Pentagon denies US is about to ‘invade’ Egypt
July 14, 2013

The Pentagon and the US Embassy in Cairo have denied reports in the Egyptian media that an American task force in the Red Sea is preparing to “invade Egypt.”

Pentagon Press Secretary George Little took to Twitter on Saturday to say that such reports are “absolutely wrong,” ABC NEWS reported.

Some Egyptian press reports suggest US Navy ships are near Arabian Peninsula/Suez Canal to invade Egypt. Those reports are absolutely wrong.

— George Little (@PentagonPresSec) July 13, 2013

The US Embassy in Cairo issued a statement denying the reports.

“We deny false claims in Egyptian press that U.S. naval ships are in the vicinity of the Arabian Peninsula and the Suez Canal to militarily invade Egypt. The United States has forces regularly deployed in the vicinity of the Arabian Peninsula, and U.S. vessels regularly pass through the Suez Canal en route to the Indian Ocean or the Mediterranean Sea.”

Two US Navy vessels moved to Egypt’s Red Sea coast last week. Navy and Marine Corp officials, however, said there were no new orders to prepare for a possible conflict in Egypt.

The USS San Antonio, an amphibious transport dock, and the USS Kearsarge, an amphibious assault ship, had moved further north in the Red Sea several days before the two ships were deployed, according to Marine Corps Commandant General James Amos.

The presence of amphibious ships near the shore facilitates the movement of helicopters and other equipment.

The third ship in the group, the USS Carter Hall, has remained off the coast of Bahrain in the Gulf, Navy officials said.

U.S. Still Plans to Send F-16s to Egypt in Coming Weeks

A F-16 fighter jet belonging to the U.S. Air Force comes in for a landing at a U.S. air force base in Osan, south of Seoul April 3, 2013. REUTERS/Lee Jae-Won

A F-16 fighter jet belonging to the U.S. Air Force comes in for a landing at a U.S. air force base in Osan, south of Seoul April 3, 2013. REUTERS/Lee Jae-Won

(Reuters) – The United States still plans to go through with the delivery of four F-16 fighter jets to Egypt in the coming weeks, U.S. defense officials told Reuters on Wednesday, even after the Egyptian military’s ouster of President Mohamed Mursi.

The disclosure came as Washington treads a careful line, neither welcoming Mursi’s removal nor denouncing it as a “coup,” saying it needs time to weigh the situation.

A U.S. decision to brand his overthrow a coup would, by U.S. law, require Washington to halt aid to the Egyptian military, which receives the lion’s share of the $1.5 billion in annual U.S. assistance to that country.

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US Moving Ships, Radar Systems in Response to North Korean Threat

Published April 02, 2013

The Pentagon confirmed Tuesday that it is positioning an array of military assets near the Korean Peninsula, as the White House stressed that the “entire national security team” is focused on the escalating threats out of Pyongyang — with the latest being a pledge to restart a key nuclear reactor. 

Secretary of State John Kerry, speaking Tuesday at a news conference with the visiting foreign minister of South Korea, said recent belligerent rhetoric from North Korea is “unacceptable” and that the U.S. will defend itself, as well as South Korea and Japan, from any threat from the North.

The amount of hostile language from North Korea in recent weeks was “extraordinary,” Kerry said, adding that the isolated state should have no doubt that the U.S. will fulfill its treaty obligations to allies in the region.

Pentagon spokesman George Little said that two destroyer warships, the USS Decatur and USS McCain, have arrived in the region as part of a missile-defense mission. Previously, the Pentagon had only revealed that it had moved the USS McCain to the region. 

“They have arrived at predetermined positions in the western Pacific, where they will be poised to respond to any missile threats to our allies or our territory,” Little said Tuesday.

In addition, the Pentagon has already announced plans to have two sea-based radar systems in the western Pacific. One is already in northern Japan; the other has not yet deployed and is currently conducting non-North Korean related systems tests off Pearl Harbor. 

The system in Japan can serve to protect the Korean peninsula as well as threats to the western United States that originate from North Korea. 

“I am not going to get into specifics of where our assets are in South Korea or elsewhere, but we stand ready to defend South Korea from external threats, wherever they may originate,” Little said, while also calling for “the temperature to be taken down.” 

Meanwhile, U.S. officials on Tuesday condemned North Korea’s latest threat to restart a nuclear reactor that can make one bomb’s worth of plutonium a year. The plutonium reactor was shut down in 2007 as part of international nuclear disarmament talks that have since stalled. The declaration of a resumption of plutonium production — the most common fuel in nuclear weapons — and other facilities at the main Nyongbyon nuclear complex will boost fears in Washington and among its allies about North Korea’s timetable for building a nuclear-tipped missile that can reach the mainland U.S., technology it is not currently believed to have. 

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said it would be “extremely alarming” if North Korea followed through on the vow to restart the reactor, though added that there was “a long way to go” between the North stating an intention and following through on it. 

Nuland spoke ahead of a meeting between Secretary of State John Kerry and South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se. 

White House spokesman Jay Carney said the U.S. is taking steps to ensure it has the capacity to defend itself and its allies, and that President Obama is being updated regularly. 

“The entire national security team is obviously focused on this, as you would expect,” Carney said. 

But Carney noted that a string of threats from North Korea toward the U.S. and South Korea so far have not been backed up by action, calling the threats part of a counterproductive pattern. He called on Russia and China, two countries he said have influence on North Korea, to use that influence to persuade the North to change course. 

A spokesman for North Korea’s General Department of Atomic Energy said Tuesday scientists will quickly begin “readjusting and restarting” the facilities at its main Nyongbyon nuclear complex, including the plutonium reactor and a uranium enrichment plant. Both could produce fuel for nuclear weapons. 

Fox News’ Justin Fishel and The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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Russians Conduct Huge Nuke Drill

Russian nuclear forces hold large exercise involving movement of strategic and tactical warheads


Russian nuclear forces conducted a major exercise last month that tested the transport of both strategic and tactical nuclear weapons near Europe, according to United States officials.

The exercise raised concerns inside the Pentagon and with the U.S. European Command because it was the largest exercise of its kind in 20 years and involved heightened alert status of Russian nuclear forces.

The nuclear drills were part of other military maneuvers in Russia carried out between Feb. 17 and Feb. 21.

The exercises followed a recent surge in Russian strategic bomber flights that include a recent circling of the U.S. Pacific island of Guam by two Tu-95 Bear bomber and simulated bombing runs by Tu-95s against Alaska and California in June and July.

Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Wesley P. Miller sought to play down the nuclear exercise but declined to comment on the movement of nuclear weapons and whether nuclear forces went on a heightened state of alert. “We don’t comment on intelligence matters,” he said.

Miller said the nuclear forces maneuvers were “nothing to be concerned about because the Russians, like us, have routine exercises and inspections.”

However, a U.S. official said the exercise was a concern within the U.S. national security community because of the scale of the exercise and the number of weapons being moved. “Certainly it’s a concern when you have this kind of exercise going on,” this official said.

The official said another worry is that Russia appears to be increasing the readiness of its nuclear forces at a time when the U.S. nuclear complex is in urgent need of upgrading and the military is facing sharp automatic defense cuts that could affect U.S. nuclear forces readiness in the future.

Contractors and employees of the National Nuclear Security Administration, which runs the nuclear weapons complex, were notified of possible furloughs under automatic spending cuts that went into effect March 1, the Hill reportedThursday.

Miller said the administration remains committed to a safe, secure, and effective nuclear deterrent. “The administration will ensure continued focus on maintaining a strong nuclear deterrent as part of the president’s comprehensive approach to nuclear security,” under sequester, as the automatic spending cuts are called.

He quoted past Defense Secretary Leon Panetta as saying that no decisions on how cuts will be made but that “nothing will be off the table in our review of how best to proceed.”

According to the officials, the exercise involved Russia’s secretive 12th Main Directorate of the Defense Ministry, known by its acronym as 12th GUMO, the main military unit in charge of all nuclear weapons.

Details of the nuclear exercise are classified, but officials said the 12th GUMO transported a large number of nuclear arms from some of its nuclear munitions depots to storage sites during the exercises.

It could not be learned if the Russians provided advance notification of the strategic exercises.

Declassified U.S. intelligence reports have identified three large nuclear storage facilities near Europe, including one that is located miles from the intersection of the Rusisan, Latvian, and Belarusian borders. Two other nuclear storage complexes close to Europe are located at Zhukovka, near Belarus, and at Golovchino, near the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv.

The nuclear training coincided with the visit to Moscow by Rose Gottemoeller, acting undersecretary of state for arms control and international security, to discuss a new round of U.S.-Russian strategic arms talks.

The exercise did not come up during the meeting between Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Berlin Feb. 26.

Arms control experts say the Russians are required to notify the United States under the New START treaty of major strategic nuclear exercises that involve bomber flights.

It is not known whether the nuclear weapons were transported by air, rail, or truck during the 12th GUMO exercise.

Chief of the Russian General Staff Gen. Valery Gerasimov mentioned the nuclear exercise Feb. 22 when he said a surprise inspection of both conventional and nuclear forces was held.

Gerasimov said the exercises involved the 12th GUMO and the Central and Southern military districts and that they were the largest maneuvers of its kind in 20 years.

The drills began with orders for forces to go to “higher states of combat readiness and carry out combat training missions,” the website Russian Defense Policy reported. The exercises were also reported by the Voice of Russia and the Russian Defense Ministry website.

Several hundred pieces of equipment, 7,000 troops, and 48 aircraft took part, the general said.

The drills also involved moving forces to exercise areas far from normal deployment locations.

Gerasimov said the 98th Air-Assault Division at Ivanovo and the 4th Air Forces and Air Defense Command near Rostov performed well.

The troops were transported in IL-76 jets to an area near Chelyabinsk, which has large nuclear facilities, in difficult weather conditions.

Forces of a long-range aviation group and air defense also conducted bombing exercises and performed well, Gerasimov said.

The general did not say how the 12th GUMO fared in the exercises but said that overall “a number of systematic deficiencies in the state of combat readiness and lever of personnel training” were uncovered.

A 2008 State Department cable described the 12th GUMO as one of several key military units with direct control over nuclear weapons. “An attack or exploitation of any one of these could leave elements of the arsenal vulnerable,” the cable said. “While the impact on the U.S. might not be immediate, the danger of such elements falling into terrorists’ or extremists’ hands could pose a serious threat to the national security of the United States.”

Another cable said nine 12th GUMO sites were being modernized in 2008.



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Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner

Chinese general who threatened nuclear strike on U.S. visits Washington this week


A Chinese general who once threatened to use nuclear weapons against hundreds of U.S. cities will visit the Pentagon this week as part of a U.S.-China military exchange program.

Maj. Gen. Zhu Chenghu, who is head of China’s National Defense University, will take part in a  “familiarization exchange,” Maj. Catherine Wilkinson, a Pentagon spokeswoman, told the Free Beacon.

“The delegation will visit Hawaii and D.C.,” she said. “A military delegation from the U.S. Pacific Command will visit China later this year for a reciprocal exchange.”

Zhu will lead a group of 10 senior colonels from all branches of the Chinese military, Wilkinson said. She declined to provide the names of the officers.

Zhu is best known for inflammatory comments made to two foreign news reporters in 2005 when he said China would use nuclear weapons against the United States in any conflict over Taiwan.

A State Department spokesman at the time called the comments “highly irresponsible.”

“If the Americans draw their missiles and position [sic]-guided ammunition onto the target zone on China’s territory, I think we will have to respond with nuclear weapons,” Zhu told reporters for the Financial Times and the Asian edition of the Wall Street Journal, according to their July 14, 2005, editions.

The comments raised questions within the Pentagon about the sincerity of China’s policy of not being the first to use nuclear weapons in a conflict.

Zhu’s comments also were the most explicit statement of Chinese strategic intent since 1995 when another general, Xiong Guangkai, implicitly threatened to use nuclear arms against Los Angeles if the United States defended Taiwan in a conflict.

“If the Americans are determined to interfere … we will be determined to respond,” Zhu said.

“We Chinese will prepare ourselves for the destruction of all of the cities east of Xian [in central China]. Of course the Americans will have to be prepared that hundreds … of cities will be destroyed by the Chinese,” he said.

Then-State Department spokesman Sean McCormack criticized Zhu’s comments as “highly irresponsible.”

“We hope that these are not the views of the Chinese government,” he said. “The United States is not a threat to China. We have a broad and deep relationship in which we try to work closely with the Chinese government on a variety of issues, and I think that the remarks from that one individual are unfortunate.”

Wilkinson said Zhu was speaking personally and that “we agree with Sean McCormack’s response [to reporters] in 2005 that while the remarks are highly irresponsible, we do not believe they reflect the official view of the Chinese government. General Zhu said that they were his personal remarks, not official policy.”

Chinese spokesman later claimed the comments did not reflect official policy. However, the Pentagon’s latest annual report on China’s military stated that China has not clarified its policy.

Sen. James Inhofe (R., Okla.), the ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said Zhu’s visit is an opportunity to learn more about China’s nuclear weapons intentions that “have long been inscrutable to experts in the United States.”

“We do know, as the congressionally mandated U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission reported last year, that ‘China has assumed a more muscular nuclear posture, which ongoing improvements will continue to enhance,’” Inhofe said in a statement to the Free Beacon.

“Before the President reaches out to Russia for yet another round of U.S. nuclear reductions, we should know more about how such reductions will affect the nuclear balance with China,” he said.

Zhu’s comments called into question the stated Chinese policy of not being the first nation to use nuclear weapons in a conflict. Zhu said the no-first-use policy did not apply to nuclear-armed states. He said the policy was limited to nonnuclear states and could be changed.

The Pentagon’s 2012 report to Congress on China’s military stated, “There has been no clarification of the ambiguity regarding the conditions under which China’s [no-first-use] policy might not apply or where conditional nuclear threats might be permissible.”

The 2011 annual report said it is possible that China’s military considers “demonstration [nuclear] strikes, or high altitude [nuclear] bursts” as permissible under its doctrine. It also said it is unclear whether Chinese doctrine allows the use of nuclear weapons in response to a conventional strike that threatened its nuclear forces or the communist regime, as Zhu stated in 2005.

Zhu also is a signatory to the Global Zero anti-nuclear manifesto that became a central issue during the Senate nomination battle over Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. Hagel helped author a major study for the international anti-nuclear weapons group that called for radical denuclearization, including possibly unilateral U.S. nuclear cuts.

Hagel came under fire from several Republicans who said his nuclear views were outside the mainstream of U.S. national security policy. He sought to distance himself from the Global Zero report but remained one of the group’s signatories, along with Zhu.

Chinese government spokesmen later sought to clarify Zhu’s 2005 remarks as his personal comments.

However, China specialists say no Chinese general would make such personal comments for fear of being fired.

Zhu was neither reprimanded nor fired after the comments, an indication his remarks reflected official military policy.

Wilkinson, the Pentagon spokeswoman, did not respond when asked if officials had reservations about inviting a Chinese general who threatened nuclear strikes against the United States.

However, former State Department official John Tkacik, a China affairs specialist, said Zhu’s comments in 2005 undermined Beijing’s public nuclear policy and was authorized the Central Military Commission, the ultimate power organ in communist-ruled China.

Zhu also was never penalized for the comments and in fact was later promoted, Tkacik said.

“Gen. Zhu’s propensity to threaten nuclear war against adversaries without regard for China’s supposed commitment to ‘no first use,’ his subsequent military promotions and his continued prolixity in China’s official communist party media should be a clear signal to American policy-makers that Chinese state policy is to use nuclear weapons as an instrument of intimidation,” Tkacik said in an email.

Zhu’s visit is part of the Pentagon’s unrestricted military exchange program that critics say has benefited China’s military buildup in the past by providing key warfighting advice, despite congressional restrictions that prohibit the exchange of any information with Chinese military visitors that could undermine U.S. security.

Legislation was passed as part of the 2000 Defense Authorization Act that limited Chinese exchanges to sites and information that did not boost Chinese power projection capabilities or nuclear forces.

However, the Pentagon has largely ignored the law and frequently provided access to sensitive U.S. military facilities, including war game experimentation centers.

The legislation was passed after China learned a key vulnerability of U.S. aircraft carriers during one visit in the late 1990s.

According to defense officials, a Chinese military visitor asked a U.S. Navy officer where the most vulnerable point of a carrier is located. He was told that it underneath the ship near its ammunition magazine.

Months after the disclosure, China was detected by U.S. intelligence agencies purchasing high-technology wake-homing torpedoes from Russia that can dive beneath a ship and strike underneath.


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