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The latest news on Defense from Business Insider

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    xi jinping military china

    China’s military underwent a major restructuring last year in a bid to prepare its military for conflict, the Pentagon said in its latest annual assessment of the Communist Party-controlled People’s Liberation Army (PLA).

    The armed forces were reformed with new military regions, a new command structure, and updated strategies to better fight regional, high-technology warfare, the 145-page report to Congress says.

    “These reforms aim to strengthen the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) control over the military, enhance the PLA’s ability to conduct joint operations, and improve its ability to fight short-duration, high-intensity regional conflicts at greater distances from the Chinese mainland,” the report said.

    Abraham Denmark, deputy assistant defense secretary for East Asia, told reporters the military reforms “are intended to enhance the PLA’s ability to conduct joint operations by replacing the old military regions with new geographic commands.”

    “Our approach focuses on reducing risk, expanding common ground, and maintaining our military superiority,” Denmark said.

    As part of its military strategy, China continued to expand its building of new islands in the South China Sea where military forces can be used to control the strategic waterway linking the Indian and Pacific Oceans.

    From some of the 3,200 acres of new islands, “China will be able to use them as persistent civil-military bases to enhance its long-term presence in the South China Sea significantly,” the report said.

    China also is asserting sovereignty over Japan’s Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea.

    Beijing has been careful to avoid a confrontation with the United States over the maritime disputes and used “coercive tactics short of armed conflict” in pressing its policies, the report said.

    china military

    The PLA continued a major build up of military forces across the range of weapons and troops, including large numbers of new missiles, warships, aircraft, along with cyber warfare capabilities and space weaponry.

    The report said among the challenges for the Chinese military is widespread corruption that ensnared more than 40 senior PLA officers in illegal activities since 2012, including the PLA’s most senior officer.

    Chinese leader Xi Jinping has told the PLA to prepare to “fight and win” battles, and the Pentagon said the slogan is an indication Chinese leaders are concerned the military, which has not fought a war in more than 30 years, may not fare well in modern combat.

    The Chinese military restructuring was announced late last year when China set up five new regional “theaters” out of seven military regions and restructured its military command system and services.

    The separate nuclear and conventional missile service, Second Artillery Corps, was renamed the Rocket Force.

    A new Strategic Support Force was created that includes the military intelligence service, and space warfare and cyber warfare forces, key elements of China’s asymmetric strategy aimed at defeating more advanced U.S. forces in a war.

    The report reveals that China is expanding its ability to conduct military operations far from Chinese territory. However, fighting a war over Taiwan remains the PLA’s top priority.

    china missile range

    “China is expanding its access to foreign ports to pre-position the necessary logistics support to regularize and sustain deployments in the ‘far seas,’ waters as distant as the Indian Ocean, Mediterranean Sea, and Atlantic Ocean,” the report said.

    The report included detailed satellite photos of disputed South China Sea islands where military facilities are being built.

    Last year, China sped up island building in the Spratly Islands, claimed by China, Philippines, Taiwan, and other states in the region.

    In early October, island building was completed and the Chinese began building infrastructure including three 9,800-foot runways, communications, and surveillance gear.

    The construction indicates China “is attempting to bolster its de facto control by improving military and civilian infrastructure in the South China Seas.”

    The airfields, harbors, and resupply facilities will allow China to “detect and challenge” rival claimants to the island and increase the military capabilities available to China and short their deployment times.

    The report shows before-and-after pictures of seven disputed Spratly islands, including Fiery Cross Reef where a major buildup took place on 663 new acres of the island.

    fiery cross reef

    China’s missile buildup is one of the most prominent features of the PLA arsenal with new missiles and the addition of multiple warheads on both new and older systems.

    The report also revealed that China is planning a new long-range stealth bomber that would give Beijing a nuclear triad along with ground- and sea-based strategic missiles.

    China “is developing and testing several new classes and variants of offensive missiles, including a hypersonic glide vehicle; forming additional missile units; upgrading older missile systems; and developing methods to counter ballistic missile defenses,” the report said.

    Several new attack and ballistic missile submarines also have been built and are continuing to be deployed.

    China is also building up its space warfare capabilities, and last year, it advanced work on an anti-satellite missile tested in July 2014.

    A section of the report on China’s energy strategy reveals that China will remain heavily dependent on foreign oil. Sixty percent of its oil was imported in 2015, and by 2035, Beijing will be importing 80 percent of its oil.

    Energy supplies are vulnerable to disruption as some 83 percent of China’s oil currently passes through the South China Sea and Strait of Malacca.

    Land pipelines are being built from Russia and Kazakhstan as part of efforts to maintain a supply chain that is less susceptible to disruption.

    The report described China’s development of long-range precision attack capabilities as “extraordinarily rapid.”

    Ten years ago China’s military had a limited capability to strike targets beyond the 100-mile-wide Taiwan Strait. “Today, however, China is fielding an array of conventionally armed short-range ballistic missiles (SRBMs), as well as ground- and air-launched land-attack cruise missiles (LACMs), special operations forces (SOF), and cyber warfare capabilities to hold targets at risk throughout the region,” the report said.

    china military capabilities

    “U.S. bases in Japan are in range of a growing number of Chinese [medium-range ballistic missiles] as well as a variety of [land-attack cruise missiles],” the report said, adding that Guam could be targeted by long-range cruise missiles on H-6K bombers that conducted the first flights into the Pacific last year.

    The DF-26 missile also was unveiled at a military parade and can conduct precision attacks on Guam, a major U.S. military hub and a key base for the Pentagon’s pivot to Asia.

    Land-attack cruise missiles also are far more accurate and can strike enemy airbases, logistic centers, communications, and other ground-based infrastructure.

    In a future conflict, the PLA plans to attack supply centers and power projection capabilities that are used in coordinating transportation, communications, and logistics.

    China’s military spending was estimated in the report to be greater than $180 billion but could be larger because of Chinese secrecy. The report estimates the budget will grow to $260 billion by 2020.

    The report contains a section explaining that the PLA remains a politicized “Party army” rather than a traditional national armed force.

    Chinese state media rejects the notion of an apolitical national army because Chinese leaders regard the Soviet Communist Party lack of control over the military as a key factor in the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union.

    One new reform was creating a Political Work Department within the PLA to maintain party control. “The PLA’s political work system is the primary means through which the CCP ‘controls the gun’ in accordance with Mao Zedong’s famous dictum that ‘political power grows out of the barrel of a gun,’” the report says.

    Control mechanisms include political commissars, a Party committee system, and Party investigative units.

    The Pentagon’s policy, according to the report, seeks to “deepen practical cooperation” while managing differences, a policy that critics say has led to misunderstanding China’s growing official animosity toward the United States.

    The solution offered in the report for dealing with the increasing Chinese military threat is to “monitor and adapt” to the buildup and encourage Beijing to end the secrecy of its strategy and arms buildup.

    The report made no mention of China’s growing anti-American stance as reflected in both state-run media and official military writings.

    In 2013, China’s Communist Party-affiliated newspaper Global Times published a detailed report on future nuclear attacks on the western United States showing how the strikes would kill 12 million Americans through blast and radiation.

    The Obama administration and Pentagon made no condemnation of the unprecedented nuclear threat.

    SEE ALSO: China isn't the only one building islands in the South China Sea

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Here's the high-tech military equipment Russia could use against the world

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    On November 7, 1937, the Los Angeles Examiner published a prescient map predicting how Imperial Japan could attack the US during World War II.

    Created by Howard A. Burke, the map imagined a Japanese attack on the US that closely predicted the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor four years later on December 7, 1941. Burke rightly noted that Japan's first target would be Hawaii and the US fleet docked at Pearl Harbor.

    "The first objective must be capture of Hawaii," Burke notes on the map. "This would mean crippling or annihilating the U.S. fleet, giving Japan one of the world's greatest naval bases — Pearl Harbor."

    After that attack, Burke then imagined that Japan would follow up the assault with a two-pronged naval and aerial strike from Hawaii against Los Angeles and San Francisco, with a simultaneous Japanese assault from Alaska working its way down the Pacific Northwest.

    You can see Burke's map below:

    japan world war II map

    SEE ALSO: What the Nazis said to Gen. Eisenhower upon surrendering 71 years ago this month

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    NOW WATCH: Startling facts about World War II

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    The Civil War was a pivotal moment in the history of the United States. The war was responsible for more American deaths than any other conflict, and it has played a continuous role in both the culture and economy of the US ever since. 

    During the course of the Civil War, the US national debt ballooned to 40 times its previous size. The cost of the war ushered in several new rounds of taxes to fund the war effort — changes that are still in full effect today.

    The following graphic, from Norwich University's Online Masters in Military History program, shows how the effects of the Civil War are still with the US today and how the war permanently changed the face of the US economy and federal spending.

    civil war economic impact

    SEE ALSO: This infographic shows how the machine gun revolutionized World War I combat

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    The Marine Corps is getting close to selecting a weapons system and sensors for its prized tiltrotor aircraft, the services' deputy commandant of Aviation said Monday.

    Speaking at the Sea Air Space expo near Washington, D.C., Lt. Gen. Jon Davis named some systems that might end up on the Osprey as Marine officials work to build out all their aviation platforms for combat, surveillance and reconnaissance.

    Among options being considered: the Switchblade Tactical Missile System, a "kamikaze" unmanned aerial vehicle that has been tossed out of the back of the aircraft in testing for precision target acquisition.

    "We are making every one of our platforms a sensor, a sharer and a shooter," Davis said. "We're putting long-range communications and link compatibility on V-22s, we'll put a sensor package on the V-22, and we will weaponize the V-22 as well. Why would you do that? You do that because you're going to need those platforms as you fight your way from [the continental U.S.] to wherever you've got to go."

    Other systems used in experiments with the Osprey include the Viper Strike glide bomb, a laser-guided system with GPS capabilities, and the Griffin A aft-eject missile, he said.

    "We're looking at really the same kind of systems we've got up on our [AH-1] Cobras and UH-1Y [Venom] and also too on our C-130 [Hercules]," Davis said.

    He added that the Corps' Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron One had already conducted experiments using some of these systems, noting that requirements officials would have input on the final choice of system.

    The Marine Corps is also looking to add Naval Air Systems Command's ALQ-231 Intrepid Tiger Pod to the Osprey. A jamming system already in use by the AV-8B Harrier and F-18 variants, the pod will boost the aircraft's ISR capabilities, Davis said.

    It's not clear when Marine officials are set to make a decision on the new systems they plan to add to the aircraft. Flight Global reported in April that MAWTS-1 plans to hold a demonstration in Yuma, Arizona, with up to four competing sensor systems in late 2017.

    Davis said he has heard concerns that adding weapons and sensors to the Osprey will overload the pilots, increasing their tasks and dividing their attention. But he said he has been impressed to see the younger pilots joining squadrons today embracing new technology and thriving as they employ it.

    "We give them a sensor, we give them a weapons system, it won't be a problem," he said. "I've got zero concerns about that."

    -- Hope Hodge Seck can be reached at Follow her on Twitter at @HopeSeck.

    SEE ALSO: How long would the US military last in a war against the rest of the world?

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    NOW WATCH: This $71 million military transformer is half-plane and half-helicopter

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    iraqi shiite militias

    BEIRUT – An influential Iranian lawmaker has proposed the formation of an “Iraqi Revolutionary Guard Corps” that would mirror its Iranian counterpart.

    In an interview Wednesday with the Young Journalists Club sponsored by the state Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting, MP Mohammad Saleh Jokar said that the proposed military organization would integrate Shiite militias and factions in the beleaguered country.

    Jokar, a member of the Iranian parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, also said that the Saraya al-Khorasani militia could form the “nucleus” of the Iraqi Revolutionary Guard Corps, according to an Arabic-language translation of the interview published by the Erbil-based Bas News.

    Formed in 2013, the Saraya al-Khorasani serves as a proxy of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in Iraq and uses the same logo. IRGC brigadier general Hamid Taghavi—who was killed in battles against ISIS in December 2014—served as a military for the group, which swelled in influence and size under his tutelage while receiving increased weapon shipments from Tehran.

    An unnamed Iraqi government official told Reuters in a February 2015 report that Saraya al-Khorasani is “an Iranian-made group that was established by Taghavi.”

    “Because of their close ties with Iranians for weapons and ammunition, they are so effective,” he added.

    Jokar said in his interview that Saraya al-Khorasani has supported the idea of forming an Iraqi Revolutionary Guard Corps.

    The MP, however, did not broach the role of this proposed fighting force within Iraq, especially considering it would include a number of groups that already part of the Popular Mobilization Forces sanctioned by Baghdad and under the purview of the Interior Ministry.

    Instead, Jokar kept to the subject of forming “Revolutionary Guard” forces, saying that Tehran was ready to “offer experience and advice” to any country in the region that wants to establish a unit mirroring the IRGC. 

    NOW's English news desk editor Albin Szakola (@AlbinSzakola) wrote this report. Amin Nasr translated the Arabic-language source material.

    SEE ALSO: Hezbollah's top commander in Syria has been killed

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    NOW WATCH: These US war conspiracies turned out to be true

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    Marine Corps hiking

    WASHINGTON, DC — Hiking miles and miles with hundreds of pounds on your back sucks. Fortunately, the Pentagon is trying to make it suck less.

    At DARPA's Demo Day on May 11, researchers showed off the agency's "Warrior Web" program, which, if used in the field, would help soldiers carry their 80 to 100-pound packs without getting overly tired.

    "Our core goal is to reduce fatigue over long marches," Patrick Murphy, a researcher at Harvard's Wyss Institute, told Tech Insider. 

    "It will augment the forces you're exerting as you march to help reduce the metabolic fatigue over a long distance."

    In places like Iraq and Afghanistan, troops might be walking on patrol for five to 10 miles or more with all of their gear. And once they get to where they are going, they may need to kick in a door and capture a bad guy in lieu of an extended water break.

    That's where Warrior Web comes in: Instead of getting burned out on the hike, troops get an assist to their muscles each time they take a step.

    "As you plant your foot, the motor will pull a cable along your hamstring," Murphy said. "That will augment what your hip is doing as you walk."

    warrior web

    Warrior Web is still in the early stages of research and development, but it would have direct impact on the battlefield. Right now, the system is a bulky proof-of-concept device attached to the wearer and the pack, but it should end up getting smaller and weigh less in the future.

    DARPA wants it to be similar to the look and feel of a diver's wet suit.

    Still, it's important to note the system doesn't reduce the weight that soldiers feel, but Murphy said they'll need to use less energy to keep moving.

    And so far, most soldiers who have tried it out like it, according to Murphy.

    "We generally do get very good feedback," he said. "The system does a good job of adapting to individual timing."

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: This breakthrough device could let every soldier see clearly in pitch-black conditions

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    Michael Hayden is the former director of the CIA and NSA as well as the author of "Playing to the Edge." He explains why we steal information from other nations and how the motive behind American espionage makes all the difference compared to the motives of other countries.

    Produced by Eames Yates

    Follow BI Video: On Twitter

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    American M60A3 patton tank

    The M60 Patton was America’s first main battle tank and a heavy-lifter for the US from its adoption in 1960 to its final retirement in 1997.

    It’s still in service in allied countries around the world and Raytheon has come out with a modernization kit to get it ready for 21st-century combat.

    The Raytheon M60A3 Service Life Extension Program (SLEP) features a 950-horsepower engine (a 200-horsepower improvement), a 120mm main gun, new fire control and targeting systems with thermal and day sights, and more reactive motors to move the turret and main gun.

    Replacing the old, 105mm M68 rifled gun with the L44 120mm smoothbore cannon is probably the most visible and important part of the SLEP upgrades.

    The L44 is also known as the M256, the main gun on the M1 Abrams main battle tank that America uses today. It features greater range and penetrating power than the M68 it is replacing.

    The upgraded electric motors will allow crews to respond more quickly to enemies spotted on the battlefield than the old hydraulic motors. They also do their job more quietly, reducing the chances that the Pattons will be spotted as quickly in combat.

    M60 Patton tank usa

    Meanwhile, the new, 950-hp engines will allow the tanks to reach more places more quickly, giving commanders better tactical and strategic options on the battlefield.

    Finally, the sights on the tank are a leap forward for it, allowing crews to quickly and reliably engage targets with their larger cannon.

    The tanks featured in a Raytheon video about the SLEP also seem to feature armor upgrades, but Raytheon hasn’t commented on what new capabilities the armor gives.

    m60 patton raytheon slep

    Of course, this is still an old dog learning new tricks and M60s would struggle against the most modern tanks on the battlefield. For Raytheon, it seems to be about giving customers who can’t afford new tanks an upgrade option rather than making the M60 a peer to Abrams, Leopard, or Armata tanks.

    m1a1 abrams tank

    For countries who field the M60 and aren’t yet ready for a tank acquisition program, the SLEP offers a chance to deter aggressive neighbors without breaking the bank.

    SEE ALSO: A new power struggle between Iraqi Shiites may weaken the war on ISIS

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Civilians can drive a military tank at a park in Georgia

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    F 35A

    Danish officials recently issued the results of a long and intensive evaluation, concluding that the F-35 Joint Strike fighter beat out the F-18 Hornet and the Eurofighter Typhoon as the nation's best strategic, economic, industrial, and military replacement for their aging fleet of F-16s.

    The Danish acknowledged that their F-16s were reaching the end of their lifespan, noting that they will have been operational for 40 years in a longer report on the aircraft's respective capabilities.

    As a result of their findings, the Danish Prime Minister and Defense Ministers are recommending the nation buy 27 of the Joint Strike Fighters at a price around $3 billion. Though the F-35 has frequently taken a hammering in the press for the program's cost and time overruns, the order from Denmark make shows that it still has bright prospects as an export.

    Additionally, the F-35 handily outperformed the other jets in the evaluation carried out by a wide range of experts. The graphic below shows the F-35 beating the jets out in all military aspects.

    F-35 evaluation

    So the F-35 proved to be the most survivable, effective on missions, and compatible with weapons systems of the future. Only in the area of risk did the F-35 narrowly lose out to the F-18, whose service with other forces around the world means that it's risks have largely been addressed, according to the Danish report.

    F-35 cost effectiveThe Danish officials cited the F-35's stealthy design and advanced sensors and equipment as increasing the survivability of the plane when under attack from enemies.

    Importantly, despite the F-35 costing significantly more than a single F-18 or Eurofighter, Danish officials concluded that they could buy fewer of the F-35s, ultimately saving money.

    Several factors contribute to the F-35's low cost over the lifetime of the project. The F-35 is designed to fly more hours than the F-18, and it has an internal diagnostic system that makes maintenance easier.

    The fact that the F-35 and Eurofighter are single seaters also save on hours needed to instruct the pilots.

    "The F-35 Lightning II will help ensure Denmark’s national security, and also positions Danish industry to capture long-term work throughout the life of the program," a spokesperson for Lockheed Martin said.

    Denmark would join the UK, Australia, Turkey, Italy, Norway, the Netherlands, Israel, South Korea and Japan as customers for the US-made F-35.

    SEE ALSO: A look inside the AC-130 — one of the most powerful military aircraft of all time

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: The US is showing its strength against Russia by sending its most advanced warplanes to the Black Sea

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    us air force f-16

    The US Air Force is the world's premier aerial force. 

    The Air Force has 39 distinct types of aircraft, not counting individual variants within each of those airframes. This range of planes allow the Air Force to highly specialize for each mission and achieve incredible successes. 

    The following photos show some of the amazing missions that the Air Force carries out both on air and land at night.

    SEE ALSO: Take a look at these incredibly surreal photos of the Navy at night

    SEE ALSO: These are all the planes in the US Air Force

    A C-130 Hercules from the 36th Airlift Squadron conducts a night flight mission over Yokota Air Base, Japan, May 11, 2016.

    An F-16 Fighting Falcon assigned to the 354th Fighter Wing sits on the flightline March 25, 2015, at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska.

    Capt. Thomas Bernard, a 36th Airlift Squadron C-130 Hercules pilot, performs a visual confirmation with night vision goggles during a training mission over the Kanto Plain, Japan, Oct. 14, 2015.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    sr71 blackbird cockpit

    Behold the cockpit of one of the finest spy planes ever built, the SR-71 Blackbird. The Blackbird, created by Lockheed Martin's Skunk Works division, was a revolutionary platform for its time. Described by a former pilot as "107 feet of fire-breathing titanium," the Blackbird's groundbreaking construction made the spy plane unique among aircraft.

    A pilot and a recon officer would take detailed photos of hundreds of thousands of miles of terrain as stealthily as they could. The incredible speed of the SR-71, as high as 2,200 mph, meant the protocol for evading enemy missiles was simply to outrun them.

    To get a look at how this truly revolutionary plane worked, see a brief explainer on the cockpit we put together aided by commentary from former SR-71 pilot Richard Graham.

    SEE ALSO: Step inside the cockpit of the US's most iconic war planes

    Most of the controls explored in this graphic are relatively standard, but a few stand out. Item 12 on the list, the environmental controls, affect standard cockpit conditions like temperature but also control the temperature of the pilot's flight suits.

    Item 11 gives you an idea of just what a wild machine the Blackbird was. The SR-71's massively powerful engines required such volatile fuel that the tanks needed to be filled with nitrogen to inert the fuel.

    Therefore, in addition to flying the beast of a plane, pilots also had to understand every system of the plane and constantly monitor the gauges for irregularity.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    france protests

    France has been rocked by weeks of protests against a push for labor reform by French President Francois Hollande. 

    Hollande has sought to cut France's employment rate, which is holding above 10%, by making it easier for individual employers to fire and hire employees. Protests, which have frequently turned violent against the measure, insist that such a law would cut away at France's high standards of labor protection. 

    The protests have put added pressure on France's police, which are still coping with a state of emergency following November's terror attacks. In response to the violent protests, France's police held an "anticop hatred" demonstration that was marred by a police car being torched. 

    Photos of the French protests are below. 

    SEE ALSO: Protesters are clashing with police on the streets of one of the world's most unstable countries

    French police held an "anticop hatred" peaceful demonstration in Paris today after 350 members of the French police have been injured in protests across the country.

    Source: Reuters

    The anticop hatred demonstration was marred, however, when protestors attacked a police car with iron bars and a petrol bomb.

    Protestors also protested against the police demonstration, as well as continuing to protest the new labor law.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    m1a1 abrams tank

    A former tanker explains what it’s like to go to war in a tank and where you take a dump when out on an operation.

    World War II was arguably the heyday of tank warfare; however, tankers have continued to serve on the frontlines in the Global War on Terror, particularly during the early years of the Iraq War.

    While infantry provides the boots on the ground for combat operations, armor, and in particular, tanks, bring the muscle.

    In addition to the main gun, which is a devastating cannon that can level a city block with ease, the M1 Abrams boasts a host of other weapons, including a coaxial machine gun, the loader’s machine gun, and the tank commander’s .50-cal.

    The Army’s M1 Abrams is typically crewed by four men: the driver, the gunner, the ammunition loader, and a tank commander. Because of the confined quarters of a tank, its crews are notoriously tight knit, and like any unit that spends endless hours together in a small space, they develop their own unit rituals, traditions, and have unique outlets for dealing with the day-to-day stressors of military life.

    In 2006, while deployed to Forward Operating Base Rustamiyah, east of Baghdad, Iraq, Army Capt. Aaron Doft was in charge of 15 other soldiers and four M1A2 SEP tanks — SEP meaning systems enhancement package.

    Task & Purpose spoke with Doft about what it’s like to have the awesome power of a tank at your fingertips and what exactly goes on inside while you’re out on a mission.


    SEE ALSO: Step inside the cockpit of the legendary SR-71 Blackbird

    What was the day-to-day life like for you guys as tankers, and how much time did you spend in the tanks?

    Our daily missions varied fairly broadly. We had missions that were as short as four hours, where we’d leave the base and spend four hours in the tank, asserting our presence, or dissuading the enemy from performing any actions that would be harmful to American men or allied forces present. So that was the short end, which is four hours on patrol.

    The longest mission we had where we were in the tanks for the duration of the mission was 36 hours.

    Tell me what that’s like, 36 hours in a tank.

    For that particular mission, it was a battalion-wide operation. So we had heavy infantry, light infantry, and we had tankers as well as ordnance disposal, working dogs, female engagement teams — it was the full spectrum of operations for this particular mission. But, the tanks for our part were on security.

    A 36-hour mission does make bodily functions, and the difficulties they provide, really come into play. In these cases, we definitely carried more than enough, or I’ll say enough water and electrolyte drinks, and whenever we had to relieve ourselves we would of course use the empty containers for micturation and sometimes, MRE bags for defecation.

    Yeah. Not to just focus on that, but I’ve got to ask: How do you guys keep cool and maintain the right attitude if some guy has to take a dump in an enclosed container with three other guys? Is it a point of humor, do you laugh it off?

    It is. Whenever the actual defecation part came into play, it was a source of humor. Lots of jokes at the perpetrator’s expense. Usually involving comments about what he had eaten earlier that day, or the texture, perhaps of MREs, and the product, should we say.

    What made it worse was inside the tank: The temperature inside the tank really really exacerbated the smell and increased the pressure. Because, I found out inside the tank, thermometers, the digital type, stop at 150 degrees.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Montenegro Minister Defense Milica Pejanovic Foreign Minister Igor Luksic NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg

    Montenegrin Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic will travel to Brussels on Wednesday to meet with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and sign an accession agreement, the AFP reports.

    The agreement will be the first step towards making Montenegro the 29th member of NATO.

    "It is an historic day for the alliance, for Montenegro and for the stability of the Western Balkans," Stoltenberg told reporters in Brussels, the AFP notes.

    "The enlargement of NATO with Montenegro confirms that NATO‘s door is open."

    After signing the agreement, which is slated to take place on Thursday, Montenegro will be a party to NATO meetings, like July's coming Warsaw summit, as an observer until all 28 existing members ratify their membership, which could take up to 18 months.

    NATO would be the third Balkan state in NATO, joining Croatia and Romania.

    NATO's expansion comes after Russia illegally annexed Crimea and used a form of hybrid warfare to destabilize Ukraine by backing anti-western rebels.

    Screen Shot 2016 05 18 at 5.01.38 PM

    Russia has repeatedly threatened military actions to counter the buildup of NATO, but top NATO officials say that Russia will have absolutely no say in Montenegro's decision.

    "The fundamental principle is that every nation has the right to decide its own path ... including to decide what security arrangements it wants to be part of," Slotenberg said.

    "Any sanctions or reactions from Russia will be absolutely unjustified, because it‘s about respecting the sovereign decision of a sovereign nation, Montenegro, to decide on its own path and that should be respected by everyone," Stoltenberg continued.

    Additionally, Georgia, Macedonia, and the Ukraine have expressed interest in joining NATO.

    SEE ALSO: How NATO should respond to Russian aggression in the Baltics

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Here's the high-tech military equipment Russia could use against the world

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    f 15c eagle

    As part of the Combined Joint Task Force's Operation Inherent Resolve, the US leads 65 nations, 21 of whom make direct military contributions, to destroy and degrade ISIS's so called caliphate in Iraq and Syria.

    Over the past week, the task force has released impressive footage of airstrikes hammering ISIS fighting positions and infrastructure.

    April 13: Coalition strike destroys ISIS petroleum production storage headquarters near Mosul, Iraq.

    April 13: Coalition strike destroys an ISIS transportation barge along the Tigris River Valley.

    April 25: Coalition strike destroys an ISIS tactical unit near Fallujah, Iraq.

    April 28: Coalition strike destroys an ISIS fueling station near Mosul, Iraq.

    April 28: Coalition airstrike destroys an ISIS defensive fighting position near Mar’a, Syria.

    In each case, the coalition warplane drops a precision guided munition right on target. The targets are generated from intelligence gleaned from a variety of sources, including the coalition's allies on the ground in Syria and Iraq.

    SEE ALSO: A look inside the AC-130 — one of the most powerful military aircraft of all time

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    On August 31, 1949, Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson announced the creation of an Armed Forces Day which serves as a day to honor all those who serve in the sister-service branches.

    The men and women of the military have made exceptional sacrifices and so on Armed Forces Day and all other military appreciation days, we can do small acts to show our gratitude to them.

    Below are some ideas of how to show your appreciation: 

    1. Volunteer at a VA hospital or donate your time to a veterans group. There are 152 veteran medical centers in the US as well as hundreds of clinics, outpatient and nursing facilities. Call your local VA medical center or community to learn more about donating your time.

    2. Talk to veterans or an active service member. Ask questions about their service, why they joined the military and listen to their stories. A little interest can go a long way.

    3. Visit a memorial. All across the US, military members are honored through monuments that memorialize their service and sacrifice. Washington DC is home to 8 but monuments dedicated to members of the military can be found throughout the nation. If you're near D.C., we suggest reflecting in Arlington National Cemetery.

    vietname veteran mem

    4. Put together a care package.With so many USO centers sending a comforting package is easy. Check with your local center to ensure that they can send out the package. You can fill them up with snacks and non-perishable food, toiletries, stationery or purchase a pre-made package. Microsoft is matching gifts to servicemen and women during May in honor of Military Appreciation Month so send a gift to a soldier.

    5. Donate to a worthy cause. Organizations such as the Wounded Warrior Project, Homes for Our Troops or Disabled American Veterans all work to assist military members, both active and vets, in rebuilding their lives. Organizations like Operation Homefront assist the families of servicemen and women with food, school supplies, finances and housing.

    6. Attend a parade. Cities across the US celebrate Armed Forces Day with parades. Some of the most famous parades can be found in the cities of Torrence, California, Chattanooga, Tennessee, and Washington D.C.

    mem day parade

    7. Offer to help a military spouse. While expressing gratitude to service members is encouraged, so is helping out their families. With one person at home, daily tasks can get overwhelming and a break is welcome. Offer to cook a meal, drive them somewhere or watch their children for a few hours.

    8. Fly a flag, the correct way. Sometimes the simplest expressions of gratitude are the most appreciated. Make sure that if you do fly America's Stars and Stripes you follow the code.

    9. A simple thank you. Sometimes this is the most honest expression of gratitude to those who serve our country.

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    B-52 crash guam

    At 08.30AM LT on May 19, a B-52H Stratofortress bomber belonging to the 69th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron, crashed on the flightline at Andersen AFB, in Guam.

    All the 7 crew members egressed the plane safely.

    The B-52 was deployed to Andersen from Minot AFB, North Dakota, as part of the Washington’s continuous bomber presence mission in the Pacific.

    For the records, this is not the first time a B-52 (or a heavy bomber) crashed at the American bomber base in the Pacific.

    On Jul. 21, 2008, a U.S Stratofortress belonging to the 20th Bomb Squadron from Barksdale AFB, Louisiana, callsign “Raidr 21” crashed while taking part in the flyover for the U.S. liberation of the island from Japanese occupation in 1944. The aircraft crashed into the Pacific Ocean approximately 30 nautical miles (56 km) northwest of Apra Harbor, Guam, 5 minutes before the scheduled flyover time, killing the 6 crew members.

    The cause of the crash was a wrong horizontal stabilizer trim setting.

    b-52 stratofortress anderson air force base guam

    The aircraft was on a four-month tour to the Pacific to replace the B-2 Spirit bombers which had been grounded following the loss of one of them on the same base in February 2008.

    In fact, on Feb. 23, 2008, a B-2 with the 393rd Bomb Squadron, 509th Bomb Wing, Whiteman AFB, Missouri, crashed on the runway shortly after takeoff marking the first ever crash of a Spirit stealth bomber. The two pilots ejected safely from the aircraft even though one of them suffered a spinal compression fracture.

    The crash was caused by moisture in the sensors that created bad readings to the flight control computer that consequently forced the aircraft to pitch up on takeoff.

    Actually, between the two above mentioned incidents, on Mar. 8, 2008, there was another minor incident, involving a B-1 bomber that collided with two fire trucks after an emergency landing at Andersen AFB caused by a hydraulic leak experienced shortly after departure to Ellsworth AFB.

    In February 2010, fire broke out in one of the engines of a B-2 stealth bomber preparing for take-off. The aircraft sustained substantial structural damage: 18 months of local repairs were required to make the B-2 able to take off again to fly to Northrop Grumman facility in Palmdale, California. The aircraft eventually returned to operative status 4 years after the incident.

    SEE ALSO: An EgyptAir flight from Paris to Cairo has reportedly crashed

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    Engineers at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) have finished an advanced prototype of a device called Z-Man. Inspired by the gecko's ability to stick to surfaces, Z-Man will allow soldiers to scale walls quickly — like a real-life Spider-Man.

    Produced by Zach Wasser and Corey Protin. Video courtesy of DARPA.

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    Coral reefs are seen along the coast near the U.S. Marine base Camp Schwab, off the tiny hamlet of Henoko in Nago on the southern Japanese island of Okinawa, in this aerial photo taken by Kyodo on January 14, 2014 and released on January 19, 2014. Mandatory credit REUTERS/Kyodo

    An American working at a US military base on the Japanese island of Okinawa was arrested on Thursday on suspicion of dumping the body of a 20-year-old Japanese woman, media said, a case likely to stir anti-US sentiment ahead of President Barack Obama's visit.

    Okinawa police charged the 32-year-old US civilian working at the Kadena airbase with "abandoning a corpse", public broadcaster NHK said. It did not mention any murder or other charge.

    A spokesman for Okinawa police declined to comment.

    Obama is to attend a Group of Seven summit next week and become the first US president to visit the city of Hiroshima, destroyed by a US atomic bomb 71 years ago.

    Okinawa, the site of a bloody World War Two land battle, hosts the bulk of US military forces inJapan, and many residents resent what they see as an unfair burden. US installations take up about 18 percent of Okinawa's land.

    In 1995, a 12-year-old Japanese schoolgirl was raped by three US servicemen on Okinawa, sparking huge protests.

    SEE ALSO: Here's what the Japanese think about World War II

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    For more than 13 years — from October 7, 2001, until December 28, 2014 — the US and NATO were conducting combat operations in Afghanistan. 

    And although combat operations were meant to have stopped and the US had begun withdrawing troops from the country by the end of 2014, continued gains by the Taliban and the seeming weakness of the Afghan National Army have forced the US to continue its role in the war-torn country.

    Overall, the US maintains a force of nearly 10,000 in Afghanistan, although President Obama plans to draw that force down to 5,500 in 2017.  At that point the war would have lasted for 16 years.

    In response to this continuation of the US presence in the country, cartoonist Jack Ohman of The Sacramento Bee published this cartoon, which helped him win the 2016 Editorial Cartooning Pulitzer Prize. 

    afghanistan political cartoon

    SEE ALSO: 17 award-winning editorial cartoons from 2015 everyone should see

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