Tagged: navy

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US, S. Korea Military Exercises Could End Outreach to Nuclear North

SEOUL — 

The resumption of U.S.-South Korea joint military exercises, which were postponed until after the PyeongChang Olympics and Paralympics end in late March, could also mark the end of the current diplomatic outreach to North Korea.

The annual joint exercises include the Key Resolve strategic simulation drill, where U.S. and South Korean troops and military assets are deployed to respond to potential North Korean threats, and field exercises called Foal Eagle. Past drills involved nearly 20,000 American troops, 300,000 South Korean forces, and an array of bomber aircrafts, fighter jets and warships.

Needed deterrence

Military leaders deem these conventional exercises to be essential to maintain defense readiness and deterrence against the growing North Korean nuclear threat. It is also standard practice for every country in the world to conduct ongoing training for soldiers that are continually being drafted or deployed.

“All militaries train. The Korean People’s Army in North Korea trains. The PLA (People’s Liberation Army) trains in China. That’s what militaries do,” said North Korea security analyst Daniel Pinkston, a lecturer in international relations with Troy University in Seoul

North Korea has called these joint exercises threatening rehearsals for invasion.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in negotiated a delay in this year’s exercises to ensure the safety of the winter Olympics games being held close to the inter-Korean border. North Korea’s participation in the Olympics has also been accompanied by a pause in its missile launches and nuclear tests. In the year prior, Pyongyang conducted numerous provocative tests, after publicly setting the goal to develop a functional nuclear intercontinental ballistic missile that can target the U.S. mainland.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in talks with president of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly of North Korea Kim Young Nam as Kim Yo Jong, the sister of North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un, looks on.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in talks with president of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly of North Korea Kim Young Nam as Kim Yo Jong, the sister of North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un, looks on.

In response, the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump has led an international effort to impose harsh sanctions on the North that cut off much of its income, including banning its lucrative coal and mineral exports.

Freeze for freeze

Moon’s diplomatic outreach has enacted what is basically a temporary “freeze for freeze” proposal, suspending both the U.S.-South Korea joint drills and North Korean provocations that China and Russia have been advocating to reduce regional tensions.

Washington has so far rejected any proposals to further suspend conventional military exercises that it argues are defense oriented and legal under international law, while it says North Korea’s nuclear program threatens its neighbors and the world.

There is, however, speculation that Washington and Seoul may try to reduce the size and scope of the exercises to make them less threatening to the North, perhaps by eliminating decapitation simulations that practice targeting leadership in Pyongyang, or excluding U.S. nuclear capable bombers from participating in the drills.

“The question is what level of the exercises is adequate for military preparedness and for robust deterrence purposes, and how do you calibrate it in a way that is nonthreatening,” said Pinkston.

In this Nov. 12, 2017 photo provided by South Korea Defense Ministry, three U.S. aircraft carriers USS Nimitz, left top, USS Ronald Reagan, left center, and USS Theodore Roosevelt, left bottom, participate with other U.S. and South Korean navy ships.
In this Nov. 12, 2017 photo provided by South Korea Defense Ministry, three U.S. aircraft carriers USS Nimitz, left top, USS Ronald Reagan, left center, and USS Theodore Roosevelt, left bottom, participate with other U.S. and South Korean navy ships.

But Pyongyang has warned it would respond to the resumption of the joint drills, possibly by resuming provocative nuclear and missile tests, even if it means triggering further sanctions.

“The North Korean authority must do its own calculation about gains and losses about such an action in protest to the resumption of the military exercises. So it is all up to Kim Jong on government,” said Bong Young-shik, a political analyst with the Yonsei University’s Institute for North Korean Studies in Seoul.

Olympic engagement

North Korea’s official KCNA news agency on Monday said restarting the drills would be a “provocative act” that would undermine Pyongyang’s recent efforts to “defuse tension and create a peaceful environment.”

Moon’s Olympic engagement efforts with the North, including marching together at the opening ceremony and fielding a unified women’s hockey team, has reduced inter-Korean tensions and brought about an invitation from the North Korean leader to host the South Korean president in Pyongyang for a leaders summit.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un meets members of the high-level delegation of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, which visited South Korea to attend the opening ceremony of the 23rd Winter Olympics.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un meets members of the high-level delegation of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, which visited South Korea to attend the opening ceremony of the 23rd Winter Olympics.

By participating in the Olympics, Pyongyang also embarked on what critics called a “charm offensive,” meant to improve its threatening image and weaken support for economic sanctions imposed for its continued nuclear violations.

Moon’s diplomatic outreach, however, has so far been unable to bring Washington and Pyongyang into direct talks to resolve the nuclear standoff. The U.S. will not engage in official negotiations until the North agrees to give up its nuclear program, which Pyongyang refuses to do, insisting that its nuclear weapons are needed to prevent a U.S. invasion.

“History does not give me much confidence that this will lead anywhere, especially when the bargaining position of the U.S. side is that the North does have to give up its weapon nuclear weapons and parts of its missile program,” said regional security analyst Grant Newsham with the Japan Forum for Strategic Studies in Tokyo.

The Trump administration recently indicated a willingness to support Moon’s efforts and engage in exploratory talks. U.S. officials on Tuesday said Vice President Mike Pence, who led the U.S. Olympic delegation at the Olympics opening ceremony, was planning to meet with Kim Yo Jong, the sister of the North Korean leader at the games, but North Korea canceled the meeting at the last minute.

However the vice president also clarified that the U.S. “maximum pressure” approach, which includes increasing economic sanctions and maintaining the credible threat of military force as well, would remain in place until the Kim government agrees to give up its nuclear weapons.

Lee Yoon-jee in Seoul contributed to this report.

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China Shows Off Air Force in Direct Challenge to India Military Power in Asia

The Chinese military has published photos of recent air force drills that at least one expert quoted in ruling party media identified Tuesday as a direct message to neighboring India.

Tensions between the two Asian powers have once again risen after they threatened to come to blows[1] over a border dispute last summer. Officials have swapped provocative words in recent months, reigniting a potential crisis as rhetoric turned into military preparations. In the latest move, China’s armed forces, known as the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), published Friday rare images of Chengdu J-10 and Shenyang J-11 fighter jets landing in Tibet, the western region that borders India, after exercises that Chinese military expert and commentator Song Zhongping linked to recent escalations.

Related: Russia and China could soon become more powerful than the U.S., and Valentine’s Day is to blame[2]

Keep up with this story and more by subscribing now[3]

“Strengthening the 3.5-generation fighter jets or even stationing more advanced fighters in the Western Theater Command has been urgent for the PLA,” Song told Chinese Communist Party organ The Global Times[4] in an article then posted to the official China Military Online[5].

“With India importing new jets, China will continue strengthening its fighter jets in the Western Theater Command,” he added.

ChinaJ10Tibet

A Chengdu J-10 fighter jet attached to an aviation brigade of the air force under the People’s Liberation Army Western Theater Command taxies on the runway during an aerial combat training exercise in western China on February 13. Chen Qingshun/China Military Online

Song noted that such upgrades to China’s defenses have often been first implemented in its southern and eastern commands. The western command, however, has received more attention as the rivalry with India heated up.

China and India have long quarreled over stretches of territory along their shared border and this even exploded into a war between the two in the early 1960s. One region, known as Doklam or Donglang, which borders India’s Sikkim State, Chinese Tibet and the Ha Valley of the tiny kingdom of Bhutan, revived hostilities last summer[6]. India argued that Chinese construction near the trilateral border area last June threatened Bhutan’s claim to the region and deployed troops to confront the Chinese military in the area.

The standoff lasted nearly a month and a half and was believed to have resolved after both sides withdrew. Chinese President Xi Jinping was seen shaking hands with his Indian counterpart Nehru Modi on the sidelines of the September 2017 BRICS Summit in Xiamen, China. This detente, however, has been undermined by recent statements from both sides claiming they won last summer’s dispute and could take on the other in a future fight.

During a regular press[7] conference[8] Thursday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang criticized a visit earlier that day by Modu to the nearby disputed Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh, which China claimed as part of southern Tibet. Geng said China was “firmly opposed to the Indian leader’s visit to the disputed area” and would “lodge stern representations with the Indian side.”

ChinaSpringFestivalSoldiers

Soldiers assigned to a brigade of the People’s Liberation Army 78th Group Army conduct a combat readiness training exercise in full battle gear during the 2018 spring festival holiday, in northeastern China, on February 15. China and India have long quarreled over stretches of territory along their shared border. Liu Yishan/China Military Online

The Chinese military has also used recent remarks from Indian generals to justify its own urgent transformation into a force fully prepared to fight a war between states[9]. Xi’s ongoing, massive bid to revolutionize his armed forces had the dual purpose of modernizing China’s military power and streamlining it to make it capable of protecting not only Chinese borders but also Chinese interests abroad[10]. Xi has also sought tight ties with Pakistan[11], a crucial Chinese economic ally—and India’s longtime foe.

Following last week’s air force drills in Tibet, the Chinese military continued training through the week-long Chinese New Year, or spring festival, holiday. The Chinese navy and army were also pictured conducting maneuvers aimed toward realizing Xi’s goal of preparing his armed forces to handle any external threat.

References

  1. ^ threatened to come to blows (www.newsweek.com)
  2. ^ Russia and China could soon become more powerful than the U.S., and Valentine’s Day is to blame (www.newsweek.com)
  3. ^ Keep up with this story and more by subscribing now (subscription.newsweek.com)
  4. ^ The Global Times (www.globaltimes.cn)
  5. ^ China Military Online (english.chinamil.com.cn)
  6. ^ revived hostilities last summer (www.newsweek.com)
  7. ^ a regular press (www.fmprc.gov.cn)
  8. ^ conference (www.fmprc.gov.cn)
  9. ^ prepared to fight a war between states (www.newsweek.com)
  10. ^ Chinese interests abroad (www.newsweek.com)
  11. ^ tight ties with Pakistan (www.newsweek.com)
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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.”

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

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].

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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)