30 May 14. Jay Carney steps down as White House press secretary. President Obama announced Friday that Jay Carney will step down as White House press secretary after more than three years and be replaced by his deputy Josh Earnest, who worked on the Obama campaign in 2008. Carney, 49, a former TIME Magazine White House correspondent, joined the administration in late 2008 as spokesman for Vice President-elect Biden. He was promoted to Obama’s chief spokesman in February 2011, replacing Robert Gibbs. Earnest, 39, has been Carney’s top deputy and regularly fills in for the press secretary during daily briefings at the White House and aboard Air Force One when the president leaves Washington. Carney said Earnest would travel with Obama to Europe next week, and the press secretary said he would formally leave his job in mid- to late-June. Obama made the surprise announcement in the briefing room, cutting off Carney during an answer to a question about Ukraine. Carney developed a reputation among his former peers as a disciplined and even-tempered spokesman who rarely disclosed news by mistake or made mis-statements that were damaging to the White House. Carney sparred with reporters regularly, as they pressed him on camera to respond to world crises, domestic politics and White House scandals. (Source: Washington Post)
29 May 14. USMC Cannot Meet All Its Amphibious Needs, Top Marine Says. The US Marine Corps cannot meet its amphibious assault needs with its current stable of ship-to-shore connectors, according to Commandant Gen. Jim Amos in a recent article he penned for the June edition of Proceedings Magazine. Amos says the service must explore future options, despite austere budgets and cautions against letting the service’s amphibious capability atrophy further. “Simply put, our current and proposed surface-connector inventory does not meet the current or future requirements and ability to maneuver from increased range beyond the threat,” Amos writes. To fill the gap in ship-to-shore capabilities Amos proposes revising current programs like the Joint High Speed Vessel by modifying them to have ramps that can launch amphibious vehicles.
He proposes looking at existing technology like the US-produced Landing Catamaran, or L-CAT, which is now used by French forces. The L-CAT can move at 23 mph for up to 200 miles, meaning 100 nautical miles would still take it roughly 4.5 hours to traverse. Amos also mentions the experimental Ultra Heavy-Lift Amphibious Connector. The UHAC can also move at 20 knots, roll onto a beach and even scale 10-foot sea walls. The vehicle has caught some criticism for its outlandish design though, particularly the plainly visible pilot’s bay. Finally, he mentions future connectors that only exist ‘on PowerPoint’ like the T-CRAFT a gargantuan high-speed craft than can ride up onto beaches. Although it does not offer a short-term solution, Amos says all options should be explored and he welcomes the input of academia, industry and other services. Part of the challenge is great standoff distance now needed to keep ships safe from the expanding threat of anti-ship missiles which are rapidly proliferating among poorer nations and could even be deployed by non-state actors. “We know today that a combination of integrated acquisition systems, precision guidance, and coastal-defense cruise missiles can necessitate initial standoff distances as far out as 100 nautical miles,” Amos writes. “Ultimately, mission success foresees a requirement that enables the employment of contested, disaggregated, distributed, and dispersed forces maneuvering from the sea base to secure entry points.” The service recently unveiled Expeditionary Force 21, a new doctrinal concept which emphasized sea basing and the use of prepositioned ships bearing gear so that Marines can quickly mass when crisis breaks out. But the concept requires ship-to-shore transport the service doesn’t currently have. The number of ship-to-shore connectors