Report to Congress on Ukrainian Military Performance

The following is the June 29, 2022, Congressional Research Service In Focus report, Ukrainian Military Performance and Outlook. From the report The Ukrainian Armed Forces (UAF) continue to face disadvantages in seeking to defend Ukraine’s territorial integrity against Russian military forces. On the one hand, since Russia’s renewed invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the […]

The following is the June 29, 2022, Congressional Research Service In Focus report, Ukrainian Military Performance and Outlook.

From the report

The Ukrainian Armed Forces (UAF) continue to face disadvantages in seeking to defend Ukraine’s territorial integrity against Russian military forces. On the one hand, since Russia’s renewed invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the UAF has successfully defended against, and in some areas pushed back, Russian forces. On the other hand, this resistance has come with losses in personnel and equipment, and the overall outlook for the war remains uncertain. The Biden Administration and Congress have expressed support for Ukraine’s defense of its territorial integrity against Russia’s invasion. An understanding of the evolving state of the UAF may be of interest to Congress as it continues to weigh policies potentially supporting Ukraine’s defense against Russian aggression.

Personnel
Some observers note that the UAF’s initially positive overall performance is due in part to the experience and motivation of its personnel. The UAF has continued to benefit from high levels of recruitment and motivation. High losses, however, pose an ongoing challenge to the UAF’s ability to maintain effective and sustained operations.

Since 2014, the UAF has gained important combat experience fighting Russian-led forces in the Eastern Ukraine regions of the Donbas, which has led to a large proportion of trained, experienced veterans among Ukraine’s population. These veterans and other volunteers (including foreign recruits, some with previous military experience) were quickly mobilized into Ukraine’s new, volunteer Territorial Defense Forces (TDF) and Reserve, without the need for lengthy training. Additionally, the high level of experience and training among the recruits meant they were able to operate artillery, tank, and support systems that traditionally require time for reservists or volunteers to master. These units were crucial in supporting and enabling regular UAF units to spearhead resistance and counteroffensives in multiple areas.

Since the beginning of the 2022 war, Ukraine reportedly has suffered high levels of casualties. In early June 2022, Ukrainian officials estimated losses of up to 100-200 killed in action each day, but officials have not provided precise figures. Losses are likely higher among regular UAF and Special Forces units, forcing a greater reliance on TDF and Reserve units. Due to losses and the need to rotate out troops, Ukraine has had to recruit and train a substantial amount of replacements. Unlike the initial period of war when most recruits were veterans, most new recruits and volunteers have little military experience. As a result, it takes longer for the UAF to train new recruits.

The UAF also faces two major hurdles to training and deploying new personnel. First, like many militaries, Ukraine was in the process of developing a professional noncommissioned officer (NCO) corps along NATO standards before Russia’s 2022 invasion. The UAF did not have a fully developed professional NCO corps by the time of the invasion and continued to deal with issues with retention, professional development, and funding. As described previously, the high proportion of trained veterans, many with combat experience, mitigated to some degree the need for an established NCO corps to train and command new recruits. However, with mounting UAF losses and recruits with no experience as replacements, continuing the development of an effective NCO corps will likely remain a major challenge and a key UAF priority.

Second, the UAF’s need for immediate reinforcements creates pressure to train new recruits to only the bare minimum levels. Training recruits to conduct complex operations and operate advanced weapon systems takes longer, but both areas are widely considered necessary for the UAF to sustain combat operations in the current conflict.

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Department of Defense Red Hill Defueling Plan, Navy Investigation into Red Hill Fuel Leak

The following are the June 30, 2022, Department of Defense Red Hill Defueling Plan and the Navy Investigation into the Red Hill fuel leak. From the defueling plan: Executive Summary In accordance with the Secretary of Defense’s (SECDEF) direction in his March 7, 2022 memo and the requirements in Directive 4 of the State of […]

The following are the June 30, 2022, Department of Defense Red Hill Defueling Plan and the Navy Investigation into the Red Hill fuel leak.

From the defueling plan:

Executive Summary

In accordance with the Secretary of Defense’s (SECDEF) direction in his March 7, 2022 memo and the requirements in Directive 4 of the State of Hawaii Department of Health’s (DOH) May 6, 2022 superseding Emergency Order (EO), the Department of Defense (DoD) will safely defuel and close the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility (Red Hill). On behalf of DoD, the Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV), in coordination with the Director, Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), provides this plan to defuel the facility. This plan will put DoD on course to achieve the completion of defueling at the earliest date consistent with the safe defueling of the facility.

The plan is evidence-driven and relies on the recommendations of subject matter experts. The plan provides interim milestones for the Navy and Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) to achieve throughout the pre-defueling process in order to make the facility safe for defueling. Upon a determination that the facility is safe to defuel, the plan requires defueling operations to commence as soon as practicable and targets the completion of that defueling within eight months of commencement.

Current planning estimates completion of defueling by the end of 2024. DoD, based on input from its subject matter experts, identified December 31, 2024 as the earliest date that is consistent with the safe defueling of the facility, based on the information that DoD has at this time. The December 2024 completion date is subject to contingencies, but DoD will work to mitigate any delays caused by contingencies and will inform DOH and the public about any major contingencies that arise during plan implementation that may affect timelines. DoD is committed to transparency in its assumptions and analyses, not only to obtain regulatory concurrence from the DOH but also to build credibility and trust with the people of Hawaii.

DoD is taking action to ensure that there is strong command and control in place to facilitate successful implementation of this plan. The Secretary of Defense is directing the standup of Joint Task Force Red Hill (JTF Red Hill), led by a senior Navy flag officer whose sole responsibility is to ensure the Department’s safe and expeditious defueling of the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility. Once on-site in Hawaii, the Commander, JTF Red Hill will be responsible for oversight and execution of this defueling plan. The Commander will report to the Secretary of Defense through the Commander, US IndoPacific Command. The JTF Red Hill will operate from Hawaii and house experts from the Department of the Navy, DLA, and other components across DoD. These experts, drawn from the fields of construction, safety and spill response, engineering, and logistics, will work full-time on the defueling efforts and will report directly to the Commander, JTF Red Hill. The JTF Red Hill will also lead DoD’s interface with DOH and with the local community in Oahu.

Department of Defense Red Hill Defueling Plan

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Navy Investigation Into Red Hill Fuel Leak

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Report to Congress on U.S. Security Assistance to Ukraine

The following is the June 24, 2022, Congressional Research Service In Focus report, U.S. Security Assistance to Ukraine.  From the report After Russia invaded Ukraine in 2014, the Obama Administration provided Ukraine nonlethal security assistance, such as body armor, helmets, vehicles, night and thermal vision devices, heavy engineering equipment, advanced radios, patrol boats, rations, tents, […]

The following is the June 24, 2022, Congressional Research Service In Focus report, U.S. Security Assistance to Ukraine. 

From the report

After Russia invaded Ukraine in 2014, the Obama Administration provided Ukraine nonlethal security assistance, such as body armor, helmets, vehicles, night and thermal vision devices, heavy engineering equipment, advanced radios, patrol boats, rations, tents, counter-mortar radars, uniforms, medical kits, and other related items. In 2017, the Trump Administration announced U.S. willingness to provide lethal weapons to Ukraine.

Since 2018, Ukraine used FMF, as well as some of its national funds, to procure U.S. defense equipment, including Javelin anti-armor missiles and Mark VI patrol boats purchased through the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) system. Ukraine also used a combination of FMF and national funds to refurbish former U.S. Coast Guard Island- class patrol boats provided through the Excess Defense Articles (EDA; 22 U.S.C. §2321j) program. On April 24, 2022, the State Department notified Congress of a potential FMS sale of up to $165 million for nonstandard ammunition for Ukraine. In addition, Ukraine has purchased firearms, ammunition, ordnance, and other laser, imaging, or guidance equipment directly from U.S. suppliers via Direct Commercial Sales.

According to DOD, USAI packages prior to FY2022 provided sniper rifles, rocket-propelled grenade launchers, counter-artillery radars, Mark VI patrol boats, electronic warfare detection and secure communications, satellite imagery and analysis capability, counter-unmanned aerial systems (UAS), air surveillance systems to monitor sovereign airspace, night vision devices, and equipment to support military medical treatment and combat evacuation procedures.

In 2022, the United States has provided more advanced defense equipment to Ukraine, as well as greater amounts of previously provided equipment. According to DOD, U.S. security assistance committed to Ukraine as of June 17, 2022, has included the following:

    • High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) and ammunition;
    • 1,400+ Stinger anti-aircraft systems;
    • 6,500+ Javelin anti-armor systems and 20,000+ other anti-armor systems;
    • 121 Phoenix Ghost Tactical UAS and 700+ Switchblade Tactical UAS;
    • 126 155 mm Howitzers with 260,000 artillery rounds;
    • 20 Mi-17 helicopters
    • hundreds of Armored Humvee Vehicles;
    • 200 M113 Armored Personnel Carriers;
    • 7,000+ small arms and 50+ million rounds of ammunition;
    • laser-guided rocket systems; and
    • other essential nonlethal equipment, including communications and intelligence equipment.

Several NATO and European Union (EU) members also have provided weapons and military assistance to Ukraine. In addition, the Biden Administration authorized third-party transfers of U.S. defense articles and equipment from several NATO and EU members to Ukraine.

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Marine Corps Doctrinal Publication 8 on Information

The following is the June 21, 2022, Marine Corps Doctrinal Publication 8 on Information.  From the Report Information is the foundation of all human interaction. It is the basis for how we sense, make sense of, and interact with our environments and each other. Rapidly evolving modern technologies have accelerated and expanded our ability to […]

The following is the June 21, 2022, Marine Corps Doctrinal Publication 8 on Information. 

From the Report

Information is the foundation of all human interaction. It is the basis for how we sense, make sense of, and interact with our environments and each other. Rapidly evolving modern technologies have accelerated and expanded our ability to process, store, and communicate information with a tempo and scale previously unimaginable. Our globally interconnected world has deepened our collective dependence on information to the extent that the slightest vulnerability in how we handle, store, or transmit information could endanger Marines, their families, and all that we have sworn to defend. In a contest between hostile and irreconcilable wills, information is as powerful a tool as any weapon system in our military arsenal. Therefore, it is vital to the future of our Corps.

As our 29th Commandant, General Alfred M. Gray, wrote in his preface to Marine Corps Doctrinal Publication 1, Warfighting, “Like war itself, our approach to warfighting must evolve. If we cease to refine, expand, and improve our profession, we risk becoming outdated, stagnant, and defeated.” Our competitors and adversaries prey on worldwide technological and social vulnerabilities by using information as a target and as a weapon to destabilize our systems, networks, and partnerships, thereby eroding our trust in each other and our institutions. We must meet this threat with an evolutionary approach to warfighting, which includes daily engagement at every level of the force. The purpose of Information is to introduce a conceptual framework for understanding and employing the information warfighting function and to provide Marines with increased flexibility in their operational approaches across all phases of the competition continuum, in all warfighting domains.

To aid in introducing the information warfighting function to Marines, this publication uses a series of vignettes to illustrate the enduring theory and principles that make up our newest warfighting function. Enclosed vignettes may use current events to highlight important ideas and provide current context with the expectation that future changes may be required as the events unfold and draw to a conclusion. While our theory and principles of the information warfighting function will endure, we must continually examine and adapt our application of them to keep up with the ever-changing characteristics of the information environment.

This publication must, therefore, be updated with a frequency that keeps it relevant. It is not a checklist and does not contain all the answers. It should be read from cover to cover to provide a baseline for all Marines. How we employ this foundation is limited only by the creativity, ingenuity, and foresight of all Marines, all of whom are practitioners of the theories and applications discussed within these pages. Every Marine has a role in information. Therefore every Marine should focus on their role as discussed in this publication, whether as a commander, planner, or squad member.

The fight for and with information is a nonstop competition. Information is not the realm of specialists. It is a part of who we are, and our approach must reflect that mentality every day, at every level, in all things. We must rethink how we employ our traditional combat capabilities as part of this effort. To compete and fight effectively, we must evolve across every domain. We must engage daily or run the risk of ceding the advantage to our adversaries. We will challenge our competitors and adversaries at every turn, and we count on every Marine working together to ensure our Nation prevails.

David H. Berger
General, U.S. Marine Corps
Commandant of the Marine Corps

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Report to Congress on Middle East, North African Implications of War in Ukraine

The following is the June 15, 2022, Congressional Research Service report, Middle East and North Africa: Implications of 2022 Russia-Ukraine War. From the report The 117th Congress is examining the global implications of Russia’s February 2022 invasion of Ukraine and the ensuing war while considering Ukraine-related legislation and FY2023 authorization and appropriations proposals, and conducting […]

The following is the June 15, 2022, Congressional Research Service report, Middle East and North Africa: Implications of 2022 Russia-Ukraine War.

From the report

The 117th Congress is examining the global implications of Russia’s February 2022 invasion of Ukraine and the ensuing war while considering Ukraine-related legislation and FY2023 authorization and appropriations proposals, and conducting oversight of Biden Administration policies. This report provides information and analysis on the effects that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the ensuing war are having on the countries of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), a region of continuing strategic and foreign policy salience to Congress and to U.S. strategic interests.

Russia’s war against Ukraine has both direct and indirect effects on the countries of the MENA region, imposing costs on the region’s populations and posing dilemmas for its leaders. The Russia-Ukraine war and its side effects amplify the risk of instability in the MENA region and introduce new complexities to some regional relationships. The most practical and immediate implications may come as a result of fiscal, societal, and humanitarian effects in the MENA region, particularly through energy and food commodity market changes.

  • Many MENA countries are net importers of food products and agricultural commodities, and several rely on imports from Russia and Ukraine that Russia’s invasion and blockade of Ukraine’s Black Sea ports have disrupted. Higher food prices and limited commodity availability are creating economic, public health, and political challenges in some MENA countries. Increased humanitarian needs in Yemen, Syria, and Lebanon, compounded by food and energy price inflation, are generating corresponding calls for increased donor contributions. The Administration has pledged to increase food assistance for some affected countries, including Yemen, amid competing needs in other areas of the world.
  • The Biden Administration has sought diplomatic and energy market support from MENA partners in responding to the war. These partners’ responses have varied, as governments have considered their discrete interests, priorities, and ties to Russia and the United States. Higher energy prices in 2022 are putting pressure on energy importers like Jordan and creating opportunities for exporters like Saudi Arabia and Iraq. Some regional governments may seek to use their relative coordination with or resistance to U.S. requests as leverage in discussions with the United States on other issues. Congress may assess the responsiveness, alignment, and needs of U.S. partners in the region as it considers the Administration’s proposals for foreign assistance, defense aid, and arms sales.
  • Russia’s military presence and the operations of Russian private military companies in the MENA region reportedly have not changed significantly since Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, though the press has reported some personnel movements. Congress and the Administration may continue to monitor the presence and operations of Russian forces, along with the war’s second-order effects on Russia’s defense exports and security ties to the MENA region.
  • Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and U.S. efforts to coordinate multilateral responses invite scrutiny of MENA countries’ defense and security ties to Russia, their economic and energy cooperation with Moscow, their positions on sanctions against Russian targets, and their diplomatic posture in international institutions. Emergent dynamics (e.g., the decision by some U.S. regional partners to abstain from U.N. votes related to Russia’s actions in Ukraine) may be rooted in deeper shifts and may outlast the immediate conflict.

To date, Congress and the Biden Administration have acted to make additional food assistance funding available to meet developing needs. The Additional Ukraine Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2022 (P.L. 117-128) appropriated more than $4.3 billion in International Disaster Assistance funding, including for food assistance in Ukraine and “in countries impacted by the situation in Ukraine,” along with support to global food security programs through the Economic Support Fund (ESF), the U.S. Department of the Treasury, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It remains to be determined whether these funds will be used to assist MENA countries.

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USNI News Fleet and Marine Tracker: June 27, 2022

These are the approximate positions of the U.S. Navy’s deployed carrier strike groups and amphibious ready groups throughout the world as of June 27, 2022, based on Navy and public data. In cases where a CSG or ARG is conducting disaggregated operations, the chart reflects the location of the capital ship.  Total U.S. Navy Battle […]

USNI News Graphic

These are the approximate positions of the U.S. Navy’s deployed carrier strike groups and amphibious ready groups throughout the world as of June 27, 2022, based on Navy and public data. In cases where a CSG or ARG is conducting disaggregated operations, the chart reflects the location of the capital ship. 

Total U.S. Navy Battle Force:

298

In Sasebo, Japan

Electronics Technician 3rd Class Andrew Gadaleta, from Philadelphia, assigned to the forward-deployed amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA 6), stands watch on the ships flight deck on June 7, 2022 in Sasebo, Japan. U.S. Navy Photo

Ships of the America Amphibious Ready Group (ARG), which include USS America (LHA-6), USS Green Bay (LPD-20) and USS Ashland (LSD-48), are in port in Sasebo, Japan.

In the Philippine Sea

A U.S. Marine Corps MV-22B Osprey aircraft with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 262 prepares to land aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Tripoli (LHA 7) while underway, June 25, 2022. U.S. Marine Corps Photo

Amphibious assault ship USS Tripoli (LHA-7) remains underway in the Philippine Sea.

Tripoli departed Naval Station San Diego on an independent deployment to the Western Pacific on May 2. The 45,000-ton big-deck amphibious ship has 20 F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters embarked to evaluate the Marine Corps’ “lightning carrier” concept. The Navy and Marines are testing Tripoli’s adjunct capability to a carrier strike group, USNI News reported.

In the Western Pacific

Sailors signal to raise an aircraft elevator as the U.S. Navy’s only forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) pulls into Naval Base Guam for a scheduled port visit on June 23, 2022. U.S. Navy Photo

Having completed a port visit to Guam, the Ronald Reagan Strike Group is underway in the Western Pacific.

Carrier Strike Group 5

Aircraft carrier

USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76), homeported in Yokosuka, Japan.

Carrier Air Wing 5

The U.S. Navy’s only forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) pulls into Naval Base Guam for a scheduled port visit on June 23, 2022. U.S. Navy Photo

Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5, based at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, is embarked aboard Ronald Reagan and includes a total of nine squadrons and detachments:

  • The “Royal Maces” of VFA-27 – Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) – from Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan.
  • The “Diamondbacks” of VFA-102 from MCAS Iwakuni.
  • The “Eagles” of VFA-115 from MCAS Iwakuni.
  • The “Dambusters” of VFA-195 from MCAS Iwakuni.
  • The “Shadowhawks” of VAQ-141 – Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) – from MCAS Iwakuni.
  • The “Tiger Tails” of VAW-125 – Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) – from MCAS Iwakuni.
  • The “Providers” of VRC-30 – Detachment 5 – Fleet Logistics Support Squadron (VRC) – from MCAS Iwakuni.
  • The “Golden Falcons” of HSC-12 – Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) – from Naval Air Facility Atsugi, Japan.
  • The “Saberhawks” of HSM-77 – Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) – from Naval Air Facility Atsugi.

Cruisers

The guided-missile cruiser USS Antietam (CG 54) steams into formation with the U.S. Navy’s only forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), Carrier Strike Group 5 and Republic of Korea Navy ships, during Carrier Strike Group Exercise 2022 on June 4, 2022 in the Philippine Sea. U.S. Navy Photo

  • USS Antietam (CG-54), homeported in Yokosuka, Japan.

Destroyer Squadron 15

Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Benfold (DDG 65) launches a Standard Missile (SM) 6 during the coordinated multi-domain, multi-axis, long-range maritime strikes against EX-USS Vandegrift as part of Valiant Shield 2022 (VS 22) on June 16, 2022 in the Philippine Sea. U.S. Navy Photo

Destroyer Squadron 15 is based in Yokosuka, Japan, and is embarked on the carrier. Destroyers from Destroyer Squadron 15 are also assigned to the Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group.

  • USS Benfold (DDG-65), homeported in Yokosuka, Japan

In the Middle Pacific

In route to Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2022, ships of Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group (ABECSG) sail in formation with Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force and Royal Australian Navy ships on June 23, 2022. U.S. Navy Photo

The Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group has “chopped” from the U.S. 7th Fleet to U.S. 3rd Fleet and is underway in the Middle Pacific near Hawaii. USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72) is slated to participate in the upcoming Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise near Hawaii, USNI News understands.

“Twenty-six nations, 38 surface ships, four submarines, nine national land forces, more than 170 aircraft and approximately 25,000 personnel will participate in the biennial Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise scheduled June 29 to Aug. 4, in and around the Hawaiian Islands and Southern California,” according to the Navy.

Carrier Strike Group 3

The Lincoln Carrier Strike Group, on patrol since leaving San Diego on Jan. 3, is in the Philippine Sea after a port call last week in Yokosuka for shipboard maintenance.

Carrier

USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72), homeported in San Diego, Calif.

Carrier Air Wing 9

Aircraft, assigned to Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 9, launch from the flight deck of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) on June 22, 2022. U.S. Navy Photo

Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 9, based at Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif., is embarked aboard Abraham Lincoln and includes a total of nine squadrons and detachments:

  • The “Black Aces” of VFA-41 Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) flying F/A-18Fs from Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif.
  • The “Tophatters” of VFA-14 – F/A-18E – from Naval Air Station Lemoore.
  • The “Vigilantes” of VFA-151 – F/A-18E – from Naval Air Station Lemoore.
  • The “Black Knights” of VMFA 314 – Marine Strike Fighter Squadron (VMFA) flying F-35Cs from Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif.
  • The “Wizards” of VAQ-133 – EA-18G – Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) – from Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Wash.
  • The “Wallbangers” of VAW-117 – E-2D – Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) – from Naval Air Station Point Mugu, Calif.
  • The “Titans” of VRM-30 – CMV-22B – Fleet Logistics Multi-Mission Squadron (VRM) – from Naval Air Station North Island, Calif.
  • The “Chargers” of HSC-14 – MH-60S – Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) – from Naval Air Station North Island.
  • The “Raptors” of HSM-71 – MH-60R – Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) – from Naval Air Station North Island.

Cruiser

The Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Mobile Bay (CG 53) transits the Philippine Sea on June 14, 2022. U.S. Navy Photo

  • USS Mobile Bay (CG-53), homeported at Naval Station San Diego, Calif.

Destroyer Squadron 21

Sailors remove the chock and chain from an MH-60R Sea Hawk Helicopter assigned to the “Scorpions” of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 49 aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Sampson (DDG 102) on June 15, 2022. U.S. Navy Photo

Destroyer Squadron 21 is based in San Diego, Calif., and is embarked on the carrier.

  • USS Fitzgerald (DDG-62), homeported at Naval Station San Diego.
  • USS Gridley (DDG-101), homeported at Naval Station Everett, Wash.
  • USS Sampson (DDG-102), homeported at Naval Station Everett.
  • USS Spruance (DDG-111), homeported at Naval Station San Diego.

In the Western Mediterranean Sea

Airman Carlos Armenta, from Riverside, California, assigned to the “Blue Blasters” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 34, cleans the canopy of an F/A-18E Super Hornet on the flight deck of USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), June 26, 2022. U.S. Navy Photo

The Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group is underway in the Western Mediterranean Sea.

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin has extended the deployment of the Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group, its escorts and Carrier Air Wing 1 as a hedge against Russian aggression in Europe. USS Harry S. Truman (CVN-75) has spent four months operating in the Mediterranean Sea since Austin ordered the strike group to remain on station in December as Russia massed forces along the Ukrainian border.

One defense official told USNI News the carrier could remain in the region until August before returning to its homeport in Norfolk, Va.

Carrier Strike Group 8

Operations Specialist Seaman Priscilla Badillo, from Pheonix, Arizona, operates the AN/SPS-73(V)12 Radar Set on the bridge of USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), June 26, 2022. U.S. Navy Photo

Carrier

USS Harry S. Truman (CVN-75), homeported in Norfolk, Va.

Carrier Air Wing 1

An E-2D Hawkeye, attached to the “Seahawks” of Airborne Command and Control Squadron (VAW) 126, lands on the flight deck of USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), June 23, 2022. U.S. Navy Photo

Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 1, based at Naval Air Station Oceana, Va., is embarked aboard Harry S. Truman and includes a total of nine squadrons and detachments:

  • The “Red Rippers” of VFA-11 Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) flying F/A-18Fs from Naval Air Station Oceana.
  • The “Fighting Checkmates” of VFA-211 – F/A-18E – from Naval Air Station Oceana.
  • The “Blue Blasters” of VFA-34 – F/A-18E – from Naval Air Station Oceana.
  • The “Sunliners” of VFA-81 – F/A-18E – from Naval Air Station Oceana.
  • The “Rooks” of VAQ-137 – EA-18G – Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) – from Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Wash.
  • The “Seahawks” of VAW-126 – E-2D – Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) – from Naval Air Station Norfolk, Va.
  • The “Rawhides” of VRC-40 – Detachment – C-2A – Fleet Logistics Support Squadron (VRC) – from Naval Air Station Norfolk.
  • The “Dragon Slayers” of HSC-11 – MH-60S – Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) – from Naval Air Station Norfolk.
  • The “Proud Warriors” of HSM-72 – MH-60R – Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) – from Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Fla.

Cruiser

Operations Specialist 2nd class Nicholas Holpp, from Owens Crossroads, Alabama, looks through binoculars as the USS San Jacinto (CG 56) enters Valletta, Malta for a scheduled port visit June 26, 2022. U.S. Navy Photo

Guided-missile cruiser USS San Jacinto (CG-56) arrived in Valletta, Malta, on June 26.

  • USS San Jacinto (CG-56), homeported at Naval Station Norfolk.

Destroyer Squadron 28

Seaman Justin Adams, from Murfreesboro, Tennessee, stands by during a seamanship training exercise aboard USS Bainbridge (DDG 96) in the Mediterranean Sea, June 22, 2022. U.S. Navy Photo

Destroyer Squadron 28 is based in Norfolk and is embarked on the carrier.

Guided-missile destroyer USS Jason Dunham (DDG-109) returned to its homeport of Naval Station Mayport, Fla., on June 26. Jason Dunham deployed Dec.1 as part of the Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group.

A child of a Sailor waves an American Flag as the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Jason Dunham (DDG 109) returns to Naval Station Mayport, Florida after a regularly scheduled deployment in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts, June 26. U.S. Navy Photo

Guided-missile destroyer USS Gravely (DDG-107) returned to its homeport of Naval Station Norfolk on June 25. Gravely deployed Dec.1 as part of the Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group.

Guided-missile destroyer USS Gonzalez (DDG-66) has been operating in U.S. 5th Fleet.

  • USS Cole (DDG-67), homeported at Naval Station Norfolk.
  • USS Bainbridge (DDG- 96), homeported at Naval Station Norfolk.
  • USS Gonzalez (DDG-66), homeported at Naval Station Norfolk.

In the Bay of Biscay

Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Handling) 1st Class Tu N. Chau directs an AV-8B Harrier, attached to the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit, aboard the Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) during exercise BALTOPS 22, June 14, 2022. U.S. Navy Photo

The Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit are in the Bay of Biscay.

The ARG includes USS Kearsarge (LHD-3), USS Arlington (LPD-24) and USS Gunston Hall (LSD-44).

The ARG is currently operating in a disaggregated fashion. Arlington arrived to Gabes, Tunisia, on June 17 to participate in exercise Africa Lion 2022.

The 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit is based in North Carolina and includes the command element; the aviation combat element, Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron, 263 (Reinforced); the ground combat element, Battalion Landing Team 2/6; and the logistics combat element, Combat Logistics Battalion 26.

In addition to the MEU itself, embarked commands with the Kearsarge ARG include Amphibious Squadron Six, Fleet Surgical Team 2, Tactical Air Control Squadron 22, Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 28, Assault Craft Unit 2, Assault Craft Unit 4, Naval Beach Group 2 and Beach Master Unit 2.

In the Western Atlantic

Aircraft assigned to Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 7 are secured to the flight deck of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77), June 23, 2022 in the Atlantic Ocean. U.S. Navy Photo

The George H. W. Bush Carrier Strike Group is underway off the coast of Virginia ahead of an anticipated deployment later this year. The strike group is conducting its Composite Unit Training Exercise, or COMPTUEX.

Assistant deputy chief of staff for operations at Headquarters U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Charles Corcoran visited Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) from June 25 through June 16 during the CSG’s COMPTUEX.

“As the Air Force implements its new Air Force ‘Force Generation Model’ and focuses on honing its agile combat employment concept, Corcoran sees a unique opportunity to work with the Navy,” the Navy said in a news release.

Carrier Strike Group 10

Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Handling) 2nd Class Kayla Fowler, signals an F/A-18E Super Hornet aircraft attached to Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 143, on the flight deck of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77), June 24, 2022 in the Atlantic Ocean. U.S. Navy Photo

Carrier

USS George H. W. Bush (CVN-77), homeported in Norfolk, Va.

Carrier Air Wing 7

A Sailor signals an MH-60R Sea Hawk Helicopter attached to Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 46 aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77), June 23, 2022, in the Atlantic Ocean. U.S. Navy Photo

Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 7, based at Naval Air Station Oceana, Va., is embarked aboard George H. W. Bush and includes a total of nine squadrons and detachments:

  • The “Pukin’ Dogs” of VFA-143 Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) flying F/A-18Es from Naval Air Station Oceana, Va.
  • The “Jolly Rogers” of VFA-103 – F/A-18F – from Naval Air Station Oceana.
  • The “Sidewinders” of VFA-86 – F/A-18E – from Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif.
  • The “Knighthawks” of VFA-136 – F/A-18E – from Naval Air Station Lemoore.
  • The “Patriots” of VAQ-140 – EA-18G – Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) – from Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Wash.
  • The “Bluetails” of VAW-121 – E-2D – Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) – from Naval Air Station Norfolk, Va.
  • The “Rawhides” of VRC-40 – Detachment – C-2A – Fleet Logistics Support Squadron (VRC) – from Naval Air Station Norfolk.
  • The “Nightdippers” of HSC-5 – MH-60S – Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) – from Naval Air Station Norfolk.
  • The “Grandmasters” of HSM-46 – MH-60R – Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) – from Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Fla.

Cruiser

The Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Leyte Gulf (CG 55) conducts a replenishment-at-sea with the fleet replenishment oiler USNS Leroy Grumman (T-AO 195), June 5, 2022, in the Atlantic Ocean. U.S. Navy Photo

USS Leyte Gulf (CG-55), homeported at Naval Station Norfolk.

Destroyer Squadron 26

Destroyer Squadron 26 is based in Norfolk and is embarked on the carrier.

  • Italian Navy destroyer ITS Caio Duilo (D554).

In the Eastern Pacific

Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 9, sails alongside the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) in the Pacific Ocean on June 9, 2022. U.S. Navy Photo

The Nimitz Carrier Strike Group has completed training in the Southern California Operating Areas. USS Nimitz (CVN-68) returned to its homeport in Bremerton, Wash., on June 24.

Sailors participate in a mass casualty drill aboard amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2), June 23, 2022, in the Pacific Ocean. U.S. Navy Photo

USS Essex (LHD-2) and USS Boxer (LHD-4) are underway in the Eastern Pacific. Essex is expected to participate in the biennial Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise scheduled for June 29 through August 4 in and around the Hawaiian Islands.

In addition to these major formations, not shown are others serving in submarines, individual surface ships, aircraft squadrons, SEALs, Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Forces, Seabees, Coast Guard cutters, EOD Mobile Units, and more serving throughout the globe.

Report to Congress on Air Force Next-Generation Air Dominance Program

The following is the June 23, 2022 Congressional Research Service In Focus report, Air Force Next-Generation Air Dominance Program. From the report According to the Air Force, the Next-Generation Air Dominance (NGAD) program is intended to develop “a portfolio of technologies enabling air superiority.” The Air Force intends for NGAD to replace the F-22 fighter […]

The following is the June 23, 2022 Congressional Research Service In Focus report, Air Force Next-Generation Air Dominance Program.

From the report

According to the Air Force, the Next-Generation Air Dominance (NGAD) program is intended to develop “a portfolio of technologies enabling air superiority.” The Air Force intends for NGAD to replace the F-22 fighter jet beginning in 2030, possibly including a combination of crewed and uncrewed aircraft, with other systems and sensors. NGAD began as a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency project. Since 2015, Congress has appropriated approximately $4.2 billion for NGAD.

NGAD is a classified aircraft development program, but the Air Force has released a few details. On September 15, 2020, then-U.S. Air Force acquisition executive Dr. Will Roper announced that the Air Force had flown a full-scale flight demonstrator as part of the NGAD program. Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall announced on June 1, 2022 that NGAD program technologies have matured enough to allow the program to move to the engineering, manufacture, and design phase of development.

Is the Goal of NGAD a New Fighter? 

While a stated aim of the NGAD program is to replace the F-22 fighter jet, the aircraft that come out of the NGAD program may or may not look like a traditional fighter. The Air Force is developing technologies involved in NGAD to provide air dominance. Part of the program’s goal is to determine how to achieve that end, independent of traditional U.S. military approaches to air dominance. NGAD could take the form of a single aircraft and/or a number of complementary systems—manned, unmanned, optionally manned, cyber, electronic—forms that would not resemble the traditional “fighter.”

For example, a larger aircraft the size of a B-21 may not maneuver like a fighter. But that large an aircraft carrying a directed energy weapon, with multiple engines making substantial electrical power for that weapon, could ensure that no enemy flies in a large amount of airspace. That would achieve air dominance. There appears to be little reason to assume that NGAD is going to yield a plane the size that one person sits in, and that goes out and dogfights kinetically, trying to outturn another plane—or that sensors and weapons have to be on the same aircraft.

Download the document here.

GAO Report on Hypersonic Missile Defense

The following is the June Government Accountability Office report, Missile Defense: Better Oversight and Coordination Needed for Counter-Hypersonic Development. What GAO Found The Missile Defense Agency (MDA) continues to build components of the Missile Defense System (MDS), test its capabilities, and plan for countering evolving threats. In fiscal year 2021, MDA made progress, but continued […]

The following is the June Government Accountability Office report, Missile Defense: Better Oversight and Coordination Needed for Counter-Hypersonic Development.

What GAO Found

The Missile Defense Agency (MDA) continues to build components of the Missile Defense System (MDS), test its capabilities, and plan for countering evolving threats. In fiscal year 2021, MDA made progress, but continued to fall short of its goals for asset deliveries and testing. For example, MDA successfully delivered many of the planned interceptors and conducted developmental and operational cybersecurity testing for MDS elements; however, MDA did not conduct any planned system-level cybersecurity tests—leaving MDA without knowledge of its systems’ vulnerabilities and contributing to programmatic delays. The shortfalls to planned system-level tests were partially attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic.

MDA’s efforts to address hypersonic threats include the Glide Phase Interceptor (GPI) and Hypersonic and Ballistic Tracking Space Sensor (HBTSS). These efforts represent technologies that have considerable risks, but MDA has not taken necessary steps to reduce risks and ensure appropriate oversight from the Department of Defense (DOD) or stakeholder involvement.

  • GPI is a missile designed to shoot down a hypersonic weapon in the middle
    (or glide phase) of its flight. Contrary to a DOD directive with which MDA has
    aligned its effort, at the time of our review, MDA did not plan to obtain an
    independent technological risk assessment to determine the maturity of the
    technologies before proceeding with development. In addition, MDA did not
    plan to obtain an independent cost estimate.
  • HBTSS is a concept of space-based sensors to track the unique flight path of
    a hypersonic weapon. However, MDA has not adequately coordinated the
    HBTSS effort with DOD’s Space Development Agency and Space Force.

Increased DOD oversight and involvement would reduce risk. In addition, more clearly delineated roles and responsibilities would help avoid duplication, overlap, or fragmented capabilities among MDA and other View GAO-22-105075. For more information, DOD space agencies.

Download the document here.

VIDEO: Christening of Destroyer John Basilone

The following is the June 18, 2022, christening ceremony of the guided missile destroyer John Basilone (DDG-122). “The ship’s namesake, Gunnery Sgt. John Basilone, received the Medal of Honor for heroism displayed in the Battle of Guadalcanal during World War II, where he led his heavy machine gun sections in defense of a critical position […]

The following is the June 18, 2022, christening ceremony of the guided missile destroyer John Basilone (DDG-122).

“The ship’s namesake, Gunnery Sgt. John Basilone, received the Medal of Honor for heroism displayed in the Battle of Guadalcanal during World War II, where he led his heavy machine gun sections in defense of a critical position and inflicted heavy casualties on the enemy. Basilone later returned to action at the Battle of Iwo Jima in February of 1944, where he single-handedly destroyed an enemy blockhouse and led a Marine tank under fire safely through a minefield. He was killed in action later that day and was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross for his unwavering devotion and valiant spirit of self-sacrifice,” reads a statement from the Navy.

The sponsors are Ryan Manion and Amy Looney Heffernan. Manion broke a bottle of sparkling wine on the bow.

Sgt. Maj. of the Marine Corps Troy Black, Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine); Vice Adm. Francis Morley, principal military deputy to the assistant secretary of the Navy for research, development, and acquisition; Vice Adm. Scott Conn, deputy chief of naval operations for warfighting requirements and capabilities; Don Basilone, brother of the ship’s namesake; and Charles Krugh, president of General Dynamics Bath Iron Works spoke at the ceremony.

GAO Report: Navy, Air Force Declining Aircraft Mission Capable Rates

The following is the June Government Accountability Office report, Air Force and Navy Aviation: Actions Needed to Address Persistent Sustainment Risks. From the report What GAO Found  Mission capable rates—a metric used to assess the health and readiness of an aircraft fleet—and other related maintenance metrics trends have worsened since fiscal year 2015 for eight […]

The following is the June Government Accountability Office report, Air Force and Navy Aviation: Actions Needed to Address Persistent Sustainment Risks.

From the report

What GAO Found 

Mission capable rates—a metric used to assess the health and readiness of an aircraft fleet—and other related maintenance metrics trends have worsened since fiscal year 2015 for eight selected aircraft.

While the Air Force and Navy have initiatives to address unit-level maintenance challenges, neither service has mitigated persistent fixed-wing aircraft sustainment risks. A statute enacted in 2016 requires the services to conduct sustainment reviews for major weapon systems to assess their product support strategy and performance, among other things. GAO found, however, that the Air Force and Navy have not completed these sustainment reviews for all aircraft (see figure). Both the Air Force and Navy have plans to complete the required sustainment reviews by the end of fiscal years 2025 and 2035, respectively.

Without the Air Force and Navy prioritizing the completion of required sustainment reviews and updating their schedules to complete the reviews in a timelier manner, the services are missing opportunities to identify maintenance and other risks to aircraft availability. Further, neither the Air Force nor the Navy have completed mitigation plans to remedy maintenance challenges, risks, or related impacts identified in any sustainment reviews. As a result, the Air Force and Navy cannot fully address unit-level aviation maintenance challenges affecting aircraft availability required for training and operations. If Congress required the Air Force and Navy to submit mitigation plans to Congress related to maintenance challenges and risks to aircraft availability found in sustainment reviews, it would enhance the services’ accountability for taking the necessary and appropriate actions to address persistent challenges to aircraft availability.

Download the document here.