Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Deterring the Changing Threats

We need to update our deterrence and response model to Russia's hybrid threat,said General Joseph Dunford,USMC,before the Senate Armed Services Committee at his confirmation hearing last month.I think rotational forces are envisioned,along with prepositioning equipment and infrastructure.Quite frankly,I think that kind of threat is one we're going to face in the future-the idea of deterrence to the changing threats we face.
Russia is not just threatening;they are actually doing it.My assessment today is that Russia presents the greatest threat to our national security.It is a nuclear power that could pose an existential threat to the United States,and their recent acts are nothing short of alarming.I also think it's important to maintain a military-to-military relationship with them to prevent the chance of miscalculation.
Russia is aggressively moving military forces into the Arctic-we need a plan,noted Senator Dan Sullivan,R-Arkansas.
We will in fact develop an appropriate role for the military in support of our political and military goals for the Arctic,General Dunford promised.
Modernising our nuclear deterrence is the nation's top military priority.I think we need to think about how we are going to fund it,as opposed to whether we are going to do it,in that we face a nation that is an existential threat.The Ohio-class submarine is the most survivable part of the nuclear deterrence triad,and critical to modernise.*
With regard to Iran's current activities and support of activities,Iran is one of he most destabilising influences in the region today.They're exacerbating the Sunni-Shia divide.From my perspective,they have provided support to the Taliban in Afghanistan versus ISIL.The Shia militants in Iraq could be a malign influence and certainly we shouldn't provide any support to them.My expectation is,Iran will continue the malign activity across the Middle East that we have seen in recent years.My understanding is,we have the military capacity to destroy Iran's nuclear program.I'll make sure that our leadership has a full range of military options for dealing with Iranian military activity.We have both the plans and the capacity in place to deal with a wide range of contingencies in Iran.
Iran with a nuclear weapon would be a significant threat to the homeland,especially with a ballistic missile,and would be destabilising in the region,causing a nuclear arms race.
In Iraq,there's no question in my mind that retaking Ramadi from ISIL is a strategic action.I've got both a personal and professional stake in Anbar Province,having lived there for years.*
China's military capability and presence in the Pacific are an area of concern,as distinct from a threat.There's no question about our rebalance to the Pacific.We have an unprecedented number of exercises in the Pacific.The rebalance is aimed at modernising our presence,explained General Dunford,recently confirmed by the Senate as the next Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.He will be sworn in next month.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Disney's New Theme Lands Unveiled at D23 EXPO

On Saturday 15 August at the Disney D23 EXPO in the Anaheim Convention Center,Disney CEO Bob Eiger revealed the company's plans to build a Star Wars Land at both Disneyland in Anaheim,California and Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando,Florida:
We are creating a jaw-dropping new world that represents our largest single-themed land expansion ever.These new lands at Disneyland and Walt Disney Word will transport guests to a whole new Star Wars planet,including an epic Star Wars adventure that puts you in the middle of a climactic battle between the First Order and the Resistance,Mr.Iger said.The lands,on 14 acres each,will include the ability to take the controls of one of the most recognisable ships in the galaxy,the Millenium Falcon,on a customised secret mission.*
Disney bought Star Wars creators Lucasfilm Ltd in 2012 for four billion dollars.The next installment in the saga,Star War Episode VII:The Force Awakens will hit the theatres on 18 December in hopes of drawing in both older fans and a new generation of enthusiasts.The new film,starring original cast members such as Harrison Ford,Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher,as well as new actors,has been estimated to have a box office potential of 1-2 billion dollars.*
Walt Disney Company (DIS)

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Pakistan Must Act Against Taliban,Afghan President Says

We hoped for peace,but war is declared against us from Pakistani territory,said Afghan President Ashraf Ghani after last weekend's bloody attacks by Taliban militants in the Afghan capital Kabul,which killed almost 70,including an American Green Beret,and wounded hundreds of others.The incidents of the past two months in general,and the recent days in particular,show that the suicide training camps and the bomb-making facilities used to target and murder our innocent people still operate.In the middle of the night,at 1:30 am,doomsday descended upon our people.It wasn't an earthquake;it wasn't a storm;it was a human hand.We want the origin of that hand;we want their centre;we want action against them.This is our main demand;everything else is peripheral,President Ghani stated.*
Following the death two years ago of Mullah Omar,Mullah Mukhtar Muhammad Mansour has been elected and installed Taliban leader or "Amir ul-Momineen" in large ceremonies in Quetta,Pakistan,and he chose as his deputy a man from the most aggressive Taliban faction,the Haqqani Network.Pakistan failed to stop the assembly,despite its assurances that such a gathering would not be tolerated,President Ghani pointed out to his cabinet.
The peace process that was just getting started with the Taliban has thus been declared dead.*
I go to Pakistan about once a month to meet with Pakistani Army Chief of General Staff Raheel Sharif,and talk to him every week,said General John Campbell,commander of NATO and US forces in Afghanistan,at The Brookings Institution think tank.I think with General Raheel and the Afghan National Unity Government you have a leadership team that understands.It's going to take time to deal with the Haqqani Network.President Ghani's been very strong with General Raheel.I think that's going to take time.I'm still worried about the threat the Haqqani Network brings to Kabul,General Campbell said prophetically before last weekend's attacks.You're going to have folks out there like Haqqani that want to continue to fight,and you're going to have to deal with them in a different way.*

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

One Year To Rio:Olympics Will Mark a New Chapter For Golf

Golfers already have their eye on the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro,Brazil.Three of them,Henrik Stenson of Sweden,American Matt Kuchar and South Korean Ben An,plus PGA executive vice president Ty Votaw,gathered for a press conference at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in Akron,Ohio to mark the year away milestone.The Games open on 5 August 2016 and run through 21 August;while the golf competition begins on 17 August.
The new Olympic golf course in Rio had a good growing season,Mr.Votaw pointed out,and seems to be on track for a successful opening next year.Designed by architect Gil Hanse of Hanse Golf Course Design,Inc. in Malvern,Pennsylvania,the course was constructed with a high degree of care for the environmentally sensitive site,including a selective logging technique the firm hadn't used before.It will host a test event by prominent male and female golfers in March 2016.The golf world will have to deal with an altered calendar to accommodate the Olympics,as well as the prospect of top golfers skipping certain annual tournaments in order to prepare or rest for the Olympics.*
I'm excited about the Olympics,said Matt Kuchar.I know most of the other players are excited.*
To compete there and hopefully win a medal for Sweden would be very special,Henrik Stenson added.It's going to be a strong achievement and something you would be remembered for the rest of your life.It's been good for golf.We've seen a lot of support in the developing countries.Golf being in the Olympics is very important in some of these countries.*
Ben An,23,whose Korean name is Byeong-Hun An,has been having a breakout year on the European Tour,winning the BMW PGA Championship in Wentworth,England,and placing in the top ten in several other tournaments.
If it weren't for the Olympics,I wouldn't even be here,An joked,referring to the fact that his parents,both Olympic medal-winners in table tennis,his father for South Korea and his mother for China,got acquainted at the Olympics.*
The three players posed with the silver trophy that was won in 1904 by the last Olympic golf champion,Canadian George Seymour Lyon (1858-1938),a very successful amateur of his day.The sport was then excluded from the Olympics for well over a century.We applied to return eight years ago,Mr.Votaw recalled.