One area where America has a significant advantage over any putative adversary is in logistics. No other nation can challenge the US ability to conduct overseas operations, deploy and sustain joint forces worldwide, including remote corners of the globe. But it’s not enough! The capability is being urgently enhanced. Summing up pieces of information coming from various sources leads to the conclusion that preparations for combat actions conducted far from home bases are in full swing.
US Air Force exercise capstone Joint Forcible Entry (JFE) – the largest ever - was held on Dec.9-10 to check the readiness for airlifting Army paratroopers. The transport aircraft were escorted by F-15 and F-16 warplanes fighting their way through contested air space to the enemy’s rear. Once landed, the forces on the ground were supported from air. 37 самолетов C-17 Globemaster III and 21 C-130 Hercules cargo aircraft took off from 12 air bases across the country to support the largest JFE event in history. Troops were landed in Nevada. In total, over 100 aircraft took place in the drills.
The training event took place after Mobility Guardian – a large NATO power projection exercise – was held in July bringing together roughly 30 nations. The exercise included all elements of forcible entry operation, including electronic attack and cyber warfare. A С-17 ready to land in any part of the world in 24 hours to deliver the equipment needed to provide for further operations of 4 F-22 или F-35 fighters was an element of the fully integrated scenario.
This month, US and South Korea held “Vigilant Ace”, the largest ever joint air exercise. The five-day Vigilant Ace drill involved 230 aircraft, including F-22 Raptor stealth jet fighters, and tens of thousands of troops.
The exercises of such large scale held one by one showed that the capability to conduct power projection operations in the faraway regions is a priority. The infrastructure of other countries as well as pre-positioned stocks is widely used to enhance effectiveness. For instance, on Dec. 1, 2017, the Defense Logistics Agency issued an amendment to a contract notice regarding prepositioned supplies at jet fuel at sites throughout Europe and Africa in support of US military activities.
The change specifically added a requirement for supplies of commercial Jet A fuel at three sites: Manu Dayak Airport in the central Nigerien city of Agadez, Houari Boumediene Airport in the Algerian capital Algiers, and Tamanrasset/Aguenar Airport.
The plans are on the way to beef up logistics infrastructure for offensive operations in Europe, including the creation of logistics command and the creation of a military free transit zone modeled on the 1996 Schengen agreement to allow free forces movements across the borders of European NATO members. Powidz, Poland, a village with a population of 1,000, is to become a strategically important NATO hub described as the «center of the center of gravity». The plans include the delivery of more than a brigade’s worth of military vehicles, equipment, artillery and personnel.
This month, the new US C-130J Super Hercules military transport aircraft arrived at Ramstein Air Base (AB) in Germany, to replace one of 14 C-130J’s at Ramstein AB. The aircraft features upgraded avionics, improved lift capacity, superior climb performance, and long-range landing field capabilities. It is part of a rotational process to upgrade existing aircraft.
Looks like the US military really needs the airlift capability expanded and it needs it now.
The Air Force is bringing back C-5M Super Galaxy transports recently mothballed due to budget cuts.
The C-5 is the largest airlifter built by the United States, capable of carrying a maximum of 135 tons of cargo. It can haul up to 36 standard pallets and 81 troops at the same time or a wide variety of gear, including tanks, helicopters, submarines, equipment, and food and emergency supplies.
The Galaxy can carry 120,000 pounds of cargo more than 5,500 miles — the distance from Dover Air Force base in Delaware to Incirlik airbase in Turkey — without refueling.
An idea is floating to convert transport aircraft like the C-130 Hercules into the airborne aircraft carrier, capable of launching a volley of drones that could fly into a battle space to provide reconnaissance and surveillance. These drones would simultaneously communicate and swarm, confusing the enemy with their numbers and distracting its air defenses.
Military Sealift Command (MSC) routinely employs around 50 ships, a combination of government owned/contractor operated vessels and commercial transports to meet its worldwide responsibilities.
Private companies also provide routine transportation and logistics services both within CONUS and globally. The Navy is completing construction of the landing platform dock (LPD) 17 class and is set to begin recapitalization of the dock landing ship (LSD) class in 2020, using a hull based on the LPD 17
Naval Supply Systems Command (NAVSUP) Global Logistics Support (GLS) provides global logistics for a global Navy. The organization is made up of approximately 6,300 military and civilian logistics professionals operating from 105 locations worldwide, providing an extensive array of integrated global logistics and contracting services to Navy, Marine Corps, joint operational units, and allied forces across all warfare enterprises.
The facts and events summed up above are not front-page stories. They don’t tell much separately but tell a lot when put together and systematized. They lead to believe the United States is urgently preparing for a truly big war waged far away from its borders. The US military is sized, organized, and globally postured to fight it. A doctrine of expanding forces is not as straightforward as producing more fighters and weapon systems. Nothing is possible without logistics. That’s what is given the highest priority as the preparations are intensified.
Having worked closely with U.S. intelligence agencies over the last two decades, James Rickards was once asked to simulate asymmetric economic attacks on the U.S. financial system. He is an expert at escalation scenarios and end games, and in a recent article at The Daily Reckoning he warns that the geopolitical situation on the Korean Peninsula will soon come to a head.
According to Rickards, author of The Road To Ruin: The Global Elites Secret Plan For The Next Financial Crisis, while the world concerns itself with stock bubbles, bitcoin and debt, the most imminent threat we face is military confrontation with North Korea.
And while the rogue state has been an ongoing threat for many years, the first half of 2018 will likely see the trigger that sets the whole powder keg off:
The most important financial or geopolitical issue in the world today is a coming war between the U.S. and North Korea, probably in the next twelve weeks.
How can I be so sure about the timing? The Director of the Central Intelligence Agency told me.
In a private conclave in Washington DC on October 20, 2017, CIA Director Mike Pompeo told a small think tank group (including me) that it would be imprudent to assume it would take North Korea more than ‘five months’ to have a reliable arsenal of nuclear-armed ICBM missiles. These could strike U.S. cities and kill millions of Americans.
Five months from October 20, 2017 is March 20, 2018. That’s an outside date but the war will likely begin before then.
That would create an element of surprise — and avoid the surprise of a faster than expected deployment of strategic weapons by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
Interestingly, a very similar timeline was put forth by Chinese General Wang Gongguang, who indicated that hostilities could break out at anytime between now and March.
As Rickards highlights in his report, the United States has coexisted with other nuclear powers like Russia and China without any serious incidents since the Cuban Missile Crisis in the early 1960’s. But North Korea is different, because unlike these nuclear super powers, Kim Jong Un has repeatedly threatened the destruction of the United States and killing millions of people in the process.
Some have suggested that Kim may be bluffing, but what if he isn’t?
The Trump administration has made it crystal clear that they are prepared to call the bluff and a nuclear armed North Korea, especially one with ICMB’s capable of striking major U.S. cities, will not be allowed. Rickards continues:
We relied on deterrence, containment, sanctions, diplomacy, and eventually arms treaties to avoid a nuclear war. Why not do the same with Kim?
President Trump’s National Security Advisor, General H. R. McMaster answered that question at our Washington conclave also.
He said acceptance of a nuclear-armed North Korea is ‘unacceptable’. The U.S. will stop North Korea from acquiring its nuclear capability in the first place rather than learning to live it.
Earlier this year it was reported that Japanese citizens who sit in the direct cross-hairs of the North have been building bunkers in anticipation of a potential war. In the United States, cities like San Francisco and the State of Hawaii are actively reviewing their nuclear contingency plans in the event of an attack.
As well, at the height of tensions in August, panic buying of nuclear preparedness supplies led to widespread shortages of anti-radiation pills, which have also been stockpiled in the millions by the U.S. government.
The general public may not understand the seriousness of the threat, but it appears that someone out there does.
China, Russia, the United States and North Korea are all mobilizing for a coming war.
President Trump’s national security teams have set deadlines and determined military options, including a decapitation strike on North Korean leader Kim Jong Un should the order be given.
By all accounts, the world appears to be on the precipice.
According to the U.K.-based Telegraph, Donald Trump’s war of words with North Korean president Kim Jong-un has the potential to spiral into a confrontation. The U.S. is reportedly drawing up plans for a “bloody nose” military attack on North Korea.
According to the Telegraph, the aim of the strike would be to contain the North’s nuclear weapons. This is in light of the fact that the U.S. has had multiple opportunities to contain North Korea’s nuclear weapons programs diplomatically but has opted for hostile aggression, instead.
The Telegraph reports that the White House has “dramatically” stepped up its preparation for a military solution to the North Korean standoff, receiving inside information from three “well-placed sources” —two former U.S. officials and a third figure from within the Trump administration.
“The Pentagon is trying to find options that would allow them to punch the North Koreans in the nose, get their attention and show that we’re serious,” a former U.S. security official briefed on policy told the Telegraph.
Not surprisingly, the Telegraph’s report said the Trump administration had Donald Trump’s Syria strike in April in mind as a blueprint for action against North Korea. In that context, the move would not be designed to contain or deter North Korea (such an April-inspired limited strike would achieve nothing) — it would most likely be aimed at America’s domestic population and the international community.
Whether the media will admit it or not, Trump’s Syria strike was a complete farce. According to the Russian Ministry of Defense, only 23 of the 59 missiles launched actually hit the Syrian airbase in what Russia dubbed an inefficient strike. In fact, barely a day later, the airbase was back in action, deploying warplanes to bomb rebel positions in the Homs countryside.
Further, the U.S. actually gave Russia, Syria’s staunchest backer, prior notice of the strike well before it was launched. Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis said in a statement that the so-called “deconfliction” channel set up by Russia and the U.S. in Syria was used to disclose the strike to the Russian side. It is inconceivable that Russia would not have passed this warning on to Syria considering Russian personnel are on the ground there.
All Trump’s April strike did was boost his ratings and improve his standing in the media for a tiny period of time, as well as boost stock in Raytheon, the manufacturer of the Tomahawk missiles used in the attack. The purpose of the strike could not have been to deter Syria from carrying out chemical weapons attacks considering Trump ordered it before he could have possibly received any credible intelligence linking the Syrian government to the infamous chemical attack at Khan Sheikhoun.
A strike against North Korea aimed at doing damage to the country’s military without prior warning will not be received well by a hostile country that has demonstrated it has U.S. personnel well within its strike range. As Jeffrey Lewis, the director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, wrote on Twitter, “Mobile missiles don’t need launch sites, Donald.” Putting this statement in context, Business Insider explained that North Korea has varied its launch sites, making it harder for the U.S. to track and intercept missiles.
Missing from any decent media coverage of this discussion is the little-known fact that in October of this year, it was reported that China was practicing bombing Guam, a U.S. territory. There is only one inference to be drawn from this conduct — China was sending a direct warning to the U.S. that its personnel will not be immune should a war emerge on the Korean peninsula.
No one is disputing that the U.S. could cause some serious damage to the infrastructure of North Korea, but as Business Insider eerily noted:
“The US knows what capabilities it has to counter North Korea, but not how North Korea would respond…The bloody-nose scenario comes down to a gamble on whether North Korea is ready to enter all-out war over a limited strike.” [emphasis added]
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