Military News

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Trilateral Cooperation Needed to Combat North Korean Threat



By Jim Garamone DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Oct. 31, 2017 — The world is united against North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats and nations are working together to counter the dangers of Kim Jong Un’s ambitions, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said Oct. 29 following the trilateral military meeting with South Korean and Japanese leaders.

Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford hosted his counterparts -- South Korean Air Force Gen. Jeong Kyeong-doo, chairman of the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force Adm. Katsutoshi Kawano, Japan Self-Defense Force chief of staff -- in trilateral talks at U.S. Pacific Command headquarters in Hawaii that focused narrowly on the threat posed by North Korea.

The chairman said the first thing the three military leaders did was establish a baseline of the threat. “One of the first discussions we had was on how we see [North Korea],” Dunford said to reporters traveling with him. “We have a common understanding of the challenge. As military leaders we have a common understanding about the coherent, collective response to that challenge. What we try to do is find ways to enhance our collective abilities.”

Trilateral, Multilateral Cooperation

To combat North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats, the military leaders agreed the nations need to work together both on a trilateral basis and in multilateral efforts. “That includes missile defense and any planning and focus on the nuclear threat posed by North Korea,” Dunford said.

South Korean leaders agreed, saying that trilateral cooperation is a proper response for missile defense and the nuclear threat. For ballistic missile defense, time is of the essence. Good communications among the nations is crucial to safeguarding the people of the region and the United States.

This was the fifth trilateral meeting since 2014, and cooperation has been easier each time, defense officials said. “Essentially, in the next year the chiefs of defense agreed to improve ballistic missile defenses, all wrapped up with better sharing of data, and to conduct routine exercises to ensure we have a coherent collective response to ballistic missile defense,” Dunford said.

The three leaders agreed to meet twice in the coming year.

“We had discussions two years ago about ballistic missile defense and information sharing and since then we have done a number of exercises and improved trilateral ballistic missile defense capability over the past two years,” Dunford said. “We talked about information sharing and we actually now have links to be able to provide information across the three countries in a much more effective way.”

Kim Jong Un tested intercontinental ballistic missiles in July -- alleging that the missiles can reach “anywhere in the world” -- and detonated a nuclear device Sept. 3. Two intermediate range missiles overflew Japan on Aug. 29 and Sept. 15. Kim has threatened to launch and detonate a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific, and world leaders must treat that threat as credible, defense officials have said.

Successful ballistic missile defense needs to have the United States, South Korea and Japan sharing information and intelligence quickly, and the three leaders promised to do so.

Japan Critical to Response

“If we do have to respond [to North Korea] militarily, Japan is a critical platform from which the United States is going to meet its alliance commitments to [South] Korea,” Dunford said. “We have more than 50,000 forces in Japan. It is a platform from which we project power in a South Korean response. So the military relationship between South Korea and Japan is very important.”

But multilateralism has additional uses, the chairman said, including maritime interdiction operations, humanitarian assistance and disaster response exercises and anti-submarine warfare. Nations in the region are concerned about the North Korean threat and will work with South Korea, Japan, the United States and others to enforce United Nations Security Council resolutions and the sanctions they impose on the Kim regime, Dunford said.

During the trilateral meeting, the military leaders discussed where already-planned U.S. Pacific Command exercises can be leveraged to improve multilateral capability in the region.

Pacom is part of a broader, regional meeting of chiefs of defense, where leaders discuss the full range of defense issues in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.

“It is important that Japanese and South Korean military leaders are talking. From a deterrence perspective it is important that Kim Jong Un and [North Korea] see that they are facing a collective response from the international community, in particular those nations most affected,” Dunford said.

The chairman said the military-to-military relationship between Korean and Japanese forces is professional, but acknowledged that there are challenges that must be worked out.

Defeating the threat is tough, he said. The preferred solution is that Kim Jong Un realize the error of his ways and he steps away from nuclear and missile technology, Dunford said, adding that United Nations sanctions need time to bite, and perhaps that will convince the North Korean leader.

But ensuring defense also takes time, the chairman said. “You have to ensure that the path of capability development is on the ascent,” he said.

“From year to year, it is hard to measure incremental increases in capability development, but now I am able to look back over the two years that we’ve been meeting and I feel pretty good about it,” Dunford said. “We’ve put in place material changes to our ability to respond.”

Mattis: Military Force Authorizations Remain Sound



By Terri Moon Cronk DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Oct. 30, 2017 — The 2001 and 2002 Authorizations for Use of Military Force remain sound bases for ongoing U.S. military operations against the mutating threat of terrorism fueled by extremism aimed at innocents around the globe, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said on Capitol Hill this evening.

Appearing with State Secretary Rex Tillerson before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Mattis testified on use of the AUMFs, under which the U.S. military has been operating since the bills were passed in 2001 and 2002.

In the aftermath of the deadly 9/11 attack on the United States, and to prevent future acts of international terrorism against the nation, Congress passed the 2001 AUMF, finding the president has, “’authority under the Constitution to take action to deter and prevent acts of international terrorism against the United States,” Mattis said, quoting the authority.

The 2002 AUMF gives the president authority to, “’defend the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq,’” he again quoted.

Previous administrations have cited the statutory authorities to address the threats posed by terrorist groups in Iraq and Syria, the secretary said, noting that historically, “it lies firmly within any president’s constitutional authority and responsibility as the elected commander-in-chief to designate who presents a threat to our country.”

And to date, he added, the Article II authority, reinforced by the 2001 and 2002 AUMFs, has been used to take action against al-Qaida, the Taliban, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria and associated forces.

Congressional Support

“Though a statement of continued Congressional support would be welcome,” Mattis said, “a new AUMF is not legally required to address the continuing threat posed by al-Qaida, the Taliban and ISIS.”

Article II of the Constitution and both AUMFs, “provide safe, sufficient legal authority for us to engage and defeat the current threat -- which we are doing by working by, with and through our allies and partners,” Mattis said.

“Any new Congressional expression of unity, whether or not an AUMF, would present a strong statement to the world of America’s determination, demonstrating – as Sen. [Tim] Kaine has stated,” the secretary said, ‘an important message of resolve to the American public and our troops that we stand behind them in their mission.’”

A New AUMF

The secretary emphasized that to successfully prosecute the counterterrorism campaign, any debate on a new or revised AUMF must contain three factors:

First, he said, the two AUMFs should not be repealed, and after several court cases and debates, all three branches of government seem to agree that both have sufficient authority to prosecute operations against al-Qaida, the Taliban, and ISIS.

“Repealing the 2001 and 2002 AUMFs would only cause unnecessary policy and legal uncertainty, which could lead to additional litigation and public doubt.”

Further, such repeals would signal our enemies and allies we are backing away from the fight, Mattis said.

“It would stall our operations, immediately reduce allied commitments and support, and create significant opportunities for our enemies to seize the initiative,” he said.

Repeals of the AUMFs without new authorities would also deprive the U.S. of the ability to detain dangerous enemy combatants who could be released to fight again, the secretary added.

Second, a new AUMF cannot be time-restricted, the defense secretary said.

“We cannot put a firm timeline on conflict against an adaptive enemy who would hope that we haven’t the will to fight as long as necessary,” Mattis testified. “Instead, we must recognize that we are in an era of frequent skirmishing and we are more likely to end this fight sooner if we don’t tell our adversary the day we intend to stop fighting.”

A conditions-based AUMF would not lessen Congress’ authority, and the purse strings lie in Congress’ hands if the executive branch “does not present a persuasive case for continuing the campaign,” he said.

And finally, a new AUMF cannot be geographically constrained, the defense secretary said.

“As has been stated, these are not traditional threats,” Mattis said. “This is a fight against a transnational enemy, one that does not respect international borders and does not place geographic limits on their areas of operations. So, necessarily, to defend our country, we must be prepared to swiftly engage this global enemy in conjunction with our allies and partners..”

“As as our troops on the battlefield carry out the last 300 meters of American foreign policy to protect our way of life,” he said, “I ask Congress for your continued support and commitment to ensure we retain the necessary authorities to take our own side in this fight.”

Dawn Blitz 2017 Sets Standard for Amphibious Capabilities



By Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Jason Graham, Expeditionary Strike Group 3

MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif., Oct. 31, 2017 — Dawn Blitz, an exercise designed to train and integrate Navy and Marine Corps units in planning for and establishing expeditionary advanced bases, executing an amphibious assault, engaging in live-fire events and integrating fifth-generation aviation capabilities in a land and maritime threat environment to test new integration and concepts of operation concluded here yesterday.

This year's exercise culminated a year's worth of effort by the 1st Marine Expeditionary Brigade and Expeditionary Strike Group 3 staffs. In addition to the 1st MEB and ESG 3, participants included U.S. 3rd Fleet, the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit, Destroyer Squadron 21, the amphibious assault ship USS Essex, the amphibious transport dock USS Anchorage, the dock landing ship USS Rushmore, the guided missile destroyer USS Wayne E. Meyer and Coastal Riverine Group 1. With supporting elements, seven ships and 33 aircraft made the exercise possible, officials said.

A key focus was integration between the Navy and Marine Corps to establish a powerful maritime force capable of meeting modern threats, exercise officials said, adding that the team examined the composite warfare construct and other command-and-control arrangements to promote unity of effort in littoral warfare.

Power Projection on Tomorrow's Battlefield

"The amphibious force integration we've seen here at Dawn Blitz and the experimentation and innovation that's been conducted, further informs how we might establish sea control and power projection on tomorrow's battlefield," said Marine Corps Col. Chandler Nelms, the Dawn Blitz amphibious force's deputy commander, land warfare commander and also commanding officer of 13th MEU.

In this year's scenario, Dawn Blitz began when the United Nations issued a Security Council resolution prompting the United States to deploy at the request of a partner nation alongside other coalition members to restore the internationally recognized borders of a fictional country. The scenario's sequence of events was designed to provide realistic, relevant training to integrate forces in new ways, critical to maritime power projection, officials said.

As the exercise progressed, units demonstrated the ability to establish expeditionary advanced bases here and on San Clemente Island through tactical insertion of ground forces. The scalable EABs provided warfare commanders alternative options that enabled maneuver capabilities in the littoral environment, officials explained.

Marines and sailors established two EAB forward arming and refueling points, or FARPs. In one scenario, the FARP serviced both Navy and Marine Corps aircraft. In the other, the FARP provided the commanders with a secure location to service aircraft supporting operations in the deep fight.

Navy Expeditionary Combat Command Pacific forces from the Coastal Riverine Force, Seabees and explosive ordnance disposal participated on San Clemente Island to augment EAB operations as an adaptive-force package. The NECC forces conducted events in support of live airfield damage repair, expeditionary mine countermeasures and the amphibious assault landing.

High Mobility Artillery Rocket System

For the first time, the blue-green team validated that they could launch a High Mobility Artillery Rocket System from a Navy ship and hit a target 70 kilometers -- about 43 and a half miles -- away. Exercise officials said the proof of concept with the HIMARS as a sea-based fires alternative afloat provides warfare commanders greater flexibility when conducting precision strikes.

To further capitalize on the HIMARS capabilities, Marines and sailors transported the weapons system to an EAB in a hypothetical island chain. There, the HIMARS could be used in a sea-denial role in support of naval shipping transiting a narrow strait.

The simulated strait transit allowed the strike group to practice using integrated force-protection measures and maneuvering together though restricted waters where ships can be vulnerable.

Throughout Dawn Blitz, the F-35B Lightning II joint strike fighter supported operations across four of the six functions of Marine aviation: electronic warfare, aerial reconnaissance, anti-air warfare, and offensive air support. The F-35B was the force's deep strike capability, and, for the first time, it successfully integrated with the sea-based HIMARS during the combined-arms strike.

Navy Medicine also achieved milestones by establishing Role 2 surgical capabilities across the amphibious force. Historically, only the largest ship in an amphibious ready group has an embarked fleet surgical team, making it the only ship with surgical capability.

Rising Demand

"The demand signal for mobile Role 2 care has risen over the past decade, both from the missions that are requested of the deploying [amphibious ready group], and also by the nature of ARG deployments, which are increasingly disaggregated in which the ships operate far from each other and therefore can't rely on the [landing helicopter dock] for surgical support," Navy Cmdr. Robert Staten, officer in charge of Fleet Surgical Team 9, explained.

The addition of Role 2 coverage on each of the two smaller ships provided an innovative capability along with the opportunity to experiment bringing that echelon of care ashore following an amphibious assault, he added.

The culminating training event of Dawn Blitz occurred Oct. 27, when U.S. Navy's Assault Craft Unit 5, Beach Master Unit 1, U.S. Marine Corps' 1st Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, and Japan Ground Self-Defense Force infantry soldiers led an assault on Camp Pendleton's Red Beach. Eighteen amphibious assault vehicles and six air-cushioned landing craft landed on the beach for additional training ashore, and to establish the final EAB.

"Our sailors and embarked Marines displayed exceptional professionalism and warfighting readiness in the execution of the amphibious assault," said Navy Capt. Patrick Foege, commander of Amphibious Squadron 1. "The ARG/MEU performed as a cohesive, single entity, demonstrating the inherent mobility and operational flexibility that this integrated naval force brings to the combatant commanders."