Forrestal Memorial Mon, 03 Jan 2022 07:31:05 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Forrestal Memorial 32 32 Chinese Navy: A powerful Chinese navy is ready to flex its muscles Mon, 03 Jan 2022 07:03:00 +0000 The past year has been phenomenal for the Chinese navy – the People’s Liberation Army (PLAN) Navy – with around 170,000 tonnes of new ships commissioned in 2021.

Armed with such an influx of ships each year, the PLAN has grown into one of the most modern and capable navies in the world, far eclipsing any other Asian navy.

The transport of the year included one Type 094A Guided Missile Submarine (SSBN), two Type 075 (LHD) helicopter landing docks, three Type 055 cruisers, seven Type 052D destroyers, six Type 056A, six Type 082II Mine Countermeasures Vessels, one Ship Cable Layer and three Type 927 Surveillance Vessels.

The quantity and diversity of PLAN’s modern ships imbues it with growing confidence, reinforced by the nationalism stoked by an increasingly martial Communist Party.

China is not only seeking to dominate the waters near its shores, but to expand beyond those called the First Island Chain and influence the narrative and hoist a flag in distant oceans.

Indeed, 2022 will mark the 14th year of a continued Chinese naval presence in the Gulf of Aden, supported by an PLA base in Djibouti.

The largest of the aforementioned list of ships completed in 2021 is the Type 075 LHD, which resembles an aircraft carrier thanks to its flat deck. An LHD carries a large number of helicopters (up to 28 in the case of the Type 075) from China, and it accommodates landing craft and hovercraft in an internal trunk deck for amphibious operations. Up to 1,000 Marines and their amphibious assault vehicles can also be transported.

PLAN’s first Type 075 named Hainan, with a displacement of around 36,000 tonnes, entered service with the South Sea Fleet in Sanya, Hainan Island, on April 23, 2021, while the second officially entered service on December 26 as a late “Christmas present”. (Ironically, China’s paranoia means religious holidays such as Christmas are banned by new laws, even though around 5 percent of the Chinese population are Christians).

The second LHD, commissioned at Zhoushan Naval Base as Guangxi, was assigned to the East Sea Fleet and is particularly focused on operations against Taiwan. Interestingly, the East Sea Fleet had so far received neither aircraft carriers nor LHDs.

Guangxi was launched on April 22, 2020 and began sea trials in December of the same year. In addition to its helicopter and amphibious capabilities, the LHD lends itself to use as a logistics and command platform for any emergency operation against Taiwan. Aircraft carriers could be used to deter any intervention by the United States and its allies in a future Chinese attack on Taiwan.

Other LHDs are also on their way, as a third Type 075 was launched by the Hudong Zhonghua Shipyard in Shanghai on January 29, 2021 and began sea trials on November 25, 2021.

China maintains an impressive shipbuilding rate, with an LHD launched every six months so far. Indeed, no other country can match the record pace of shipbuilding achieved by China. For the first-in-class Type 075, it took 340 days from launch to maiden voyage. By the time of the second LHD, this milestone had been reduced to 245 days, despite the impact of COVID-19.

Another example of shipbuilding productivity, the same Hudong Zonghua facility launched on the same day two Type 054A frigates and one Type 071E (LPD) amphibious vessel (the latter being built for Thailand). The same yard also built 054A / P type frigates for Pakistan.

The Type 075s provide the PLA with a much larger amphibious and helicopter-borne lift capacity than its current fleet of eight Type 071 LPDs. It is not known how many Type 075s China will build, but there will likely be at least six. , some even claim eight. These LHDs could be supplemented in the future by the larger Type 076.

Periodic updates to satellite images from the Jiangnan Changxingdao shipyard in Shanghai show that progress is also being made on the PLAN’s third aircraft carrier. Called Type 003, this aircraft carrier is quite different from the previous two since it is larger and does not need a ski jump ramp on the bow to assist aircraft take off.

Instead, the Type 003 will use a catapult launch system, just like the US Navy (USN) does. However, China has made the technological leap directly to an electromagnetic aircraft launch system (EMALS) instead of first adopting a steam catapult system. All modern American aircraft carriers used steam catapults until the arrival of the first Ford-class aircraft carrier equipped with EMALS.

The EMALS is evident in the satellite imagery of the Type 003 transporter, with two launch systems at the front and one at the waist. The same images suggest the ship is around 316m long and 71.3m wide. Two elevators for raising and lowering planes to / from the hangar deck are approximately 21m wide, they are placed on the starboard side of the ship.

EMALS is important to the PLAN, as it will allow more heavily armed and refueled fighters to take off from Type 003 than is possible from Types 001 and 002. This also means that different aircraft such as the Developing airborne early warning aircraft KJ-600 can operate from type 003, which is not possible on previous aircraft carriers.

Incidentally, a new massive dry dock in Sanya has been built, one large enough to accommodate the Type 003 transporter. This suggests that it will join the South Sea Fleet. Sanya has become a major naval base on par with the three existing fleet headquarters bases in Qingdao, Ningbo and Zhanjiang.

The PLAN is a powerful force, and one has to wonder why it is prioritized by President Xi Jinping. The forecast of the US Congressional Research Service is that by 2025, China will have six SSBNs, ten nuclear-powered attack submarines, 47 diesel-electric submarines, three aircraft carriers, 52 cruisers / destroyers. , 120 frigates / corvettes, four LHDs, ten LPDs and 24 landing ship tanks (LST).

Dennis Blasko, a former US defense attache in Beijing and Hong Kong in the 1990s, said the main goal of modernizing Eastern Theater Command is to deter Taiwan. “To deter, you have to have a credible force. And they build that believable force. Again, through deterrence theory, you have to display the determination to use that force. And you do it through statements, you do it through exercises. ”

However, Blasko assessed that the PLA does not yet have the level of confidence to invade Taiwan, and certainly not the shipping industry to do so. “… At this point, I think they see having to go to war as a failure of their national strategy. They would much prefer to get whatever they want through negotiations or other forms of pressure. ”

Although the PLAN has large vessels such as LPD type 071 and LHD 075, the number of shorter range amphibious vessels such as LSTs for an over-the-beach invasion has remained largely static.

A full-scale invasion of Taiwan would be militarily and politically risky for Xi, but this calculation doesn’t apply so much to lesser action such as the capture of Taiwanese islands such as the island of Pratas or Itu Aba in the China Sea. southern. For such an action, LHDs would be an ideal platform.

With all of these new ships, which are about as sophisticated as anything the USN has, the PLAN is poised to pull its weight not just in coastal waters, but further and further afield. China has been belligerent in its treatment of others in the South China Sea, not only with its navy, but also by the Chinese Coast Guard (CCG) and the People’s Armed Forces Maritime Militia (PAFMM). Each of the latter two is the greatest force of their type in the world.

In a new report titled “Hold the Line through 2035”, published by the Baker Institute for Public Policy at Rice University, authors Gabriel Collins and Andrew Erickson argue that the United States must firmly oppose Beijing’s antics that are trying to change the status quo and trample the international community. law.

The two US academics noted, “China is arguably pushing towards … an inflection point with its increasingly aggressive actions on the East Asian coastline, including violations of space. air and maritime administration administered by Japan, the construction and subsequent militarization of the disputed reefs in the South. China Sea, harassment of oil and gas exploration operations by companies in neighboring states, and frequent use of maritime forces to harass fishermen in neighboring countries. ”

The PLAN, the CCG and the PAFMM indeed form the obvious front line of Chinese military aggression, because they benefit from heavy investments and modernization. China is also using new national regulations such as the Coast Guard Law to assert territorial jurisdiction, even though these have no international weight.

Collins and Erickson continued, “Each of these individual challenges tests the limits of the status quo, and unless there is sufficient international response, emboldens further actions to expand Chinese claims and undermine the state-led regional security architecture. United which helped secure peace for three quarters The response to China’s revisionist actions must ultimately be multilateral, but American action is the indispensable catalyst to launch the process and support the first steps when the return the flame of a People’s Republic of China (PRC) not completely slowed down will probably be the most intense. ”

The year 2021 saw warships from countries like France, Japan, Germany and the United Kingdom ply the South China Sea. This reflected greater international concern, even on the part of distant European powers, over China’s intimidating behavior. However, most countries in Southeast Asia are intimidated and overwhelmed by the power of the PLA, and only a couple like Indonesia or Vietnam are ready to resist Chinese intimidation.

Collins and Erickson made a recommendation, however. “Washington should take the lead in helping allies and partner nations (to the extent that they seek help from the United States) to positively assert their maritime rights. Partner States.

US naval forces conducted seven freedom of navigation operations vis-à-vis China in 2019. Maintaining or exceeding this pace would be “demonstrative” action to show Washington’s resolve in the face of the PRC’s excessive maritime claims. The Guard is also expected to begin engaging in “definitive” actions that affirm their readiness to tackle “on the ground” PRC activities in the South and East China Seas that violate international law. and local. ”

With the PLAN keen to test the courage of its crews amid an influx of new warships, and with the United States and others more determined to challenge China’s illegal maritime claims, the stage is set for rising tensions in the South China and East China Seas. The question is whether Chinese pride will lead to an involuntary confrontation at sea this year?

Chinese actions will not be limited to these aforementioned sea areas either, with the PLAN moving further and further away from China’s coasts. The Indian Navy, for example, will be forced to respond to a larger PLAN presence in the Indian Ocean in the coming year as well.

Serbian nationalist lights match in Bosnian powder keg Sun, 02 Jan 2022 20:56:19 +0000

It was in Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia, that a young Serbian nationalist started World War I by assassinating an Austrian archduke in June 1914, and where the seemingly disturbed rants of a Serbian psychiatrist, Radovan Karadzic, foreshadowed a three-year series of bloodshed in the 1990s. These Balkan wars claimed an estimated 140,000 lives, attracted warplanes and NATO troops, and created a wedge between Russia and the West that still exists today.

Today, the United States and the European Union, which Bosnia aspires to join, are desperate to prevent the new crisis from escalating into conflict or creating the kind of political instability that Russia could exploit. Russia, which wants to prevent Bosnia from joining the bloc or NATO, is already siding with Mr. Dodik.

Frictions in Bosnia are rooted in the 1995 Dayton peace accord negotiated by the United States. The agreement ended the fighting but created an elaborate and highly dysfunctional political system, with a weak central authority in which different ethnic groups share power. The trio of elected presidents are made up of Mr. Dodik, who represents Serbs, Mr. Dzaferovic, who represents Bosnian Muslims, known as Bosniaks, and Zeljko Komsic, an ethnic Croat.

Mr Dodik has been making noise about Serbian secession for over a decade, but never before has caused such a volatile crisis. A report released in October by senior United Nations official in Bosnia, Christian Schmidt of Germany, described the situation as “the greatest existential threat” to the country’s survival since the early 1990s.

Mr Schmidt, in a recent interview, downplayed the risk of a return to bloodshed and said he expected Mr Dodik to drop his threat to form a separate ethnic Serbian army.

Among many Bosnians, however, fear is on the rise again.

When Mr Schmidt met students at a vocational school in Tuzla, a town where different ethnic groups in Bosnia tend to live in rare harmony in mid-December, he was repeatedly asked what he was doing. was doing to prevent a return to war.

Are robots changing the construction industry? Sun, 02 Jan 2022 09:00:00 +0000

Throughout history, engineers have sought to understand how structures work and how forces inside a structure move from where loads are applied to supports and foundations. This is called structural optimization – using exactly the right amount of material in the required locations – a harmonization between architecture and engineering.

The computer performs seemingly impossible amounts of calculations in a matter of minutes (or even seconds), and the possibilities for optimization increase dramatically. Such a breakthrough has fueled the need to begin manufacturing these complex structures using techniques other than those traditionally available.

This is where 3D printing (additive manufacturing) of parts of the structure began to be designed, as it allows for the rapid production of several different shapes generally not possible with traditional construction. The additive manufacturing process involves building a material layer by layer. It offers unprecedented freedom of form, resulting in endless possibilities for customization. The material is exactly where it needs to be to perform its function of carrying the loads.

A grid shell is a columnless structure that spans large areas and looks like a shell formed by a grid of structural elements. The connections of each of the structural elements at different angles make its manufacture by 3D printing much more accessible. The Faculty of the Built Environment at the University of Malta is undertaking research into these connections and optimizing the intersections of these elements through a process called topology optimization.

The work and research mentioned so far are structured at the local level. Structural engineering projects are generally large-scale and require a significant amount of manpower. Recent advances in 3D printing techniques have also made it possible to print entire structures.

Concrete and steel 3D printing is also possible. The mobilization of 3D concrete can be done to allow printing on site, as was done in Austin, Texas. A concrete house consisted of 24 concrete elements, printed layer by layer in a factory in Eindhoven. The elements were then transported to site and placed on a foundation. Another house known as ‘3D Printing Channel House’ completed in 2018, was a research, design and construction project aimed at responding to new global housing solutions and market exploration in Amsterdam. .

Now is the time to propel the construction industry into the world of digitalization. From design to implementation, digitalization leads to sustainable and affordable structures, tailored to the wishes of architects and engineers.

Jeanette M Muñoz Abela is a compassionate revolutionary designer.

Sound clips

• Concrete 3D printing could be the future of construction on Earth and other planets. NASA is already exploring the possibility of 3D printing structures on the Moon and Mars as part of the Artemis program to build a 3D printed habitat for deep space exploration. NASA plans to set up a lunar terrain vehicle, lunar RV or habitable mobility platform and surface habitat on the moon by the end of 2030.

• Robots will help shape our future. In steel 3D printing, MX3D uses robotic arms for its system – they call it the Wiring Arc (WAAM) additive manufacturing robotic system. They use a controller, a power source and an arc welding machine. Find out how they do it by clicking on this link:

For more scientific information, listen to Radio Mocha at


• 3D printing has been around since 1984. Charles “Chuck” Hull was the first to successfully build a machine capable of placing layers of material on top of each other.

• Charles Hull’s 3D printing machine was called the stereolithography machine.

• Compared to traditional construction methods, 3D concrete printing guarantees shorter construction time, a safer working environment and greater freedom of form.

• When 3D printing in concrete, the concrete mix must be carefully designed to suit the extrusion techniques used.

• For 3D printed steel, the material must be heated to 1500 ° C to make it malleable enough for printing.

• The 12-meter-long MX3D bridge was built by four commercially available six-axis industrial robotic arms equipped with welding equipment, and it took six months to print.

For more information see:

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Family of Pennsylvania native killed in 1993 battle for Mogadishu pending news of award upgrade Sun, 02 Jan 2022 06:56:15 +0000

Sgt. 1st Class Earl Fillmore Jr. (

(Tribune News Service) – A Pennsylvania native who was killed in action 28 years ago while serving in Somalia is set to be posthumously awarded the Army’s second highest honor.

Sgt. First Class Earl Fillmore Jr. was 28 years old on October 3, 1993, when he was fatally injured in the Battle of Mogadishu while fighting to save the crew of a downed UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter. The engagement was dramatized in the 2001 Ridley Scott film “Black Hawk Down”.

Fillmore was posthumously awarded the Silver Star for Distinguished Bravery. From now on, he could receive the Distinguished Service Cross in recognition of extraordinary heroism. The Defense Policy Bill passed by Congress and signed by President Joe Biden in December waives the time requirement for four participants in the Mogadishu engagement to see their service rewards enhanced.

The bill also paved the way for the presentation of the Medal of Honor – the highest national honor for bravery – to five potential recipients, three from the Korean War and two who fought in the Vietnam War.

Sharon Schmucker of Derry, Pa., One of Fillmore’s six sisters, anxiously awaits confirmation that her brother’s final prize is on its way.

“I’m just waiting for that phone call or email,” she said. “It’s about keeping Earl’s memory alive and knowing he’s always with us.”

“He’s the hero of our family,” said Fillmore’s niece Angie Burd, who recently retired as Army Master Sgt. “I think it’s amazing what he and the other soldiers did during the Battle of Mogadishu and how much inner strength they had to risk their lives for a peacekeeping mission.

“I think they deserve whatever the military can honor them, even though it’s so far after the fact.”

Burd said Fillmore was a mentor as well as his uncle.

“There was only a 10-year difference between us,” she said. “When I was growing up he would hang out with me and take me. He taught me how to shoot a gun and he always took care of me.

“He was the epitome of a soldier. It was always what he wanted to do since he was little. He loved his job in the military, he loved to serve. It made me less nervous to the idea of ​​doing it myself. “

As a member of Company A, 1st Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group, Fillmore, at age 24, became the youngest soldier to be accepted into the elite Delta Force.

In addition to the military, Fillmore received many honors from the community of Derry and the Derry Area School District, where he graduated in 1983. A linebacker with the Derry Area Trojans, Fillmore remembers an annual award given to the team’s best defensive player. .

Coaches from Fillmore High School joined his family on a trip to New Cumberland in 2011, when a medical facility was named there in his honor – the CFS Earl Fillmore US Army Health Clinic.

“We went there with so many people,” Schmucker said. “We were all very proud.”

Fillmore received basic training as a combat medic at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, and graduated as a Special Forces Medical Sergeant in 1985.

Family members credit an Army veteran who befriended Fillmore when the two were finishing medical training in Texas, for pushing for the clinic to be named.

“I think it’s a great honor,” said Burd.

In addition to Fillmore’s final resting place in Fort Bragg, NC, the clinic is a place the younger generations of the extended family can come to to appreciate the soldier’s service and sacrifice.

“They can go out there and say, ‘He was my uncle and that’s what he did’ and be very proud,” Schmucker said.

The Army in 2021 presented Silver Star upgrades to 58 veterans of the “Black Hawk Down” engagement after a full review, the Army Times reported. Two others received upgrades to the Distinguished Flying Cross.

In addition to Fillmore, the other members of the mission awaiting an Accelerated Distinguished Service Cross are:

– Staff Sgt. John G. Macejunas, a Delta Force NCO.

– Retired Colonel Robert Mabry, a Delta Force medic who later served as the command surgeon for the Joint Special Operations Command.

– The retired command sergeant. Major William F. Thetford, who later served as the senior enlisted chief for United States Central Command.


(c) 2022 Tribune-Review (Greensburg, Pennsylvania)

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The invention of this naval officer name tag is now available for purchase Sat, 01 Jan 2022 17:15:42 +0000

Years ago Lieutenant (N) Mitchell Kempisty saw a problem that needed to be resolved.

Namely, the name tag on his suits kept creasing and coiling during the rigors of warship life.

“They just look really bad,” he said this spring. “People are just walking around looking disheveled with this badge. This is the first thing you notice.

So he set about creating and then patenting a simple invention to correct this “insat” look.

And now, Kempisty has partnered with one of the nation’s largest military badge companies to bring his invention to other members of the service.

Kempisty’s basic concept is simple: a backing board attached to the back of the name tag that has its own velcro to attach to the uniform, keeping the name tag straight and true in the process.

“The Enforcer,” as Vanguard, the military badge company calls it, gives name tags a stiffer backbone on suits, flight suits and other uniforms, preventing the curled and ragged edges that look anything but. squares.

“When I started the invention that became ‘The Enforcer,’ all I wanted to do was fix the sloppy, curly, and wrinkled mess that I considered to be my wetsuit name tag,” Kempisty told Navy. Times. “Having ‘The Enforcer’ on the shelves means the world to me, as it marks the culmination of three years of effort. “

Vanguard officials read a previous Navy Times article about Kempisty’s invention earlier this year and realized it would suit their existing product line, according to Michael Harrison, the company’s chief operating officer.

The company has entered into a licensing agreement with Kempisty and the product is now available online.

Vanguard is also negotiating to put the product on the shelves in military exchanges, Harrison said.

“It was a good idea,” he said of the product, which is not a mandatory badge. “For the guy who wants to stand out among his peers, this product does a service.”

Kempisty, who graduated as an engineer from the United States Naval Academy in 2014, said it took nearly three years to take his idea from the bulb stage to the prototype.

He bought a basic 3D printer, used it on his dining room table in his spare time, learned computer aided design or CAD, and then launched a prototype.

A childhood friend and patent attorney helped him legally lock the idea.

Kempisty graduated from the Naval Post Graduate School in December with a master’s degree in aeronautical engineering and joined the guided missile destroyer Mason as an operations officer.

“My hope is that ‘The Enforcer’ becomes a standard purchase, to protect and enhance the appearance of anyone wearing a work uniform with identification: badge, unit crest or whatever,” he said. “This could apply whether in the military, or in other professions or activities carried out in uniform.

Geoff is a senior Navy reporter for the Military Times. He has covered Iraq and Afghanistan extensively and was recently a reporter for the Chicago Tribune. He welcomes all kinds of advice at

members of the American Legion honor local hero of WWII | News Sat, 01 Jan 2022 15:15:00 +0000

Online insurance platforms will disrupt the insurance industry in 2022; here’s how Sat, 01 Jan 2022 02:40:29 +0000

The COVID-19 pandemic has played a pivotal role in the push for digitization in the insurance industry. The world has witnessed an increased need for easy access to insurance information, products and services. With the acceleration and adoption of digital, a large number of insurance policy buyers have become familiar with finding and purchasing policies online. A major investment in the digital transformation of insurance business models and improving the customer experience through digital and remote channels can be expected in the coming year 2022.

Expectations of insurers as they prepare for post-pandemic growth

Even with current concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic, insurance companies expect faster growth in 2022. Strategic priorities for the insurance industry include flexible working models and maintaining l ‘balance between automation and the need to maintain human contact with customers. Insurance companies are quick to embrace technological innovation because they are ready to step out of their comfort zone. The coming year will certainly push insurance companies through this period of profound change in the insurance industry and deal with disruption caused by technology and some new entrants in the market.

The role of technology in disrupting the insurance industry

Meeting customer demands will be the top priority for insurers in 2022, especially when technological advancements are on the rise. Even when technologies and digitization have been around for many years, new advancements like machine learning, artificial intelligence, blockchain technology, etc. are expected to disrupt the insurance industry in terms of integration and customer service. Automatically updating customer information, needs and options, collecting customer data based on their behavior, handling complaints are just a few examples of how upcoming technologies will dominate the market. insurance field. Imagining the world of insurance without AI, the Internet of Things and many technological advancements like these would be impossible in the future that lies ahead.

Disruption caused by upcoming online insurance platforms and what to expect in 2022?

Emerging online insurance platforms have embraced technological advancements with open arms. Post-pandemic India has become a new opportunity for these companies to push innovation in the insurance industry and not only to survive, but to thrive. In 2022, we can expect new players as well as leaders in the insurance market to make the most of new technologies and data sources such as chatbots, a stronger social media presence, telematics, etc., to amplify their ability to acquire new customers and administer insurance policies.

In the huge market of the insurance industry, startups emerge as game changers that continue to thrive. According to a recent survey by Goldman Sachs Asset Management, around 60% of global insurance companies invest or evaluate investments in insurtech startups. Emerging insurance companies or insurance startups use data in a different way than traditional insurance companies. Insurtech companies not only collect data, but also integrate and connect countless data points collected with acquisition, underwriting and administration of the insurance policies they write. The goal behind the strategy is to improve personalization, accuracy and speed. The year 2022 can be expected to be the year of technological advancements adopted as business models, new insurance platforms to go completely online, etc.

The way forward for InsuranceDekho

InsuranceDekho is one of the leading and fastest growing InsurTech startups, by Girnar Insurance Brokers Private Limited . The company raked in premium revenue of Rs. 1,200 crore in fiscal year 2021. Going forward, InsuranceDekho expects 3X growth in fiscal year 2022. In its efforts to To make the customer experience unprecedented, the company uses its NLP-based chatbot which plays a crucial role in helping customers find their ideal insurance policy after fully understanding their needs. The company makes the best use of data science and analytics to deliver a customer-centric experience. In 2022, InsuranceDekho is ready to welcome and embrace new technologies that help make insurance a rewarding experience for all.

The future of the insurance industry in India is bright for the times to come. The role of InsurTechs in making India’s insurance industry the fastest growing industry in the country is colossal going forward. InsuranceDekho is consistent in its efforts to present an unparalleled combination of insurance and technology in India. The company is committed to making insurance experiences better than ever before.

(By Ankit Agrawal, CEO and co-founder of InsuranceDekho)

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]]> Navy commander, executive officer dismissed from post due to “loss of confidence” Fri, 31 Dec 2021 13:35:21 +0000

Two high-ranking officers aboard a US Navy ship were relieved of their duties Thursday due to “loss of confidence in their ability to command,” the Navy said.

Cmdr. Richard J. Zamberlan and Cmdr. Phillip Lundberg of the USS Montgomery both lost their posts in an unusual move by Navy officials to remove both the commander and the executive officer. Cmdr. Dustin Lonero, the executive officer of the USS Coronado, will take command until the Navy can decide on a new permanent captain.

Cmdr. Richard Zamberlan, Lt. Cmdr Phillip Lundberg have been relieved of their leadership roles aboard USS Montgomery (LCS-8).
(US Navy photos)

The Navy has not clarified the reasons the couple were relieved, but a San Diego Navy official with knowledge of the ship but not authorized to comment publicly told the San Diego Union-Tribune that the move was linked to a “poorly handled sexual harassment complaint”. on the ship.


The two men were reassigned to the Naval Surface Force Pacific.

The Independence variant littoral combat ship USS Montgomery (LCS 8) is docked at Changi Naval Base, Singapore, in 2019, after arriving for a rotating deployment.

The Independence variant littoral combat ship USS Montgomery (LCS 8) is docked at Changi Naval Base, Singapore, in 2019, after arriving for a rotating deployment.
(US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Tristin Barth / Released)

Naval Surface Force spokesperson Cmdr. Nicole Schwegman confirmed to the Union-Tribune that the force had opened an investigation into the case, but declined to comment further, saying it would be “inappropriate” to do so at this time.


Zamberlan previously commanded the USS Omaha and the USS Kansas City before being transferred to the Tulsa.

Lundberg was previously a department head aboard the USS Shoup.


Both men served on the Montgomery as part of its “blue crew,” one of two crews that rotate in order to maintain the ship’s “minimum manning” model.

]]> United States and Russia: Progress in Talks or Preparations for War? Fri, 31 Dec 2021 07:03:57 +0000

Russian President Vladimir Putin (left) and US President Joe Biden meet at Villa la Grange in Geneva, Switzerland, June 16, 2021. / AP

Russian President Vladimir Putin (left) and US President Joe Biden meet at Villa la Grange in Geneva, Switzerland, June 16, 2021. / AP

Editor’s Note: Nikola Mikovic is a freelance journalist based in Serbia. He mainly covers Russian, Ukrainian and Belarusian foreign policy and writes for several ezines. The article reflects the views of the author, and not necessarily those of CGTN.

If the war is a continuation of politics by other means, it is unlikely that Russia and the West-backed Ukraine will engage in a full-scale military confrontation until all diplomatic means are available. exhausted. In other words, until mid-January, when Russian and US officials are expected to end their scheduled meetings, the situation in Eastern Europe will remain relatively calm.

US President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed Ukraine on December 7, when they agreed to continue their dialogue. Indeed, three weeks later, on December 30, the two leaders held another virtual meeting and discussed not only the situation in the Eastern European country, but also the upcoming security talks between the two countries. Reports said the two leaders saw areas of progress in upcoming diplomatic talks, but also areas where agreements may be impossible.

Russian and American officials are due to meet in Geneva, Switzerland, on January 10, followed by talks between Russia and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) on January 12 and a meeting on January 13 with Russia. , the United States and other members of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. Thus, Putin and Biden paved the way for future talks on “strategic stability”.

It should be noted that their virtual meeting, initiated by the Russian leader, convened at 3:35 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, or 11:35 p.m. Moscow time. This small detail indicates that the Russian president had to stay awake until 12:25 a.m., when the meeting ended.

Ahead of their talks, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that “the negotiations are being conducted with one goal – to reach a compromise, taking into account the red lines of each side”. It should be remembered, however, that Biden stressed on December 4 that he does not accept red lines from anyone, and during the meeting he reportedly told Putin that the West would impose large-scale sanctions if the Russian escalation along the Ukrainian border continued.

Additionally, ahead of the phone call between the US and Russian leaders, US officials announced that Biden would demand that Russia withdraw around 100,000 troops from the Ukrainian border. If the Kremlin obeys this American request, such a decision will be interpreted as a sign of Russian weakness.

Russian officials have repeatedly reiterated that troop movements are purely defensive given increased NATO military activity near Russia’s borders, and stressed that the Russian Federation has the right to move forces on its own territory in the interest of its national security. However, the very fact that Moscow has to justify its actions on its sovereign territory to the West is a clear sign that the United States still has significant influence over Russia.

Ukrainian border guards watch a special vehicle dig a trench on the Russian-Ukrainian border near Sumy, Ukraine, December 21, 2021./CFP

Ukrainian border guards watch a special vehicle dig a trench on the Russian-Ukrainian border near Sumy, Ukraine, December 21, 2021./CFP

Moscow has already withdrawn 10,000 troops near the Ukrainian border, indicating that the Kremlin is ready to make concessions to Washington. In fact, many points of Russia’s “ultimatum” to the United States on December 17 are just a list of concessions Moscow is prepared to make if Washington promises there will be no NATO expansion to the East.

Days before the Putin-Biden summit, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the West could not be taken at its word. Yet the Kremlin insists on the “legally binding guarantees” of its Western partners. Russia is asking for written confirmation that NATO will not expand closer to Russia’s borders and that Ukraine’s long-standing membership aspirations will not be fulfilled. But even if the United States and NATO agree to sign such a document, there is absolutely no guarantee that the West will implement a potential deal. Russia, on the other hand, does not appear to have a mechanism to force Western powers to implement the deal. It is therefore not clear why Moscow is insisting on a legally binding document, especially given its previous failed deals with the West.

There don’t seem to be any good options for Russia. Time is certainly not on its side. Even if Ukraine never joins NATO, Kiev should continue to buy arms from NATO countries. Although Biden reportedly told Putin that the United States has no plans to deploy offensive weapons in Ukraine, the Eastern European nation already has a significant number of Turkish-made Bayraktar drones, as well as the Javelin anti-tank missiles made in the United States.

In the medium and long term, Ukraine will be ready to restore its sovereignty over the Donbass region which is currently controlled by pro-Russian forces. If Russia intervenes, the West will undoubtedly impose tough sanctions on Moscow, a move that will have a negative impact on the Russian economy. If the Kremlin stands aside, Kiev will not take too long to resolve the Donbass conflict by force. Shortly afterwards, Ukraine and the West will open up the Crimea question. Thus, the Kremlin’s space for political maneuvering is not as large as it appears.

Sooner or later Moscow may have to choose between a tough stance on the West, even if that means harsh anti-Russian sanctions and a West-backed war on Ukraine, and humiliation on the West. the international scene. For some political circles within the Kremlin, preserving the status quo as long as possible would be the ideal solution. But that doesn’t seem possible. 2022 represents what Russian officials call the “moment of truth” for relations between Russia and the United States.

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Does Russia see a role for India in maintaining Soviet-era weapons in Central Asia? Thu, 30 Dec 2021 17:05:50 +0000

Russian state-run news agency TASS acknowledged reports of an agreement for India to produce and maintain weapons for the former Soviet bloc states in Central Asia.

India and Russia have reportedly discussed joint defense projects in Central Asia (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan) following the 2 + 2 ministerial meeting on 6 December. A “non-paper” was exchanged, according to The Economic Times.

The state-run TASS news agency acknowledged the report on Thursday, citing an article by independent media outlet Nezavisimaya Gazeta that referred to reports in Indian media. According to the report, “a document has been signed stating, among other things, that the Indians will be able to supply the former Soviet republics with spare parts for these types of weapons which Russia and India jointly manufacture.”

In an interview with Nezavisimaya Gazeta, the director of the Strategy and Technology Center, Ruslan Pukhov, said India’s increased diplomatic efforts with Russia in Central Asia may displease Beijing. “The ambitions of India, which sees itself as the world’s largest democracy in terms of population, can also cause inconvenience to Russia. New Delhi does not want to weaken Moscow’s position at all. But the regimes of Central Asia, dependent on Moscow economically and militarily, now have room for maneuver. They can now negotiate with us.

A report by the Central Asian Bureau for Analytical Reporting this year, using data from the Stockholm International Peace Institute (SIPRI), showed that Central Asian countries were steadily diversifying their arms imports, although Russia remained the main supplier. No. 1 in all countries. with the exception of Turkmenistan (where the weapons mainly come from Turkey).

Competitors for arms supply are the United States (which accounted for 1.4% of Kazakhstan’s arms imports between 1991 and 2020) and China (which was Uzbekistan’s second-largest arms importer during the same period).

While China also deploys several Russian weapon systems, it also has a long history of reverse engineering and duplicating these, leading to greater self-sufficiency in defense at Moscow’s expense. Russia would seek to reduce China’s influence in Central Asia through a plan with India to jointly manufacture and maintain weapons for the bloc, Nezavisimaya Gazeta reported.

India’s trade with Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan was less than $ 2 billion in 2018. During the same period, China exchanged items worth 50 to 60 billion dollars.

READ ALSO: A high-stakes game in Central Asia: what India has to gain

India is deploying several Soviet-era weapons, from the T-72 tank to the MiG-29 fighter jet. The national defense industry manufactures or assembles spare parts for these systems. Lately, there has been a further push to increase defense exports.

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