03 Sep 15. U.S. sanctions Russia’s state-owned arms exporter Rosoboronexport. The U.S. government has slapped sanctions on Russian state-owned arms exporter Rosoboronexport for violating a U.S. law restricting weapons trade with Iran, North Korea and Syria, barring future U.S. military purchases with the company. The Pentagon last purchased Rosoboronexport helicopters to supply Afghan security forces in 2013, a Pentagon spokesperson said on Thursday. The State Department announced the sanctions on Wednesday. The U.S. military’s purchase of equipment from the Russian company, given its sales of weapons to the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, had prompted bipartisan criticism in the U.S. Congress.
The Russian Foreign Ministry condemned the new U.S. sanctions, saying Moscow will take countermeasures, Interfax reported late on Wednesday.
Several other Russian, Chinese, and Sudanese firms were also listed in the U.S. State Department notice.
The Iran, North Korea, and Syria Nonproliferation Act prohibits trade with those countries of goods, services, or technology used to make weapons of mass destruction or cruise or ballistic missiles.
Russia has supported Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in a 4-1/2-year-old civil war, including by supplying him with military gear. Iran and North Korea are under United Nations arms embargoes.
The new sanctions prohibit the U.S. government from procuring goods or services from the listed entities, as well as selling them defense-related goods and services.
The Pentagon previously bought Russian Mi-17 helicopters for Afghan forces from Rosoboronexport, and a top U.S. general told a Senate committee in 2014 that barring dealings with the weapons exporter could be “catastrophic” for U.S. forces.
“The DoD (Department of Defense) has no new contracts with Rosoboronexport, nor will we enter into any new contracts with ROE,” said Maureen Schumann, a Pentagon spokesperson. The last aircraft was delivered in November 2014, Schumann said.
Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, a Democrat from Connecticut, welcomed the sanctions in a statement.
“The Pentagon will finally have to end its relationship with Rosoboronexport and the other entities sanctioned once and for all,” she said. “Our government must stop filling the pockets of Russian arms dealers. It should instead support American jobs by allowing U.S. companies to compete for these contracts.”
The district DeLauro represents is home to helicopter manufacturer Sikorsky Aircraft, a division of United Technologies Corp.
Many of the other entities targeted on Wednesday already face multiple rounds of U.S. and international sanctions. (Source: Reuters)
03 Sep 15. A New Class of Ship – ‘Expeditionary Support.’ There are different kinds of submarines, of destroyers and amphibious ships, of patrol and support ships. The US Navy’s unique designation system defines all of them, starting with a root type, like SS for submarine, adding an N for nuclear, adding a G for guided missiles or a B for ballistic missiles.
Now there’s a new root designator – E for Expeditionary Support.
Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, working with Adm. Jon Greenert, chief of naval operations, signed off on the E plan and changed the designations of three kinds of ships to the new category:
• JHSV Joint High Speed Vessels will become EPF, for Expeditionary Fast Transport.
• MLP Mobile Landing Platforms are now ESD Expeditionary Transfer Docks.
• and AFSB Afloat Forward Staging Bases – currently included as MLPs – will become ESB, for Expeditionary Base Mobile.
The changes, announced Thursday by Mabus’ office, are in line with an effort begun by the secretary in 2013 to streamline some of the Navy’s ship designations, which some feel have become too disparate. The topic has been debated within the Navy’s command structure, where some argue the designators should reflect an acquisition program, while others think more traditional terms should apply.
E is not a new designatio