September 23, 2016

News Briefs – September 23, 2016

Military leaders from 106 countries meet in Rhode Island

Senior military representatives from more than 100 countries have gathered in Rhode Island to talk about ways to address shared challenges and threats.
The U.S. chief of naval operations is hosting the 22nd International Seapower Symposium Sept. 21-23 at the U.S. Naval War College in Newport. About 500 people from 106 countries are attending.
The group includes leaders from more than half the navies in the world, according to the college.
Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson welcomed the group Wednesday, telling them the fundamental purpose for the meeting is to communicate with each other. He said the forum is needed now more than ever.
“We’re all here to build, expand and strengthen our individual and collective network of partnerships,” he said. “I would propose that in an increasingly crowded maritime environment, in a world in which the pace of operations is increasing rapidly, it’s tremendously important that we build the trust and confidence across our navies. It’s far better, when a crisis emerges, that we can exercise and mitigate the crisis based on a foundation of trust and a relationship that’s mature.”
Collaboration among navies ensures their collective security and stability, he added.
The group plans to discuss collective maritime operations, cyber security and the importance of international norms and standards, among other topics. Richardson said he had already heard that two international Navy commanders who were chatting informally at the start of the symposium are now planning an exercise together.
U.S. Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus said navies in attendance have already worked together to combat terrorism, deter piracy and stop weapons proliferation and illicit trafficking. He reiterated that a “global network of navies” is best suited to deter, and respond to, crises.
“The world is a more secure and a more prosperous place because of the partnerships we build here,” he said. AP

Obama touts U.S. military aid in meeting with Netanyahu

President Barack Obama says a $38 billion U.S. military assistance deal for Israel will ensure that Israel’s military has the full capabilities it needs during a time of great uncertainty.
Obama is meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in New York. It’s expected to be their final meeting before Obama leaves office in January.
Obama says Netanyahu has “always been candid” with the U.S.
The president made only a passing reference to Israeli settlement construction as reporters were allowed in briefly for the start of their meeting.
Netanyahu says Israelis will never give up on the goal of peace. He says Obama will continue to be an influential voice after he leaves office. AP

Russia to send its aircraft carrier to eastern Mediterranean

The Russian navy will send its sole aircraft carrier to the eastern Mediterranean as part of Moscow’s efforts to reaffirm its influence in Syria and showcase its resurgent military might.
Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Sept. 23 that the Admiral Kuznetsov will sail to the eastern Mediterranean to join other Russian ships in the area. He didn’t specify when the carrier will be deployed, but Russian media have earlier reported that the mission was planned for the fall.
The Soviet-built Admiral Kuznetsov, the only aircraft carrier in the Russian navy, has recently been re-equipped with new Su-33 and MiG-29K fighter jets. It carries about 40 aircraft and is smaller than U.S. aircraft carriers.
The ship is based in Sevoromorsk on the Kola Peninsula and is part of the Russian navy’s Northern Fleet.
Russia has waged a year-long military campaign in Syria that has shored up President Bashar Assad and allowed his troops to seize some key ground. Last week, Moscow and Washington brokered a cease-fire in Syria, which is now teetering on the brink of collapse amid renewed fighting and Monday’s attack on a humanitarian convoy.
Since Moscow launched its air campaign in Syria on Sept. 30, 2015, the military has used it to test its latest jets and missiles. In a demonstration of its new precision strike capability, Russian strategic bombers, surface ships and a submarine have repeatedly launched cruise missiles at targets in Syria.
By sending the Admiral Kuznetsov to Syria’s shores, Russia would significantly beef up its forces there. It would also give the military a chance to test its carrier-born aircraft in combat for the first time. AP

U.S. flies bombers over South Korea again in show of force

The United States has flown a pair of supersonic bombers over ally South Korea for the second time in as many weeks in a show of force following North Korea’s latest nuclear test earlier this month.
U.S. Forces Korea said Sept. 21 that one of the two B-1B bombers landed at Osan Air Base, 120 kilometers (75 miles) from the border with North Korea, but did not say when it will return to the Andersen Air Force Base in Guam.
Such flyovers are common when animosity rises on the Korean Peninsula, which is technically in a state of war because the 1950-53 Korean War ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty. The United States also flew two B-1B bombers over South Korea last Sept. 14. AP

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