Apache attack helicopter behind an Iraqi air force UH-1 Huey helicopter at Camp Taji, Iraq, before taking off for a combined mission in and around Baghdad, Jan. 20, 2010. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Travis Zielinski (Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
“We have taken the lessons learned from the first flight and used them to start building more complex missions,” said Army Capt. Kevin Britt a Las Vegas native and assistant operations officer and Apache pilot in 1-227th.
On the first mission, Iraqi squadron commanders flew the helicopters. This time, the younger pilots had the opportunity to step in and gain experience. One of the components of the mission was trust and teaching that trust to the rest of the formations of both military forces, Britt said. “There are some small differences from the way we do things to the way the Iraqis fly,” said Britt.
He said the two nations’ pilots can learn from one another, and that the missions give the American pilots a chance to see how the Iraqis handle situations so together they can look for ways to improve.
The first mission was considered a foundation in trust in partnership, Britt said, and this one had a more deliberate objective. “This is a recon mission to observe areas in and around Baghdad that can be used as landing zones for future operations,” Britt said. “There were some big steps made from the first mission. This time, the Iraqis had more of the lead.”
Referring to the Iraqi pilots as true professionals, Army Capt. Brian Haas, from Ashley, N.D., an Apache pilot and commander of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1-227th, said he believes such training missions truly make him love his job. “Even though we are not shooting, missions like this still make a difference,” he said.
“Our presence in the air with the Iraqis makes a statement.” Getting positive feedback from a mission always is welcome, and getting positive feedback from civilians on the ground shows how far the Iraqi air force has come, Britt said.
“The Iraqi pilots have received good praise from the Baghdad populace for the first mission,” he said. “We [Americans] don’t get to hear that stuff, so it is nice to know that the flights have a positive effect.” (Army Sgt. Travis Zielinski serves in U.S. Division Center with the 1st Cavalry Division’s 1st Air Cavalry Brigade.)
DTN News: Israel Military Guard Mount Hermon In The Golan Heights *Source: DTN News
(NSI News Source Info) MT. HERMON, GOLAN HEIGHTS, Israel - January 26, 2010: Mount Hermon in the Golan Heights, the strategic plateau that Israel captured from the Syrians in the 1967 Six Day War. Stormy weather has brought much-needed rain to the Holy Land which has been suffering from years of below normal precipitation leaving the Sea of Galilee and underground aquifers at dangerously low levels. Israeli alpine troops disembark from a snow-mobile at a military base on the snow-covered slopes January 25, 2010 of Mount Hermon in the Golan Heights. Israeli army snow-mobiles leave their tracks in the wet ground as they transport troops from a military base to an outpost higher up the snow-covered slopes January 25, 2010 of Mount Hermon in the Golan Heights, the strategic plateau that Israel captured from the Syrians in the 1967 Six Day War.
DTN News: Naval Drill By Indian Navy In Bay Of Bengal*Source: DTN News / Int'l Media
(NSI News Source Info) KOLKATA, India - January 26, 2010: The Indian Navy organized a program called 'A day at Sea' to showcase their sea craft skills. Indian Naval War Ships show the Close Range Anti Aircraft firing, lead by the ship INS Jalashwa, during a demonstration, around 45 nautical miles away from Chennai at an undisclosed place in Bay of Bengal, India,An Indian Coast Guard commando shows his skills of Search and Rescue Operation, around 45 nautical miles away from Chennai at an undisclosed place in Bay of Bengal, India.A surface-to-air missile is fired from the Indian naval warship 'Rana' during an exercise in the waters of Bay of Bengal in the southern Indian city of Chennai January 24, 2010. The Indian Navy showcased a variety of operations undertaken by them in all three dimensions of air, surface and sub-surface, according to a media release on Sunday.
DTN News: Honduran State Of Affair In Confusion, Judgement Issued Against Military Chiefs In Coup
*Source: DTN News / Int'l Media
(NSI News Source Info) TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras - January 26, 2010: A Honduran judge on Thursday charged the country's top military commanders with abuse of power for exiling President Manuel Zelaya in June.Honduras' Army Chief and Military Chief of Staff, General Romeo Vasquez is seen after the inauguration ceremony of the first session of the new congress in Tegucigalpa January 25, 2010.
Honduran Supreme Court President Jorge Rivera has ordered all six members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to remain in the country and testify in court next week. The charge carries a sentence of three to six years in prison.
The military chiefs, who wore their dress uniforms, met with Rivera for six hours before the charges were announced late Thursday. They didn't speak to the news media.
"The army officers won't be able to leave the country and will have to go to court periodically," said prosecutor Mario Cabanas.
Last week, Honduras' chief prosecutor, Luis Alberto Rubi, asked the Supreme Court to issue arrest warrants charging the top military commanders with abuse of power for sending Zelaya out of the country. The prosecutor's case doesn't question Zelaya's June 28 ouster itself, only whether the military went too far in flying him to Costa Rica after he was arrested by armed soldiers in a dispute over a constitutional referendum.
Those named by the prosecutor include the head of the armed forces, Gen. Romeo Vasquez, and five other top-ranking military officers, including the air force chief, Gen. Javier Prince, and the navy commander, Gen. Juan Pablo Rodriguez.
The military commanders' defense lawyer, Juan Carlos Sanchez, said there is enough evidence to show their innocence.
"We will concentrate on showing the facts and they (the military officers) want to face this process to prove the charges are baseless," Sanchez said.
Outside the court, Dozens of Zelaya supporters booed the army officers as they went into the meeting with Rivera while a group of their relatives and supporters held signs of support.
President-elect Porfirio Lobo has said he supports granting amnesty both to Zelaya and to all of those involved in the coup. He takes office Jan. 27.
Zelaya has been holed up at the Brazilian Embassy since sneaking back into Honduras in September.
DTN News: British And US Troops To Launch New Afghanistan Offensive •Attempt to wrest Helmand areas from Taliban control
• Move comes on eve of peace talks in London
*Source: DTN News / Julian Borger and Richard Norton-Taylor guardian.co.uk
(NSI News Source Info) KABUL, Afghanistan - January 26, 2010: British and other Nato troops are preparing a major offensive in southern Afghanistan aimed at seizing areas in Helmand province still under Taliban control, the British commander in the region said today. British troops during a firefight with Taliban forces in Helmand. Photograph: Major Paul Smyth/PA/MoD
Major General Nick Carter said the operation would be aimed at asserting the control of the Kabul government over areas of Helmand that are either ungoverned or under the influence of a Taliban shadow government.
Carter, who commands the Nato-led International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) in southern Afghanistan, did not say when the operation would be launched, but the announcement came three days before an international conference in London that is due to agree a peace and reintegration plan to persuade Taliban fighters and commanders to give up their fight.
The British army chief, General Sir David Richards, said that negotiations with the Taliban should be conducted from a "position of relative strength and the knowledge on their part that they [the Taliban] could just lose".
"So it's a matter of timing, not the principle," Richards told Reuters.
The new operation, which focuses on the Helmand river valley to the west and south-west of the provincial capital Lashkar Gah, will involve elements of the 10,000 British troops in Helmand and 13,000 newly-arrived US marines. It will also rely on intensive political preparations, including contacts with local elders to explain the purpose of the mission, in the hope of minimising casualties.
"What's really important ... is that if there is a conversation before the operation between the Afghans and the maliks, or the village leaders, on the ground, and it is explained to them what will happen when the government asserts control and authority over those areas, we often find the Afghans don't fight - but they will welcome you," Carter told the BBC's World At One programme. He added that the provincial Afghan authorities, led by the governor, Gulab Mangal, were playing a prominent role in operations in Helmand.
Thursday's London Conference on Afghanistan will bring together about 60 governments, including troop contributors, donors and neighbouring countries. It will approve new ceilings for the strength of the Afghan army (172,000) and police (134,000) and agree a plan to hand over responsibility for security district to district from Isaf to Afghan forces.
In November, Gordon Brown said that the handover process should get under way this year, and that at least five Afghan provinces should be handed over by the end of 2010. The criteria for handing over districts have been debated between politicians seeking a timetable for the transition process, and generals who insist that handover should be dictated by conditions in each area.
The Nato commander in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal, told the Financial Times : "I'm not sure what the outcome will be, but I believe that it will be more conditions-based, there will be an agreement on certain conditions driving the transitions."
A Nato official said: "There is an awful lot of work going on on transition. It is not just a military thing. Unless you take governance and development into account in every district, you are going to come up with a meaningless assessment of conditions there." President Karzai will also present his government's peace plan, involving a package of economic incentives for Taliban fighters and commanders to defect. It is also expected to include a direct appeal to Taliban commanders to attend a peace council in the spring.
McChrystal argued that "a political solution to all conflicts is the inevitable outcome. And it's the right outcome. The re-integration of fighters can take a lot of the energy out of the current levels of the insurgency," the Nato commander said. "Then you open up, the option, the possibility, for everybody to look at what's the right combination of participation in the government here."
The London conference will also seek to enlist the help of regional powers to help create conditions for a political settlement. Iran said it would attend, but at a junior level. Tehran has told the British government it will send Ghanizadeh Ezabadi, the head of the western Europe desk at the Iranian foreign ministry.
Karzai met his Pakistani counterpart, Asif Ali Zardari, in Istanbul, todayto brief him on his peace plan and to ask for Pakistani support. Pakistan's Inter Services Intelligence agency (ISI) has a long history of ties to the Taliban, and the head of the ISI, Ahmed Shuja Pasha, attended the meeting in Turkey.
The foreign secretary, David Miliband, is due to take part tomorrow in more talks in Istanbul, involving other Afghan neighbours, including Iran.
"The combination of a new Afghan government and a new focus of the international military and civilian efforts means that this is going to be a decisive period in the Afghan campaign," Miliband told EU foreign ministers in Brussels yesterday. "There's a new government in Kabul, there's a new military strategy, there's a new civilian surge ... it's very important that we get the political strategy right at this time."
DTN News: Algeria Criticises US 'Double-Standards' Over Watchlist*Source: DTN News / AFP
(NSI News Source Info) ALGIERS, Algeria - January 26, 2010: Algeria's foreign minister hit out Monday at the United States' decision to put it on a terror watchlist as part of new aviation security measures, accusing Washington of "double standards".
Mourad Medelci said he had told visiting US diplomat Janet Sanderson in talks in Algiers that "Algeria regrets that methods used by certain countries to ensure their security correspond to a policy of double-standards."
Sanderson, the US State Department's deputy assistant secretary for the Gulf, began an official visit on Sunday. (US State Department's deputy assistant secretary for Near Eastern affairs Janet Sanderson speaks to media during a press conference held at the US embassy to Algiers on January 24. Algeria's foreign minister hit out Monday at the United States' decision to put it on a terror watchlist as part of new aviation security measures, accusing Washington of 'double standards'.Photo:Fayez Nureldine/AFP)
Asked if Algeria had received guarantees that it would be scratched from the list, Medelci said "the real guarantee is the quality of the relationship between Algeria and the United States."
"This guarantee is founded on confidence, and armed with this confidence I am persuaded that we will eventually find more satisfactory solutions which are acceptable to the international community's plan to work together, and in a more efficient manner against the scourge of terrorism, which concerns us all," he said.
Sanderson was quoted by the state news agency APS as saying she was aware of Algeria's stance, but reiterating that the United States was not targeting any particular country with the measures, which she said would evolve.
Washington compiled a 14-nation terror watchlist in the wake of the failed Christmas Day airliner bombing
Travellers flying directly or indirectly to the United States from countries on the list are subject to enhanced security screening.
The list includes Iran, Nigeria, Syria and Yemen, and a number of countries have strongly protested against their inclusion.
DTN News: Russian Warship Starts Patrol Of Somali Waters*Source: DTN News / RIA Novosti
(NSI News Source Info) MOSCOW, Russia - January 26, 2010: A Russian frigate, the Neustrashimy, has started a patrol mission in the pirate-infested area off the Horn of Africa and the Gulf of Aden, a Russian Navy spokesman said.
"The Neustrashimy crew has started its mission to protect shipping routes and fight piracy. It has successfully escorted a convoy of commercial vessels through the dangerous areas of the Gulf of Aden and the Horn of Africa," the spokesman said.
He added that the convoy consisted of 12 vessels under different flags. "Some of the crews included Russians," he said.
The Neustrashimy has replaced the Admiral Chabanenko destroyer and is currently fulfilling its second mission in the area. The Neustrashimy has already completed one anti-piracy mission in February 2009.
The frigate's armament includes SS-N-25 Switchblade anti-ship missiles, SA-N-9 Gauntlet SAM, a 100-mm gun, torpedoes and depth charges. The frigate also carries a Ka-27 ASW helicopter.
The Russian Navy has maintained a permanent presence off the Horn of Africa, with warships operating on a rotation basis. Russia joined international anti-piracy efforts off the Somali coast in October 2008.
Pirates based in Somalia, which has been without an effective government since 1991, hijacked more than 35 vessels in 2009, and have already seized two this year.
DTN News: U.S. Department of Defense Contracts Dated January 25,2010
*Source: DoD issued January 25, 2010
(NSI News Source Info) WASHINGTON - January 25, 2010: U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs) Contracts issued January 25, 2010 are undermentioned;
~Aerospace Testing Alliance, Tullahoma, Tenn., was awarded an $86,697,018 contract which will provide for the operation, maintenance, information management and support of the Arnold Engineering Development Center for fiscal year 2010. At this time, no money has been obligated. AEDC/PK, Arnold Air Force Base, Tenn., is the contracting activity (F40600-03-C-0001,P00192).
~Patriot Contract Services, LLC, Walnut Creek, Calif., is being awarded a $13,665,935 firm-fixed-price contract for the operation and maintenance of four government-owned large, medium-speed roll-on/roll-off ships, also called LMSRs. Two of the ships are Gordon-class, $6,823,958 for one year, and two of the ships are Shughart-class, $6,841,977 for one year. This contract includes options which, if exercised, would bring the cumulative value of this contract to $111,130,732; $55,519,108 for the Gordon-class and $55,611,624 for the Shughart-class. The contract includes four one-year option periods and five six-month award term periods. Work will be performed at East Coast, Gulf Coast and West Coast ports where the ships will be primarily maintained in reduced operating status. The contract is expected to be completed in February 2011. If all option periods are exercised, the contract is expected to be completed by September 2017. Contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was a small business set-aside, with more than 50 companies solicited and six offers received. The solicitation was posted to the Military Sealift Command, Navy Electronic Commerce Online and Federal Business Opportunities Web sites. The Military Sealift Command, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity (N00033-10-C-5301).
~Raytheon Co., Integrated Defense Systems, Tewksbury, Mass., is being awarded an $11,200,000 not-to-exceed modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-05-C-5346) for changes to software development efforts due to revised missile interface control documents and related power density implementation for the DDG 1000 Zumwalt-class destroyer program. The purpose of this modification is to incorporate the combat system and dual band radar related software changes associated with the MICDs Rev B+ and related power density implementation changes to the current requirements of total ship computing environment software development. Work will be performed in Tewksbury, Mass., and is expected to be completed by March 2012. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity.