LeftNavBar_Background_Color_Bar Go to Home Page of Your Historical News Source Your Are Here: Home > Coverage of National Security Issues See where Bill stands on the issues Take a look at Video Clips of Bill talking about the issues National Security Issues Coverage of Foreign Policy Issues Coverage of Foreign Policy Issues Coverage of Foreign Policy Issues Coverage of Foreign Policy Issues Coverage of Foreign Policy Issues Coverage of Foreign Policy Issues Coverage of Foreign Policy Issues Visit Bill's Facebook Page Tweet Bill from his Twitter Page You may use anything on this site provided attribution is included You may use anything on this site provided attribution is included Contact Sarge TableContents
National Security Issues
A Chronology of News Coverage

November 13, 2018: CNN NewsRussia jams GPS during NATO exercises
The Russian military jammed GPS signals during a major NATO military exercise in Norway that involved thousands of US and NATO troops, the alliance said Wednesday, citing the Norwegian government.  A US defense official told CNN that the jamming had "little or no affect" on US military assets during the NATO exercise.

The NATO exercise, Trident Juncture, concluded Sunday and involved some 50,000 personnel. It was labeled the alliance's largest exercise since the Cold War. Non-NATO members Finland and Sweden also participated in the exercise.  A NATO spokesperson said "Norway has determined that Russia was responsible for jamming GPS signals in the Kola Peninsula during Exercise Trident Juncture. Finland has expressed concern over possible jamming in Lapland…  …In view of the civilian usage of GPS, jamming of this sort is dangerous, disruptive and irresponsible," she added.

In May 2017 Sarge started exploring a run for Texas Congressional District 14 against an incumbent who had served in public office for twelve years. Then in August 2017 he announced he was running (See his campaign Website). Starting in May 2017 this website was put in "mothballs" until after the campaign was over. In September 2018 after loosing his primary challenge, Sarge restarted this summary of current news stories.

April 19, 2017: Stars and Stripes: Army tests drone killing laser system
As Islamic State-piloted commercial drones complicate the offensive in Mosul, sending Iraqi troops scattering as grenades and bomblets rain down, the Army has field tested vehicle-based lasers to combat the growing threat of enemy eyes in the sky.  Infantry-carrying Stryker vehicles mounted with the Mobile High Energy Laser, a 5-kilowatt beam that scrambles the circuits of drones, took part in demonstrations at the Maneuver Fires Integration Experiment at Fort Sill in Oklahoma, a 10-day exercise that ended last week.  The system includes radar detection and a camera to visually track aircraft on a screen, where an operator targets the drone with the laser. A “hard kill” will disable the drone mid-flight and send it crashing to the ground, the Army said. A “soft kill” occurs when the laser severs the communications link between the drone and its ground control station.

April 15: Yahoo.Com: Mother of All Bombs Death Toll Rises
Afghan authorities Saturday reported a jump in fatalities from the American military's largest non-nuclear bomb, declaring some 90 Islamic State fighters dead, as US-led ground forces sought to advance on their mountain hideouts.  The unprecedented attack triggered global shock waves, with some condemning the use of Afghanistan as what they called a testing ground for the weapon, and against a militant group that is not considered a threat as big as the resurgent Taliban.  "At least 92 Daesh (IS) fighters were killed in the bombing," Achin district governor Esmail Shinwari said, adding that three tunnels that sheltered the insurgents had been destroyed.  American and Afghan ground forces were slowly advancing on the mountainous area, which is blanketed with landmines, to clear the site, but there were still some pockets of resistance from insurgents.

April 15: Fox News:
Trump give Generals in the field more command and control in decision making

U.S. military commanders are stepping up their fight against Islamist extremism as President Donald Trump’s administration urges them to make more battlefield decisions on their own.  As the White House works on a broad strategy, America’s top military commanders are implementing the vision articulated by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis: Decimate Islamic State’s Middle East strongholds and ensure that the militants don’t establish new beachheads in places such as Afghanistan.

“There’s nothing formal, but it is beginning to take shape,” a senior U.S. defense official said Friday. “There is a sense among these commanders that they are able to do a bit more—and so they are.”  While military commanders complained about White House micromanagement under former President Barack Obama, they are now being told they have more freedom to make decisions without consulting Mr. Trump. Military commanders around the world are being encouraged to stretch the limits of their existing authorities when needed, but to think seriously about the consequences of their decisions.

April 7: Fox News: Timeline of US strike on Syria in response to chemical weapons use
- Tuesday 10:30 a.m. ET: Trump told of suspected use of chemical weapons – initial options developed
- Tuesday at 8 p.m.: Preliminary options “presented and refined.” 
- Wednesday at 3 p.m.: Trump briefed on updated options including options for strikes on Syria.
- Thursday at 4 p.m.: Trump, Secretary Tillerson, Secretary Mattis, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster met in a secure room in Palm Beach. The president “gave the okay” to move ahead. This decision was made at about 4:30 p.m.
- Thursday at 7:40 p.m.: Navy destroyers in the Mediterranean launched Tomahawk missiles into Syria.
- Thursday at 8:30 p.m.: Foreign leaders and congressional leaders started to be notified. Around that time, the first missiles were hitting.

April 3: Fox News: Susan Rice: Unmasked Trump Transition Team Members
Multiple sources tell Fox News that Susan Rice, former national security adviser under then-President Barack Obama, requested to unmask the names of Trump transition officials caught up in surveillance.   The unmasked names, of people associated with Donald Trump, were then sent to all those at the National Security Council, some at the Defense Department, then-Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and then-CIA Director John Brennan – essentially, the officials at the top, including former Rice deputy Ben Rhodes. The names were part of incidental electronic surveillance of candidate and President-elect Trump and people close to him, including family members, for up to a year before he took office. It was not clear how Rice knew to ask for the names to be unmasked, but the question was being posed by the sources late Monday. 

March 31: Fox News: Intelligence Official who released Flynn’s Name is high ranking
The U.S. intelligence official who “unmasked,” or exposed, the names of multiple private citizens affiliated with the Trump team is someone “very well known, very high up, very senior in the intelligence world,” a source said on Friday.   For a private citizen to be “unmasked,” or named, in an intelligence report is extremely rare. Typically, the American is a suspect in a crime, is in danger or has to be named to explain the context of the report.
“The main issue in this case, is not only the unmasking of these names of private citizens, but the spreading of these names for political purposes that have nothing to do with national security or an investigation into Russia’s interference in the U.S. election,” a congressional source close to the investigation told Fox News. 

March 6: The Washington ExaminerCan the U.S. shoot down North Korean missiles?
After North Korea test-fired its latest medium-range ballistic missile last month, the Pentagon responded with a bold boast: If the missile had targeted the United States, Japan, South Korea or any other ally, the U.S. would have blasted it out of the sky.  "We maintain abilities to be able to respond quickly and intercept missiles from North Korea if they do pose a threat to us or our allies," said Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman.  That is no idle threat, insists Chris Johnson, spokesman for the Missile Defense Agency.  "We are absolutely confident in the system," Johnson said. "Based on our history of testing, we are confident that the system would be able to defend the United States."

March 6: ReutersU.S. Navy ship changes course to avoid Iranian vessel
Multiple fast-attack vessels from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps came close to a U.S. Navy ship in the Strait of Hormuz on Saturday, forcing it to change direction, a U.S. official told Reuters on Monday.  The official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the IRGCN boats came within 600 yards of the USNS Invincible, a tracking ship, and stopped. The Invincible was being accompanied by three ships from British Royal Navy and forced the formation to change course. The official said attempts were made to communicate over radio, but there was no response and the interaction was "unsafe and unprofessional."

February 23: McClathyDC: U.S. Military Considers Putting Troops in Syria
The top U.S. military officer declined repeatedly on Thursday to rule out committing U.S. ground troops to battle the Islamic State in Syria, stressing that the Pentagon will present President Donald Trump with “a full range of options” to combat the terror organization.  Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, made the comments at a Washington research center as the 30 days that President Donald Trump gave military leaders to develop a strategy to fight the Islamic State are almost up.  “I’m in the business of providing the president with options,” Dunford said several times at the Brookings Institute in Washington, D.C. when repeatedly pressed on whether those choices would include conventional ground troops.

February 22: The UK Daily Mail: U.S. Nuclear Sniffer Plane Flies to Norway
A US Air Force 'sniffer' plane which took off from Sussex today was on a mission to find evidence of nuclear activity or explosion, according to strong rumors.  The WC-135 Constant Phoenix, which is specially modified to collect atmospheric samples, flew out of RAF Mildenhall on operational sorties.  The specialist equipment enables the crew to detect radioactive debris 'clouds' in real time is believed to be heading towards northern Europe and the Barents Sea. News of the deployment comes amid claims Russia may be testing nuclear weapons, either to the east or in the arctic, after a spike in radioactivity was reported. 

According to spotters a second 'spy' plane was also deployed from Mildenhall.  It is not the first time the Constant Phoenix has visited the British airbase, but the latest deployment reflects growing concern about an alleged spike in iodine levels recorded in northern Europe.

February 21: Fox News: Military branches draft expansion plans to rebuild depleted force
From the Air Force to the Army, America's military service branches are busy preparing ambitious proposals to expand, as President Trump renews his pledge to rebuild a fighting force he says has become "depleted." "Our country will never have had a military like the military we're about to build and rebuild,” Trump said at last week’s press conference. “It won't be depleted for long."   The president made sent a fresh signal of his intentions with his choice for national security adviser, Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster – who for months has sounded the alarm about the declining state of the U.S. Army.

As part of a proposed expansion, the Navy also wants 82 more ships and submarines, a 30 percent increase in the size of the fleet.  Last month, Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Robert Neller said he wants to increase his force by 3,000 Marines.  But increasing the ranks is only part of the plan.  Currently, half of the U.S. Navy F-18 Hornets can't fly, and up to 75 percent of Marine Corps jets are grounded.
 
February 19: USA Today: U.S. Carrier Deployed to the South China Sea
The United States deployed aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson to patrol the increasingly contentious South China Sea on Saturday despite Beijing’s warnings not to challenge its sovereignty in the resource-rich sea. In a statement, the Navy described the launch as the beginning of “routine operations” in the South China Sea. China claims most of the sea as its own, despite overlapping territorial and jurisdictional claims from the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei. On Wednesday, China's Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang denounced advance news of the deployment at a news conference.

Some 30% of global maritime trade passes through the South China Sea each year, worth $5.3 trillion, according to a 2015 Department of Defense report. The waters are also key fishing resources and are rich in oil and natural gas reserves.

February 18: Yahoo News: Russia seeks new world order as U.S. vows loyalty to NATO and Allies
Russia Saturday called for an end to what it said was an outdated world order dominated by the West after US Vice President Mike Pence pledged Washington's "unwavering" commitment to transatlantic allies in NATO.  Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov offered a diametrically opposed global vision, just hours after Pence vowed to stand with Europe to rein in a resurgent Moscow.

"I hope that (the world) will choose a democratic world order -- a post-West one -- in which each country is defined by its sovereignty," said Lavrov. The time when the West called the shots was over while NATO was a relic of the Cold War, he said.

February 17: Fox News: F-15s scrambled to incept unresponsive
aircraft in air near Trump’s West Palm Beach location

Two F-15s caused a ‘sonic boom’ as they raced from their base in Homestead, Fla., Friday to intercept an unresponsive general aviation aircraft that flew near Palm Beach during a stay by President Trump at Mar-a-Lago.  The jets flew at supersonic speeds and residents were startled by the loud boom, the North American Aerospace Defense Command, NORAD, said in a statement. The two fighters were able to establish communication with the aircraft. This incident occured at about 7 p.m. ET.  No further details were immediately available.

"The intent of military intercepts is to have the identified aircraft re-establish communications with local FAA air traffic controllers and instruct the pilot to follow air traffic controllers' instructions to land safely for follow-on action," the statement read.

February 17: The Daily Mail:
X-37B USAF Secret Space Plane may be sent to land after two years in space:

One of the most mysterious craft ever to be flown by the US military has been in orbit for almost two years.  The X-37B space plane, an experimental program run by the Air Force, launched atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket on May 20, 2015.  Now, experts claim it may be about to finally return to Earth - almost two years later.

'The historic Shuttle Landing Facility at the Florida spaceport is preparing to once again host an end of mission landing as the Air Force's X-37B mini spaceplane prepares to return from a near two year mission on orbit,' nasaspaceflight.com said.  However, the Air Force claimed the movement was simply a test exercise, meaning the mission continues.  'The X-37 is still on-orbit.

February 15: The Daily Mail
Flynn torpedoed by partisans who leaked top secret intelligence information

President Donald Trump said Wednesday that his recently resigned National Security Advisor Michael Flynn was torpedoed by partisans who 'illegally leaked' intelligence material in order to harm him.  Appearing in a joint press conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Trump said 'the fake media' had fomented a scandal that wouldn't exist but for angry Democrats who were acting out in the wake of an embarrassing loss in November's presidential election.   “General Flynn is a wonderful man,” Trump said. “'I think he's been treated very, very unfairly by the media – as I call it, the fake media, in many cases.”  The leaking of intelligence information is a criminal violation.

February 14: The Week: Spies take down National Security Advisor Flynn -- Worrying
The United States may be much better off without Michael Flynn serving as national security adviser. But no one should be cheering the way he was brought down.  The whole episode is evidence of the precipitous and ongoing collapse of America's democratic institutions — not a sign of their resiliency. Flynn's ouster was a soft coup  engineered by anonymous intelligence community bureaucrats.  Unelected intelligence analysts work for the president, not the other way around. Far too many Trump critics appear not to care that these intelligence agents leaked highly sensitive information to the press — mostly because Trump critics are pleased with the result.

February 4: L.A. Times: China lashes out at Secretary of Defense over South China Sea
The U.S. is putting regional stability in East Asia at risk, a Chinese spokesman said Saturday following remarks by President Trump's Defense secretary that a U.S. commitment to defend Japanese territory applies to an island group that China claims.  China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman called on the U.S. to avoid discussion of the issue and reasserted China's claim of sovereignty over the tiny uninhabited islands, known in Japanese as the Senkaku and Chinese as Diaoyu.

February 4: Fox News: Iran holds military exercises – Defies U.S. Sanctions
In apparent defiance of the new sanctions imposed by the Trump administration, Iran held a military exercise Saturday to test missile and radar systems.   The aim of the exercise, held in Semnan province, was to “showcase the power of Iran’s revolution and to dismiss the sanctions,”  Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards website said, according to Reuters.   The military drill comes a day after the White House imposed sanctions on Tehran for a recent ballistic missile test.

February 3: Fox News: China’s Trump Card:  Could they deploy it?
Candidate Donald Trump promised to bring jobs back to America, rebuild our military, and on trade get tough with China, which he said was “raping” our economy. President Trump may find his administration the victim of exactly the job-exporting policies he railed against and face the very real possibility that China could cut off U.S. access to 17 rare materials vital to our advanced aircraft and guided missile systems.

Among major U.S. military projects imperiled by a potential China squeeze play is a $340 billion Navy program to create new, Columbia-class nuclear submarines, and a new electro-magnetic aircraft launch (EMAL) system, which the Navy hopes to use for catapults that launch planes from aircraft carriers.  The 17 materials, known as rare earth elements (REE), are essential to the production of the high-performance permanent magnets used in both those systems.   For precisely the reasons Candidate Trump cited for the decline of American manufacturing and the loss of U.S. jobs, China is now in a position to cut off our supply of processed REE if it feels Trump is pushing too hard on trade and economic issues—or anything else.

January 17: McClatchy News: Obama Does U Turn on National Security Leaks
With barely 72 hours left in office, President Obama Tuesday did an abrupt U-turn on his years-long assault on government leaks and showed leniency toward two military figures who’d helped make public highly sensitive secrets. Both Democrats and Republicans said they were bewildered – even angered – by Obama’s commutation of the 35-year prison term of Chelsea Manning, the former Army intelligence specialist who turned over some 700,000 classified and sensitive diplomatic documents to the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks.

Obama also pardoned retired Marine Gen. James Cartwright, the former vice-chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff who pleaded guilty to lying to federal investigators when he denied that he revealed to the New York Times the existence of a highly classified campaign to cripple Iran’s nuclear program with a computer worm. The Stuxnet virus crippled Iran’s delicate nuclear equipment and was the first major use in history of a digital weapon.

January 16: Reuters: U.S. Marines Deploy to Norway; Russians Not Happy!
Some 300 U.S. Marines landed in Norway on Monday for a six-month deployment, the first time since World War Two that foreign troops have been allowed to be stationed there, in a deployment which has irked Norway's Arctic neighbor Russia.  Officials played down any link between the operation and NATO concerns over Russia, but the deployment coincides with the U.S. sending several thousand troops to Poland to beef up its Eastern European allies worried about Moscow's assertiveness. 

Marines from Camp Lejeune in North Carolina landed at a snow-covered Vaernes airport near Trondheim, Norway's third-largest city.  U.S. troops are to stay in Norway for a year, with the current batch of Marines being replaced after their six-month tour is complete.

January 6: Fox NewsNew Army Regs: Turbans etc. are now acceptable headgear:
The U.S. Army has issued a directive on grooming and appearance regulations that allows observant Sikh men and conservative Muslim women to wear religious head coverings. The policy, announced Tuesday, also permits Sikh soldiers to maintain their beards and female soldiers to wear their hair in dreadlocks. "The Army has reviewed its policies to ensure soldiers can serve in a manner consistent with their faith so that we can recruit from the broadest pool of America's best," Army Secretary Eric Fanning said in a statement.

SEE THE SUMMARIES FROM 2016

 
 
 
2