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

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

What's going on in the World Today 180321



Army, Struggling to Get Technology in Soldiers’ Hands, Tries the Unconventional

Soldiers training at Fort Sill, Okla., last month. The Army’s planned Futures Command will consult directly with troops there about how to update artillery pieces to improve speed and range. Tamir Kalifa for The New York Times
WASHINGTON — The platoon of Army Special Operations soldiers was on a routine night patrol in eastern Afghanistan when one of them suddenly opened fire on what looked to the others to be a bush.

The bush, it turned out, had been obscuring a militant fighter. He was detectable only to the one platoon member wearing prototype night vision goggles that could detect heat signatures — a happenstance that Army officials say probably saved many lives.

That incident took place in 2015. Three years later, soldiers in the field still do not have the new night vision goggles, and that is just one example of a process that can take a decade to get new weapons from the lab to the hands of troops. Worried about that lag, the Army is creating a new and decidedly unconventional department to address it: the Futures Command...

First Next-Gen Combat Vehicle and robotic wingman prototypes to emerge in 2020:

WASHINGTON — The first stab at building prototypes for what the U.S. Army intends to be an innovative, leap-ahead Next-Generation Combat Vehicle and its robotic wingman will be ready for soldier evaluations in fiscal 2020, according to the service’s new cross-functional team lead for NGCV.

Subsequently, the Army will rapidly produce follow-on prototypes in FY22 and again in FY24, each taking lessons learned from the previous prototypes and refining capabilities. Soldiers will have the chance to heavily evaluate the prototypes at every stage.

Brig. Gen. David Lesperance is in charge of mapping the Army’s plan to develop and field an NGCV, one of the top six modernization priorities laid out by the service. Cross-functional teams, or CFT, were recently formed for each of the priorities and will reside within the Army’s new Futures Command, expected to stand up in the summer.

The CFT has decided to focus on two lines of effort, Lesperance told a small group of reporters in a March 15 phone call. The first line is to build a robotic combat vehicle, “which is an optimally unmanned close combat platform;” the second is the NGCV, an optionally manned vehicle that will get soldiers to a point of lethal advantage in close combat, he said...

Lockheed Ship-Killer Could Show Path To Hypersonic Missiles
Lockheed Martin’s Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (Lrasm) has conducted its sixth consecutive successful test flight as the Darpa-developed weapon heads toward initial operational capability by year’s end.

In the end-to-end test, the production-configuration missile was loaded onto a U.S. Air Force Rockwell B-1B at Dyess AFB in Texas and launched over the sea range off Point Mugu, California, to find and hit its maritime target.

Transition of Lrasm from the Pentagon’s advanced research agency to the U.S. Navy to meet an urgent operational requirement is being viewed as a potential model for fielding hypersonic weapons now under development by Darpa and the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL).

“The transition of Lrasm from Darpa to the Navy has worked well and is a model we could follow,” says Frank St. John, executive vice president of Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control (MFC), which developed the anti-ship missile.

MFC is already working with Lockheed’s Skunk Works, which is under contract to Darpa and AFRL to begin flight testing two different air-launched high-speed missiles in 2019; the unpowered Tactical Boost Glide (TBG) and scramjet-powered Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapon Concept (HAWC). Lockheed is the sole contractor on TBG, while Raytheon is also working on HAWC.

MFC is providing boosters for the Skunk Works missiles and will perform aircraft integration, sensor and testing work once they transition from demonstrations to tactical missile programs. “We have also invited our production folks in, so they can build limited quantities and it will not be a do-over” when the missiles enter production, he says.

“Skunk Works is the lead in technology for Mach 5-plus. MFC is [a] partner with them, and the transition should go pretty smoothly over the next couple of years,” St. John says...


China to build $31.6 million ECOWAS headquarters

The new headquarters for the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) will be built by China, the group confirmed in a press statement on Wednesday March 14, 2018.

The political bloc and China have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the project that is expected to cost $31.6 million.

“The President of the ECOWAS Commission, Mr. Jean-Claude Brou and the Ambassador of China to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Mr. Zhou Pingjian signed for both parties in a bilateral meeting held at the ECOWAS Commission headquarters, Abuja,” the statement read.

The idea of a new headquarters was initiated in 2012 but action on the said project takes immediate effect from the date of the signing of the deal.

The project is expected to cater for a facility comprising offices and conference complex building, as well as road facilities, electrical equipment, parking lots and security posts within the proposed site of the project...


China's Tech Giants Are Racing the West Into Southeast Asia


Chinese tech and internet giants have charged into the dynamic Southeast Asian market as they seek to globalize and challenge U.S. and Western dominance overseas.

Southeast Asia is neither a purely Western nor a purely Chinese market, making it a level playing field and one that China will not easily give up.

The region's growing e-commerce, digital economies and smartphone penetration rate will drive interest there as it undergoes a substantial economic transition...

U.S., India: Forging a Strategic Defense Partnership

India is exploring a deepening defense partnership with the United State as it seeks to balance against an increasingly assertive China in the Indo-Pacific region. On March 20, Indian National Security Adviser Ajit Doval arrived in the United States to meet with his American counterpart, H.R. McMaster, along with incoming U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo and incoming CIA Director Gina Haspel. Doval's visit aims to lay the groundwork for a first-ever dialogue between Indian and U.S. foreign and defense ministers, which was originally scheduled for April 18 but which has since been delayed pending Pompeo's confirmation...


Brazil to launch canal to drought-stricken northeast this year: minister

A general view during the opening ceremony of the 8th World Water Forum in Brasilia, Brazil March 19, 2018. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino
The canal serving Ceara and Rio Grande do Norte is the second such waterway in a government project to redirect water from the Sao Francisco river to the northeastern region to relieve a multi-year drought.

The first canal went into operation last year and 1 million people are already receiving water in Paraiba state, said Helder Barbalho, who heads the Ministry of National Integration in charge of the project.

In Paraiba, there is already a rebound in agriculture and other areas of the economy following the completion, Barbalho told reporters at the World Water Forum, which opened on Monday in Brasilia.

“We’re talking about an extraordinary recovery of the driest region in Brazil,” he said, without giving details on the economic recovery...


EU: New Tech Taxes Will Drive Divisive Decisions

After nearly a year of rhetoric and planning, the European Union is preparing to take action on taxing technology companies. According to media reports, the European Commission is working on a plan to levy a 3 percent tax on advertising revenue, subscription fees and money generated from selling user data. The tax would apply to companies with a worldwide turnover of at least 750 million euros ($921.4 million) and 50 million euros in annual taxable revenues in the European Union. EU officials expect to raise about 5 billion euros a year through this tax, which is expected to affect around 100 companies. The proposal is set to be unveiled next week, and opposition to the proposal will likely follow soon after.






EU: The Iran Nuclear Deal Looks for Life Support

The European Union is still working on its response to U.S. President Donald Trump's promise to scuttle the Iran nuclear deal unless more is done to counter Iran's destabilizing activities in the Middle East. According to media reports, the EU3 powers — France, Germany and the United Kingdom — are working on a proposal to meet Trump's demands through new sanctions. EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said March 19 that there was no formal EU proposal in place for such sanctions, but she stopped short of denying that discussions over such a proposal were occurring. In addition, Mogherini urged adherence to the bloc's consistent position that the Iran nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), must succeed before the bloc will agree to further action against Iran...






South Korea may buy more Apache helicopters to lead the fight across DMZ:

SEOUL, South Korea — The South Korean military plans to buy more Apache heavy-attack helicopters to lead the deployment across enemy lines should conflict erupt on the Korean Peninsula, according to defense officials.

Ordered by Defense Minister Song Young-moo, the Joint Chiefs of Staff is expected to issue requirements for the procurement next week, an official at the Ministry of National Defense said.

It’s unknown exactly how many more Apaches the government wants, but informed sources tell Defense News the number could reach as much as 40.

“The South Korean military has been shifting the concept of its warfare strategy to an offensive one,” an official said. “To that end, the military leadership decided to put a priority more on helicopter assets than tanks.”

Because of that shift, the military may cancel plans to acquire some 300 more K2 Black Panther main battle tanks, according to the official.

The South Korean military has long established a counteroffensive strategy in which South Korean armed forces conduct a full-scale counterattack only after U.S. augmentation troops arrive on the peninsula.

Under the envisaged plan, the South Korean military aims to occupy North Korea’s capital Pyongyang two to three weeks after the outbreak of war...

South Korea Signs Deal for 90 Bunker-Buster Cruise Missiles

South Korea has concluded a contract for 90 German-built Taurus KEPD 350 long-range precision-guided cruise missiles, the country’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) revealed on March 12. “The contract was signed in late February,” Kang Hwan-seok, a DAPA spokesperson, told reporters this Monday, according to Yonhap news agency.

The 90 additional Taurus KEPD 350 air-to-surface missiles will expand the Republic of Korea Air Force’s (ROKAF) existing stockpile of 170-180 missiles. The ROKAF began receiving its first Taurus KEPD 350s, intended for the service’s fleet of F-15K Slam Eagle multirole fighter jets, in October 2016.The cost per missile is estimated at around $1.2 million.

Powered by a turbofan engine, the Taurus cruise missile can reach a top speed of up to March 0.9 and has estimated operational range of around 500 kilometers (300 miles). It is armed with a 500-kilogram (1,100-pound) high explosive warhead and is primarily deployed as a bunker buster. It can target hardened North Korean command and control facilities as well as missile launch sites...

Quick Takes: Sohae Satellite Launching Station Remains Quiet

Commercial satellite imagery from March 14 of the Sohae Satellite Launching Station, North Korea’s main space launch facility, indicates little activity around the facility as a whole and shows no indications of a recent or forthcoming engine test or preparations for a satellite launch. At the vertical engine test stand, the rail-mounted environmental shelter remains in the same position it has been since December 2017. At the launch pad, construction of a new building immediately to the south continues at a very slow pace, although its purpose is still unknown. At the former satellite control building, a monument has been constructed and is surrounded by a new orchard...


Russian ex-spy's poisoning in UK believed from nerve agent in car vents: Sources

The Russian ex-spy who along with his daughter was poisoned by a nerve agent in the U.K. may have been exposed to it through his car's ventilation system, sources told ABC News.

Former Russian spy Sergey Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, were found slumped over, unconscious on a park bench earlier this month in the southern English town of Salisbury. The U.K. has accused Russia of bearing responsibility for the March 4 attack, which British officials say involved a military-grade nerve agent of a type developed secretly by Russia...

Russia Test Fires New Kh-47M2 Kinzhal Hypersonic Missile

First “Kinzhal” Fired from MiG-31 in Southwest Russia Hits Target According to Russians. But it’s a modified Iskander SRBM.

The Russian Aerospace Forces have conducted the first successful test firing of the air-launched Kinzhal (Dagger) hypersonic missile according to state sponsored media outlets.

The missile, supposedly named Kh-47M2 and referred to as the “Kinzhal”, was fired from a modified MiG-31BM (NATO reporting name “Foxhound”) over Southwest Russia. A report published on Facebook by Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said the “unique” MiG-31 that fired the missile had been “modernized”. Rogozin did not specify what modifications or “modernized” meant...

...The official news release from the Russian Aerospace Forces read in part, “MiG-31 jet of the Russian Aerospace Forces conducted a test launch of hypersonic aviation and missile system Kinzhal in a set district. The launch was successful, the hypersonic missile hit the designated target at the field...”

Kinzhal is claimed to be a strategic air-to-surface strike missile. The missile is claimed to have maneuverable flight characteristics not typically seen in hypersonic, solid fuel missiles. Observers of Russian missile programs have voiced skepticism about Russia’ performance claims however. According to Russians and reference sources the Kinzhal missile has a top speed of Mach 10 and maintains some ability to maneuver throughout its performance envelope including at hypersonic speed. If accurate, these capabilities could make the Kinzhal difficult to intercept by anti-missile systems. The missile is reported to have a range of 1,200 miles (approximately 2,000 kilometers). This, added to the reported 1,860-mile unrefueled range of the MiG-31BM long range, supersonic interceptor, gives the Kinzhal potentially intercontinental strike capability. The missile is also reported to be nuclear-capable and able to hit ground as well as naval targets...




NSA Pick Will Develop Cyber Retaliation Plans But Don’t Expect Government to Use Them

Lawmakers pressed President Donald Trump’s pick to lead the National Security Agency over the government’s failure to deter Russian cyber aggression Thursday at the same time the Treasury Department imposed the broadest sanctions to date against Russian government hackers.

The timing underscored two points made frequently by government cyber officials and by their critics outside government. First, the best response to a cyber strike often isn’t a cyber counterstrike. Second, those non-cyber responses, though they keep piling up, still aren’t doing the trick.

Thursday’s sanctions target five Russian entities, including intelligence services and social troll creator, the Internet Research Agency, as well as 19 individuals, many of whom were previously indicted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller...




Will Spirit AeroSystems Have Role In Supersonic Bizjet?

WICHITA—Spirit AeroSystems, a provider of large aerostructures to Boeing and Airbus, has been in talks with Aerion and Boom about their supersonic aircraft projects and likes what it sees.

While volume building structures for the speedy supersonic aircraft wouldn’t be as large as its commercial airliner business, Spirit says it is interested in the work.

"We’ve talked to Aerion and Boom. I’m very interested in both, particularly Aerion, because they’re probably a little bit further ahead," Tom Gentile, Spirit AeroSystems CEO, said in a recent interview with Aviation Week Network editors. "They’re at the cutting edge of technology, so they require the most sophisticated structures. That’s a great challenge and a learning opportunity for us."

Spirit, Boeing’s largest supplier, is looking at small, developing projects to see how they could grow into bigger opportunities, Gentile said.

He is open to adding work on business aircraft projects, which are smaller in scale with lower rates and volumes.

"We talk a lot with Textron Aviation," Gentile said...

Officer Down

Police Officer Justin Taylor Billa
Mobile Police Department, Alabama
End of Watch Tuesday, February 20, 2018
Age 27
Tour 2 years, 1 month
Badge 24
Cause Gunfire
Weapon Gun; Unknown type
Offender Deceased

Police Officer Justin Billa was shot and killed while assisting in the apprehension of a man who had just murdered his ex-wife.

Investigators at the scene of the original murder identified the subject as a person of interest. Officer Billa, along with other officers, went to the man's home on Avondale Court to make contact with him. As the officers arrived on scene the subject exited the home and opened fire on them, striking Officer Billa. Another officer returned fire as the subject retreated back into the home.

Officer Billa was transported to the University of South Alabama Medical Center where he died a short time later.

The subject remained barricaded inside his home for the next three hours. His body was recovered from the home following the standoff.

Officer Billa had served with the Mobile Police Department for two years. He is survived by his wife and one 1-year-old son.
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. 

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

No, Hollywood doesn’t hate cops...

American Thinker was good enough to publish another of my articles. Please let me know what you think
We don't need no stinking ratings... 
Like millions of current or former law enforcement officers, I was inspired as a child by the TV portrayal of cops.  As a kid of the late '60s and '70s, I still smile when I hear "One Adam-12, a 211 in progress, One Adam-12, handle Code 3!" 
Adam-12 wasn't the only show.  There were KojakHawaii Five-OCagney & LaceyHill Street BluesNYPD BlueBoston BlueHomicide: Life on the StreetBosch, and Cops.  For a laugh or three, there were Police SquadReno 911, and Barney Miller.  (Every station has a Harris, a Wojo, and especially a Fish!) 
Now CBS, the provider of classic police dramas such as Brooklyn SouthThe Blue KnightFlashpoint, and multiple CSI series, has an idea for a new police "themed" series. 
Noah Wyle has been cast in a lead role in the CBS drama pilot "Red Line," Variety has learned. 
In the pilot, after a white cop in Chicago mistakenly shoots and kills a black doctor, the show follows three different families that all have connections to the case as the story is told from each perspective.  
Wyle will play Daniel Calder, described as a dedicated high school teacher mourning the loss of his innocent African-American husband [sic] who was shot and killed by a white police officer.  Daniel is now a single parent to his adopted daughter, Jira[.] 
Well, give them credit: they didn't call it reality TV or say it was "ripped from the headlines!" 
Hollywood has a habit of grabbing a headline, trying to make a movie or show with it, and having it collapse, again and again (Designated SurvivorMadam Secretary) – or taking a great series, injecting it with political correctness, and destroying it (Homeland).Pushing the theme that every black man out there is but one traffic stop from being murdered by an overzealous cop, CBS defines any semblance of realism (hell, sounds more and more as though it will be a perfect reality TV series) as "reality."   
Unfortunately, the narrative that cops shoot only innocent black men is, to say the least, unhinged from the facts. 
The United States has around 900,000 law enforcement officers working at this time.  In an average year, police interact with the public approximately 60 million times (traffic stops, on-view investigations, service of a warrant, arrest, etc.).  Of the people pulled over in a traffic stop, about 1% have some type of force used against them (physical, intermediate [e.g., baton, spray, Taser], or deadly force).  Rough numbers: In 600,000 annual interactions with the public, (e.g., traffic stops, on-street interviews, etc.) nationwide, force is used.  Now let's look at this a bit more closely. 
Since Michael Brown and Ferguson, the Washington Post has been tracking police shootings all over the United States.  In 2016, police shot and killed a total of 963 persons.  In a country of 330 million, in 50 states, with almost a million cops, 963 persons were shot and killed by police – in self-initiated investigations, traffic stops, warrants, calls for service, etc.  And the numbers, by race: 
White:                 466 
Black:                  233 
Hispanic:             160 
Other/unknown:  104
To give this some context, in 2016, Chicago had 762 murders in a city of 2.7 million.  Of those 762, 626 (82%) were black.  Before someone asks, police in Chicago shot 25 people in that year, of which 11 were killed.  To look somewhere else, L.A. County had 662 murders in 2016, with a population of 10 million.  Houston had 302 murders in 2016, with a population of 2.1 million. 
What is the point of the story, Hollywood?  Your premise is as screwed up as a football bat.  In the real world, the doctor was most likely shot by another black male for his wallet.  But that doesn't make good TV to your "way of thinking." 
I find it curious that a business that reportedly wants to sell a product, such as movies and television shows, will insult its customers as much as it can.  The American public does not have a good opinion of the entrainment industry in general, but it does have a high regard for law enforcement officers (as well as EMT, firefighters, and other first responders).  Seeing that the traditional networks are bleeding viewers to alternative sources of entertainment (e.g., Amazon Prime, Netflix, Hulu), they may want to be more concerned with providing a saleable product than with patting themselves on the back for evicting the sexual predators they coddled for generations. 
Like most Americans, I did not watch the Academy Awards, nor will I watch the Emmy Awards.  TV, movies, and Hollywood in general suck, to put it nicely.  I'm recalling a cartoon from my college days, where Dr. Frankenstein is presenting his monster: "I have not only created life from unthinking matter; I have also gotten it a job in television programming."  Things have only declined over the decades.
Michael A. Thiac is a police patrol sergeant and a retired Army intelligence officer.  When not patrolling the streets, he can be found on A Cop's Watch.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Officer Down

Deputy Sheriff Kevin James Stanton
Brevard County Sheriff's Office, Florida
End of Watch Saturday, February 17, 2018
Age 32
Tour 10 years, 5 months
Badge 0782

Deputy Sheriff Kevin Stanton was killed when his patrol car was struck by a tractor-trailer on I-95, just north of Route 50, at approximately 5:10 am.

The tractor-trailer suffered a tire blow-out, causing the driver to lose control and swerve into the left lane where Deputy Stanton was driving. Deputy Stanton's patrol car then struck the rear of the semi.

Deputy Stanton had served with the Brevard County Sheriff's Office for 10-1/2 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. 

Sunday, March 18, 2018

What's going on in the World Today 180318



U.S.: How Tillerson's Exit Will Affect Foreign Policy

After months of rumors and speculation, another member of the administration of U.S President Donald Trump is leaving his post. On March 13, Trump announced via Twitter that he would be replacing Secretary of State Rex Tillerson with CIA Director Mike Pompeo. To replace Pompeo, Trump has chosen Gina Haspel, the CIA's current deputy director. Though Tillerson was known to disagree with Trump on a number of issues, the decision to dismiss him seemed to come with little direct warning. Speaking with reporters, Trump said the decision was motivated by differences of opinion with Tillerson on substantive issues such as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), better known as the Iran nuclear deal. As talks with North Korea and a review of the JCPOA rapidly approach, Trump appears to be preparing through a Cabinet reshuffling...

U.S. Army Leadership ‘Won’t Stand’ For Future Vertical Lift Delays

FVL is the Army’s No. 3 acquisition priority after long-range precision fires and ground vehicle modernization, and therefore it is the Army Aviation community’s No. 1 priority.

FVL-Medium, the first of five planned FVL acquisition programs, would deliver a next-generation replacement for the troop-carrying Army Sikorsky H-60 Black Hawk and Marine Corps Bell H-1 Huey utility/assault helicopters. But there are concerns about how long this first new rotorcraft will take to field, since production and deployment are not scheduled to begin until fiscal 2030.

This Is Boeing’s Play For MQ-25 ‘Stingray’

On the tarmac of St. Louis’ historic Lambert Field, the future of aircraft carrier aviation may be taking shape. Phantom Works, Boeing’s shadowy advanced prototyping group, has painted part of the tarmac to resemble the flight deck of a carrier. Over the past few months, the company been using this space at all hours of the day and night to test its latest military UAV: a prototype for the U.S. Navy’s MQ-25 “Stingray” program.

A video viewed by Aviation Week and labeled “competition sensitive” shows the huge drone taxiing around the runway during daylight hours on its own power. It stops, starts, moves forward and hooks into position behind the catapult, prepared for launch. But the long-wing aircraft has not yet flown; it is instead being used for carrier suitability trials, including a series of maneuvers to ensure the UAV can easily, reliably and safely move around the deck like any manned aviation platform.

Exactly how the aircraft is directed around the deck is a company secret. We have agreed not to write about it, but one can guess that it will not involve traditional hand signals or wands. As part of the carrier suitability tests, Phantom Works also has been validating the UAV’s “spot factor” and ensuring that it can park anywhere a Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet can, including the tightest spot of all, a slither of deck aft of elevator No. 4 called “the finger...”

Haley: Vote With U.S. at U.N. or We’ll Cut Your Aid

In a proposed aid overhaul, Nikki Haley embraces an “America first” foreign policy.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley is proposing a sweeping reassessment of U.S. foreign assistance with a view to punishing dozens of poor countries that vote against U.S. policies at the U.N., according to a confidential internal memo drafted by her staff.

The move to make foreign aid conditional on political support follows a U.S. decision to cut tens of millions of dollars in assistance to Palestinian refugees, a cut made in retaliation for Palestine’s sponsorship of U.N. resolutions denouncing U.S. President Donald Trump’s controversial recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Haley now wants to apply a similar principle to decisions about aid to other needy countries...




For Russia and China, Cooperation Is the Name of the Game in Central Asia

- When it comes to tackling security issues in Central Asia, Russia and China will cooperate more than compete.

- The two countries will ramp up joint military exercises, counterterrorism training and diplomatic consultations in the region through the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

- As China expands its economic ties in Central Asia, its security presence will probably grow accordingly, potentially upsetting the current balance between Moscow and Beijing...


The U.K. Measures Its Response to the Poisoning of a Former Russian Spy

The poisoning of former Russian spy Sergey Skripal and his daughter Yulia has exacerbated the already tense relationship between the United Kingdom and Russia. As a result, British Prime Minister Theresa May said her government was reviewing a range of diplomatic, financial and economic responses to the likely Russia-backed poisoning, which took place in her country. And the United Kingdom requested that the Kremlin hand over materials and samples of its military grade nerve agent, Novichok, by the end of the day on March 13. Meanwhile, the Russian Foreign Ministry has denied receiving the request and in turn has asked for full access to the investigation and samples of the nerve agent, since Yulia is still a Russian citizen..

Cyber-Espionage Group Steals Data From UK Government Contractor

A cyber-espionage group historically believed to be operating in the interests of the Chinese government is believed to have hacked a UK government contractor from where security researchers found evidence that attackers stole information related to UK government departments and military technology. Attackers used never-before-seen tools, old malware, but also employed legitimate apps found on the compromised systems in an attempt to remain undetected for as long as possible.

UK to invest 48 million pounds in new chemical weapons defense center

Britain will invest 48 million pounds ($67 million) in a new chemical warfare defense center at its Porton Down military research laboratory....“Today I can announce that we’re building on our world-class expertise of the defense science and technology laboratory at Porton Down. We’re investing 48 million pounds in a new chemical weapons defense center to maintain our cutting edge in chemical analysis and defense,” Williamson said in a speech...


U.S. Braces for Return of Terrorist Safe Havens to Afghanistan

For 17 years, three successive presidents have told the American public that above all else, Afghanistan must never again provide “safe haven” to terrorist groups seeking to harm the United States and its interests. But Defense Department and intelligence officials now say exactly that may be on the verge of happening...Afghan officials believe there are now an estimated 3,000 Islamic State fighters in Afghanistan.... the Islamic State was planning attacks in the United States from safe havens in Afghanistan and Pakistan.


The Chinese Leadership's Reform Strategy Comes With a Risk

The next few years will determine whether China's leaders have the commitment and ability to adapt to economic changes and follow through with necessary reforms.

Chinese President Xi Jinping will need to retain a firm grip on power while at the same time meeting the rising expectations that come with that level of authority.

Beijing aims to reshape local governments' behavior and lower its growth target, paving the way for more sustainable economic growth.

Trade pressure from the United States and a slowing economy will test Beijing's resolve as it strives to restructure its economy, challenging its deleveraging campaign and its attempts at enforcing environmental reforms..

Chinese Working On Giant Engine For Long March 9

Completing a demonstrator for a huge first-stage rocket engine, possibly this year, is among the technology acquisition projects being undertaken by China’s main space industry group in preparation for a go-ahead for manned Moon missions. Work on engines for second and third stages and on the structure for the giant launcher, informally called Long March 9 and due to go to the Moon around 2030, is also underway.

Long March 9’s targeted payload to low Earth orbit is 140 metric tons (310,000 lb.), of which 50 metric tons would be sent on a trajectory to the Moon. It would therefore have about six times the capability of China’s current largest rocket, Long March 5...






Rise and Kill First, An Interview With Dr. Ronen Bergman

New York Times Bestselling Author Ronen Bergman sits down with Stratfor Chief Security Officer Fred Burton in this episode of the Stratfor Podcast to discuss his latest book, Rise and Kill First: The Secret History of Israel’s Targeted Assassinations.

Bergman’s book, described as the first definitive history of the Mossad, Shin Bet and the Israel Defense Forces’ targeted killing programs, is the result of seven years of research and over a thousand interviews with the people responsible for leading and carrying out those programs...


North Korea nuclear reactors show new signs of activity

New satellite imagery examined by Western experts suggests North Korea has begun preliminary testing of one of its nuclear reactors at the Yongbyon research facility. The disclosure comes as preparations get underway for the summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in next month -- and ahead of Kim's planned meeting with President Trump in May.


Putin Plans for a Russia Without Him

- Though Russian President Vladimir Putin is assured an election win on March 18, his fourth term will usher in a period of deep challenges for Russia and his continued rule.

- Putin's pledge to maintain stability is facing economic and demographic shifts that will ripple throughout society and test compliance with Putin's government.

- Thinking of the longer term, the Kremlin is considering a spate of reforms and has allowed political discourse to return to Russia, though each maneuver is not without its risks.

- Putin, his cultlike government and the Russian people are starting to consider what life in Russia will look like after he leaves the political stage.

Russia Sends a Chilling Message With Its Latest Chemical Attack

- Shortly after Russian President Vladimir Putin assumed power, Moscow's intelligence services began exhibiting increasingly aggressive behavior.

- This included the targeted assassinations of enemies across Europe, the Middle East and in the United States.

-In response, Western intelligence agencies increased efforts to recruit Russian intelligence officers as spies.

-In this context, the attack on Sergei Skripal was not necessarily about his treason, but more of a warning to current Russian intelligence officers not to betray the government.

To pedestrians passing outside the Maltings shopping center in Salisbury, England, on the afternoon of March 4, the pair slumped on a bench appeared to be another tragic case of opioid overdose. The younger woman was unconscious, having lost control of her bodily functions, and was propped against the older man, himself twitching and mumbling in an incoherent manner. But as police arrived at the scene and identified the victims, it soon became clear that this was not an accidental narcotics overdose.

The man, 66-year-old Sergei Skripal, was a former colonel in Russia's military intelligence service (known as the GRU) and had been recruited by Britain's foreign intelligence service (MI6) in the 1990s. He had come to the United Kingdom in 2010 as part of a high-profile spy swap. The woman next to him was his 33-year-old daughter, Yulia, who had come to Salisbury from Russia to visit her father. Indeed, as police officers began to collapse after coming into contact with the pair, it quickly became evident that this was yet another case in which a former Russian intelligence officer was poisoned in the United Kingdom. And with this latest attack, Russia under President Vladimir Putin is letting the intelligence world know that it is changing the rules: Betrayal can make you and your family a target, even if you're no longer in the game...

Missiles of March: A Political Means of Last Resort for Putin

President Vladimir Putin's extra-heavy emphasis on new strategic missile systems in his March 1 address to parliament was quite unexpected and rather out of character. My colleague Steven Pifer suspects that Putin has "something of a fixation on things nuclear" and compares this trumpeting of wonder-missiles with President Donald Trump's slogan "Jobs! Jobs! Jobs!" Putin is, after all, campaigning for re-election (the vote is March 18), though the outcome is pre-determined...

A Brief History of Attempted Russian Assassinations by Poison

Russian security services appear to be increasingly targeting dissidents and renegade spies for death by poison.

With the announcement by British police on Wednesday that a former Russian spy was poisoned by a nerve agent, Sergei Skripal joins the long ranks of those who have run afoul of the Kremlin and subsequently fallen ill or died under what can only be described as suspicious circumstances.

Skripal was walking with his daughter on Monday when they fell ill, collapsed on a park bench, and were promptly rushed to the hospital, where they remain in critical condition. On Thursday, British police said that around 21 people had sought treatment as a result of exposure to the unidentified poison. A police officer who aided the two is in stable condition, and is conscious and talking.

“This is being treated as a major incident involving attempted murder by administration of a nerve agent,” Mark Rowley, Britain’s chief police official for counterterrorism and international security, said.

A Russian court convicted Skripal of spying on behalf of Britain in 2006, but he was returned to England as part of a spy swap in 2010....

Russia says it has successfully tested advanced hypersonic missile

Russia's Defense Ministry says it has successfully tested one of the "invincible" missiles that President Vladimir Putin said earlier this month could deliver a warhead at hypersonic speed and pierce US defenses. "A MiG-31 fighter crew of the Russian Aerospace Forces conducted a combat training launch of a hypersonic missile of the Kinzhal high-precision air missile system in the designated area," the ministry said in statement Saturday...




Qatar: New Development Plan Goes in Pursuit of Knowledge

Construction is out and knowledge is in — at least when it comes to putting Qatar’s economy on a firm foundation for the future. On March 14, Qatari Prime Minister Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa al-Thani unveiled a new five-year plan for the country that will focus on social development and economic diversification. The strategy will involve nurturing a robust private sector in areas such as science, logistics, financial services and tourism, as well as information and communication technology. At the same time, the small, arid, natural gas-rich country aims to develop sustainable water resources and produce 65 percent of its own seafood through local fish farms. And in a sign of greater belt-tightening, Qatari officials have noted that spending will need to fall by about one-third to around 21.2 percent of the country's gross domestic product...

Saudi Arabia: Cabinet Approves New Nuclear Policy

On March 13, the Saudi Cabinet approved a new national nuclear policy in advance of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman's visit to Washington on March 19-22, during which he is expected to push for a nuclear deal with the United States. Though Saudi Arabia’s policy clearly states that any nuclear activities will be purely peaceful and that the kingdom will follow all international laws in this regard, it also commits the country to best practices for handling nuclear waste and for developing a national capability in the nuclear industry. These guidelines suggest that Saudi Arabia could be planning activities that could lead to nuclear proliferation...


The Diplomatic Pouch: A Hands-Off Exception to Border Inspection

When the U.S. foreign service needs to send secrets to another country, it relies on diplomatic couriers. Those men and women ferry our nation’s most precious secrets from the State Department's Foggy Bottom headquarters to U.S. embassies around the globe. In 1985, when I went through basic agent training with the department's Diplomatic Security Service (DSS), I was offered the option of serving as one of those couriers. The word around the academy was that the job came with lots of overtime and allowed the adventurous traveler to see the world on Uncle Sam’s dime...

Cybercriminals trained up for March Madness

...“March Madness is back and with it comes a great opportunity for cybercriminals who are intent on making some quick cash,” ...“Email infection, fake betting websites and traditional phishing attacks are all expected to have their day in the sun.”...“These online trends almost always play out before, during and after the events take place. Cybercriminals are completely prepared for the excitement and hype surrounding March Madness by infecting emails with malware, creating fake betting websites and growing the number of phishing attacks they carry out.”

Friday, March 16, 2018

Officer Down

Police Officer Darren Maurice Weathers
Detroit Police Department, Michigan
End of Watch Tuesday, February 13, 2018
Age 25
Tour 2 years

Police Officer Darren Weathers was killed in a vehicle crash on Michigan Avenue, near Clark Avenue.

He was participating in a surveillance training exercise when his vehicle collided with another before striking a utility pole. Officer Weathers was transported to Henry Ford Hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.

Officer Weathers was a U.S. military veteran and had served with the Detroit Police Department for almost two years. He is survived by his wife and daughter.
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.

Something light for the weekend....

Thank God it's Friday, although for many of my co-workers it's just two more days to Monday. Remember those days very well.

I found this cartoon and it's awesome:

And to as some music, here it is. To any fans of the Allman Bros Band, this is too cool!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Reading and reading.....

I started to read heavily, if not profusely, when I was a child. Someone suggested it would help my pathetic spelling, and it did. Now I'm cursed by pathetic typing skills, and the scourge of Autocorrect. But my personal library is in the hundreds of books, not counting the stuff I've given away, lost over the years, etc.

I personally use digital media for magazines, but generally not for books. If the book is for distraction (I'm really enjoying the Harry Bosch series), digits are great. I can read them everywhere, on my iPad, or my iPhone, or Mac, and if I have 5 minutes to kill, I can get a page or two down. But for more serious reading, I prefer paper. One, I'm slowed down in my reading, and that forces me to concentrate more. Two, I just love to see a bookshelf filled with some books I've conquered over the ages. I can look from where I'm sitting and see multiple columns of Tom Clancy, Mark Levin, the Time-Life series on Vietnam, and many others.

Now comes the a survey showing what should be intuitive. People learn better with paper than digits. Pesonally I've always known that. I like to be able to read, stop, re-read, highlight, put a paper clip on the page, and come back to the item. Can't really do that with digits, in spite of what Millennials say.

With that as comment, I find this interesting.
A new study shows that students learn way more effectively from print textbooks than screens

Today's students see themselves as digital natives, the first generation to grow up surrounded by technology like smartphones, tablets and e-readers.

Teachers, parents and policymakers certainly acknowledge the growing influence of technology and have responded in kind. We've seen more investment in classroom technologies, with students now equipped with school-issued iPads and access to e-textbooks.

In 2009, California passed a law requiring that all college textbooks be available in electronic form by 2020; in 2011, Florida lawmakers passed legislation requiring public schools to convert their textbooks to digital versions.

Given this trend, teachers, students, parents and policymakers might assume that students' familiarity and preference for technology translates into better learning outcomes. But we've found that's not necessarily true.

As researchers in learning and text comprehension, our recent work has focused on the differences between reading print and digital media. While new forms of classroom technology like digital textbooks are more accessible and portable, it would be wrong to assume that students will automatically be better served by digital reading simply because they prefer it...

Speed - at a cost

Our work has revealed a significant discrepancy. Students said they preferred and performed better when reading on screens. But their actual performance tended to suffer.

For example, from our review of research done since 1992, we found that students were able to better comprehend information in print for texts that were more than a page in length. This appears to be related to the disruptive effect that scrolling has on comprehension. We were also surprised to learn that few researchers tested different levels of comprehension or documented reading time in their studies of printed and digital texts.

To explore these patterns further, we conducted three studies that explored college students' ability to comprehend information on paper and from screens.

Students first rated their medium preferences. After reading two passages, one online and one in print, these students then completed three tasks: Describe the main idea of the texts, list key points covered in the readings and provide any other relevant content they could recall. When they were done, we asked them to judge their comprehension performance.

Across the studies, the texts differed in length, and we collected varying data (e.g., reading time). Nonetheless, some key findings emerged that shed new light on the differences between reading printed and digital content:

- Students overwhelming preferred to read digitally.

- Reading was significantly faster online than in print.

- Students judged their comprehension as better online than in print.

- Paradoxically, overall comprehension was better for print versus digital reading.

- The medium didn't matter for general questions (like understanding the main idea of the text).

- But when it came to specific questions, comprehension was significantly better when participants read printed texts...

A few more details on the link, but for me at least, digits will never replace paper. For the reasons above, the pure pleasure of reading, and the occasional distraction of walking into a book store, and getting lost in possibilities. Sorry Amazon.com, you don't do that for me! :<)

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Officer Down

Commander Paul R. Bauer
Chicago Police Department, Illinois
End of Watch Tuesday, February 13, 2018
Age 53
Tour 31 years
Badge 29

Commander Paul Bauer was shot and killed while attempting to arrest a subject who had just run from other officers near the James R. Thompson Center, a state government office building.

Other officers had attempted to conduct a subject stop on the man in connection with a shooting that had occurred several days earlier. The subject fled from the officers. Commander Bauer, who was wearing a suit and in the area for a meeting, observed the subject at the government building and attempted to stop him in a stairwell. The subject opened fire, killing Commander Bauer.

The subject was taken into custody moments later.

Commander Bauer had served with the Chicago Police Department for 32 years and served as commander of the 018th District. He is survived by his wife and daughter.
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 180314


China’s Long Arm Reaches Into American Campuses

Beijing is stepping up efforts to inject party ideology into student life. Some Chinese students are crying foul.

When Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Washington on Sept. 24, 2015 on a state visit, hundreds of Chinese students lined the streets for hours, carrying banners and flags to welcome him. It was a remarkable display of seemingly spontaneous patriotism.

Except it wasn’t entirely spontaneous. The Chinese Embassy paid students to attend and helped organize the event. Working with Chinese Students and Scholars Associations (CSSAs) at local universities — a Chinese student organization with branches at dozens of schools around the country — government officials from the office of educational affairs at the Chinese Embassy in Washington collected the contact information of about 700 students who had signed up to attend. Embassy officials communicated with students via WeChat, a Chinese messaging app, during the event and into the night, responding to messages as late as 3 a.m.

According to a Chinese student at George Washington University who attended the event, participants each received about $20 for their effort, distributed through the CSSA a few months later...

F-35 Finally Can Use All Its Weapons In Combat

The newest U.S. Air Force F-35s, both stateside at Hill AFB, Utah, and overseas in the Pacific, finally can employ the stealth fighter’s full suite of air-to-air and air-to-ground weapons in combat.

The F-35 Joint Program Office (JPO) has delivered the flight clearances, simulators, threat information, and logistics system required for the Air Force’s F-35As equipped with the latest software load to employ all of its weapons throughout the full flight envelope, according to the JPO, Lockheed Martin and Air Force officials.

This milestone gives the Block 3F-configured F-35As assigned to the 34th Fighter Squadron stationed at Hill and those forward-deployed to Kadena Air Base, Japan—on North Korea’s doorstep—some lethal capabilities. The aircraft now can fire Raytheon’s short-range AIM-9X Sidewinder missile, the GAU-22 25mm gun, and Boeing’s precision-guided Small Diameter Bomb, all while flying up to 9Gs at 1.6 Mach.

The F-35A touched down in Kadena for its first operational deployment to the Pacific in November, a highly anticipated milestone that underlines the U.S. military’s commitment to allies in the region amid tensions over North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.

The “Rude Rams” F-35As join the “Green Knights” F-35Bs of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 121, which is permanently stationed at Iwakuni, Japan, significantly increasing the number of stealth F-35s in the region...

...Meanwhile, the U.S. Marine Corps short takeoff, vertical-landing F-35B and U.S. Navy F-35C carrier variant configured with the 3F software will be able to deploy with their full operational capability in May and June, respectively, F-35 Program Executive Officer (PEO) Vice Adm. Mat Winter said during a Feb. 28 media roundtable. For the F-35Cs, this means the aircraft will be able to deploy Raytheon’s AGM-154 Joint Standoff Weapon (JSOW) in combat...

Boeing’s KC-46 Tanker Delayed Again
The U.S. Air Force is predicting that Boeing won’t deliver the first KC-46 tanker until late 2018, casting doubt on the defense firm’s ability to meet a contractual deadline that, if missed, likely would result in significant penalties.

Boeing’s master schedule currently pegs first aircraft delivery to the fleet in the second quarter of calendar year 2018—already months behind schedule. But after a joint schedule risk assessment, the Air Force now believes delivery is more likely to occur in late 2018, according to spokeswoman Capt. Emily Grabowski.

“The Air Force will continue to work with Boeing to develop schedule mitigations, where appropriate, to expedite the program,” Grabowski said. “These potential delays will not result in additional program cost to the taxpayer.”

Boeing is on tap to deliver 18 full-up tankers to the Air Force by October, a longstanding contractual deadline. Boeing likely will suffer significant penalties if it misses the deadline, adding to the $2.9 billion in pretax fees, or about $1.9 billion after tax, the firm has already racked up on the program...

F-16s In Battle Talk Via Commercial Space Internet?

What if warfighters could install an antenna on their F-16s, much like homeowners do on their roofs, and establish a commercial internet connection, allowing them to send critical battlefield information rapidly to the rest of the force?

The U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) is about to find out.

The Air Force is finally catching on to a revolution in the commercial small satellite world. Feb. 22 SpaceX launched a Falcon 9 rocket carrying two experimental satellites from Vandenberg AFB, California, to test out technologies for a megaconstellation of small satellites that would provide high-speed internet and other communications services directly to consumers, businesses and other subscribers. And SpaceX is just one of many commercial firms that are starting to experiment with such a service. OneWeb is scheduled to begin launching its 720-satellite broadband constellation later this year.

Defense Agency To Begin Moving Classified Data to Amazon's Secret Cloud After Protest
Microsoft withdrew a bid protest that allows U.S. Transportation Command to begin migrating data to Amazon’s secret cloud region.

For the first time, the Defense Department will begin moving classified data and applications to Amazon Web Services’ Secret Region—the same cloud environment developed for the CIA and intelligence community several years ago.

U.S. Transportation Command—the part of the department responsible for moving troops and equipment around the globe—announced its intent to make use of AWS’ Classified Secret Commercial Cloud Services in December after the company expanded its capabilities and availability to non-intelligence agencies.

The Defense Department’s sole-source decision—a contract awarded without a full and open competition—was protested by Microsoft, which itself offers a variety of cloud services to the federal government. The company withdrew its protest March 8, allowing TRANSCOM to begin migrating data to the AWS Secret Region. In a statement to Nextgov, Microsoft said it withdrew its protest “because the issues involved were resolved” to the company’s satisfaction...


'Significant' consequences if China takes key port in Djibouti: U.S. general

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The top U.S. general for Africa told lawmakers on Tuesday that the military could face “significant” consequences should China take a key port in Djibouti, as Beijing becomes increasingly muscular in Africa in an effort to expand its influence.

Last month, Djibouti ended its contract with Dubai’s DP World, one of the world’s biggest port operators, to run the Doraleh Container Terminal, citing failure to resolve a dispute that began in 2012.

DP World called the move an illegal seizure of the terminal and said it had begun new arbitration proceedings before the London Court of International Arbitration.

During a U.S. congressional hearing on Tuesday, which was dominated by concerns about China’s role in Africa, lawmakers said they had seen reports that Djibouti seized control of the port to give it to China as a gift.

China has already built a military base in Djibouti, just miles from a critical U.S. military base...



UK convenes emergency meeting over Russian spy's apparent poisoning

London (CNN)The British government was set to hold an emergency, top-level meeting Wednesday to discuss the apparent poisoning of a former Russian spy, as the country's top diplomat warned that the UK would respond "robustly" if the Kremlin was found to be involved.

UK Home Secretary Amber Rudd will chair the cabinet-level COBRA meeting to discuss the investigation into the case of Sergei Skripal -- a former Russian military official convicted of spying for the UK -- and his daughter, who were found unconscious Sunday on a bench in southern England...




Partner Perspectives: China's Staggering Demand for Commodities

Partner Perspectives are a collection of high-quality analyses and commentary produced by organizations around the world. Though Stratfor does not necessarily endorse the views expressed here — and may even disagree with them — we respect the rigorous and innovative thought that their unique points of view inspire.

By Jeff Desjardins for Visual Capitalist

It's said that in China, a new skyscraper is built every five days.

China is building often, and they are building higher. In fact, just last year, China completed 77 of the world's 144 new supertall buildings, spread through 36 different Chinese cities. These are structures with a minimum height of 656 feet (200 meters).

For comparison's sake, there are only 113 buildings in New York City's current skyline that are over 600 feet...

China Space-Station Launcher, Long March 5B, To Fly In 2019

BEIJING—The second version of China’s Long March 5 rocket, intended mainly for building the country’s planned space station, will fly in mid-2019, about a year later than previously ...








Kim to Trump: Let’s Make a Deal

Washington got just what it wanted from the pressure campaign. Now what?

North Korea’s surprising offer Tuesday to hold talks with the United States, holding out the eventual prospect of abandoning its nuclear weapons, throws the diplomatic ball dramatically back into Washington’s court.

While the overture is a seeming triumph of the “sunshine” diplomacy of South Korean President Moon Jae-in and the Trump administration’s increased pressure, the big question remains whether the White House is willing or able to grab the opportunity.

“The Trump administration has been all about applying maximum pressure, with the whole purpose to bring North Korea back to the table to talk about denuclearization,” says Jenny Town, assistant director of the US-Korea Institute at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies...

In Nuclear Dialogue, North Korea Leaves U.S. With the Next Move


North Korea will continue to use inter-Korean dialogue to break out of the constraints of the U.S. relationship.

But Pyongyang's apparent outreach to the United States could be contingent on changes to U.S. forces in the Korean Peninsula —
concessions the United States is unlikely to give.

While China and Russia will push for a continued easing of tensions, U.S. ally Japan will be wary of a sudden shift in the U.S. position.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has set late April as the date for the third inter-Korean summit, to be held in Panmunjom. Kim said he would be willing to hold talks with the United States geared toward normalization of relations and the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, and is willing to suspend nuclear and ballistic missile tests while engaged in dialogue. Kim said denuclearization was his father's dying wish, and something for which he also strived..


EU: Russia Wins a Battle in Its War of Pipelines

The Nord Stream 2 offshore natural gas pipeline project — of which Russia's Gazprom is the sole shareholder — is the most politically divisive pipeline for Europe. In fact, several European Union member states have been calling for it to either be stopped altogether or at least heavily regulated. According to new information, it appears that their calls will not be met. A leaked opinion issued by the legal department of the EU Council of Ministers says that the bloc's regulations do not extend to pipelines in exclusive economic zones off the coasts of EU member states. The opinion will ruffle feathers across the Continent, which Russia will surely welcome, given that it sees such internal conflict as useful in Moscow's bid to rid itself of EU sanctions.






Performance Enhancers: From Battlefield to Playing Field
Thomas M. Hunt
In the modern era, discussions about performance-enhancing technologies tend to take place primarily in the context of sports. Indeed, it is within that context that we have covered the issue in previous columns. But as technologies evolve, the subject merits attention beyond the athletic fields.

From the very beginning, a link has existed between the battleground and the playing field on the issue of performance enhancement. The amphetamines that helped soldiers push beyond their human limits during World War II soon made their way into athletics. Whether on the gridiron or at the baseball park, postwar athletes turned to amphetamines whenever they needed a pickup. And this is just one example in a very long relationship between sports and the military that remains today. During the recently concluded Pyeongchang Olympics, Russian curler Alexander Krushelnitsky tested positive for a banned substance that had been developed for Soviet-bloc soldiers during the Cold War...

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

K9 Down

K9 Rony
Houston Police Department, Texas
End of Watch: Wednesday, February 21, 2018
Breed: Belgian Malinois
Gender: Male
Age: Not available
Tour: 7 years

K9 Rony died after suffering a serious injury following a vehicle and foot pursuit of a subject who had been driving a stolen car at approximately 1:00 am.

The driver led officers on a vehicle pursuit, during which time he threw contraband from the window and intentionally rammed a patrol car. The driver bailed out of the vehicle in the 12700 block of River Trail and fled on foot. K9 Rony was released for an apprehension in a heavily wooded area. One of Rony's legs became entangled in a wooden object and suffered a serious injury. He was rushed to a veterinary hospital where it was determined the most humane treatment would be to euthanize him.

The subject was taken into custody by other officers.

K9 Rony had served with the Houston Police Department for seven years and was credited with 250 apprehensions.
Rest in Peace Rony…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, March 12, 2018

Officer Down

K9 Officer Eric Joseph Joering
Westerville Division of Police, Ohio
End of Watch Saturday, February 10, 2018
Age 39
Tour 17 years
Badge 509

Police Officer Anthony Pasquale Morelli

Westerville Division of Police, Ohio
End of Watch Saturday, February 10, 2018
Age 54
Tour 29 years
Badge 467

Police Officer Eric Joering and Police Officer Anthony Morelli were shot and killed when they responded to a 911 hangup call in the 300 block of Crosswind Drive.

As officers arrived at the home they made contact with the residents of the apartment and let inside. As they walked into the apartment a 30-year-old male subject opened fire on them, mortally wounding Officer Joering and Officer Morelli. Despite their wounds, both officers were able to return fire and wounded the subject.

Officer Morelli was transported to a local hospital where he died a short time later.

The subject was charged with two counts of capital murder of a law enforcement officer.

Officer Joering had served with the Westerville Division of Police for 17 years. He is survived by his wife, four daughters, and his K-9 partner Sam. Arrangements have been made for Sam to remain with his widow and daughters.

Officer Morelli is survived by his wife and two children.
Rest in Peace Gentlemen…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.