World

August 6, 2012

News Briefs – August 6, 2012

Senator ends hold on Air Force chief nomination

A Republican senator has ended his hold on the White House pick for Air Force chief of staff over the service’s response to a widening sex scandal at a Texas base.

In a statement Aug. 2, Sen. John Cornyn of Texas said he had met with Gen. Mark Welsh and was pleased with his commitment to investigate.

Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, is the site for basic training for all Air Force recruits. It has been rocked by scandal stemming from accusations of sexual assault.

Lackland has about 500 instructors for some 35,000 airmen who graduate every year. One in five recruits is female, while most instructors are male. AP

 

Southern California Marine base wants to claim off-road valley

A plan to expand a Mojave Desert Marine base would engulf a beloved off-road recreation area.

The Riverside Press-Enterprise says the Navy issued an environmental impact statement that recommends adding some 146,000 acres of Johnson Valley to the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center at Twentynine Palms.

That’s about two-thirds of the valley, which currently is the largest off-road vehicle recreation area in the nation.

The Marine Corps says it needs to expand to permit live-fire maneuvers to train larger forces.

Off-road enthusiasts say it would reduce access to an area that draws about 200,000 visitors a year and hosts the popular King of the Hammers race.

The California Off-Road Vehicle Association plans to protest the proposal. Congress will make the ultimate decision. AP

 

Australia rejects proposal to host U.S. carrier

Australia has rejected a proposal by a Washington think tank to base a nuclear aircraft carrier strike group on Australia’s west coast as part of a shift of U.S. military might to the Asia-Pacific region.

A Pentagon-commissioned report by the Center for Strategic and International Studies on repositioning U.S. forces in the region suggested relocating an aircraft carrier from the U.S. East Coast to an Australian naval base south of the city of Perth.

But Defense Minister Stephen Smith said Aug. 2 that while negotiations were under way to increase U.S. navy access to Australia’s Indian Ocean base, HMAS Stirling, it would never become a U.S. military base. AP

 

Man pleads guilty in illegal China exports case

A man accused of trying to buy sophisticated military equipment to send to China has pleaded guilty to a federal charge in San Diego. Calif.

U-T San Diego reports Chi Tong Kuok entered a plea Tuesday to conspiracy to violate export laws. Under a plea deal, he’ll face no more than 46 months in prison.

A previous conviction and eight-year sentence were overturned. A federal appeals court said Kuok should have been allowed to put on a defense that the Chinese government forced him to seek the equipment.

Prosecutors claimed that Kuok tried for several years to obtain GPS, communications and other equipment used by the U.S. military that cannot be exported without a license. The investigation began in 2006 and involved a Carlsbad company. Kuok was arrested in 2009. AP




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Saudi Arabia becomes world’s biggest defense importer

Saudi Arabia has passed India to become the world’s biggest arms importer last year as concerns about Iran’s ambitions increase tensions in the Middle East. Saudi spending rose 54 percent to $6.5 billion last year, while India imported $5.8 billion, according to data released Sunday by IHS, a leading analyst of the global arms trade....
 
 

China defense spending to grow 10.1 percent in 2015

China said March 5 it will boost defense spending by 10.1 percent, a smaller rise than last year but in line with large annual increases that have drawn concern among the country’s neighbors over Beijing’s military and territorial ambitions. Beijing says the higher spending is needed to modernize equipment and improve conditions for the 2.3...
 
 

Kremlin pursues military modernization despite economic woes

Hundreds of new Russian aircraft, tanks and missiles are rolling off assembly lines. Russian jets roar through European skies under NATO’s wary eye. Tens of thousands of troops take part in war games showing off the military’s readiness for all-out war. The muscle flexing suggests that Russia’s economic woes so far are having no impact...
 

 

Ukraine plans $3 billion boost to defense spending

KIEV, Ukraine – Ukraine’s president announced plans Aug. 24 to boost his country’s defense spending by an estimated 50 percent as government forces seek to overpower pro-Russian separatists in the east. President Petro Poroshenko pledged to spend an extra 40 billion hryvnia ($3 billion) by 2017 during a speech marking Ukraine’s independence from the Soviet...
 
 

Iran unveils new short-range missiles, drones

Iran unveiled a new generation of short-range marine missiles and aerial drones Aug. 24, as President Hassan Rouhani said its military doctrine was based on deterring and countering threats from unnamed foreign powers. The official IRNA news agency said the Ghadir missile, with a range of 100 kilometers (62 miles), is designed to destroy marine...
 
 

NATO ups military presence amid Russian threat

NATO is strengthening its military footprint along its eastern border immediately in response to Russia’s aggression in Ukraine, the alliance’s chief said April 16. Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said NATO’s air policing aircraft will fly more sorties over the Baltic region west of Ukraine, far from the tensions in the eastern part of the...
 




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