An F-35B Lands On The USS Wasp In The South China Sea
Top U.S. and Japanese defense officials are downplaying the possibility that the Chinese military could recover the wreckage of a Japanese F-35A that crashed on April 9 in the Pacific Ocean.
The Joint Strike Fighter disappeared from radar about 85 miles east of Honshu, Japan's main island. Although ships and aircraft have spotted some debris in the area where the plane is believed to have crashed, both the wreckage and pilot remain missing.
"We're supporting the investigation there, the incident," Shanahan said on Friday shortly before meeting with Japanese Defense Minister Takeshi Iwaya at the Pentagon. "The Japanese have the lead there and we're working very collaboratively with them. We've got a capability if what they have doesn't prove to be sufficient."
Iwaya was even more emphatic, saying the Japanese government is not entertaining the possibility that the F-35A wreckage could be recovered by the Chinese.
"We are conducting surveillance and warning activities so we can identify and find the missing aircraft," Iwaya told reporters at the beginning of his meeting with Shanahan.
Despite its main glitches, the F-35 is the most advanced aircraft flying today. It is designed to defeat the most sophisticated Russian and Chinese air defenses, making it a tempting target for both countries' intelligence services.
The idea that Russia or China could recover the crashed Japanese F-35 is not entirely implausible. In 1974, the CIA tried to raise a sunken Soviet submarine as part of a covert operation. The cover story was that the ship built for the operation belonged to billionaire Howard Hughes, who supposedly wanted to mine the sea floor.
The Hughes Glomar Explorer used a giant claw to retrieve the submarine, but the Soviet boat broke up on the way to the surface, and the CIA only recovered a small portion of it.
Former Marine Commandant Gen. Charles Krulak has issued a statement urging President Donald Trump and members of Congress to oppose pardons for those accused or convicted of war crimes since, he argued, it would "relinquish the United States' moral high ground."
"If President Trump follows through on reports that he will mark Memorial Day by pardoning individuals accused or convicted of war crimes, he will betray these ideals and undermine decades of precedent in American military justice that has contributed to making our country's fighting forces the envy of the world," said Krulak, who served in the Marine Corps for more than three decades before retiring in 1999 as the 31st Commandant.
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President Donald Trump will nominate Barbara Barrett to serve as the next Air Force secretary, the president announced on Tuesday.
"I am pleased to announce my nomination of Barbara Barrett of Arizona, and former Chairman of the Aerospace Corporation, to be the next Secretary of the Air Force," Trump tweeted. "She will be an outstanding Secretary! #FlyFightWin"
The Trump administration is trying to assure Congress that it does not want to start a war with Iran, but some lawmakers who fought in Iraq are not so sure.
Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford both briefed Congress on Tuesday about Iran. Shanahan told reporters earlier on Tuesday that the U.S. military buildup in the region has stopped Iran and its proxies from attacking U.S. forces, but the crisis is not yet over.
"We've put on hold the potential for attacks on Americans," Shanahan said. "That doesn't mean that the threats that we've previously identified have gone away. Our prudent response, I think, has given the Iranians time to recalculate. I think our response was a measure of our will and our resolve that we will protect our people and our interests in the region."
U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Brian M. Wilbur/Handout via REUTERS
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump warned on Monday Iran would be met with "great force" if it attacked U.S. interests in the Middle East, and government sources said Washington strongly suspects Shi'ite militias with ties to Tehran were behind a rocket attack in Baghdad's Green Zone.
"I think Iran would be making a very big mistake if they did anything," Trump told reporters as he left the White House on Monday evening for an event in Pennsylvania. "If they do something, it will be met with great force but we have no indication that they will."