Trump picks Army chief of staff as next top military adviser

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump announced Saturday that he wants a battle-hardened commander who oversaw troops in Iraq and Afghanistan to be the nation's next top military adviser. If confirmed by the Senate, Gen. Mark Milley, who has been chief of the Army since August 2015, would succeed Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford as chairman of … Continue reading “Trump picks Army chief of staff as next top military adviser”

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump announced Saturday that he wants a battle-hardened commander who oversaw troops in Iraq and Afghanistan to be the nation's next top military adviser.

If confirmed by the Senate, Gen. Mark Milley, who has been chief of the Army since August 2015, would succeed Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Dunford's term doesn't end until Oct. 1. Trump said the date of transition is "to be determined."

Trump used an early morning tweet to reveal his choice. "I am thankful to both of these incredible men for their service to our Country!" he said. Later Saturday, as the president left the White House for the Army-Navy football game in Philadelphia, he called Milley "a great gentleman and a great patriot."

Dunford is a former commandant of the Marine Corps and commander of coalition troops in Afghanistan. Milley commanded troops during several tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Dunford's spokesman, Col. Patrick Ryder, said all indications are that Dunford will serve his full term. Ryder referred other questions to the White House. He said Dunford congratulated Milley on his nomination. "He has served with Gen. Milley in peacetime and in combat and has the highest regard for his leadership."

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said in a statement that Milley was "a battle-tested commander and Pentagon reformer who will be a worthy successor" to Dunford. That committee would consider a Joint Chiefs nomination.

The chairman of the House Armed Services Committee praised Milley for his "direct, insightful military assessments based upon his intellect and years of experience." Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, also noted that the Joint Chiefs chairman serves Congress as well as the president and defense secretary.

Trump's decision, announced before leaving Washington for the annual Army-Navy football game in Philadelphia, had caught some in the Pentagon by surprise when unofficial word spread Friday after he had tweeted that a succession announcement was coming.

Normally an announcement on a new chairman wouldn't be expected until early next year. Officials had said the Air Force chief, Gen. David Goldfein, was also a strong contender for the job.

Milley is known as a charismatic, outgoing leader who has not been afraid to offer candid and sometimes blunt assessments to Congress. Last year he admonished the House Armed Services Committee for its inability to approve a defense budget, slamming it as "professional malpractice." In 2016, he told lawmakers, in answer to a direct question, that women should also have to register for the draft now that they are allowed to serve in all combat jobs.

As the Army's top leader, he helped shepherd the groundbreaking move of women into front-line infantry and other combat positions, while warning that it would take time to do it right. More recently, he has worked with his senior officers to reverse a shortfall in Army recruiting when the service fell far short of its annual goal this year.

He also played a role in one of the Army's more contentious criminal cases. While serving as head of U.S. Army Forces Command at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, Milley was assigned to review the case of former Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who abandoned his post in Afghanistan and was held captive by the Taliban for five years.

Milley made the early decision to charge Bergdahl with desertion and misbehavior before the enemy. Bergdahl was eventually found guilty, reduced in rank to private, dishonorably discharged and fined $10,000, but was spared any additional prison time.

A native of Winchester, Massachusetts, and a fervent supporter of the Boston Red Sox and other city teams, Milley received his Army commission from Princeton University in 1980. An infantry officer by training, he also commanded Special Forces units in a career that included deployments in the invasion of Panama in 1989, the multinational mission in Bosnia-Herzegovina to implement the Dayton Peace Accords, and the Iraq war.

The Milley move starts a series of military leadership changes in coming months, including successors in 2019 for Adm. John Richardson as the chief of Naval Operations, Gen. Robert Neller as commandant of the Marine Corps, and Air Force Gen. Paul Selva as vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs. Trump also will pick a replacement for Milley as Army chief.

Goldfein began his term as Air Force chief of staff in 2016, so wouldn't be expected to step down until the summer of 2020.

With Trump in attendance, Army beats Navy for 3rd straight time

PHILADELPHIA – PHILADELPHIA - Army had the corps bouncing in front of the president and kept the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy.

The No. 22 Black Knights recovered two fumbles in the fourth quarter, Kelvin Hopkins Jr. had two rushing touchdowns and Army beat Navy 17-10 on Saturday to win its third straight game in the series.

President Donald Trump attended the 119th game between the rivals and flipped the coin before spending a half on each side in a show of impartiality. No matter his view, Army (10-2) always had the edge.

President Donald Trump tosses the coin before the Army-Navy NCAA college football Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Army retained the CIC Trophy — awarded to the team with the best record in games among the three service academies — after winning it for the first time in 22 years last season and snuffed a late Navy (3-10) rally to retain possession of the patriotic prize

With Navy down 10-7, quarterback Zach Abey lost a fumble on fourth-and-12 deep in its own territory. Hopkins would score on a 1-yard run to make it 17-7 and give Army the cushion it needed to win in front of 66,729 fans at Lincoln Financial Field.

Army hopped and waved hands in celebration during a replay timeout and got the cadets in the stands to bounce along. They had good reason to celebrate: Army has regained its grip in a series that had gotten out of hand. Navy had a series-best 14-game winning streak from 2002-2015 and leads the series leads 60-52-7.

Trump sat on the Army side in the first half and crossed the field to the Navy side at halftime. Trump officiated the coin toss and was introduced by public address announcer Dan Baker to a cheering crowd. Navy called "tails," and that's what it was when Trump's flipped coin landed on the turf. Navy elected to kick off.

That was a mistake.

Navy’s Zach Abey leaps for a high snap during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Army, Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Kell Walker ran 51 yards to the 10 on the fourth play from scrimmage and Hopkins dashed in for the TD on the next play for a 7-0 lead.

In a series steeped in tradition — the "March On" and drumline battles, among them — perhaps none is more ingrained than the running game. Last year's game had a combined three pass attempts and quarterbacks for each team are usually the leading rushers. But Army and Navy passed on the rush and tried to throw, with mixed results. Army safety Jaylon McClinton had an interception in the first half. Army also dropped a key third-down pass that led to John Abercrombie's missed 33-yard field goal in the second quarter.

Abercrombie rebounded to kick a 33-yarder in the third for a 10-0 lead.

Last season's game was an instant classic and was decided by a field goal: Bennett Moehring narrowly missed a 48-yarder in the snow on the final play and Army held off Navy 14-13.

Moehring made the extra point on Lewis' score and he kicked a 45-yard field goal with 29 seconds left. Malcolm Perry's 43-yard run to the 5 set up Garret Lewis' 1-yard rushing TD with 7:10 left in the game that pulled Navy to 10-7.

There were reminders all around the Linc, home of the Super Bowl champion Eagles, that this was no ordinary game. The Navy "Leap Frogs" parachute team earned a roar from the crowd with each safe landing on the field. Bill the Goat, Navy's mascot, was safely leashed and secured from a possible abduction attempt from overzealous cadets. And each side safely returned "captives" in the Prisoner Exchange — when seven midshipmen and seven cadets swap service academies for a semester. The Army prisoners spelled out "3-PEAT on the back of their uniforms.

Navy CPO’s death ruled murder; ex-fiancé arrested, authorities say

The death of a Navy chief petty officer whose body was discovered in her Florida home in September has been ruled a homicide, leading authorities Friday to arrest the man to whom she was engaged, reports said.

Nearly three months after Andrea Washington, 37, was discovered dead in her home on Jacksonville’s Northside, police charged 36-year-old Danny Ray Beard with her murder, First Coast News reported.

While a cause of death was not immediately released in September, investigators had said her death "was not from natural causes.” No suspects were initially named.

A judge had granted the Navy chief a protective order about two weeks before her death due to “domestic violence at her home,” the station reported.

Washington said she was pushed, kicked in the stomach and “had a gun pulled on her by a man she was living with” while arguing over household bills, First Coast News reported, citing the protective order filed Sept. 4.

LONG ISLAND MAN WHO FOUND BONES IN HIS BASEMENT OPENS UP ABOUT GRISLY FIND

She also filed a separate police report against Beard on Sept. 2 for aggravated assault after encouragement from a friend, the media outlet reported.

Washington was slated to appear in court on the protective order against Beard just hours after she was found dead, First Coast News reported. Beard appeared in court to defend himself and the order was dismissed because Washington, who was dead, did not attend.

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Phantom McClendon, a family friend of Washington, told First Coast News that the mother of three was newly “pinned” as a Navy CPO.

“The goal of making chief is a major accomplishment and for her to make it after all these years," McClendon said, "and the simple fact (is) that she can’t even enjoy it.”

Fox News’ Kathleen Jocye contributed to this report.

F-35C stealth fighter undertakes first operational tests at sea

The Navy’s first-of-its-kind carrier-launched F-35C has been conducting aerial maneuvers, weapons integration, “cyclical” flight take-off missions and other war operations from the flight deck of a Nimitz-Class carrier recently, marking the first operational tests of the stealth fighter slated to deploy in 2021.

“This was the first-ever operational F-35C integration,” Rear Adm. Matt Winter, F-35 Joint Program Executive Officer told reporters a few months ago when referring to the exercises.

The combat exercises, which have involved F-35C joint missions with F-18 Super Hornets, E-2D Hawkeye surveillance planes and EA-18G Growler electronic warfare aircraft, were designed to help the Navy prepare for how the introduction of the F-35C will change combat, impact war strategy and drive new concepts of operation.

Missions have included “defensive counter air” and “anti-submarine” warfare, among others, Capt. Matt Norris, from the Joint Strike Fighter Operational Test Team said in a Navy statement earlier this year during Carrier Air Wing assessments on board the USS Abraham Lincoln. Formal Operational Testing has continued into the Fall to ensure the emerging aircraft can fully perform the full range of war operations.

The emergence of a carrier-launched stealth fighter is intended to give the Navy more combat attack flexibility and an improved ability to fight sophisticated enemy air defenses from a sea-based carrier. Such an ability can allow a maneuvering carrier to hold targets at risk from closer proximity if land-bases are far from the combat vicinity. Perhaps of greatest significance, the F-35C brings stealth attack technology to the carrier flight deck for the first time, a circumstance which further enables sea-based attack operations to attack advanced enemy air defenses and function in extremely high-threat environments.

The combat ops, some of which took place off the Eastern shore of the US, heavily emphasized weapons exercises with the F-35C arsenal, which include GBU-32 and GBU-12 air-dropped bombs, AIM-120 and AIM-9x air-to-air missiles and a 25mm cannon. Several tests and assessments have also ensured pilots could properly use night-combat enabled Helmet Mounted Displays designed to provide more fidelity in “low-light” conditions such as those with little or no moonlight.

Assessments of the F-35C have also included efforts to refine a precision-landing technology called Joint Precision Approach & Landing Systems, or JPALs.

JPALS, slated to be operational by 2019, works with the GPS satellite navigation system to provide accurate, reliable and high-integrity guidance for fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft, Navy statements said.

Navy information has described JPALS as a system featuring anti-jam protection to ensure mission continuity in hostile environments.

“JPALS is a differential GPS that will provide an adverse weather precision approach and landing capability,” a Navy statement said.

With a broad wingspan, reinforced landing gear, ruggedized structures and durable coatings, the Navy's F-35C is engineered for harsh shipboard conditions. Its avionics equip the pilot with real-time, spherical access to battlespace information.

Being engineered for a carrier, the F-35C's 51-foot wingspan is larger than the Air Force's F-35A and Marine Corps' F-35B short-take-off-and-landing variants. It can fire two AIM-120 air-to-air missiles and two 2,000-pound Joint Direct Attack Munitions. The F-35C can reach speeds up to Mach 1.6 and travel more than 1,200 nautical miles, according to Navy information.

In the future, the F-35C will have an ability to drop a Small Diameter Bomb II – a high-tech weapon now in development able to track and destroy moving targets from great distances using a tri-mode seeker.

The SDB II uses millimeter wave, laser and infrared guidance technology and has now been tested on an F-35, Raytheon developers have explained.

Over the next five years, the Navy plans to acquire as many as 60 or more of the new fighters, Navy officials have told Warrior Maven.

The F-35C is engineered with a new technology called Delta Flight Path which helps pilot land on a carrier deck more easily, Pentagon F-35 developers say.

Test pilots and engineers credited the F-35C's Delta Flight Path technology with significantly reducing pilot workload during the approach to the carrier, increasing safety margins during carrier approaches and reducing touchdown dispersion.

Carrier landing is never easy as pilots must account for the wind-speed, atmospheric conditions and speed of the ship. Navy pilots have explained to Warrior Maven in previous interviews that pilots follow a yellow light on the flight deck of the ship called the Fresnel Lens to help the trajectory of the approach, called their glide slope.

In a previously released document described as the "Naval Aviation Vision," the F-35C is described as being engineered with reinforced landing gear and durable coatings to allow the F-35C to withstand harsh shipboard conditions while delivering a lethal combination of fighter capabilities to the fleet.

Prior to this Operational Testing, the aircraft has gone through several rounds of testing to advance what’s called carrier integration and carrier qualification – an effort to seamlessly integrate the new aircraft into the carrier platform and carrier air wing, service officials have explained.

By 2025, the Navy's aircraft carrier-based air wings will consist of a mix of F-35C, F/A-18E/F Super Hornets, EA-18G Growlers electronic attack aircraft, E-2D Hawkeye battle management and control aircraft, MH-60R/S helicopters and Carrier Onboard Delivery logistics aircraft such as the Navy Osprey tiltrotor aircraft variant.

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US warship sails in Sea of Japan waters claimed by Russia

A U.S. Navy warship sailed in waters claimed by Russia in the Sea of Japan on Wednesday as tensions increase over the Trump administration’s decision to withdraw from a decades-old arms control treaty.

A spokesperson for the U.S. Pacific Fleet says the guided-missile destroyer USS McCampbell sailed “in the vicinity of” Peter the Great Bay, a body of water off the Russian port city of Vladivostok, “to challenge Russia's excessive maritime claims and uphold the rights, freedoms and lawful uses of the sea enjoyed by the United States and other nations.”

Vladivostok, in Russia's far southeast, is home to the country’s Pacific Fleet. The last time the U.S. Navy sailed in the area was 1987, the same year the U.S. signed the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty with Russia. On Tuesday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the U.S. will suspend its obligations under the treaty in 60 days, and he accused Russia of "cheating" on the deal.

The U.S. has shared intelligence evidence with its NATO allies that it says shows that Russia's new SSC-8 ground-fired cruise missile could give Moscow the ability to launch a nuclear strike in Europe with little or no notice. Russia has denied the accusations.

In response, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday that Moscow would walk away from the treaty if the U.S. did the same.

The U.S. Navy is also preparing to send a warship into the Black Sea for the first time in a month to shore up support to Ukraine after Russian forces seized three Ukrainian vessels and 24 sailors aboard on Nov. 25.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Lucas Tomlinson is the Pentagon and State Department producer for Fox News Channel. You can follow him on Twitter: @LucasFoxNews

Report: Propeller blade broke, causing military plane crash

JACKSON, Miss. – Investigators say bad maintenance practices at a Georgia air force base missed a deteriorating propeller blade that broke off six years later as a U.S. Marine Corps transport plane cruised over Mississippi at 20,000 feet, causing the KC-130T to break into pieces and plunge into a soybean field, killing 15 Marines and a Navy corpsman.

The report on the causes of the July 10, 2017 crash, released Wednesday, slams "consistent production errors" at Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex in Warner Robins, Georgia, saying evidence from the crashed plane shows employees missed growing corrosion on the key propeller blade during a 2011 overhaul. The report finds workers at the base did a poor job of following the Navy's specific procedure for its propellers, in part because the vast majority of blades overhauled at the base followed different procedures. The report indicates the Air Force has now agreed to adopt the Navy's more demanding overhaul procedures for all propellers.

Military officials have known of the problems since at least September 2017 and some family members had previously indicated they knew what had happened, although they declined to discuss details. In July, just before the anniversary of the crash, Anna Johnson, the widow of crew member Gunnery Sgt. Brendan Johnson told The Associated Press that "planes don't just fall out of the sky.

"It was a grave mistake, it was an accident that was most likely preventable," Johnson said then. "I don't want their deaths to be in vain. I want something good to come of it."

The report lays out 17 recommendations to prevent a recurrence. Brig. Gen. John Kubinec, commander of the Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex, told The Telegraph of Macon that the base expects to restart propeller overhauls early next year.

"When we first heard that work done here in 2011 may have contributed to the mishap, leadership and the (propeller) shop were devastated," Kubinec said. "The first thing we did was take action to ensure that processes were in place that this wouldn't happen again. That's what our commitment has been since we first heard about it."

The report says a corrosion pit eventually developed into a crack, breaking off from the propeller closest to the fuselage on the left-hand side of the plane. A number of other propeller blades on the four-engine aircraft were also found to have corrosion. The report said investigators found a protective coating had been painted over corrosion on some blades from the plane, proving that Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex workers "failed to detect, remove and repair corrosion infected blades they purported to have overhauled."

The report said inspectors visiting the base were dismayed to find workers relying on memory for how they should conduct propeller maintenance, even though they had laptops with the correct procedures at their work stations. They also said technicians did a poor job of tracking paperwork that said who a propeller belonged to, which determined whether they were supposed to use methods for the Air Force, the Navy or P-3 surveillance planes. Plus, quality inspections did not cover "the steps regarding identification and removal of corrosion."

The Air Force doesn't know which technicians inspected the blade in 2011, though, because its previous policy was to dispose of maintenance paperwork after two years. Although the Navy had the power to audit work done by the Air Force in Georgia, the report says there's no evidence any audit ever occurred since the Navy handed off the work to the Air Force in 2009.

The report also concludes that the Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 452 at Stewart Air National Guard Base in Newburgh, New York, didn't do enough to inspect propeller blades or track maintenance records. The squadron was supposed to perform an electrical current inspection on blades any time a plane didn't fly for more than eight weeks, but did not. However, investigators said that even if maintenance workers had conducted inspections they missed, they might not have found the problem.

"It cannot be concluded with any reasonable degree of certainty that the radial crack would or would not have been detected," investigators wrote.

The blade sliced through the fuselage where passengers were sitting, lodging into the interior of the right hand side of the skin. The impact affected the drive shaft of a propeller on the right side, causing that propeller to break loose, causing it to hit the fuselage and then knock part of the stabilizer off the plane. The plane, then basically uncontrollable, broke into pieces, and the area containing passengers "explosively disintegrated."

The report says all aboard suffered "shock, disorientation, inadvertent physical responses, rapid onset of below freezing conditions and near impossible crew communication." All the men died from blunt force trauma and contusions, investigators found.

Despite speculation at the time, the report found ""no evidence of inflight fire damage or ammunition discharge."

The Navy grounded its fleet of C-130Ts until propellers are replaced, with Congress appropriating $121 million to accelerate the work. However, the aging KC-130T models like the one that crashed are being phased out. C-130s have historically been one of the military's safest aircraft.

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Follow Jeff Amy at: http://twitter.com/jeffamy .

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Johnson reported from New Orleans.

Chinese man arrested for taking pictures of US Navy base in Florida, officials say

A Chinese man who took photos of "defense installations" after trespassing onto U.S. Navy property in Florida was sentenced to 60 days in jail — but he faces the prospect of more time behind bars, federal prosecutors say.

Zhao Qianli, 20, was arrested Sept. 26 and sentenced to two months in jail for trespassing, the Miami Herald reported. The man told authorities he was “lost” and “only a dishwasher from New Jersey.”

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Prosecutors, in federal charges filed last week, said Zhao is accused “of photographing defense installations and entering military, naval or Coast Guard property.” He faces up to one year in prison if convicted. Zhao is currently in federal custody on a $250,000 bond.

Witnesses said they observed Zhao walking along the fence of the Joint Interagency Task Force South at Naval Air Station Key West on the afternoon of Sept. 26, according to an FBI criminal complaint viewed by the Miami Herald. He allegedly walked into the base from the beach at Fort Zachary Taylor State Park, which doesn’t have a gate, despite signs stating the naval base was a “restricted area.”

The complaint reportedly stated there were “numerous warnings that noted the fenced facility was a ‘military installation’ and ‘restricted area.’” The Navy said there is security along the fence.

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Zhao took photos of the building with a digital camera and a cell phone. The FBI said he entered the country legally, but his visa had expired a week before his arrest.

Kathleen Joyce is a breaking/trending news producer for FoxNews.com. You can follow her at @Kathleen_Joyce8 on Twitter.

We don’t have enough air and missile defense weapons, Pentagon says

Pentagon weapons developers and military war commanders are expressing concern that deployed forces simply do not have enough Air and Missile defense assets to meet a fast-changing threat environment involving high volumes of dangerous new enemy weapons.

“The requirements exceed the capacity we have today. When it comes to combatant commander needs for missile defense, we find out we simply do not have enough,” Brig. Gen. Clement Coward, Commander, 32nd Army Air and Missile Defense Command, told an audience at a recent Center for Strategic and International Studies event.

These threats, posed increasingly by major power competitors, include newly emerging weapons such as guided enemy cruise missiles, attack drones, ballistic missiles with maneuvering re-entry vehicles and even “boost-glide” hypersonic weapons.

“We don’t like to say we don’t have air superiority anymore, but there may be forces in locations where we do not have air superiority. We are working on an all-inclusive culture change,” Coward said.

The air and missile defense push supports rapid development of more counter-drone weapons and Short-Range-Air-Defense (SHORAD) technologies – some of which are already being engineered into Army Stryker vehicles. A key goal is to design systems, at their inception, with technologies equipped to meet drone and short-range air defense threats.

“We have to bake in requirements for counter UAS (Drones) as part of this. We cannot allow that to be a segmented problem. We are trying to get Short Range Air Defense back in the units,” said Brig. Gen. Sean Gainey, Joint Integrated Air and Missile Defense Organization Director and Deputy Director, Force Protection.

A National Defense University study, called “Joint Integrated Air and Missile Defense, “Simplifying an Increasingly Complex Problem,” details further specifics regarding new threat concerns, including the aforementioned weapons such as hypersonic threats and missiles with multiple “re-entry vehicles.”

“These threats demand a multi-layered defense to eliminate exploitable gaps between traditional IAMD (Integrated Air and Missile Defense) categories,” the paper writes.

Other concerns cited in the essay include “lethal, one-way UAS (drones as attack weapons) and long-range, large-caliber rockets equipped with terminal guidance.”

In response, both Coward and Gainey mentioned ongoing collaborative work to revamp weapons networking and integrated fire control technology.

“We are prioritizing upgrades to planned integrative fire control. We are doing a revision of joint integrated fire control across the joint force,” Gainey said.

As a way to further advance this goal, Coward and Gainey cited the example of better networking fire control systems for the PATRIOT Advanced Capability-3 and Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense interceptor missiles. While both of these systems are air and missile defense weapons, THAAD is a longer range system. Connecting radar, targeting and sensor information between these systems brings the US military services closer to the stated objective of having a multi-layered approach.

Integrated Battle Command System

This scenario, involving a specific effort to connect sensors, fire control and targeting information between “nodes” on a dispersed combat area, is what the Army’s Integrated Battle Command System is engineered to do.

IBCS uses a netted-group of integrated sensors and networking technologies to connect radar systems — such as the Sentinel — with fire-control for large interceptors such as PATRIOT and THAAD.

Synergy between nodes, using radio, LINK 16 data networks and GPS can greatly expedite multi-service coordination by passing along fast-developing threat information. IBCS, an Army program of record, uses computer-generated digital mapping to present an integrated combat picture showing threat trajectories, sensors, weapons and intercepts, senior Northrop developers told Warrior in previous interviews.

Coward cited IBCS as an example of how emerging technology is moving the military services closer to its intended objectives.

“Gives us flexibility instead of waiting on a shelter attached to a vehicle. It allows us to bring three Combatant Command needs statements together, as opposed to being stove piped,” Coward said.

In an interview with Warrior Maven, IBCS weapons developers with Northrop Grumman says that now, a Patriot missile does not have to be fired with a PATRIOT radar.

“By integrating sensors together, we can have an environment where any weapon can be used with a common sensor picture. It used to be that you could only fire a PATRIOT with a PATRIOT radar…now you do not have to have that,” Rob Jassey, Air and Missile Defense Program Manager, Northrop Grumman, told Warrior Maven.

Jassey added that, in a prior exercise, Northrop was able to use Sentinel radar maneuver sensors to provide guidance source data for a PATRIOT missile, enabling it to destroy a cruise missile target on the other side of a mountain.

“Because the low altitude trajectory of the target obscured it from the PATRIOT radar field of view, the IBCS used Sentinel composite tracking data to calculate and present the necessary engagement solution,” a Northrop statement said.

F-35 and Ballistic Missile Defense

Northrop Grumman and the Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency recently analyzed information from a previous demonstration wherein an airborne F-35 helped perform Ballistic Missile Defense missions.

The demonstration used a ground-based F-35 sensor called the Distributed Aperture System, a 360-degree camera-sensor offering F-35 pilots a real-time view surrounding the aircraft. Using a DAS-configured gateway aerial node to locate a ballistic missile launch and flight path, the technical system was able to send target-tracking information using advanced data links from the air to ground-based command and control location.

Described as multi-function array technology, the DAS system uses automated computer algorithms to organize and integrate target-relevant data from missile warning systems, radar, night vision and other long-range sensors; the array is able to track a BMD target from the air at distances up to 800 nautical miles. Such a technology, quite naturally, enables a wider sensor field with which to identify and track attacking missiles.

An airborne DAS, networked with ground-based Patriot and THAAD weapons, could offer a distinct tactical advantage when it comes to quickly locating incoming missile threats. Air sensors in particular, could be of great value given that, in some envisioned threat scenarios, it is unclear whether there would be enough interceptors to counter a massive enemy ballistic missile barrage into US or allied territories.

Regarding Coward and Gainey’s cited concerns, air based detection and target tracking, it seems, could go a long way toward better fortifying defenses – as they might increase the time envelope during which command and control could cue interceptors to locate and destroy attacking enemy missiles.

Counter Rocket Artillery and Mortar

Northrop developers are also assessing new optical sensors, passive sensors and lasers to widen the target envelope for the Army’s Counter Rocket, Artillery Mortar system such that it can destroy enemy drones, helicopters, fixed-wing aircraft and cruise missiles.

C-RAM uses sensors, radar and fire-control technology alongside a vehicle or ground-mounted 20mm Phalanx Close-in-Weapons-System able to fire 4,500 rounds per minute. The idea is to blanket an area with large numbers of small projectiles to intercept and destroy incoming artillery, rocket or mortar fire. As an area weapon, the Phalanx then fires thousands of projectiles in rapid succession to knock the threat out of the sky. Engineers are also looking at new interceptor missiles to compliment the Phalanx, Northrop developers said.

Adding new sensors and weapons to CRAM could bring nearer term improvements by upgrading an existing system currently deployed, therefore circumventing multi-year developmental efforts necessary for many acquisition programs.

CRAM is deployed at numerous Forward Operating Bases throughout Iraq and Afghanistan and the system has been credited with saving thousands of soldiers’ lives. It is now being analyzed for upgrades and improvements.

Engineers with Northrop Grumman integrate the Raytheon-built Phalanx into the C-RAM system; C-RAM was first developed and deployed to defend Navy ships at sea, however a fast-emerging need to protect soldiers on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan inspired the Army to quickly adapt the technology for use on land; C-RAM has been operational on the ground since 2005.

Ultimately, however, despite the current concerns about the US inventory of air and missile defense systems, both Crawford and Gainey were quite clear on one this – the US is right now ready to fight and defend against any attack.

“There is a lot of effort that goes into getting ready for the fight tonight. We do have capacity for that type of threat. With the joint force, we have alleviated a lot of the threat gaps in the PACOM AOR (Pacific Area of Responsibility),” Gainey said.

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Washington to pay respects, bid farewell to George H.W. Bush

HOUSTON – George H.W. Bush is set to embark on his final tour of Washington as a nation prepares to bid farewell to its 41st president.

His remains will arrive in Washington on Monday, and he will lie in state at the Capitol through Wednesday. An invitation-only funeral service is set for Wednesday at Washington National Cathedral, to be attended by President Donald Trump and other dignitaries.

Bush will then be returned to Houston for burial Thursday at his presidential library at Texas A&M University.

He will be laid to rest alongside Barbara Bush, his wife of 73 years who died in April, and Robin Bush, the daughter who died of leukemia at age 3.

Bush was president from 1989 to 1993. He died Friday in Houston at age 94.

US Navy commissions new destroyer Thomas Hudner in Boston

BOSTON – The U.S. Navy on Saturday commissioned its newest guided-missile destroyer, named for a Navy pilot from Massachusetts who received the Medal of Honor for his actions during the Korean War.

Much of the commissioning ceremony for the USS Thomas Hudner, held in Boston, paid tribute to the late Thomas Hudner. He was a Fall River native and longtime Concord resident who was awarded the Medal of Honor by President Harry Truman for crash-landing his plane to try to save the life of Ensign Jesse Brown, who was trapped behind enemy lines during the Battle of Chosin Reservoir in December 1950.

Brown was shot down and trapped in his burning plane. Hudner intentionally crash-landed in freezing temperatures, packed the fuselage with snow using his bare hands to keep the flames away from Brown, and tried unsuccessfully to pull his squadron-mate free.

U.S. Navy Cmdr. Brett Litchfield said at Saturday's ceremony that the destroyer's crew will strive to exemplify Hudner's selfless devotion to his shipmate.

"In that same spirit, this ship will sail the oceans, often alone. It will stand vigilant against those who would threaten democracy and freedom," he told the crowd. "This crew is honored to serve on a ship that bears his name."

Hudner died last November at age 93. However, he lived to personally attend the April 2017 christening ceremony at Bath Iron Works in Bath, Maine for the massive Arleigh Burke-class destroyer that bears his name.

On Saturday, Hudner's widow Georgea and Barbara Miller, wife of retired Vice Adm. Michael Miller, had the honors of ordering the crew to "man our ship and bring her to life." Within seconds, the crew members rushed aboard, taking their positions along the decks of the ship as the U.S. Navy's march song "Anchors Aweigh" was performed.

The destroyer will be homeported at Naval Station Mayport, Florida. The Navy said the USS Thomas Hudner is capable of engaging in air, surface and subsurface battles simultaneously. It also has integrated air and missile defense capabilities.