Tagged: members

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Emails detail how senior US military officers grappled with false Hawaii missile alert


Cars drive past a highway sign on the H-1 Freeway in Honolulu on Jan. 13. (Cory Lum/Civil Beat via AP)

The Hawaii government’s erroneous warning of an imminent ballistic missile attack caused confusion at U.S. military facilities, frustrating senior officers and causing them to question procedures for communicating with state officials, according to emails obtained by The Washington Post.

The emails were sent in succession after thousands of people received a text-message warning Jan. 13 that prompted hysteria in parts of Hawaii. The U.S. military had no role in sending the mistaken message but nonetheless had to deal with the fallout.

“Apparently, they were getting ready to do a drill when the ‘drill’ part was lost in translation,” Adm. Harry Harris, the chief of U.S. Pacific Command, wrote to Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, an hour after the message was sent. “Totally uncoordinated with us of course.”

[‘Is this the end of my life?’: False alert of missile attack sends Hawaii scrambling[1]]

The emails were obtained Friday night through the Freedom of Information Act. They detail efforts by the U.S. military to address what happened, gather information internally and answer questions to better handle crises in the future. They make no mention of President Trump or White House staff, who declined to address the issue and referred to the gaffe as a “state issue.”

The warning, sent to people’s cellphones at 8:07 a.m. local time, was issued by an employee who did not realize a drill was underway, a federal investigation found.

“BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII,” the warning said. “SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.”

It took the Hawaii government 38 minutes to issue a follow-up text message indicating the alert had been sent in error, though officials did attempt to assuage concerns through social media.

The employee who posted the message was fired. An investigation found that he thought the threat was real and had made similar mistakes in the past.

[Hawaii’s false missile alert sent by troubled worker who thought an attack was imminent, officials say[2]]

U.S. Pacific Command began responding to media questions about the alert by 8:23 a.m., saying there was no threat and state officials would issue a correction. Harris’s email to Dunford and other senior Pentagon officers indicated that the notification system “worked as we hoped it would” and that Pacific Command had several tasks to do.

“There will be heavy press play here, for sure, which we’ll handle for those questions which concern PACOM forces,” Harris wrote. “Will also work with the State of Hawaii and internal to PACOM — am sure there are lessons learned where we can improve.”

However, there was “a lot of explaining by the State of Hawaii to do,” Harris added.


Navy Adm. Harry Harris asked a slew of questions about the U.S. military response to a false missile alert issued by the state of Hawaii. (Roslan Rahman/AFP/Getty Images)

Dunford’s response was short: “Tracking all Harry… thanks,” he wrote. “Safe travels.”

The email to Dunford was forwarded a short time later to other senior members of Pacific Command’s staff, prompting conversation about what exactly state officials needed to fix.

Andrew Singer, a retired admiral who is now Harris’s deputy director for intelligence, wrote to Air Force Maj. Gen. Kevin Schneider, Harris’s chief of staff, that the state “has more than the alert system to work on.” It is unclear what he was alluding to; parts of his email are redacted.

“Happened to be in Yoga class when one of the ladies blurted out missile attack and ran out followed by most others,” Singer wrote. “Looking about town most just kept pursing [sic] getting their coffee or Malasadas,” he added, referring to a doughnut-like pastry.

Schneider responded a short time later agreeing with Singer, saying that there is “lots of work to be done on the communications piece.”

Harris also emailed the top Air Force officer in the Pacific, Gen. Terrence J. O’Shaughnessy, asking for additional information about a warning broadcasted on Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.

“Just for my education and edification, when the Big Voice went off at Pearl Harbor-Hickam this morning, there was no indication that this was a drill; in fact just the opposite,” Harris wrote. “So, what happens on the flight line, and what message, if any was passed to aircraft in the air?”

O’Shaughnessy’s responses are partially redacted, but he told Harris that afternoon in another email that air-traffic controllers did not pass warnings of incoming ballistic missiles to aircraft or hold any aircraft on the ground.

“Thanks Shags,” Harris responded. “I think we’re going to learn a lot here. For ~25-30 minutes, there was a real alert, mistaken though it was.” Part of his email is redacted.

Pacific Command’s deputy commander, Army Lt. Gen. Bryan Fenton, followed up with Schneider that night, saying that Harris wanted additional information, including what ships, squadrons and ground units were told to do and how military families were informed. Harris also was concerned that word of the false alert did not immediately reach the Pacific Command operations center because U.S. troops there are required to leave their cell phones outside as a security measure.

Harris asked similar questions of Rear Adm. Matthew J. Carter, the deputy commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet based in Hawaii. Carter responded that they were planning a “deep dive on this event,” including mapping out and surveying shelters on military installations.

“This is a good outcome for all the Components,” Harris responded. “We should take full advantage of this unforced error by the State of Hawaii.”

A Pacific Command spokesman, Navy Cmdr. David Benham, declined to answer specific questions about the emails, including whether questions that Harris raised in them have been resolved.

“We are a learning organization,” Benham said, “and took this false alert as an opportunity to review and improve our communication and coordination with state and federal emergency management agencies.”

False Hawaii Missile Warning[3] by Dan Lamothe[4] on Scribd

0

Emails detail how senior US military officers grappled with false Hawaii missile alert

Cars drive past a highway sign on the H-1 Freeway in Honolulu on Jan. 13. (Cory Lum/Civil Beat via AP)

The Hawaii government’s erroneous warning of an imminent ballistic missile attack caused confusion at U.S. military facilities, frustrating senior officers and causing them to question procedures for communicating with state officials, according to emails obtained by The Washington Post.

The emails were sent in succession after thousands of people received a text-message warning Jan. 13 that prompted hysteria in parts of Hawaii. The U.S. military had no role in sending the mistaken message but nonetheless had to deal with the fallout.

“Apparently, they were getting ready to do a drill when the ‘drill’ part was lost in translation,” Adm. Harry Harris, the chief of U.S. Pacific Command, wrote to Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, an hour after the message was sent. “Totally uncoordinated with us of course.”

The emails were obtained Friday night through the Freedom of Information Act. They detail efforts by the U.S. military to address what happened, gather information internally and answer questions to better handle crises in the future. They make no mention of President Trump or White House staff, who declined to address the issue and referred to the gaffe as a “state issue.”

The warning, sent to people’s cellphones at 8:07 a.m. local time, was issued by an employee who did not realize a drill was underway, a federal investigation found.

“BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII,” the warning said. “SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.”

It took the Hawaii government 38 minutes to issue a follow-up text message indicating the alert had been sent in error, though officials did attempt to assuage concerns through social media.

The employee who posted the message was fired. An investigation found that he thought the threat was real and had made similar mistakes in the past.

U.S. Pacific Command began responding to media questions about the alert by 8:23 a.m., saying there was no threat and state officials would issue a correction. Harris’s email to Dunford and other senior Pentagon officers indicated that the notification system “worked as we hoped it would” and that Pacific Command had several tasks to do.

“There will be heavy press play here, for sure, which we’ll handle for those questions which concern PACOM forces,” Harris wrote. “Will also work with the State of Hawaii and internal to PACOM — am sure there are lessons learned where we can improve.”

However, there was “a lot of explaining by the State of Hawaii to do,” Harris added.

Dunford’s response was short: “Tracking all Harry… thanks,” he wrote. “Safe travels.”

The email to Dunford was forwarded a short time later to other senior members of Pacific Command’s staff, prompting conversation about what exactly state officials needed to fix.

Andrew Singer, a retired admiral who is now Harris’s deputy director for intelligence, wrote to Air Force Maj. Gen. Kevin Schneider, Harris’s chief of staff, that the state “has more than the alert system to work on.” It is unclear what he was alluding to; parts of his email are redacted.

“Happened to be in Yoga class when one of the ladies blurted out missile attack and ran out followed by most others,” Singer wrote. “Looking about town most just kept pursing [sic] getting their coffee or Malasadas,” he added, referring to a doughnut-like pastry.

Schneider responded a short time later agreeing with Singer, saying that there is “lots of work to be done on the communications piece.”

Harris also emailed the top Air Force officer in the Pacific, Gen. Terrence J. O’Shaughnessy, asking for additional information about a warning broadcasted on Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.

“Just for my education and edification, when the Big Voice went off at Pearl Harbor-Hickam this morning, there was no indication that this was a drill; in fact just the opposite,” Harris wrote. “So, what happens on the flight line, and what message, if any was passed to aircraft in the air?”

O’Shaughnessy’s responses are partially redacted, but he told Harris that afternoon in another email that air-traffic controllers did not pass warnings of incoming ballistic missiles to aircraft or hold any aircraft on the ground.

“Thanks Shags,” Harris responded. “I think we’re going to learn a lot here. For ~25-30 minutes, there was a real alert, mistaken though it was.” Part of his email is redacted.

Pacific Command’s deputy commander, Army Lt. Gen. Bryan Fenton, followed up with Schneider that night, saying that Harris wanted additional information, including what ships, squadrons and ground units were told to do and how military families were informed. Harris also was concerned that word of the false alert did not immediately reach the Pacific Command operations center because U.S. troops there are required to leave their cell phones outside as a security measure.

Harris asked similar questions of Rear Adm. Matthew J. Carter, the deputy commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet based in Hawaii. Carter responded that they were planning a “deep dive on this event,” including mapping out and surveying shelters on military installations.

“This is a good outcome for all the Components,” Harris responded. “We should take full advantage of this unforced error by the State of Hawaii.”

A Pacific Command spokesman, Navy Cmdr. David Benham, declined to answer specific questions about the emails, including whether questions that Harris raised in them have been resolved.

“We are a learning organization,” Benham said, “and took this false alert as an opportunity to review and improve our communication and coordination with state and federal emergency management agencies.”

False Hawaii Missile Warning[1] by Dan Lamothe[2] on Scribd

0

Emails detail how senior U.S. military officers grappled with false …


Cars drive past a highway sign on the H-1 Freeway in Honolulu on Jan. 13. (Cory Lum/Civil Beat via AP)

The Hawaii government’s erroneous warning of an imminent ballistic missile attack caused confusion at U.S. military facilities, frustrating senior officers and causing them to question procedures for communicating with state officials, according to emails obtained by The Washington Post.

The emails were sent in succession after thousands of people received a text-message warning Jan. 13 that prompted hysteria in parts of Hawaii. The U.S. military had no role in sending the mistaken message but nonetheless had to deal with the fallout.

“Apparently, they were getting ready to do a drill when the ‘drill’ part was lost in translation,” Adm. Harry Harris, the chief of U.S. Pacific Command, wrote to Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, an hour after the message was sent. “Totally uncoordinated with us of course.”

[‘Is this the end of my life?’: False alert of missile attack sends Hawaii scrambling[1]]

The emails were obtained Friday night through the Freedom of Information Act. They detail efforts by the U.S. military to address what happened, gather information internally and answer questions to better handle crises in the future. They make no mention of President Trump or White House staff, who declined to address the issue and referred to the gaffe as a “state issue.”

The warning, sent to people’s cellphones at 8:07 a.m. local time, was issued by an employee who did not realize a drill was underway, a federal investigation found.

“BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII,” the warning said. “SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.”

It took the Hawaii government 38 minutes to issue a follow-up text message indicating the alert had been sent in error, though officials did attempt to assuage concerns through social media.

The employee who posted the message was fired. An investigation found that he thought the threat was real and had made similar mistakes in the past.

[Hawaii’s false missile alert sent by troubled worker who thought an attack was imminent, officials say[2]]

U.S. Pacific Command began responding to media questions about the alert by 8:23 a.m., saying there was no threat and state officials would issue a correction. Harris’s email to Dunford and other senior Pentagon officers indicated that the notification system “worked as we hoped it would” and that Pacific Command had several tasks to do.

“There will be heavy press play here, for sure, which we’ll handle for those questions which concern PACOM forces,” Harris wrote. “Will also work with the State of Hawaii and internal to PACOM — am sure there are lessons learned where we can improve.”

However, there was “a lot of explaining by the State of Hawaii to do,” Harris added.


Navy Adm. Harry Harris asked a slew of questions about the U.S. military response to a false missile alert issued by the state of Hawaii. (Roslan Rahman/AFP/Getty Images)

Dunford’s response was short: “Tracking all Harry… thanks,” he wrote. “Safe travels.”

The email to Dunford was forwarded a short time later to other senior members of Pacific Command’s staff, prompting conversation about what exactly state officials needed to fix.

Andrew Singer, a retired admiral who is now Harris’s deputy director for intelligence, wrote to Air Force Maj. Gen. Kevin Schneider, Harris’s chief of staff, that the state “has more than the alert system to work on.” It is unclear what he was alluding to; parts of his email are redacted.

“Happened to be in Yoga class when one of the ladies blurted out missile attack and ran out followed by most others,” Singer wrote. “Looking about town most just kept pursing [sic] getting their coffee or Malasadas,” he added, referring to a doughnut-like pastry.

Schneider responded a short time later agreeing with Singer, saying that there is “lots of work to be done on the communications piece.”

Harris also emailed the top Air Force officer in the Pacific, Gen. Terrence J. O’Shaughnessy, asking for additional information about a warning broadcasted on Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.

“Just for my education and edification, when the Big Voice went off at Pearl Harbor-Hickam this morning, there was no indication that this was a drill; in fact just the opposite,” Harris wrote. “So, what happens on the flight line, and what message, if any was passed to aircraft in the air?”

O’Shaughnessy’s responses are partially redacted, but he told Harris that afternoon in another email that air-traffic controllers did not pass warnings of incoming ballistic missiles to aircraft or hold any aircraft on the ground.

“Thanks Shags,” Harris responded. “I think we’re going to learn a lot here. For ~25-30 minutes, there was a real alert, mistaken though it was.” Part of his email is redacted.

Pacific Command’s deputy commander, Army Lt. Gen. Bryan Fenton, followed up with Schneider that night, saying that Harris wanted additional information, including what ships, squadrons and ground units were told to do and how military families were informed. Harris also was concerned that word of the false alert did not immediately reach the Pacific Command operations center because U.S. troops there are required to leave their cell phones outside as a security measure.

Harris asked similar questions of Rear Adm. Matthew J. Carter, the deputy commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet based in Hawaii. Carter responded that they were planning a “deep dive on this event,” including mapping out and surveying shelters on military installations.

“This is a good outcome for all the Components,” Harris responded. “We should take full advantage of this unforced error by the State of Hawaii.”

A Pacific Command spokesman, Navy Cmdr. David Benham, declined to answer specific questions about the emails, including whether questions that Harris raised in them have been resolved.

“We are a learning organization,” Benham said, “and took this false alert as an opportunity to review and improve our communication and coordination with state and federal emergency management agencies.”

False Hawaii Missile Warning[3] by Dan Lamothe[4] on Scribd

0

Emails detail how senior US military officers grappled with false Hawaii missile alert


Cars drive past a highway sign on the H-1 Freeway in Honolulu on Jan. 13. (Cory Lum/Civil Beat via AP)

The Hawaii government’s erroneous warning of an imminent ballistic missile attack caused confusion at U.S. military facilities, frustrating senior officers and causing them to question procedures for communicating with state officials, according to emails obtained by The Washington Post.

The emails were sent in succession after thousands of people received a text-message warning Jan. 13 that prompted hysteria in parts of Hawaii. The U.S. military had no role in sending the mistaken message but nonetheless had to deal with the fallout.

“Apparently, they were getting ready to do a drill when the ‘drill’ part was lost in translation,” Adm. Harry Harris, the chief of U.S. Pacific Command, wrote to Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, an hour after the message was sent. “Totally uncoordinated with us of course.”

[‘Is this the end of my life?’: False alert of missile attack sends Hawaii scrambling[1]]

The emails were obtained Friday night through the Freedom of Information Act. They detail efforts by the U.S. military to address what happened, gather information internally and answer questions to better handle crises in the future. They make no mention of President Trump or White House staff, who declined to address the issue and referred to the gaffe as a “state issue.”

The warning, sent to people’s cellphones at 8:07 a.m. local time, was issued by an employee who did not realize a drill was underway, a federal investigation found.

“BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII,” the warning said. “SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.”

It took the Hawaii government 38 minutes to issue a follow-up text message indicating the alert had been sent in error, though officials did attempt to assuage concerns through social media.

The employee who posted the message was fired. An investigation found that he thought the threat was real and had made similar mistakes in the past.

[Hawaii’s false missile alert sent by troubled worker who thought an attack was imminent, officials say[2]]

U.S. Pacific Command began responding to media questions about the alert by 8:23 a.m., saying there was no threat and state officials would issue a correction. Harris’s email to Dunford and other senior Pentagon officers indicated that the notification system “worked as we hoped it would” and that Pacific Command had several tasks to do.

“There will be heavy press play here, for sure, which we’ll handle for those questions which concern PACOM forces,” Harris wrote. “Will also work with the State of Hawaii and internal to PACOM — am sure there are lessons learned where we can improve.”

However, there was “a lot of explaining by the State of Hawaii to do,” Harris added.


Navy Adm. Harry Harris asked a slew of questions about the U.S. military response to a false missile alert issued by the state of Hawaii. (Roslan Rahman/AFP/Getty Images)

Dunford’s response was short: “Tracking all Harry… thanks,” he wrote. “Safe travels.”

The email to Dunford was forwarded a short time later to other senior members of Pacific Command’s staff, prompting conversation about what exactly state officials needed to fix.

Andrew Singer, a retired admiral who is now Harris’s deputy director for intelligence, wrote to Air Force Maj. Gen. Kevin Schneider, Harris’s chief of staff, that the state “has more than the alert system to work on.” It is unclear what he was alluding to; parts of his email are redacted.

“Happened to be in Yoga class when one of the ladies blurted out missile attack and ran out followed by most others,” Singer wrote. “Looking about town most just kept pursing [sic] getting their coffee or Malasadas,” he added, referring to a doughnut-like pastry.

Schneider responded a short time later agreeing with Singer, saying that there is “lots of work to be done on the communications piece.”

Harris also emailed the top Air Force officer in the Pacific, Gen. Terrence J. O’Shaughnessy, asking for additional information about a warning broadcasted on Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.

“Just for my education and edification, when the Big Voice went off at Pearl Harbor-Hickam this morning, there was no indication that this was a drill; in fact just the opposite,” Harris wrote. “So, what happens on the flight line, and what message, if any was passed to aircraft in the air?”

O’Shaughnessy’s responses are partially redacted, but he told Harris that afternoon in another email that air-traffic controllers did not pass warnings of incoming ballistic missiles to aircraft or hold any aircraft on the ground.

“Thanks Shags,” Harris responded. “I think we’re going to learn a lot here. For ~25-30 minutes, there was a real alert, mistaken though it was.” Part of his email is redacted.

Pacific Command’s deputy commander, Army Lt. Gen. Bryan Fenton, followed up with Schneider that night, saying that Harris wanted additional information, including what ships, squadrons and ground units were told to do and how military families were informed. Harris also was concerned that word of the false alert did not immediately reach the Pacific Command operations center because U.S. troops there are required to leave their cell phones outside as a security measure.

Harris asked similar questions of Rear Adm. Matthew J. Carter, the deputy commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet based in Hawaii. Carter responded that they were planning a “deep dive on this event,” including mapping out and surveying shelters on military installations.

“This is a good outcome for all the Components,” Harris responded. “We should take full advantage of this unforced error by the State of Hawaii.”

A Pacific Command spokesman, Navy Cmdr. David Benham, declined to answer specific questions about the emails, including whether questions that Harris raised in them have been resolved.

“We are a learning organization,” Benham said, “and took this false alert as an opportunity to review and improve our communication and coordination with state and federal emergency management agencies.”

False Hawaii Missile Warning[3] by Dan Lamothe[4] on Scribd

0

Emails detail how senior U.S. military officers grappled with false …


Cars drive past a highway sign on the H-1 Freeway in Honolulu on Jan. 13. (Cory Lum/Civil Beat via AP)

The Hawaii government’s erroneous warning of an imminent ballistic missile attack caused confusion at U.S. military facilities, frustrating senior officers and causing them to question procedures for communicating with state officials, according to emails obtained by The Washington Post.

The emails were sent in succession after thousands of people received a text-message warning Jan. 13 that prompted hysteria in parts of Hawaii. The U.S. military had no role in sending the mistaken message but nonetheless had to deal with the fallout.

“Apparently, they were getting ready to do a drill when the ‘drill’ part was lost in translation,” Adm. Harry Harris, the chief of U.S. Pacific Command, wrote to Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, an hour after the message was sent. “Totally uncoordinated with us of course.”

[‘Is this the end of my life?’: False alert of missile attack sends Hawaii scrambling[1]]

The emails were obtained Friday night through the Freedom of Information Act. They detail efforts by the U.S. military to address what happened, gather information internally and answer questions to better handle crises in the future. They make no mention of President Trump or White House staff, who declined to address the issue and referred to the gaffe as a “state issue.”

The warning, sent to people’s cellphones at 8:07 a.m. local time, was issued by an employee who did not realize a drill was underway, a federal investigation found.

“BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII,” the warning said. “SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.”

It took the Hawaii government 38 minutes to issue a follow-up text message indicating the alert had been sent in error, though officials did attempt to assuage concerns through social media.

The employee who posted the message was fired. An investigation found that he thought the threat was real and had made similar mistakes in the past.

[Hawaii’s false missile alert sent by troubled worker who thought an attack was imminent, officials say[2]]

U.S. Pacific Command began responding to media questions about the alert by 8:23 a.m., saying there was no threat and state officials would issue a correction. Harris’s email to Dunford and other senior Pentagon officers indicated that the notification system “worked as we hoped it would” and that Pacific Command had several tasks to do.

“There will be heavy press play here, for sure, which we’ll handle for those questions which concern PACOM forces,” Harris wrote. “Will also work with the State of Hawaii and internal to PACOM — am sure there are lessons learned where we can improve.”

However, there was “a lot of explaining by the State of Hawaii to do,” Harris added.


Navy Adm. Harry Harris asked a slew of questions about the U.S. military response to a false missile alert issued by the state of Hawaii. (Roslan Rahman/AFP/Getty Images)

Dunford’s response was short: “Tracking all Harry… thanks,” he wrote. “Safe travels.”

The email to Dunford was forwarded a short time later to other senior members of Pacific Command’s staff, prompting conversation about what exactly state officials needed to fix.

Andrew Singer, a retired admiral who is now Harris’s deputy director for intelligence, wrote to Air Force Maj. Gen. Kevin Schneider, Harris’s chief of staff, that the state “has more than the alert system to work on.” It is unclear what he was alluding to; parts of his email are redacted.

“Happened to be in Yoga class when one of the ladies blurted out missile attack and ran out followed by most others,” Singer wrote. “Looking about town most just kept pursing [sic] getting their coffee or Malasadas,” he added, referring to a doughnut-like pastry.

Schneider responded a short time later agreeing with Singer, saying that there is “lots of work to be done on the communications piece.”

Harris also emailed the top Air Force officer in the Pacific, Gen. Terrence J. O’Shaughnessy, asking for additional information about a warning broadcasted on Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.

“Just for my education and edification, when the Big Voice went off at Pearl Harbor-Hickam this morning, there was no indication that this was a drill; in fact just the opposite,” Harris wrote. “So, what happens on the flight line, and what message, if any was passed to aircraft in the air?”

O’Shaughnessy’s responses are partially redacted, but he told Harris that afternoon in another email that air-traffic controllers did not pass warnings of incoming ballistic missiles to aircraft or hold any aircraft on the ground.

“Thanks Shags,” Harris responded. “I think we’re going to learn a lot here. For ~25-30 minutes, there was a real alert, mistaken though it was.” Part of his email is redacted.

Pacific Command’s deputy commander, Army Lt. Gen. Bryan Fenton, followed up with Schneider that night, saying that Harris wanted additional information, including what ships, squadrons and ground units were told to do and how military families were informed. Harris also was concerned that word of the false alert did not immediately reach the Pacific Command operations center because U.S. troops there are required to leave their cell phones outside as a security measure.

Harris asked similar questions of Rear Adm. Matthew J. Carter, the deputy commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet based in Hawaii. Carter responded that they were planning a “deep dive on this event,” including mapping out and surveying shelters on military installations.

“This is a good outcome for all the Components,” Harris responded. “We should take full advantage of this unforced error by the State of Hawaii.”

A Pacific Command spokesman, Navy Cmdr. David Benham, declined to answer specific questions about the emails, including whether questions that Harris raised in them have been resolved.

“We are a learning organization,” Benham said, “and took this false alert as an opportunity to review and improve our communication and coordination with state and federal emergency management agencies.”

False Hawaii Missile Warning[3] by Dan Lamothe[4] on Scribd

0

Emails detail how senior U.S. military officers grappled with false …


Cars drive past a highway sign on the H-1 Freeway in Honolulu on Jan. 13. (Cory Lum/Civil Beat via AP)

The Hawaii government’s erroneous warning of an imminent ballistic missile attack caused confusion at U.S. military facilities, frustrating senior officers and causing them to question procedures for communicating with state officials, according to emails obtained by The Washington Post.

The emails were sent in succession after thousands of people received a text-message warning Jan. 13 that prompted hysteria in parts of Hawaii. The U.S. military had no role in sending the mistaken message but nonetheless had to deal with the fallout.

“Apparently, they were getting ready to do a drill when the ‘drill’ part was lost in translation,” Adm. Harry Harris, the chief of U.S. Pacific Command, wrote to Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, an hour after the message was sent. “Totally uncoordinated with us of course.”

[‘Is this the end of my life?’: False alert of missile attack sends Hawaii scrambling[1]]

The emails were obtained Friday night through the Freedom of Information Act. They detail efforts by the U.S. military to address what happened, gather information internally and answer questions to better handle crises in the future. They make no mention of President Trump or White House staff, who declined to address the issue and referred to the gaffe as a “state issue.”

The warning, sent to people’s cellphones at 8:07 a.m. local time, was issued by an employee who did not realize a drill was underway, a federal investigation found.

“BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII,” the warning said. “SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.”

It took the Hawaii government 38 minutes to issue a follow-up text message indicating the alert had been sent in error, though officials did attempt to assuage concerns through social media.

The employee who posted the message was fired. An investigation found that he thought the threat was real and had made similar mistakes in the past.

[Hawaii’s false missile alert sent by troubled worker who thought an attack was imminent, officials say[2]]

U.S. Pacific Command began responding to media questions about the alert by 8:23 a.m., saying there was no threat and state officials would issue a correction. Harris’s email to Dunford and other senior Pentagon officers indicated that the notification system “worked as we hoped it would” and that Pacific Command had several tasks to do.

“There will be heavy press play here, for sure, which we’ll handle for those questions which concern PACOM forces,” Harris wrote. “Will also work with the State of Hawaii and internal to PACOM — am sure there are lessons learned where we can improve.”

However, there was “a lot of explaining by the State of Hawaii to do,” Harris added.


Navy Adm. Harry Harris asked a slew of questions about the U.S. military response to a false missile alert issued by the state of Hawaii. (Roslan Rahman/AFP/Getty Images)

Dunford’s response was short: “Tracking all Harry… thanks,” he wrote. “Safe travels.”

The email to Dunford was forwarded a short time later to other senior members of Pacific Command’s staff, prompting conversation about what exactly state officials needed to fix.

Andrew Singer, a retired admiral who is now Harris’s deputy director for intelligence, wrote to Air Force Maj. Gen. Kevin Schneider, Harris’s chief of staff, that the state “has more than the alert system to work on.” It is unclear what he was alluding to; parts of his email are redacted.

“Happened to be in Yoga class when one of the ladies blurted out missile attack and ran out followed by most others,” Singer wrote. “Looking about town most just kept pursing [sic] getting their coffee or Malasadas,” he added, referring to a doughnut-like pastry.

Schneider responded a short time later agreeing with Singer, saying that there is “lots of work to be done on the communications piece.”

Harris also emailed the top Air Force officer in the Pacific, Gen. Terrence J. O’Shaughnessy, asking for additional information about a warning broadcasted on Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.

“Just for my education and edification, when the Big Voice went off at Pearl Harbor-Hickam this morning, there was no indication that this was a drill; in fact just the opposite,” Harris wrote. “So, what happens on the flight line, and what message, if any was passed to aircraft in the air?”

O’Shaughnessy’s responses are partially redacted, but he told Harris that afternoon in another email that air-traffic controllers did not pass warnings of incoming ballistic missiles to aircraft or hold any aircraft on the ground.

“Thanks Shags,” Harris responded. “I think we’re going to learn a lot here. For ~25-30 minutes, there was a real alert, mistaken though it was.” Part of his email is redacted.

Pacific Command’s deputy commander, Army Lt. Gen. Bryan Fenton, followed up with Schneider that night, saying that Harris wanted additional information, including what ships, squadrons and ground units were told to do and how military families were informed. Harris also was concerned that word of the false alert did not immediately reach the Pacific Command operations center because U.S. troops there are required to leave their cell phones outside as a security measure.

Harris asked similar questions of Rear Adm. Matthew J. Carter, the deputy commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet based in Hawaii. Carter responded that they were planning a “deep dive on this event,” including mapping out and surveying shelters on military installations.

“This is a good outcome for all the Components,” Harris responded. “We should take full advantage of this unforced error by the State of Hawaii.”

A Pacific Command spokesman, Navy Cmdr. David Benham, declined to answer specific questions about the emails, including whether questions that Harris raised in them have been resolved.

“We are a learning organization,” Benham said, “and took this false alert as an opportunity to review and improve our communication and coordination with state and federal emergency management agencies.”

False Hawaii Missile Warning[3] by Dan Lamothe[4] on Scribd

0

Emails detail how senior US military officers grappled with false Hawaii missile alert


Cars drive past a highway sign on the H-1 Freeway in Honolulu on Jan. 13. (Cory Lum/Civil Beat via AP)

The Hawaii government’s erroneous warning of an imminent ballistic missile attack caused confusion at U.S. military facilities, frustrating senior officers and causing them to question procedures for communicating with state officials, according to emails obtained by The Washington Post.

The emails were sent in succession after thousands of people received a text-message warning Jan. 13 that prompted hysteria in parts of Hawaii. The U.S. military had no role in sending the mistaken message but nonetheless had to deal with the fallout.

“Apparently, they were getting ready to do a drill when the ‘drill’ part was lost in translation,” Adm. Harry Harris, the chief of U.S. Pacific Command, wrote to Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, an hour after the message was sent. “Totally uncoordinated with us of course.”

[‘Is this the end of my life?’: False alert of missile attack sends Hawaii scrambling[1]]

The emails were obtained Friday night through the Freedom of Information Act. They detail efforts by the U.S. military to address what happened, gather information internally and answer questions to better handle crises in the future. They make no mention of President Trump or White House staff, who declined to address the issue and referred to the gaffe as a “state issue.”

The warning, sent to people’s cellphones at 8:07 a.m. local time, was issued by an employee who did not realize a drill was underway, a federal investigation found.

“BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII,” the warning said. “SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.”

It took the Hawaii government 38 minutes to issue a follow-up text message indicating the alert had been sent in error, though officials did attempt to assuage concerns through social media.

The employee who posted the message was fired. An investigation found that he thought the threat was real and had made similar mistakes in the past.

[Hawaii’s false missile alert sent by troubled worker who thought an attack was imminent, officials say[2]]

U.S. Pacific Command began responding to media questions about the alert by 8:23 a.m., saying there was no threat and state officials would issue a correction. Harris’s email to Dunford and other senior Pentagon officers indicated that the notification system “worked as we hoped it would” and that Pacific Command had several tasks to do.

“There will be heavy press play here, for sure, which we’ll handle for those questions which concern PACOM forces,” Harris wrote. “Will also work with the State of Hawaii and internal to PACOM — am sure there are lessons learned where we can improve.”

However, there was “a lot of explaining by the State of Hawaii to do,” Harris added.


Navy Adm. Harry Harris asked a slew of questions about the U.S. military response to a false missile alert issued by the state of Hawaii. (Roslan Rahman/AFP/Getty Images)

Dunford’s response was short: “Tracking all Harry… thanks,” he wrote. “Safe travels.”

The email to Dunford was forwarded a short time later to other senior members of Pacific Command’s staff, prompting conversation about what exactly state officials needed to fix.

Andrew Singer, a retired admiral who is now Harris’s deputy director for intelligence, wrote to Air Force Maj. Gen. Kevin Schneider, Harris’s chief of staff, that the state “has more than the alert system to work on.” It is unclear what he was alluding to; parts of his email are redacted.

“Happened to be in Yoga class when one of the ladies blurted out missile attack and ran out followed by most others,” Singer wrote. “Looking about town most just kept pursing [sic] getting their coffee or Malasadas,” he added, referring to a doughnut-like pastry.

Schneider responded a short time later agreeing with Singer, saying that there is “lots of work to be done on the communications piece.”

Harris also emailed the top Air Force officer in the Pacific, Gen. Terrence J. O’Shaughnessy, asking for additional information about a warning broadcasted on Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.

“Just for my education and edification, when the Big Voice went off at Pearl Harbor-Hickam this morning, there was no indication that this was a drill; in fact just the opposite,” Harris wrote. “So, what happens on the flight line, and what message, if any was passed to aircraft in the air?”

O’Shaughnessy’s responses are partially redacted, but he told Harris that afternoon in another email that air-traffic controllers did not pass warnings of incoming ballistic missiles to aircraft or hold any aircraft on the ground.

“Thanks Shags,” Harris responded. “I think we’re going to learn a lot here. For ~25-30 minutes, there was a real alert, mistaken though it was.” Part of his email is redacted.

Pacific Command’s deputy commander, Army Lt. Gen. Bryan Fenton, followed up with Schneider that night, saying that Harris wanted additional information, including what ships, squadrons and ground units were told to do and how military families were informed. Harris also was concerned that word of the false alert did not immediately reach the Pacific Command operations center because U.S. troops there are required to leave their cell phones outside as a security measure.

Harris asked similar questions of Rear Adm. Matthew J. Carter, the deputy commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet based in Hawaii. Carter responded that they were planning a “deep dive on this event,” including mapping out and surveying shelters on military installations.

“This is a good outcome for all the Components,” Harris responded. “We should take full advantage of this unforced error by the State of Hawaii.”

A Pacific Command spokesman, Navy Cmdr. David Benham, declined to answer specific questions about the emails, including whether questions that Harris raised in them have been resolved.

“We are a learning organization,” Benham said, “and took this false alert as an opportunity to review and improve our communication and coordination with state and federal emergency management agencies.”

False Hawaii Missile Warning[3] by Dan Lamothe[4] on Scribd

0

Frustrated Military Tribunal Judge Indefinitely Halts Cole Bombing Case

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WASHINGTON — A deeply frustrated military judge on Friday halted the effort to use a military tribunal to prosecute a Guantánamo Bay detainee accused of orchestrating the 2000 bombing of the American destroyer Cole, bringing the already troubled case to an indefinite standstill.

The judge, Col. Vance Spath of the Air Force, suspended pretrial hearings in the death penalty case against the detainee, a Saudi named Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, after nearly the entire defense team quit late last year in a dispute over whether their attorney-client communications were subject to monitoring. The lawyers defied his orders to return, citing ethical obligations.

“I am abating these proceedings indefinitely,” Colonel Spath said, according to a transcript[1]. “I will tell you right now, the reason I’m not dismissing — I debated it for hours — I am not rewarding the defense for their clear misbehavior and misconduct. But I am abating these procedures — these proceedings indefinitely until a superior court orders me to resume.”

A Pentagon spokeswoman, Cmdr. Sarah Higgins, said it was “unknown when pretrial hearings will begin again.”

The Miami Herald first reported[2] Colonel Spath’s decision.

Mr. Nashiri was arraigned in 2011 in a case that centers on a ship attack that killed 17 sailors. His is one of two capital cases in the military commissions system, alongside the attempt to prosecute five detainees who were arraigned in 2012 on charges of aiding the Sept. 11 attacks. Both cases have been stuck in pretrial hearings.

When the Bush administration created the military commissions system in 2001, a debate erupted that was centered on individual rights. Proponents saw the tribunals as a means for meting out swift justice to terrorists, while human rights advocates feared that they would run roughshod over fair-trial protections.

As the years have passed, however, the focus has shifted to effectiveness. While the commissions system has achieved several convictions through plea deals, it has struggled to get contested cases to trial, and has been costing taxpayers about $100 million a year for three cases covering seven defendants. (Its third pretrial case is against an Iraqi detainee who was arraigned in 2014[3]; he is not facing capital charges.)

By contrast, civilian court prosecutors have routinely gotten terrorism cases to trial relatively quickly and won harsh sentences. On Friday, for example, a federal judge in Brooklyn sentenced a Qaeda terrorist known as Spin Ghul[4] to life in prison[5] for killing two American service members in Afghanistan and for plotting to bomb an American embassy in West Africa; he was convicted last March after a civilian court trial.

According to the transcript in the Cole case, Colonel Spath said the events that had led to its derailment “have demonstrated significant flaws within the commissions process,” and he accused defense lawyers of trying to block the system rather than working within it.

Citing his 26 years working in the regular court-martial system, he also described himself as “shaken” by the experience and portrayed Mr. Nashiri’s onetime defense lawyers as pursuing a “revolution to the system” by defying judicial orders.

Earlier this week, he had weighed having[6] United States marshals seize two of Mr. Nashiri’s former lawyers — both civilian employees of the Pentagon — to force them to appear by video link from Virginia after they failed to comply with subpoenas, but decided against it.

On Friday, he argued that in his efforts to get Mr. Nashiri’s defense lawyers back to work on the case, “I’m not ordering the Third Reich to engage in genocide — this isn’t My Lai.” And he said he was weighing imminent retirement.

The latest trouble began in June, when Mr. Nashiri’s defense team discovered something in a room where they talked with their client. The details remain classified, but after Colonel Spath rejected the notion that there was a problem and tried to proceed, the civilians on Mr. Nashiri’s defense team quit in October, saying they had an ethical conflict.

That left only a junior, uniformed defense lawyer, Lt. Alaric Piette of the Navy. Lieutenant Piette has continued to appear in court but has not participated, arguing that he was unqualified and that the presence of a “learned counsel,” or death penalty specialist, is necessary — a contention Colonel Spath rejected.

Colonel Spath in November declared Brig. Gen. John Baker, who oversees military commissions defense lawyers, in contempt of court for refusing to order the two civilian Pentagon employees to resume work on the case. The general argued that he had the authority to dismiss them without the judge’s consent — another contention Colonel Spath rejected.

Colonel Spath ordered General Baker confined to a trailer and fined him, but after several days, Harvey Rishikof, a former civilian Pentagon official who was then the so-called convening authority overseeing the commissions system, freed the general and overturned the fine[7], although he left the contempt finding in place.

In doing so, Mr. Rishikof also recommended that the military build or designate a “clean” facility to provide confidence that “the attorney-client meeting spaces are not subject to monitoring.” (This month, Jim Mattis, the defense secretary, abruptly fired Mr. Rishikof without explanation[8].)

On Thursday, Colonel Spath questioned Paul S. Koffsky, a senior civilian Pentagon lawyer who oversees the office of military commissions defense lawyers. Mr. Koffsky told the judge[9] that he only writes performance appraisals and does not tell defense lawyers what to do, and had not read the filings about the confidentiality dispute, a transcript shows[10].

“We need action from somebody other than me, and we’re not getting it,” Colonel Spath said on Friday, adding, “We’re going to spin our wheels and go nowhere until somebody who owns the process looks in and does something.”

Richard Kammen, a civilian defense lawyer who had been the death penalty specialist for Mr. Nashiri before quitting, said: “We’re certainly gratified that ultimately Judge Spath reached the correct decision that the case needs to stop. This should have happened months ago.”

Lieutenant Piette said that he expected the case to resume this year, probably without Colonel Spath as the judge. In the meantime, he said, he would try to take death penalty courses and get caught up on years of rulings in the case.

“I’m cautiously pessimistic,” he said. “Things happen here that don’t go on in normal courts, and this is one. A judge just called ‘time out’ for no clear legal reason. I don’t know how it will play out, but it will probably somehow be worse.”

Dave Philipps contributed reporting from Colorado Springs.

Follow Charlie Savage on Twitter: @charlie_savage[11].

Advertisement

References

  1. ^ transcript (www.documentcloud.org)
  2. ^ Miami Herald first reported (www.miamiherald.com)
  3. ^ an Iraqi detainee who was arraigned in 2014 (www.nytimes.com)
  4. ^ sentenced a Qaeda terrorist known as Spin Ghul (www.nytimes.com)
  5. ^ life in prison (www.nytimes.com)
  6. ^ had weighed having (www.miamiherald.com)
  7. ^ freed the general and overturned the fine (www.documentcloud.org)
  8. ^ abruptly fired Mr. Rishikof without explanation (www.nytimes.com)
  9. ^ told the judge (www.documentcloud.org)
  10. ^ transcript shows (www.documentcloud.org)
  11. ^ @charlie_savage (twitter.com)
0

German defense minister slams Trump's military-heavy approach to security

MUNICH — German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen denounced President Trump’s military-heavy approach to global affairs Friday, saying the United States is shortchanging diplomacy and soft power in favor of a dangerous overreliance on its military.

The tough criticism, made to an audience of the world’s security elite, including an unsmiling Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, was a European riposte to Trump’s ongoing push for Europe to spend more on defense. Even as von der Leyen acknowledged her nation’s need to boost defense spending, she said that Trump’s proposed deep spending cuts to diplomacy, development aid and the United Nations could threaten international security just as much as a failure to invest enough in weaponry.

Von der Leyen’s comments at the Munich Security Conference, which were echoed by French Defense Minister Florence Parly, came amid a deepening rift in the transatlantic alliance between the United States and Europe that helped underpin the post-World War II global order. At a meeting of NATO defense ministers in Brussels this week, Mattis criticized many allies for failing to create plans to meet their military spending commitments, and said he was worried that European Union efforts to bolster security cooperation could lead to wasteful duplication.

“It is a point of concern to us that some of our partners continue to roll back spending on diplomacy, international aid and the United Nations,” von der Leyen said, without mentioning Trump by name.

[NATO allies boost defense spending in the wake of Trump criticism[1]]

It was one of the most forceful recent European rejoinders to Trump’s global spending priorities. In the 13 months since Trump took office, Europe has moved to boost defense spending, but also to improve its ability to fight alone without the support of the United States, if need be.

“Transatlantic burden-sharing cannot consist of a model where some are responsible for the sharp end of the stick and some of us are responsible for humanitarian issues and reconstruction,” von der Leyen said. “This must become a guiding principle on both sides of the Atlantic.”

Trump’s proposed 2019 budget, released Monday, would chop funding for the State Department by 26 percent, even as it proposes significant increases for the Pentagon.

German defense spending falls well below NATO goals, which push members to spend at least 2 percent of their economic output on defense every year. Despite Berlin’s manufacturing might, its military spending lags at 1.2 percent. The shortfall has made Europe’s biggest economy a frequent target of criticism for Trump and other U.S. officials. 

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s center-right Christian Democrats campaigned in September elections on a pledge to reach the NATO goal. But a coalition agreement the party reached this month to govern with the center-left Social Democrats made no specific mention of the goal and offered no timeline for hitting it.

The agreement — which must still be approved by the Social Democrats’ rank-and-file before Germany can form a government after a record-long delay — did earmark surplus government funds for defense and development.

Meanwhile, Germany’s military is in a derelict state. The country’s parliamentary commissioner for the armed forces said last month that the German military, the Bundeswehr, was effectively “not deployable for collective defense.” 

Germany’s Die Welt newspaper reported Thursday that the nation’s military has only nine operational Leopard 2 tanks, even though it has pledged to have 44 ready for a NATO rapid-reaction force it is slated to lead early next year. The report cited leaked Defense Ministry documents.

Von der Leyen said Friday that the country is fixing the deficiencies in its military, but that it will take time after 25 years of defense cuts that followed the end of the Cold War.

[Germany’s army is so underequipped that it used broomsticks instead of machine guns[2]]

France’s defense minister echoed the push for Europe to stand on its own.

Europe must develop its security capabilities so that it can act autonomously in military conflicts “without having to call the United States to rush to our sick bed,” Parly said, even as she described the alliance with the United States as “indispensable.”

Europe’s efforts to better integrate its military operations received an endorsement from Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), who said during a panel discussion at the conference that he had long opposed the idea as an unnecessary competitor to NATO, but had recently changed his mind. 

Defense cooperation, he said, “may be the antidote to this nationalist fever.” He argued that it was also a way to keep Britain in the European fold while deterring Russian aggression.

Given the opportunity to criticize Europe for not spending more on defense, Graham demurred.   

“I want you to get to 2 percent so Trump will be quiet,” he said.

Former Vice President Joe Biden, speaking late Friday, took aim at both Trump’s White House and Russia, saying he worries that “phony populism” is driving the world back to the conflicts of the 20th century. He said he hoped an international commission could examine the way Russia is trying to influence Western political systems.

“I never thought I’d live to see this naked, naked nationalism be given legitimacy in so many parts of the world,” Biden said.

            Read more:         

Facing Russian threat, NATO boosts operations for the first time since the Cold War[3]  

Afraid of a major conflict? The German military is currently unavailable.[4]  

            Today’s coverage from Post correspondents around the world[5]            

            Like Washington Post World on Facebook and stay updated on foreign news[6]         

0

German defense minister slams Trump's military-heavy approach to …

MUNICH — German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen denounced President Trump’s military-heavy approach to global affairs Friday, saying the United States is shortchanging diplomacy and soft power in favor of a dangerous overreliance on its military.

The tough criticism, made to an audience of the world’s security elite, including an unsmiling Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, was a European riposte to Trump’s ongoing push for Europe to spend more on defense. Even as von der Leyen acknowledged her nation’s need to boost defense spending, she said that Trump’s proposed deep spending cuts to diplomacy, development aid and the United Nations could threaten international security just as much as a failure to invest enough in weaponry.

Von der Leyen’s comments at the Munich Security Conference, which were echoed by French Defense Minister Florence Parly, came amid a deepening rift in the transatlantic alliance between the United States and Europe that helped underpin the post-World War II global order. At a meeting of NATO defense ministers in Brussels this week, Mattis criticized many allies for failing to create plans to meet their military spending commitments, and said he was worried that European Union efforts to bolster security cooperation could lead to wasteful duplication.

“It is a point of concern to us that some of our partners continue to roll back spending on diplomacy, international aid and the United Nations,” von der Leyen said, without mentioning Trump by name.

[NATO allies boost defense spending in the wake of Trump criticism[1]]

It was one of the most forceful recent European rejoinders to Trump’s global spending priorities. In the 13 months since Trump took office, Europe has moved to boost defense spending, but also to improve its ability to fight alone without the support of the United States, if need be.

“Transatlantic burden-sharing cannot consist of a model where some are responsible for the sharp end of the stick and some of us are responsible for humanitarian issues and reconstruction,” von der Leyen said. “This must become a guiding principle on both sides of the Atlantic.”

Trump’s proposed 2019 budget, released Monday, would chop funding for the State Department by 26 percent, even as it proposes significant increases for the Pentagon.

German defense spending falls well below NATO goals, which push members to spend at least 2 percent of their economic output on defense every year. Despite Berlin’s manufacturing might, its military spending lags at 1.2 percent. The shortfall has made Europe’s biggest economy a frequent target of criticism for Trump and other U.S. officials. 

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s center-right Christian Democrats campaigned in September elections on a pledge to reach the NATO goal. But a coalition agreement the party reached this month to govern with the center-left Social Democrats made no specific mention of the goal and offered no timeline for hitting it.

The agreement — which must still be approved by the Social Democrats’ rank-and-file before Germany can form a government after a record-long delay — did earmark surplus government funds for defense and development.

Meanwhile, Germany’s military is in a derelict state. The country’s parliamentary commissioner for the armed forces said last month that the German military, the Bundeswehr, was effectively “not deployable for collective defense.” 

Germany’s Die Welt newspaper reported Thursday that the nation’s military has only nine operational Leopard 2 tanks, even though it has pledged to have 44 ready for a NATO rapid-reaction force it is slated to lead early next year. The report cited leaked Defense Ministry documents.

Von der Leyen said Friday that the country is fixing the deficiencies in its military, but that it will take time after 25 years of defense cuts that followed the end of the Cold War.

[Germany’s army is so underequipped that it used broomsticks instead of machine guns[2]]

France’s defense minister echoed the push for Europe to stand on its own.

Europe must develop its security capabilities so that it can act autonomously in military conflicts “without having to call the United States to rush to our sick bed,” Parly said, even as she described the alliance with the United States as “indispensable.”

Europe’s efforts to better integrate its military operations received an endorsement from Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), who said during a panel discussion at the conference that he had long opposed the idea as an unnecessary competitor to NATO, but had recently changed his mind. 

Defense cooperation, he said, “may be the antidote to this nationalist fever.” He argued that it was also a way to keep Britain in the European fold while deterring Russian aggression.

Given the opportunity to criticize Europe for not spending more on defense, Graham demurred.   

“I want you to get to 2 percent so Trump will be quiet,” he said.

Former Vice President Joe Biden, speaking late Friday, took aim at both Trump’s White House and Russia, saying he worries that “phony populism” is driving the world back to the conflicts of the 20th century. He said he hoped an international commission could examine the way Russia is trying to influence Western political systems.

“I never thought I’d live to see this naked, naked nationalism be given legitimacy in so many parts of the world,” Biden said.

            Read more:         

Facing Russian threat, NATO boosts operations for the first time since the Cold War[3]  

Afraid of a major conflict? The German military is currently unavailable.[4]  

            Today’s coverage from Post correspondents around the world[5]            

            Like Washington Post World on Facebook and stay updated on foreign news[6]