The US military is putting this vital force that carries troops and tanks into a major war to the test like never before
- The US military is currently conducting a massive sealift stress test during which ships will flex atrophied muscles needed to fight a great power conflict.
- US Transportation Command (TRANSCOM), which oversees important military logistics activities, launched the large-scale "Turbo Activiation" sealift readiness exercise on Monday, the command announced in a statement Tuesday.
- While these exercises, which began in 1994, typically include only a handful of ships, the latest iteration will involve 28 vessels from the US Navy's Military Sealift Command (MSC) and TRANSCOM's Maritime Administration (MARAD) Ready Reserve Force.
- These vessels are "maintained in a reserve status in the event that the Department of Defense needs these ships to support the rapid, massive movement of military supplies and troops for a military exercise or large-scale conflict," TRANSCOM explained in a statement.
Saudi Arabia appears to have been powerless to stop the oil-field attack because of its antiquated air defenses and internal dysfunction
- Analysis of the Saudi oil facilities hit over the weekend in an attack by drones and cruise missiles suggests that the defenses used around the sites were inadequate and out-of-date.
- This, coupled with the notoriously poor coordination between overlapping parts of the Saudi defense apparatus, appear to explain why the attack was so successful despite the considerable resources deployed to stop it happening.
- Imagery of the Abqaiq processing site, and nearby Khurais oil field, seems to show only an elderly French missile system and a handful of anti aircraft guns, according to an assessment by a US defense expert.
- Such defenses would not stand a chance against a swarm of cheap cruise missiles, which US officials have characterized as the most likely mode of attack.
- Considering Saudi Arabia's position as the world's third-largest purchaser of weapons systems, the arsenal at Abqaiq, where at least 17 missiles hit targets, were decidedly low-tech.
Guantanamo Bay only has 40 prisoners left, and they cost the US more than a half-billion dollars a year
- As reporter Carole Rosenberg wrote in The New York Times on Monday, the total cost in 2018 for housing just 40 prisoners, paying the guards, and running the military tribunals there is somewhere north of $540 million, or roughly $13 million per prisoner.
- This has also brought in a windfall for at least some civilian defense attorneys, whom the Pentagon pays for the special skills in navigating death penalty cases.
- Despite military judges ordering the non-disclosure of how much is being paid to defense attorneys at Guantánamo, NPR got its hands on a document showing that some bill roughly $500,000 a year.
- Still, as Rosenberg notes, the costs are rising despite the falling number of prisoners.
- Factor in the age of some of the prisoners still there and the medical care they'll eventually need, and it's easy to see the $13 million figure going even higher.
NFL POWER RANKINGS: Where every team stands going into Week 3
- One thing to know: Jets defensive coordinator Gregg Williams made headlines last week for challenging a reporter's claim that superstar wide receiver was a "dynamic playmaker." Odell made him pay for his comment, going off for 161 yards and a touchdown in a Monday night rout.
- One thing to know: Matt Ryan found Julio Jones on a critical fourth-down completion to score what would prove the game-winning touchdown for the Falcons on Sunday night.
- One thing to know: Lamar Jackson remains one of the three hottest quarterbacks in the league to start the season, with nearly 600 total yards, 7 touchdowns, 0 interceptions, and a 145 passer rating.
- One thing to know: Wide receiver Cooper Kupp proved he's all the way back from his injury with an astounding 67-yard catch and run that ended just short of a touchdown.
Video: DOD pulls plug on Boeing/Raytheon missile interceptor program
- While the Missile Defense Agency's Ground-based Midcourse Defense System (GMD) and the Navy's Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense system have shown some promise in testing, there are still some weaknesses in those systems that could be exploited by an attacker—including the use of multiple decoys to soak up attempted intercepts.
- That was the rationale behind the Redesigned Kill Vehicle (RKV), a $1 billion program intended to create the US military’s next ballistic missile interceptor.
- The RKV was intended to build on the Exo-Atmospheric Kill Vehicle, or EKV, currently deployed as part of the Missile Defense Agency’s Ground-based Midcourse Defense System.
- Meanwhile, the US Navy will deploy a new Aegis Ashore missile defense system in Poland by the end of the year, and it's looking at potential deployments in Guam and Hawaii.
There is growing buzz about the Patriots pulling off a perfect season
- The reinstatement of Josh Gordon and addition of Antonio Brown has given Tom Brady two explosive receivers to play alongside steady contributors like Julian Edelman, James White, and Sony Michel.
- If the Patriots don't allow the New York Jets to score a touchdown in Week 3 (and the Jets may be starting third-string quarterback Luke Falk), they'll be the first team since the 1937 Chicago Bears to not allow a touchdown in their first three games.
- According to Barnwell, the ESPN tool Football Power Index gives the Patriots a 30.1% chance of making it to the second half of the season undefeated.
- Their schedule toughens up significantly over the second half of the season as they play the Baltimore Ravens, Philadelphia Eagles, Dallas Cowboys, Kansas City Chiefs, and Houston Texans.
- But according to Cassel, it was a competitive game, and Belichick left his starters in to secure the win and an undefeated season.
Pentagon halts plans to build extra 20 miles of border wall, citing insufficient funds
- The move appears to be a setback for President Donald Trump, who has sparked controversy for dipping into Pentagon funds to build his signature border wall, though it's unclear what will happen to the projects listed in the filing.
- Although then-acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan had earlier approved some 135 miles of fencing requested by the Department of Homeland Security in the Yuma, El Paso and Tucson sectors, the cost of constructing that section of the border wall was less than originally anticipated, freeing up funds to support the additional 20 miles approved by Esper.
- In July, the Supreme Court cleared the way for the Trump administration to use $2.5 billion from the Defense Department to construct parts of a wall along the southwestern border that the government argues is necessary to protect national security.
If US claims of how the Saudi oil attack went down are true, then its failure to prevent it is a huge embarrassment
- One former US Navy officer, who deployed to the Persian Gulf region twice to operate air defense systems, said it would be nearly impossible for the US not to notice the attack as it happened, or attempt to intercept the weapons.
- However, experts say that such a strike launched out of Iran should create plenty of hard evidence, via records from regional radar and air defense systems.
- Multiple experts speaking on background characterized the US presence in the area as having three main goals: defending US military bases, keeping the Persian Gulf open to shipping, and defending Saudi oil facilities from attack.
- There has been no evidence that US or Saudi radar systems picked up the incoming attack or that either military attempted to intercept the missiles before they struck the facilities.
Here’s why Raytheon could be the biggest beneficiary of the Saudi oil attack
- US defense contractor Raytheon could benefit the most in the industry from the Saudi oil attack, according to Sheila Kahyoaglu of Jefferies.
- Saudi Arabia — which accounts for 5% of Raytheon's total sales — has the largest defense budget in the Middle East, where spending correlates with oil.
- Per year, the country spends $52 billion on defense, making it the fifth-largest market in the world.
- Raytheon has also had the most foreign military sales to the Middle East this year, and brought in $37 billion from the region in the last six.
- The nature of the attack "also points to the importance of short range protection, which supports ongoing tailwinds for international military spending," Kahyoaglu wrote.
- Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrup Grumman, L3Harris Technologies, General Dynamics, and Textron have all sell to foreign militaries in the Middle East.
After another blown call went against the Saints, one player blasted the 'Foot Locker' refs
- Cameron Jordan recovered the ball for the Saints and delivered it 87 yards to the end zone, seemingly giving the Saints a 9-3 lead.
- Except the officials blew the whistle while the play was in motion, ruling it an incomplete pass.
- Officials reviewed the play and correctly ruled it a fumble, but the damage was done when the whistles were blown.
- By calling an incomplete pass on the field, the ball was marked as a dead ball, which means Jordan's return did not count.
- Despite the whistle being blown, players on the field continued as usual, attempting to chase Jordan down as he raced to the end zone.
- While the Saints were awarded the ball at their own 13-yard line, they did not score a touchdown and went on to lose 27-9.