News Briefs – November 9, 2018


Minsk warns against U.S. base in Poland, nixes Russian base

MINSK, Belarus–The leader of Belarus has warned his nation would have to beef up its weapons arsenals if the United States sets up a military base in Poland.
Commenting Nov. 6 on Poland’s proposal to host a U.S. base, President Alexander Lukashenko said it would force Belarus to commission new missiles.
But he also reaffirmed that Belarus doesn’t need a Russian military base.
Lukashenko, who has been in power since 1994, has maintained close political, economic and military ties with Moscow. Belarus relies on cheap Russian oil and billions of dollars in loans to keep its Soviet-style economy afloat.
Russia has a military early warning radar and a navy communications facility in Belarus, but Lukashenko has resisted Kremlin pressure to host a Russian air base. Lukashenko insisted Tuesday the base was unnecessary. AP

NATO hopeful Macedonia displays military to alliance

Senior NATO officials are in Macedonia to attend military demonstrations and meet top defense officials in the former Yugoslav republic that is hoping to become the 30th member of the alliance next year.
The visiting delegation is headed by U.S. Lt. Gen. Steven Shepro, deputy chairman of NATO’s Military Committee, who held talks Nov. 7 while on a two-day visit to Macedonia. He was to attend a demonstration by Macedonian special forces in the capital, Skopje.
The country’s government has proposed changing the country’s name to North Macedonia to end a longstanding dispute with Greece that has blocked NATO accession.
Shepro said Macedonia has made “substantial progress” toward NATO membership. Macedonia’s military is currently participating in several international missions, including in Afghanistan and Lebanon. AP

Pentagon quietly drops mentions of border mission’s name

The Pentagon has quietly stopped calling the deployment of thousands of troops to the U.S.-Mexico border “Operation Faithful Patriot.”
U.S. officials say Defense Secretary Jim Mattis directed the department to drop the name and simply call it military operations on the border.
Lt. Col. Jamie Davis, a Pentagon spokesman, would only say that the department is no longer using the name. Other U.S. officials say the change was Mattis’ call. They spoke on condition of anonymity to describe internal deliberations.
The name hasn’t been formally rescinded, but the Pentagon has stopped using it in press releases and documents.
Pentagon officials rolled out the name last month after President Donald Trump ordered thousands of troops to the southwest border in response to a caravan of migrant families walking slowly north through Mexico toward the United States. AP

U.S. Air Force test-launches missile from California base

The U.S. Air Force has conducted a test launch of an unarmed Minuteman 3 intercontinental ballistic missile from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.
The Air Force Global Strike Command says in a statement the missile was launched at 11:01 p.m., Nov. 6 to determine the accuracy and reliability of the system and such tests “are not related to any real world events.”
The command says the missile’s re-entry vehicle reached its intended target but details about the test can’t be released.
The Air Force tests Minuteman missiles by launching them from California to a target in the Pacific Ocean.
In July, a missile was intentionally destroyed over the Pacific due to an unspecified in-flight anomaly.
The Air Force Global Strike Command is located at Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana. AP