Thursday, September 30, 2010

Plymouth warship arrives home after makeover

London September 30, 2010 - The Plymouth-based Royal Navy warship HMS Argyll has arrived home at Plymouth today (Thursday) after an 11-month extreme ‘make-over’ to be welcomed by families.
Families and loved ones gathered on the jetty in HM Naval Base Devonport to brave thick fog which delayed the arrival and heavy rain. The Type 23 frigate returned to sea on 10th September after the refit which included 290,000 man-hours of attention to cover modifications, upgrades and improvements.
Two of the vessel’s four diesel generators and one of her gas turbine engines have been replaced, the main 4.5 inch gun has been upgraded and the ship’s hull received intensive attention with a new paint-job to improve the ship’s efficiency through the water.
Commander Paul Stroude, HMS Argyll’s commanding officer, of Winchester, was greeted by his wife Keri and their daughter Phoebe (aged 18 months). Cdr Stroude said:
“It is great to be back home in Plymouth where we will all enjoy getting the well-earned opportunity to spend more time with their families. Our return to our base port also signals the next step in our regeneration where we will put to the test and prove the variety of new systems in place. This will secure HMS Argyll’s status as a flexible and potent fighting force, ready to face many more years of worldwide tasking after she returns to the Fleet at the end of the year.
“I cannot emphasise enough how much of an achievement it has been for the partnership to get HMS Argyll back to sea – the complexity of the work package is extraordinary but we have delivered. The ship is in superb condition, which was recognised when we passed our ready-for-sea-date inspection. We sailed with a whole host of new and exciting capabilities that has made HMS Argyll a potent fighting force, able to support and protect UK interests worldwide for many years to come.”
Cdr Stroude said the crew earned a long weekend of leave for the next few days because they had been worked hard putting the ship through its paces.
Between 2005 and 2009 HMS Argyll had spent long periods at sea on operations worldwide. The imperative was to get the ship into a dry dock away from operational pressures for a deep overhaul. HMS Argyll is the first Type 23 to complete a second major refit
HMS Argyll has performed a number of different roles including counter-piracy and counter-terrorism roles East of Suez, and drugs seizures in UK waters in recent times.
Along with new paint to the upper decks she has been covered with specially-coated paint below the waterline to prevent the build-up of sea-life which would slow the ship. This also makes her more fuel-efficient.
Internally, a new command system, the most advanced afloat in the Royal Navy today, means the ship has enhanced capability against air, surface and underwater threats. The ventilation system has also been improved to allow living and working on board more comfortably during even the warmest climates.
The Sea Wolf missile system has received upgrades which improve HMS Argyll’s ability to counter evolving anti-ship missile threats. Mounts for new small calibre guns means she will is better equipped to deal with threats from small boats and perform anti-piracy operations.
Lieutenant Commander Patrick Hunt, the ship’s weapon engineer officer, said:
“The upgrading of the ship’s fighting systems has been phenomenal with a new point defence-missile system, new medium-range gun, new boat-launching equipment and a new command-and-control system all installed at the same time. Previously many of these upgrades have been completed in isolation given their complexity, but they are sufficiently mature to do them together. This means Argyll leaves Rosyth docks, where she was refitted, more capable across the full range of her capabilities.”
While this refit has taken the best part of a year, thanks to the hard work, determination and team work of the partnership, the project has met every deadline set. The crew were able to move back onboard ten days ahead of schedule allowing them extra time to build up familiarity with the new systems and better prepare them for the rigours of the following ship’s trials.
The refit of ships is a major contract for Babcock and sustains a considerable workforce in the Rosyth dockyard. With the departure of Argyll, the skilled men and women, including several apprentices, will prepare for the arrival of the next customer from the Royal Navy. Babcock project manager George White said:
“The project although challenging at times has been a good one to be involved in and has shown that through successful partnering between all stakeholders we can drive a diverse and complex project to a successful conclusion, achieving major milestones early and passing on the benefit to the Royal Navy.”
The ship will undergo further trials and operational sea training next year for any future deployments.

USS Klakring Completes Southern Seas 2010 Deployment

 Mayport September 30, 2010 - USS Klakring (FFG 42) and Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light (HSL) 42 Det. 10 completed a six-month deployment to South America and the Caribbean Sept. 29.
Klakring participated in the 51st iteration of UNITAS off the coast of Argentina during the first part of the deployment then moved on to Peru and participated in the UNITAS Pacific phase and Silent Forces Exercises (SIFOREX).
The ship visited 13 countries, made 20 port calls, transited through the Strait of Magellan and the Panama Canal, and made countless friendships along the way.
"The importance of the relationships – those made and those reaffirmed - cannot be understated," said Cmdr. Scott Smith, USS Klakring commanding officer. "Everywhere we went throughout South America and the Caribbean, there was a genuine warmth for our presence and it was our Sailors and those that have come before them on previous Southern Seas and other missions that made that possible.
"It was through the generosity of their time, their warfare expertise, and their quest to understand the individual cultures that made them welcome wherever we went. This was truly a once in a career deployment and I'm glad that we were selected to make it," said Smith.
Every port visit included military-to-military subject matter expert exchanges (SMEE), community relations (COMRELS) projects and sporting events. Deliveries of Project Handclasp donations, which included medical and hygiene supplies, were also made during various port visits.
Klakring's deployment to Latin America and the Caribbean was part of Southern Seas 2010, a U.S. Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM) -directed operation that provides U.S. and international forces the opportunity to operate in a multi-national environment.
Southern Seas focuses on working with partner nations in the region conducting exercises, military-to-military engagements, and theater security cooperation engagements to enhance interoperability. This year's deployment included USS Klakring and HSL 42 Det 10, and were executed by Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 40 as CTG 40.0.
US Naval Forces Southern Command (COMUSNAVSO) is the naval component commander for USSOUTHCOM and is responsible for all naval personnel and assets in the area of responsibility. COMUSNAVSO conducts a variety of missions in support of the U.S. Maritime Strategy, including theater security cooperation, partnership building, humanitarian assistance and disaster response, community relations and CIT operations.

German navy faces painful cuts -

German navy faces painful cuts -

Matt Gurney: Iranian kamikaze boats must be taken seriously | Full Comment | National Post

Matt Gurney: Iranian kamikaze boats must be taken seriously Full Comment National Post

Coast Guard Cutter Harriet Lane returns home after 9-week patrol

Portsmouth VA September 30, 2010 - The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Harriet Lane is scheduled to return to its homeport of Portsmouth late today following a successful nine-week patrol conducting maritime law enforcement, alien migrant interdiction, and search and rescue.
During Harriet Lane’s patrol, the crew assisted in the repatriation of 279 Haitian migrants to Cap-Haitien, Haiti. The 279 migrants were transferred to the cutter for one night where they were provided water, food and basic medical attention before they were repatriated to Cap-Haitien the next day.
The cutter’s patrol also provided an excellent opportunity for more that 30 new crew members to gain experience and earn qualifications in their respective watch stations.
“The past two months have been an excellent opportunity to focus patrol efforts on the Windward Passage to detect and deter migrants from making the dangerous journey north,” said Cmdr. Jay Vann, Harriet Lane’s commanding officer. “We are proud that the Harriet Lane was once again a vital contributor to nationally significant missions.”
Harriet Lane is a 270-foot medium endurance cutter homeported in Portsmouth, Va. The cutter operates primarily in the littoral waster of the United States and throughout the Caribbean to enforce immigration, fisheries, customs and drug interdiction.


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

CGIS: Service, Integrity, Justice

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Written by: LT Connie Braesch

GLYNCO, Ga. - Graduates of the Coast Guard Investigative Service Special Agent Basic Training Program take their oath at the conclusion of the graduation ceremony held at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Academy in Glynco Sept. 28, 2010. CGIS agents have four primary missions: criminal investigation; operational intelligence; protective service operations and liaisons with partnering law enforcement agencies around the world. U.S. Coast Guard photo by PA3 Michael Hulme

Thanks to hit television shows like NCIS, military investigative services have gained fame and public recognition in recent years. But, investigations aren’t new for the Coast Guard.
Originating in 1915 under the Chief Intelligence Officer, Coast Guard Investigations remained relatively unknown to the general public until the enactment of prohibition. From then on it grew in personnel and responsibility becoming Coast Guard Investigative Service (CGIS) in 1996.
Under the authority of Title 14 of the United States Code, CGIS is a federal investigative and protective program established to carry out the Coast Guard’s internal and external criminal investigations; to assist in providing personal security services; to protect the welfare of Coast Guard people; to aid in preserving the internal integrity of the Coast Guard; and to support Coast Guard missions worldwide.
Yesterday, 18 of the Coast Guard’s newest CGIS special agents graduated from the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) in Glynco, Georgia. This graduating class is the largest and one of the last comprised of all Coast Guard agents. Typically, FLETC classes are made up of trainees from the Coast Guard and other agencies, but this one was entirely CGIS.
Depending on their previous level of experience and training, CGIS agents attend a three month basic criminal investigations course before they attend two months of Coast Guard specific training. After receiving their Coast Guard Special Agent Credentials at the ceremony today, the group of about half active duty and half civilian will depart FLETC and report to various duty stations all over the nation.
Today, CGIS has a total of about 90 active duty military and civilian special agents and 150 reserve special agents. Military agents come from any of Coast Guard specialties and ratings and must apply based on an annual solicitation. Civilian agents typically apply to join CGIS from other federal, state or local law enforcement agencies. CGIS reserve agents serve in the Coast Guard Reserve Investigator rating.
“The U.S. Coast Guard’s demand for outstanding investigative services, coupled with the world-class training our new agents received at FLETC and the tremendous diversity of experience and capabilities they bring, will continue to raise the importance and visibility of CGIS within the Coast Guard as they go to their assignments around the country,” said Mr. Bill Tarry, Deputy to the Assistant Commandant for Intelligence and Criminal Investigations.
Congratulations to the newest agents of CGIS!
If you are interested in applying for CGIS or finding out more information, click here.


USS Jason Dunham Commissioning

The Navy recently announced that the USS JASON DUNHAM (DDG 109), the Navy’s most advanced Arleigh Burke Class, Aegis Guided Missile Destroyer will be commissioned in Port Everglades on November 13, 2010. The event is expected to draw thousands to the port following a week of events and activities for the crew and their families. The last time a ship was commissioned in Port Everglades was in 2005 and drew a crowd of 5,000. It is anticipated that this commissioning will draw an even larger crowd of patriotic Americans when they learn the story behind this ship’s name.
The warship is named after heroic United States Marine Corporal Jason Dunham who sacrificed his life by using his helmet to cover a hand grenade dropped by an insurgent. His spontaneous action saved the lives of two fellow Marines during Operation Iraqi Freedom in April 2004. Jason sustained serious injuries from the blast and died eight days later. He was 22. Jason served with Company K, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment (3/7). President George W. Bush honored Jason for his actions with the issue of the Medal of Honor Citation posthumously. He is the first Marine Medal of Honor recipient for Operation Iraqi Freedom and the first Marine to receive the medal since the Vietnam War.
The Congressional Medal of Honor is the highest military decoration awarded by the United States government. It is awarded to members of the armed forces who distinguish themselves at the risk of their life above and beyond the call of duty while engaged in an action against an enemy.
Corporal Jason L. Dunham was born on November 10, 1981 in Scio, New York (population 1900). The date is significant in that the United States Marine Corps celebrates this day – faithfully – each year – as their official birthday!

Most sincerely,
C. A. (Chuck) Black
Chairman, USS JASON DUNHAM (DDG 109)
Commissioning Committee

The Navy League of the United States – Fort Lauderdale Council is recognized by the IRS as a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization to which charitable donations are tax-deductible. This organization is the sponsoring organization for the Commissioning.
If you would prefer, I can provide a 15 minute presentation. Please call me Chuck Black at (954) 547-8858 to arrange an appointment.


Northern Fleet workers on hunger strike - BarentsObserver

Northern Fleet workers on hunger strike - BarentsObserver

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Chinese freighter ‘Fortune Plum’ the millionth vessel to cross the Panama Canal — MercoPress

Chinese freighter ‘Fortune Plum’ the millionth vessel to cross the Panama Canal — MercoPress

Curtis Wilbur Host Open Ship in Incheon South Korea

USS Curtis Wilbur (DDG 54) Ensign Ariana Burch greets visitors as they depart during a ship tour Sept. 16. Curtis Wilbur, operating out of Yokosuka, Japan, and assigned to Destroyer Squadron 15 and the USS George Washington (CV 73) Strike Group, is currently visiting Incheon to participate in commemorative services related to the 60th anniversary of the U.S. landing of Incheon. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Johnie Hickmon
September 23, 2010 - The guided-missile destroyer USS Curtis Wilbur (DDG 54) hosted an open ship during a port visit to Incheon, Republic of Korea Sept. 16. The port visit was just one of the activities that encompassed the commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the Incheon Landing.

More than 1,000 visitors toured the Curtis Wilbur, stopping along the way to take photos with Sailors and asking questions about the function and operation of the equipment on board. Many visitors took the time during the tour to thank some of the Sailors for doing a great job and gave compliments about the condition of the ship.

"I think it is very nice," said Hongt Soon Yong, as he toured the flight deck. "It is very clean."

For some visitors, this was there first time visiting a U.S. warship. Through a translator, Kim Soon-ha said she was impressed by not only the cleanliness of the ship, but also at how helpful the Sailors were to her. "They are very nice," said Kim.

Gunners Mate 1st Class Artesha Gadson said she was impressed at the interest shown by the ship tourists.

"They seemed to be really happy to have us visiting here," said Gadson. "They were taking a lot of photos with us. I think events like this help strengthen the relationship we have with each other. I actually had a good time interacting with everyone."

Curtis Wilbur commanding officer Commander Paul Hogue said he thought the tour went exceptionally well.

"I think it went very well," said Hogue. "By having tours like this, it offers us a chance to strengthen our alliance with our counterparts."

Operating out of Yokosuka, Japan, Curtis Wilbur is assigned to Destroyer Squadron 15 and the USS George Washington (CV 73) Strike Group.


USS Taylor Arrives in France

Brest September 27, 2010 - USS Taylor (FFG 50) arrived in Brest, France, Sept. 26 for a quality of life port visit nearing the end of a six-month deployment.

Taylor's visit to Brest is a chance for the ship's crew to relax and experience French culture.

"This is our second stop in France during this deployment," said Yeoman 3rd Class Jeremy Tenney. "I am really looking forward to some down time and a chance to experience the French culture."

The highlight of the visit for Taylor's crew members will be a tour of Normandy hosted by the ship's Morale, Welfare and Recreation committee, which will include a visit to a local museum, cemetery, battlefields and beaches.

Normandy was the site of the allied invasion June 6, 1944, which marked the beginning of the end of Germany's conquest of Europe during World War II.

"It is very humbling to walk in the footsteps of those who played such a key part in the liberation of Europe," said Navy Counselor 1st Class Rob Ehrhart. "Especially since my grandfather served in the Army during World War II in the European theater."

Upon completion of the ship's visit to Brest, Taylor expects to begin the final leg of its six-month deployment.

Taylor, an Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigate, is home ported in Mayport, Fla., and is currently on a scheduled six-month deployment in the 6th Fleet Area of Responsibility.

Vandalism of USS Emmons Sparks Outrage - Local News | News Articles | National News | US News -

Vandalism of USS Emmons Sparks Outrage - Local News News Articles National News US News -

Saturday, September 25, 2010

HMAS Collins in Sydney

Canberra September 24, 2010 - HMAS Collins and her ship’s company of 58 are visiting the region as part of a deployment along the east coast of Australia where she is conducting training with Royal Australian Navy ships.

“The crew is looking forward to their stay in Sydney. Many of the crew have family and friends in the region who they do not get to see often,” said Commanding Officer of Collins, Commander Glen Miles.

“Submarines serve under the motto "The Silent Service" and as such we spend much of our time unseen, this transit is a great opportunity for us to show the east coast of Australia our importance as part of Australia’s maritime defence,” said Commander Miles.

Collins Class submarines meet Australia’s unique strategic circumstances through stealth, long-range endurance, formidable striking power and advanced intelligence collection capabilities.

HMAS is the first of six Collins class submarines built for the Royal Australian Navy. Since commissioning in July 1996, the submarine has made a significant contribution to Australia's defence, including many high profile international exercises.

Following her visit to Sydney, Collins will transit the east coast of Australia, visiting other ports before returning to her homeport at Garden Island, Rockingham later in the year.


Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group Enters 7th Fleet AOR

USS Abraham Lincoln at Sea September 25, 2010 - Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group entered the 7th Fleet Area of Responsibility (AOR) Sept. 25 as part of their scheduled 2010-2011 deployment.

The 7th Fleet AOR is the largest of the numbered fleets, covering more than 48 million square miles of the Pacific and Indian Oceans.

The mission of the Lincoln Strike Group while deployed will focus on maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts, which help establish conditions for regional stability.

"Working with our allies in this region is extremely important to us," said Rear Adm. Mark D. Guadagnini, strike group commander. "The U.S. commitment to cooperation and collaboration with like-minded nations is vital to Asia-Pacific security and stability."

Lincoln Strike Group's presence is part of the ongoing commitment of U.S. naval forces to support maritime security operations and operations in international waters, as well as encourage dialogue, promote growth and ensure the free flow of trade in the region.

"Partnerships and teamwork are integral to building the strong bonds that will lead to peace and prosperity throughout the region and the world," said Guadagnini.

Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group consists of flagship USS Abraham(CVN 72), embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 2, San Diego-based guided-missile cruiser USS Cape St. George (CG 71), and the embarked Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 9. Ships assigned to DESRON 9 include the Everett-based destroyers Momsen (DDG 92) and Shoup (DDG 86), as well as USS Halsey (DDG 97) and USS Sterett (DDG 104).


Honolulu-based patrol boat returns home

The crew if the Coast Guard Cutter Galveston Island stand on the pier at Midway Atoll, for a group photo, Sept. 18, 2010. The crew was part of a Multi-unit Law Enforcement Patrol and covered nearly 3,000 nautical miles providing law enforcement in the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, Hancock Sea Mounts, and Midway Atoll. U.S. Coast Guard photo.
Honolulu September 24, 2010 - The Honolulu-based Coast Guard Cutter Galveston Island returned home Friday, after a 13-day law enforcement patrol in the North Western Hawaii Islands.
The Galveston Island participated in the Multi-unit Law Enforcement Patrol with the Coast Guard Cutter Kukui and a HC-130 Hercules from Air Station Barbers Point.
This is the first MULEPAT that a Honolulu-based patrol boat has embarked on since May 2009. The Galveston Island patrolled nearly 3,000 nautical miles providing law enforcement within and around the Marine National Monument. Areas covered were the Hancock Sea Mounts, the Midway Atoll, and the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument.
A MULEPAT is a patrol where two or more Coast Guard units join forces to complete a mission. The main mission of this patrol was multifaceted; the Galveston Island’s main mission was to enforce laws and treaties, the Kukui’s main mission was to service aids to navigation in the area, with law enforcement as a secondary mission, and the Hercules provided additional support from the air by being their eyes in the sky.
The Galveston Island not only enforced U.S. laws, but while in international waters was a participating member of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission.
“Patrolling in international waters allowed us to move from the normal U.S. laws and regulations that we enforce everyday and allows us to enforce the WCPFC regulations as a member nation,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Lee McMillan, operations petty officer on the Galveston Island.
The Galveston Island is one of two 110-foot patrol boat based in the Main Hawaiian Islands. The primary mission of the Galveston Island is to enforce laws and treaties and conduct search and rescue throughout the Pacific. Galveston Island has a compliment of two officers and 16 crew.


Friday, September 24, 2010

USS Hawaii Visits Guam

Apra Harbor, Guam September 24, 2010 - The Virginia-class fast attack submarine USS Hawaii (SSN 776) arrived Sept. 24 in Apra Harbor, Guam for a port visit during the ship's first deployment to the Western Pacific.
The ship departed Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam for a scheduled deployment to the Western Pacific region Aug. 25.
With a crew of 136, this is the ship's first deployment from Pearl Harbor.
Hawaii will be conducting a multitude of missions while assigned to 7th Fleet during the next several months.
"Guam, as a port, plays a vital role in the U.S. military's efforts to fulfill our commitments to our allies and partners and to protect our nation's security," said Capt. John Russ, commodore for Submarine Squadron 15. "USS Hawaii's deployment to the Western Pacific with their unique capabilities helps strengthen our commitment to the prosperity, security and stability of the Asia-Pacific region."
Measuring 377 feet long and weighing 7,800 tons when submerged, Hawaii is one of the Navy's newest and most technologically sophisticated submarines.
The state-of-the-art submarine is capable of supporting a multitude of missions, including anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface ship warfare, strike, naval special warfare involving special operations forces, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, irregular warfare and mine warfare.

Coast Guard Cutter Mohawk to return home from West Africa deployment

KEY WEST, Fla. – The Coast Guard Cutter Mohawk is scheduled to return to its homeport of Key West at 1 p.m. Monday following the completion of a 107-day deployment to West Africa.
The crew of the Mohawk deployed to the West Coast of Africa to work with partner nations building the capacities and capabilities necessary to make their borders stronger and less porous.
The Mohawk completed an extensive three-and-a-half-month patrol transiting more than 27,000 nautical miles, conducting extensive joint maritime training and operations with law enforcement detachments and naval forces of Morocco, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Nigeria and Senegal. The Mohawk conducted at-sea boardings of several suspect vessels and assisted in the seizure of illegal drugs.
“We demonstrated tactics, techniques and procedures that partner nations can employ using their own resources to strengthen their borders and improve their maritime domain awareness,” said Cmdr. Robert Hendrickson, Mohawk’s commanding officer.
The crew also volunteered more than 400 hours of community service. They refurbished school classrooms and equipment in Casablanca, Morocco, and built a cookhouse at an orphanage in Freetown, Sierra Leone.
“The crew showed the good will of the United States in this strategically important part of the world through their professional and personal interaction with their counterparts and also in the communities with our community relations projects,” said Hendrickson. “I could not be more proud of their professionalism, initiative and adaptability.”
As a multi-mission, 270-foot medium-endurance cutter, the Mohawk's crew conducts a wide range of Coast Guard missions, including search and rescue, maritime law enforcement, homeland and coastal security, and environmental and natural resources protection.


Thursday, September 23, 2010

BAE faces £150m hit as Trinidad and Tobago cancels drug-busting patrol ship deal - Telegraph

BAE faces £150m hit as Trinidad and Tobago cancels drug-busting patrol ship deal - Telegraph

USS Greeneville Arrives in South Korea

Chinhae September 23, 2010 - The Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Greeneville (SSN 772) arrived in Chinhae, Republic of Korea, as part of her deployment to the Western Pacific Sept. 21.
"This is our first deployment since 2007 and a first for the majority of the crew. Therefore, we are all very excited to be deployed to the 7th Fleet region in support of national theater tasking," said Cmdr. Anthony Carullo, Greeneville's commanding officer. "The crew has worked extremely hard to prepare for this deployment and after 11 days underway we are looking forward to enjoying a port visit in the Republic of Korea."
Greeneville's deployment follows the completion of a 16-month modernization period that began in June 2009.
Homeported in Pearl Harbor, the boat is the 50th nuclear-powered Los Angeles Class fast-attack submarine and the first U.S. Navy warship to bear the name of its sponsor city, Greeneville, Tenn. Greenville was commissioned Feb. 16, 1996.


DOD Identifies Navy Casualties

Washington September 23, 2010 - The Department of Defense announced today the deaths of four sailors who died in a helicopter crash Sept. 21 during combat operations in the Zabul province, Afghanistan, while supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.
Killed were: 
  • Lt. (SEAL) Brendan J. Looney, 29, of Owings, Md., assigned to a West Coast-based SEAL Team.
  • Senior Chief Petty Officer David B. McLendon, 30, of Thomasville, Ga., assigned to an East Coast-based Naval Special Warfare unit.
  • Petty Officer 2nd Class (SEAL) Adam O. Smith, 26, of Hurland, Mo., assigned to an East Coast-based SEAL Team.
  • Petty Officer 3rd Class (SEAL) Denis C. Miranda, 24, of Toms River, N.J., assigned to an East Coast-based SEAL Team.

USS Lassen completes Valiant Shield 2010 with a blast

USS Lassen at Sea September 23, 2010 - The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Lassen (DDG 82) completed the final exercise in Valiant Shield 2010 today.
Lassen was involved in large scale, joint-operations exercises for the past 10 days with the U.S. Air Force and Marine Corps as part of Valiant Shield 2010. These exercises were aimed at increasing the interoperability between U.S. Navy ships and Air Force and Marine Corps aircraft in a complex warfare environment.
Lassen completed Valiant Shield 2010 with a Missile Exercise (MISSILEX). “
“The purpose of the [missile] exercise was for U.S. Marine F/A-18 squadrons to test their ability to defend themselves from air to air threats or surface to air threats,” said Operations Specialist First Class Marico D. Myhand, an air intercept controller for Lassen.
With support from Commander, Fleet Activities Okinawa, Lassen launched BQM-74E drone targets from the flight deck. Once launched, a remote operator piloted the drones to provide a more realistic missile threat flight profile. The drones were then targeted, intercepted and engaged by a section of Marine F/A-18s.
“Valiant Shield is a critical exercise that allows our military to validate our plans, improve our interoperability and incorporate lessons learned into our training and doctrine,” said Cmdr. H.B. Le, Lassen’s commanding officer. “Lassen was fortunate to work exclusively with the United States Air Force during this year's exercise. Our operators have gained valuable experience and information from the Air Force about what we, the Navy, can do to better to support them as they execute their missions.”
Lassen is currently on a fall deployment in the U.S. Seventh Fleet area of responsibility, which ranges from the International Dateline to the Indian Ocean.


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Government urged to sink Singapore warship bid - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Government urged to sink Singapore warship bid - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Statement of Secretary Janet Napolitano before the United States Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, "Nine Years After 9/11: Confronting the Terrorist Threat to the Homeland"

Washington, D.C. September 22, 2010 (Statement for the Record)
Chairman Lieberman, Senator Collins, and members of the Committee: Thank you for this opportunity to testify on the continuing and evolving terrorist threat to the United States.

Today I would like to highlight the main ways in which the terrorist threat to our country is changing - ways that increasingly challenge law enforcement and the intelligence community. I would also like to highlight some specific - though not exhaustive - ways that the Department of Homeland Security is moving to address this evolving threat.

The Evolving Terrorist Threat to the Homeland

The terrorist threat changes quickly, and we have observed important changes in the threat even since this Committee convened a similar hearing last year. The threat is evolving in several ways that make it more difficult for law enforcement or the intelligence community to detect and disrupt plots.

One overarching theme of this evolution is the diversification of the terrorist threat on many levels. These include the sources of the threat, the methods that terrorists use, and the targets that they seek to attack.

Sources of the threat

It is clear that the threat of al Qaeda-style terrorism is not limited to the al-Qaeda core group, or organizations that have close operational links to al Qaeda. While al Qaeda continues to threaten America directly, it also inspires its affiliates and other groups and individuals who share its violent ideology and seek to attack the United States claiming it is in the name of Islam - a claim that is widely rejected.

Some of these affiliates, like al-Shabaab in Somalia, have not yet attempted to attack the homeland, though al-Shabaab has committed acts of terrorism elsewhere and some al-Shabaab leaders have espoused violent, anti-American beliefs. Other al-Qaeda affiliates have actually attempted to attack the homeland in recent months. These include Tehrik-e Taliban (TTP) and al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) - which, until their respective claims of responsibility for the attempted Times Square and Christmas Day terrorist attacks, had only conducted attacks in their regions.

Homegrown terrorists represent a new and changing facet of the terrorist threat. To be clear, by "homegrown," I mean terrorist operatives who are U.S. persons and who were radicalized in the United States and learned terrorist tactics either here or in training camps in places such as the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan. Terrorist organizations are increasingly seeking operatives who are familiar with the United States or the West. In their roles as terrorist planners, operational facilitators, and operatives, these individuals improve the terrorist groups' knowledge of Western and American culture and security practces, which can increase the likelihood that an attempted attack could be successful. In recent attacks, we have also seen the influence of violent extremist messages and propaganda spread by U.S.-born, English-speaking individuals operating from abroad, including the U.S.-born, Yemen-based Anwar al-Awlaki.1 Skillfully contrived publications, persuasive messages in idiomatic English, and skillful use of the Internet may be helping to increase the number of homegrown violent extremists.

Diversified tactics

Terrorist tactics continue to evolve and diversify. Recent attempted terrorist attacks have proceeded quickly, with less extensive pre-operational planning than previous attempts and with fewer linkages to international terrorist organizations. They have been executed on a smaller scale than the catastrophic attacks of 9/11.

There is a rising threat from attacks that use improvised explosives devices (IEDs), other explosives, and small arms. This type of attack has been common in hotspots around the world for some time, but we have now experienced such attempted attacks in the United States. Other countries, from Afghanistan to Somalia to Russia, have also experienced attacks where small teams of operatives storm a facility using small arms. Unlike large-scale, coordinated, catastrophic attacks, executing smaller-scale attacks requires less planning and fewer preoperational steps. Accordingly, there are fewer opportunities to detect such an attack before it occurs.

Potential targets

Last, let me address targets. We must recognize that virtually anything is a potential target. Consequently, our thinking needs to be "outside the box" while we simultaneously focus our planning on targets that intelligence forecasts to be most at risk. Many of the targets that terrorists seek to strike are familiar - especially commercial aviation, which continues to be a favored target. Most public places and critical infrastructure face some risk of attack in today's environment. Potential targets include mass transit and passenger rail, which serve thousands of people every day, operate on predictable schedules, and have many access points, all of which are appealing characteristics to terrorists. We also see a threat to the kinds of places that are easily accessible to the public. Among these kinds of targets, hotels were notably attacked during the Mumbai terrorist attacks of 2008. There also continues to be a general risk to our critical infrastructure such as ports and chemical facilities.

The increasing number of terrorism sources, terrorist tactics, and terrorist targets make it more difficult for law enforcement or the intelligence community to detect and disrupt plots. The threats come from a broader array of groups and regions. It comes from a wider variety of harder-to-detect tactics. And it is aimed at harder-to-secure places than before.

DHS is moving swiftly to address the current threat landscape. Through the state and major urban area fusion centers, we have been working closely with state, local, tribal, and territorial (SLTT) law enforcement in our overall efforts to combat terrorism, because in an environment where operatives may not have close links to international terrorist organizations - and where they may, in fact, be based within this country - these levels of law enforcement may be the first to notice something suspicious. We have established programs that facilitate a strong, two-way flow of threat-related information, where SLTT officials communicate possible threat information to federal officials, and vice-versa. As discussed earlier, pre-operational activity - such as target selection, reconnaissance, and dry runs - may occur over a very short time period, or in open and crowded places. Informing federal authorities of suspicious activities allows this information to be compared with information in other law enforcement and intelligence databases and to be analyzed for trends, increasing the likelihood that an attack can be thwarted. This also allows federal authorities to better inform communities of the threats they face. The nation's fusion centers have been a hub of these efforts, combined with other initiatives DHS has instituted to better partner with SLTT law enforcement. Today I will focus on a few of these actions.

Providing Law Enforcement Personnel the Information and Resources They Need

Information sharing

In today's threat environment, preventing terrorist attacks means creating a unified effort across all levels of government, and ensuring that law enforcement officers on the front lines at all levels have everything necessary to do their jobs.

We are strengthening the networks and relationships necessary to get information where it should to be, when it should be there, and in the most useful format. At the heart of this effort are fusion centers, which serve as focal points for information sharing among federal and SLTT law enforcement. Starting with just a handful in 2006, there are 72 fusion centers today. They analyze information and identify trends in order to effectively share timely intelligence with local law enforcement and DHS. In turn, DHS shares this information with others within the Intelligence Community. By doing this, the Department facilitates two-way communication among our federal partners and state and local emergency management and public safety personnel, including the first responders on the ground.

My goal is to make every fusion center a center of analytic excellence that provides useful, actionable information about threats to SLTT law enforcement and first responders. To support this vision, we have deployed experienced DHS intelligence officers to fusion centers across the country. We have provided 64 personnel at last count and are committed to having an officer in each fusion center. We support fusion centers in our grants process and are looking for ways to support them through adding technology and personnel, including the deployment of highly trained experts in critical infrastructure protection. As fusion centers become fully operational, we deploy the Homeland Security Data Network so that fusion center personnel with appropriate federal security clearances have access to classified homeland security threat information.

Strengthening fusion centers is not the only way we are improving the flow and quality of information and getting it to where it needs to be. We are also working closely with the Department of Justice to expand the Suspicious Activity Reporting (SAR) Initiative into a national resource for SLTT law enforcement. As I mentioned earlier, today's diffuse threat landscape means that a police officer on the beat, rather than an intelligence analyst in Washington, D.C., may have the best opportunity to detect an attack or attack planning. The SAR Initiative creates a standard process for law enforcement in more than two dozen states and cities to identify and report suspicious incidents or behaviors associated with specific threats or terrorism. It makes first responders first preventers, as well. The system allows the information to be shared nationally so that it can be used to identify broader trends. We are working with our partners at DOJ to expand this program to every state to make it as comprehensive and effective as possible. By next month, the system will be implemented in an additional 17 locations in addition to the 12 operational, and will cover nearly 70 percent of the American population. We plan for it to be fully implemented on a national scale by the end of 2011.

Grants and grand guidance

Another important way we push tools and resources from Washington and into local hands is through grants. Currently, state and local governments across America are struggling to pay their bills and fund vital services. As a former two-term Governor, I know the hard budgetary choices they are facing. But it is critical to our national security that local communities maintain and continue to strengthen their public safety capabilities. To help ease the burden on state and local governments, we awarded $3.8 billion in grants this past year to states, cities, law enforcement, and first responders, and are helping localities stretch these dollars even further. We have eliminated red tape by streamlining the grant process. We have expanded grants to fund maintenance and sustainability, enabling local jurisdictions to support previous investments, rather than buying new equipment or technology each year. We have also bolstered first responders across the country by making it easier for fire grants to be put to work quickly and to enable fire departments to rehire laid-off firefighters and protect the jobs of veteran firefighters. Keeping experienced first responders on the job is critical to our ability to recognize threats and take action.

Public awareness

As recent events have underscored, each and every person has a role to play in keeping our communities and country safe. For example, take the New York street vendor who tipped off a policeman about the bombing attempt in Times Square, or the group of passengers on Flight 253 who intervened to stop the bombing attempt on Christmas Day.

That is why we have taken an effective public awareness campaign with a familiar slogan - "If You See Something, Say Something" - developed by New York City's Metropolitan Transit Authority with support from DHS, and are expanding it across the country, throughout various sectors. Over the summer, we launched this campaign in partnership with Amtrak, the general aviation community, and local and regional law enforcement in the National Capital Region and across the Southern states. We are also working with professional and collegiate sports leagues to launch this effort at stadiums across the country this fall.

The goal of the "If You See Something, Say Something" campaign is to raise awareness of potential indicators of terrorism, crime and other threats and emphasize the importance of reporting suspicious activity to law enforcement. We see this as a way both to empower Americans to take part in our nation's security and to build important relationships between citizens and SLTT law enforcement in order to ensure local authorities have the information they need to stop terrorist attacks.

Empowering Communities and Police to Combat Violence

We also are empowering local jurisdictions and communities to work together to address violent extremism. The potential threat of homegrown violent extremism is very clear. Some two dozen Americans have been arrested on terror charges since 2009. While it is not clear if this represents an actual increase in violent radicalization, versus a rise in the mobilization of previously radicalized individuals, it is nonetheless evident that over the past 12 months, efforts by violent extremist groups and movements to communicate with and recruit individuals within the United States have intensified. And the profiles of Americans who have been arrested on terror charges, or who we know are involved in terrorism overseas, indicate that there is no "typical" profile of a homegrown terrorist. While we work to address violent extremism, we must acknowledge that there is much we do not know about how individuals come to adopt violent extremist beliefs.
All of this was noted in a detailed report by the Bipartisan Policy Center's National Security Preparedness Group co-chaired by Lee Hamilton and Tom Kean. It is important to emphasize, though, the actions are currently underway to address the threat of homegrown violent extremism, including our regular consultations with international partners. We know that information-driven, community-oriented approaches led by local police departments in close partnership with community members have been very successful in reducing violence in many American communities. The Homeland Security Advisory Council's (HSAC) Countering Violent Extremism Working Group - comprised of security experts, elected officials, law enforcement leaders, community leaders, and first responders from around the country - has provided DHS with a number of recommendations on how to support local law enforcement and community-based efforts to identify and combat sources of violent extremism.

Based on the HSAC Working Group's recommendations, and in conjunction with the Major Cities Chiefs Association, the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the Department of Justice, the Counter Terrorism Academy, and the Naval Postgraduate School, we are developing a curriculum for state and local law enforcement focused on community-oriented policing, to enable frontline personnel to identify activities that are indicators of criminal activity and violence. This training will be available through a number of venues, including regional community policing institutes and DHS' Federal Law Enforcement Training Center.

We are producing a series of unclassified case studies that examine recent incidents involving terrorism. These will inform state and local law enforcement personnel, as well as members of communities, about common behaviors and indicators exhibited by the suspects in these cases. DHS is also creating a series of intelligence products for the fusion centers and law enforcement personnel that will discuss tactics, techniques and plans of terrorist organizations, including the recruitment and training of individuals living in the United States.
In addition, DHS is convening a series of regional summits with state and local law enforcement, government, and community leaders this fall to focus on best practices. These summits will allow all participants to provide and receive feedback on successful communityoriented policing and other programs aimed at preventing violence and crime. DHS will gather these case studies and best practices and share them with law enforcement nationwide, employing the widely used platforms that the Department has already established.

Finally, DHS continues to work with the Department of Justice to leverage grant programs to support training and technical assistance for SLTT law enforcement. The Department is working to incorporate community-oriented policing concepts into our broader preparedness efforts. And at the same time - because these new initiatives and policies are inherently relevant to DHS' local community partnerships - the Department is expanding the cultural training and engagement activities performed by the Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties. These activities will help both DHS personnel and SLTT law enforcement to better understand, identify, and mitigate threats to American communities.

Community leaders play a vital role in countering violent extremism. Many have helped disrupt plots and have spoken out against violent extremism. They play a central role in addressing this issue, and we are committed to continuing to work closely with them.

Strengthening Specific Sectors

All of what I have described today helps to create a strong foundation for preventing acts of terrorism. But I would also like to talk about some steps we have taken to address terrorist threats to specific economic sectors. These are hardly the only sectors we are focused upon, but there are a few I would like to highlight for the purpose of this testimony.

Commercial aviation

Despite many improvements to aviation security since 9/11 that have made flying very safe, there are still vulnerabilities that need to be addressed. The attempted terrorist attack on Northwest Flight 253, bound to Detroit, on December 25, 2009, illustrated the global nature of the threat to aviation. That incident involved a U.S. plane flying into a U.S. city, but it endangered individuals from at least 17 foreign countries. The alleged attacker, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, is a Nigerian citizen educated in the United Kingdom. He received training in terrorist tactics in Yemen, purchased his ticket in Ghana, and flew from Nigeria to Amsterdam before departing for Detroit. And as Canadian officials have pointed out, the plane was over Canadian airspace at the time of the incident.

After this attempted terrorist attack, the U.S. government moved quickly to do more to strengthen security. We took immediate steps to bolster passenger screening, while addressing larger systemic issues on a global scale. I personally traveled to numerous foreign capitals in the aftermath of the attack to work with our allies to ensure our international aviation security efforts were stronger, better coordinated, and redesigned to meet the current threat environment. Since January, we have worked closely with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the United Nations body responsible for air transport, on five regional aviation security summits that I have participated in along with elected leaders, security ministers, and airline officials. We have also worked closely with U.S. and international airline and airport trade associations and airline CEOs on a coordinated, international approach to enhancing aviation security.

Next week, at the ICAO General Assembly meeting, we expect the international community to ratify four key elements of global aviation security. These elements are: developing and deploying new security technologies that better detect dangerous materials; strengthening security measures and standards for airport inspections and cargo screening; enhancing information sharing about threats between countries within the international aviation system; and coordinating international technical assistance for the deployment of improved technologies. These reforms represent a historic advancement for the safety and security of air travel.

DHS has coupled these international efforts with significant advances in domestic aviation security. We have deployed additional behavior detection officers, air marshals, and explosives-detection canine teams, among other measures, to airports across the country. Through the President's fiscal year 2011 budget request and the Recovery Act, we accelerated the purchase of 1,000 Advanced Imaging Technology machines for deployment to airports around the country, and are purchasing and deploying more portable explosive detection machines, Advanced Technology x-ray systems, and bottled liquid scanners. The United States implemented new, enhanced security measures for all air carriers with international flights to the United States that use real-time, threat-based intelligence to better mitigate the evolving terrorist threats. In June, DHS achieved a major aviation security milestone called for in the 9/11 Commission Report by assuming responsibility for terrorist watchlist screening of all passengers on domestic and international flights on U.S. airlines.

Surface transportation

I would also like to discuss specific actions we have taken to strengthen security for surface transportation, such as passenger rail and mass transit. Many of the steps I have already described are especially important in that environment. We conducted the initial launch of the national "If You See Something, Say Something" campaign at Penn Station in New York, in conjunction with Amtrak. The SAR Initiative is also geared toward detecting signs of terrorism in public places like train stations, buses, or rail cars. This initiative includes the Amtrak Police Department as a law enforcement partner and allows Amtrak officers to use the upgraded reporting system to refer suspicious activity reports to DHS and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. This is in addition to the intelligence sharing that the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) conducts with Amtrak on an ongoing basis, and the information-sharing work done by the Public Transportation Information Sharing Analysis Center. The expansion of the SAR Initiative will continue to work directly to secure rail transportation.

There are also a number of operational activities underway focused on surface transportation. We are continuing to augment local anti-terrorism efforts by deploying TSA officers at train stations to screen passengers with Amtrak police, and in New York subway stations to work alongside New York and MTA Police. TSA special operation teams, known as VIPR teams, work with local partners to support several thousand operations every year. We are moving forward on risk-based implementation plans for each of the 20 recommendations (of which DHS has the lead on 19) made in the Surface Transportation Security Assessment, released in April as part of an Administration-wide effort to address surface transportation security. We are also in the rulemaking process to require background checks and security training for public transit employees, and to require vulnerability assessments and security plans for high-risk public transportation agencies, railroads, and bus operators. All of these will help to address a landscape where the threats to these systems are distinct.


The terrorist threat against the United States continues to evolve in ways that present more complicated and dangerous challenges than we have faced in the past. We cannot guarantee that there will never be another terrorist attack, and we cannot seal our country under a glass dome. But we can do everything in our power to prevent attacks, confront the terrorist threat head-on, and secure our country.

The efforts that I have described today are only a small part of the work that the hundreds of thousands of men and women, at DHS and at law enforcement agencies across the country, do every day to secure our nation. And I want to emphasize that the Department is focused on many other threats, as well - in particular, the growing threat to our cyber networks and the threat from chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear weapons. In everything I have described today - and in everything we do to combat terrorism - DHS is focused on providing those on the front lines with the technology, training, and information they need to do their jobs and keep our country safe.
Chairman Lieberman, Senator Collins, and members of the Committee: Thank you for inviting me to testify today. I can now answer any questions you may have.


Carrier Strike Group 2 Embarks USS George H.W. Bush

Norfolk September 22, 2010 - USS George H.W Bush (CVN 77) permanently embarked its strike group, Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 2, for the first time Sept. 20.

The embarkation marked yet another first in the short history of George H.W. Bush as CSG 2's staff of 75 personnel, including Rear Adm. Nora Tyson, commander, CSG 2, joined the team aboard America's newest aircraft carrier prior to a scheduled underway period that will further combine the assets and personnel of CSG 2.
"This is the first time a flag (staff) has embarked Bush. This is really the first opportunity to begin working together as a team, and it is one of the steps on the road to deployment," said Tyson. "You guys have a great ship, a great crew and I'm pretty honored to be on board and be a part of it."
Prior to embarking aboard George H.W. Bush, the CSG 2 staff deployed for three months in 2010 to support Operation Unified Response in Haiti and also served as strike group for USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) on her most recent deployment.
"It's great," said Tyson, who assumed command of CSG 2 in July 2010. "I love going to sea. I'm really looking forward to it, and I'm happy to be back on a ship again."
The George H.W. Bush Strike Group will conduct a series of training exercises and certifications at sea during the next several months as it prepares for her maiden deployment in 2011.


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Sycamore Returns from Deepwater Horizon Duty

The 225-foot Coast Guard Cutter Sycamore transits through the Miraflores Locks in Panama en route to the Gulf of Mexico July 10, 2010. The cutter is based in Cordova, Alaska, but responded to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. U.S. Coast Guard photo courtesy cutter Sycmore.
Kodiak September 20, 2010 - Coast Guard Cutter Sycamore is returning home to Cordova on Tuesday following 120 days underway supporting response efforts for the Deepwater Horizon /BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Sycamore also patrolled the Mid-Pacific in search of drug traffickers as they transited to and from the Gulf of Mexico.

Sycamore departed Cordova on May 24 en route Washington for a one month training assessment at the Coast Guard Afloat Training Group in Everett. The crew demonstrated their excellence in all assessment areas, ranging from damage control and communications to anti-terrorism and gunnery exercises. They achieved a “clean sweep” of all drills. The day before completing the training cycle, the ship received orders to “turn left” when exiting the Strait of Juan de Fuca and proceed through the Panama Canal to Pensacola, Florida for up to six months in support of Operation Deepwater Horizon.

With three days preparation in Seattle, Sycamore swapped out 18 crew members, loaded two weather buoys on deck, and took on fuel and supplies to make the 5,000 mile transit. Cmdr. James Houck, Sycamore’s commanding officer, described the crew’s reaction; “The crew took the changes in stride. Embodying the Coast Guard’s motto of Semper Paratus (Always Ready), we knew the nation needed us in the Gulf of Mexico and we responded with gusto. The disappointment of not being able to return home after a very successful training cycle was quickly overcome by the crew’s camaraderie and adventurous spirit as we headed out to do our duties.”

Between Seattle and the Panama Canal, Sycamore set two offshore weather buoys for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, retrieved and reset a wayward navigational buoy, and monitored the waters off Central America for drug trafficking.

During its 42 days in the Gulf of Mexico, the crew of the Sycamore directed the Coast Guard’s oil spill skimming and vessel of opportunity support fleets along the coasts of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida while constantly looking for skimmable oil. The crew also served as a search and rescue guard ship and provided hurricane contingency support.

“Sycamore’s crew responded remarkably to every challenge Deepwater Horizon through our way,” said Houck. “We are very proud of the contributions and hard work of the entire Coast Guard and applaud the many Coast Guardsmen involved in the response.”

The Sycamore is a 225-foot Seagoing Buoy Tender with a crew of seven officers and 44 enlisted. Sycamore was one of eight 225-foot Seagoing Buoy Tenders to respond to the Deepwater Horizon crisis. Their homeports range from Newport, R.I. to Honolulu, Hawaii. Sycamore’s homeport of Cordova, Alaska is the farthest from the Gulf of Mexico. Half of the Coast Guard’s 225 fleet was called to action, and seven of the eight remain in the Gulf of Mexico, awaiting detailed decontamination and to be cleaned of the oil they skimmed.

At the height of the Deepwater Horizon response 47,849 people, 123 aircraft and 8,044 vessels were deployed to collect, burn and disperse oil as well as protect sensitive shoreline, cleanup oil impacted areas, and monitor for the health and safety of people in the region.


Uruguay denies entry to ship

Uruguay denies entry to ship

Singapore and Thailand Navies in Bilateral Naval Exercise

COL Giam Hock Koon and CAPT Kosit Cheamsuphakit officiating at the opening ceremony of Exercise Singsiam 2010 at Changi Naval Base. Behind them is the frigate RSS Steadfast which is participating in the exercise.

Singapore September 21, 2010 - The Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) and the Royal Thai Navy (RTN) are participating in a bilateral naval exercise, code-named Singsiam from 20 to 29 Sep 2010. The opening ceremony was officiated by Colonel Giam Hock Koon, Commanding Officer of the RSN's 185 Squadron, and the Chief of Staff Frigate Squadron 2 of the RTN, Captain Kosit Cheamsuphakit, at Changi Naval Base yesterday.

Hosted by the RSN, this year's exercise started with a shore phase at Changi Naval Base and a sea phase that will be conducted in the South China Sea and the Gulf of Thailand. The RSN is participating in the exercise with frigate RSS Steadfast, missile corvette RSS Valour and patrol vessel RSS Resilience. The RTN is represented by helicopter carrier HTMS Chakri Naruebet for the first time, frigate HTMS Taksin and three S-70B naval helicopters.

Canadian, US Forces Return from Torpedo Exercise

Groton September 20, 2010 - Canadian Navy Victoria-class long-range patrol submarine HMCS Corner Brook (SSK 878) returned to Canada after participating in a torpedo exercise with Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Memphis (SSN 691) and Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Mason (DDG 87) in late August.
The exercise was held in the Cape Cod operating area and included the firing of 15 Mk48 ADCAP torpedoes and six Mk54 torpedoes. This is the first time Victoria-class submarines were used as targets in exercise torpedo firings.
"Being on the receiving end of more than 20 torpedoes is not a natural state for a submariner," said Lt. Cmdr. Alex Kooiman, Corner Brook's commanding officer. "However, being able to practice a variety of evasive maneuvers numerous times during this exercise will give us a tactical advantage in the future."
The exercise was an opportunity for both submarine forces to continue to improve their ability to work together.
"Experiencing the different submarines is an important part of the Navy's working relationship with international partners. They help to enhance friendly, mutual cooperation and understanding between participating navies by developing interoperability in naval operations," said Cmdr. Charles Maher, Memphis' commanding officer.
Prior to the exercise, Corner Brook visited Naval Submarine Base New London for a five-day port call. Submarine Development Squadron 12 was the host squadron. Corner Brook last visited Groton in May 2009.
HMCS Corner Brook is 70.3 meters long, 7.6 meters across the beam and has a deep diving depth in excess of 200 meters. HMCS Corner Brook has six torpedo tubes and can carry up to eighteen Mark 48 Mod 4 heavyweight torpedoes for use against surface and sub-surface targets.
Memphis was built by Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Company. Commissioned Dec. 17, 1977, Memphis, a Los Angeles class attack submarine has multifaceted missions. It uses stealth, persistence, agility and firepower to deploy and support special force operations, disrupt and destroy an adversary's military and economic operations at sea, provide early strike from close proximity, and ensure undersea superiority.


Monday, September 20, 2010

Two Thai Naval Ships arrive at the Port of Colombo

Colombo September 20, 2010 - Two Royal Thai Naval ships, HTMS “Similan” and HTMS “Pattani”, with Commander, Frigate Squadron 2 of the Royal Thai Fleet, Rear Admiral Chaiyot Sundaranaga on board, arrived at the Port of Colombo yesterday (19th September 2010). The ships were ceremonially welcomed by the Sri Lanka Navy on their arrival. A special programme has been arranged by the Sri Lanka Navy to enhance the friendly relations between the two Navies during the ships’ stay in Sri Lanka.
The two Royal Thai Naval ships belong to the Royal Thai Navy Counter Piracy Task Group (RTNCPTG) and are en route to the Gulf of Aden with two Naval Special Warfare units on an anti-piracy mission headed by Rear Admiral Chaiyot Sundaranaga. The ships are in Sri Lanka for logistics support prior to joining the international anti-piracy operation being carried out jointly by maritime task forces from 29 countries off the coast of Somalia in the Gulf of Aden.
HTMS Similan, an Auxiliary Oiler Replenishment vessel, is 171.45 meters in length and has a displacement of 22,000 tons. The ship carries a complement of 230 Naval personnel and is commanded by Captain Poollarp Tattathongkom.
HTMS Pattani, an Offshore Patrol Vessel, is 94.5 meters in length and has a displacement of 1635 tons. The ship carries a complement of 126 Naval personnel and is commanded by Commander Sathip Chitnawa.