LOCSTAT: Major US Naval deployments on 6 April 2017

Carrier Strike Groups
The USS Dwight D. Eisenhower is underway in the Atlantic Ocean for a sustainment exercise.
The USS Carl Vinson CSG is on a scheduled port visit to Singapore while underway in the U.S. 7th Fleet AOR.
The USS George H.W. Bush CSG is underway in a deployment in the U.S. 5th Fleet AOR supporting maritime security operations and conducting theater security cooperation efforts.

Stratfor
Amphibious Ready Groups/Marine Expeditionary Units
The USS America is underway for sea trials in the Pacific Ocean.
The USS Bataan ARG is underway in a deployment in the U.S. 5th Fleet AOR supporting maritime security operations and conducting theater security cooperation efforts.
The USS Bonhomme Richard is underway in the U.S. 7th Fleet AOR for a routine patrol.
The USS Iwo Jima is underway for routine training in the Atlantic Ocean.
The USS Makin Island ARG is underway in the Indo-Pacific region to enhance amphibious capability with regional partners.

Courtesy:  STRATFOR

“Motley Crew”…autonomous warfare, not the band

The next big thing for unmanned naval aviation is a group of unmanned aerial systems that can share information and then assign tasks and make strategic targeting decisions based on available intelligence.

This concept, called Motley Crew, will be demonstrated by the Navy in 2018 or 2019, said Rear Adm. Mark Darrah, the service’s program executive officer for Unmanned Aviation and Strike Weapons.

Speaking at the Navy League’s Sea-Air-Space conference Tuesday, Darrah said there are many factors still to be decided — which unmanned systems to feature, for example, and what the target sets would be — but the goal is clear: Develop autonomous systems that could be strategic, collaborative and efficient.

“Imagine, if you would, different weapons flying in the same airspace, communicating with each other, leveraging a best of breed from each of the weapons and able to make decisions … about which ship to go after, so they don’t target the same ship four times with four weapons,” Darrah said. “This is a breakthrough in my mind that we’ve got to get to.”

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Is Putin facing “use it or lose it” decision?

Recent Russian actions suggest a new stage of the Russian threat to Ukraine—and potentially to the Caucasus, Belarus or the Baltic states as well—that could presage a new large-scale military operation.

First, in 2016, Russia created 25 division formations and 15 brigades, while raising manpower by only 10,000 men. This suggests the possibility that Russia may aim to wage protracted large-scale war using the Soviet model, with a Soviet-type army composed of “skeleton units” that existed solely on paper until they were called up as part of the process of mass mobilization.

That such mobilization may be under consideration is apparent from the Kavkaz-2016 and other military exercises in 2016 where Moscow mobilized forces from the Ministry of Interior, banks to pay soldiers’ wages in the fields and hospitals to provide field hospitals, as well as entire provincial civilian administrations. Russia is apparently thinking about possible protracted contingencies and is returning to fantasies of a Soviet-type military and mobilization effort.

Second, as part of that military process in 2016-2017, Moscow created the 1st Guards Tank Army, the 40th Army and the 8th Army, and deployed them all around Ukraine’s borders. The 8th Army headquarters is at Rostov-On-Don, from where it could strike toward the Caucasus if necessary, or be air- or sea-lifted to the Middle East.

Moreover, any of these armies could quickly be moved toward Belarus to put down unrest there, if Belarus’s government cannot or will not do so.

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Italy: The ongoing banking crisis back front & centre again

Two small Italian banks, Popolare di Vicenza and Veneto Banca, recently reported their 2016 fiscal positions that showed losses of 1.9 billion euros ($2 billion) and 1.5 billion euros ($1.65 billion), respectively. Both banks have slipped below the EU mandated requirements for managing bad debt leading to erosion of their capital reserves. Though these two banks are small they are the ‘canaries in the fiscal coal mine’ when it comes to assessing the current overall financial problems besetting Italy. There is currently a total 360 billion euros of non-performing loans in the Italian banking system, making the sector extremely fragile.

Monte dei Paschi

Precedence setting mini-banks like Popolare di Vicenza and Veneto Banca, have a outsized influence on setting the rules underpinning the setting of controls and limits on the largest banks in Italy. Precedence setting on how the European Central Bank treats Italy’s large banks are administered, based on such weak guidelines is causing investors across the sector to re-evaluate their investments.

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Yemen : US Mission Creep

The chance of US military Mission Creep in Yemen as well as Iraq and Syria appears to be ratcheting up with the departure of the Obama Administration. The further deployment of US Forces in both Iraq and Syria, aiming to destroy ISIS in the Levant and support Syrian rebel forces, has seen a constant incrementalism over the past 2 years as numbers grow. Now the US forces  deployed in Yemen also appear to be ratcheting up, as the US is drawn deeper into the stalemated Yemeni civil war. Comparing Yemen’s belligerent forces over the past two years shows almost no movement in core territorial gains for any side.

Stratfor

YEMEN :March 30, 2017

Stratfor

The US Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), signed between the US and Iran by the outgoing Obama administration, to reduce the chances of direct US-Iranian armed altercations in the Middle East, was part of the de-escalation process that also saw the roll back in US sanctions against Iran. The obverse of this policy was a rise in Saudi and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) concerns about US future commitment to their defence. Especially so after the recent meeting between the Iranian Quads Force Commander Qassem Soleimani with rebel Houthi forces in Yemen. The Yemen Civil War has reached stalemate with both the Yemeni  forces under President Hadi, the al-Houthi rebels in the NW and the al Qaeda/ AQAP / ISIS aligned bedouins holding almost the same regions today, as at the outbreak of the civil war. Meanwhile the ‘peace talks’ in Switzerland drag on with no side in any hurry to compromise.

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