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Drones threatened nuclear facilities

Drone aircraft recently carried out unauthorized intrusions over Air Force and Navy nuclear facilities, and the incidents pose a growing threat, the commander of the U.S. Strategic Command disclosed to Congress Wednesday. Gen. John E. Hyten revealed the drone threats in written testimony before the House Armed Services Committee for a hearing on nuclear deterrence.

Of recent concern have been the unauthorized flights of unmanned aerial systems (UAS) over Navy and Air Force installations, Gen. Hyten said. These intrusions represent a growing threat to the safety and security of nuclear weapons and personnel. Currently, the Navy and Air Force are planning to deploy counter-unmanned aerial system defenses that Gen. Hyten said will effectively detect, track and, if necessary, engage small UAS vehicles.

The commander said protecting U.S. nuclear forces and facilities is a top priority.

We are continually assessing threats to ensure our security apparatus is capable of denying unauthorized access or use of nuclear weapons, he said. No other details were disclosed about the location of the incidents, or how many took place. Current Air Force and Navy nuclear facilities include Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana; Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri; Bremerton Naval Submarine Base, Washington state; Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base, Georgia; Malmstrom Air Force Base, Montana; Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada; Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota; and F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyoming. The bases are home to U.S. land-based missiles, bombers and nuclear missile submarines.

There have been no news reports of drones making flights over nuclear facilities.

Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson earlier this month issued a memorandum to all senior officers and civilians to be on guard against giving out too much information about the service s war fighting capabilities.

I need your help to ensure we are not giving away our competitive edge by sharing too much information publicly, the four-star admiral stated in the March 1 memo. Citing the need to assure allies and deter adversaries, Adm. Richardson said that when it comes to making public communications about Navy operational capabilities, less is more.

Sharing information about future operations and capabilities, even at the unclassified level, makes it easier for potential adversaries to gain an advantage, he said.

Make no mistake, our adversaries are looking for any possible edge, he said. Let s not make their task any easier.

The concerns expressed by the CNO are raising questions among security analysts about why the U.S. military is continuing to engage in potentially damaging military exchanges with China. During the Obama administration, Chinese military officers were feted on scores of visits to advanced military facilities and systems. And ships of the People s Liberation Army Navy were allowed to take part in the large-scale Rim of the Pacific international military exercises and then proceeded to send intelligence-gathering ships to spy on the maneuvers. So far under the Trump administration, few military exchanges with China have been carried out.

CNO spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Chris Servello said Adm. Richardson was not referring to Chinese military visits or participation in RIMPAC in the memo.

His focus and intention is just on public communications, he said, adding that concerns over Chinese military information gathering from exchanges may be looked at in the future.

Those types of conversations are ongoing between the Navy here in D.C. and at the Pacific Command, Cmdr. Servello said. Given this new competitive environment, we re going to look at all the things we do. Critics of decadeslong programs of military exchanges with China have said the interactions do little to build trust between the Communist Party-ruled Chinese military and the U.S. military. Additionally, China has gained valuable war fighting information from the program.

China poem: Busy Hating

A protest poem has gone viral on social media in China. The poem employs what has become a common feature of many online Chinese for dealing with a repressive communist government: wry humor. In this case, the poet was making fun of official government propaganda excoriating Beijing s foreign enemies. The poem surfaced as officially sanctioned protests broke out in many cities in China to criticize South Korea s deployment of the U.S. Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, missile defense system. The poem was translated by China Change, an unofficial website that monitors popular culture.

It reads:

In the morning I hate America

At lunchtime I hate Korea

In the evening, I hate the Japanese

I have to squeeze in hate for Singapore and the Taiwanese

Then at night when I dream

I hate on Vietnam and the Philippines

On Monday I oppose Korea

On Tuesday, Japan

On Wednesday, it s the Americans

On Thursday I oppose the independence of Taiwan

Friday, that of Hong Kong

Come Saturday, against independence in Tibet is what I am

On the Sabbath, it s that of Uighurs in Xinjiang

My life is so wonderful and rich

Of everything else, I have no time to think or bitch.

Contact Bill Gertz on Twitter at @BillGertz.

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Announcing The Commodore John Barry Maritime Security Scholarship Contest

By Roger Misso

ATTENTION ALL U.S. HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS:

CIMSEC is proud to bring back our annual COMMODORE JOHN BARRY Maritime Security Scholarship Contest! This is your chance to write about maritime issues and earn money for college.

Here are the details:

-Topic: In 1,500 words or less, give your best answer to the following question:

Why does the United States of America need a strong Navy?

-Prizes: $500 for First Place; $250 for Second Place; $100 for Third Place

-Deadline: Submissions must be received by 11:59 PM on Saturday, 15 April 2017, sent to in .pdf or Word format.

-Applicants must be current high school students enrolled in the United States or U.S. territories. Applicants must not have graduated before July 1, 2017. Submissions should include proof of student status (copy of student ID or transcript) along with the entrant s full name and address.

-Judging: Submissions will be judged by a panel of experts from CIMSEC and the broader maritime community. The best essays will be those that combine critical thought, originality, and relevance to the topic.

-Notification: All entrants will receive a confirmation reply upon submission of their essay, within 24-48 hours (if you do not receive notification within that time, please contact the VP on Facebook[2] or Twitter[3]). All entrants will be notified of the results from our judges on or about 15 May 2017.

-Publication: With the consent of the authors, CIMSEC will publish the three winning essays, as well as any honorable mentions, in late May or early June 2017.

-Fine print: By sending your submission to , you are certifying that your essay is original and has not appeared in any form in any other venue. CIMSEC retains full ownership of your essay until winners are announced; at that time, ownership of essays that are not selected as winners will revert automatically to their authors.

Roger Misso is the Vice President of CIMSEC.

Featured Image: Pen and paper (A. Birkan A HAN/Flickr)

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With Beijing, it’s never just about free trade

Charles Burton is an associate professor of political science at Brock University, and is a former counsellor at the Canadian embassy in Beijing

Like it or not, Canada opens exploratory free-trade talks with China on Monday with an initial four-day session in Beijing. Opinion polls indicate most Canadians do not want further political-economic integration with China, but elements of Canada s business elite, with lucrative connections to Chinese business networks, are lobbying the Prime Minister s Office hard to push on. Among them are wealthy friends of our political-party leaders and Chinese nationals who we have recently learned attend political fundraisers even though Canadian law forbids them from making party contributions. Edward Mansfield and Helen Milner, the leading scholars of international trade, say free-trade agreements (FTAs) are designed to foster economic integration among member states by improving and stabilizing each member s access to other participants markets. But a Canada-China deal implies much more than removing tariff barriers to the flow of goods and services. China sees FTAs as a geopolitical strategy, good not just for enhancing economic interests but advancing its long-term foreign-policy goals. Indeed, Beijing has recently given up favourable terms in trade agreements with Asian countries, with an eye to transferring their economic dependence on Japan and Taiwan over to the PRC.

China sees similar advantage in weaning Canada away from our economic and political alliance with the United States, but it also expects to get compromises that further its regime interests. Canada has already ceded ground on this, making recent concessions with no promise whatsoever of reciprocal considerations to ease limits on Chinese state investment in Canada; seize and repatriate assets of certain Chinese nationals in Canada; and (inexplicably) reverse a national security review that prevented a Beijing-backed concern from buying Canadian advanced laser technology with military application for directed-energy weapons that China is desperate to develop. It is unlikely Ottawa will want to spoil FTA talks by reiterating its support for the International Court of Arbitration s decision declaring China s expansion into the South China Sea as illegal under the Law of the Sea; or demanding China halt its pervasive cyberespionage of Canadian government and business servers; or expelling Chinese officials alleged to be furthering Beijing s interests by harassment and intimidation here in Canada; or especially by voicing deep concerns over the PRC s appalling skulduggery to suppress the aspirations to freedom, democracy and human rights of people in Hong Kong and in Taiwan. The other concern is whether, ultimately, Canada can even bring home a deal that actually expands our share of the Chinese market. We know that Ambassador John McCallum is feeling an intense burden to show progress before the next election, but the precedent of our previous Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement with China which made considerable concessions to Beijing on labour and environmental standards, and delivered little benefit to Canadian investors in China does not bode well. Beijing knows the government of Canada is under pressure to land a deal; they already sense a negotiating advantage and will hang tough on making any meaningful concessions to close.

That said, the PRC also realizes that its reputation suffers from the unethical behaviour of Chinese state firms foreign operations, and that foreign corporations operating in China are increasingly fed up with pervasive corruption, lack of impartial due process of law and the imposition of non-tariff barriers that make it increasingly challenging to succeed in business there. China s threat last year to impose impossible purity standards on Canada s $2-billion annual canola-seed exports to China restrictions that were not imposed on Chinese domestic producers should have been a wake-up call for us. Any FTA with China should be ironclad, with mechanisms that ensure China will follow the letter and spirit of an agreement that inviolably guarantees Canada will enjoy mutually reciprocal benefits. The Canadian government should be fully accountable to prepare measures to address concomitant concerns over Canadian sovereignty, security and our commitment to the universal norms of human rights that are inevitably part and parcel of getting closer to China. Canadians must demand transparency and an honest debate on what we are getting into with China. But will we get it?

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Also on The Globe and Mail

U.S. firms in China change their tune on trade (Reuters)

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