The Virginian-Pilot – By Corinne Reilly
“This is very serious,” said Eugene Fidell, a law professor at Yale University and president of the National Institute of Military Justice. “After watching the videos, I don’t see how he could stay. He runs a warship, not a fraternity house.”
Ward Carroll, the editor of Military.com and a retired Navy aviator who flew with Honors, said, “Unfortunately, he pushed buttons that you just can’t push.”
“…Fidell, of the National Institute of Military Justice, said Honors’ videos – at the least the ones that contain anti-gay remarks and sailors mimicking masturbation – are something very different.
“To say that you need to create this kind of material in order for the ship to be happy – that’s just not a valid argument,” he said. “This is so far off any standard for acceptable behavior for someone in his position.”
A handful of sailors who were assigned to the Enterprise when the videos were being shown told The Pilot last week that some crew members raised concerns about them and were brushed off. In at least two of the videos, Honors admits they drew complaints.
A female sailor told the newspaper she and a number of other women on board were offended by their content. In the Navy’s most recent statements about the videos, it called them “clearly inappropriate.”
“The Navy does not endorse or condone these kinds of actions,” the statement said. “Those in command… are charged to lead by example and are held accountable for setting the proper tone and upholding the standards of honor, courage and commitment that we expect sailors to exemplify.”
A Preliminary Assessment – Technical Report APA-TR-2011-0101
Air Power Australia – By Dr Carlo Kopp, SMAIAA, SMIEEE, PEng, Peter Goon, BE (Mech), FTE (USNTPS)
“A mature J-XX/J-20, with a full strike capability, would be a direct one-for-one equivalent to the proposed dual role FB-22A, which was championed by Dr. James G. Roche during his tenure as SecAF, until 2005.”
RS21848, March 21, 2005, CRS Air Force FB-22 Bomber Concept (PDF)
The size of the J-XX/J-20 airframe, and the self evident focus on supersonic persistence, suggests, at a minimum, an intention to provide a long range interceptor for anti-access operations in the Second Island Chain geography. It is likely any production design J-XX/J-20 will incorporate an aerial refuelling probe to further extend its large operating radius.
A stealthy, supercruising, long range interceptor would provide the PLA-AF with the capability to penetrate an opposing IADS to destroy assets like E-3 AWACS, RC-135V/W Rivet Joint, other ISR systems, and importantly, Air Force and Navy tankers. This would significantly complicate if not close down air operations from Andersen AFB and fixed basing in the Ryukyu chain, Japanese main islands, and Korean peninsula, during the opening phase of any contingency.
Naval task forces structured around CVBGs and operating within the 1,000 NMI plus radius of the J-XX/J-20 would be at significant risk of rapidly losing their E-2C/D AEW&C and EA-18G Growler Electronic Attack coverage during the opening phase of any contingency.
Any notion that an F-35 Joint Strike Fighter or F/A-18E/F Super Hornet will be capable of competing against this Chengdu design in air combat, let alone penetrate airspace defended by this fighter, would be simply absurd. The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and F/A-18E/F Super Hornet are both aerodynamically and kinematically quite inferior to the as presented J-XX/J-20 design, and even the shape based VLO capability in the J-XX/J-20, as presented, will effectively neutralise any sensor advantage either type might possess against earlier Russian and Chinese fighter designs.
If there’s one thing the F-35 joint strike fighter program needs in 2011, it is some clear-cut signs of progress.
Hounded by controversy for much of the past two years, the F-35 has become the poster child for troubled, vastly overbudget military weapons programs.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates and other top officials have repeatedly complained about the performance of contractor Lockheed Martin and soaring cost estimates. Top military and civilian managers of the program were fired or changed jobs.
That’s not a good track record now that the political dialogue is largely about cutting budgets and deficits.
The danger, said Richard Aboulafia, an aerospace industry analyst with the Teal Group in Fairfax, Va., is that if the F-35 doesn’t show real and visible progress it will become more of a target.
“They need to fly it more publicly. They need to show what it can do,” Aboulafia said. “I think the biggest danger is Congress gets fed up with missed deadlines and problems and decides to fix things by cutting funding, and then you miss more deadlines.”
Lockheed officials say they made progress in 2010 testing the jets and learning what worked and what didn’t.
The tests flights went well, said J.D. McFarlan, vice president of F-35 testing. “The pilots are pleased with the handling and flying qualities of the jets.”
The test plan called for 394 flights in 2010. The final number was 410, but that’s misleading. Two airplanes, both conventional-takeoff-and-landing F-35A models, flew about 30 percent more than planned at Edwards Air Force Base in California.
Meanwhile, the troubled F-35B short-takeoff-vertical-landing model, the most technically demanding version, completed 20 percent fewer test flights than planned using five planes flying out the Navy’s Patuxent River, Md., test center.
“With the STOVL we wish we were further along,” McFarlan said. “With that caveat, we’re pleased with how things are going.”
With the F-35A jets, Lockheed and military test pilots completed all the basic flying tests, including formation flying and aerial refueling. Much of the initial testing of onboard radar and communications systems has also been conducted.
Enough work has been completed, McFarlan said, to meet the Air Force’s standards to begin training pilots once planes are available.
But the F-35B has had problems with component reliability. The issues are not big problems with the engine or the lift fan, which provides the propulsion for vertical flight, but rather smaller items with vital functions, McFarlan said.
After lagging way behind for much of the year, the F-35Bs racked up 30 flights in November, “a good sign,” he said.
Testing the F-35B in the critical vertical landing mode is still far behind schedule. But as planes return to flying, McFarlan said, they’re accomplishing other work in low-altitude, low-speed flight that would lead to vertical landings, as well as higher-speed, higher-altitude performance tests.
“The pilots, when they get to go out and convert, do a vertical landing, do a short takeoff, they’re very complimentary of the handling and flight capabilities of the aircraft,” McFarlan said. The work done so far has already shown that the F-35B will be much easier to fly than its predecessor, the Marines’ AV-8B Harrier, McFarlan said.
In some cases, flight data collected from F-35Bs also applies to the other versions, and software changes have been implemented.
One by one, McFarlan said, Lockheed and its suppliers are identifying the causes of reliability problems with components. New parts are designed and produced and are installed on aircraft as soon as they are available, and planes are returned to testing.
The early testing, McFarlan said, has enabled Lockheed and its suppliers to work through some issues that were expected and that in the past have proved difficult to resolve.
One example is wing roll off, an aerodynamic phenomenon that occurs when a plane nears supersonic speed. Using test data, engineers have already rewritten the computer software that operates the plane’s control surfaces and tested and installed it in the test planes.
In the past, fixing problems like that “has sometimes taken years to work through,” McFarlan said. “We’ve been able to work through that in a matter of months.”
CNN – Alexander Mooney
Normally, it’s what Sarah Palin tweets that makes news. This time it’s what she has re-tweeted.
The former Alaska governor Monday relayed a comment from gay conservative pundit Tammy Bruce, who was expressing her criticism over continued Republican opposition to the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell military policy that won congressional repeal late last month.
Now the political world is wondering just what Palin meant to express.
“But this hypocrisy is just truly too much. Enuf already–the more someone complains about the homos the more we should look under their bed,” Bruce’s original tweet read that was subsequently relayed by Palin.
Bruce was thrilled with Palin’s re-tweet, saying it constitutes a clear signal the former Republican vice presidential nominee is a friend of the gay community.
“I think @SarahPalinUSA RT my tweet is her first comment on DADT, treatment of gays & attempts to marginalize us–thank you Governor,” Bruce replied.
The Republican pro-gay rights group GOProud, of which Bruce holds a leadership role, also highlighted Palin’s “Gay Friendly” tweet Tuesday in an e-mail to reporters.
Palin hasn’t said anything more on the issue so it remains unclear exactly what she meant to convey, but the re-tweet is a rare comment from Palin when it comes to any issue involving gay rights – a likely hot-button issue in upcoming Republican primary presidential campaign given the recent repeal of the longrunning military policy that forbade gay service members to serve openly.
It could also be a sign the former Alaska governor’s stance on social issues beyond that of abortion is less understood by Republicans and Democrats alike than was previously believed.
President Obama’s legal advisers, confronting the prospect of new restrictions on the transfer of Guantánamo detainees, are debating whether to recommend that he issue a signing statement asserting that his executive powers would allow him to bypass the restrictions, according to several officials.
If Mr. Obama were to issue such a statement, it could represent a more aggressive use of unilateral executive powers than what he exerted in his first two years in office. The issue has arisen as the Republican Party takes control of the House.
Last month, while still under Democratic control, Congress included the detainee transfer restrictions — which would make it harder for the administration to achieve its goal of closing the prison at the military base in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba — in a major defense bill it sent to Mr. Obama. He could act on the measure by the end of the week.
One provision bars the military from using its funds to transfer detainees to the United States, making it harder to prosecute them in federal court. Another prohibits the transfer of detainees to any other country unless the defense secretary, Robert M. Gates, certifies that the country has met a strict set of security conditions.
The deliberations over whether Mr. Obama should challenge those provisions were reported Monday by ProPublica, an investigative journalism site, and were confirmed by several officials familiar with the discussions.
Before the vote on the bill last month, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. told Congress that the restrictions would be “an extreme and risky encroachment on the authority of the executive branch.” But lawmakers included them in the final legislation anyway, and Mr. Obama is considered unlikely to veto the measure because it authorizes billions of dollars for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
One option on the table, according to officials familiar with the deliberations, is for Mr. Obama to sign the bill into law but declare his opposition to the detainee transfer restrictions — which expire Sept. 30, at the end of the current fiscal year — by simply arguing that they are bad policy.
But the administration is also considering whether he should go further by issuing a signing statement — a formal document recording a president’s interpretation of a new law for the rest of the executive branch to follow — asserting that he has the constitutional power to disregard the restrictions.
Under the latter approach, the president would assert that as the head of the executive branch and commander in chief, his prosecutorial discretion and wartime powers would allow him to lawfully bring detainees into the United States for trial or to transfer them to other countries as he sees fit.
It remained unclear whether the administration would actually carry out a detainee transfer despite the restrictions, or whether it would merely assert, as an abstract matter, that Mr. Obama had the authority to do so…
Voice of Russia
The State Duma (the lower house of the Russian parliament) plans to confirm the link between the reduction of the strategic offensive arms and the restriction of antimissile defense systems’ deployment in the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), signed between the US and Russia, Konstantin Kosachev, chairman of the Duma Committee on International Affairs says.
“During the ratification of START in the US Congress the American lawmakers noted that the link between strategic offensive armed forces and antimissile defense systems is not juridically binding for the parties. They referred to the fact that this link was fixed only in the preamble of the document. Such an approach can be regarded as the US’ attempt to find an option to build up its strategic potential and the Russian lawmakers cannot agree with this,” Kosachev says.
We will deal with these interpretations. The first thing is that our American colleagues do not recognize the legal force of the treaty’s preamble. The preamble sets a link between strategic offensive arms and defensive arms. The second thing is an attempt to interpret certain provisions of the treaty unilaterally.
The Russian lawmakers insist that all the chapters of the treaty including the preamble are legally binding, which is a common norm of international law. It is not lawful to take certain provisions and to give them unilateral interpretations like the American senators do, Alexei Arbatov, a member of the Carnegie Scientific Council, says.
This is our reaction on the US steps, which are not justified because you cannot selectively validate or invalidate certain provisions of the treaty. We are quite consistent here. We said that the entire treaty, the preamble and the articles have the same judicial force. This is logical and this is right.
The Russian lawmakers expect that the work on the respective resolution will be completed in a few days. The State Duma will approve the draft of START’s ratification together with all related statements and reservations by February.
RIP: JOHN “JACK” P. WHEELER III
John “Jack” P. Wheeler III (December 14, 1944 – between December 28 and 31, 2010) was a former chairman of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, former senior planner for Amtrak (1971-1972), former chief executive and CEO of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, consultant to the Mitre Corporation (2009-death), member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and a presidential aide to the Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and George W. Bush administrations.
Wheeler wrote the memoir Touched With Fire: The Future of the Vietnam Generation, a book about the post-war experiences of Vietnam soldiers and anti-war protesters. He was the main character in The Long Gray Line by Rick Atkinson, which chronicled the experiences of the West Point class of 1966.
A leading voice for veterans, served in Vietnam, He was chair of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund. The organization that constructed the nation’s official war memorial in Washington, D.C. He also called for recognition of wounded veterans, writing, “We need to honor the wounded as well as those who died.”
He worked for three presidents, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush, all of whom turned to Wheeler for advice on defense and military matters.
According to his official bio at Second Line of Defense, a military and security website to which he contributed, Wheeler served as secretary of the Securities and Exchange Commission, and was most recently special assistant to the secretary of the Air Force.
Wheeler urged top universities to drop their opposition to ROTC; several elite schools, including Harvard, linked their opposition of ROTC recruiting on campus to the controversial DADT military policy. Wheeler, a staunch supporter of ROTC, blasted this position. (Now that the policy has been repealed, Harvard and Yale say they are reconsidering their stance on ROTC.)
Guardian – By Chris McGreal
Murder of Vietnam veteran – whose body was found when it spilled out of dustbin lorry – mystifies detectives
Police in Delaware are trying to piece together the mystery of how a decorated soldier and former adviser to three US presidents was murdered, stuffed in to a dustbin lorry and dumped in a landfill.
Detectives say they are mystified by the killing of John Wheeler, a 66-year-old decorated Vietnam war veteran who worked for President Ronald Reagan and both of the Bush administrations.
Wheeler had played a leading role in the construction of the Vietnam war memorial in Washington which he advocated as a step toward reconciling the country after the divisive war.
His body was found as it spilled from a dustbin lorry that had made 10 stops around Newark, Delaware. He had lived in nearby New Castle.
The police say Wheeler, a graduate of West Point military academy, Yale and Harvard, was murdered but are not revealing how. The authorities say that they are awaiting the results of toxicology and other forensics tests.
The police said that Wheeler was last known to have been alive in Wilmington, Delaware, on Thursday. His body was discovered the next day about 12 miles away.
Newark police spokesman, Lieutenant Mark Farrall, said investigators searched Wheeler’s house, which was roped off with police tape after his death, but it was not considered a crime scene.
“We don’t have a crime scene at this point in time,” he said. Farrall added that investigators did not yet have any leads in the case. Neighbours and friends were shocked by his death.
“This is just not the kind of guy who gets murdered … This is not the kind of guy you find in a landfill,” said Bayard Marin, a Wilmington lawyer who represented Wheeler told the News Journal. “He was a very aggressive kind of guy, but nevertheless kind of ingratiating, and he had a good sense of humour.”
Wheeler helped to create the Vietnam veterans leadership programme in the Reagan administration.
Later he was instrumental in setting up the Earth Conservation Corps under President George HW Bush and also led Mothers Against Drunk Driving in the mid-80s.
He was a special assistant to the secretary for the air force in the administration of George W Bush.
A friend, Richard Radez, told the Associated Press they exchanged emails at Christmas, including one in which Wheeler expressed concern that the US wasn’t sufficiently prepared for cyber-warfare. “This was something that had preoccupied him over the last couple of years,” Radez said.
James Fallows, a national correspondent for the Atlantic magazine, said on the magazine’s website that he had known Wheeler for nearly 30 years and that he spent much of his life trying to address “what he called the ’40-year open wound’ of Vietnam-era soldiers being spurned by the society that sent them to war.”
Jan Scruggs, who Wheeler joined in building the Vietnam veterans memorial in the heart of Washington, described him as “passionate” about the construction.
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund praised Wheeler as a man who “served his country honourably, then dedicated himself to ensuring that our nation’s service members are always given the respect they deserve”.
Citation for Air Force Exceptional Civilian Service Award – 2008
Mr. John P. Wheeler distinguished himself by exceptionally meritorious service to the United States as the Special Assistant to the Secretary of the Air Force, the Pentagon, Washington, District of Columbia, from 3 November 2005 to 20 June 2008. During this period, Mr. Wheeler’s unwavering integrity, devotion to duty and steadfast leadership led to a number of successful initiatives across the Air Force.
Grasping the growing vulnerability of our weapon systems to Cyber intrusions, he worked tirelessly to drive the activation of Air Force Cyber Command. His visionary efforts were instrumental in the creation of the Cyber Research Center at the Air Force Institute of Technology; the first two graduates of the United States Air Force Academy to enter the Air Force Institute of Technology Cyber Master’s Program; the stand-up of the Air Force Cyber School; and an increased emphasis on Air Force recruitment efforts for officers and enlisted for Cyber careers.
His seasoned experience and knowledge proved invaluable as he helped formulate advice on initiatives such as Joint Basing, Recapitalization, ROVER precision strike data for Army and Marine troops, Acquisition, and a myriad of legislative initiatives facing the Air Force.
His day-to-day interactions with the Office of the Secretary of Defense enhanced relations and ensured streamlined timely responses. The singularly distinctive accomplishments of Mr. Wheeler in the dedication of service to his Country reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.
END OF CITATION
Related Video: Lt. Gen. Tom McInerney on John Wheeler’s Death
“This has to have been a professional hit job”
– Lt General Tom McInerney
… An employee of the parking garage said Wheeler look disheveled and said he was looking for his car. The employee also said his right shoe, which appeared to be broken, was in his right hand. “From the way his shoe looked, I would say that it looked like somebody done something to him,” the worker told Eyewitness News.
The video then shows the man getting on an elevator and walking around for 20 minutes. After that, he talked to a supervisor before he was escorted out the pedestrian door. Investigators said Wheeler was last seen at 10th and Orange Streets in Wilmington around 3:30 p.m. on December 30…
… Kathleen Boyer, a security guard at the New Castle County Courthouse, said a man she now believes was Wheeler told her he was dropped off by his brother two days prior so he could visit his mother, in Wilmington. The man did not have any apparent injuries but did mention he was robbed of his briefcase. He was looking for a hotel and wanted to know where Front Street was.
Boyer, and two other employees, offered to help him and even offered him some money, which he declined. So, many questions remain in this case, including how did Wheeler get from Wilmington to Newark? Police are also trying to determine why Wheeler was so disoriented.
Newark police said Monday that they did determine a cause of death in the case and were not going to release it. Delaware officials said Tuesday, however, they don’t have a cause of death yet. They’re waiting for toxicology reports, but they are calling the death a homicide….
Police in Delaware have discovered evidence that a former Pentagon aide may have been involved in an attempted arson days before his murder, a law enforcement source has told The Inquirer.
Police found evidence linking John Parsons Wheeler 3d to devices planted at the New Castle home of a neighbor with whom he had been feuding, said the source, who is close to the investigation. The feud was over the size of the neighbor’s house, which was under construction in the city’s historic district.
The source emphasized that the evidence does not shed light on the murder itself, but it has helped detectives understand Wheeler’s state of mind before he disappeared.
END UPDATE II
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Update: Added Announcement & Bio for Jack Wheeler’s Death 1/4/11 9 PM – end