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The latest news on Defense from Business Insider

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    Retired Marine Gen. James N. Mattis is something of a legend in the US military. Looked at as a warrior among Marines, and well-respected by members of other services, he's been at the forefront of a number of engagements. 

    And with the 66-year-old retired four-star general having met with President-elect Donald Trump on Saturday to discuss a possible job offer as defense secretary, it's worth looking back on what he was really like in uniform.

    He led his battalion of Marines in the assault during the first Gulf war in 1991, and commanded the task force charging into Afghanistan in 2001. In 2003, as a Major General, he once again took up the task of motivating his young Marines to go into battle.

    One day before beginning the assault into Iraq, on March 19, 2003, every member of 1st Marine Division received this letter, written in Mattis' own hand.

    In the letter, he tells them, "on your young shoulders rest the hopes of mankind." He conveys a sense of staying together and working as a team, writing, "keep faith in your comrades on your left and right and Marine Air overhead. Fight with a happy heart and a strong spirit."

    He finally signs off with the motto of 1st Marines: "No Better Friend, No Worse Enemy."

    You can see the full letter below:

    general mattis marines letter iraq

    SEE ALSO: 19 unforgettable quotes from legendary Marine Gen. James 'Mad Dog' Mattis

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    Russia S 400 Triumph Missile Systems

    Moscow will deploy S-400 surface-to-air missiles and nuclear-capable Iskander systems in the exclave of Kaliningrad in retaliation for NATO deployments, a senior pro-Kremlin lawmaker was quoted as saying on Monday.

    Russia has previously said it periodically sends Iskanders to Kaliningrad, but until now it has said these were routine drills. Moscow has not linked the moves explicitly with what it says is a NATO military build-up on Russia's western borders.

    After the election as U.S. president of Donald Trump, who has said he wants closer ties with the Kremlin and has questioned the cost of protecting NATO allies, some analysts predict an emboldened Moscow could become more assertive in eastern Europe.

    Viktor Ozerov, chairman of the defense committee in the Federation Council, Russia's upper house of parliament, said in remarks reported by RIA news agency that Russia was forced to react to the planned U.S. missile shield in eastern Europe.

    "As response measures to such threats we will have... to deploy additional forces... This reinforcement includes deployment of S-400 and Iskander systems in Kaliningrad," the agency quoted Ozerov as saying.

    The defense ministry did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment on Ozerov's remarks.

    Also on Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin was quoted talking about how Russia has to respond to what it perceives as a threat from U.S.-led forces in eastern Europe.

    russia military parade

    "Why are we reacting to NATO expansion so emotionally? We are concerned by NATO's decision making," RIA quoted him as saying in an interview for a documentary that will be broadcast by Russian TV later on Monday.

    "What should we do? We have, therefore, to take countermeasures, which means to target with our missile systems the facilities, that, in our opinion, start posing a threat to us," Putin said.

    SEE ALSO: The US Air Force's next-generation bomber will be able to evade Russia's most advanced aerial defenses

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    Gen. James Mattis

    Just before Marine Gen. James 'Mad Dog' Mattis was getting ready to deploy with the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force to Iraq in early 2004, one of his colleagues asked him about the importance of reading for military officers who sometimes found themselves "too busy to read."

    The legendary general sometimes referred to as "The Warrior Monk" carted around a personal library of 6,000 books with him everywhere, and he had plenty to say on the topic. His response went viral over email, in the days before Facebook and Twitter.

    Military historian Jill R. Russell unearthed the email and posted it to the blog "Strife" by King's College, London in 2013. With Mattis in the running as a possible choice for President-elect Donald Trump's Defense Secretary, it's worth re-reading again, as it offers keen insight into the mind of Mattis.

    Here's what he wrote, on Nov. 20, 2003:

    "… The problem with being too busy to read is that you learn by experience (or by your men’s experience), i.e. the hard way. By reading, you learn through others’ experiences, generally a better way to do business, especially in our line of work where the consequences of incompetence are so final for young men.

    Thanks to my reading, I have never been caught flat-footed by any situation, never at a loss for how any problem has been addressed (successfully or unsuccessfully) before. It doesn’t give me all the answers, but it lights what is often a dark path ahead.

    With TF 58, I had w/ me Slim’s book, books about the Russian and British experiences in AFG, and a couple others. Going into Iraq, “The Siege” (about the Brits’ defeat at Al Kut in WW I) was req’d reading for field grade officers. I also had Slim’s book; reviewed T.E. Lawrence’s “Seven Pillars of Wisdom”; a good book about the life of Gertrude Bell (the Brit archaeologist who virtually founded the modern Iraq state in the aftermath of WW I and the fall of the Ottoman empire); and “From Beirut to Jerusalem”. I also went deeply into Liddell Hart’s book on Sherman, and Fuller’s book on Alexander the Great got a lot of my attention (although I never imagined that my HQ would end up only 500 meters from where he lay in state in Babylon).

    Ultimately, a real understanding of history means that we face NOTHING new under the sun. For all the “4th Generation of War” intellectuals running around today saying that the nature of war has fundamentally changed, the tactics are wholly new, etc, I must respectfully say… “Not really”: Alex the Great would not be in the least bit perplexed by the enemy that we face right now in Iraq, and our leaders going into this fight do their troops a disservice by not studying (studying, vice just reading) the men who have gone before us.

    We have been fighting on this planet for 5000 years and we should take advantage of their experience. “Winging it” and filling body bags as we sort out what works reminds us of the moral dictates and the cost of incompetence in our profession. As commanders and staff officers, we are coaches and sentries for our units: how can we coach anything if we don’t know a hell of a lot more than just the TTPs? What happens when you’re on a dynamic battlefield and things are changing faster than higher HQ can stay abreast? Do you not adapt because you cannot conceptualize faster than the enemy’s adaptation? (Darwin has a pretty good theory about the outcome for those who cannot adapt to changing circumstance — in the information age things can change rather abruptly and at warp speed, especially the moral high ground which our regimented thinkers cede far too quickly in our recent fights.) And how can you be a sentinel and not have your unit caught flat-footed if you don’t know what the warning signs are — that your unit’s preps are not sufficient for the specifics of a tasking that you have not anticipated?

    Perhaps if you are in support functions waiting on the warfighters to spell out the specifics of what you are to do, you can avoid the consequences of not reading. Those who must adapt to overcoming an independent enemy’s will are not allowed that luxury.

    This is not new to the USMC approach to warfighting — Going into Kuwait 12 years ago, I read (and reread) Rommel’s Papers (remember “Kampstaffel”?), Montgomery’s book (“Eyes Officers”…), “Grant Takes Command” (need for commanders to get along, “commanders’ relationships” being more important than “command relationships”), and some others. As a result, the enemy has paid when I had the opportunity to go against them, and I believe that many of my young guys lived because I didn’t waste their lives because I didn’t have the vision in my mind of how to destroy the enemy at least cost to our guys and to the innocents on the battlefields.

    Hope this answers your question…. I will cc my ADC in the event he can add to this. He is the only officer I know who has read more than I.

    Semper Fi, Mattis"

    SEE ALSO: 19 unforgettable quotes from legendary Marine Gen. James 'Mad Dog' Mattis

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    Iranian President Hassan Rouhani takes part in a news conference near the United Nations General Assembly in the Manhattan borough of New York, U.S., September 22, 2016. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson/File Photo

    A former consultant to Iran's mission to the United Nations pleaded guilty on Monday to charges that he filed a false tax return substantially understating how much he was paid and conspired to violating a U.S. sanctions law.

    Ahmad Sheikhzadeh, 60, entered his plea in federal court in Brooklyn to charges that he conspired to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act and aided in the preparation of false individual income tax returns.

    As part of a plea deal, Sheikhzadeh agreed to not appeal any sentence of 5-1/4 years in prison or less, said Steve Zissou, his attorney. Sheikhzadeh, who has also agreed to pay over $147,000, is scheduled to be sentenced on March 30.

    Sheikhzadeh was arrested in March, two months after when world powers led by the United States and the European Union lifted crippling sanctions against Iran in return for curbs on Tehran's nuclear ambitions.

    Prosecutors said Sheikhzadeh had been a long-term consultant to Iran's U.N. mission since 2008 and had been paid a regular cash salary, often through a someone employed there, which he deposited into a Citibank checking account.

    Prosecutors said from 2008 to 2012, Sheikhzadeh under-reported his U.N. income on his person tax returns.

    The indictment said he also used his Citibank account for side transactions with two U.S.-based co-conspirators who wished to invest in Iran, and at their request directed an Iran-based co-conspirator to funnel money to people in that country.

    Prosecutors said Sheikhzadeh did not obtain any license from the U.S. Treasury Department authorizing these and other activities.

    SEE ALSO: Russia to place nuclear-capable missiles, defenses near Europe as 'countermeasures' against NATO

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    NOW WATCH: The US struck radar sites in Yemen after rebels tried to attack a Navy ship with missiles

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    A Russian serviceman walks past Russian Iskander-M missile launchers before a rehearsal for the Victory Day parade, with the Moscow International Business Center also known as

    Russia's deployment of its S-400 air missile defense system and ballistic Iskander missile in the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad "is destabilizing to European security," the U.S. State Department said on Monday in response to reports citing the head of the defense committee in Russia's upper house of parliament.

    "Russia has made threats to move its Iskander missiles to Kaliningrad for the past decade in response to a variety of developments in Europe, none of which demand such a military response," State Department spokesman John Kirby told reporters.

    "We call on Russia to refrain from words or deeds that are inconsistent with the goal of promoting security and stability," he added.

    SEE ALSO: Russia to place nuclear-capable missiles, defenses near Europe as 'countermeasures' against NATO

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    Times Square

    A Yemeni man living in New York City was arrested on Monday and charged by U.S. prosecutors with attempting to provide support to Islamic State, including by expressing support for an attack in Times Square.

    Mohammed Rafik Naji, who authorities say last year traveled to Turkey and Yemen in an effort to join the militant group, was charged in a criminal complaint filed in Brooklyn, where he lives.

    He was arrested earlier Monday, according to a spokeswoman for the Federal Bureau of Investigation. He is expected to appear in court later in the afternoon.

    A lawyer could not be immediately identified.

    Naji, 37, is one of more than 100 people to face U.S. charges since 2014 in cases related to the Islamic State militant group, which has seized control of parts of Iraq and Syria.

    According to the complaint, in March 2015, Naji flew to Turkey to join Islamic State in Yemen, where it operated in certain parts. He returned to New York in September 2015, flying from Djibouti, the complaint said.ISIS world map

    While abroad, he frequently emailed with his girlfriend, who he later called his wife, asking her for money and sending her a "selfie" of himself in black clothing in which a tactical vest and large knife could be seen, the complaint said.

    Beginning in August 2015, a paid law enforcement informant made contact via Facebook with Naji, who the complaint said described Islamic State as "spreading like a virus" that non-believers "can't stop it no matter what they do."

    Naji remained in contact with the informant once back in the United States, meeting on numerous occasions in which their conversations were recorded, the complaint said.

    Those conversations included one on July 19, 2016, five days after an attack in Nice, France, that Islamic State had claimed responsibility for that killed 84 and hurt hundreds, the complaint said.

    In that conversation, Naji expressed his support for staging a similar attack in New York's Times Square, according to court papers.

    "They want an operation in Times Square, reconnaissance group already put out a scene, the Islamic State already put up scenes of Times Square, you understand," Naji said, according to court papers. "I said that was an indication for whoever is smart to know."

    SEE ALSO: Head of Red Cross will lobby Moscow, Terhan to try to help Syrian civilians in Aleppo

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    uss nitze iranian ship.JPG

    In yet another development in an already eventful deployment, US Navy sailors aboard the USS Nitze rescued three stranded Iranians in the Arabian Gulf on Friday.

    The Iranians made a distress call after their boat stalled. US Sailors responded quickly, providing a case of water and a new battery for the vessel.

    "Our Sailors are trained to respond quickly to those in distress at sea," said Cmdr. Paul Kaylor, commanding officer of Nitze said in a US Navy statement. "We are proud to have assisted in this situation."

    Interactions with Iranians in the Arabian Gulf have not always been positive.

    The USS Nitze specifically has been the target of "harassing" and swarming behavior like simulated attacks while sailing off Iran's coast. 

    Last month, Iranian-backed Houthi militants in Yemen fired missiles towards US Navy ships, including the Nitze. In response, the Nitze fired Tomahawk cruise missiles, destroying the radar sites used by the militants to target the US ships. Experts and US military officials attribute blame to Iran over the incident.

    Additionally, when US Navy sailors found their boat inoperable in Iranian waters last January, Iranian navy vessels surrounded them and captured them at gunpoint. Iranian state TV then broadcast footage and images of the captured sailors for some time as propaganda. Iran apparently plans to build a monument of the event.

    After the October incident, Iranian ships reportedly went to the Arabian Gulf. However, they were nowhere to be found when their countrymen were stranded at sea on Friday.

    SEE ALSO: There’s a glaring problem with the Iran deal — and Trump could possibly fix it

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    NOW WATCH: The US struck radar sites in Yemen after rebels tried to attack a Navy ship with missiles

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    russia troops crimea

    Ukrainian security services have detained two Russian soldiers near the border with Crimea, with Ukraine saying the men were deserters from the Ukrainian army detained on Ukrainian-controlled territory and Russia saying they were seized in Crimea.

    Moscow and Kiev have been locked in conflict since Russia's annexation of the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine in 2014, and an uprising by pro-Russian separatists in east Ukraine.

    Russia's Defence Ministry said the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) had detained the two soldiers at around 1 p.m. Moscow time on Sunday in Crimea and had taken them to Ukraine, according to Russian news agencies.

    It demanded the two men's swift return to Russia, naming them as Maxim Odintsov and Alexander Baranov.

    Ukraine's SBU told Interfax Ukraine that the men had been detained after crossing the border at Chonhar, and had served in the Ukrainian army before deserting to Russia.

    SEE ALSO: US: Russia's 'threats' to send nuclear-capable missiles, missile shields to Europe are 'destabilizing'

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    NOW WATCH: Watch 2 Ukrainian politicians brawl after one is accused of working with Russia

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    f 35b uss america ordnance carrier.JPG

    The F-35B Marine variant just completed important developmental tests designed to push the joint strike fighter to it's limits aboard the US's newest aircraft carrier, the USS America.

    The F-35B proved it can perform its short takeoffs with a variety of weapons loadouts, some of which can be asymmetrical. These tests had been done on land before, but carrier takeoffs are a different beast. 

    "There is no way to recreate the conditions that come with being out to sea," than going out there and testing onboard a carrier, said Gabriella Spehn, a F-35 weapons engineer from the Pax River Integrated Test Force in a Navy statement.

    But even at sea aboard the America, which can get up to 25 mph, the F-35B performed as expected.

    "As we all know, we can't choose the battle and the location of the battle, so sometimes we have to go into rough seas with heavy swells, heave, roll, pitch, and crosswinds," said Royal Air Force squadron leader and F-35 test pilot Andy Edgell. 

    International partners, like Edgell, participated in the testing onboard. While other nations lack the large deck aircraft carriers that the US has, several other nations, like the UK and Japan, operate smaller carriers that await the F-35B.

    "The last couple of days we went and purposely found those nasty conditions and put the jets through those places, and the jet handled fantastically well. So now the external weapons testing should be able to give the fleet a clearance to carry weapons with the rough seas and rough conditions," Edgell said.

    "We know the jet can handle it. A fleet clearance will come -- then they can go forth and conduct battle in whatever environment."

    However, another first occurred on board. The America's weapons department assembled over 100 bombs for the F-35B to carry.

    For many of the sailors in the Weapon's Department of the America, part of a new class of US carriers meant specifically to accommodate the F-35, this was their first chance at actually handling and assembling ordnance. 

    f 35b uss america ordnance carrier 1.JPG

    "Being able to do this feels like we are supporting the overall scope of what the ship is trying to achieve. Without ordnance, to us, this ship isn't a warship. This is what we do," said Petty Officer 1st Class Hung Lee.

    According to sailors on board, the team went from building one bomb in four hours, to building 16 in three hours. 

    After a troubled road filled with cost overruns and setbacks, the F-35B finally appears to be nearing readiness.

    SEE ALSO: Why Russia sailed its navy thousands of miles to Syria when doing so brings 'nothing' to the battle

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    NOW WATCH: China flexes its military might by unveiling a new stealth fighter jet

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    General Mattis

    President-elect Donald Trump often asserted that "torture works" on the campaign trail. But one meeting with legendary Marine Gen. James Mattis appears to have made him rethink that stance.

    On Saturday, Trump met with the retired four-star general at his Bedminster, New Jersey, golf course for about an hour to discuss the possibility Mattis could be tapped to serve as defense secretary. 

    Details about the private conversation are hard to come by, but Trump did reveal an interesting bit Tuesday to reporters at The New York Times when asked about waterboarding.

    From the Times:

    “He said, ‘I’ve never found it to be useful,’” Mr. Trump said, describing the general’s view of torturing terrorism suspects. He added that Mr. Mattis found more value in building trust and rewarding cooperation with terror suspects: “‘Give me a pack of cigarettes and a couple of beers and I’ll do better.’” He added: “I was very impressed by that answer.’’

    Torture, Mr. Trump said, is "not going to make the kind of a difference that a lot of people are thinking."

    It amounts to a "remarkable" reversal for the president-elect, as the Times put it. It also somewhat contradicts the position of  Trump's national security adviser, retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who has said that "all options are on the table." Before he campaigned for Trump, however, Flynn criticized the practice.

    If indeed Trump has changed his tune on the use of torture, that's good news to a number of national-security experts who expressed concerns in light of Trump's election win.

    "I don't think it's going to come back," Tom Nichols, a professor at the Naval War College speaking of his personal views, said recently. "But that's more hope than anything else."

    Mattis appears to be the frontrunner for the job of defense secretary. Trump told the Times he was "seriously considering" the retired officer for the position.

    The debate over waterboarding in enhanced interrogations has a larger legal barrier than what President George W. Bush faced in the past. While Bush authorized the practice after the 9/11 terror attacks through legal memos, President Barack Obama ordered the practice to stop through an executive order. That order was later codified into law in 2015.

    Gen. Joe Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in March that the use of waterboarding is "inconsistent with the values of our nation." Dunford previously served as Mattis' deputy at 1st Marine Division.

    SEE ALSO: 19 unforgettable quotes from legendary Marine Gen. James 'Mad Dog' Mattis

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    Marine corps

    In a series of experiments this year, units from 2nd Marine Division will be silencing every element of an infantry battalion -- from M4 rifles to .50 caliber machine guns.

    The commanding general of 2nd Marine Division, Maj. Gen. John Love, described these plans during a speech to Marines at the Marine Corps Association Ground Dinner this month near Washington, D.C.

    The proof-of-concept tests, he said, included Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 2nd Marines, which began an Integrated Training Exercise pre-deployment last month at Marine Corps Air-Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms.

    "What we've found so far is it revolutionizes the way we fight," Love told "It used to be a squad would be dispersed out over maybe 100 yards, so the squad leader couldn't really communicate with the members at the far end because of all the noise of the weapons. Now they can actually just communicate, and be able to command and control and effectively direct those fires."

    Chief Warrant Officer 5 Christian Wade, the division's gunner, or infantry weapons officer, said the Lima companies in two other battalions -- 3rd Battalion, 6th Marines, and 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines -- now had silencers, or suppressors, on all their rifles, including the M27 infantry automatic rifles. All units are set to deploy in coming months. The combat engineer platoons that are attached to these units and will deploy with them will also carry suppressed weapons, he said.

    Suppressors work by slowing the escape of propellant gases when a gun is fired, which drastically reduces the sound signature. Used by scout snipers and special operations troops to preserve their stealth, the devices are also valuable for their ability to minimize the chaos of battle, enabling not only better communication but also improved situational awareness and accuracy.

    Marine Sniper

    "It increases their ability to command and control, to coordinate with each other," Wade told "They shoot better, because they can focus more, and they get more discipline with their fire."

    The noise of gunfire can create an artificial stimulus that gives the illusion of effectiveness, he said. When it's taken away, he explained, Marines pay more attention to their shooting and its effect on target.

    "They've got to get up and look, see what effect they're having on the enemy because you can't hear it," he said.

    He added that suppressors were already in common use by near-peer militaries, including those of Russia and China.

    Wade said he is working on putting suppressors on the Marines' M249 light machine gun and M240G medium machine gun, using equipment from Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command. The third and final objective will be the suppression of the .50 caliber heavy machine gun, he said.

    As the units conduct training and exercises with suppressors, 2nd Marine Division is collaborating with the Marine Corps Warfighting Lab to collect and aggregate data. Weapons with suppressors require additional maintenance and cleaning to prevent fouling, and the cost, nearly $700,000 to outfit an infantry battalion, might give planners pause.

    But Wade said he will continue to gather data for the next year-and-a-half, following the units as they deploy. And he expects the idea to have gained significant traction among Marine Corps leadership by then, he said.

    "When I show how much overmatch we gain … it will have sold itself," he said.

    SEE ALSO: The US Navy destroyer that fired missiles at Yemen just rescued stranded Iranian sailors

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  • 11/23/16--08:32: Why Putin hates America
  • Obama and Putin

    Writing for the Observer, former National Security Agency analyst and counterintelligence officer John R. Schindler provided excellent insight into an important if abstract question: Why does Putin's Russia hate the US?

    Since entering the Syrian conflict on President Bashar Assad's side a little more than a year ago, Russia has come to threaten the US in virtually every dimension imaginable.

    Russia has openly taunted the US to intervene in Syria while bombing humanitarian aide convoys headed for civilians in Aleppo. It has meddled in the US presidential election by hacking the DNC. Russia has taken steps to destabilize Europe by deploying nuclear-capable missiles to Kaliningrad and, according to some, exacerbated the war in Syria to "weaponize" the refugee crisis against Europe.

    Russia has pursued these extremely aggressive paths toward the West in spite of being economically and militarily weaker than the US and the West by a considerable margin.

    According to Schindler, Moscow takes this path because it simply hates the West, much like jihadists do, because of what Moscow sees as a cultural invasion of liberal and secular values into its more conservative society. It is here that Schindler breaks from other analysts who propose — as George W. Bush did after 9/11 — that jihadists hate us because we are free.

    putin church cathedral orthodox religion russia

    Instead of having Western analysts try to understand Russia from a Western point of view, Schindler proposes looking at what the Russians themselves say and taking them at their word:

    "To get a flavor of what Putinism’s worldview looks like, simply listen to what Moscow says. It’s easy to find fire-breathing clerics castigating the West and its pushing of feminism and gay rights, which they openly term Satanic."

    Schindler details how Putin has formulated a potent mix of nationalism and religion to define the Russian identity and has repeatedly contrasted that to Western values.

    According to Schindler, the US is in a Cold War with Russia, and Russia has expertly played its hand while the West refuses to believe it has any ideological competition at all.

    Read the full piece by Schindler here »

    SEE ALSO: US Ambassador to UN: 'Russian terror' against Syrian civilians will only cause more terror

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    NOW WATCH: Russia just introduced a new missile nicknamed 'Satan 2' — here's a look at their other formidable weapon systems

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    Submarine SS (DC) 4

    It still might be more cramped than an apartment in New York, but navies across the world have developed their submarines with both upgraded safety measures and creature comforts for the modern-day sailor.

    Life on a submarine, which now sometimes has designated areas for maintaining fitness and even for playing video games, doesn't necessarily mean you'll be miserable several hundred meters below the sea.

    Here are several photos that depict the life of a sailor inside a modern submarine:

    An earlier version of this article was originally written by David Choi.

    SEE ALSO: The British navy intercepted a Russian submarine on its way to the English Channel

    The Royal navy Vanguard-class submarine HMS Vigilant returning home after an extended deployment. The Vigilant is one of four UK Vanguard-class nuclear-powered ballistic-missile submarines carrying the Trident nuclear missile system.

    Royal navy security personnel stood guard on the Vigilant at Her Majesty's Naval Base, Clyde on January 20 in Rhu, Scotland.

    Royal navy personnel executing their duties inside the control room on the Vigilant.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Macys Day Parade 2014

    Fans of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade who come to see the soaring SpongeBob and Snoopy balloons may get a far less heartwarming sight this year: giant dump trucks filled with sand.

    More than 80 city sanitation trucks will be used at intersections and other strategic spots along the 2 ½ mile parade route to create an imposing physical barrier to terror. The trucks weigh about 16 tons empty and up to twice that with sand.

    "You can ram a New York City Sanitation Department sand truck with a lot of things, but you're not going to move it," said John Miller, the New York Police Department's top counterterrorism official.

    While the trucks have been used like this before — most recently to protect Trump Tower — the New York Police Department says they will play a bigger role at this year's parade in the wake of the cargo truck attack in Nice, France, that killed more than 80 people and a recent posting in an English-language Islamic State magazine that called the parade "an excellent target."

    As scary as that sounds, authorities say there's no confirmation of a credible threat and they have repeatedly urged spectators to not stay away.

    Miller said that while such postings are psychological warfare intended to spread a message of fear, "We never accede to that." A front-page headline in Tuesday's Daily News creatively paraphrased the message the NYPD seeks to send: "Truck You, ISIS!"

    dump truck trump tower

    Aside from the trucks, security for the parade includes teams of officers armed with assault weapons, bomb-sniffing dogs and portable radiation detectors. Plainclothes officers will blend in with the crowd, and other officers will be posted on rooftops along the parade route.

    The effort comes at a time when the nation's largest police department already is stretching its resources to protect the midtown Manhattan home of President-elect Donald Trump. On Election Day, at least a half-dozen dump trucks walled off Trump Tower's entrance on Fifth Avenue, making for photos that went viral on the internet.

    There was a similar dump truck spectacle with Ronald Reagan as president in 1983, when the Secret Service stationed them at the White House. Officials at the time indicated it was a response to unspecified threats in the wake of the truck bomb attack on a Marine compound in Beirut that killed 239 American soldiers.

    In recent years, authorities also have used the trucks to help safeguard the United Nations General Assembly and President Barack Obama's motorcades when he visits the city — an instant formula for epic gridlock. They also were deployed last year for the visit of Pope Francis.

    Authorities say the Islamic State group is trying to incite followers to rent trucks of their own to ram into crowds. In response, the NYPD has stayed in touch with rental companies and urged them to report anything suspicious.

    Paperwork filed on Monday in a federal case was yet another reminder of the truck threat. It quoted the man charged with seeking to join the terror group saying it wanted someone to commandeer a garbage truck for a "Times Square operation."

    SEE ALSO: Why Trump Tower and Clinton's election-night location are surrounded with dump trucks full of sand

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    NOW WATCH: Here's why some people have a tiny hole above their ears

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    Reza Olangian

    A dual citizen of Iran and the United States was found guilty on Tuesday on charges that he tried to help acquire surface-to-air missiles and aircraft components for the government of Iran in violation of U.S. sanctions.

    Reza Olangian, 56, was convicted by a federal jury in Manhattan on all four counts he faced, including conspiring to acquire and transfer anti-aircraft missiles, prosecutors said.

    Olangian faces a mandatory minimum prison sentence of 25 years and a maximum of life. He is scheduled to be sentenced on March 13.

    Lee Ginsberg, Olangian's lawyer, said the verdict "was very disappointing and we do plan to appeal."

    Olangian, who became a U.S. citizen in 1999, was arrested in Estonia in October 2012 and subsequently extradited to the United States following a sting operation orchestrated by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

    Prosecutors said that in 2012, Olangian met in Ukraine with a DEA informant posing as a Russian weapons broker to arrange for the purchase of surface-to-air missiles and various military aircraft components.

    In recorded conversations and emails, Olangian described his plans to acquire the missiles and parts and smuggle them into Iran, for whose government he was purchasing them, from Afghanistan or from another neighboring country, prosecutors said.

    Prosecutors said Olangian negotiated a deal involving 10 missiles and dozens of aircraft parts, and during a video conference with the informant, stated that he ultimately wanted to acquire at least 200 missiles.

    Iran missile

    The deal followed a failed effort by Olangian in 2007 to obtain about 100 missiles for Iran, prosecutors said. His goal throughout, they said, was to make a substantial profit selling the weapons.

    At trial, Ginsberg described Olangian as having been active in protests against the Iranian government during his U.S. college studies and said he had moved back to Iran when it appeared the country might become more democratic.

    But after the election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as president in 2005, Olangian began engaging with people involved with selling weapons to get Iran to agree to buy them and expose the government "for what they were all about," Ginsberg said.

    "It was his desire to get the Iranian government on the hook on a contract, on a piece of paper, that would definitely show what they were trying to do," Ginsberg said in his opening statement.

    SEE ALSO: REPORT: Trump's son met with pro-Russia diplomats in Paris to discuss Syria

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    ukranian su27

    Ukrainian Air Force pilots love flying low and be filmed in the process.

    In the last couple of years we have published several videos showing pretty dangerous low passes: a Su-25 Frogfoot buzzing a group of female soldiers posing for a photograph, another one performing a low passage along a taxiway of a military airfield in northwestern Ukraine, a Mig-29 overflying pro-Russia separatist blocking rails, an Ilyushin Il-76 buzzing some Su-25s and Frogfoots returning the favor while buzzing the tower, an Mi-17 helicopter flying among the cars on a highway and another fully armed Mig-29 Fulcrum in the livery of the Ukrainian Falcons aerobatic display team flying over an apron at an airbase in Ukraine.

    Here’s the latest chapter of the low pass sage: a Su-27 flying really low over a group of people after performing a low approach at an airbase in Ukraine.

    The Flankers can be seen approaching the runway then break: one of the aircraft turns left towards the apron, gets dangerously close to the ground before climbing towards the cameraman.

    SEE ALSO: US-Iranian citizen convicted for trying to buy 200 missiles for Iran

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    NOW WATCH: It’s surreal to watch this 2011 video of Obama and Seth Meyers taunting Trump about a presidential run

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    US Navy uss lassen

    Hackers gained access to sensitive information, including Social Security numbers, for 134,386 current and former U.S. sailors, the U.S. Navy said on Wednesday.

    It said a laptop used by a Hewlett Packard Enterprise Services employee working on a U.S. Navycontract was hacked. Hewlett Packard informed the Navy of the breach on Oct. 27 and the affected sailors will be notified in the coming weeks, the Navy said.

    "The Navy takes this incident extremely seriously - this is a matter of trust for our sailors," Chief of Naval Personnel Vice Admiral Robert Burke said in a statement.

    Burke said the investigation of the breach was in its early stages.

    "At this stage of the investigation, there is no evidence to suggest misuse of the information that was compromised," the Navy said.

    SEE ALSO: The US Navy destroyer that fired missiles at Yemen just rescued stranded Iranian sailors

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    iraq suicide truck bomb

    BAGHDAD (Reuters) - A suicide truck bomb killed about 100 people, most of them Iranian Shi'ite pilgrims, at a petrol station in the city of Hilla 100 km (62 miles) south of Baghdad on Thursday, police and medical sources said. 

    Islamic State, the ultra hard-line Sunni militant group that considers all Shi'ites to be apostates, claimed responsibility the attack in an online statement.

    The group also is fighting off a U.S.-backed offensive on its stronghold Mosul, in northern Iraq, in which Iranian-trained Shi'ite militias are taking part.

    The pilgrims were en route back to Iran from the Iraqi Shi'ite holy city of Kerbala, where they had commemorated Arbaeen, the 40th day of mourning for the killing of Imam Hussein, a grandson of the Prophet Mohammad, in the 7th century AD, the medical sources said.

    The gas station has a restaurant on its premises that is popular with travelers. Five pilgrim buses were set afire by the blast from the explosives-laden truck, a police official said.

    In recent months Islamic State has intensified attacks in areas out of its control in efforts to weaken the offensive launched on Oct. 17 to retake Mosul, the last major Iraqi city under Islamic State control.

    Iran's Foreign Ministry condemned the attack without giving a casualty toll. Tehran will continue to support Iraq's "relentless fight against terrorism," ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi was quoted as saying by Tasnim news agency.

    U.S. officials condemned the attack.

    "The United States remains steadfast in its partnership with the Iraqi people and government and this attack only serves to strengthen our resolve in defeating ISIL," National Security Council spokesman Ned Price said in a statement.

    The U.S. State Department is in close contact with Iraqi authorities, department spokesman John Kirby said in a statement.

    (Reporting by Saif Hameed and Mohammed el-Sherif; Additional reporting by Robert Iafolla in Washington; Writing by Maher Chmaytelli; Editing by Toby Chopra and Bill Trott)

    SEE ALSO: Turkey: Suspect in bombing on governor's office captured

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    NOW WATCH: Here's why some people have a tiny hole above their ears

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    George S. Patton

    Few generals have had the lasting impact that Gen. George S. Patton has had. 

    Patton, who commanded the US's 7th Army in Europe and the Mediterranean during World War II, is perhaps just as well known for his amazing insight into what makes for excellent and successful leadership.

    Showcasing Patton's most memorable and poignant quotes is author Charles M. Province in "Patton's One-Minute Messages."

    Here's a few of our favorites quotes from America's "Ol' Blood and Guts."

    SEE ALSO: 11 photos of America's fighter jets breaking the sound barrier

    "Do everything you ask of those you command."

    Source: Patton's One Minute Messages

    "No good decision was ever made in a swivel chair."

    Source: Patton's One Minute Messages

    "Any man who thinks he's indispensable, ain't."

    Source: Patton's One Minute Messages

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Iraqi soldiers take cover during operation against Islamic State militants in the frontline neighbourhood of Intisar, eastern Mosul November 27, 2016. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem

    Iraqi special forces battling to clear Islamic State from eastern Mosul have killed nearly 1,000 militants but fighting has slowed as troops face a mobile enemy hidden among thousands of civilians in the city, a top commander said.

    Six weeks into a major offensive, Iraqi forces have captured nearly half of eastern Mosul, moving from district to district against jihadist snipers, suicide attackers and car bombs.

    Elite Iraqi troops, known as the "Golden Division", are the only brigades to have entered Mosul from the east, with Iraqi army, federal police and Kurdish Peshmerga units surrounding the city to the north and south. Shi'ite militias are trying to complete the encirclement from the west.

    The U.S.-trained Counter Terrorism Service unit breached Islamic State's defenses at the end of October, but has been slowed by the militants' mobile tactics and concern over civilian casualties preventing the use of tanks and heavy armor.

    Major General Abdul Ghani al-Asadi, one of the commanders of the special forces, said troops had adapted their tactics, surrounding one district at a time to cut off the militants' supplies and protect civilians.

    "Progress was faster at the start. The reason is we were operating before in areas without residents," Asadi told Reuters in Bartella, on Mosul's outskirts.

    "We have arrived in populated districts. So how do we protect civilians? We have sealed off district after district."

    He said around 990 militants had been killed in fighting in the east so far. He would not say how many casualties there were among government special forces.

    "We have made changes to plans, partly due to the changing nature of the enemy ... Daesh (Islamic State) is not based in one location, but moving from here to there," he said.

    "Tanks don't work here, artillery is not effective. Planes from the coalition force and the air force are restricted because of the civilians." 

    Thousands displaced

    People who are fleeing the fighting between Islamic State and Iraqi army in Mosul are pictured in Samah district, eastern Mosul, Iraq November 12, 2016. REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra

    The Iraqi government has asked civilians in Mosul to stay at home during the offensive, as humanitarian organizations say they cannot cope with an influx of hundred of thousands of people displaced from the city.

    More than one million people are believed to remain in the city, the largest in northern Iraq.

    Defeating Islamic State in Mosul, Islamic State's last major bastion in Iraq, is seen as vital to destroying the "caliphate" declared by the group's leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, from the pulpit of Mosul's Grand Mosque in July 2014.

    But commanders have said the battle could take months. Dozens of districts must be taken in the east before attacking forces reach the Tigris River which splits Mosul into east and west. U.S. air strikes have taken out four of the five river bridges used by the militants.

    Major General Najm al-Jubbouri, one of the army's top commanders, told Reuters that the western part of the city could be the more dangerous.

    mosul map

    To the south, Iraqi army brigades are now advancing slowly on the remaining Islamic State-held villages before reaching the city limits. To the west, the mostly Iranian-backed Shi'ite militias known as Popular Mobilisation have cut off the highway to Syria, but they have yet to close in on the city.

    "The force left in front of us is small, unable to stop our advance. Their spirit is broken," Asadi said.

    "We have killed more than 992 fighters on our front plus more wounded ... Their supplies and communications to the outside world are cut. They stage fewer suicide bombings."

    Iraqi military estimates initially put the number of insurgents in Mosul at 5,000 to 6,000, facing a 100,000-strong coalition force. But Asadi said the figure for the Islamic State presence may have been too high.

    Iraqi authorities have not released estimates of civilian casualties but the United Nations says growing numbers of injured, both civilians and military, are overwhelming aid groups.

    SEE ALSO: A weekend siege in the southern Philippines reportedly leaves 11 ISIS sympathizers dead

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