Taiwan is ready to push back against China's aggression - We Are The Mighty
MIGHTY TRENDING

Taiwan is ready to push back against China’s aggression

Tensions between the Peoples Republic of China and Taiwan have recently flared up as China held the largest show of naval force in its history in April 2018, and made new threats directed towards Taipei.

“We would like to reaffirm that we have strong determination, confidence and capability to destroy any type of ‘Taiwan independence’ scheme in order to safeguard the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Ma Xiaoguang, a spokeswoman for the State Council’s Taiwan Affairs Office, recently said.


The Chinese also flew bombers around Taiwan in a show of force as well, and though tensions decreased a bit when promised live-fire drills were scaled back, the events are a reminder to analysts and policymakers that one of the worlds oldest Cold War-era conflicts remains unsolved, and could escalate to war.

A war of nerves

Much of that has to do with Chinese President and General Secretary of the Communist Party Xi Jinping, who has taken a much more aggressive stance on Taiwan than his immediate predecessors.

“Xi Jinping has essentially linked rejuvenation of the Chinese Nation to the retaking of Taiwan,” Bonnie Glaser, the director of the China Power Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told Business Insider.

“We were in a period of relative quiet with the Taiwan issue, and now it’s in a more primary place on the agenda as far as Beijing is concerned,” Glaser said.

At the core of the issue is that the Peoples Republic of China wants Taiwan, known officially as the Republic of China, to return to the fold to create one country that is unified under the rule of the Communist Party of China.

Taiwan is ready to push back against China’s aggression
Chinese President Xi Jinping.
(Photo by Michel Temer)

But Taiwan, with the help of the US, has so far managed to resist the PRC’s attempts to isolate it politically and economically, and has even shown signs of moving further away from the PRC and towards official independence — a move that would almost certainly provoke an armed response from the mainland.

“The current situation in the Taiwan [Strait] is a war of nerves,” Ian Easton, a research fellow at the Project 2049 Institute and the author of “The Chinese Invasion Threat: Taiwan’s Defense and American Strategy in Asia,” told Business Insider in an email.

“Taiwan is winning. They have not compromised under pressure, but tensions are running high and are likely to get much worse.”

Taiwan’s military has advantages — and problems

Taiwan’s military has a few advantages if it comes to war. First and foremost, Taiwan has been training to defend the island for decades.

For a country of only 23 million people, its military is quite capable. It has an active force of around 180,000 troops, with 1.5 million reservists — putting its size on par with the militaries of Germany and Japan, despite having a much smaller population.

Some of its equipment is relatively high-end. Its air force operates around 100 US-made F-16s, and 100 indigenously made F-CK-1A/Cs. Its Army maintains a number of AH-64 Apache gunships, and AH-1W SuperCobras.

Taiwan is ready to push back against China’s aggression
An F-16 fighter jet

Taiwan’s navy has roughly eight destroyers and 20 frigates in service, mostly former Oliver Hazard Perry-class and Knox-class ships. But they also have six French-built La Fayette-class frigates. The navy also sails a large number of fast missile boats, and two modified Zwaardvis-class attack submarines.

On top of that, Taiwan has a lot of anti-air and anti-ship defenses, and hundreds of cruise missiles that can strike mainland China.

Taiwan’s geography also provides another advantage. Crossing the Taiwan Strait would take up to 7-8 hours by sea, and during that time Taiwan could prepare for an invasion, and use its navy and air force to attack incoming Chinese ships, and set up anti-ship mines along the Strait.

The PRC also does not currently have the capability to transport the required number of troops (once estimated to be as high as 400,000) needed to take the island.

Furthermore, Taiwan is very mountainous, and does not offer a lot of landing zones where the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) could establish solid beachheads. Roughly only 10% of its shoreline is suitable for the large-scale amphibious landing that the PLA would have to make.

All of this means an invasion of Taiwan by the PRC would be extremely costly. “China has no obvious starting move that guarantees that they don’t absorb a lot of risk from this,” Scott Harold, the associate director of the RAND Corporation’s Center for Asia Pacific Policy, told Business Insider.

But Taiwan’s military has two large problems — a lack of advanced equipment, and problems with its transition from compulsory service to a fully volunteer force.

Taiwan is ready to push back against China’s aggression
The ROC Army’s CM-11 Tank at the Hukou Army Base.

Much of the military equipment needs to be modernized, especially its tanks and ships, and this can’t be done for diplomatic reasons. Only around 20 nations officially recognize Taiwan, and the PRC puts a lot of pressure on other countries to not do business with the island, especially in terms of defense.

The only nation that is willing to sell Taiwan complete weapon systems is the US, but they have “been slow to provide the weapons that Taiwan has been requesting, especially over the past 10 years,” according to Easton.

The military is also having difficulty making hiring quotas, which is affecting overall capability and performance because they are trying to replace its largely conscript service with professional soldiers.

“China has a massive military, so Taiwan must maintain its advantage in quality,” Easton said.

An uncertain future

A war between the PRC and Taiwan would also risk involving the US, which, while not under legal obligation, has opposed to any use of force against Taiwan in the past.

Taiwan is ready to push back against China’s aggression

It deployed carrier battle groups to the Strait in 1995 to prevent war from breaking out, and relations between the two countries remain strong. One analyst Business Insider spoke to calculated that US submarines could sink 40% of a PLA invasion force.

War between the two Chinas, then, would be catastrophic. “In short, it would be extremely complex and fraught with risk for both China and Taiwan,” Easton said, adding that “both sides would stand to lose hundreds of thousands, if not millions of lives, and the U.S. would almost certainly join the fight on Taiwan’s side.”

Such a quagmire could turn into a war of attrition, and if it were it to result in failure for the PLA, it would be devastating to the Chinese Communist Party.


“It is inextricably tied to the legitimacy of the Communist Party,” Glaser said. “I think that that is the belief in the leadership — that they can never be seen as soft on Taiwan. They cannot compromise.”

She pointed to Xi’s comments at the 19th Party Congress in October 2017; “We will resolutely uphold national sovereignty and territorial integrity and will never tolerate a repeat of the historical tragedy of a divided country,” he stated to wild applause.

“We have firm will, full confidence, and sufficient capability to defeat any form of Taiwan independence secession plot. We will never allow any person, any organization, or any political party to split any part of the Chinese territory from China at any time or in any form.

This article originally appeared on Business Insider. Follow @BusinessInsider on Twitter.

MIGHTY TACTICAL

The Army’s ‘Space Cowboys’ can see anywhere

It can sometimes be hard for commanders to get a full picture of the battlefield, whether that’s on the ground in Syria or in the forests of Colorado. The “Space Cowboys” of the Colorado Army National Guard‘s 117th Space Battalion aim to solve that problem.


Just the Facts

  • The 117th Space Battalion is the only unit of its kind in the National Guard.
  • Its 12 space support teams work with commercial and classified space-based assets to support command requirements.
  • The 117th has the highest concentration of space support teams anywhere in the Army.
  • Army Space Support Teams are made up of six soldiers — two officers and four enlisted — each with unique skills. The teams deploy around the world to enhance intelligence and operations planning abilities.
  • Taiwan is ready to push back against China’s aggression

    U.S. Army Sgt. Rick D. Peevy, a crew chief from Alpha Company, 2nd Battalion, 135th Aviation Regiment, Colorado Army National Guard, surveys the scene while wildfires burn the training range at Fort Carson, Colo., June 12, 2008.

  • “The [space] support team allows the warfighter to see and overcome enemy forces using the most appropriate amount of lethality available to them,” said Army Sgt. Maj. Fred Korb, the 117th’s senior enlisted leader. “For example, this allows the maximum effectiveness for targeting enemy forces while limiting danger to the coalition warfighter and noncombatants.”
  • More than 55 percent of soldiers in the unit have advanced degrees.
  • “Support can include producing imagery products, deconflicting GPS issues, missile warning, missile defense, satellite communications, and space as well as terrestrial weather effects on operations,” said Army Staff Sgt. Joseph Fauskee, the noncommissioned officer in charge of one of the battalion’s space support teams.
  • The 117th’s soldiers also produce the imagery needed to support wildfire fighting efforts in their home state. This year, some of its soldiers responded to the Spring Creek fire, the third-largest wildfire in Colorado history.
  • This article originally appeared on the United States Department of Defense. Follow @DeptofDefense on Twitter.

    MIGHTY CULTURE

    The Perks of PCSing: Turning a move into an adventure

    Having been married to someone in the military for almost a decade at this point, there are two things I learned quickly that will almost always be true. The first is that no matter what, there will always be at least one MRE somewhere in your house. The second, is that you will have to move. You will move a lot, you will move often, and there is a high likelihood you will have to move somewhere unfamiliar. While PCS and other forms of military travel are put on temporary hold right now, it can still be helpful to think of ways to make some of the more stressful, and sometimes more time consuming aspects, work for you.

    Any move, military or otherwise, comes with obvious stressors and things to consider. From prospective jobs, future school districts, housing, and arguably the most stressful: trying to convince your friends to help pack the moving truck. While there are options in the military to have your things professionally packed and moved, my husband and I have always taken the more hands-on approach. Albeit more tedious, it has kind of become tradition for us. It gives us one last chance to say goodbye to friends we’ve made, pay them in pizza and beer and convince them that we really didn’t mean to pack some of those boxes so heavy.


    Taiwan is ready to push back against China’s aggression

    I’ve gotten a lot of great advice from people over the years about the best way to adjust to a new duty station. It’s easier when you have built in ice breakers like school aged kids or more social hobbies, but overall, everyone learns to adjust in their own way. Something else that seemingly less significant or explored is the actual act of getting from point A to point B.

    Even during the anxiety and uncertainty of our very first move, my favorite part of a PCS has always been hitting the road and making conscious efforts to plan our route in a memorable way. Our duty stations have been all over the country, so we’ve been able to cover some significant ground in a relatively short amount of time. There’s something about taking what is typically deemed more utilitarian and turning it into its own experience that really seems to feed the soul.

    When I think about some of my favorite memories with my husband and kids, I think about our PCS roadtrips. Our oldest son visited the Grand Canyon and traveled through 23 states before his first birthday. We spent an entire day driving around Albuquerque, NM visiting filming locations from Breaking Bad, which admittedly was more of a personal bucket list item, but my husband had control of the radio that day, so we found a happy compromise.

    Our youngest son travelled from Oregon to Louisiana before he was even born (nothing goes better with being seven months pregnant than driving 7 hours a day for a week straight). Both of our boys have managed to get really close to crossing off all 50 states since they’ve been our roadies. We’ve made our way through the good, the bad and the ugly of truck stops, hotels and roadside attractions–few things compare to some of those alien museums in Roswell, which really have the potential to encompass all three traits seamlessly.

    We take the time before our move to look at a map and see what’s out there. Sure, there are days where it really is about getting up early and putting in those long hours to get some mileage under our belt, but we always try to counter that with something fun. Sometimes it can feel like “making the best out of a bad situation” if the move comes at an inopportune time, or there are outside factors at play.

    One of the realities of being a military family is having a lot of things decided for you. That can seem like a daunting thing, and I would be lying if I said there weren’t times where it was really hard for us in one way or another.

    Taiwan is ready to push back against China’s aggression

    At the end of the day it’s about looking for those silver linings in the inevitable. Taking stock in the situation and being able to make it into something you can look back on and appreciate having been in that place at that time. So many things in life are done with the outcome in mind, not the process. Military members and military families will undoubtedly spend a lot of time going from point A to point B, it comes with the territory. What that does however, is offer up the opportunity for adventure. The shortest distance between two points is a straight line, but sometimes it’s worth taking a detour.

    This article originally appeared on Sandboxx. Follow Sandboxx on Facebook.

    MIGHTY CULTURE

    These 6 initiatives are leading the charge for women in the veteran space

    When I left the military, I thought I had to give up part of who I was. In a way, I did, but I also didn’t realize the importance and value of being a veteran. I thought that leaving the service was closing a chapter and simply starting the next thing – which at the time happened to be my new role as a mom and military spouse. I didn’t see my role of being a veteran carrying any weight. Of course, I knew I was a veteran from my six years of active-duty service, but I didn’t feel welcome enough in the veteran space to even find out what it meant to serve in that role.


    Our focus often goes to our new roles. You raise your hand or stand up at various events or ceremonies thanking you for your service, and that is what you think being a veteran is. But being a veteran is not something you were; it is a part of who you are. And for a long time, you can miss out on the community that you are searching for, not knowing what you are looking for. It can feel like you gave up everything about who you were, and somehow because you are no longer in the military, your story and voice don’t matter.

    But you are wrong. Not only does your voice matter, but it is also needed. Just like in the male-dominated military, your unique perspective as a woman and as a veteran is important for solving problems, making changes and leaving a legacy. That hasn’t changed because you took your uniform off.

    Your story does matter, and you can make a difference for other veterans if you take the first step of getting involved. In the past five years, we have started to see a change in the veteran space. More women veterans are stepping up and using their voice as a powerful tool to not only bring to light the struggles women veterans face but bringing more females into the veteran community and helping to bring change.

    These are a handful of the leading organizations making change for women veterans.

    Taiwan is ready to push back against China’s aggression

    Women’s Veterans Interactive

    Women’s Veterans Interactive (WVI), created by Ginger Miller, addresses the unique and often unrecognized challenges facing our nation’s two million women veterans as they return to civilian life. WVI focuses on meeting women veterans at their point of need while breaking down barriers leading to homelessness. WVI holds an annual conference focused on Leadership and Diversity in which they bring together women veterans with a wide variety of speakers and topics. The conference ends with an awards dinner recognizing women veterans for the work they do.

    Service Women’s Action Network

    Service Women’s Action Network (SWAN) is the voice of all military women. They are committed to seeing that all servicewomen receive the opportunities, protections, benefits and respect they deserve. SWAN has three areas to guide them: support, connect and advocate. Support through a network of vetted resources, connect by bringing together military women and organizations across the country to amplify the voices of servicewomen and advocate for women by building a national reputation as a force behind the policy change.

    Taiwan is ready to push back against China’s aggression

    Women in Military Service for America Memorial

    Women in Military Service for America Memorial is the only major national memorial honoring all women who have defended America throughout history through exhibits, memorabilia and a cataloged history of the record of over 200,000 women veterans.

    Women Veterans Alliance

    Women Veterans Alliance (WVA) has the vision to connect over 2 million female veterans for the purpose of sharing our gifts, talents, resources and experiences. Founder Melissa A. Washington is a Navy Veteran who saw a need to bring women veterans to equip, empower and encourage each other. Each year their “Unconference” focuses on one-on-ones, self-care, specialized breakouts and more.

    Taiwan is ready to push back against China’s aggression

    Women of the Military Podcast & The Female Veterans Podcast

    Women of the Military Podcast is a place of empowerment and sharing the stories of military women’s past and present with the belief that all stories matter and need to be shared. The podcast allows women to share their stories, and it can bring healing and the ability to let go. So many military women never talk about their experience and feel so alone in their struggles. The podcast brings a dynamic range of stories and experiences to help women not feel so alone. And, if you are looking for more stories of military women, check out The Female Veterans Podcast.

    These are just a handful of the many women veteran organizations that have been making an impact and bringing about change to the veteran space. But there is still more work to do. Women often get pulled so far away from the military community that they don’t even realize these resources are available to them. Our voices matter.

    I now see why organizations like the Veteran of Foreign Wars (VFW) and the American Legion were so popular after the previous wars ended. There is something about serving in the military that changes you and builds a bond with people who may not look like you or believe what you do, but they are still your brothers and sisters in arms.

    And we need that community.

    What are your favorite veteran organizations focused on helping women veterans?

    MIGHTY TRENDING

    Cybercrime gang that stole $100 million dismantled

    European and U.S. police have dismantled an international crime gang that used malware to steal $100 million from tens of thousands of victims, Europe’s police agency says.

    Europol said on May 16, 2019, that the operation involved investigations in the United States and five European countries — Bulgaria, Germany, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine.


    It said the gang used GozNym malware to infect the computers and capture online banking details of more than 41,000 victims, primarily “businesses and their financial institutions.”

    Taiwan is ready to push back against China’s aggression

    (Photo by Markus Spiske)

    The network laundered the funds it stole through accounts held by its members in the United States and elsewhere, according to Europol.

    Ten gang members are facing charges in the United States, including stealing money and laundering those funds.

    Five Russians charged by U.S. authorities remain on the run.

    This article originally appeared on Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. Follow @RFERL on Twitter.

    Articles

    Sailors and Marines are now eligible for these new award devices

    A policy developed more than a year ago that creates new distinctions for performance and valor awards has taken effect for the Department of the Navy.


    According to an all-Navy message released in late August, Marines and sailors can begin to receive awards bearing new “C” and “R” devices, indicating the award was earned under combat conditions or for remote impact on a fight, a condition that would apply to drone operators, among others.

    The policy also establishes more stringent criteria for the existing “V” device, stipulating that it applies only to awards for actions demonstrating valor above what is expected of a service member in combat.

    The changes were first announced in January 2016, when then-Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced a Pentagon-wide review of high-level combat awards, a measure designed to ensure that troops serving since Sept. 11, 2001, had been appropriately honored.

    Taiwan is ready to push back against China’s aggression
    Former United States Secretary of Defense, Ash Carter.

    Carter also approved the creation of the new devices as a way to distinguish clearly the conditions under which an award had been earned.

    Development of the C device for awards earned under combat conditions enabled more selective use of the V device, giving it added weight and significance as an indicator of heroism.

    “We’re raising the bar,” a Pentagon official told reporters at the time of the policy rollout. “What we’ve seen is, maybe it has been … a little too loose in the past.”

    Notably, the ALNAV states, authorization of the C device does not entitle award recipients to wear the Combat Action Ribbon, which has more restrictive criteria.

    The R device, meanwhile, is the product of conversations about how to recognize those who have direct impact on a fight from afar in a changing battlespace, such as unmanned aerial vehicle operators.

    Taiwan is ready to push back against China’s aggression
    An information graphic illustrates the changes to the letter-type devices worn on certain medals and ribbons. Navy graphic by Jim Nierle.

    According to the all-Navy message, the sailors and Marines who might be eligible for this award are not just drone pilots. They also include:

    • Those who conduct ship-to-shore or surface-to-surface weapon system strikes.
    • Operators who remotely pilot aircraft that provide direct and real-time support that directly contributes to the success of ground forces in combat or engaged in a mission, such as a raid or hostage rescue.
    • Cyberwarfare that disrupts enemy capabilities or actions.
    • Surface-to-air engagement that disrupts an enemy attack or enemy surveillance of friendly forces.
    • Troops exercising real-time tactical control of a raid or combat mission from a remote location not exposed to hostile action.
    • For awards in which certain conduct or conditions is presupposed, the rules are not changing.

    Bronze Stars, for example, are not eligible for the new C device, as combat conditions are inherent in the award.

    Taiwan is ready to push back against China’s aggression
    Former Secretary of the Navy Gordon R. England pins the Bronze Star on Rear Adm. Willie C. Marsh during a ceremony held in the Secretary’s Pentagon office. Marsh was recognized for meritorious achievement in his duties as Commander, Task Force 51, from January 1, 2003 to May 31, 2003. US Navy photo.

    Likewise, Silver Stars, Navy Crosses, and Medal of Honor awards are not eligible for the V device, as all these awards are presented for extraordinary valor or heroism.

    For the Department of the Navy, processing of awards with the new devices began with the release of the ALNAV, Lt. Cmdr. Ryan De Vera, a service spokesman, told Military.com.

    While the Navy will not retroactively remove V devices from any awards in keeping with the new rules, De Vera said Marines and sailors who believe they merit one of the new devices for awards earned since Jan. 7, 2016 can contact their command to initiate a review of the relevant award.

    “The onus is on the sailor or the Marine to do that,” he said.

    Taiwan is ready to push back against China’s aggression
    Sgt. Kevin Peach, an infantryman with 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, is awarded a Navy and Marine Corps Medal by Lt. Col. Reginald McClam. USMC photo by Sgt. Brandon Thomas.

    Awards given before the new policy was announced will not receive any additional scrutiny.

    “All previous decorations that had a V device remain valid,” De Vera said. “It’s important to note that they are in no way diminished or called into question by the new policy.”

    The Army announced in late March that it had implemented a policy for awarding the new devices; the Air Force did likewise in June.

    The Navy and the Marine Corps are the last of the services within the Defense Department to roll out guidance for incorporating the new devices.

    Articles

    The battle to retake this ISIS stronghold in Syria is getting ugly

    The battle to retake the Syrian city of Raqqa from the Islamic State terror group is a fight increasingly without front lines.


    The US-backed, Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have breached the old city and control about a quarter of the terror group’s de facto capital, say American officials, but holding what has already been seized is proving a struggle.

    Disputes between the SDF and some Free Syrian Army militias who have started to participate in the battle isn’t helping the advance, but the biggest obstacle remains the determined defense of IS fighters, who are using similar urban warfare tactics seen in the past nine months in the terror group’s fight to delay the retaking of Mosul by Iraqi security forces.

    A month into the Raqqa assault, improvised explosive devices, sniper fire, and the use of an elaborate network of tunnels to mount ambushes — as well as exploiting civilians as human shields — are all being deployed by the militants. IS militants have also been using drones to drop explosives on SDF militiamen.

    Taiwan is ready to push back against China’s aggression
    SDF fighters at the mouth of a tunnel used by ISIS at Jabar Castle. (Photo from Voice of America.)

    A watchdog rights organization says in the assault’s first month it has documented 650 deaths — 224 of them civilians.

    According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a London-based group that relies on a network of activists for its reporting, 311 IS fighters, including a handful of commanders, and 106 fighters of the American-backed “Euphrates Wrath” forces have died so far.

    “In addition, airstrikes left hundreds of civilians injured, with various degrees of severity, some of whom had their limbs amputated, some were left with permanent disabilities and some are still in a critical condition, which means that the death toll is still likely to rise,” the observatory says.

    Taiwan is ready to push back against China’s aggression
    SDF fighters among the rubble Raqqa. (Photo from Voice of America.)

    Long battle ahead

    Despite being only a tenth the size of Mosul, US officials say they expect the house-to-house fighting to last several weeks. Estimates on how many militants remain in the city range from between 2,000 to 3,000. Most of them are thought to be from eastern Syria or foreign fighters drawn mainly from North Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia.

    According to local activists, some Raqqa-born IS fighters have defected and are providing intelligence to the SDF. Hassan Hassan, an analyst at the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy, a Washington-based think tank, and co-author of the book “ISIS: Inside the Army of Terror,” says local fighters have proven less than committed in the battle.

    “The Islamic State will likely have to rely on the city’s still likely large population of foreign fighters as well as a new generation of young fighters brainwashed by the group’s ideology who typically fight viciously to the end,” Hassan argues in the current issue of CTC Sentinel, a publication of the West Point military academy.

    Taiwan is ready to push back against China’s aggression
    YPJ and YPG forces work together. (Photo from Flickr user Kurdishstruggle (CC by 2.0)

    Despite the participation of experienced, battle-hardened Kurdish fighters, private security advisers say the SDF doesn’t have the same capabilities and training as the elite Iraqi units who have been confronting IS militants in Mosul since August.

    “They are spread much thinner,” one European security adviser told Voice of America. “They are also not as well equipped and lack the armor the Iraqis have been able to use,” he added.

    Keeping the advance going, and trying to pin the militants into smaller and smaller pockets, is proving grueling, he said.

    On July 9, Iraqi Prime Minister Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi arrived in Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, to declare his security forces had wrested the wrecked city from the Islamic State, despite some continued fighting in at least one west Mosul neighborhood. Some US officials are reckoning IS fighters may be able to hold out in Raqqa for up to three months.

    In a bid to disrupt the SDF momentum, IS is now more regularly using suicide bombers driving reinforced vehicles packed with explosives — although not to the same degree as seen in the battle for Mosul. Last week, one suicide bomber managed to destroy a forward HQ used by the SDF.

    Taiwan is ready to push back against China’s aggression
    A fighter with the US-allied Syrian Democratic Forces sits atop a vehicle before a battle. (Photo from SDF via Facebook.)

    Civilian casualties

    Tens of thousands of refugees have fled, braving mines and savage IS sniper fire. Local activists estimate the number of civilians remaining in the city at about 60,000. They fault the international coalition for failing to have prepared for the handling of large numbers of displaced families.

    Civilians have been gathering in nearby camps lacking basic amenities such as healthcare, clean drinking water, and food,” says the activist network Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently.

    The group has accused the attacking forces of using a scorched-earth strategy, utilizing indiscriminate aerial bombardment in order to force militants to withdraw. US officials admit there have been civilian deaths but say they are doing all they can to minimize casualties among non-combatants.

    MIGHTY SPORTS

    Fitness test is only one part of Army’s new health push

    While the Army Combat Fitness Test will be the largest overhaul in assessing a soldier’s physical fitness in nearly 40 years, it is just one part of the Army’s new health push, says the service’s top holistic health officer.

    This month, the entire Army will begin taking the diagnostic ACFT — with all active-duty soldiers taking two tests, six months apart, and Reserve and National Guard soldiers taking it once. Then, a year later, the six-event, gender- and age-neutral test is slated to become the Army’s official physical fitness test of record.

    To best prepare for the test, Army leaders encourage soldiers to take an integrated health approach to their training regimen.


    Taiwan is ready to push back against China’s aggression

    Sgt. Steven J. Clough, battalion medical liaison with the 223rd Military Intelligence Battalion, performs a deadlift during an Army Combat Fitness Test in San Francisco, Calif., July 21, 2019. Clough, who serves as a master fitness trainer for the battalion and is a level three certified grader for the ACFT, has been helping prepare the battalion for the new test.

    (Photo by Spc. Amy Carle)

    Holistic health and fitness

    The integrated approach, Holistic Health and Fitness — known as H2F — is a multifaceted strategy to not only ace the ACFT, but improve soldier individual wellness, said Col. Kevin Bigelman, director of Holistic Health and Fitness at the U.S. Army Center for Initial Military Training.

    The well-rounded components of H2F include: physical training, proper sleep and nutrition, and mental and spiritual readiness.

    These pillars are “similar to a house,” Bigelman said. Meaning that, each element of a house — the roof, walls, floor, etc. — are equally essential for its prosperity, like how each aspect of H2F is critical to combat readiness, and having success on the ACFT.

    However, the gravity of H2F transcends the ACFT, which falls into the physical aspect, and has become “a culture change within the Army,” Bigelman said.

    “H2F is changing the way soldiers view themselves,” he added. “It is made up of both physical and nonphysical domains, wrapping them into a single governance structure.”

    The initiative, originally announced in 2017, was designed to enhance soldier lethality by rolling up various domains of health to complement each other and prepare soldiers for future warfare, he said.

    Taiwan is ready to push back against China’s aggression

    (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Spc. Amy Carle)

    Properly trained

    The Army’s most important weapon system is its soldiers, he said. So, to overmatch the enemy in multi-domain operations, Soldiers must demonstrate the superior physical fitness required for combat by training properly in all aspects of holistic fitness, including the ACFT.

    The ACFT will provide “a snapshot of the strength, power, agility, coordination, balance, anaerobic capacity, and aerobic capacity of a soldier,” Bigelman said. Limited in scope, “the current APFT doesn’t fully measure the total lethality of a soldier how the ACFT does.”

    Due to this, soldiers should train the way they’ll be tested, Bigelman said.

    “The ACFT measures all the domains of physical fitness,” said Dr. Whitfield East, a research physiologist at CIMT. “Soldiers should train based on those standards.”

    Taiwan is ready to push back against China’s aggression

    California National Guard Soldiers with the 223rd Military Intelligence Battalion complete the Sprint Drag Carry event during an Army Combat Physical Fitness test

    Be well rested

    The best training plan is ineffective without adequate sleep, Bigelman said, adding, “You’re not going to perform as best you can, physically, on the ACFT if your sleep is incorrect.”

    Neglecting sleep can take a negative toll on the body. Sleeplessness can affect performance during high-intensity workouts, like the ACFT, he said. In addition, it can affect a soldier’s mood, their hormone and stress levels, and it doesn’t let the body fully recover or repair its muscles.

    Adequate sleep can improve productivity, emotional balance, brain and heart health, the immune system, and vitality, according to the National Institutes of Health.

    For maximum optimization, officials encourage soldiers to get at least eight hours of sleep.

    Taiwan is ready to push back against China’s aggression

    Spc. Melisa G. Flores, a paralegal specialist with the 223rd Military Intelligence Battalion, performs a leg-tuck during an Army Combat Physical Fitness test hosted at Abraham Lincoln High School in San Francisco, California, July 21, 2019. Flores, who has competed in the Best Warrior competition and won recognition for fitness, said the ACFT has challenged her in new ways.

    (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Spc. Amy Carle)

    Eat right

    Nutrition is a vital component of training, said Maj. Brenda Bustillos, a dietician at the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command. “How we get up and feel in the morning, how we recover from exercise, how we utilize energy throughout the day” is all optimized through understanding, and implementing, proper nutrition.

    Proper nutritional habits will “enhance a soldier’s ability to perform at their fullest potential,” she added.

    Regarding the ACFT, soldiers “should always train to fight,” Bustillos said, and they should do more than “Eat properly the night before an ACFT.” Proper nutrition should not be viewed as a diet, but as a lifestyle choice.

    That said, nourishment immediately before an ACFT is also important. “Soldiers should never start the day on an empty tank,” she said.

    Taiwan is ready to push back against China’s aggression

    Spc. Melisa G. Flores, a paralegal specialist with the 223rd Military Intelligence Battalion, receives coaching from a grader about the proper form for hand-release push-ups during an Army Combat Physical Fitness test hosted at Abraham Lincoln High School in San Francisco, California, July 21, 2019.

    (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Spc. Amy Carle)

    Clear your mind

    When you toe the line on test day, it’s natural to feel anxiety, East said. Before the stopwatch starts, soldiers should clear their minds, take a deep breath, and try thinking positively.

    As common as anxiety is, he said, confidence is built by properly preparing for the ACFT. For example, soldiers should not start training a week before their test or else their mental fitness can be as affected as any other component of holistic health.

    In addition, during the months leading up to a test date, soldiers should do mock tests to know where they stand. These small steps can be giant leaps for an individual’s mental fitness, he said.

    Soldiers cannot perform “as best as they can physically” on the ACFT without implementing a holistic approach, Bigelman said.

    With soldiers expected to train harder to meet readiness goals, experts are available to them, he said, noting that physical therapists, athletic trainers, and other professionals can now be found at most brigade and battalion levels to take their training to the next level.

    This article originally appeared on United States Army. Follow @USArmy on Twitter.

    MIGHTY TRENDING

    Everything you need to know about the British plan to join an attack on Syria

    Theresa May will hold a crunch Cabinet meeting on April 12, 2018, in which she and her ministers will decide whether to join military action in Syria.

    The prime minister will seek her Cabinet’s approval to join with Donald Trump’s US in launching airstrikes against the Syrian regime led by Bashar al-Assad, the war-torn country’s disgraced president.


    May wants to launch airstrikes without first securing parliamentary approval, the BBC reports, in a move which would be opposed by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, and numerous other opposition MP across the House of Commons.

    This means Britain is on the cusp of joining the US in another military foray in the Middle east. Here’s how we got here.

    “Abhorrent” chemical attack shocks the world

    The West is preparing to respond to a chemical attack which left at least forty people dead and hundreds more receiving treatment in the Syrian city of Douma on April 7, 2018. Douma is just a few miles outside the country’s capital, Damascus, and is controlled by rebels who want to overthrow President Assad.

    The attack was the latest chapter in a civil war which has ravaged Syria since 2011. The conflict has left over 500,000 Syrians dead and around 6.1 million displaced, according to UN and Syrian Observatory for Human Rights data.

    Prime Minister May, President Trump, and other western leaders believe Assad is almost certainly behind the attack. May described the attack as a “shocking, barbaric act” which cannot go “unchallenged” by Britain and its allies. The Assad regime denies being responsible for the attack.

    Taiwan is ready to push back against China’s aggression
    Bashar al-Assad

    British submarines are reportedly being moved within “missile range” of Syria with military action set to begin as early as April 12, 2018, if May secures the backing of her government ministers.

    Doesn’t May need the permission of MPs?

    Contrary to what many believe, the UK prime minister is not legally obliged to seek parliamentary approval before launching military action. In fact, they don’t even need to inform them.

    The root of this misconception is the 2003 Iraq invasion. The then-prime minister Tony Blair asked Parliament to vote in favour of invading Iraq. This created an informal convention which was followed by David Cameron, who a decade later decided against taking action in Syria after MPs voted it down. Prime ministers may decide to look for parliamentary support to give their military action political authority. After all, going to war is one of the riskiest and most controversial decisions a prime minister can make.

    However, this is nothing more than a convention. In 2011, for example, MPs didn’t get to vote on intervening in Libya until after the intervention had already got underway, meaning it was too late to vote it down anyway.

    Does the public want another war?

    If May does intend on ignoring convention, it will not be with the broad support of the British public. A YouGov poll released April 12, 2018, finds that just 22% of Brits support military action in Syria, while 43% oppose it.

    Taiwan is ready to push back against China’s aggression

    Labour leader Corbyn previously told the BBC he supported a parliamentary vote before any action. It “should always be given a say on any military action,” Corbyn said. “We don’t want bombardment which leads to escalation and a hot war between the US and Russia over the skies of Syria.”

    Speaking today, Corbyn questioned how airstrikes would improve the situation in Syria. “More bombing, more killing, more war will not save life,” he told reporters.

    Sir Vince Cable, leader of the Liberal Democrats, signaled he supports military action against Assad but said it would require the support of MPs with “some strong conditions around it.”

    The SNP’s defence spokesperson, Stewart McDonald, has warned that airstrikes “will not provide the long-term solutions needed to end the war.”

    What would the ramifications be?

    The Syrian conflict is one of the greatest challenges facing the world, not least because it is so fiendishly complex.

    President Assad may be opposed by Britain, the US, France and other western nations, but is supported by Iran and Vladimir Putin’s Russia. This means Syria has effectively become a proxy battleground for tensions between the West and Russia, which have been at the worst since the height of the Cold War.

    A war of words is already underway. On April 11, 2018, President Trump told Putin to “get ready” for US missiles.

    Taiwan is ready to push back against China’s aggression
    Donald Trump

    “Russia vows to shoot down any and all missiles fired at Syria. Get ready Russia, because they will be coming, nice and new and ‘smart!'”Trump tweeted April 11, 2018. “You shouldn’t be partners with a Gas Killing Animal who kills his people and enjoys it!”

    Russia had warned the US that any missiles fired into Syria would be shot down and its launch sites targeted.

    Worryingly for Britain, one of the launch sites pinpointed by Russia could be a British military base in Cyprus, The Times reports. Eight cruise missile-armed Tornado fighter-bombers located at RAF Akrotiri, on the southern coast of Cyprus. These bombers are set to contribute to airstrikes and could be at risk of Russian retaliation.

    Russia has already moved war vessels from to a base on the Mediterranean coast, within range of a US warship, according to satellite imagery of the region.

    What is clear is that risk of war between nuclear-armed states is now at its highest for a generation. The decisions May’s government makes in next few days could be among the most important made by any UK government.

    MIGHTY MOVIES

    Netflix’s ‘Triple Frontier’ shows what happens when Green Berets are broke and bored

    “Make no mistake about it: You guys need to own the fact that we do not have the flag on our shoulders.”

    Netflix takes another shot at the big-budget movie game with “Triple Frontier,” opening in select theaters March 6, 2019, and streaming March 13, 2019.

    A group of Special Forces veterans find themselves at loose ends after they complete their service. They’re broke and bored. They decide to take down a South American drug lord and keep his $75 million in cash for themselves, doing some good and finally padding their bank accounts at the same time.


    Of course, things don’t go to plan.

    Triple Frontier | Official Trailer [HD] | Netflix

    www.youtube.com

    Writer/director J.C. Chandor has already made three outstanding movies this decade, none of which got the attention they deserved.

    “Margin Call” (2011) is a thriller that unfolds over 24 hours at a financial services company during the 2008 financial crisis. “All is Lost” (2014) features one of the greatest (and nearly silent) Robert Redford performances as a sailor trying to save himself after he collides with a shipping container on the open seas. “A Most Violent Year” (2014) looks at the mechanics of big-city corruption in the early 1980s. None of those descriptions makes the movies sound like thrillers, but they’re all incredibly smart films that never let up in building tension.

    That rep has allowed Chandor to recruit an all-star cast for “Triple Frontier.” Ben Affleck is done with Batman and looks happy to be back to making movies for adult men. He’s joined by Oscar Isaac (Poe Dameron in the current “Star Wars” trilogy), Charlie Hunnam (“Sons of Anarchy”), Garrett Hedlund (“TRON: Legacy”) and Pedro Pascal (“Game of Thrones” and “Narcos”).

    Chandor wrote the screenplay with Mark Boal, who won a pair of Oscars for “The Hurt Locker” and has collaborated with director Kathryn Bigelow on “Zero Dark Thirty” and “Detroit.” If nothing else, all of us can agree that Boal’s work provokes a wide variety of strong reactions.

    We’ll have more on “Triple Frontier” as the release date approaches.

    This article originally appeared on Military.com. Follow @militarydotcom on Twitter.

    MIGHTY TACTICAL

    Why a simple fence is perfect armor on today’s battlefield

    The M1126 Stryker is a beautifully designed vehicle. It’s packed with 16.5 tons of high-hardness steel to shield the passengers from direct attacks and a unique underbelly design to help defend against IEDs. Many are outfitted with remote weapon systems, allowing troops to engage the enemy without fear of snipers. It even has one of the most state-of-the-art fire-extinguishing systems in the world in case the worst happens.


    With all that protection, it seems strange that someone decided a bunch of steel bars around it would make great armor…

    Taiwan is ready to push back against China’s aggression
    It also works great for extra storage space for things you don’t mind losing.  (Photo from U.S. Army)

    Though it might look flimsy, the simple fence design is an excellent counter considering how explosives blow up. Having thick, reactive armor works wonders against conventional fragmentation rounds, but HEAT (High explosive, anti-tank) rounds are designed specifically to burst through it.

    Take a standard RPG-7 single-stage HEAT round for instance: The explosion isn’t what makes it deadly. By forcing the explosion into a narrow cone, it’s used to blow a hole through whatever it hits. It’s the molten copper follows and uses the pathway cleared by the explosion that’s truly deadly.

    Not pleasant, to say the least. (Image via GIPHY)

    In comes what we’ve been calling “fence armor.” This type of armor is actually called “slat armor” and has been used since the World War II on German panzers. The Germans needed an extra layer of defense from Russian anti-tank rifles and low velocity, high explosive rounds. They added steel plates. set a few inches away from the actual shell of the vehicle, so when it’s hit, the cheaper plates would be hit and the copper would have time to cool, causing minimal damage.

    This method of stopping common HEAT rounds is still used today by armies going against enemies with RPGs. While slat armor isn’t 100% effective (no armor is, truly), it does have up to 70% effectiveness, which is remarkable for a solution that costs nearly nothing, is an addition to existing armor, and doesn’t negatively affect the mission.

    Taiwan is ready to push back against China’s aggression
    And hell, for years, troops used to just put sandbags under their seats and called it good enough. (U.S. Army Photo by Sgt. Joshua Edwards)

    Though nowhere near as effective, even ISIS tried to Mad Max their vehicles. Note, for this to work, slat armor needs to be a few inches away from the vehicle, it should cover vital spots, and shouldn’t be welded on (since the point of it is to be destroyed and swapped out).

    Taiwan is ready to push back against China’s aggression
    B- for effort. F for forgetting that missiles drop down — not across — at three feet above ground. (Image via Reddit)

    MIGHTY HISTORY

    This former President’s son was killed in combat in World War I

    The casualty list released by the American Expeditionary Force on July 21, 1918 listed 64 American soldiers and Marines killed in action and 28 missing.

    But the name reporters noticed first was that of a 20 year-old college student from Oyster Bay, Long Island: Lt. Quentin Roosevelt.

    Quentin Roosevelt had been a public figure since he was four years-old, when his father, Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt, became president.


    Roosevelt had been missing since July 14, 1918, when he and four other pilots from the U.S. Army Air Service’s 95th Aero Squadron engaged at least seven German aircraft near the village of Chamery, France.

    His father had been notified that he was missing and presumed dead on July 17 and took it hard.

    Quentin Roosevelt was a flight leader in the 95th and despite his famous family, he was very much a regular guy.

    “Everyone who met him for the first time expected him to have the airs and superciliousness of a spoiled boy,” wrote Capt. Eddy Rickenbacker, the top American Ace of World War I. “This notion was quickly lost after the first glimpse one had of Quentin.”

    Taiwan is ready to push back against China’s aggression

    Army Air Service Lt. Quentin Roosevelt

    “Gay, hearty and absolutely square in everything he said or did, Quentin Roosevelt was one of the most popular fellows in the group. We loved him purely for his own natural self,” Rickenbacker remembered.

    Quentin Roosevelt was the fifth child of Teddy and Edith Roosevelt. Quentin was his father’s favorite and his dad told stories to reporters about Quentin and the gang of boys — sons of White House employees — he played with.
    When the United States entered World War I, Quentin Roosevelt was a Harvard student.

    His father had argued for American entry into the war, so it was only natural for Quentin and the other three Roosevelt sons to join the military.

    Quentin dropped out of Harvard and joined the 1st Aero Company of the New York National Guard. The unit trained at a local airfield on Long Island, which was later renamed Roosevelt Field in Quentin Roosevelt’s honor.

    The 1st Aero Company was federalized in June 1917 as the 1st Reserve Aero Squadron and sent to France. Roosevelt went along and was assigned as a supply officer at a training base.

    He learned to fly the Nieuport 28 fight that the French had provided to the Americans. The Nieuport 28 was a light biplane fighter armed with two Vickers machine gun.

    Taiwan is ready to push back against China’s aggression

    Army Air Service Lt. Quentin Roosevelt

    The French had decided to outfit their fighter squadrons with the better SPAD 13 fighter, so the Nieuports were available for the Americans. They equipped the 95th and three other American fighter squadrons.

    In June 1918 Roosevelt joined the 95th. Roosevelt was a good pilot but gained a reputation for being a risk-taker. With four weeks of training, Quentin Roosevelt got into the fight in July 1918.

    On July 5, 1918 he was in combat twice.

    On his first mission, the engine of Roosevelt’s Nieuport malfunctioned. A German fighter shot at him but missed. Later that day he took up another plane and the machine guns jammed.

    On July 9 he shot down a German plane and may have got another.

    On July 14 — Bastille Day the other American pilots were ordered into the air as part of the American effort to stop the German advance in what became known as the Second Battle of the Marne. The German Army was attacking toward Paris. The American Army was in their way.

    Taiwan is ready to push back against China’s aggression

    New York National Guard Chaplain (Cpt.) Father Francis P. Duffy, the chaplain of New York’s famed “Fighting 69th” reads a service as a cross is placed on the grave of Lt. Quentin Roosevelt in August 1918.

    In World War I the main enemy air threat was observation planes that found targets for artillery. The job for Roosevelt and the other American pilots was to escort observation planes over German lines.

    The Americans accomplished their mission and were heading home when they were jumped by at least seven German plans. The weather was cloudy, so Lt. Edward Buford, the flight leader, decided to break off and retreat.

    But instead he saw one American plane engaging three German aircraft.

    “I shook the two I was maneuvering with, and tried to get over to him but before I could reach him his machine turned over on its back and plunged down and out of control,” Buford said.

    “At the time of the fight I did not know who the pilot was I’d seen go down. ” Buford remembered, “But as Quentin did not come back, it must have been him.”

    Taiwan is ready to push back against China’s aggression

    Quentin Roosevelt’s grave outside Chamrey, France after the French erected a more permanent grave marking.

    “His loss was one of the severest blows we have ever had in the squadron. He certainly died fighting,” Buford wrote.

    Three German pilots took credit for downing Roosevelt. Most historians give credit to Sgt. Carl-Emil Graper. Roosevelt, Graper wrote later, fought courageously.

    The Germans were shocked to find out they had killed the son of an American president.

    On July 15 they buried Quentin Roosevelt with military honors where his plane crashed outside the village of Chamery. A thousand German soldiers paid their respects, according to an American prisoner of war who watched.

    On the cross they erected, the German soldiers wrote: “Lieutenant Roosevelt, buried by the Germans.”

    When the German’s retreated, and the Allies retook Chamery, Quentin Roosevelt’s grave became a tourist attraction. Soldiers visited his grave, had their photograph taken there, and took pieces of his Nieuport as souvenirs.

    The commander of New York’s 69th Infantry, Col. Frank McCoy, had served as President Roosevelt’s military aid and had known Quentin when he was a boy. At McCoy’s direction, the regiment’s chaplain Father (Capt.) Francis Duffy had a cross made and put it in place at the grave.

    Taiwan is ready to push back against China’s aggression

    American Soldiers stand at the grave of Lt. Quentin Roosevelt in 1918.

    “The plot had already been ornamented with a rustic fence by the soldiers of the 32nd Division. We erected our own little monument without molesting the one that had been left by the Germans,” he wrote in his memoirs.

    “It is fitting that enemy and friend alike should pay tribute to his heroism,” Duffy added.

    An Army Signal Corps photographer and movie cameraman recorded the event.

    After the war, the temporary grave stone was replaced with a permanent one and Edith Roosevelt gave a fountain to the village of Chamery in memory of her son.

    Quentin Roosevelt’s body remained where he fell until 1955. Then, at the request of the Roosevelt family, Quentin’s remains were exhumed.

    He was laid to rest next to another son of Teddy Roosevelt; Theodore Roosevelt Jr. Ted, as he was called, was a brigadier general in the Army who led the men of the 4th Infantry Division ashore on Utah Beach on D-Day before dying of a heart attack on July 12, 1944.

    Both men are buried in the Omaha Beach American Cemetery.

    Quentin’s death shocked the apparently unstoppable Theodore Roosevelt, Sr. who grieved deeply, according to his biographers.

    Teddy Roosevelt had fought childhood asthma, coped with the deaths of his first wife and mother on the same day, started down rustlers as a rancher in the Dakotas, faced enemy fire in the Spanish American War, survived a shooting attempt in 1912 and survived tropical illness and exhaustion during a 1914 expedition in the Amazon.

    But six months after Quentin’s death, Theodore Roosevelt died of a heart attack in his sleep.

    During the World War I centennial observance the Division of Military and Naval Affairs will be issue press releases noting key dates which impacted New Yorkers based on information provided by the New York State Military Museum in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. More than 400,000 New Yorkers served in the military during World War I, more than any other state.

    This article originally appeared on the United States Army. Follow @usarmy on Twitter.

    Articles

    Lost Purple Hearts returned to families of dead soldiers

    The families of seven dead US servicemen gathered August 7 to receive lost Purple Heart medals their loved ones had earned in four wars.


    An eighth veteran was present for the ceremony at the historic Federal Hall on Wall Street on August 7, which was National Purple Heart Day.

    The group Purple Hearts Reunited, based in Georgia, Vermont, has made it its mission to track down misplaced medals. Founder Zachariah Fike said as many as five are found each week across the country.

    Seven of those medals returned August 7 went to men who served in World War I, World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. The eighth was presented to Army Specialist Daniel Swift, a firefighter injured by a roadside bomb in 2004 in Iraq as a member of the National Guard. In his honor, the ceremony opened to the sound of the Fire Department of New York’s bagpipe band.

    Taiwan is ready to push back against China’s aggression

    Rebecca Crofts, 72, was 10 when her dad, WWII Staff Sgt. Bernard Eldon Snow, of Santa Barbara, California, misplaced his medal.

    “‘Little Becky, have you seen my medal?'” Crofts, of Superior, Wisconsin, quoted him as saying. “I began hunting for it and never found it.”

    Snow’s medal was eventually recovered in a California jewelry shop and returned to the Purple Heart Foundation.

    A tearful Crofts was handed a folded American flag honoring her father.

    Taiwan is ready to push back against China’s aggression
    US Air National Guard Photo by Master Sgt. Vincent De Groot 185th ARW Wing PA

    The Purple Hearts were presented framed, next to each recipient’s military rank.

    Besides Snow and Swift, the Purple Hearts went to: Army Pvt. Frank Lyman Dunnell Jr., of Buffalo; Staff Sgt. George Wesley Roles, of Edna, Kansas; 1st Lt. Brian Woolley Flavelle, of North Caldwell, New Jersey; Pvt. Dan Lawrence Feragen, of Carlyle, Montana; Pvt. 1st Class Jack Carl Kightlinger, of Franklin, Pennsylvania; and Pvt. 1st Class Andrew Thomas Calhoun, of Great Bridge, Virginia.

    The first Purple Heart was created by George Washington when he commanded the army serving the colonies that became the United States. Washington was sworn in as the first US president at Federal Hall, then the nation’s capital building.

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