A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on – Winston Churchill
Sea Hunter Transferred to US Navy
The Sea Hunter is an autonomousunmanned surface vehicle (USV) launched in 2016 as part of the DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) Anti-Submarine Warfare Continuous Trail Unmanned Vessel (ACTUV) program. It was christened 7 April 2016 in Portland, Oregon. It was built by Vigor Industrial. (Vigor also builds all the ferries for the Washington State Ferry System). The vessel continues the line of experimental “Sea” ships, including the Sea Shadow, Sea Fighter, and Sea Slice. The Sea Hunter is classified as a Class III USV and designated the Medium Displacement Unmanned Surface Vehicle (MDUSV). It is an unmanned self-piloting craft with twin screws, powered by two diesel engines with a top speed of 27 knots. Its weight is 135 tons, including 40 tons of fuel, adequate for a 70-day cruise. Cruising range is “transoceanic,” 10,000 nautical miles at 12 knots fully fueled with 14,000 gallons of diesel, enough to “go from San Diego to Guam and back to Pearl Harbor on a tank of gas.” Sea Hunter has a full load displacement of 145 tons and is intended to be operational through Sea State 5, waves up to 6.5 ft high and winds up to 21 knots and survivable through Sea State 7, seas up to 20 ft high. The trimaran hull provides increased stability without requiring a weighted keel, giving it a higher capacity for linear trajectories and better operations in shallow waters, though the greater width decreases maneuverability. It is expected to undergo two years of testing before being placed in service with the U.S. Navy. If tests are successful, future such craft may be armed and used for anti-submarine and counter-mine duties, operating at a small fraction of the cost of operating a destroyer, $15,000-$20,000 per day compared to $700,000 per day; it could operate with Littoral Combat Ships, becoming an extension of the LCS ASW module. Deputy US Defense Secretary Robert Work said that if weapons are added to the ship, a human would always remotely make the decision to use lethal force. Following successful initial development, it was reported on 1 February 2018 that DARPA had handed development of Sea Hunter to the Office of Naval Research. On 22 June 2016, Sea Hunter completed initial performance trials, meeting or surpassing all performance objectives for speed, maneuverability, stability, seakeeping, acceleration/deceleration, fuel consumption, and mechanical systems reliability in the open-ocean. Upcoming trials will include testing of sensors, the vessel’s autonomy suite, compliance with maritime collision regulations, and proof-of-concept demonstrations for a variety of U.S. Navy missions. The Sea Hunter MDUSV was adopted by the Office of Naval Research (ONR) in summer 2017 for operational testing and evaluation for mine-countermeasure, EO/IR, and submarine detection capabilities. Plans for FY 2018 include adding intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) and offensive anti-submarine payloads.
President Trump and Former Security Advisor Michael Flynn
There is ever increasing evidence against President Donald Trump supporting a case of obstruction of justice. It includes a tweet that he fired his former security adviser Michael Flynn because he knew Flynn had lied to both the Vice President and the FBI. If he knew Flynn had committed a felony; that of lying to the FBI, then one could draw a conclusion Mr. Trump obstructed justice when he told then-FBI director James Comey to go easy on Flynn the day after the firing of Flynn. On December 1, 2017, Flynn appeared in federal court to formalize a deal with Special Counsel Robert Mueller to plead guilty to a single felony count of “willfully and knowingly” making “false, fictitious and fraudulent statements” to the FBI. As part of his plea bargain agreement to avoid additional charges Michael Flynn is talking to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation team regarding Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election in order to avoid a prison sentence. Should we believe a retired United States ArmyLieutenant General, a member of Trump’s inter-circle during the Trump presidential campaign, a member of the transition team and the National Security Advisor during the first days of the Trump presidency acted on his own in contacting the Russian ambassador to the U.S., Sergey Kislyak? And if he received guidance to contact the Russian government then its more than likely that guidance could only have come from Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, or President Trump. Tic, tic, tic, tic.
I am on vacation this week! I’m not quite sure how that differs from my other weeks these days, but I’m calling it vacation.
Well anyway, I’m enjoying some time with a group of good friends, mostly old Navy guys. We spend a few days fishing, shooting at pumpkins filled with Tannerite, brushing up on our much unpracticed Texas Hold’em skills and sharing some great meals at The High Country Inn – Home. I’m sad to report no fish were harmed on our first day of fishing, but we’re picking up some today!
Friends should help you move. I can call on these friends to help move the bodies.
President Trump Moves To Decertify Iran Deal
As predicted in the previous edition of FOD (and some of those other media institutions) President Donald Trump is expected to put the 2015 Iran nuclear deal squarely in the hands of Congress, refusing to certify that Iran is in compliance with the deal but letting lawmakers decide whether to tear it up. Congress will now have to decide if they will reimpose sanctions on Iran with regard to the country’s nuclear program, or attach new conditions to the agreement. Those sanctions were lifted as part of the 2015 agreement, and reimposing them would effectively destroy the deal, known as the JCPOA. I watched his short speech announcing his actions. He focused on many actions Iran has taken over the years to destabilize nations in the region as well as their strident and continual support of terrorism around the globe. That terrorism includes state and non-state militant Moslem actions, cyber attacks, threats to freedom of navigation on the high seas coupled with their development of ballistic missiles in conjunction with their own nuclear development program. One of the big issues of concern to Tehran is how the president would treat the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, the hardline military wing that had already been sanctioned for weapons proliferation under prior administrations. This is also of concern to European countries that do business with shell companies actually owned by the IRGC. According to a senior administration official, Trump intends to designate the corps as a supporter of terrorism, but will stop short of calling it a foreign terror organization. The administration is required to make the designation under legislation Trump signed in August covering sanctions against Iran, Russia and North Korea. Although officials had until Oct. 31 to decide, they are including the designation in today’s speech of the larger Iran strategy. Those in the administration who are worried about Iran misinterpreting or overreacting are eager to emphasize the distinction between being a supporter of terrorism and an actual terrorist organization. They also emphasize that it has no practical effect because of other existing IRGC designations, but that it could enrage the Iranians.
Former FBI Director James Comey will testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee next week, the committee announced Thursday. He will testify first in an open session on Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election at 10 a.m. Thursday, June 8, and a closed session will follow. Selective leaks will follow the closed session. During his testimony, Comey is expected to say President Trump pressured him to end the FBI‘s investigation into ties between Trump’s campaign associates and Russia, it was reported by the Washington Examiner and others last Wednesday. Comey’s testimony is highly-anticipated, as he led the investigation into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election before Trump fired him last month. Comey (left) was dismissed by President Donald Trump on May 9, 2017, days after Comey reportedly requested increased resources from the DOJ for the FBI’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the presidential election, a report which was later denied by the DOJ. Following Comey’s firing, several news reports revealed details of various interactions the former Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation had with the president. During one such interaction occurring days after his inauguration, Trump reportedly asked Comey to pledge his loyalty to him. Gee, I thought that loyalty oath thing died with Medieval kings. Comey declined, but promised to always be honest with the president. In another conversation, Trump reportedly asked Comey to end the FBI’s investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who was fired in February. Comey recorded his interactions with Trump in memos while working at the FBI, and the details of those memos — including his conversations with Trump — are expected to be discussed during his testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee. The details of Comey’s memos have caused concern among lawmakers on Capitol Hill, particularly Democrats, who are questioning whether Trump attempted to obstruct the Russia probe. After Comey was fired, the Justice Department appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller to serve as special counsel and oversee the probe. Though some lawmakers were initially concerned that Mueller’s appointment would prevent Comey from testifying privately, Comey and Mueller met privately to discuss how Comey could testify and avoid “legal entanglements.”
Happy Mothers’ Day to all those mothers out there, and all Friends of FOD are reminded to call, send a card, send flowers, or whatever and let your mother know how much she has meant to your life.
Multi-National Amphibious Assault Exercises in Southern Pacific
The U.S., the U.K. and Japan are joining a French-led amphibious exercise at remote U.S. islands in the Pacific over the next week. Participants say they are showing support for the free passage of vessels in international waters, an issue that has come to the fore amid fears China could restrict movement in the South China Sea. As mentioned in several recent editions of FOD, China claims virtually the entire South China Sea and has aggressively tried to fortify its foothold in recent years by transforming seven mostly submerged reefs into island outposts, some with runways and radars and — more recently — weapons systems.
And as I mentioned in the last edition of FOD we have failed to exercise Freedom of Navigation (FON) operations in the South and East China Seas. I don’t think I have any Senate Foreign Relations Committee members on the FOD distribution list, but I see where this week the top Republican and Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee wrote President Donald Trump to express concern that the U.S. hasn’t conducted freedom of navigation operations since October. The letter from Republican Sen. Bob Corker, Democrat Sen. Ben Cardin and five other senators supported a recent assessment by the commander of U.S. forces in the Pacific that China is militarizing the South China Sea and is continuing a “methodical strategy” to control it. The letter, dated Wednesday 10 May, urged the administration to “routinely exercise” freedom of navigation and over-flight. The senators described the South China Sea as critical to U.S. national security interests and to peace in the Asia-Pacific.