5 Things to Start Your Week

The aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson transits the Sunda Strait on April 14, 2017 in Indonesia. (U.S. Navy via Getty Images)
The aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson transits the Sunda Strait on April 14, 2017 in Indonesia. (U.S. Navy via Getty Images)

Here are five stories and events to start your week:

Carrier Strike Group Poised to Arrive Near Korea

The USS Carl Vinson strike group is poised to arrive near South Korea. As concerns over a potential North Korean nuclear weapons test continue to mount in the Asia-Pacific region, Vice President Mike Pence said, "With regard to the USS Carl Vinson carrier group, our expectation is that they will be in the Sea of Japan, in position, in a matter of days before the end of this month," according to Stars and Stripes. His comments came Saturday at a joint news conference with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, according to the publication. Watch for Navy Admiral Harry Harris, the head of Pacific Command, to discuss the issue this week on Capitol Hill.

Mattis Heads to Afghanistan After Deadly Assault

U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis arrived in Afghanistan on Monday, just days after Taliban launched one of its deadliest attacks of the Afghan war. The militants targeted Camp Shaheen, an Afghan army corps base in the northern part of the country, inflicting heavy casualties in an ongoing battle near the city of Mazar-i-Sharif, U.S. Central Command said Friday. At least 160 Afghans were reportedly killed, The New York Times reported Sunday. Some 6,700 of Afghanistan's roughly 320,000-member security forces were killed last year and more than 12,000 were wounded, a record, the newspaper reported.

After US Drops 'Frankenbomb' on Afghanistan, Questions Linger

Via Oriana Pawlyk of Military.com: Questions remain over the future use and cost of the GBU-43 Massive Ordnance Air Blast (MOAB) -- nicknamed "mother of all bombs" -- dropped April 13 on an ISIS tunnel complex in eastern Afghanistan. Experts have questioned MOAB's estimated price tag of $170,000. In terms of explosive yield, a B-52 bomb load can pack the same punch, if not more. And the Air Force has a limited supply of the munitions, which were built in-house with various pieces and parts shortly after the war in Afghanistan began in 2001. "It's basically a frankenbomb," one official said.

Navy Renews Flight Restrictions on T-45 Trainers After New Incident

Via Hope Hodge Seck of Military.com: Less than a day after T-45 Goshawk instructor pilots took to the air after a 12-day safety grounding, two pilots reported headaches and oxygen deprivation issues during a single flight, Military.com has learned. In light of the incident, the Navy has doubled down on altitude restrictions, limiting instructor pilots to 5,000 feet and less than two Gs of force. Cmdr. Jeannie Groeneveld, a spokeswoman for Naval Air Forces, told Military.com the incident took place near the previous safety-restricted altitude of 10,000 feet, when a senior instructor pilot was performing maneuvers and pulling in excess of 4 Gs.

Government Shutdown Looms Amid Funding Deadline

The U.S. government faces the prospect of yet another shutdown if Congress fails to act by Friday to approve funding for federal agencies in the current fiscal year. Lawmakers on Capitol Hill and officials in the White House are scrambling to reach a deal to avert the shutdown but the talks have stalled over issues supported by President Donald Trump and opposed by Democrats, including additional funding for the military and a border wall. The last government shutdown occurred in 2013. Military leaders have repeatedly warned the Republican-controlled Congress against passing another short-term spending measure known as a continuing resolution, or CR, rather than a full budget for the rest of fiscal 2017 because doing so would limit their ability to spend money where it's needed most.

-- Brendan McGarry can be reached at brendan.mcgarry@military.com. Follow him on Twitter at @Brendan_McGarry.

Show Full Article