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August 28, 2014

U.S., Chinese to Meet at Pentagon

Reuters reports that “U.S. and Chinese military officials will hold talks on rules of behavior at the Pentagon on Tuesday and Wednesday, a U.S. official said, days after the United States denounced a “dangerous” Chinese jet intercept of a U.S. Navy patrol plane.”

“Last Tuesday, a Chinese fighter pilot flew acrobatic maneuvers around the U.S. Navy’s P-8 Poseidon anti-submarine and reconnaissance plane, crossing over and under it in international airspace over the South China Sea, the Pentagon said.”

“At one point, the jet flew wingtip-to-wingtip about 10 yards (9 meters) from the Poseidon, then performed a barrel roll over the top of it. The U.S. defense official said other close intercepts occurred in March, April and May.”

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What Has the U.S. Hit in Iraq?

The Washington Post reports: “The United States is closing in on its 100th airstrike in Iraq since Aug. 8, when President Obama authorized military action against a variety of militant targets affiliated with the Islamic State. The details have come in news releases issued nearly every day since, incremental reminders that the U.S. military is waging a new war with no end in sight.”

“What has been hit, though? As the strikes continue, grasping the totality has become increasingly difficult. To get a better handle on it, Checkpoint compiled a spreadsheet — available in Google Docs here — breaking down all of the targets as U.S. Central Command has described them.”

Congress Wants Vote on US Military Action Against ISIS

Fox News reports that “President Obama and military leaders are weighing a host of factors as they consider expanding airstrikes into Syria, including the Assad regime’s demand to seek permission first and warnings that the strikes could trigger ISIS retaliation.”

“But they soon could face another complication: Congress.”

“With Congress set to return early next month, influential lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have urged the administration to seek an up-or-down vote on military action in the region.”

Boeing Commercial Crew Program Completes Critical Design and Safety Reviews

Boeing recently completed the Phase Two Spacecraft Safety Review of its Crew Space Transportation (CST)-100 spacecraft and the Critical Design Review (CDR) of its integrated systems, meeting all of the company’s Commercial Crew Integrated Capability (CCiCap) milestones on time and on budget.


Photo credit: Boeing

Completed in July, the CDR milestone marks a significant step in reaching the ultimate design that will be used for the spacecraft, launch vehicle and related systems. Propulsion, software, avionics, landing, power and docking systems were among 44 individual CDRs conducted as part of the broader review.

The CST-100 is being developed as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, which aims to make crew transportation systems available for low-Earth orbit destinations such as the International Space Station by 2017. The capsule could accommodate up to seven crew members or a mix of crew and cargo and features a weld less structure, wireless internet and Boeing LED “Sky Lighting” technology.

The Phase Two Spacecraft Safety Review included an overall hazard analysis of the spacecraft, identifying life-threatening situations and ensuring that the current design mitigated any safety risks.

Watch this video on America’s first space taxi:

More information about the future of human space exploration can be found at

Rubio Talks Military While Supporting SC Republicans

The Charlotte Observer reports on Florida Sen. Marco Rubio visit to support South Carolina Republicans: “On foreign policy, Rubio echoed previous comments by Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., deploring cuts to the American military.”

“‘When America steps back from the national stage, it is chaos,’ Rubio said, adding that international conflicts need reasoned intervention. ‘Does that mean that we should be involved in every conflict? Of course not. … Only America can play that role. In the absence of us playing that role, no one does, and crisis ensues.’”

Army Holds Closed-Door Debates Over HQ Cuts, Strategy

Army Times reports that “to map deep cuts throughout Army headquarters, or decide any other thorny issue facing the service, the Army’s top leadership has launched a new weekly power huddle at the Pentagon.”

“Spearheaded by Army Undersecretary Brad Carson, a former Oklahoma congressman and Army general counsel who took office in March, the forum is called the Army Management Action Group, or AMAG. Carson, in an Aug. 5 interview with Army Times, described how strategic budget decisions are being made, and how they could fundamentally reshape the force.”

“Carson and former Vice Chief of Staff Gen. John Campbell have run the AMAG to help guide senior leader decisions. The No. 2 general and his civilian counterpart field advice from Army Secretary John McHugh and Army Chief of Staff Raymond Odierno, and present information back to them for their final decisions, making it a two-way street.”

U.S. Military Destroys Hypersonic Weapon

The Guardian reports that “a hypersonic weapon being developed by the US military was destroyed four seconds after its launch from a test range in Alaska early on Monday after controllers detected a problem with the aircraft, the Pentagon said.”

“The craft was destroyed to ensure public safety, and no one was injured in the incident, which occurred shortly after 4am ET (8am GMT) at the Kodiak Launch Complex in Alaska, said Maureen Schumann, a spokeswoman for the US Defense Department.”

Singing Torpedoes to Sleep

Nixie, a siren-like creature of European legends, is said to sing a sweet song that entrances listeners and lures them away. Boeing’s modern-day ‘Nixie,’ or the AN/SLQ-25, sings its sweet lullaby confusing the torpedo’s sensors as it mimics the acoustic signature of the surface ship it protects. As the torpedo is lured away from the ship and its crew, it falls into a peaceful slumber at the bottom of the sea as its fuel is depleted.

Boeing subsidiary Argon ST has been providing navies around the world with the Nixie surface ship torpedo defense system for more than a decade, delivering more than 400 systems to the US Navy and coalition partners worldwide. This summer, the company enters a new chapter in producing high-end acoustics and anti-submarine warfare capabilities by bringing production of the voice of the Nixie system, the singing towed counter measure, in-house for the first time.

With this move, Argon ST expands into a whole new line of work to support Nixie customers with additional towed body repair capabilities and modernization of existing devices. In addition to opening doors to new innovation of the Nixie system through enhancements to the towed acoustics counter measure, the company is better positioned to expand system capabilities to new sensor payloads beyond torpedo defense to meet future customer and mission requirements.

Find out more about Nixie system’s potentially life-saving noise in this video:

U.S. Prepares for Possible Syrian Strike

The Wall St. Journal reports that “the Pentagon is preparing to send surveillance aircraft, including drones, into Syrian airspace to gather intelligence on Islamist targets, laying the groundwork for a possible expansion of the limited U.S. military air campaign beyond Iraq, senior U.S. officials said.”

“The decision amounts to an acknowledgment that U.S. intelligence-collection efforts must be expanded to provide a better picture of the threat posed by the group calling itself the Islamic State, which holds large swaths of Syrian and Iraqi territory. It is also one of the first tangible signs that the Obama administration may be preparing for military operations in Syria against the group, which is also known as ISIS.”

“The U.S. military’s Central Command, which oversees American operations in the region, requested more surveillance aircraft, including drones, to gather more intelligence on potential Islamic State targets, and officials said they could start flying missions over eastern Syria shortly.”

Dempsey Says U.S. Will Act if Threatened by Islamic Group

The Associated Press reports that “Gen. Martin Dempsey said Sunday that once he determines that the Islamic State militants in Iraq have become a direct threat to the U.S. homeland or Europe, he will recommend the U.S. military move directly against the group in Syria.”

“But the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said that right now, he still believes the insurgent group is still more a regional threat and is not plotting or planning attacks against either the U.S. or Europe.”

“Speaking on a military plane en route to Afghanistan, Dempsey provided more detail into his thinking about the Islamic militants who have stormed across Iraq, operating out of safe havens in Syria.”

USAF Chief Says to Plan on Additional Integration of Guard, Active

Defense News reports that “the US Air Force’s top uniformed official expects to see the lines between the active, guard and reserve components continue to come down as the service looks for ways to operate effectively under limited budgets.”

“’If we can become more efficient as an Air Force without losing operational capability, by putting more things in the air guard and reserve component, then why wouldn’t we?’ Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh said Saturday at the 136th General Conference of the National Guard Association of the United States (NGAUS).”

“The conference, held this year in Chicago, brought together around 4,000 members of the Guard, including large numbers of Adjutants General (TAGs), the head of the guard for each state.”

Soaring the skies for more than 500,000 flight hours

It’s time to celebrate – U.S. Navy T-45 Training Air Wing One stationed at Naval Air Station (NAS) Meridian, Miss. hit the 500,000 flight hour milestone this summer.

Keeping aircraft in the sky for 500,000 flight hours is quite the accomplishment for Training Air Wing One. Reaching this milestone requires a continuous partnership between the U.S. Navy and Boeing to ensure fleet readiness.

This relationship stretches back to 1997, when the first T-45C was delivered to NAS Meridian. The T-45C has been flown by Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and allied pilots during their advanced training at NAS Meridian since then and will continue to be flown into the foreseeable future.

The 500,000th-flight-hour award was presented by Boeing at a winging ceremony to U.S. Navy Capt. Brian Goszkowicz and the student and instructor pilots who were aboard multiple airborne T-45C aircraft when the milestone was reached at NAS Meridian.

The journey continues for these pilots, students and operators as they strive to reach the next 500,000th flight hour milestone with the support of all involved.

t45 goshawk

Photo credit: Boeing

Sailors Gain Higher Rank Faster with Higher Ed Degree

Navy Times reports that “sailors with degrees are making rank faster than their peers each and every cycle, outpacing them because of extra advancement points from their degrees plus the benefits of more education, like better study habits.”

“In ratings where advancement chances are slim, the few points earned from having a degree is enough to make the difference for hundreds of sailors every cycle, new advancement data reveal. Earning a degree — or just studying for one, Navy officials say — gives sailors an advancement edge.”

Congress Members Urge U.S. Military Action

The Voice of America reports that “the U.S. Congress is in recess and members are scattered across the country in their home districts.”

“But a number of congressional leaders appeared on Sunday talk shows to voice alarm about the threat posed by the Islamic State militant group in the wake of the brutal murder of American journalist James Foley.”

“The Republican chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, Michael McCaul that the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, presents the greatest threat the world has seen since the September 11th terrorist attacks of 2001.”

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