On January 31, 1961, Lt. Cmdr. Samuel Lee Gravely, Jr. becomes first African-American to command a combat ship, the destroyer escort USS Falgout (DE-324).
Sen. Chuck Hagel, President Obama’s pick for the next Secretary of Defense, is on the hill getting the customary grilling as part of the confirmation process. Check out the work of John T. Bennett and Marcus Weisgerber who are live-blogging the hearing here.
A Chinese CCTV news program about the life of late Lou Yang, who oversaw the Shenyang J-15 Flying Shark carrier-borne fighter project, briefly (6:01) showed a model of the Shenyang J-31 Falcon Eagle stealth fighter armed with anti-ship missiles. They do look like the YJ-82 Eagle Strike (C-802), which is a standard anti-ship missile used by both the People’s Liberation Army Air Force and the PLA Navy Air Force. Though it is a only model, it does appear on the desk of an AVIC/CATIC boss. There have been suggestions, no evidence, that the J-31 could be a candidate as a navalized fighter, perhaps even for future aircraft carriers now in production. Additional photographs have appeared in the past of other models, see below, and are intriguing.
Today is the day so many have been waiting for. No, it’s not Super Bowl Sunday. Yet. Rather, former Nebraska Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel will testify before the Senate Armed Services Committee about his nomination to replace Leon Panetta as defense secretary.
Since Hagel’s name was floated for the post in early December, Hagel has been sharply criticized by his former fellow-GOP senators and pro-Israel groups for his past comments on the U.S.-Israel alliance, whether the Pentagon budget can and should be trimmed, how to confront Iran over its nuclear arms program, gay rights and the proper size of the U.S. nuclear arms fleet. Expect questions on all those topics. Another likely line of questioning could come from Republicans about allegations that Hagel is hard on staffers.
In answers to written policy questions provided to the panel this week, Hagel largely tried to align himself with the views of President Barack Obama. For instance, he took the same tone as Panetta, saying pending defense sequestration cuts would undermine U.S. military power. Defense News senior reporters John T. Bennett and Marcus Weisgerber will be here throughout the hearing — yes, including on a possible second day — live blogging the action. Please check back early and often for updates.
5:49 p.m. — Sen. Levin gavels this epic hearing to a close. Thanks for stopping by. ANALYSIS: Not a dominating performance by Hagel. He labored a bit, and seemed to contradict himself at times. Doubt he lost any Democratic support, however. — John T. Bennett
5:42 p.m. — Sen. Cruz calls Hagel “the most antagonistic” member in Senate (ever?) against Israel, and most unwilling (ever?) to confront Iran. Levin asks Cruz to submit any remaining questions for the record, but never looked directly at Cruz, instead icily gazing straight ahead. There’s tension there. – John T. Bennett
As Iran gets busy sending apes into space, and North Korea postures as it continues to test rockets and advance its nuclear program, South Korea had a launch of its own. Check in after the break for a close up and some details on the rocket… More
On January 30, 1862, the first ironclad, turreted warship, the USS Monitor, is launched in Brooklyn. The vessel was designed by Swedish inventor John Ericsson.
It took lawmakers nearly 10 hours last week of sometimes-substantive, sometimes-political hearings to sort through the Benghazi scandal and Sen. John Kerry’s nomination to be secretary of state. Could it take longer for a Senate panel to grill Chuck Hagel, President Obama’s pick to be defense secretary?
“It’s possible,” Senate Armed Services Committee Carl Levin, D-Mich., told Defense News on Tuesday. “It depends on how the [Thursday] hearing goes. I just don’t know.”
Levin was clear that he has yet to formally schedule a second Hagel confirmation hearing. But it’s clear the chairman has thought about it. More
This missile will keep the “dog” out of China’s “backyard.”
According to the January 23 article, “PLA ‘sinks’ US carrier in DF-21D missile test in Gobi,” the “People’s Liberation Army has successfully sunk a US aircraft carrier, according to a satellite photo provided by Google Earth, reports our sister paper Want Daily — though the strike was a war game, the carrier a mock-up platform and the ‘sinking’ occurred on dry land in a remote part of western China.”
“A satellite image reveals two large craters on a 200-meter-long white platform in the Gobi desert used to simulate the flight deck of an aircraft carrier. The photo was first posted on SAORBATS, an internet forum based in Argentina. Military analysts believed the craters would have been created by China’s DF-21D anti-ship missile.”
“While claiming that the missile has the capability to hit aircraft carriers 2,000 kilometers away, the nationalistic Chinese tabloid Global Times stated that the weapon was only designed for self-defense; the DF-21D will never pose a serious threat to US national security because it is not even able to reach Hawaii, the newspaper said, though fully aware of the US naval deployment in the Western Pacific.”
“Underlining this point, Global Times took a common line from China’s national defense doctrine before the country acquired an aircraft carrier of its own — namely that carriers are an offensive weapon while anti-ship missiles are defensive. ‘It can be used like a stick to hit the dog intruding on our backyard, but it can never be used to attack the house where the dog comes from,’ the paper’s commentary said.”
Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., is one step closer to reporting for duty in Foggy Bottom.
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday morning, in one of the quickest congressional hearings you’ll ever see, took about 20 minutes to approve Kerry’s nomination to become secretary of state.
“It was unanimous,” a smiling Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., told reporters as she exited the hearing room inside the Capitol. More
I don’t have a newsy tie-in for this photo. It’s just cool.