Jim's Feed
Dec 28, 2011

N.Korea closer to nuclear-tipped missile: U.S. expert

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – North Korea likely is closer to mounting nuclear warheads on its ballistic missiles than generally reported, possibly only one or two years away, the Congress’s former top expert on the issue has concluded.

Larry Niksch, who tracked North Korea for the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service for 43 years, concludes in a new paper that the North probably would need as little as one to two years to miniaturize and mount a nuclear warhead atop its medium-range Nodong missile once it has produced enough highly enriched uranium as the warhead’s core fuel.

Dec 26, 2011

Pakistan urged to share border-post map

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The head of the U.S. Central Command is urging Pakistan to share a map of its facilities and installations near the Afghan border to help avert episodes like the one that killed 24 Pakistani forces last month.

U.S. Marine Corps General James Mattis, the commander, said in a statement on Monday the chief lesson from the strike was “that we must improve border coordination and this requires a foundational level of trust on both sides of the border.”

Dec 25, 2011

Web gambling gets boost from Obama administration

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Obama administration cleared the way for states to legalize Internet poker and certain other online betting in a switch that may help them reap billions in tax revenue and spur web-based gambling.

A Justice Department opinion dated September and made public on Friday reversed decades of previous policy that included civil and criminal charges against operators of some of the most popular online poker sites.

Dec 13, 2011

U.S. to mothball gear to build top F-22 fighter

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Even as the last F-22 fighter jet rolls out of flag-draped doors at a Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) assembly plant on Tuesday, the Air Force has taken steps that leave open an option to restart the premier plane’s production relatively cheaply.

The Air Force is preserving the hardware used to build the jet, not scrapping it, although it insists this is solely to sustain the fleet over its projected 30-plus years’ “lifecycle.”

Dec 10, 2011

U.S., Russia work to expand cyberspace cooperation

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Russia and the United States are planning a regular exchange on “technical threats” that appear to come from computers in each other’s territories, a White House spokeswoman said on Friday, even as bilateral ties have come under growing strains.

A range of mechanisms aimed at confidence building and crisis prevention are being planned to cope with alarming events in cyberspace, said Caitlin Hayden, a spokeswoman for the White House National Security Council.

Dec 9, 2011

Lockheed in $4 billion U.S. F-35 fighter deal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) is being awarded a $4 billion fixed-price U.S. Navy contract for 30 F-35 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft, the fifth batch of low-rate initial production, the Defense Department said on Friday.

The deal would provide 21 conventional models for the Air Force, six carrier variants for the Navy and three short-takeoff and vertical landing versions for the Marine Corps, a notice in the Pentagon’s daily contract digest said.

Dec 3, 2011

Lockheed F-35 output should slow: program chief

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Production of Lockheed Martin Corp’s (LMT.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the costliest arms purchase in history, should be slowed because of the potential number of airframe cracks and “hot spots” turning up in testing and analysis, the Pentagon’s F-35 program director said.

“The analyzed hot spots that have arisen in the last 12 months or so in the program have surprised us at the amount of change and at the cost,” U.S. Navy Vice Admiral David Venlet, the program chief, said in an interview published Thursday.

Dec 2, 2011

GE, Rolls drop push to build F-35 engines

By Jim Wolf

(Reuters) – General Electric Co and Rolls Royce dropped their drive to build an alternate engine for Lockheed Martin Corp’s F-35 joint strike fighter, giving up on what they had said could be a $100 billion market.

The decision to end their in-house bankrolling of the project beyond 2011, announced on Friday, is a boost for United Technologies Corp’s Pratt & Whitney unit, maker of the engine used in the F-35′s early production models.

Dec 2, 2011

U.S. sticking to missile shield regardless of Moscow

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Obama Administration plans to complete an anti-ballistic missile shield to protect European allies against Iran “whether Russia likes it or not,” the U.S. envoy to NATO said on Friday.

Moscow’s objections to the project, which includes participation by Romania, Poland, Turkey and Spain, “won’t be the driving force in what we do,” Ivo Daalder, the ambassador, told reporters at a breakfast session.

Dec 1, 2011

U.S. moves to supply ‘bunker buster’ bombs to UAE

WASHINGTON, Dec 1 (Reuters) – The Obama administration has
proposed selling 600 “bunker buster” bombs and other munitions
to the United Arab Emirates, which lies across the Gulf from
Iran, to deter what it called regional threats.

Iran is widely suspected of seeking to develop nuclear
arms through a program that Tehran says is for peaceful power
generation only.