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Author: TriSec    Date: 04/25/2017 09:51:36

Good Morning.

Ready for war? The Trump Administration continues to take swings at the North Korean Hornet's Nest - eventually they'll connect, and then all bets are off after that.

WASHINGTON — It may not be “far more powerful than the aircraft carrier” — as President Trump said in a recent interview, but a well-armed U.S. submarine has arrived in Korea.

The Ohio-class guided-missile submarine Michigan pulled in to the South Korean port of Busan Tuesday for what the U.S. Navy called a "routine visit."

"During the visit sailors will experience the culture and history of the ROK [Republic of Korea], as well as foster outstanding relations between the U.S. Navy, ROK military and the local Busan community," the U.S. Navy said in a press release.

But the arrival of the Michigan is a significant addition to U.S. naval forces gathering in the Sea of Japan and elsewhere off the Korean Peninsula in response to rising tensions in the area due to a series of ballistic missile tests carried out by North Korea. The aircraft carrier Carl Vinson and its strike group, now accompanied by two Japanese destroyers, also is expected to reach the area in a day or so.

The Michigan may have been what Trump was referring to April 11 when, in an interview with the Fox Business Network, he described US forces heading for the region.

“We are sending an armada, very powerful,” Trump told Maria Bartiromo. “We have submarines, very powerful, far more powerful than the aircraft carrier. That I can tell you.”

The Michigan is one of four missile and special operations submarines converted from Ohio-class ballistic missile submarines, designated SSGN. While they no longer carry ballistic missiles, the SSGNs carry up to 154 Tomahawk cruise missiles and other weapons and gear in the former ballistic missile tubes.

But that's not all. We've been glaring at Eastern Europe and their Soviet Masters for decades - even though the geography has changed, I'd have to state that the geopolitics hasn't changed that much. So naturally we're poking at the Russian Bear these days, too. But to quote a naive farm boy from a long time ago and a galaxy far, far, away..."What a piece of junk!"

WASHINGTON — U.S. Air Force F-35s will reportedly arrive in Estonia on Tuesday, putting the service’s newest jet fighter even closer to Russia’s doorstep, according to an Estonian media report.

An undisclosed number of F-35As are heading to Ämari Air Base in Estonia, and, after landing on Tuesday, will be in the country for “several weeks” to conduct training flights with aircraft from the U.S. and allied militaries, the Estonian public broadcaster ERR stated in a report Monday.

A spokesman for the Air Force declined to confirm the deployment to Defense News, stating that any information on the F-35s' movements will be available only after they have landed.

The Air Force’s version of the joint strike fighter is in the throes of its first international training deployment. Eight F-35As from the active-duty 34th Fighter Squadron and Reserve 466th Fighter Squadron have deployed from Hill Air Force Base in Utah to RAF Lakenheath since April 15.

The F-35’s trip to Europe is being conducted under the auspices of the European Reassurance Initiative — the Defense Department’s buzzword for a series of exercises and training opportunities with NATO allies meant to signal strength to Russia and improve interoperability.

But of course, this is just Bread and Circuses to deflect attention from the rapidly-looming Government Shutdown. Current funding runs out at midnight on Friday. In this adversarial environment, we've been playing brinkmanship for as long as I can remember, so it's probable that something will happen during the day on Friday. But given the anti-government stance of the current administration, who knows? Maybe they'll let the whole works collapse this time around. There is a simplistic list of what this means for you. But remember, veterans are affected too. This handy guide dates back to 2013, but I'd presume the impact wouldn't be too different when it happens again.

At IAVA we’ve heard from a number of veterans concerned about the impact of a possible government shutdown. The following information is based on the latest guidance from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). We will update as new information becomes available.

The federal government has officially shut down, leaving just enough resources to cover the essential services of the government. While veterans may be more protected than other constituencies, a government shutdown does not bode well for top priorities within the veterans’ community.

Hell of a way to run a country, isn't it?


51 comments (Latest Comment: 04/25/2017 21:06:55 by Will in Chicago)
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