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25 Jan 16. The European Union on Monday launched a new law enforcement center to coordinate the fight against violent extremism, saying Europe faces the most significant terrorist threat in over 10 years.
“There is every reason to expect that IS (the Islamic State organization), IS-inspired terrorists or another religiously inspired terrorist group will undertake a terrorist attack somewhere in Europe again, but particularly in France, intended to cause mass casualties among the civilian population,” Europol, the EU-wide agency for law enforcement cooperation, said in a report. “This is in addition to the threat of lone-actor attacks, which has not diminished.”
The report coincided with the official opening of the European Counter Terrorism Center. Europol director Rob Wainwright said his organization’s new unit in The Hague, Netherlands will be staffed by 40-50 experts in counterterrorism and deal in intelligence-sharing, tracking foreign fighters and sources of illegal financing and firearms, and assisting EU countries in counterterrorism investigations.
Wainwright said over 5,000 EU nationals have been radicalized by fighting with Muslim extremists in Iraq and Syria, and that many have returned home. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/AP)
28 Jan 16. Navy to Christen Littoral Combat Ship Sioux City. The Navy christened its newest Freedom variant littoral combat ship, USS Sioux City (LCS 11), during a 10 a.m. CST ceremony Saturday, Jan. 30 in Marinette, Wisconsin. Sioux City, designated LCS 11, honors the city of Sioux City, Iowa. Adm. Michelle Howard, vice chief of Naval Operations, will serve as principal speaker. Mary Winnefeld, wife of retired Adm. James “Sandy” Winnefeld, will serve as the ship’s sponsor. The ceremony will be highlighted by Winnefeld breaking a bottle of sparkling wine across the bow to formally christen the ship, which is a time-honored Navy tradition. “The christening and launch of LCS 11, the future USS Sioux City, marks an important step toward this great warship’s entry into the fleet,” said The Honorable Ray Mabus, secretary of the Navy. “The hard work and dedication of our nation’s shipbuilders have ensured this ship will serve as a representation of both Sioux City and our Navy and Marine Corps’ ability to deliver presence for decades to come.” The future USS Sioux City is the first naval vessel to be named in honor of Sioux City, Iowa. The fourth-largest city in the state, Sioux City was founded in 1854 at the navigational head of the Missouri River and takes its name from one of a group of North American Indian tribes that make up the Great Sioux Nation. Sioux City has a strong historical connection to all branches of the military, including the Navy. The U.S. Naval Reserve Construction Battalion (NCB) 2 deployed from Sioux City Naval Reserve Training Center to Vietnam in 1967, and in February 1968 the 185th Tactical Fighter Squadron of the Iowa Air National Guard was deployed from their base in Sioux City in direct response to the seizure of the USS Pueblo by North Korea. Sioux City is also the hometown of the 27th Chief of Naval Operations, retired Adm. Vern Clark.
27 Jan 16. Inactive US icebreaker to undergo materiel condition assessment by USN. Key Points:
• USCG is finalising an agreement with NAVSEA to complete a materiel assessment of Polar Sea
• Polar Sea’s preservation drydocking maintenance is expected to conclude in February
A US icebreaker currently proceeding through a preservation dry docking will be assessed by the US Navy’s (USN’s) acquisition command for possible reactivation, US Coast Guard (USCG) officials told IHS Jane’s .