THE REDISTRIBUTION RACKET
Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren appeared on one of the late night talk shows last week, beating the class warfare drum and arguing for billions of dollars in new social programs paid for with higher taxes on millionaires and billionaires. In recent years, though, blue states such as California, Illinois, Delaware, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland and Minnesota adopted this very strategy, and they raised taxes on their wealthy residents. How did it work out? Almost all of these states lag behind the national average in growth of jobs and incomes.
So, if income redistribution policies are the solution to shrinking the gap between rich and poor, why do they fail so miserably in the states?
The blue states that try to lift up the poor with high taxes, high welfare benefits, high minimum wages and other Robin Hood policies tend to be the places where the rich end up the richest and the poor the poorest.
California is the prototypical example. It has the highest tax rates of any state. It has very generous welfare benefits. Many of its cities have a high minimum wage. But day after day, the middle class keeps leaving. The wealthy areas such as San Francisco and the Silicon Valley boom. Yet the state has nearly the highest poverty rate in the nation. The Golden State, alas, has become the inequality state.
In a new report called “Rich States, Poor States” that I write each year for the American Legislative Exchange Council with Arthur Laffer and Jonathan Williams, we find that five of the highest-tax blue states in the nation — California, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Illinois — lost some 4 million more U.S. residents than entered these states over the last decade (see chart). Meanwhile, the big low-tax red states — Texas, Florida, North Carolina, Arizona and Georgia — gained about this many new residents.
One liberal economic think tank — the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy — recently issued a report on the states with the most and least “regressive” tax systems. The conclusion was that states should raise their income taxes on the rich to be more “fair.” Except it turns out that people are leaving the states that the think tank ranks as fair, and they are moving to the states the think tank ranks as economically backward.
The least “regressive” tax states had average population growth from 2003 to 2013 that lagged below the national trend. The 10 most highly “regressive” tax states, including nine with no state income tax, had population growth on average 4 percent above the U.S. average. Why was that? Because states without income taxes have twice the job growth of states with high tax rates. Unlike the experts at the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, most Americans think that fairness means having a job.
Ohio University economist Richard Vedder and I compared the income gap in states with higher tax rates, higher minimum wages and more welfare benefits with states on the other side of the policy spectrum. There was no evidence that states with these liberal policies had helped the poor much and, in many cases, these states recorded more income inequality than other states as measured by the left’s favorite statistic called the Gini Coefficient.
The 19 states with minimum wages above the $7.25 per hour federal minimum do not have lower income inequality. States with a super minimum wage — such as Connecticut ($9.15), California ($9.00), New York ($8.75), and Vermont ($9.15) — have significantly wider gaps between rich and poor than states without a super minimum wage.
States are supposed to be laboratories of democracy, right? These laboratories are providing us with concrete evidence that Robin Hood policies don’t help make the poor richer, they make most people poorer. In other words, the blue states have tried the Elizabeth Warren “progressive” agenda and people are voting with their feet by fleeing in droves. The kinds of income redistribution policies that Ms. Warren and others endorse can only work by building a Berlin Wall so no one can leave — though I hope I’m not giving them any ideas. (Contributor: By Stephen Moore for The Washington Times - Stephen Moore is an economist at the Heritage Foundation and a Fox News contributor.)
For prayer: Without being political, we note that these trends have been going on for years. The cause of mass relocation is clear to conservative thinkers and fuzzy to liberal thinking. The difference in viewpoint is not a reflection of intelligence but of philosophy of government. Thus, we show no disrespect toward Sen. Warren. A clear example is the exodus for several decades of well-known Christian ministries from (high tax) California to more favorable venues (Texas, Colorado, etc.). The facts speak for themselves. Our prayer focus is, of course, far beyond the changes in population. Pray for our country to return to its constitutional foundations, whereby government serves and protects its citizens, encouraging economic freedom and business aspirations with reasonable taxes. Or will government rule and increase its power at the citizens’ expense? Please pray for a shift in values.
“Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.’” (Mat. 6:31-34)
“Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people He has chosen as His own inheritance.” (Ps. 33:12)
BATTERING RELIGIOUS FREEDOM WITH ABORTION
In its latest attack on religious liberty, the American Civil Liberties Union, wants to force Roman Catholic organizations to provide contraception and abortions to unaccompanied immigrant children pouring over America’s southern border.
The ACLU is suing the Department of Health and Human Services to obtain documents that it claims show that Catholic relief agencies are not providing abortions or referrals for abortion.
It’s part of a national strategy to force faith-based facilities to perform abortions or face ruinous litigation and the loss of government contracts, and it comes despite the Supreme Court’s ruling last June against the ham-handed Obamacare dictate to force Christian-owned companies such as Hobby Lobby to provide abortifacients.
In March 2013, the Seattle branch of the ACLU threatened to sue a hospital district over a proposed contract with Catholic health providers unless the providers gave up their faith-based opposition to abortion, contraceptives, euthanasia and sterilizations.
In November 2013, the ACLU sued the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, alleging that its pro-life stance against abortion resulted in negligent care for a Michigan woman with a troubled pregnancy who eventually lost the child.
“It’s not just about one woman,” said Kary Moss, executive director of the Michigan ACLU, in a Newsmax report quoted in The Washington Times. “It’s about a nationwide policy created by nonmedical professionals putting patients in harm’s way.”
Hard cases make bad law, which brings us to the ACLU’s ploy to use the flood of illegal immigrant children as pawns in the ongoing attack on Catholic health care institutions.
Since Congress began debating President Obama’s policy of amnesty for millions of illegal immigrants, tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors have crossed into the United States from Mexico and Central America.
The lack of adult supervision has put many of the children at risk for beatings, robberies and rapes.
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has contracts with the federal government to care for the arriving children. In 2014, the Bishops’ Migration and Refugee Services had a total budget of $71 million, of which 93 percent was composed of federal grants and contracts, according to Breitbart.com.
The ACLU cites rape as a prime reason to force Migration and Refugee Services to dispense emergency contraception and to perform abortions or to refer the children to abortionists, either of which is a grievous sin in the eyes of the Catholic Church.
In an ACLU blog post, Brigitte Amiri, ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project attorney, compared the bishops’ refusal to provide abortions with the controversy over Indiana’s new Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
Last week, Indiana lawmakers passed the RFRA bill, Gov. Mike Pence signed it, and then under media and corporate pressure they quickly amended it, turning it into a gay-rights bill in which “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” trump the First Amendment’s guarantee of religious freedom.
Comparing Indiana’s original RFRA to the Catholic bishops‘ reluctance to violate their faith by providing abortions, the ACLU’s Ms. Amiri told reporters, “We think that the same principle applies here, that religious beliefs should not be used to harm others.”
Speaking of harm, Memories Pizza, a small, family-owned restaurant in Walkerton, Indiana, fell victim to a fierce social media onslaught, death threats and picketing, and was forced temporarily to close its doors. Its owner had told a local TV reporter in answer to a “gotcha” question that they gladly serve everyone but could not cater a same-sex ceremony because of their Christian beliefs in the sanctity of marriage. To no one’s surprise, the ACLU has not offered to defend them.
At an Easter prayer breakfast on Tuesday, Mr. Obama piled on, delivering a not-so-veiled shot at the pizzeria family and other Christians: “I have to say that sometimes when I listen to less-than-loving expressions by Christians, I get concerned. But that’s a topic for another day.”
Notably, Mr. Obama made no mention of the recent mass murder of Christian students by Somali Islamic militants at a university in Kenya, nor the Islamic State’s ongoing genocide of Christians in the Middle East. Nor the ACLU’s bullying of Catholic health agencies.
In the eyes of the president and his friends at the ACLU, apparently it all depends on who is being harmed by whom. (Contributor: By Robert Knight for The Washington Times - Robert Knight is a senior fellow for the American Civil Rights Union and a contributor to The Washington Times.)
For prayer: This report is crystal clear, needing little comment. Sadly, President Obama walks in lock-step with the ACLU in his determination to force abortion financing from all sources, including the venerable Roman Catholic Church. His recent “Easter prayer breakfast” was a charade, as not a single conservative Christian voice was present, but only those representatives, including religious personnel, who share his determination to make abortion a “normal” decision where everyone pays. Intercessors know how to pray into this. Our Catholic friends are standing strong, though all will pay a high price until God mercifully brings salvation to the White House OR grants America a better administration that honors the choice of LIFE! Isaiah could be describing America’s present day.
“Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; nor His ear heavy, that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear. For your hands are defiled with blood, and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies, your tongue has muttered perversity.” (Isa. 59:1-3)
NORTHCOM: CHINA’S THREE MISSILE SUBMARINES A ‘CONCERN’
The Chinese Navy has deployed three ballistic missile submarines at sea capable of striking the United States with nuclear missiles, the commander of the U.S. Northern Command said Tuesday.
Adm. William Gortney, the commander, said the submarines are a “concern” and will be able to strike the United States when fully deployed with missiles and warheads.
The missile submarines are deployed in the South China Sea at a base on Hainan Island, according to a defense official.
“They’ve not loaded their missiles or begun strategic patrols,” the official said. “But we believe they are likely to begin this year.”
Gortney also stated explicitly that U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded that North Korea is capable of mounting a small nuclear warhead on its new road-mobile KN-08 intercontinental missiles.
In a wide ranging interview with reporters at the Pentagon, the admiral also disclosed that Russia is engaged in political “messaging” by sending long-range nuclear bombers near the United States and will probably follow through with promises to fly Tu-160 Blackjack bombers near the southern U.S. coast.
On the Chinese sea-based nuclear threat, Gortney said: “They have put to sea their sea-launched ballistic missile submarines. I believe they have three in the water right now.”
Gortney said any time a nation has nuclear weapons and delivery systems that can reach the U.S. homeland, “it’s a concern of mine.”
It was the first time a senior U.S. military official voiced worries about Chinese nuclear missile submarines.
The four-star admiral in charge of the Colorado-based Northern Command in charge of homeland military defense said Chinese missile submarines are watched very closely.
“And you know, their very long-range capability is a function of how far do they reach,” he said. “So even from their own waters, they can reach part of our homeland. Hawaii is part of our homeland and they can reach Hawaii. And then the farther east they go, they can reach more and more of our nation.”
Asked if they have conducted sea patrols near U.S. coasts, Gortney suggested Chinese submarines could conduct underwater operations near U.S. shores in the future.
“We haven’t seen those patrols just yet, but it doesn’t mean that those patrols can’t exist in the future,” he said.
China in January conducted a flight test of the new JL-2 submarine-launched ballistic missile that is deployed on what the Pentagon calls China’s new Jin-class submarines.
A congressional commission reported that the JL-2 appears to have reached initial operating capability.
“The JL-2’s range of approximately 4,598 miles gives China the ability to conduct nuclear strikes against Alaska if launched from waters near China; against Alaska and Hawaii if launched from waters south of Japan; against Alaska, Hawaii and the western portion of the continental United States if launched from waters west of Hawaii; and against all 50 U.S. states if launched from waters east of Hawaii,” the U.S.-China Economic Security and Review Commission stated in its latest annual report.
Jin-class submarines can carry up to 12 JL-2 missiles, each of which is expected to have multiple warheads.
Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Vincent Stewart, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, told the House Armed Services Committee Feb. 3 that the first missile submarine patrols were expected this year.
“In 2014, China twice deployed submarines to the Indian Ocean,” Stewart said. “The submarines probably conducted area familiarization to form a baseline for increasing China’s power projection.”
Gortney said he is not alarmed at the evolution of Chinese nuclear forces from silo-based ICBMs to road-mobile missiles and now missile-firing submarines.
“It doesn’t surprise me that they’re doing it,” he said. “We do the same thing. We’ve done that for years.”
China also has adopted a policy of not being the first to use nuclear weapons in a conflict that Gortney said “gives me a little bit of a good news picture there.”
Rick Fisher, a China military affairs expert, said that Chinese missile submarine patrols have been expected for years. The missile submarine patrols, when launched, will mark “the end of China’s 40-year quest to build a submarine-based nuclear second-strike capability,” said Fisher, a senior fellow at the International Assessment and Strategy Center.
Fisher said China also is building more advanced missile submarines and possibly a longer-range version of the JL-2.
“It is conceivable that China eventually will deploy six to 10 SSBNs with slightly less than or over 100 submarine-launched ballistic missiles,” he said. SSBN is the acronym for a ballistic missile submarine.
On North Korea’s nuclear missile threat, Gortney provided the most detailed explanation to date of U.S. assessments of Pyongyang’s nuclear missile capability.
“Our assessment is that they have the ability to put a nuclear weapon on a KN-08 and shoot it at the homeland,” Gortney said, referring to North Korea’s six road-mobile intercontinental ballistic missiles.
“We haven’t seen them test the KN-08 yet and we’re waiting to do that,” he added.
Asked if the assessment was based on excess caution, he said: “No, I think it’s a prudent decision by my assessment of the threat, and the threat to the nation.”
The assessment that the KN-08 could be armed with a nuclear warhead was made in the last one or two years, he said.
Gortney voiced confidence that U.S. missile defenses currently deployed on ships in Asia and at bases in Alaska and California can stop a North Korean missile attack.
“As the person that owns the trigger … I have high confidence that it will work against North Korea,” he said.
Gortney said he is “very concerned” by North Korea’s new KN-08 truck-mounted ICBM that can be moved on roads and hidden in shelters and caves.
“It’s a re-locatable target set that really impedes our ability to find, fix, and finish the threat,” he said.
“And so, as the targets move around, if we don’t have the persistence there and the persistent [intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance], which we do not have over North Korea at this time, that re-locatable nature makes it very difficult for us to be able to counter it.”
However, if the North Koreans fire one of the missiles at the United States, “I’m confident that we’ll be able to knock it down,” he said.
The KN-08 is deployed on Chinese-made transporter-erector launchers that were shipped to North Korea in violation of U.N. missile sanctions.
The Northern Command is preparing for Russia to conduct provocative strategic bomber flights along U.S. southern coasts.
Moscow announced last year that it would begin conducting bomber flights in the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean.
“The one that we expect would be either Blackjack bombers or large jet bombers, not the Bears that we see them flying elsewhere,” Gortney said.
“It wouldn’t surprise me that they do that,” he said. “We’re prepared for it, you know, to intercept them, should we need to, should we choose to.”
The Russians are conducting the flights as part of nuclear forces exercises and as political signals, he said.
“They’re messaging us, showing us that they have a long-range conventional reach or nuclear reach with their manned bombers,” he said.
Gortney said Russia under Putin has developed a far more capable military than the very large military of the former Soviet Union, and has a new military doctrine to go along with the buildup.
“You’re seeing that bear out. You’re seeing them employ that capability and that doctrine in the Ukraine,” he said. “At they same time they are messaging us … that they’re a global power.”
The aggressive flights were conducted with great frequency following the downing of a civilian airliner over Ukraine in July. At the time, Russian bombers were conducting flights near Canada, Alaska, and the English Channel.
Two Russian naval vessels also have been sailing near the United States. An intelligence gathering ship recently left Venezuela and another logistics ship sailed to Cuba.
Mark Schneider, a former Pentagon strategic affairs policymaker, said the admiral is correct about Russia planning Blackjack flights for political messaging.
“The Russian message is nuclear intimidation,” Schneider said. “There is no reason to fly bombers that far south when they carry nuclear cruise missiles with ranges of thousands of kilometers. They do this because they know the intimidation factor will be higher if the bombers come close to the United States.”
The same rationale is behind recent, large-scale Russian nuclear forces exercises near Crimea and Kaliningrad, where Moscow is deploying nuclear-capable Iskander M short-range missiles and Backfire bombers, along with recent nuclear threats by a Russian ambassador directed at Denmark, and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s threatening language regarding Ukraine.
“They want to scare us but not so much that we take measures to enhance our nuclear deterrent,” he said. “As long as we do little or nothing in response, these threats will continue to escalate.”
On the threat posed by the Islamic State (IS, also known as ISIS or ISIL) terrorist group, Gortney said the threat that IS fighters will infiltrate through porous U.S. borders is less a worry than the current “very sophisticated” social media campaign being used by the group to recruit terrorists here.
“That’s how they are trying to attack us,” he said.
U.S. borders could be used, however by enemies that seek “seams” in defenses.
Gortney also said he is not in favor of building a third ground-based missile defense interceptor on the U.S. East Coast. He would prefer to spend the limited money available for missile defenses on other elements of missile defenses, such as sensors and other equipment.
“Our current approach is on the wrong side of the cost curve,” he said. (Contributor: By Bill Getz for The Washington Free Beacon)
For prayer: What was once called “saber-rattling” is now “missile-rattling.” Much of this is still “theoretical” to American daily life, as military and security experts don’t think an attack on the U.S. from a foreign power is imminent. However, our country’s enemies are real and potentially violent, and it is good for us to be reminded that national life is precarious and how necessary is God’s mercy. Please pray into Adm. Gortney’s observation that the current “very sophisticated” social media campaign is proving successful in our country in recruiting new potential terrorists. Whether “Brave” or not, it is a “new world” we live in, and every nation is vulnerable every day. Please pray as you are led.
“Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it; unless the Lord guards the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows…” (Ps. 127:1-2)
UNCLASSIFIED WHITE HOUSE COMPUTERS VULNERABLE TO HACKERS
Ben Rhodes, a deputy national security adviser, made the remarks in response to media reports that Russian hackers got access to some sensitive White House information, such as President Barack Obama's private schedule.
Rhodes would not confirm that sensitive information had been accessed, nor would he comment on where the threat originated. But, he said, "There's always vulnerability,'' which is why the White House operates a separate, secure system for classified data.
"We have classified systems that are secure and we take regular precautions to secure our own classified networks as well. I think we were very up front in acknowledging a cyber intrusion last year, so that is not new. We don't talk about where cyber intrusions originate from because we are constantly taking actions to prevent them," Rhodes told reporters.
The U.S. government has been hit by several cyberattacks, including the hacking of unclassified computers at the White House and State Department, as well as the Twitter and YouTube accounts of U.S. Central Command, which oversees the military campaign against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria.
Who's to blame?
Some of the attacks have been blamed on hackers in Russia, China and North Korea.
Earlier this year, the White House announced the creation of a federal agency to analyze threats to the nation's cybersecurity and determine strategy to combat them.
The Cyber Threat Intelligence Integration Center will coordinate cyber threat intelligence from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the National Security Agency, the Department of Homeland Security and other federal agencies. The center will operate under the guidance of the director of national intelligence. (Contributor: VOA News)
For prayer: Modern cyber warfare and its commensurate electronic spying reminds one of an old comic strip called “Spy vs. Spy,” where each side tried to outwit the other. Techniques are so sophisticated that a new branch of the hacking game now trains technicians to discern between real data (what is true) and the false leads planted to lead other governments astray. Long before electronic sophistication, Gen. Dwight Eisenhower sent false signals to the Nazi Command and thus took Normandy Beach on “D-Day” (WW II). The U.S. conquered then because our cause was just and God showed mercy. Today’s international scene needs a chastened U.S. and a repentant Church to cry out to God with a united heart to say, “Thy Kingdom come; Thy will be done. . .” Pray as led.
“Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; but we will remember the name of the Lord our God.” (Ps. 20:7)
“Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. ‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘therefore I hope in Him!’ The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him.” (Lam. 3:22-25)
EMP: U.S. AEROSPACE COMMAND MOVING BACK TO COLD WAR BUNKER
The U.S. military command that scans North America's skies for enemy missiles and aircraft plans to move its communications gear to a Cold War-era mountain bunker, officers said.
The shift to the Cheyenne Mountain base in Colorado is designed to safeguard the command's sensitive sensors and servers from a potential electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack, military officers said.
The Pentagon last week announced a $700 million contract with Raytheon Corporation to oversee the work for North American Aerospace Command (NORAD) and U.S. Northern Command.
Admiral William Gortney, head of NORAD and Northern Command, said that "because of the very nature of the way that Cheyenne Mountain's built, it's EMP-hardened."
"And so, there's a lot of movement to put capability into Cheyenne Mountain and to be able to communicate in there," Gortney told reporters.
"My primary concern was... are we going to have the space inside the mountain for everybody who wants to move in there, and I'm not at liberty to discuss who's moving in there," he said.
The Cheyenne mountain bunker is a half-acre cavern carved into a mountain in the 1960s that was designed to withstand a Soviet nuclear attack. From inside the massive complex, airmen were poised to send warnings that could trigger the launch of nuclear missiles.
But in 2006, officials decided to move the headquarters of NORAD and U.S. Northern Command from Cheyenne to Petersen Air Force base in Colorado Springs. The Cheyenne bunker was designated as an alternative command center if needed.
That move was touted a more efficient use of resources but had followed hundreds of millions of dollars worth of modernization work at Cheyenne carried out after the attacks of September 11, 2001.
Now the Pentagon is looking at shifting communications gear to the Cheyenne bunker, officials said.
"A lot of the back office communications is being moved there," said one defense official.
Officials said the military's dependence on computer networks and digital communications makes it much more vulnerable to an electromagnetic pulse, which can occur naturally or result from a high-altitude nuclear explosion.
Under the 10-year contract, Raytheon is supposed to deliver "sustainment" services to help the military perform "accurate, timely and unambiguous warning and attack assessment of air, missile and space threats" at the Cheyenne and Petersen bases.
Raytheon's contract also involves unspecified work at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California and Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska. (Contributor: AFP)
For prayer: Several national prayer leaders are agreed that our country cannot be protected without a return to God triggered by widespread revival and characterized by united, unified prayer from coast to coast and from south to north. “United” would mean all committed intercessors were praying, and “unified” would mean that they would be praying in “one accord.” If God’s people in our nation fully turn back to Him, He will respond in His mercy and power to once again be our Shepherd and Guide. Will that be our legacy here in the United States? Will the Church help shape history through prayer?
“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious oil upon the head, running down on the beard, the beard of Aaron, running down on the edge of his garments. It is like the dew of Hermon, descending upon the mountains of Zion; for there the Lord commanded the blessing—Life forevermore.” (Ps. 133)
PENTAGON GEARING UP FOR ROBOT WARS
In a speech to the Army War College Strategy Conference, Mr. Work said the “third offset strategy” will rely heavily on autonomous systems that will allow machines and U.S. technological superiority to win wars.
The strategy follows two earlier “offsets” — the use of asymmetric means to counter enemy advantages. During the Cold War, strategic deterrence and tactical nuclear arms were used to offset the Soviet Union’s ground force numerical advantages. In the 1970s, precision-guided conventional weapons were deployed to offset the quantitative shortcomings of foreign conventional forces.
Mr. Work said precision-guided warfare is reaching the end of its shelf life as foreign states have developed countermeasures.
The third offset will be designed to defeat states like China, which is developing niche, offset weapons such as anti-ship ballistic missiles and anti-satellite arms.
“The real essence of the third offset strategy is to find multiple different attacks against opponents across all domains so they can’t adapt, or they adjust to just one, and they died before they can adapt again,” he said.
Mr. Work said defense strategists are divided between those who seek to continue to focus on low-end conflict and those who say future wars will require high-end forces for use against competitor states with large militaries, like China and Russia. “We don’t have an answer right now” on which direction the Pentagon will go, he said.
The deputy defense secretary said the offset strategy calls for adapting “three-play chess” to modern warfare, in which U.S. military forces will employ highly skilled people operating advanced technological machines against less-capable forces.
Mr. Work said the “Air Sea Battle” concept, designed to break into Asia against Chinese missiles and submarines, has evolved into “Air Land Battle 2.0.”
“Air Sea Battle, in my view, kind of went wrong,” said Mr. Work, one of the concept’s architects.
The revised concept will involve avoiding being targeted by massive Chinese missile salvos or submarine attacks through “getting into their networks, blowing them up and keep them from seeing you,” he said.
Next, salvo attacks will be countered with defenses designed to hit missiles and destroy submarines and missile-carrying bombers before they fire. Last, after surviving the massed strikes, joint assault forces will be injected to make it an “air-land battle.”
“I believe that what the third offset strategy will revolve around will be three-play combat in each dimension,” Mr. Work said. “And three-play combat will be much different in each dimension [air, sea, land], and it will be up for the people who live and fight in that dimension to figure out the rules.”
“We will have autonomy at rest, our smart systems being able to go through big data to help at the campaign level and to be able to go through big data at the tactical level. So autonomy at rest and autonomy in motion,” he said.
The most difficult domain for robots is the ground.
“Just getting robots to move over terrain is one of the most difficult things you can imagine,” Mr. Work said.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the Pentagon’s high-tech development center, is working on a program called Squad X that is focusing on human-machine interaction at the tactical level. The program includes ground robots, microdrones and squad-sized military units equipped with intelligence and super-lethal weapons that can cover large areas.
“And this is not as far away as you might think,” Mr. Work said, noting that the Army is conducting experiments with “manned and unmanned teaming” of Apache attack helicopters.
Robot-driven vehicles also are coming, along with human-sized robots used as porters, firefighters, countermine robots, and counter sniper robots. (Contributor: By Bill Gertz for The Washington Times)
For prayer: The primary focus for prayer here is not about robot development. Instead, please pray about the continual reduction of U.S. defense and war power, as the administration directs the Department of Defense. With the reduction of naval ships and missile development, along with the push for women to share equally in combat roles (for which they were not made and are ill-equipped), American military strength continues to weaken. This is undisputable and clear to any who follow the present trends. Congress may be awakening to its shared responsibility to govern. Intercessors, please remain alert and pray accordingly. No Christian wants warfare, but the U.S. Constitution mandates that we maintain a strong military for defense of our freedoms. We must continue to pray.
“In transgressing and lying against the Lord, and departing from our God, speaking oppression and revolt, conceiving and uttering from the heart words of falsehood. Justice is turned back, and righteousness stands afar off; for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter.” (Isa. 59:13-14)
NASA SET TO INVESTIGATE AMERICA'S MASSIVE METHANE MYSTERY
A small 'hot spot' in the U.S. Southwest is responsible for producing the largest concentration of the greenhouse gas methane seen over the United States - and is the subject of a major new investigation to find out why.
The hot spot, near the Four Corners intersection of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah, covers only about 2,500 square miles (6,500 square kilometers), or half the size of Connecticut.
A recent Nasa map shows is produces more than triple the standard ground-based estimate - and researchers say they don't know why.
The Four Corners area (red) is the major U.S. hot spot for methane emissions in this map showing how much emissions varied from average background concentrations from 2003-2009 (dark colors are lower than average; lighter colors are higher). The hot spot, near the Four Corners intersection of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah, covers only about 2,500 square miles.
Methane is very efficient at trapping heat in the atmosphere.
Like carbon dioxide, it contributes to global warming.
To calculate the emissions rate that would be required to produce the observed concentration of methane in the air, the authors performed high-resolution regional simulations using a chemical transport model, which simulates how weather moves and changes airborne chemical compounds.
Researchers from several institutions are now in the Four Corners region of the U.S. Southwest with a suite of airborne and ground-based instruments, aiming to uncover reasons for a mysterious methane 'hot spot' detected from space.
'With all the ground-based and airborne resources that the different groups are bringing to the region, we have the unique chance to unequivocally solve the Four Corners mystery,' said Christian Frankenberg, a scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, who is heading NASA's part of the effort.
Other investigators are from the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) in Boulder, Colorado; the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA); and the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
Last fall, researchers including Frankenberg reported that a small region around the Four Corners intersection of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah had the highest concentration of methane over background levels of any part of the United States.
An instrument on a European Space Agency satellite measuring greenhouse gases showed a persistent atmospheric hot spot in the area between 2003 and 2009.
The amount of methane observed by the satellite was much higher than previously estimated.
The satellite observations were not detailed enough to reveal the actual sources of the methane in the Four Corners.
Likely candidates include venting from oil and gas activities, which are primarily coalbed methane exploration and extraction in this region; active coal mines; and natural gas seeps.
Researchers from CIRES, NOAA's Earth Systems Research Laboratory and Michigan are conducting a field campaign called TOPDOWN (Twin Otter Projects Defining Oil Well and Natural gas emissions) 2015, bringing airborne and ground-based instruments to investigate possible sources of the methane hot spot.
Shiprock, New Mexico, is in the Four Corners region where an atmospheric methane "hot spot" can be seen from space. Researchers are currently in the area, trying to uncover the reasons for the hot spot.
The JPL team will join the effort on April 17 and fly two complementary remote sensing instruments on two Twin Otter research aircraft.
The Next-Generation Airborne Visible/Infrared Imaging Spectrometer (AVIRISng), which observes spectra of reflected sunlight, flies at a higher altitude and will be used to map methane at fine resolution over the entire region.
Using this information and ground measurements from the other research teams, the Hyperspectral Thermal Emission Spectrometer (HyTES) will fly over suspected methane sources, making additional, highly sensitive measurements of methane.
Depending on its flight altitude, the NASA aircraft can image methane features with a spatial resolution better than three feet (one meter) square. In other words, it can create a mosaic showing how methane levels vary every few feet, enabling the identification of individual sources.
Hotspot of total column methane anomalies centered over the Four Corners region from 2003 to 2009, when a satellite-based methane-measuring instrument was operational. The April study will focus on verifying the hotspot and determining the methane sources producing the exceptionally elevated methane concentrations.
With the combined resources, the investigators hope to quantify the region's overall methane emissions and pinpoint contributions from different sources. They will track changes over the course of the month-long effort and study how meteorology transports emissions through the region.
'If we can verify the methane detected by the satellite and identify its sources, decision-makers will have critical information for any actions they are considering,' said CIRES scientist Gabrielle Pétron, one of the mission's investigators. Part of President Obama's recent Climate Action Plan calls for reductions in methane emissions.
The research team also includes scientists from the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research at the University of Colorado, Boulder; the U.S. Bureau of Land Management; and the state of New Mexico.
Is this the cause? The Four Corners coal-fired power plant, near Farmington, is one of the targets Nasa wants to investigate as a possible cause of the methane
In each of the seven years studied from 2003-2009, the area released about 0.59 million metric tons of methane into the atmosphere.
This is almost 3.5 times the estimate for the same area in the European Union's widely used Emissions Database for Global Atmospheric Research.
In the study published online today in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, researchers used observations made by the European Space Agency's Scanning Imaging Absorption Spectrometer for Atmospheric Chartography (SCIAMACHY) instrument, which measured greenhouse gases from 2002 to 2012.
The atmospheric hot spot persisted throughout the study period.
A ground station in the Total Carbon Column Observing Network, operated by the Department of Energy's Los Alamos National Laboratory, provided independent validation of the measurement.
To calculate the emissions rate that would be required to produce the observed concentration of methane in the air, the authors performed high-resolution regional simulations using a chemical transport model, which simulates how weather moves and changes airborne chemical compounds.
Research scientist Christian Frankenberg of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, first noticed the Four Corners signal years ago in SCIAMACHY data.
'We didn't focus on it because we weren't sure if it was a true signal or an instrument error,' Frankenberg said.
The study's lead author, Eric Kort of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, noted the study period predates the widespread use of hydraulic fracturing, known as fracking, near the hot spot.
This indicates the methane emissions should not be attributed to fracking but instead to leaks in natural gas production and processing equipment in New Mexico's San Juan Basin, which is the most active coalbed methane production area in the country.
Natural gas is 95-98 percent methane.
Methane is colorless and odorless, making leaks hard to detect without scientific instruments.
'The results are indicative that emissions from established fossil fuel harvesting techniques are greater than inventoried,' Kort said.
'There's been so much attention on high-volume hydraulic fracturing, but we need to consider the industry as a whole.'
In just one place in the United States do four states meet. The borders of Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona intersect at Four Corners, west of the confluence of the Mancos and San Juan Rivers.
Coalbed methane is gas that lines pores and cracks within coal.
In underground coal mines, it is a deadly hazard that causes fatal explosions almost every year as it seeps out of the rock. After the U.S. energy crisis of the 1970s, techniques were invented to extract the methane from the coal and use it for fuel. By 2012, coalbed methane supplied about 8 percent of all natural gas in the United States.
Frankenberg noted that the study demonstrates the unique role space-based measurements can play in monitoring greenhouse gases.
'Satellite data cannot be as accurate as ground-based estimates, but from space, there are no hiding places,' Frankenberg said.
In March 2014 the Obama Administration announced a strategy to reduce methane emissions under its Climate Action Plan.
The strategy includes improving the measurement and monitoring of methane emissions and assessing current methane emissions data. (Contributor: By Mark Prigg for Daily Mail)
For prayer: In this long article from The Daily Mail.com, we find several clues to alert intercessory “watchmen” as to where the reporter is focused. The “slant” of the article is that the methane buildup is not good and that the cause is from active or former coal mines. The reporter asks the question: “Is this the cause [of the methane buildup]? The Four Corners coal-fired power plant, near Farmington, is one of the targets NASA wants to investigate as a possible cause of the methane.” If the methane buildup is being caused by anything to do with coal, and the president and his administration want “to reduce methane emissions under its Climate Action Plan,” then we might expect legal action to pinpoint coal as a “global-warming culprit.” Please pray as you are led. This article is transitional, not urgent. Keep watching and praying. Our overarching need is for the U.S. to turn back to God.
“Seek the Lord while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, and He will have mercy on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon. ‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,’ says the Lord. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.’” (Isa. 55:6-9)