News Briefs – June 24, 2016


Interview: NATO military chief says national forces key

BYDGOSZCZ, Poland–NATO’s top military officer says the alliance’s upcoming summit should send a message to member states that the prime responsibility of defending their countries lies with their national troops.
Gen. Petr Pavel, chairman of NATO’s Military Committee, said June 23 that the alliance has the “strength and the determination to cope with the challenges presented by Russia,” but the first to respond to a crisis will always be the forces of the nation affected.
Pavel told The Associated Press that NATO’s ability to act swiftly and defend its members shouldn’t be underestimated, but also admitted that Russia has the advantage of quick, centralized decision-making.
He spoke after an exercise that tested the alliance’s ability to cooperate in IT, and ahead of a NATO summit to be held in Poland July 8-9. AP

Egypt gets its first French Mistral-class helicopter carrier

Egypt has received the first of two French-made, Mistral-class helicopter carriers purchased last year in an effort to upgrade its navy.
The carrier sailed June 23 into Egypt’s port city of Alexandria, where a ceremony was held. The vessel has been christened Gamal Abdel-Nasser after Egypt’s nationalist president during the 1950s and 1960s.
The second, identical vessel will arrive in September. Cairo is said to be planning to purchase Russian assault helicopters for the ships.
Egypt is trying to boost its military, including the navy, and play a more assertive role in the turbulent Middle East. It has purchased 24 French Rafale warplanes, beefing up its air force which has mostly relied on U.S.-made F-16 fighter-jets.
Egypt receives an annual $1.3 billion in U.S. aid, primarily used to purchase arms. AP

Vermont town won’t be a plaintiff in F-35 lawsuit

Officials in South Burlington, Vt., have decided to support a lawsuit against the U.S. Air Force regarding F-35 fighter jets — but not by joining the case.
The city council voted June 22 that the city will seek to make a statement in the form of an amicus brief.
The Burlington Free Press reports this will offer the city’s perspective without directly involving it in the lawsuit. It’s unknown if the judge will accept the entry to the suit.
The suit claims the Air Force underestimated the level of noise caused by F-35 jets flying overhead, and their potential negative impact on health and local property values.
Air Force officials have said they expect Vermont’s first F-35 will land at the Vermont Air National Guard base at Burlington International Airport in 2019. AP