The Week Ahead in Defense: May 6, 2018

Army Lieutenant General Paul Nakasone appears before the Senate Armed Services Committee to discuss his qualifications as nominee to be National Security Agency Director and U.S. Cyber Command Commander, during a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, March 1, 2018. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
Army Lieutenant General Paul Nakasone appears before the Senate Armed Services Committee to discuss his qualifications as nominee to be National Security Agency Director and U.S. Cyber Command Commander, during a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, March 1, 2018. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

 

1. CYBERCOM IS NEWEST COMBATANT COMMAND

By Military.com's Matthew Cox:

"Army Lt. Gen. Paul Nakasone took command of U.S. Cyber Command Friday at a ceremony that elevated the organization to the U.S. military's tenth unified combatant command.

Nakasone assumed command of Cyber Command and the National Security Agency from Navy Adm. Michael Rogers during a change-of-command ceremony at Fort Meade, Maryland.

'Today, we are at a dawn of a new era, facing the reality of war's changing character -- the emergence of cyberspace and outer space as contested warfighting domains, equal in importance with land, sea and air,' said Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan.

'Cyberspace is not bound by geography, it is not bound by the physical prowess of our adversaries; the next 10 years will look significantly different than the last 10 more than any of us can likely imagine.'"

 

2. MARINES OVERHAUL INFANTRY SQUADS

From Military.com:

"The Marine Corps is capping off 18 months of overhauling the way infantry units are trained and equipped by shaking up the structure of the rifle squad.

In an address to an audience of Marines at a Marine Corps Association awards dinner near Washington, D.C., on Thursday night, Commandant Gen. Robert Neller said future squads will have 12 Marines, down from the current 13.

But while the squads are losing a body, they will gain capability, with two new leadership positions, he said.

The new squad will have three fire teams of three Marines each, an adjustment from the standard four-Marine fire teams of today, Neller said.

Meanwhile, Neller said, squads will also build into their structure an assistant squad leader and a squad systems operator, allowing the unit to operate with greater independence and manage a growing suite of advanced technology, including unmanned aerial systems."

 

3. AIR FORCE GUNSHIP CREWS VIGILANT AMID JAMMING

From Military.com’s Oriana Pawlyk:

"HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. -- The electronic jamming signals affecting AC-130 gunships over Syria may have crews checking and cross-checking their data, including target information, before they lock on with their cannons, according to a top commander here. 'Whether that's being man-made, or maybe it's a mistake inside the airplane, it's hard to say sometimes, but the process is, as you see those things pop up, the safety for the people on the ground is the primary concern,' said Col. Tom Palenske, commander of the 1st Special Operations Wing and installation commander here. The systems in the AC-130 'Spooky' have a built-in check in the software to test and translate the latest aircraft operating update back to the crew. Palenske said if the system 'sees an anomaly,' it will flag it. In any case, an AC-130 crew will take extra measures to ensure they have the right data to execute the mission, he said."

 

4. BRAC BACK ON THE TABLE?

From the Virginian-Pilot:

"NORFOLK -- After years of resisting, Congress may consider a proposal to allow military base closings -- but under restrictive rules that give communities veto power, U.S. Rep. Rob Wittman said Thursday.

Wittman, a Westmoreland County Republican and senior member of the House Armed Services Committee, said during a Navy League luncheon at The Main hotel that he would support a proposal that addresses the military's concern that it's wasting money by keeping unneeded facilities .

Hampton Roads federal lawmakers and community leaders have been skittish for years about any talk of closing military facilities -- particularly in a region where 40 percent of the economy is tied to defense and other federal spending. In 2005, a Base Realignment and Closure Commission or BRAC -- appointed to select facilities to shut down -- led to the closing of the Army's Fort Monroe and consideration of a recommendation to close Oceana Naval Air Station in Virginia Beach.

Wittman said the plan, which could be an amendment to the 2019 defense spending bill, would be limited to small bases or 'tangential facilities' identified by the Pentagon."

 

5. TECH ADVANCES ID WWII MARINES

From Fox News:

"The remains of two Marines killed nearly 75 years ago at the Battle of Tarawa were recently identified and returned to their hometowns in Wisconsin and New Hampshire.

U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Raymond A. Barker was buried with full military honors Saturday at Spring Grove Cemetery in Delavan, FOX 6 Milwaukee reported.

'Seventy-five years later after he was gone, here we are celebrating this event,' Barker's nephew, John Gibbus, told the station.

Barker was killed on the first day of the Battle of Tarawa on Nov. 20, 1943, at age 22. About 1,700 Marines and Navy sailors were killed and more than 2,000 wounded during the three-day fight against Japanese troops on the island of Betio in the Tarawa Atoll of the Gilbert Islands, located in the Pacific Ocean between Hawaii and Papua New Guinea.

Barker's body had been deemed non-recoverable, but last year scientists with the Department of Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) used ‘advanced investigative techniques’ to discover areas on Tarawa believed to be burial sites for the battle's fallen troops. The government agency works to provide the fullest possible accounting of missing personnel to their families and the country."

-- Hope Hodge Seck can be reached at hope.seck@military.com. Follow her on Twitter at @HopeSeck.

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