Topic A: Defense
Chinese Military Unveils New Weapons after South China Sea Verdict

The Times of India reports that "Chinese military has unveiled a range of new weapons, including long-range missiles, amid calls by its top officials to be combat-ready following a landmark verdict by an UN-backed tribunal that struck down China's 'historical rights' in the South China Sea."  

"The Southern Theatre Command of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) which looks after the South China Sea front has unveiled a series of new weapons for sea and air combat during a visit by top military officers."  

U.S. Military's Health Program Consolidates Coverage Regions reports that "The U.S. military's Tricare health care program for families and veterans will consolidate its regions from three to two under a new pair of contracts, officials announced Thursday."  

"The system is currently administered in three regions -- North, South and West -- by three separate contractors."  

U.S. Doesn't Want New EU Military Headquarters

The Wall Street Journal reports that "the U.S. is all in favor of more European defense spending—but wants that money to go to more drones, precision munitions, new fighter aircraft or additional naval ships."  

"What it doesn’t want to see is a new European Union military headquarters."  

Top US Admiral Says China Exchanges Conditional on Safety

The Associated Press reports that "the top U.S. admiral said Wednesday that friendly exchanges with China's navy are conditional on safe interactions at sea, an indication of Washington's concern over recent fractious encounters with Chinese forces in and over the disputed South China Sea."  

"On a visit to the northern Chinese port of Qingdao, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson said he backs more exchanges, but added: 'In this area we must judge each other by our deeds and actions, not just by our words.'"  

Joint Chiefs Chair: Military Pressure, Intelligence Sharing Key to ISIL’s Defeat

The U.S. Department of Defense  reports that "Military pressure and intelligence sharing are two key elements in defeating the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a recent interview."   

"'I think the attack in Nice, France, though, just highlights the need to put pressure on ISIL wherever they are,' Dunford told reporters on his plane after concluding a three-day visit to Afghanistan . The U.S. military is targeting ISIL across Iraq, Syria 'and elsewhere, wherever they exist,' he said."  

U.S. Military Base Warns on Pokemon Go

Fox News reports that "the 'Pokemon Go' phenomenon, which has sparked controversy at sites such as the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, has prompted a safety warning from the U.S. military’s sprawling Joint Base Lewis-McChord."  

"The free augmented reality game uses Google Maps and a smartphone to overlay reality with digital creatures, or Pokemon. Players use their smartphones to ‘capture’ Pokemon, at real locations using their smartphones and can also ‘train’ their Pokemon to fight other creatures within the game."  

U.S. Military Leaders See Reduction in Taliban Violence

The Associated Press reports that "after inflicting heavy losses on weakened Afghan security forces a year ago, the Taliban under new leadership have been surprisingly slow to ramp up attacks at the midpoint of the traditional fighting season, senior American military officers said Sunday."  

"In an Associated Press interview, Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said he is cautiously encouraged by a relative slackening of the Taliban's aggressive tactics."  

U.S., Australia Leaders Move to Deepen Military Ties

The Australian reports that "amid growing concerns about Beijing’s assertiveness in the South China Sea, Malcolm Turnbull and US Vice-President Joe Biden have pledged to step up joint military training to deal with 'any challenge' in the region."  

U.S. Army Moves from Android to iPhone

The Telegraph (UK) reports that "the US army is upgrading its fleet of Android phones and replacing them with iPhones."  

"The switch to the iPhone 6s comes after the US Army Special Operations Command found its 'Android Tactical Assault Kit' slow, glitchy and prone to freezing, according to reports."  

U.S. Military Tests Canadian Power-Generating Project

The Toronto Globe & Mail reports that "an idea germinated in a biomedical lab at Simon Fraser University is being tested by the U.S. military in a research project meant to turn foot soldiers into their own power-generating stations."  

"Using a lightweight device that looks like the kind of knee brace a high-performance athlete might wear, soldiers can use the Canadian-designed PowerWalk Kinetic Energy Harvester to produce enough electricity to run their GPS units, night-vision goggles and radios. In the process, they can shed the 20 pounds of batteries they now have to carry into the field."  

Australia Brings New Amphibious Forces to Hawaii Exercises

The Associated Press reports that "Australian soldiers are expected to lead a battalion in the storming of a Hawaii beach during the world's largest maritime exercises this month, displaying amphibious military skills they've been building in recent years."  

"For the first time, Australia's navy has brought an amphibious assault ship to the 26-nation Rim of the Pacific drills."  

Riga Port Hosts One of Largest "Ro-Ro Ships" Delivering U.S. Military Equipment

The Baltic Course reports that "the USS Independence II, delivering several UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters and other U.S. military equipment to Latvia, arrived in the port of Riga this week, LETA was told at the port."  

"The military cargo has been delivered to Latvia as part of Strong Europe initiative and Operation Atlantic Resolve. More than 60 U.S. soldiers from the 3rd Battalion of the 501st Aviation Regiment have already arrived in Latvia to train alongside Latvian troops and to take part in multinational military exercises in Latvia."  

US Anti-Missile Plans With South Korea Generate Backlash

Defense News reports that "South Korea has decided to deploy a US advanced missile defense system in the country’s southeastern region following years of controversy over the weapon system’s effectiveness against North Korea’s increasing missile capability."  

"The plan, however, immediately prompted backlash from North Korea and China, which claim the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system will intimidate their security postures, as well as local residents fearing the potential health hazards caused by the system’s radar."  

U.S. Offering Russia Military Pact in Syria

ABC News reports that "the United States is offering Russia a new military pact against the Islamic State and al-Qaida in Syria, according to a leaked U.S. proposal that, if finalized, could dramatically alter America's role in the Arab country's five-year civil war."  

"The document, published by The Washington Post, calls for joint bombing operations, a command-and-control headquarters and other synchronized efforts. U.S. and Russian officials with expertise in intelligence, targeting and air operations will 'work together to defeat' the extremist groups, the eight-page paper states."  

U.S. Military Instructed to Avoid 37 U.S. Cities for Potential Violence

The Washington Times reports that "the Army last week warned all military personnel in the United States to avoid 37 American cities this week over concerns that anti-police protests, dubbed 'Days of Rage,' are planned and could turn violent."  

"The July 8 notice from the U.S. Army North said there is a potential for violence or criminal activities in the aftermath of the shootings of five Dallas police officers."