Police Work, Politics and World Affairs, Football and the ongoing search for great Scotch Whiskey!

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Very true....

Mroe than a few times I've been ready to take a brink to the head of someone like this...."OK, you waited days to report this...after the heavy rains you want me to obtain evidence...got it..."

Monday, February 19, 2018

Officer Down


Police Officer Glenn Anthony Doss, Jr.
Detroit Police Department, Michigan
End of Watch Sunday, January 28, 2018
Age 25
Tour 2 years
Badge Not available
Incident Date Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Police Officer Glenn Doss, Jr., succumbed to gunshot wound sustained four days earlier while responding to a domestic violence call in the 5500 block of McDougall Street at approximately 10:30 pm.

Before officers arrived on scene the male subject exited the home with a firearm. As Officer Doss and his partner arrived at the location the man opened fire on their patrol car, striking Officer Doss in the head. His partner transported him to Detroit Receiving Hospital where he underwent surgery.

The subject barricaded himself inside of the home for approximately four hours until being taken into custody when the SWAT team deployed chemical agents in the home.

Officer Doss passed away from his injuries on January 28th, 2018.

Officer Doss had served with the Detroit Police Department for two years. He is survived by his 9-month-old child, girlfriend, and parents. His father also serves as a police officer with the Detroit Police Department.
Rest in Peace Bro…We Got The Watch

Nemo me impune lacessit

Day is done, Gone the sun, From the lake, From the hills, From the sky. All is well, Safely rest, God is nigh. 

Florida active shooter AAR....

I was in the Gulf of Mexico (on a cruise) when the Parkland FL shooing occurred. While I've already commented on how I think this is another example of a lack of communication between local and federal law enforcement, I found this look at the incident interesting. From PoliceOne.com:

Rapid Response: 4 key takeaways from the Fla. high school shooting

If we want to make a dent in mass shootings like the one in Florida, we need to fix our mental health system

A 19-year-old man shot and killed 17 students and adults at a high school in Parkland, Florida, and wounded many more...

...We will learn more about this horrific crime as the investigation continues, but even at this early stage, we can identify useful pieces of information from the reporting to highlight several longstanding truths about these rapid mass murder incidents:

1. We have a mental health crisis in America.

There will be a predictable focus on the tool used by the killer by some people with a political agenda, but the real story here is about a young man who had mental and emotional problems, and didn’t get the right help for them...

...We can’t say with any certainty right now, but it’s likely that in the coming days we will discover a pattern of behavior indicating this man needed professional help that he didn’t get for some reason.

Cops will be the first to tell you that the mental health system in America is broken, because they’re the ones who inherited the primary burden of dealing with the mentally ill after we deinstitutionalized mental health care in the 1970s. With nowhere else to go, many of these ill people wound up in the criminal justice system, which is ill-equipped to handle their needs. Most of the rest wound up on the streets, with no help at all...

The issue here is very thorny. Two points I would bring out. One, a definition of "mental illness" would have to be in the legislation. Gun control advocates (see liberals) would oppose that, as they would rather it be left to the bureaucracy to define, and change, without notice. See the TSA "No fly" list. Two, a "No buy" would assumedly be built from mental health records. That would conflict with another law called HIPAA. Physiological workers are under similar restrictions of other privileged communications, such as spousal talk, and attorney-client discussions. I don't think many people saying, more accurately screaming, "We need a no-buy list!!!!" have thought the details out.

2. Our schools deserve better security.

While there was an armed school resource deputy on campus at the time of the shooting, he never encountered the shooter, according to the Broward County Sheriff's Office. It’s reported that a football coach – who also served as an unarmed security officer – bravely responded to the attack and shielded students from harm.

In this day and age, it’s unacceptable for a school – any school, be it public or private, regardless of student age – to operate without an armed security presence on site. There is no combination of passive security measures, defensive architecture, or unarmed security that can adequately protect our most precious resource – our children – from an armed attacker intent on destruction. The only thing that can properly defeat an armed attacker is a defense manned by trained and armed personnel.

Please note, this does not have to be a police officer. Programs such as the Transportation Security Administration’s Federal Flight Deck Officer program or the Buckeye Firearms Association’s FASTER program have ably demonstrated how selected volunteers can be trained to provide a necessary layer of defense, and act as on-scene first responders, while more capable resources (the police) are summoned. Furthermore, such volunteers can act as force multipliers even if a School Resource Officer (SRO) is assigned to the school, and can fill in the gaps for those occasions when the SRO is not on campus...

Good point. We have people who can assist law enforcement in securing these, quite frankly, easy targets. A sign proclaiming "No weapons allowed..." only means there are no good guys allowed to be armed.

3. Enemy tactics are improving.

The killer reportedly wore a gas mask and had smoke grenades, setting off a smoke alarm to flush students from their classrooms, where they could be more easily targeted. In an environment where a lockdown is the predictable response to an active killer threat, today’s killer found an easy way to short circuit the defense by using the school’s own fire response protocol against them.

This denotes a rather sophisticated level of planning and tactical awareness that shouldn’t surprise anyone in this audience. We know these killers study the successes and failures of other killers, and make continuous improvements to their game. They adapt their tactics and their weapons to ever-changing conditions, managing to retain the initiative. We should expect this cycle to continue.

That is the most significant item to take from this. These active shooters are looking studying the techniques of previous shooters, and improving their techniques. In the Army, we used Intelligence Preparation of the Battlefield:

...the systematic, continuous process of analyzing the threat and environment in a specific geographic area. It is designed to support staff estimates and military decision making. Applying the IPB process helps the commander selectively apply and maximize his combat power at critical points in time and space on the battlefield by--

◾Determining the threat's likely COA.

◾Describing the environment your unit is operating within and the effects of the environment on your unit.

Perhaps we need to adapt this to the Intelligence Preparation of the Target Space, developing a "systematic, continuous process of analyzing the threat and environment in a specific geographic area" and use it to target the threat. That is a work in progress, and the subject of a later blog post.

4. We cannot relax our efforts.

As a result, we cannot afford to rest. We too must seek continuous improvement in our tactics, training and equipment, and must never allow our preparations to grow stale. We must stay abreast of the latest enemy tactics, and organize flexible, responsive defenses that can quickly adapt to the situation.

Among other things, attention should be paid to:

Developing more comprehensive security protocols for our schools than simply relying on “lockdown” tactics;

Ensuring our schools have a trained, armed security presence;

Providing vehicle-pedestrian exclusion in public areas and venues;

Eliminating fictional “gun-free zones” that only disarm the law-abiding, but leave criminals free to terrorize and injure innocents;

Teaching hemorrhage control basics to the public;

Integrating law enforcement and fire-EMS assets;

Honing the tactics for the joint deployment of these police-fire-EMS resources.

Integrating EOD into our tactical teams, and ensuring those teams are nimble enough to respond to the complex, coordinated attacks that we know are coming.

Providing meaningful safety education and training to employees, instead of pretending that they are suitably trained because we have a “Run, Hide, Fight” poster on the wall in the break room.

Stay Alert

The mass murder in Florida was horrific, but it was not unforeseeable. We don’t know the details of when or where, but we know another tragic scene like this is on the horizon.

It’s incumbent on us, as the guardians of public safety, to take advantage of the time we have and ensure that we are using it to prepare for the next event like this. Hopefully, the citizens in your area will never be the target of a mass killer, but we can’t count on that.

Work hard. Stay alert. Be safe.
About the author

Lieutenant Colonel (Ret.) Mike Wood is an NRA Law Enforcement Division-certified Firearms Instructor and the author of "Newhall Shooting: A Tactical Analysis."

Good overall look at a very evolving threat.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Officer Down


Deputy Sheriff Heath McDonald Gumm
Adams County Sheriff's Office, Colorado
End of Watch Wednesday, January 24, 2018
Age 31
Tour 5 years
Badge 381

Deputy Sheriff Heath Gumm was shot and killed during a foot pursuit near 88th Avenue and Dawson Street, in Thornton.

Deputies had responded to an assault in progress call at approximately 7:30 pm and became involved in the foot pursuit with one of the subjects. The man ran behind a house in the 8700 block of Dawson Street. As Deputy Gumm ran behind the house he was shot by the subject and struck in the chest.

The subject was apprehended and charged with murder of a peace officer and two additional counts of murder. A search continued for two additional subjects.

Deputy Gumm served with the Adams County Sheriff’s Office for four years. He was posthumously promoted to the rank of detective.

He is survived by his wife, parents, sister, and grandmother.
Rest in Peace Bro…We Got The Watch

Nemo me impune lacessit

Day is done, Gone the sun, From the lake, From the hills, From the sky. All is well, Safely rest, God is nigh. 

Thursday, February 15, 2018

The FBI dropped the ball.....

I have no particular dislike or disrespect for federal law enforcement in general, or the FBI in particular. But where I used to look upon them as practical demigods of law enforcement, I look at them as any other policing organization, be it with a wider area of operation, and greater resources. They have three types of agents, a few great, a few terrible, and the rest somewhere in between. Like every other law enforcement agency.

I have posted before on where the FBI failed to warn local authorities about the threat of the Tsarnaev brothers (And it was the subject of an American Thinker article I authored.) Now I've heard of the shooting in Florida and I've seen another example of not spreading the word as needed.

In an email on Sept. 24, Ben Bennight alerted the FBI to a "school shooting threat" made by a YouTube user named nikolas cruz.

The FBI Was Warned About A School Shooting Threat From A YouTube User Named Nikolas Cruz In September

In September, a YouTube user named Nikolas Cruz left a comment on a video stating, "I'm going to be a professional school shooter." The video's creator alerted both the FBI and YouTube.

Last fall, a Mississippi bail bondsman and frequent YouTube vlogger noticed an alarming comment left on one of his videos. "I'm going to be a professional school shooter," said a user named Nikolas Cruz.

The YouTuber, 36-year-old Ben Bennight, alerted the FBI, emailing a screenshot of the comment and calling the bureau's Mississippi field office. He also flagged the comment to YouTube, which removed it from the video.

Agents with the bureau's Mississippi field office got back to him "immediately," Bennight said, and conducted an in-person interview the following day, on Sept. 25.

"They came to my office the next morning and asked me if I knew anything about the person," Bennight told BuzzFeed News. "I didn't. They took a copy of the screenshot and that was the last I heard from them."

FBI agents contacted Bennight again Wednesday, after a 19-year-old named Nikolas Cruz allegedly opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in South Florida, killing at least 17 people...

...Though his name matches the YouTube user flagged in September, FBI officials would not say whether they have confirmed that the account belonged to Cruz.

But around 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday — about 30 minutes after Cruz was taken into custody by police in Broward County — Special Agent Ryan Furr with the FBI's Miami field office called Bennight and left him a voicemail.

"I think we spoke with you in the past about a complaint that you made about someone making a comment on your YouTube channel," the agent said in the message, which Bennight provided to BuzzFeed News. "I just wanted to follow up with you on that and ask you a question with something that's come up, if you wouldn't mind giving me a ring."

A few hours later, Bennight said, FBI agents in Mississippi visited him again in person, pressing for more information about the YouTube user Nikolas Cruz.

"They asked me if I knew who he was. I didn't. I don't," Bennight said. "Then they left..."

We can only speculate if the local cops were notified and interviewed Cruz, would he had been warned off. Or he may have conducted it as planned. But one thing cannot be speculated, and cannot continue. When the FBI has information like this, it must immediately share it with the applicable local law enforcement agencies. Failure to achieve the mission of preventing crime is something that will happen. Failure to attempt it is inexcusable.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Officer Down


Deputy U.S. Marshal Christopher David Hill
United States Department of Justice - United States Marshals Service, U.S. Government
End of Watch Thursday, January 18, 2018
Age 45
Tour 11 years

Deputy U.S. Marshal Christopher Hill was shot and killed in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania while attempting to serve an arrest warrant with other members of the Middle Pennsylvania Fugitive Task Force.

The task force had located a woman, who was wanted for making terroristic threats, at a home in the 1800 block of Mulberry Street at approximately 6:30 a.m. As they attempted to take the woman into custody a man inside the home opened fire on them, striking Deputy Marshal Hill and two local task force officers. One of the wounded officers was able to return fire and killed the subject.

Deputy Marshal Hill was transported to a local hospital where he succumbed to his wounds.

Deputy Marshal Hill was a U.S. Army veteran and had served with the United States Marshals Service for 11 years. He is survived by his wife and two children.
Rest in Peace Bro…We Got The Watch

Nemo me impune lacessit

Day is done, Gone the sun, From the lake, From the hills, From the sky. All is well, Safely rest, God is nigh. 

Monday, February 12, 2018

Officer Down


Detective Michael R. Doty
York County Sheriff's Office, South Carolina
End of Watch Wednesday, January 17, 2018
Age 37
Tour 12 years
Incident Date Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Detective Michael Doty succumbed to gunshot wounds sustained the previous day while searching for a subject who had shot a York County Sheriff's canine handler earlier in the night.

Deputies had originally responded to a domestic disturbance at which a man had attacked his wife before fleeing into a wooded area near his home. The man ambushed a canine officer who was attempting to locate him, wounding him. The subject also shot a law enforcement helicopter that was assisting with the search.

Following the wounding of the canine officer, a SWAT team responded to the scene to continue searching for the man in the 1400 block of South Parham Road.

The man setup a second ambush, wounding Detective Doty and two other members of the SWAT team before being shot and wounded.

Detective Doty was flown to a hospital in Charlotte, North Carolina, where he died the following day.

Detective Doty had served with the York County Sheriff's Office for 12 years.
Rest in Peace Bro…We Got The Watch

Nemo me impune lacessit

Day is done, Gone the sun, From the lake, From the hills, From the sky. All is well, Safely rest, God is nigh. 

Friday, February 9, 2018

Officer Down


Deputy Sheriff Daniel A. McCartney
Pierce County Sheriff's Department, Washington
End of Watch Monday, January 8, 2018
Age 34
Tour 9 years
Badge 484
Cause Gunfire
Incident Date Sunday, January 7, 2018

Deputy Sheriff Daniel McCartney was shot and killed after responding to a burglary in progress near 45th Avenue Court East and 200th Street East, in Frederickson, at approximately 11:30 pm.

Deputy McCartney was the first officer on scene and became engaged in a foot pursuit of at least one subject. The man opened fire on Deputy McCartney during the foot pursuit, mortally wounding him. Deputy McCartney was transported to St. Joseph Medical Center where he passed away at approximately 2:00 am.

One subject was found dead at the scene. A second subject was arrested the following day after a massive manhunt.

Deputy McCartney was a U.S. Navy veteran. He had served with the Pierce County Sheriff's Department for three years and had previously served with the Hoquiam Police Department for six years. He is survived by his wife and three sons.

Rest in Peace Bro…We Got The Watch

Nemo me impune lacessit

Day is done, Gone the sun, From the lake, From the hills, From the sky. All is well, Safely rest, God is nigh. 

We've got tonight...

I have to say the first time I heard this classic was when Kenny Rogers and Sheena Easton covered it in the early 80s. As usual, the original is better. Bob Seger's ballad to lonely people, looking for shelter, and what you do to get by. As far as I know Seger never did an "official" video for the song, but this one is very well done.

I've often said, today's "artists" are worthless. Someone like Seger (or Elton John, or Kris Kristofferson, Billy Joel, Prince) could say more in a line than J-Zee, Beyonce, or Eminem could put together in an album (Although I'm very impressed by Chris Stapleton).

I'll have limited internet access for the next few days, wife and I headed on a cruise. Enjoy, and have a great weekend.

Buses used for patrol....

I've often said, no matter what the context, if you in the public (e.g. walking on the street), you have no expectation of privacy. And knowing how dangerous distracted driving can be, I like this. Using the assets available to accomplish the mission.

Hopefully this will reduce accidents.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

And I thought gun buybacks were idiotic.....

One of the classic cases of stupidity from the Bubba Clinton/Janet Reno years was buying back guns in the bigs cites. Basically you could walk up to a city official, hand over a gun, and get cash, or store card, or soemthing else of value. No questions asked. More than a few criminals dumped their weapons the used in crimes for some quick cash. Also, some things were shown by a study:
...So why don’t buybacks get guns off the street? For one thing, according to Alex Tabarrok, professor of economics at George Mason University, it’s impossible to significantly reduce the number of guns in a community with buyback events that collect, on average, fewer than 1,000 firearms. “In the United States, there are hundreds of millions of guns,” he says. “And even if a city buys up some of them, that’s not going to have any effect on how many guns people actually have. People can still go out and buy more guns.”

Moreover, the firearms that cities do collect aren’t likely to be the types used in crime. “The main drawback to gun buyback programs is that they tend to get junk guns or guns that have been with a family for a long period of time,” says James Pasco, executive director of the Fraternal Order of Police. “They’re not catching the nine-millimeter and forty-caliber semiautomatic handguns that are so prevalent in violent crime today...”

Well, not to be outdone with stupidity, we again have Baltimore:
Baltimore City Council Supports ‘GunBail’ Proposal

BALTIMORE – In a case of short-sighted thinking on display, the Baltimore City Council is resolved to support a proposal to accept weapons off the street in lieu of bail from an inmate booked for a criminal offense. The disagreeable part of the protocol is this: They are asking law enforcement to in essence “look the other way” regarding evidence that might be obtained from the firearm.

If I understand the proposal correctly, a defendant could be booked on a criminal offense, knowingly submit a firearm used in a homicide, and suddenly he has limited immunity because evidence obtained from the weapon could not be used against him in court.

Trevor Brooks, a convicted murderer who attended a Silicon Valley entrepreneurship program after getting out of prison forged the idea, reported The Baltimore Sun.

He wants to allow people use an app to turn in guns and make bail. Given the choice between giving up a gun or sitting in Central Booking, “they’re going to turn the guns in as fast as they can,” Brooks said...

Pardon me, I need a drink. I can only handle so much stupidity at a time.
­

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Officer Down


Officer Chris Beaudion
Monroe Police Department, Louisiana
End of Watch Sunday, January 7, 2018
Age 26
Tour 1 year, 5 months

Officer Chris Beaudion was killed in a single vehicle crash at the intersection of South 2nd Street and Winnsboro Road at approximately 3:00 am.

His patrol car left the roadway and struck a tree, causing him to suffer fatal injuries.

Officer Beaudion had served with the Monroe Police Department for 17 months. He is survived by his wife, two children, and parents.
Rest in Peace Bro…We Got The Watch

Nemo me impune lacessit

Day is done, Gone the sun, From the lake, From the hills, From the sky. All is well, Safely rest, God is nigh. 

Monday, February 5, 2018

Officer Down


Lieutenant Christopher Robateau
Jersey City Police Department, New Jersey
End of Watch Friday, January 5, 2018
Age 49
Tour 23 years

Lieutenant Christopher Robateau was struck and killed by a vehicle while checking on the welfare of another driver who had been involved in an accident on the New Jersey Turnpike, near exit 14.

Lieutenant Robateau, who was in uniform on his way to work shortly after 6:30 am, had exited his vehicle and was walking toward the accident scene when another vehicle fatally struck him.

Lieutenant Robateau had served with the Jersey City Police Department for 23 years and was assigned to the East District. He is survived by his wife and three children.
Rest in Peace Bro…We Got The Watch

Nemo me impune lacessit

Day is done, Gone the sun, From the lake, From the hills, From the sky. All is well, Safely rest, God is nigh. 

What's going on in the World Today-180205

HYPERLINKS MAY REQUIRE AN EMAIL:

USA

NOTHING SIGNIFICANT TO REPORT

AFRICA

NOTHING SIGNIFICANT TO REPORT

ASIA

Australia to spend $3.1 billion to increase stake in global arms exports

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said on Monday Australian military equipment manufacturers will be offered government-backed loans as part of a A$3.8 billion ($3.1 billion) package to become one of the world’s top 10 defense exporters.

Australia's Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull attends the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting in Danang, Vietnam November 11, 2017. REUTERS/Jorge Silva
Australia said in 2016 it would boost defense spending by A$30 billion by 2021, purchasing frigates, armored personnel carriers, strike fighter jets, drones and a fleet of new submarines - many of which would be built at home.

The defense industry has struggled to obtain finance from traditional lenders that have been unwilling to fund the arms industry, so Australia has created a A$3.8 billion loan scheme for companies seeking finance to export military equipment...

CENTRAL/SOUTH AMERICA

Mexico to send troops to stem violence after record 25,000 murders

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexican officials said on Sunday the government was set to unleash a new wave of troops to crack down on criminal groups in regions where a surge in violence led to more than 25,000 murders last year.

National Security Commissioner Renato Sales said federal police troops will work with local officials to round up known major criminals and bolster investigations.

The aim was “to recover peace and calm for all Mexicans,” he said. He did not provide details on the number of federal police to be deployed.

More than 25,000 murders were recorded last year as rival drug gangs increasingly splintered into smaller, more blood-thirsty groups after more than a decade of a military-led campaign to battle the cartels.

Violence is a central issue ahead of the presidential election in July. Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto’s ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party is trailing in third place in recent polls...

Mexico to send troops to stem violence after record 25,000 murders

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexican officials said on Sunday the government was set to unleash a new wave of troops to crack down on criminal groups in regions where a surge in violence led to more than 25,000 murders last year.

A soldier stands guard next to a crime scene, where men were killed inside a home by unknown assailants, in the municipality of San Nicolas de los Garza, Mexico, January 27, 2018. Picture taken January 27, 2018. REUTERS/Jorge Lopez
National Security Commissioner Renato Sales said federal police troops will work with local officials to round up known major criminals and bolster investigations.

The aim was “to recover peace and calm for all Mexicans,” he said. He did not provide details on the number of federal police to be deployed.

More than 25,000 murders were recorded last year as rival drug gangs increasingly splintered into smaller, more blood-thirsty groups after more than a decade of a military-led campaign to battle the cartels....

EUROPE

Interpol circulates list of suspected Isis fighters believed to be in Italy

Exclusive: Interpol believes the 50 suspects, all Tunisian nationals, may be attempting to reach other European countries

Interpol has circulated a list of 50 suspected Islamic State fighters who it believes have recently landed in Italy by boat, and may be attempting to reach other European countries.

The list, obtained by the Guardian, was drafted by the general secretariat of the international police organisation. It was sent on 29 November to the Italian interior ministry, which subsequently distributed it to national anti-terrorism agencies across Europe.

The suspects listed are all Tunisian nationals, some of whom were identified by officials when they landed in Italy. The document shows their first names, surnames and dates of births.

Around 5,500 Tunisians were believed to have travelled to Isis territory in Syria and Iraq to fight for the terror group, according to UN estimates – more than any other country. Now, after the collapse of its “caliphate,” governments have expressed concern that former fighters may try to mount attacks in Europe....

AFGHANISTAN

NOTHING SIGNIFICANT TO REPORT

CHINA

China Strengthens Missile Defense Near N.Korean Border

By Lee Kil-seong

China is preparing for a potential war on the Korean Peninsula by reinforcing missile defenses near the border with North Korea, Radio Free Asia reported Friday.

RFA quoted a North Korean source in China as saying the Chinese military late last year deployed another missile defense battery at an armored division in Helong, west of Longjing in the Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture.

Military units in Yanbian were relocated from Heilongjiang Province, thus adding 300,000 troops along the border, the source added.

Now it is deploying missile defense batteries near North Korean reservoirs by the Apnok and Duman rivers.

Chinese troops in the border area could be swept away if the North tore down the banks of the reservoirs or they were destroyed by missiles or air strikes, the source added.

On Jan. 24, Taiwan's Central News Agency reported that the 78th Group Army, the first Chinese military unit that would cross the border into the North in the event of a war on the Korean Peninsula, has been armed with newest surface-to-air missiles against South Korean and U.S. aircraft and missiles.

Why Is China Buying Up Europe’s Ports?

State-owned port operators are the aggressive leading edge of Beijing’s massive Belt and Road project.

China’s trillion-dollar signature foreign-policy project, the Belt and Road Initiative, is often lampooned as just a fuzzy concept with little to show for it on the ground.

But in bustling ports from Singapore to the North Sea, state-owned Chinese firms are turning the idea into a reality with a series of aggressive acquisitions that are physically redrawing the map of global trade and political influence.

A pair of deep-pocketed Chinese behemoths, Cosco Shipping Ports and China Merchants Port Holdings, have gone on a buying binge of late, snapping up cargo terminals in the Indian Ocean, the Mediterranean Sea, and the Atlantic rim. Just last month, Cosco finalized the takeover of the terminal in Zeebrugge, Belgium’s second-biggest port, marking the Chinese firm’s first bridgehead in northwestern Europe.

That deal followed a raft of other acquisitions in Spain, Italy, and Greece in just the last couple of years. Chinese state firms, which once kept close to their home market, now control about one-tenth of all European port capacity...

China’s plan to use artificial intelligence to boost the thinking skills of nuclear submarine commanders

China is working to update the rugged old computer systems on nuclear submarines with artificial intelligence to enhance the potential thinking skills of commanding officers, a senior scientist involved with the programme told the South China Morning Post.

A submarine with AI-augmented brainpower not only would give China’s large navy an upper hand in battle under the world’s oceans but would push applications of AI technology to a new level, according to the researcher, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the project’s sensitivity.

“Though a submarine has enormous power of destruction, its brain is actually quite small,” the researcher said.

While a nuclear submarine depends on the skill, experience and efficiency of its crew to operate effectively, the demands of modern warfare could introduce variables that would cause even the smoothest-run operation to come unglued....
IRAN

NOTHING SIGNIFICANT TO REPORT

IRAQ

NOTHING SIGNIFICANT TO REPORT

ISRAEL

Israel to legalize settlement outpost deep in West Bank

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel on Sunday said it plans to legalize an isolated West Bank outpost in response to the murder of one of its residents in a shooting attack last month.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told his weekly Cabinet meeting that his government will legalize Havat Gilad to "allow the continuing of normal life there."

"Whoever thought that through the reprehensible murder of a resident of Havat Gilad, a father of six, that our spirit can be broken and we can be weakened, is making a bitter mistake," Netanyahu said.

Last month, Rabbi Raziel Shevah, 35, was shot dead from a passing vehicle as he drove near his home in the unauthorized settlement outpost near the Palestinian city of Nablus. The Israeli military is still searching the area for suspects.

KOREAN PENNSULEA

South Korea Defense Budget Is Threat-Driven

South Korea’s defense ministry wants a hefty increase in spending next year on weapons to face the missile and nuclear threat from North Korea. The proposed budget also would allow South Korea’s own surface-to-surface missile capabilities to advance.

Development of the Korea Aerospace Industries KF-X fighter and LCH-LAH civil-military helicopter (see page 65) are additional major spending items proposed for 2018.

Of the total budget request of 43.11 trillion won ($US40 billion) for 2018, the ministry wants to spend 4.33 trillion won on systems to face North Korean missile and nuclear threats, 13.7% more than in 2017. That will include a ground-based, ballistic-missile early-warning radar, perhaps a second Elta EL/M-2080 Green Pine from Israel...

RUSSIA

NOTHING SIGNIFICANT TO REPORT

SYRIA

NOTHING SIGNIFICANT TO REPORT

MIDDLE EAST GENERAL

Yemen rebels say Saudi airstrike on police building kills 8

SANAA, Yemen (AP) — Yemeni rebels say an air raid by the Saudi-led coalition fighting them struck a police building in the rebel-controlled capital, Sanaa, killing eight people.

In a statement by their military media unit, the rebels, known as Houthis, say that a child was killed in the Sunday attack that badly damaged a department of records building and wounding some 58 people.

Security officials and witnesses said many of the dead were civilians, speaking on condition of anonymity because they feared retribution...

MISC
Thales Highlights Integrated Aviation Cybersecurity

Sometimes, products that don't appear at an airshow still dominate proceedings - the absence of the F-35 from Farnborough in 2014 was almost as much of a talking point as its appearance there two years later, for example. But if Thales manages to get Singapore discussing one major product line that it has deliberately chosen not to highlight on its stand this year, it will have made a major contribution not just to its own marketing, but perhaps to the cause of enhanced aviation safety generally.

Cyber is often described as the "fifth domain" after land, sea, air and space. Yet computer networks underlie every domain, and problems in one area can quickly spread. If the only people practicing cybersecurity and cyberdefense work in their own department, separate from the other domains, the outcomes will not be good.

Thales is taking a different tack: and this is why, at the Airshow this week, there will be no roped-off section of the company's stand detailing its cyber offerings. Instead, the company is keen to emphasize the importance of integrating cybersecurity thinking across all parts of the aviation ecosystem - civil and military, in the air or on the ground.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Officer Down


Trooper Michael J. Anson
New York State Police, New York
End of Watch Tuesday, January 2, 2018
Age 56
Tour 31 years
Badge 3795
Cause 9/11 related illness
Incident Date Tuesday, September 11, 2001
Weapon Aircraft; Passenger jet
Offender 19 suicide attackers

Trooper Michael Anson died as the result of cancer that he developed following his assignment to the search and recovery efforts at the World Trade Center site following the 9/11 Terrorist Attacks.

Trooper Anson had served with the New York State Police for 31 years and was assigned to Troop G. He is survived by his wife, three children, and brothers.

On the morning of September 11, 2001, seventy-two officers from a total of eight local, state, and federal agencies were killed when terrorist hijackers working for the al Qaeda terrorist network, headed by Osama bin Laden, crashed two of four hijacked planes into the World Trade Center towers in New York City. After the impact of the first plane, putting the safety of others before their own, law enforcement officers along with fire and EMS personnel, rushed to the burning Twin Towers of the World Trade Center to aid the victims and lead them to safety. Due to their quick actions, it is estimated that over 25,000 people were saved.

As the evacuation continued, the first tower unexpectedly collapsed due as a result of the intense fire caused by the impact. The second tower collapsed a short time later. 71 law enforcement officers, 343 members of the New York City Fire Department and over 2,800 civilians were killed at the World Trade Center site.

A third hijacked plane crashed into a field in rural Pennsylvania when the passengers attempted to re-take control of the plane. One law enforcement officer, who was a passenger on the plane, was killed in that crash.

The fourth hijacked plane was crashed into the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, killing almost 200 military and civilian personnel. No law enforcement officers were killed at the Pentagon.

The terrorist attacks resulted in the declaration of war against the Taliban regime, the illegal rulers of Afghanistan, and the al Qaeda terrorist network which also was based in Afghanistan.

On September 9, 2005, all of the public safety officers killed on September 11, 2001, were posthumously awarded the 9/11 Heroes Medal of Valor by President George W. Bush.

The contamination in the air at the World Trade Center site caused many rescue personnel to become extremely ill, and eventually led to the death of several rescue workers.

On May 1, 2011 members of the United States military conducted a raid on a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan where Osama bin Laden was hiding. During the raid, they shot and killed bin Laden.
Rest in Peace Bro…We Got The Watch

Nemo me impune lacessit

Day is done, Gone the sun, From the lake, From the hills, From the sky. All is well, Safely rest, God is nigh. 

Thursday, February 1, 2018

K9 Down


K9 Scout
Jefferson County Sheriff's Office, New York
End of Watch Thursday, January 18, 2018
Breed German Shepherd
Gender Male
Age 6
Tour 3 years, 6 months

K9 Scout died after a ball accidentally became lodged in his mouth, blocking his airway.

Scout was participating in an advanced training canine training exercise with other county and state police canines at a building in the 700 block of Starbuck Street in Watertown. Scout was given his ball as a reward during the training, but it became lodged in his mouth. The handlers immediately began giving aid to Scout and took him a veterinary hospital where he later died.

Scout had served with the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office for 3-1/2 years and was trained in explosives detection, handler protection, and tracking.
Rest in Peace Scout…till our next roll call at the Rainbow Bridge!



In Memory of all Police Dogs

They handled themselves with beauty & grace
And who could ever forget that beautiful face
Whether at work; or at home; whatever the test
They always worked hard; and did their best

They were real champions; at work or at play
But their lives were cut short; suddenly one day
While working on the job with their partner one day
They put themselves out on a limb; out into harms way

They gave the ultimate sacrifice; any dog can give
They gave up their life; so someone could live
The best of their breed; as his partner and anyone would say
Many hearts are now broken; that he had to prove it this way

Now as the trees are blowing in the gentle breeze
The sun is shining; thru the leaves on the trees
The meadows are green; and the grass grows tall
Off in the distance they can see a waterfall

As they look over the falls; down through the creek
The water flows gently; as a rabbit sneaks a peek
Far up above; in the deep blue sky
They see the birds soar high; as they fly by

They see animals playing; at the bridge by a waterfall
Chasing each other; and just having a ball
They play all day; from morning to night
There's no more rain; just warm sunlight

Off in the distance; they hear trumpets blow
Then all the animals look up; and notice a bright glow
The harps would play and the angels would sing
As they know they've come home; they've earned their wings

We remember that they died; in the line of duty
And are now with the Lord; sharing in heaven's beauty
Off to the meadows now; where they can play and roam free
With an occasional rest stop; under a tall oak tree

No more bad guys to chase; or bullets to take
Just a run through the meadow; down to the lake
A quick splash in the water; then back to the shore
Then it's off to the forest; to go play some more

These special dogs are back home; up in heaven above
They're cradled in God's arm's; and covered with His love
We'll light a candle for all of them; in the dark of night
In loving memory of all; these very special knights

By John Quealy

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

K9 Down


K9 Koda
Brockton Police Department, Massachusetts
End of Watch Saturday, December 23, 2017
Breed German Shepherd
Gender Male
Age 7

K9 Koda died four days after suffering a medical emergency while actively tracking a suspect.

Koda's handler noticed a behavior change during the track and immediately transported him to a local veterinary hospital. He underwent emergency surgery but suffered a cardiac event and passed away on December 23rd, 2017.

K9 Koda had served with the Brockton Police Department for five years.
Rest in Peace Koda…till our next roll call at the Rainbow Bridge!



In Memory of all Police Dogs

They handled themselves with beauty & grace
And who could ever forget that beautiful face
Whether at work; or at home; whatever the test
They always worked hard; and did their best

They were real champions; at work or at play
But their lives were cut short; suddenly one day
While working on the job with their partner one day
They put themselves out on a limb; out into harms way

They gave the ultimate sacrifice; any dog can give
They gave up their life; so someone could live
The best of their breed; as his partner and anyone would say
Many hearts are now broken; that he had to prove it this way

Now as the trees are blowing in the gentle breeze
The sun is shining; thru the leaves on the trees
The meadows are green; and the grass grows tall
Off in the distance they can see a waterfall

As they look over the falls; down through the creek
The water flows gently; as a rabbit sneaks a peek
Far up above; in the deep blue sky
They see the birds soar high; as they fly by

They see animals playing; at the bridge by a waterfall
Chasing each other; and just having a ball
They play all day; from morning to night
There's no more rain; just warm sunlight

Off in the distance; they hear trumpets blow
Then all the animals look up; and notice a bright glow
The harps would play and the angels would sing
As they know they've come home; they've earned their wings

We remember that they died; in the line of duty
And are now with the Lord; sharing in heaven's beauty
Off to the meadows now; where they can play and roam free
With an occasional rest stop; under a tall oak tree

No more bad guys to chase; or bullets to take
Just a run through the meadow; down to the lake
A quick splash in the water; then back to the shore
Then it's off to the forest; to go play some more

These special dogs are back home; up in heaven above
They're cradled in God's arm's; and covered with His love
We'll light a candle for all of them; in the dark of night
In loving memory of all; these very special knights

By John Quealy

Monday, January 29, 2018

Officer Down


Deputy Sheriff Zackari Parrish, III
Douglas County Sheriff's Office, Colorado
End of Watch Sunday, December 31, 2017
Age 29
Tour 2 years, 7 months
Badge 1721
Cause Gunfire
Weapon Rifle
Offender Shot and killed

Deputy Sheriff Zackari Parrish was shot and killed after responding to a disturbance call involving an emotionally disturbed man at an apartment complex at 3404 E. County Line Road, in Highlands Ranch, at approximately 5:15 am.

Deputy Parrish and other deputies were attempting to speak to the man when he barricaded himself inside a bedroom. The man opened fire with a rifle, killing Deputy Parrish and wounding three other deputies.

The three wounded deputies were able to retreat to safety. Responding officers, including regional SWAT team members, re-entered the apartment to rescue Deputy Parrish. The subject inside opened fire on the officers, wounding a Castle Rock police officer before being shot and killed.

The subject fired over 100 rounds during the incident, wounding two citizens in addition to shooting the officers.

Deputy Parrish had served with the Douglas County Sheriff's Office for seven months and had previously served with the Castle Rock Police Department for two years. He is survived by his wife and two children.
Rest in Peace Bro…We Got The Watch

Nemo me impune lacessit

Day is done, Gone the sun, From the lake, From the hills, From the sky. All is well, Safely rest, God is nigh. 

Sunday, January 28, 2018

What's Going On In The World Today-180128

HYPERLINKS MAY REQUIRE AN EMAIL:

USA

USAF Spending Big On Technology Transition Projects

Jan 25, 2018 James Drew | Aerospace Daily & Defense Report
U.S. Air Force science and technology projects heading toward the “valley of death” should fear no evil in fiscal 2019, particularly if they relate to autonomy, directed energy, hypersonics, or low-cost and long-endurance aircraft.

The technology transition program, an Air Force budget line that funds advanced component development and prototyping, has grown exponentially since being established in fiscal 2014 and that trend is set to continue.

Funding for these projects has risen from $48 million in fiscal 2014 to almost $937 million this 2018 fiscal year, with Congress adding another $95 million to the president’s request for additional hypersonics, directed energy and long-endurance aerial platform experiments.

When the Air Force releases its budget program for fiscal 2019 in February, sources say to expect more strong support for the technology transition budget element (0604858). The funding is meant to shepherd promising technologies through the so-called valley of death, where laboratory experiments typically die if they are not immediately paired with an acquisition program for full-scale development and fielding. It achieves this by funding live component and platform tests to mature designs.

AFRICA

Chad: Government Cuts Internet To Hamper Protests

The Chadian government cut internet service, closed schools and deployed security forces to the capital city of N'Djamena in preparation for planned civil society protests against new austerity measures, Bloomberg reported Jan. 25. On Jan. 5, the government announced a plan to cut between five and 45 percent of wages for some public sector workers in order to comply with the International Monetary Fund wage ceiling that Chad agreed to in exchange for help paying off its debt.

ASIA

US to send aircraft carrier to Vietnam as ties between old foes deepen in response to rising threat of China

Decades after the US war in Vietnam, relations are increasingly anchored by shared concerns over China’s aggressive behaviour in the South China Sea

The proposed visit is scheduled for March at the central port of Da Nang, Vietnam’s defence ministry said in a statement. Such a visit by a US aircraft carrier could bring the most US forces to Vietnam since the conflict ended in 1975.

Freedom of navigation and access in the South China Sea will be critical to [Vietnam] economicallyU.S. DEFENCE SECRETARY JIM MATTIS
The arrival of a US aircraft carrier in Vietnam will be welcomed by an emerging network of countries that are nervously monitoring China’s military rise, particularly its assertive stance and island-building activities in the South China Sea. The busy waterway is a vital global trade route linking Northeast Asia with the Middle East and Europe.

In particular, the militaries of US, Japan, India and Australia are working more closely together as a “quad” of liberal democracies across what they now term the “Indo-Pacific” – moves driven by mistrust of China.

US Pacific Commander Admiral Harry Harris last week described China as a “disruptive transitional force in the Indo-Pacific” after meetings with Japanese and Indian military leaders in New Delhi.

India, Japan and Australia have all boosted military relations with Vietnam in recent years, with New Delhi providing advanced training for its emerging submarine forces and jet fighter pilots....

Preparing for a Rematch at the Top of the World

China and India faced off last year in a tense military standoff on the Doklam Plateau on the disputed Line of Actual Control (LAC) high in the Himalayas. Although the impasse was temporarily resolved in late August through a negotiated drawdown, it has been clear all along that the LAC will remain a contentious border because both countries will continue to seek an advantage in this difficult terrain.

Recent reporting, particularly in the Indian press, has highlighted how India and China are bolstering their infrastructure and forces along the LAC, including through the stationing of additional ground units near the plateau. Satellite imagery acquired by Stratfor working with its partners at AllSource Analysis helps illuminate the scope of these developments by looking at the air and air defense aspects of this strengthening of forces. Specifically, the analysis looks at four critical air bases, two Chinese and two Indian, that are within range of the Doklam Plateau. The imagery confirms that both China and India are pursuing a wide-ranging strategic buildup that has only accelerated in the wake of the Aug. 27 agreement...




Japan deploys first F-35A stealth fighter, with mission to keep tabs on North Korea

Japan on Friday has deployed its first F-35A stealth fighter, sending it to Misawa Air Base in the northeastern prefecture of Aomori to respond to airspace incursions and engage in surveillance of North Korea.

The Air Self-Defence Force plans to deploy nine more F-35As at the base in the next financial year from April to form a squadron of 10 fighter jets.

Defence Minister Itsunori Onodera told reporters: “The deployment of the high-performance F-35 aircraft is significant for Japan’s security at a time when neighbouring countries have been quickly building up their air force capabilities in recent years.”

Why America’s stealth jet forces should fear China’s new unarmed eye in the sky [1] An F-35 stealth fighter at a Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd plant in Toyoyama, Nagoya Prefecture. Photo: Kyodo

The ASDF aims to eventually acquire a total of 42 F-35As, which are known for their ability to evade detection by radar. Manufactured by Lockheed Martin Corp, F-35A jet is Japan’s successor to the ageing F-4 fighter.

Japan has earmarked funds for purchasing long-range JSM missiles, capable of striking enemy bases, to be mounted on the F-35A air fleet.

But Onodera said: “The introduction of the missiles is not aimed at targeting enemy military bases. We rely on US strike capabilities for attacking enemy bases and this will remain unchanged.”


EUROPE

How Central Asian Energy Complements the Southern Gas Corridor

By Robert M. Cutler for Euractiv

It took the EU several years to move in a Central Asian direction for energy security after the US-sponsored project for a Trans-Caspian Pipeline (TCP) for natural gas fell apart in the late 1990s. Nevertheless, first through the 2004 Baku Initiative and then with the 2007 Strategy for a New Partnership with Central Asia, it began to take those steps.

The EU followed through with practical effect in 2011 when it initiated negotiations with Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan on TCP construction. Last June the Council of the European Union, evaluating the first decade of the EU Strategy for Central Asia, concluded that "the EU will continue to seek to extend the Southern Gas Corridor to Central Asia, and to further promote the EU's multilateral and bilateral energy cooperation" with the countries involved.

Key in this policy are not only the TCP but also the White Stream pipeline, planned to transport Turkmenistan's gas from the South Caucasus directly to EU territory, from Georgia under the Black Sea to Romania. The gas would then flow through existing infrastructure in Ukraine, Slovakia and Czechia to Germany and neighbouring countries. It can also feed new infrastructure being created, such as the Bulgaria-Romania-Hungary-Austria pipeline (BRUA).

AFGHANISTAN

NOTHING SIGNIFICANT TO REPORT

CHINA

Why America’s stealth jet forces should fear China’s new unarmed eye in the sky

China is developing a surveillance plane designed to be launched from the country’s newest aircraft carrier and fitted with a radar system to spot enemy stealth jets, military observers say.

State media confirmed for the first time on Monday that China was building its first carrier-borne early-warning plane called the KJ-600.

The announcement comes as the United States has deployed F-35 stealth jets to bases in Japan and other parts of the Asia-Pacific over the last year, challenging China’s air defences in the region.

Chinese military observers said the KJ-600 would be fitted with an advanced active electronically scanned array, or AESA, radar which could enable it to spot stealth aircraft such as US F-22s and F-35s.

Beijing-based military expert Li Jie said the new surveillance plane could also become a command centre in the air...


IRAN

Hacking: Another Weapon in the Asymmetrical Arsenal

Scott Stewart

Iran's Islamic Revolution could play out, in part, online. On Jan. 4, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace published a report describing the country as a "third-tier cyberthreat." The report's authors note that despite Iran's success with cyberattacks such as Shamoon and a spear-phishing campaign that hit Deloitte and several other companies, Iranian attacks generally feature poor tradecraft. As a result, investigators haven't had much trouble tracking cyber operations back to the Islamic republic, whether because the attack code contained Farsi terms or because its associated IP address traced to Iran. Iranian spear-phishing attacks, likewise, frequently suffer from their perpetrators' poor command of the English language.

But even if its capabilities pale in comparison with those of Russia or China, Iran is still a cyberthreat, albeit a third-tier one. The Carnegie Endowment's report about the country's adoption and use of an asymmetrical weapon such as hacking called to mind the way governments and their agents have come to embrace and employ terrorism. Looking at the manner in which state sponsors, proxies and non-state actors have practiced terrorism can offer a useful framework for understanding how countries could turn hacking into a more dangerous tool of asymmetrical warfare...

IRAQ

NOTHING SIGNIFICANT TO REPORT

ISRAEL

NOTHING SIGNIFICANT TO REPORT

KOREAN PENNSULEA

Limited Strikes on North Korea Would Be an Unlimited Disaster

There’s no clear upside — and plenty of potential downsides — to punching Pyongyang in the nose.

Luke O'BrienJanuary 22, 2018, 10:09 AM

Many commentators across the national security community, such as Edward Luttwak, Michael J. Green, Matthew Kroenig, Oriana Skylar Mastro, and others, have the same bright idea for how to get North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to swear off further ballistic missile and nuclear warhead testing: Punch him right in the metaphorical nose.

The idea is that by hitting the right — and largely symbolic — target inside North Korea, we can find a sweet spot of escalation that’s light enough not to goad the North into a major war but painful enough to make them think twice about further testing of weapons of mass destruction. To quote one proponent, “Limited strikes should be targeted carefully and focused on North Korea’s specific provocation. A good start would be to take out the next North Korean intercontinental test missile on its launch pad.” As for the risk of a response, “If Kim can be deterred, as [critics of a strike] suggest, he will react in a way that risks few lives and leave

The allure of a punitive strike on North Korea is its seeming simplicity. North Korea continues its missile testing, or opts to detonate another nuclear device in a test shaft, and the United States fires a few missiles and fixes the problem. But this conclusion comes from a series of bad assumptions. We assume that the North Korean regime can detect with any realistic degree of confidence that a limited strike is in fact limited. We assume that North Korea will only analyze the costs and benefits of retaliating based on the merits of a fleeting crisis. And we assume that Kim Jong Un’s power is limitless and that he has none of his own constituencies to placate in the hours and days after a strike.

These assumptions are shaky at best. North Korea’s early warning network, fragile enough that a clean strike seems somehow viable, is more likely apt to encourage Pyongyang to take more aggressive action. Kim doesn’t have to consider just the ensuing hours and days after a strike, but also many years (and presumably other crises) in the future. And Kim is riding a tiger, and opting to blink will likely lead to his being thrown and eaten....

PERSONAL NOTE: The article is long but worth the read. I'll also attach a post from earlier this year, a look in Military.com, of a potential -Day of Korean War II. Fugly is not the word.

RUSSIA

NOTHING SIGNIFICANT TO REPORT

SYRIA

NOTHING SIGNIFICANT TO REPORT

MIDDLE EAST GENERAL

Saudi Arabia: The Crown Prince's Corruption Crackdown Is Over, for Now

When a Saudi public prosecution official announced the end of the anti-corruption campaign, it looked more like the end of a first phase than the end of an era. The splashy infographic posted on Twitter left big questions about the corruption campaign's future, as well as the status of Saudi billionaire Alwaleed bin Talal. Released in English, the announcement was almost certainly aimed at reassuring international investors. As the Saudi government gears up for an initial public offering of Saudi Aramco stock sometime this year or next, investors are looking for stability, transparency and certainty...

MISC

Stratolaunch's Gigantic, Rocket-Hauling Aircraft Could Fly in 2019
But by then, no one may care.

According to National Geographic, a full-grown male African elephant (Loxodonta africana) masses up to 7 tons. In contrast, Stratolaunch's "Roc" -- the massive rocket-hauling carrier aircraft that the space company unveiled at the end of May -- weighs in at 250 tons.

Despite the difference in size, I suspect we'll soon discover that Stratolaunch's Roc is just a gigantic white elephant, too. Here's why.

Stratolaunch is a creation of Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen. Its new Roc is built by Northrop Grumman (NYSE:NOC) subsidiary Scaled Composites. The plane, essentially designed as a scaled-up (pun intended) version of Orbital ATK's (NYSE:OA) Stargazer project, is intended to fly to high altitude and there release a rocket that will ignite in the sky and blast its payload the rest of the way into orbit.

Whereas Orbital ATK uses a modified Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT) L-1011 aircraft as its carrier aircraft, though, Stratolaunch has designed an entirely new aircraft to fulfill this purpose. A beast of a machine with a 385-foot wingspan (wider than a football field is long) and sporting six Pratt & Whitney PW4000 engines (the same engines that power a Boeing (NYSE:BA) 747), the Roc stands 50 feet tall and measures 238 feet from nose to tail. It's so big, it needs 28 wheels to support its weight as it trundles down the runway.

In flight, the Roc is designed to sling a rocket between its two fuselages, carry it to 35,000 feet, and there release it to blast off into space -- at which point the Roc would return to land and load up with another rocket for launch.

Regarding rockets

Speaking of that rocket, there is one small issue with Stratolaunch: There don't currently seem to be any rockets of the size it wants to carry that are suitable for air launch.

The Roc is designed to carry rockets weighing up to 275 tons, you see. (Thus, between the plane's 250-ton empty weight, 125 tons of aviation fuel for the plane itself, and a further 275 tons for the payload, the Roc would weigh 650 tons at takeoff -- about the same mass as an Airbus A380 fully loaded with passengers.) But Stratolaunch hasn't yet found a rocket of that size that can launch safely from midair.

Failing that, the latest plan is to have Stratolaunch instead carry "multiple" (three are depicted in Stratolaunch's artist depictions) Orbital ATK Pegasus XL rockets and deploy them in series.

Here's another problem with Stratolaunch: Using a huge airplane to help launch even "multiple" small rockets seems to defeat the purpose of building the huge airplane in the first place. After all, there are already at least two companies (Virgin Orbital and Orbital ATK itself) with aircraft that are suitable for air-launching small satellite rockets.

Plus, Orbital's Pegasus XL rockets only mass about 25 tons each. So even if Roc can carry and launch three Pegasus XL rockets at a time, in so doing, it would utilize only 75 out of its 275-ton lift capacity. Simply put, Roc is overkill for this purpose.

A solution in search of a problem

This, in turn, leads us to consider another problem with Stratolaunch. Namely, the company boasts that Roc has a "payload" capacity of 275 tons -- which sounds like a lot. After all, the biggest payload that SpaceX's famous Falcon 9 reusable rocket can carry to low earth orbit is 22.8 tons. The Lockheed Martin-designed Atlas V rocket operated by United Launch Alliance maxes out at 18.85 tons, while the Boeing-designed Delta IV tips the scales at 28.37 tons of capacity.

But this doesn't mean that Stratolaunch's Roc is 10 times more capable than its nearest ground-launched rocket competitor -- far from it. You see, the Roc's "275-ton payload" refers to the size of the rocket the Roc will carry. The ultimate payload -- the satellite that that rocket itself would put in orbit, is much smaller.

How much smaller? Multiply the Pegasus XL's 0.443-ton payload times the three Pegasi the Roc might be able to carry, and it looks like the most payload Roc can put in orbit is about 1.3 tons -- about 93% less than Lockheed's Atlas, 94% less than SpaceX's Falcon, and 95% less than Boeing's Delta.

Better never than late?

With stats like that, it's hard to see how Stratolaunch can hope to compete with any of these companies. And it gets worse. At the same time as Stratolaunch is trying to compete with SpaceX, Boeing, and Lockheed in the market for large satellite launches, space companies are gravitating toward launching more, smaller satellites instead -- and a new generation of small space-launch companies is springing up to serve this market.

So, what's the upshot for investors here? At last report, Stratolaunch was believed to have invested $300 million in getting the Roc ready for testing. As of last week, this investment has finally produced a plane, but Stratolaunch isn't expected to actually be ready to launch rockets before 2019 at the earliest.

By then, the Roc could already be obsolete -- and en route to extinction.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

OK, this is a combination of birthday, Valentine's Day, and Father's Day presents...

Hell, add in next Christmas!

In all seriousness, an awesome looking weapon for small unit combat. The only issue I would see is trigger disciple, controlling the rate of fire.

Thank Bill L for the link.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Officer Down


Officer Andrew J. Camilleri, Sr.
California Highway Patrol, California
End of Watch Sunday, December 24, 2017
Age 33
Tour 1 year, 4 months
Badge 21653
Cause Vehicular assault

Officer Andrew Camilleri was killed when his patrol car was struck by a drunk driver on I-880, near Route 92, in Hayward.

He and his partner were parked on the shoulder the freeway when the vehicle struck the rear of their patrol car at a high rate of speed shortly before midnight. Officer Camilleri, who was in the passenger seat, suffered fatal injuries in the collision. His partner was treated and released from a local hospital.

The driver who struck them was also injured and faces numerous charges pending his release from the hospital.

Officer Camilleri had served with the California Highway Patrol for 16 months. He is survived by his wife, daughter, two sons, parents, brother, and sister.
Rest in Peace Bro…We Got The Watch

Nemo me impune lacessit

Day is done, Gone the sun, From the lake, From the hills, From the sky. All is well, Safely rest, God is nigh. 

Thursday, January 25, 2018

The beginning voyage of the USS Enterprise....

I've visited the Smithsonian two or three times over my life. Somewhere I have a picture of original USS Enterprise, and I rememember this article from a few year ago:

USS Enterprise Rebuild Underway at Smithsonian Space Dock

Fans of Star Trek: The Next Generation and later Trek productions know that computer graphics were used extensively, meaning there generally aren’t models of the Enterprise from Picard’s reign on. In the original series, the Enterprise was an 11-foot long model that had lights inside. The screen-used model that was featured in the filming of every one of the 79 episodes of the original series is now undergoing refit.

That refit is underway at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum in the nation’s capitol. Preservation work on the model is ongoing, and the starship it is being restored to look like the Enterprise as it was seen in The Trouble with Tribbles episode of the show...

Well, I got this today from an old friend and I couldn't let it go:
You know there were some people on the lot asking, "What the hell is that?!"

Answer: History in the making!

Thanks Claude Z for the pic.

K9 Down


K9 Billy
Hillsboro Police Department, Oregon
End of Watch Monday, December 4, 2017
Breed Belgian Malinois
Gender Male

K9 Billy was killed in a vehicle crash at the intersection of SE Tualatin Valley Highway and Century Boulevard at approximately 10:40 pm.

Another vehicle attempted to make a left turn in front of the handler's patrol car, causing a collision. K9 Billy's handler suffered minor injuries, but K9 Billy suffered severe trauma.
Rest in Peace Billy…till our next roll call at the Rainbow Bridge!



In Memory of all Police Dogs

They handled themselves with beauty & grace
And who could ever forget that beautiful face
Whether at work; or at home; whatever the test
They always worked hard; and did their best

They were real champions; at work or at play
But their lives were cut short; suddenly one day
While working on the job with their partner one day
They put themselves out on a limb; out into harms way

They gave the ultimate sacrifice; any dog can give
They gave up their life; so someone could live
The best of their breed; as his partner and anyone would say
Many hearts are now broken; that he had to prove it this way

Now as the trees are blowing in the gentle breeze
The sun is shining; thru the leaves on the trees
The meadows are green; and the grass grows tall
Off in the distance they can see a waterfall

As they look over the falls; down through the creek
The water flows gently; as a rabbit sneaks a peek
Far up above; in the deep blue sky
They see the birds soar high; as they fly by

They see animals playing; at the bridge by a waterfall
Chasing each other; and just having a ball
They play all day; from morning to night
There's no more rain; just warm sunlight

Off in the distance; they hear trumpets blow
Then all the animals look up; and notice a bright glow
The harps would play and the angels would sing
As they know they've come home; they've earned their wings

We remember that they died; in the line of duty
And are now with the Lord; sharing in heaven's beauty
Off to the meadows now; where they can play and roam free
With an occasional rest stop; under a tall oak tree

No more bad guys to chase; or bullets to take
Just a run through the meadow; down to the lake
A quick splash in the water; then back to the shore
Then it's off to the forest; to go play some more

These special dogs are back home; up in heaven above
They're cradled in God's arm's; and covered with His love
We'll light a candle for all of them; in the dark of night
In loving memory of all; these very special knights

By John Quealy