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- 05/04/17--06:54: _A Navy SEAL command...
- 05/04/17--08:12: _An F-35 pilot expla...
- 05/04/17--10:00: _The US and South Ko...
- 05/04/17--10:06: _How World War II bo...
- 05/04/17--10:31: _5 everyday inventio...
- 05/04/17--11:09: _Watch one of the ba...
- 05/05/17--06:09: _1 US Navy SEAL kill...
- 05/05/17--07:14: _Syrian 'de-escalati...
- 05/05/17--08:54: _Estonia says Russia...
- 05/05/17--12:50: _This strange mod to...
- 05/06/17--05:38: _Here's the workout ...
- 05/13/17--07:30: _I was in the CIA fo...
- 05/13/17--12:00: _A Navy SEAL command...
- 05/15/17--06:28: _UN to push ahead wi...
- 05/15/17--06:56: _Push for impeachmen...
- 05/15/17--07:59: _North Korea vows to...
- 05/15/17--10:18: _An F-35 pilot expla...
- 05/16/17--08:01: _Watch the US Marine...
- 05/16/17--17:15: _The Navy's most fut...
- 05/17/17--12:49: _Watch 2 Russian att...
- 05/04/17--10:31: 5 everyday inventions you didn’t know came from DARPA
- 05/16/17--08:01: Watch the US Marine Corps' F-35 run and gun for the first time
Admiral William McRaven, author of "Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life... And Maybe The World," explains what he learned after being fired early on in his career. Following is a transcript of the video.
Very early on in my career I was fired from one of my jobs.
I was a — team leader at a very elite SEAL team and the commanding officer and I didn't get along well and I probably did some things wrong, and I was fired.
So when something like that happens, certainly in the military, you have two choices. Do you stay and hope that your career gets back on track or do you say, "Well, this obviously isn't going to work out for me." And — I decided to stay and show that I was a better officer than I had performed at that command.
Pride is the first thing to fall. The reason I was selected for that job is because I viewed myself as one of the best officers in the SEAL community. And I got there, and I didn't perform tot he level that was expected of me. And so — you get knocked down a notch or two, and you have to reevaluate, "What did I need to do better?""How do I show that I am a good officer?"
So frankly, the way to get out of it is to work twice as hard. And to accept a little humility that you're never as good as your press clippings. You're never as good as you think you are. Work hard. Be humble — and I think that will serve you well in life.
Retired US Marine Corps Maj. Dan Flatley will never forget the crushing feeling of helplessness he felt the first time he faced a stealth jet while he was flying in an F/A-18.
"I remember indelibly the moment in which the AWAC (airborne early warning and control plane) called out to me that there was a Raptor [an F-22 stealth fighter] in front of me at very close range that made me uncomfortable," Flatley told Business Insider in a phone interview.
"I had no way of targeting him, no way of defending myself."
Despite years of training to stay focused and level headed under the extreme pressures of air-to-air combat, a sense of dread set in.
Before even seeing the F-22, Flatley had already surrendered his composure, and therefore his ability to effectively fight back.
Years later, Flatley would come to pilot the F-35 and even design the curriculum for training pilots in the fifth-generation fighter, where he would tap into the crushing psychological effect of fighting a plane you can't find.
While the F-35 represents the most expensive weapons system of all time, and is a frequent target of government critics who chastise the program for going over budget and schedule, Flatley says the real strength of stealth fighters doesn't show up in any budget.
"What the public doesn’t realize is how dominant the difference in information is," said Flatley. While the F-35 performs similarly to legacy jets in some areas like speed, turning, and range, there's a huge, ever-growing information gap between what the F-35 pilot sees and what an F-18 pilot sees.
The F-35 features six cameras stationed around the jet and a helmet display that allows pilots to literally look through the jet as if it wasn't there. It features the only infrared radar on a US fighter since the F-14, and uses unprecedented sensor-fusion capabilities to paint an incredibly vivid picture of its surroundings for miles out.
On top of all that, it's stealth. So while the F-35 sees everything, it's seen by almost no one.
Legacy jets, with the help of AWACs "may have a general idea that there’s an F-35 out there, but they don’t know exactly where we are," said Flatley.
The distinct information disadvantage causes pilots to get tunnel vision, according to Flatley.
"Everything they see becomes the F-35 out there," said Flatley. "Every radar hit, every communication is about the stealth jet. They want to illuminate or eliminate a threat they can’t handle."
The fear and paranoia caused by the presence of stealth jets in a battle has a widespread effect on adversaries that "includes extremely capable legacy jets and certainly includes everything available to adversaries," said Flatley of updated F-16s, F-15s, and even enemy air defenses like Russia's S-400.
Even extremely capable operators fall prey to the F-35's psychological advantage. "It has nothing to do with their skill or technology. They’re at such a technological disadvantage," said Flatley. "I've seen guys in F-18s turn directly in front of me and show me their tails cause they have no idea I’m there."
In the end, "It aggregates to a completely inept response to what we’re doing in the air," said Flatley. "People are so hellbent on shooting down the stealth fighter that they invariably make mistakes that I can exploit."
Peak tensions between the US, North Korea, and its neighbors have brought on a weighty response from the US and South Korean navies.
Despite initial confusion about when the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier would show up off the coast of the Korean peninsula, the carrier strike group has finally arrived in all its glory.
Joined by the Republic of Korea's very capable Sejong the Great and Yang Manchun destroyers, the USS Wayne E. Meyer, USS Michael Murphy, USS Stetham destroyers, and the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Champlain flank the Vinson as F-18 Super Hornets fly overhead in a massive show of force.
Together, the South Korean and US ships represent some of the most potent missile defenses ever put to sea.
To a World War II history buff, the iconic Millennium Falcon from "Star Wars" resembles one of the best-known bombers of all time.
The greenhouse cockpit configuration, along with the gun turrets, aboard the ship was lifted straight out of the blueprints for the Boeing B-29 Superfortress.
The Superfortress was a workhorse of the US Army Air Forces that was best known for dropping atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
"Star Wars" creator George Lucas is known to have studied 20 to 25 hours of footage from World War II dogfights while doing research for the film.
Ian D'Costa of Tactical Air Network notes that Lucas became particularly enamored with the B-29 and sought to re-create its signature greenhouse-style cockpit with the Millennium Falcon.
According to a 1997 interview with Willard Huyck, a screenwriter who is a friend of Lucas, footage of World War II dogfights was used as a placeholder before the special effects were edited into the original film.
"So one second you're with the Wookiee in the spaceship and the next you're in 'The Bridges at Toko-Ri.' It was like, 'George, what-is-going-on?'" Huyck said.
In his book "Star Wars Storyboards: The Original Trilogy," visual effects artist Paul Huston said, "Joe (artist in charge of pyrotechnics) would show me a shot of a Japanese Zero flying left to right in front of a conning tower of an aircraft carrier and say, 'The aircraft carrier is the Death Star, the Zero is an X-wing. Do a board like that.'"
"One of the reasons I started writing "Star Wars" was because I wanted to see starships having exciting battles in space," Lucas said in Jonathan Rinzler's "The Making of Star Wars."
"I loved Flash Gordon and Buck Rodgers serials when I was a kid, but I thought I could create an experience closer to watching a dogfight in a World War II film — with incredible ships diving and banking in a realistic manner," Lucas continued, as noted by StarWars.com.
Whether the new "Star Wars" films will continue this tradition or look to emulate the tropes of more modern aviation is yet to be seen, but the team's shared enthusiasm for evoking past real-life battle scenes paid off in some of the most memorable, exciting scenes in film history.
A lot of things you use on a daily basis have their roots in DARPA projects that were intended for military purposes. Sharon Weinberger, the author of the book "The Imagineers of War," describes a few of these inventions that you might not have been aware of, like the Roomba.
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Following is a transcript of the video:
So many of the things we use every day is linked to DARPA.
Sort of the more common example today is the Siri app on the iPhone. That grew directly out of a DARPA-funded project that wasn't picked up by the military. The people working on it spun it off as an independent company, and it was bought by Apple and incorporated into the iPhone.
I think, sort of, what made DARPA’s reputation was computer networking. DARPA created the ARPANET, which was the first network of computers, which was later transitioned to the civilian internet. And that really cemented DARPA’s reputation as sort of an innovation agency or genius factory.
Other things that can be linked back to DARPA: GPS. So this is a tricky one. There’s a lot of times that DARPA claims GPS as its invention. It's a little bit more complicated than that. DARPA, for a while, funded the predecessor to GPS called the Transit satellite. But DARPA did not invent GPS. But it gets a little bit of credit there.
iRobot, the company that makes the Roomba, the robotic vacuum cleaner, basically exists today, and its underlying technology exists because of DARPA funding. So DARPA didn't specifically fund the Roomba, but it funded the company and its military work, which then eventually became the Roomba. What DARPA was interested in, and one of the things that got military funding, was the PackBot, which is made by iRobot, the same people who make Roomba, which was used for bomb disposal.
I think the most important commercial innovation that is emerging today are autonomous cars, self-driving cars that we’re just now seeing come into their own. That's linked directly back, not just to decades of DARPA funding in robotics, which DARPA did, but also, most importantly, or at least importantly to the mid-2000s, when DARPA started a series of robotic car races called the Grand Challenge. And that really is what jump-started the autonomous care industry.
DARPA doesn’t make money off of the products it funds. It’s a little bit complicated, especially when dealing with patents and intellectual property. What DARPA gets, and what DARPA hopes to get, is products that will serve the military, that can be used by the military. But if a company wants to spin it off into the commercial realm, it it can and it does.
US Air Force Maj. Gen. Paul T. “PJ” Johnson is right up there with the best pilots to have ever flown the A-10.
While serving as a captain during Operation Desert Storm, he was decorated with the Air Force Cross for leading the rescue mission of a downed Navy F-14 Tomcat pilot deep behind enemy lines.
Capt. Johnson was en route from another mission when he received the call to search for the F-14 crew that had been shot down the night before.
During the next six hours, he led the search through three aerial refuelings, one attack on a possible SCUD missile site, and three hours of going deeper into enemy territory than any A-10 had ever flown.
When he finally spotted the survivor, an enemy vehicle was heading in his direction, which Johnson proceeded to destroy, thus securing the target.
The mission was successful and a first for the A-10. A few days later, Johnson’s skills were on full display when he was hit by an enemy missile while trying to take out a radar site.
The explosion left a gaping hole on his right wing, which disabled one of the hydraulic systems. Still, he managed to fly back to safety.
This video shows how Johnson pulled through his “high pucker factor” experience, which he credits to a “wing and a prayer.”
Gen. Johnson received his commission in 1985 from Officer Training School, Lackland Air Force Base. He’s a command pilot with more than 3,000 hours on the A-10 and served as commander of the 75th Fighter Squadron, Pope AFB, N.C.; the 354th Operations Group, Eielson AFB, Alaska; the 355th Fighter Wing, Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona; and 451st Air Expeditionary Wing, Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan.
He retired on July 1, 2016, according to his Air Force profile.
A U.S. service member was killed in Somalia on Thursday during a Somali-led mission against the Al Shabaab militant group, U.S. military officials said in statement released on Friday.
U.S. Africa Command said the service member died while U.S. forces were advising and assisting a Somali National Army operation about 40 miles (60 km) west of Mogadishu near Barii, Somalia.
The slain service member was confirmed to be a US Navy SEAL, The Washington Examiner reported.
Officials said two additional special operations troops were wounded in the same attack, according to Fox News' Lucas Tomlinson.
"We continue to support our Somali and regional partners to systematically dismantle this al Qaeda affiliate, and help them to achieve stability and security throughout the region as part of the global counterterrorism effort," a statement from US Africa Command said.
The “de-escalation zones” to be established in Syria will be closed to military aircraft from the U.S.-led coalition, the Russian official who signed the new agreement said Friday.
The Russian Defense Ministry says agreement on de-escalation zones in Syria comes into effect at midnight.
Alexander Lavrentyev spoke a day after he and officials from Turkey and Iran agreed to establish the zones, in the latest attempt to reduce violence in the Arab country.
Under the Russian plan, President Bashar Assad’s air force would halt flights over the designated areas across the war-torn country.
Lavrentyev suggested that all military aircraft, including Russian and Turkish, also were prohibited. The same was suggested in a U.N. statement, which said Secretary-General Antonio Guterres “welcomes the commitments to ceasing the use of all weapons, particularly aerial assets.”
Full details of Thursday’s agreement have not yet been released. The Russian Defense Ministry said it would do so at a briefing later Friday.
Lavrentyev, whose remarks were carried by Russian news agencies, said “the operation of aviation in the de-escalation zones, especially of the forces of the international coalition, is absolutely not envisaged, either with notification or without. This question is closed.”
He said the U.S.-led coalition aircraft would still be able to operate against the Islamic State group in specific areas.
As the agreement was being signed in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan, some members of the Syrian opposition delegation shouted in protest and walked out of the conference room.
The opposition was protesting Iran’s participation at the conference and role as a guarantor of the agreement, accusing it of fueling the sectarian nature of the conflict that has killed some 400,000 people and displaced half the country’s population.
The walkout and the comments underline the huge difficulties of implementing such a deal. The Syrian government has said that although it will abide by the agreement, it would continue fighting “terrorism” wherever it exists, parlance for most armed rebel groups fighting government troops.
A previous cease-fire agreement signed in Astana on Dec. 30 helped reduce overall violence for several weeks but eventually collapsed. Other attempts at a cease-fire in Syria have all ended in failure.
Sponsors of the deal hope that safe zones would bring relief for hundreds of thousands of Syrian civilians and encourage refugees to return. But officials have expressed skepticism, stressing that safe zones have not had an encouraging track record.
Estonia said Friday that a Russian IL-96 passenger plane, allegedly carrying Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to neighboring Finland, briefly violated Estonian airspace on Wednesday evening.
The incident was the first air violation of NATO member Estonia this year in comparison to seven similar air intrusions in 2016, according to the military.
Kadri Peeters, adviser to Estonia's prime minister, tweeted: "Lavrov flying to #Finland to discuss air traffic safety but first - let's intrude into #Estonian airspace." She was referring to Lavrov's Finland visit on Thursday to discuss a range of issues, including flight security in the Baltic Sea region with Finland's political leaders.
Estonia's military later said the plane had its transponders turned on but there was no radio contact and it hadn't filed a flight plan. It didn't confirm whether Lavrov was on the plane.
The Baltic country's media said the aircraft from Rossiya Airlines used by the Russian Presidential Administration briefly traveled over northern Estonia near Vaindloo island — a place where Russian military planes previously have intruded over the past years.
Nearly all of Estonia's air intrusions have been by caused by Russian military transport and fighter planes, many as they fly in the narrow air corridor from Russia's Baltic Sea enclave of Kaliningrad to the Russian city of St. Petersburg.
In the past year, NATO and Russia have discussed a proposal to reduce the risk of air accidents in the crowded skies over the Baltic Sea by agreeing on common practices while using aircraft transponders.
Russian military planes have been caught on several occasions flying on the Baltic Sea with their transponders turned off — something that Moscow has repeatedly denied.
When the F-35 flies over friendly countries for overseas deployments, you may notice some strange tags on the body of the otherwise sleek jet.
Every angle and surface of the F-35 has been precisely machined to baffle radar waves, so little notches like the ones on the picture above would defeat the purpose of the weapons system that has cost about $400 billion so far.
Here's the Marine Corps' F-35B flying clean:
The notches, which are called Luneberg reflectors, serve a purpose. The reflectors increase the F-35's radar signature several hundred times over so that a plane that would normally be nearly impossible for civilian air traffic controllers to spot would give off a big, safe blip.
Perhaps the F-35B above didn't need the reflectors because it took off from the sea, away from potential spotters.
In addition to helping friendly nations spot the stealth jet, the markers on the F-35 may serve another, more military purpose.
In October 2015, days after Russia began its air campaign to bolster Syrian President Bashar Assad's forces, national security writer Dave Majumdar wrote in War Is Boring that Russia may have been using its anti-air systems to gather intelligence on the F-22, another US stealth aircraft operating in Syria.
"While it appears the Russians are following their standard doctrine with regard to the deployment/employment of their ground and air assets, it's certainly not out of the question to use their newer air-to-air assets as a form of 'operational testing' in the real-world environment," one senior US Air Force intelligence official told Majumdar at the time. "In a sense, we're doing the same thing with our F-22s."
Russia operates the same ground and air assets in Syria as it does in eastern Europe, near Estonia, where the F-35 recently appeared wearing the radar reflectors.
With the reflectors throwing off and exaggerating the radar cross section of the F-35, the US could be preventing Russia from testing its defenses against the US's newest weapons system.
Admiral William McRaven, author of "Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life... And Maybe The World," explains what his daily workout consists of including push-ups, pull-ups and other exercises. Following is a transcript of the video.
I've got a routine. I do 100 crunches and then I'll start, I've got a push-up routine.
I do 35, rest, 35, rest, 35, rest. And then I'll go to the pull-up bar. I do about 15 pull-ups on the pull-up bar. Again, a series of 3. Then I will do a series of 15 dips, 3 of them. I hit the weights in between and I also have a BOB, the Body Opponent Bag. It's a torso punching bag.
I also like to lift weights. We didn't actually lift a lot of weights in SEAL training, because there were so many of us in a SEAL team or in a SEAL training class, you just couldn't set up a circuit — but the calisthenics and really today you see the fitness world going from, "Well, you need to do heavy weights or you need to do kettlebells, or you need to .... " Well, I think what you find is calisthenics, the old push-ups, sit-ups, 8-count bodybuilders, chase the rabbit, these were exercises that I still do today, and they serve me pretty well.
Ralph W. McGehee is a veteran of two and a half decades with the Central Intelligence Agency. McGehee was recruited in 1952 and stationed in Southeast Asia in the mid-1960s.
“Dad, what do you do?” my 13-year-old daughter Peggy asked about six months after we had settled into our home in North Thailand.
She had been observing my strange comings and goings, my home office with its safe, map, and cameras, and my frequent hushed conversations with a variety of visitors. She wanted to know what it was all about.
I braced myself. I knew that simple question was inevitable, one that every child asks sooner or later, but I had dreaded it. In earlier years the children were either too young to notice or my activities were less overt, so I had gotten away with a joking, “Oh, I’m just a paper pusher.” As Peggy persisted this time, though, I knew this answer would no longer do.
Norma had felt all along that we should be truthful with the children, that our family trust came before my oath of secrecy to the Agency. This very clear set of priorities had been reinforced in her mind a hundredfold by her personal experience when she arrived in Thailand.
I had flown ahead to North Thailand to make the necessary arrangements for the family to join me. Once I found a house, I wrote to Norma to fly to Bangkok, where I would meet her. But the housing deal fell through, and the next day I had written to Norma not to come yet. She never received the second letter. She had gone ahead, sending me her flight number and arrival date, but that letter had been held at the Thailand station, and I never received it.
After a grueling, sleepless flight of 16 hours with four cranky children, she had arrived to find no one there to meet her. Since we were traveling on unofficial passports and no one had notified the Thai authorities, she had trouble getting past customs and had to talk her way into a two-week visa. Speaking not a word of Thai, she took a taxi to a good hotel, but in one day the expense exhausted the cash she had in her purse.
The next day she went to the American Embassy and asked if they could put her in touch with me. After a lot of hassling in which everyone claimed never to have heard of me, she made contact with an official who explained that I was in the North.
He didn’t understand how I had not known of my family’s arrival, but he promised that I would be contacted immediately. In the meantime Norma explained that she was out of money and had five mouths to feed. She asked if an advance could be made. He made a call, but the finance officer said that she could not be authorized funds because my assignment was in the North.
There is no anger or determination like my wife’s when something threatens her brood. The official ordered her money from his own pocket to tide her over until I could be contacted, but she refused. She said she was so mad that she would sit on the street corner right in front of the American Embassy and beg with her four children if she had to. Fortunately, I had by chance come to Bangkok on Agency business that day and everything straightened out before it came to that.
But to make matters worse, the next day I had to send her and the children to the North on the train while I remained behind a few days on business. When I finally joined her, Norma’s greeting was not the warmest I have ever received. “If you plan to ship us off somewhere,” she raged, as close to divorce as we’d ever been, “it had better be right back to the States.”
She went on to describe three miserable days in a hotel with no shower and nothing for the children to do, with mosquitoes swarming all over, lizards crawling the walls and ceilings, and huge rats scurrying on the floors.
This experience - both the Agency’s utter disregard for the well-being of her and the children and my own cockeyed priorities of putting Agency business above my family - had left Norma enraged and totally disillusioned with the Agency. While she knew that I still had complete faith in the Agency and could not be persuaded to leave it, she was now at least insisting that I not lie to the children any longer.
The Agency had done enough to her and the children, she told me repeatedly; she would not allow its ridiculous secrecy rules to sow distrust in our family.
Now Peggy’s innocent question had brought the matter to a head. Because of all the indoctrination I had received and my gung-ho attitude, something inside me still resisted. I felt I should keep my activities secret - even from my own daughter.
“Daddy, it’s embarrassing,” Peggy was saying, staring up at me. “All my friends know what their fathers do. I’m the only one who doesn’t.”
I could feel Norma’s eyes on me. What was I going to do? If I told Peggy, I would be breaking my oath. But of course people broke that oath all the time. Everyone knew that secret information was bandied about at Agency cocktail parties as if it were a weather report. Sometimes it seemed I was the only one who played it strictly by the rules.
I wondered: would it make any difference to the Agency’s mission if my children knew that I worked for it? Would it hurt the United States? I looked up at Norma, and we silently acknowledged that the time had come.
I breathed deeply and sat both of my daughters down (the boys were still too young to understand).
With the same sense of compelling seriousness that I had used in regard to crossing streets, not going with strangers, and not taking anything that belongs to others, I said, “I work for the Central Intelligence Agency, which protects our country from anyone who might want to do it harm. I could not tell you before, because you were too young and would not have been able to keep it a secret from your friends. But you must do just that. You must promise you will not talk to anyone but your mother and me about where I work.”
Neither daughter seemed particularly excited about the news. They looked at me and said, “Oh.” This was not at all the response I had expected, but I thought that they probably, like myself 10 years earlier, had not the least notion of what the CIA was and did.
Years later when preparing to write this book, I asked each of them what they thought when I told them about my work. Jean said she had been quite impressed and had thought the job must be difficult and exciting because of all the flying around.
Her friends who had observed this activity had pumped her, and she felt frustrated that she could not confide in them.
Peg said she had felt the same frustration at not being able to tell her friends. She was also curious about what I specifically did for the CIA on the various flying trips around North Thailand. I said that I would tell her after I retired - a promise, until now, that I never kept, for by the time I retired I was disillusioned and angry and did not want to lay this negative burden on my children.
I told our elder son, Scott, several years afterwards. Later he admitted that he had been humiliated in a classroom exercise where each child was asked to talk about his father’s job. Scott had to say he did not know. After I told him, he said he had more respect for my lifestyle. But that did not alter the fact that he still could not admit he knew what his father did, or confide in his friends.
Norma told our younger son, Dan, in Bangkok when he was 11 years old. He said later that he had not been too surprised since we so carefully avoided the subject of my work. His reaction at the time, though, was to ask, “Oh, does he carry a gun?”
Excerpted from Deadly Deceits with permission of Open Road Media. Read more books from Open Road's Forbidden Bookshelf series here to discover the darker trends and episodes in US History. Follow Feed Your Need to Read on Facebook and Twitter.
Admiral William McRaven, author of "Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life... And Maybe The World," explains what he learned about his ego while training to become a Navy SEAL. He went on to serve as a SEAL for nearly 4 decades. Following is a transcript of the video.
I don't think of myself as having a big ego. Others may differ.
But I don't think I have a big ego — but inside sometimes, again, you internalize your pride a little bit more than you do externally. So there are some people that have a big ego externally, and then there are some people, I think, that internalize their pride.
But one of the things that you learn very quickly when you go through SEAL training is you're rarely the fastest, the strongest, or the smartest. So much like coming to a college football team or a pro football team, you see these great young high school players and they come to a college football team, and they were the best in their high school, and they get to a great college program and they're not the fastest, they're not the best.
And so SEAL training humbles you. It makes you realize, one, that you have to rely on other people and you have to rely on them for everything you do. We talk about this little thing we call the inflatable boat small, our little rubber raft. And you realize very quickly you're not going to get anywhere unless you function as a team.
And in the team — it is about the team. It can't be about you. It can never be about you. So SEAL training really helps bring you back down to earth. One, because the people that you're around are all phenomenal, and then the instructors make sure you recognize if you don't function as a team, the SEAL team will never be successful.
The U.N. envoy for Syria says a government delegation attending peace talks in Geneva is "here to work," sidestepping comments by President Bashar Assad that the U.N.-mediated peace talks are just for show.
Staffan de Mistura spoke to reporters a day before Tuesday's start to what's expected to be about four days of indirect talks between government and opposition envoys, marking the sixth round that he has mediated since early last year.
The envoy said he wouldn't comment on Assad's remarks, aired by Belarus ONT television on Thursday. The Syrian leader said "nothing substantial" would come from the talks and that they were "merely a meeting for the media."
The delegations aren't expected to meet face-to-face, and de Mistura has called for reduced media involvement to foster a more "businesslike" atmosphere.
A Congressional panel of Philippine lawmakers on Monday found an impeachment complaint against President Rodrigo Duterte lacked substance and should go no further, a widely expected outcome underlining the maverick leader's steadfast legislative support.
Committee members unanimously voted to shoot down the complaint by Gary Alejano, a member of a minority block, and will recommend its dismissal by the 292-seat Congress, where Duterte enjoys a super-majority.
Alejano accused Duterte of high crimes and betrayal of public trust by concealing assets, supporting summary executions of thousands of Filipinos in his war on drugs, and having a "defeatist" approach towards Beijing's assertiveness in the South China Sea.
The panel's decision to declare the complaint insufficient in substance came a few hours into proceedings that focused heavily on Alejano's admission that he had not personally witnessed the drugs-related killings that he was accusing Duterte of sponsoring.
Alejano was furious that the panel was unwilling to hear what he said was extensive evidence from witnesses and survivors of drugs-related violence that would prove "the government is killing them".
He said the committee made a decision based purely on Duterte's popularity and would be responsible for a dictatorship taking shape.
"I assure you if we allow the president that kind of power in violation of the constitution ... If we allow it further, it will be a dictatorship," he told reporters.
"We are sending the message to the president, 'yes, you continue, we will allow you'."
Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo said the junking of the complaint was expected because it was built on falsehoods and intended to "besmirch the reputation" of Duterte.
The early rejection of the complaint demonstrates the challenges faced by opponents in using democratic mechanisms to take on Duterte, who enjoys a public approval rating of 82 percent, and a massive social media support base.
Alejano was aware his bid was a long shot but had aimed to embolden the public to speak up over the war on drugs and over Duterte's failure to pressure China to abide by an international arbitration ruling last year that declared some of Beijing's activities in the South China Sea illegal.
Numerous committee members said Alejano's complaint was deeply flawed. Harry Roque said "at best it's a misrepresentation, at worst it's a falsity".
Deputy house speaker Fredenil Castro said Alejano was using "hearsay" to try to oust a president with a huge electoral mandate.
"You cannot make a joke of this proceeding," said Castro.
Some political commentators say Alejano's impeachment effort had an ulterior motive: to strengthen a complaint filed by a lawyer last month with the International Criminal Court accusing Duterte of crimes against humanity.
Among the ICC's jurisdictional requirements is that domestic legal avenues to try an individual are first exhausted.
Alejano said he might now convince his allies to put their weight behind the ICC case, because there were no Philippine institutions able to hold Duterte to account.
"Where will we go, where do we file our complaint?" he said. "We have nowhere to go to."
North Korea said on Monday it had successfully conducted a mid- to-long-range missile test and would continue such launches "any time, any place", defying UN Security Council resolutions and warnings from the United States.
North Korea, which regularly threatens to destroy the United States in a sea of flames, has accused Washington of pushing the Korean peninsula to the brink of nuclear war with recent military drills with South Korea and Japan.
The North's KCNA news agency said Sunday's test launch verified the homing feature of the warhead that allowed it to survive "under the worst re-entry situation" and accurately detonate.
It also tested the North's capability to carry a "large-size heavy nuclear warhead", KCNA said.
"The test-fire proved to the full all the technical specifications of the rocket ... like guidance and stabilization systems ... and reconfirmed the reliability of new rocket engine under the practical flight circumstances," KCNA said.
The test "represents a level of performance never before seen from a North Korean missile", John Schilling, an aerospace expert, said in an analysis on the U.S.-based 38 North website.
"It appears to have not only demonstrated an intermediate-range ballistic missile that might enable them to reliably strike the U.S. base at Guam, but more importantly, may represent a substantial advance to developing an intercontinental ballistic missile."
The missile flew 787 km (489 miles) on a trajectory reaching an altitude of 2,111.5 km (1,312 miles), KCNA said.
North Korea has been developing a long-range missile capable of striking the mainland United States mounted with a nuclear warhead. That would require a flight of 8,000 km (4,800 miles) or more and technology to ensure a warhead's stable re-entry into the atmosphere.
"The test-firing of ICBMs will occur at any time and place, at the will of North Korea's highest leadership," North Korea's ambassador to China, Ji Jae Ryong, told reporters in Beijing on Monday, a day before the UN Security Council meets in New York to discuss the test.
North Korea has defied calls to curb its missile and nuclear weapons programs, testing its relationship with its lone major ally, China, which has always called for talks to resolve the issue, and prompting South Korea's new president, Moon Jae-in, to "strongly condemn" Sunday's action.
"Harmful and dangerous"
U.S. President Donald Trump warned in an interview with Reuters this month that a "major, major conflict" with North Korea was possible. In a show of force, the United States sent an aircraft carrier strike group, led by the USS Carl Vinson, to waters off the Korean peninsula to conduct drills with South Korea and Japan.
It says the "era of strategic patience" with North Korea is over.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said in Beijing that Moscow was opposed to any new countries acquiring nuclear weapons, but that the world should talk to North Korea rather than threaten it.
"I want to confirm that we are categorically against the expansion of the club of nuclear powers, including with the Korean peninsula and North Korea," said Putin, who said any such move would be "harmful and dangerous".
"But at the same time, we understand that what we have observed in the world recently, and specifically flagrant violations of international law and incursions into the territory of foreign states, changes in regime, lead to such kinds of arms races."
Putin did not specify what countries he had in mind, but he has in the past repeatedly criticized the United States for military operations in Iraq, Libya and Syria, and accused it of trying to oust legitimate governments.
The Russian Defence Ministry said on Sunday that the missile crashed into the Sea of Japan around 500 km (310 miles) off the Russian coast.
The North has successfully launched long-range rockets twice to put objects into space. But many had believed it was some years away from mastering re-entry expertise for perfecting an ICBM, which uses similar engineering in early flight stages.
North Korea's official Rodong Sinmun newspaper devoted half of its six-page Monday edition to coverage of the missile test, with vivid color photographs of the launch and jubilant leader Kim Jong Un celebrating with military officers.
The pictures featured a long nose-coned projectile that appeared to be similar to missiles displayed during an April 15 military parade for the birth anniversary of state founder Kim Il Sung, the current leader's grandfather.
The nose cone resembles that of the KN-08 ICBM the North is believed to be developing, and the lofted trajectory tests re-entry by putting the missile through extra stress, said Joshua Pollack of the U.S.-based Non-proliferation Review.
"This is an advanced missile, if their claims are true."
KCNA said Kim accused the United States of "browbeating" countries that "have no nukes", warning Washington not to misjudge the reality that its mainland is in the North's "sighting range for strike".
The United States called the missile launch a message to South Korea, days after Moon took office pledging to engage Pyongyang in dialogue and keep up international pressure to impede the North's arms pursuit.
Two senior national security advisers to Trump will meet Moon's top foreign policy adviser, Chung Eui-yong, in Seoul on Tuesday to discuss a summit of the leaders and the North's missile test, a source with direct knowledge of the meeting said.
Ever since the US rocked Baghdad, at the time one of the most defended cities in the world, with F-117s in 1991, Soviets and other potential US adversaries have been studying up on how to counter stealth jets.
Later, over Serbia, an F-117 was shot down, forever souring the image of so-called "invisible" aircraft that have been on the top of the US Air Force's agenda for decades.
Today, Russia and China have built out impressive arrays of very high frequency (VHF) and other integrated radars that can spot even the US's most advanced and stealthy jets like the F-22 and the F-35 under the right circumstances.
While many have rushed to declare stealth a fruitless and expensive path for the US Air Force to walk, retired Marine Maj. Dan Flatley told Business Insider just why pilots of America's most expensive weapons system aren't afraid of Russian or Chinese counter-stealth.
"Adversaries have to build a kill chain," said Flatley, a former pilot of the F-35. Just because a radar can find an object, and Russian VHF radars can spot F-35s, doesn't mean it can fix, track, target, and consummate that kill chain with a missile hit.
"We're not trying to prevent every aspect of that chain, just snap one of those links," said Flatley.
So while an infrared radar could spot an F-35, and give enemy pilots an idea of where it is, it can't track it or target it with a missile. This means that the systems Russia and China have spent millions developing only provide a tiny glimpse of the F-35, which may be sunk costs in the grand scheme of things.
"I don’t need to stop everything all the time," Flately said of the kill chain. "I just need to make you unable to finish what you’ve already invested tons of time and money and effort in trying to shoot me down."
"That’s the thing people don’t understand," said Flatley. "They think we’re saying we’re invisible to everyone all the time at all bandwidths and energy levels ... that's not what we're saying."
Flatley says that F-35 pilots joke that only Wonder Woman has an invisible jet. The reality is that the F-35 is a huge piece of flying metal and alloy — a radar pointed at the right place at the right time will definitely spot it, but good luck shooting it down.
Meanwhile, as the enemy shoots out radiation to scour the skies for any trace of the F-35, the F-35 sees all of those emissions and can pinpoint the air defenses and enemy planes.
Where legacy planes had to chose between lethality and survivability on a mission, the F-35 can do four, 16, or even 32 things at a time, meaning that while air and ground threats are looking for the stealth jet, the F-35 can already be dropping bombs that will smash them, according to Flatley.
"We're extraordinarily confident in what we believe the performance of this jet is, and we have a lot of data and material to back that stuff up," said Flatley.
So while Russian propaganda may boast that they can see F-35s, it may just be a response to a platform that's rendered parts of their battle plan irrelevant.
The F-35 was custom-built to penetrate the most guarded air spaces in the world and get the job done. While the enemy hasn't been standing still, and has made great progress towards countering the F-35, Flatley said he's still sure that the US can carry out its mission on its terms.
"The expectation is that the F-35 will operate in a scenario against air and surface defense systems — and that's an expectation that the American taxpayer and public should have," said Flatley, who acknowledged the incredible effort the US has put behind the F-35 as a stealth penetrator, and remained resolute that "we’re not going to waste it."
The US Marine Corps' F-35B just made history by firing its gun pod for the first time while flying.
The gun pod, which straps on to the belly of the F-35B and US Navy's F-35C, allows the ship-based fighters the option to sacrifice a little stealth, drag, and range for 220-rounds of 25 mm firepower — an upgrade from the 20 mm guns that current US fighter jets carry, though the magazine is smaller.
While the F-35 has fielded some criticism for its gun, which at 55 rounds per second can empty its entire magazine in under four seconds, the gun actually makes sense for the type of close air-support environment that the F-35 is expected to operate in.
The much-loved A-10 Warthog, the long-time king of close air support with 1,350 rounds of 30 mm, is ideal for flying low and slow, loitering in the sky, and delivering its precise fire to provide close air support. But this makes sense in only uncontested air space.
The F-35's smaller magazine capacity reflects the future of close air support as military planners envision it, where quick and precise strikes leverage a suite of sensors, electronic-warfare capabilities, and stealth.
Unfortunately, that vision of close air support remains in the future. As it stands, though the F-35 can fire its gun while flying, the software update needed to properly aim the gun remains elusive.
Lockheed Martin, the F-35's main contractor, says the software could come out as early as late 2017, but a recent report from the Government Accountability Office said it could take a full year, and millions in additional funding, to come around.
Watch the F-35B run and gun for the first time below:
After completing a round of trials with shipbuilders at Newport News Shipbuilding, the US Navy has its hands on the USS Gerald R. Ford, the futuristic new aircraft carrier that promises a new area of naval aviation.
Now, the Navy plans to send the Ford out to sea by Memorial Day for the first round of at-sea acceptance trials, the US Naval Institute reports.
These trials will only verify the findings of the ship's builders and test the basic motor functions of the boat, while more controversial elements of the ship won't be tested until after the Navy formally accepts delivery of the Ford.
The Ford's electromagnetic aircraft launch system, which has been plagued by development setbacks, has been criticized directly by President Donald Trump himself, who bashed the system in favor of the older, steam-powered system.
"You going to goddamned steam,"Trump told TIME.
But for now, the Ford just has to get through basic trials.
“I’m pretty confident right now in a good [acceptance trials] and a quick turn around to deliver the ship,” Sean Stackley, acting secretary of the Navy, told the US Naval Institute.
The Ford represents the first new US aircraft carrier design in 40 years with a whole host of new and expanded capabilities, like a nuclear power plant that generates three times the power of previous carriers to accommodate weapons of the future like laser or railguns.
Two Russian Su-24M attack jets made extremely close passes on a the HNLMS Evertsen, a Dutch air defense frigate, on Tuesday, according to the Dutch navy.
The Russian jets got within 200 meters of the ship, though it's not immediately clear if they were armed. The Dutch frigate has advanced radars and surface to air missiles, but the Dutch navy maintains it did not see the Russian jets as a threat.
Watch footage of the incident below:
In the event of an actual attack, it's likely that the Russian jets would have fired long range missiles without risking getting so close to the Evertsen, which is heavily armed.
Russian jets have a long history of menacing NATO ships in the Baltic sea, as the US Navy's USS Donald Cook guided-missile destroyer was repeatedly harassed with "simulated attacks" from Su-24s in the region in 2016.
At the time, retired US Navy Capt. Rick Hoffman described the passes as an annoyance, but not an act of war.
"You don’t get to kill people just because they’re being annoying," Hoffman told the Navy Times about the incident.