Friday, May 27, 2016

U.S. Servicemember Admits to Illegally Retaining Photos Taken Inside Nuclear Submarine and Impeding Investigation

US Navy
May 27, 2016 - Kristian Saucier, 29, of Arlington, Vermont, pleaded guilty today before U.S. District Judge Stefan R. Underhill of the District of Connecticut to one count of unauthorized possession and retention of national defense information.
The guilty plea was announced by Assistant Attorney General for National Security John P. Carlin and U.S. Attorney Deirdre M. Daly of the District of Connecticut.
According to court documents and statements made in court, from September 2007 to March 2012, Saucier served as a machinist’s mate aboard the USS Alexandria, which is a U.S. Navy Los Angeles-class nuclear attack submarine based at the Naval Submarine Base New London in Groton, Connecticut.  On at least three separate dates in 2009, Saucier used the camera on his personal cellphone to take photographs of classified spaces, instruments and equipment of the USS Alexandria, documenting the major technical components of the submarine’s propulsion system.
On Jan. 19, 2009, Saucier took two photos, one of the auxiliary steam plant panel and the other of the reactor compartment viewed through a portal.  On March 22, 2009, Saucier took two photos that, when placed side by side, provided a panoramic array of the maneuvering compartment, the room from which the propulsion system of the boat is operated.  On July 15, 2009, Saucier took two photos documenting the reactor head configuration of the nuclear reactor and a view of the reactor compartment from within that compartment.
Saucier had a secret clearance and knew that the photos depicted classified material and that he was not authorized to take them.  He retained these photos and failed to deliver them to any officer or employee of the United States entitled to receive it.
The investigation began in March 2012 when Saucier’s cellphone was found at a waste transfer station in Hampton, Connecticut.  Saucier was interviewed by the FBI and Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) in July 2012 and was confronted with the classified images from his phone.  Following that interview and in an effort to impede the federal investigation, Saucier returned to his home and immediately destroyed a laptop computer, a personal camera and the camera’s memory card.  Pieces of a laptop computer were subsequently found in the woods on a property in Connecticut owned by a member of Saucier’s family.   
Saucier was arrested on a criminal complaint on May 28, 2015, and was subsequently indicted.
Judge Underhill scheduled sentencing for Aug. 19, 2016, at which time Saucier faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.  He is released on a $100,000 bond.
Saucier is currently enlisted in the U.S. Navy as a Petty Officer First Class assigned to the Naval Support Activity Base, Saratoga Springs, New York.  He is awaiting an administrative separation board proceeding.
This matter has been investigated by the FBI and NCIS.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Vanessa Richards and Jacabed Rodriguez-Coss of the District of Connecticut and Trial Attorney Will Mackie of the National Security Division’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section, with the assistance of the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Northern District of New York.

MDA Demonstrates Performance of SM-3 Block IB in Successful Flight Tests

US Navy
May 26, 2016 - The Missile Defense Agency and U.S. Navy sailors aboard USS Hopper (DDG 70) successfully conducted two developmental flight tests of the Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IB Threat Upgrade guided missile on May 25 and 26 off the west coast of Hawaii.
The flight tests, designated Controlled Test Vehicle (CTV)-01a and CTV-02, demonstrated the successful performance of design modifications to the SM-3 third-stage rocket motor (TSRM) nozzle.  The results of these flight tests will support a future SM-3 Block IB production authorization request.
"Based on the early data, the missiles performed as designed and validated the design modifications we made to further improve the reliability of the SM-3 Block IB," said MDA Director Vice Adm. Jim Syring. "I was very proud of the government and industry team in their performance this week and am appreciative of the support provided by USS Hopper and her great crew."
During each test, Hopper's Aegis Weapon System was prompted to generate a fire control solution and launch an SM-3 against a simulated target. No intercept was planned, and no live target missile was launched. The MDA and the U.S. Navy cooperatively manage the Aegis BMD program. 

Senior Chinese Military Official Urges Japan to Dispose of WWII Chemical Weapons

May 27, 2016 (Xinhua) - Fan Changlong, vice chairman of China's Central Military Commission, has urged Japan to speed up disposal of abandoned World War II chemical weapons on Chinese territory.
Fan made the remarks on Thursday during his inspection of the Harbaling site in northeast China's Jilin Province, the largest known disposal site of Japanese abandoned chemical weapons in the country.
"Defying international law, Japanese invaders in China wantonly used chemical weapons on a large scale during their invasion and left behind a large number of them after their defeat," Fan said.
These abandoned chemical weapons still threaten and harm Chinese people's lives and property as well as environmental safety in China, he added.
He urged Japan to carry out its obligations in accordance with the convention on the prohibition of chemical weapons as well as a memo signed between the Chinese and Japanese governments, increase input and accelerate recovery and destruction so as to return clean land to the Chinese people.
Chemical weapons left over by Japanese military forces have been discovered at more than 90 locations in 18 provincial-level regions across China.
At Harbaling alone, it is estimated that around 330,000 such weapons were buried. The cleanup project there is scheduled to be completed in 2022.

Standard Missile-3 flight test validates engineering upgrade

Photo courtesy of Missile Defense Agency.
May 26, 2016 - Raytheon Company and the Missile Defense Agency completed a successful flight test of an improved Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IB third stage rocket motor. 
The mission confirmed effective in-flight performance of the upgrade, which previously succeeded in all ground testing. The upgrade will be integrated into the current missile production line.
"Raytheon is continually working to increase the overall reliability of the highly dependable SM-3, reflecting the MDA's commitment to mature this capability for the defense of our nation, deployed forces, and our allies," said Dr. Mitch Stevison, Raytheon Air & Missile Defense vice president. "SM-3 continues to demonstrate its versatility and reliability, providing an extraordinary level of protection from sea or land."
During the mission at the U.S. Navy's Pacific Missile Range Facility in Hawaii, sailors on board the USS Hopper launched two SM-3 Block IBs. Target intercepts were not included in the scenarios.

RSS Independence Delivered

The Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) welcomed a new addition to its fleet as Littoral Mission Vessel (LMV) Independence finished its sea trials and cruised to its new home at Tuas Naval Base on 26 May.

May 26, 2016 - The Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) welcomed a new addition to its fleet as Littoral Mission Vessel (LMV) Independence finished its sea trials and cruised to its new home at Tuas Naval Base on 26 May.
LMV Independence is one of the eight LMVs that will replace the current Fearless-class Patrol Vessels (PVs). The new ships will be more efficient than their predecessors in areas such as speed and versatility.
Speaking at the event, Chief of Navy Rear-Admiral (RADM) Lai Chung Han said: "It is an important milestone for the (LMV) programme. The homecoming of LMV Independence marks the conclusion of almost 2 years of the construction phase. It also marks the beginning of about 11 to 12 months of ICIT (Installation, Checkout, Integration and Testing). I think this is something we can be very proud of and something that we want to thank all involved for bringing the project to this point."
Touching on the commissioning of LMV Independence next year, RADM Lai said: "This will be a significant moment to mark the Navy's coming of age at 50 years, as we complete our 3rd Generation transformation, as we move into our redesign for LMV Indy to be the lead platform, to be, if I can borrow the phrase, the 'flagship of our future Navy'."
The event also marked the renaming of 182 Squadron (SQN) and 189 SQN, which are formed by the current eleven PVs -- to 182 SQN. The new logo for 182 SQN was also unveiled. The eight LMVs will be fully operational by 2020 and they will then complete 182 SQN.

"Now, as we're in the advanced stages of our 3rd Generation transformation, the return of LMV Independence to 182 SQN marks a major milestone for the squadron and its new logo (which says) Sharp and Vigilant, which rightly encapsulates what the squadron will do: Remain sharp and vigilant 24/7, safeguarding our water and protecting our nation."

All photos official.

NATO Deputy Secretary General: North Atlantic Alliance is as important as it has ever been


May 27, 2016 - NATO Deputy Secretary General Alexander Vershbow said in Prague that “our security cannot be taken for granted” and that the North Atlantic Alliance “is as important as it has ever been.” In a keynote speech at the Jagello 2000 Conference on Friday (27 May 2016) Ambassador Vershbow thanked the Czech Republic for its long involvement in Alliance operations in Afghanistan, its support for the NATO Response Force and its contributions of highly-skilled pilots and aircrews to NATO’s assurance measures. He also commended the Czech Republic for its leading role in the Alliance’s ability to respond to chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear hazards. “Together these are helping to make our Alliance stronger and more effective”, he said.
Ambassador Vershbow said that NATO is strengthening its deterrence and defence posture in response to actions of a more assertive and aggressive Russia. He said that NATO is implementing the Readiness Action Plan, a series of comprehensive measures agreed by NATO leaders at the Summit in Wales in 2014. He added that decisions on the scale, scope and composition of an enhanced forward presence in the eastern part of the Alliance will be taken at the Warsaw Summit in July.
Ambassador Vershbow also highlighted the importance of political dialogue with Russia. “The path NATO has chosen is one of strong deterrence combined with meaningful dialogue”, he said. He stressed that “there cannot be any return to business as usual until Russia comes back into compliance with international law.” He noted that the first step toward that end should be the full implementation of the Minsk agreements – ending the Russian-backed insurgency in Eastern Ukraine, implementing a real ceasefire, withdrawing Russian forces and heavy weapons, and creating conditions for free and fair elections under Ukrainian and OSCE supervision aimed at re-integrating the occupied portions of Donbas into Ukraine.
The Deputy Secretary General said that the Warsaw Summit will also see NATO leaders taking decisions in response to the situation along NATO’s southern borders. He said that that NATO’s response to the security challenges to the south is “comprehensive and multi-faceted” and that NATO’s main contribution “is likely to be in bolstering the defence capacity of partners in the Middle East and Northern Africa”.
Ambassador Vershbow also underlined the need for stronger NATO cooperation with the European Union. “There is much to be gained from NATO and the EU working together on issues such as the hybrid warfare, cyber defence and civil preparedness”, he said.
During his visit to the Czech Republic, Ambassador Vershbow met with the Czech Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Lubomír Zaorálek and the Chairman of the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic Mr. Jan Hamáček.

South Korea's Defense Acquisition Program Administration to Host the 5th International Military Airworthiness Certification Conference

May 27, 2016 - South Korea’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) announced that it will host the “2016 International Military Airworthiness Certification Conference (2016 IMAC)” in The Plaza Hotel in Seoul on May 30, 2016, with 400 international airworthiness experts from government, industries and academia.
The 5th International Military Airworthiness Certification Conference will be held in Seoul on May 30.
Airworthiness certification refers to a government system which validates and certifies the flight safety of aircrafts. South Korea became the first Asian country in 2010 to host a military airworthiness conference. The IMAC celebrates its fifth anniversary this year.
The theme of this year’s IMAC is “Military Aircraft Airworthiness Certification and Fostering International Cooperation.” Representatives of seven countries, including South Korea, Germany, Spain and Italy will deliver presentations on the development of military airworthiness certification system, case studies and international cooperation, which will lay the platform for productive discussions. Also, aircraft manufacturers will set up exhibit booths to facilitate the export of South Korea’s armaments.
Chang, Myoung-jin, Minister of Defense Acquisition Program Administration, said “The IMAC will draw international attention to the excellence of South Korea’s airworthiness certification system. Building on this global recognition, South Korea will lead the development of airworthiness certification in Asia. We seek to foster continued international cooperation to beef up the global competitiveness of Korea’s military aircrafts.”
Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) plans to hold the conference biennially to expand international collaboration on airworthiness certification with major partner countries.
For more details about the schedule of the 2016 International Military Airworthiness Certification Conference, please refer to the IMAC official website at