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Showing posts from November 4, 2013

Climate Change Seen Posing Risk to Food Supplies


November 02, 2013 - "NY Times" -- Climate change will pose sharp risks to the world’s food supply in coming decades, potentially undermining crop production and driving up prices at a time when the demand for food is expected to soar, scientists have found.

In a departure from an earlier assessment, the scientists concluded that rising temperatures will have some beneficial effects on crops in some places, but that globally they will make it harder for crops to thrive — perhaps reducing production over all by as much as 2 percent each decade for the rest of this century, compared with what it would be without climate change.

And, the scientists say, they are already seeing the harmful effects in some regions.

The warnings come in a leaked draft of a report under development by a United Nations panel, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The document is not final and could change before it is released in March.

The report also finds other sweeping im…

China's Evolving Nuclear Capability


Despite notable progress over the past few years, the sea-based leg of the Chinese nuclear triad will remain significantly constrained by geographical and technological factors. In the last week the Chinese media have provided unprecedented coverage of the shadowy Chinese nuclear submarine force. During a slew of media reports and interviews, numerous Chinese military analysts have emphasized that China's nuclear ballistic missile submarines are now capable of conducting extended deterrent patrols.

This news is not entirely surprising. In its 2012 draft to the U.S. Congress circulated in November 2012, the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission indicated that China was on the cusp of attaining a credible nuclear triad. The report came at a time when the U.S. Department of Defense had emphasized Chinese military progress, including the projected fielding of a new submarine-launched ballistic missile by 2014. While it is important to highlight such Chinese advance…

U.S. Naval Update Map: Oct. 31, 2013

The Naval Update Map shows the approximate current locations of U.S. Carrier Strike Groups and Amphibious Ready Groups, based on available open-source information. No classified or operationally sensitive information is included in this weekly update. CSGs and ARGs are the keys to U.S. dominance of the world's oceans. A CSG is centered on an aircraft carrier, which projects U.S. naval and air power and supports a Carrier Air Wing, or CVW. The CSG includes significant offensive strike capability. An ARG is centered on three amphibious warfare ships, with a Marine Expeditionary Unit embarked. An MEU is built around a heavily reinforced and mobile battalion of Marines.
Carrier Strike Groups
The USS Harry S. Truman CSG with CVW 3 embarked is underway in the U.S. 5th Fleet AOR supporting maritime security operations and conducting theater security cooperation efforts.
The USS George Washington CSG with CVW 5 embarked is on a scheduled port visit to Changi Naval Base, Singapore, while u…

The Effect of Bolivian Elections on Coca Production


With Bolivian President Evo Morales running for a third term in 2014, the government will probably limit efforts to eradicate illegal coca fields in areas where Morales' political support is strong. Since the U.S. State Department stopped cooperating with Bolivian anti-drug operations in August, local security forces have been solely responsible for eradicating illegal coca fields. Destruction of illicit coca has risen in some regions, such as Yungas in western Bolivia, while pressure in the Cochabamba tropics -- where Morales has traditionally enjoyed strong political support -- remains steady. But despite the reduced pressure on certain coca producers, Bolivian cocaine production will not rise significantly if Morales is re-elected unless eradication efforts intensify in neighboring Peru, displacing producers to Bolivia.


Bolivia is the third-largest supplier of cocaine to the international drug market. The native plant from which cocaine is derived, coca is widel…

Pakistan's Taliban Leader Killed in Drone Strike


The death of Pakistani Taliban chief Hakeemullah Mehsud in a U.S. drone strike reported Nov. 1 could give Islamabad more leverage in its eventual negotiations with the militant group. Mehsud's death is certain to weaken the Pakistani Taliban, which must now begin a search for a new leader while also fixing its lapses in operational security that allowed the death of its leader. The killing provides Islamabad with an opportunity to further degrade the group's capabilities before it can reconstitute itself, though political incoherence in Islamabad will prevent the Pakistanis from taking full advantage of the opportunity.

Mehsud, the leader of Pakistan's Taliban rebel coalition also known as the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, was reported killed numerous times in recent years. This time, however, members of Mehsud's family, the Tehrik-i-Taliban and Pakistani security officials have confirmed his demise, along with that of a number of Mehsud's senior aides with hi…