Friday, August 26, 2016

France, India Play Down Security Risk of Leaked Submarine Data

Cyril Altmeyer and Douglas Busvine, Reuters
25 August 2016

France and India on Thursday played down the security risk posed by leaked data on French-designed submarines that a source told Reuters was probably stolen by a French former employee and that has raised concerns over a $38 billion contract with Australia. 
More than 22,000 pages of data about six submarines that France's DCNS is building for India's navy looked to have been stolen in 2011 by a subcontractor who was fired while providing training in India, the source said.
India's defense ministry said on Thursday that it saw no immediate security risk and the French government said the information in the documents only showed how the submarines operate and did not compromise their security.
India and France are investigating after The Australian newspaper published on Wednesday details about its Scorpene submarines being built in India by contractor DCNS - 35 percent owned by Thales (TCFP.PA) and 65 percent by the French state.
"It is not a leak, it is theft," the source said. "We have not found any DCNS negligence, but we have identified some dishonesty by an individual." 
The French government source said security procedures would be strengthened for all employees going to work in Australia to ensure one person did not have access to so many documents. 
The documents were not classified and at this stage appeared to only focus on how the submarines are operated not how they are built and whether they can be detected, the source said.
"The Indians can object to the fact that these documents show the Pakistanis how to maintain their submarines and that's annoying, but it doesn't tell the Pakistanis how to detect an Indian ship, or how we build a submarine in France. Not at all," the source said. 
The newspaper published only a fraction of the documents, and these had been redacted, meaning that sensitive details relating to the Scorpene's design and stealth capabilities did not enter the public domain.
"The documents that have been posted ... have been examined and do not pose any security compromise as the vital parameters have been blacked out," an Indian defense ministry statement said.
The submarines are being built at a state-run shipyard in Mumbai. The first is expected to enter service by the end of the year as India seeks to rebuild its dwindling fleet and assert its dominance in the strategic waters of the Indian Ocean.
The leak has raised doubts about the security of a separate DCNS submarine project in Australia where it is locked in exclusive negotiations after seeing off rivals on a contract to build the Barracuda next generation of submarines.
DCNS said it was working to determine if any harm had been caused to clients and whether commercial espionage was to blame.
DCNS is also pitching for submarine contracts in Norway and Poland and beat Germany's ThyssenKrupp AG (TKAG.DE) and a Japanese-government backed bid by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (7011.T) and Kawasaki Heavy Industries (7012.T) in Australia.
French officials have sought to play down the impact on the Australia contract.
"The dialogue with Australia has not been cut at all. There is mutual confidence and I don't believe at all that this contract will be put into question," Patricia Adam, the head of France's parliamentary defense committee.


Pyongyang Faces More-Punitive Sanctions

Submarine missile launch prompts move to tighten restrictions on North Korea

Alastair Gale, Wall Street Journal
26 August 2016

SEOUL—The top U.S. and South Korean officials for North Korea policy agreed to consider new punitive action against Pyongyang for its latest missile launch. 
Pyongyang on Thursday lauded its first successful launch of a missile from a submarine, a breakthrough that shows it is making progress in developing a harder-to-track threat to U.S. bases and allies in Asia. North Korean leader  Kim Jong Un was shown on state television directing the launch and hugging officials in delight afterward. 
Mr. Kim said the missile program showed how North Korea had demonstrated its strength “after breaking the chains of sanctions,” according to a state media report.
Following North Korea’s fifth nuclear test and a long-range rocket launch this year, both violations of United Nations’ resolutions, the U.N. Security Council imposed tougher new sanctions on Pyongyang in March. The U.S. and other nations added bilateral penalties on North Korea.
U.S. and South Korean officials say it is too soon to tell whether the new sanctions, which primarily seek to cut off North Korea’s sources of foreign currency for its nuclear-missile program, are having an effect. But following North Korea’s latest message of defiance, U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Policy Sung Kim and his South Korean counterpart  Kim Hong-kyun spoke by telephone to discuss a further response.
The officials agreed to cooperate at the U.N. and review other countermeasures, according to a statement from South Korea’s foreign ministry. A U.S. State Department spokeswoman said the U.S. and its allies continue to look for ways to use their respective domestic sanctions to maintain pressure on North Korea. 
It is unclear if Pyongyang will face additional sanctions, but a study expected to be released soon argues that the advance of North Korea’s nuclear-missile program despite years of sanctions shows that the existing approach is ineffective.  John Park of Harvard and  Jim Walsh of Massachusetts Institute of Technology say that North Korea has grown resistant to sanctions by building up its business operations inside China, Pyongyang’s sole major economic and political ally.
Through interviews with a dozen former managers of North Korean state trading companies, the scholars found that over the past decade North Korea has embedded its businesses in China, hired more Chinese middlemen and become part of the local business environment. In doing so, the businesses, which handle both illicit trade in items like missile parts and legal trade, have become harder to target through sanctions that blacklist specific companies or individuals.
The scholars argue that North Korea has learned over years of being targeted by sanctions how to strengthen its external trade and financial connections. “We’re now seeing some of the fruits of this creative labor,” said Mr. Park, referring to North Korea’s acceleration of its nuclear-missile program this year.
Some sanctions advocates argue that the latest round of penalties on North Korea are significantly stronger than those in the past and will eventually prove to be more effective. The U.S. administration has also created the option of blacklisting Chinese companies that do business with sanctioned North Korean entities, an approach that some favor to confront Beijing over its trade links with Pyongyang.
But Mr. Park and Mr. Walsh argue that the U.S. should seek to work more closely with Beijing to counter illicit North Korean businesses inside China. They say the U.S. could offer assistance to extend China’s existing domestic anticorruption campaign to North Korean entities. Further cooperation could be offered in helping with maritime law enforcement, they say.
China’s foreign and public security ministries didn’t respond to a question about Beijing’s efforts to prevent illicit North Korean trade. But a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman earlier this week said China had an “unimpeachable record” on meeting its international obligations to tackle North Korea’s nuclear-missile program.
The U.S. State Department spokeswoman said the U.S. and China closely coordinate on sanctions against North Korea and held discussions in June about the full implementation of the latest U.N. sanctions on Pyongyang. A call to North Korea’s embassy in Beijing went unanswered late Thursday.
Coordination between the U.S. and China over North Korea has been complicated by Beijing’s strong objections to a decision by Washington and Seoul to deploy an advanced missile-defense system in South Korea. After a missile launch by North Korea earlier this month that landed in Japanese-controlled waters, the U.N. Security Council failed to reach agreement on a statement of condemnation following China’s call for language opposing the missile-defense system to be included, according to diplomats at the U.N.

Lockheed Gets $126M Modification on Navy Submarine Imaging Tech Support Contract

Jane Edwards, GovConWire.com
26 August 2016

Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) has received a potential one-year, $126.3 million contract modification to provide engineering and system support services for the U.S. Navy’s Integrated Submarine Imaging Systems program.
The cost-plus-incentive-fee modification exercises an option on a previously awarded contract and covers development, design, field and reverse engineering and technology insertion support services for the ISIS program, the Defense Department said Thursday.
The ISIS initiative works to provide digital image management, electronic and visual search, indication, architecture interface and warning support functionalities for the service branch’s submarines, such as SSN 774 Virginia-class and SSN 688 Los Angeles-class submarines.
Lockheed will perform work in Virginia, Massachusetts and Rhode Island through September 2017.
The Naval Sea Systems Command will obligate $7.9 million from the military branch’s fiscal 2011 through 2016 contract funds at the time of award, according to DoD.

Submarine Force Opens New Trainer in Guam

Lt. Lauren Spaziano, dvidshub.net
26 August 2016

SANTA RITA, Guam – Naval Submarine Training Center Pacific (NSTCP) detachment (det) Guam held a ribbon cutting ceremony for the brand new Mobile Trainer (MT) 1000 submarine firefighting trainer on Polaris Point, Guam, Aug. 26.
 The MT-1000 is the hottest firefighting trainer in the U.S. Navy and can run until temperatures reach 700 degrees Fahrenheit at five feet above the deck. It is designed to train service members in both basic firefighting and responsive team training to improve the casualty response of forward deployed units in the Western Pacific.
“The addition of the MT-1000 reinforces the Navy’s commitment to ensure our submarine force is trained to the highest degree of readiness and that our crews are ready to handle emergency situations underway,” said Lt. Cmdr. Jarrod Trant, NSTCP det Guam Officer in Charge. “The MT-1000 is the newest, hottest firefighter trainer in the U.S. Navy, putting our front line submariners through rigorous firefighting scenarios, which provides invaluable training.”
One of the MT-1000’s two fireplaces simulates a switchboard electrical fire, and the other is a bilge fire with a flashover capability that shoots propane across the ceiling, which rapidly raises the temperature inside. Training is routinely conducted around 200-300 degrees Fahrenheit, which can be reached within a couple of minutes at full burn. The MT-1000 can train two hose teams of four Sailors each simultaneously and is closely monitored by staff to ensure safety and compliance with proper firefighting techniques.
“This top-of-the-line trainer will benefit the submarine force and the fleet by developing team skills with real-life firefighting scenarios in a controlled environment,” said Trant. “We want to ensure the teams have the tools they need to be successful should similar situations arise underway.”
The MT-1000 is specially designed to improve firefighting capabilities aboard submarines with a side watertight door and topside hatch over a vertical ladder to simulate firefighting conditions and accesses on submarines. The trainer also has moveable metal panels to simulate different scenarios and increase the difficulty. 
Capt. Michael Martin, NSTCP Commanding Officer, was present for the ceremony and is excited about the new systems coming online.
“The MT-1000 is another addition in a series of new training capabilities coming to Guam,” said Martin. “Over the last three years, NSTCP det Guam has expanded from a small office of four instructors to a staff of 20 by the end of the year, running a state of the art Attack Center, Submarine Bridge and integrated navigation trainer, Ship Control Operator Trainer (SCOT) and the new MT-1000 along with an advanced engineering Virtual Interactive Display Equipment (VIDE) trainer coming online in November.”
The new facility was built by Kidde Fire Trainers, Inc. and shipped from Groton, Connecticut, to Guam in July. The MT-1000 has been undergoing acceptance testing throughout August and will be ready to train submariners in September.
“The submarine force and Submarine Learning Center (SLC) have provided considerable resources to buy, build and man this schoolhouse,” said Martin. “Guam continues to provide excellent state of the art training to the forward deployed submarines equal to any submarine homeport.”
NSTCP det Guam is located at Polaris Point in Apra Harbor, Guam and shares a building with Commander, Submarine Squadron 15. Together, they are responsible for providing training, material and personnel readiness support of four Los Angeles-class attack submarines stationed in Guam and submarines deployed throughout the Pacific Ocean. The submarines and submarine tenders USS Frank Cable (AS 40) and USS Emory S. Land (AS 39) are maintained as part of the U.S. Navy's forward-deployed submarine force and are readily capable of meeting global operational requirements.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Submarine Data Leak Could be Setback for Indian Navy

Anjana Pasricha, VOA News
25 August 2016

NEW DELHI —  A massive leak of secret data relating to the combat capabilities of submarines being built for the Indian navy by a French shipbuilder could delay their induction as India investigates the huge security breach. 
More than 22,000 pages of information relating to Scorpene submarines were made public by The Australian newspaper.
India is not the only one affected by the confidentiality breach. The Scorpene, made by French firm, DCNS, is currently being used by Malaysia and Chile, and Brazil is also due to deploy the sub in 2018.
Defense Minister, Manohar Parrikar, said the leak did not originate from India and suggested that it could be the result of a hack.
The leaks have led to fears that the documents could be an intelligence gold mine for India’s rivals, China and Pakistan.
But Parrikar told the Indian media that “We have to first gauge the quantum of the leak and find out links to India.”
New Delhi signed the $3.5 billion deal for the submarines in 2005.
The first of the six submarines, which are being built at a dockyard in Mumbai, was scheduled to go into service by the end of the year, giving a much-needed boost to India’s depleted underwater capability.
But Abhijit Singh, head of maritime policy initiative at New Delhi’s Observer Research Foundation, points out that this could be pushed back as the navy will have to very carefully assess the leaked information to see how big a security concern it poses.
He said that a lot of information that has been revealed is sensitive. “For instance, the information on stealth, the frequencies, the noise that the propeller makes, depths to which the submarines can operate and all of that,
which is really crucial data, which should not have been revealed.” he said.
However he and other naval analysts believe that while the leaks are damaging, it did not mean the huge defense project would have to be shelved.
Uday Bhaskar, a defense analyst and director of the Society for Policy Studies in New Delhi, said the jury is still out on how critical is the data that has been revealed. “It appears that the documents pertain to earlier generation of the Scorpene,” said Bhaskar.
Indian officials also downplayed concerns about the leak, saying several specifications had been altered since then.
The Australian newspaper described them as an “Edward Snowden-sized leak," referring to the classified papers the former government contractor disclosed from the U.S. National Security Agency.
The six submarines are crucial for the Indian navy.
“The Indian navy is in a very dire need of replenishment as far as its submarine fleet is concerned. The numbers are shrinking and the Indian navy has not been able to induct a fresh submarine for almost 15 years,” Bhaskar said.
A spokeswoman for the French firm DCNS described the leak as "a serious matter" and said French authorities would formally investigate.
The company is also building advanced submarines for Australia, but details of those were not part of the leak.

3 Nations Unite Against North Korean Missile Test

Motoko Rich, New York Times
25 August 2016

TOKYO – The missile that North Korea test-fired from a submarine off its east coast on Wednesday momentarily brought together three nations that have recently had reasons to squabble.
At a previously scheduled meeting in Tokyo, the foreign ministers of the three nations – China, Japan and South Korea – criticized the missile test, which appeared to demonstrate a significant advance in North Korea’s efforts to build a harder-to-detect means to strike American and allied forces. The missile flew 310 miles toward Japan, much farther than previous tests.
Tensions between the three countries have risen in recent months: Chinese vessels have repeatedly entered disputed waters surrounding a group of Japanese-controlled islands in the East China Sea, setting off protests from Japan. Tokyo opposed a visit this month by South Korean lawmakers to islands both nations claims. And China has harshly criticized South Korea’s agreement to host an American-built advanced missile defense system that the Chinese believe could be used against their missiles.
But North Korea’s missile launch briefly united the three other nations on Wednesday.
“If there was a silver lining, it would be the fact that it provided the three an opportunity to have something in common, which is rare,” said J. Berkshire Miller, an international affairs fellow with the Council on Foreign Relations.
If the North Korean threat is to be truly defused, experts say, the three East Asian neighbors will need more common ground.
“We all know that on days when North Korea doesn’t test missiles, tensions may be above the surface,” said Scott A. Snyder, senior fellow for Korea studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. “But longer term, if you’re looking for conditions that would suggest real stability in the region, that is the sort of cooperation that would be needed.”
The latest missile test came two days after the United States and South Korea kicked off their annual joint military exercises. North Korea condemns all such drills as rehearsals for an invasion, and it has often responded with warlike words, or with missile tests.
At a news conference in Tokyo on Wednesday, Japan’s foreign minister, Fumio Kishida, said North Korea’s action “is simply not tolerated.” His South Korean counterpart, Yun Byung-se, said the three countries “confirmed our common view that we must deter North Korea’s further provocative actions.”
Wang Yi, the Chinese foreign minister, said, “China opposes the development of North Korea’s nuclear program, and any words or deeds that create tensions in the peninsula.” He also reiterated China’s opposition to American efforts to build the missile defense system in South Korea.
Chinese commentators argued that the United States was partly to blame for the North’s aggressive behavior. An opinion article published on Wednesday by the Chinese state-run news agency Xinhua, denounced the United States and its allies for “risking turning the region into a powder keg.”
“Muscle-flexing leads to nowhere but a more anxious, more agitating and thus more unpredictable Pyongyang,” the commentary said.
Still, on social media in China, many posts placed the blame squarely on Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader, describing him as an erratic and untrustworthy leader and urging the government to do more to rein him in.
President Park Geun-hye of South Korea also denounced the North Korean leader in remarks during a visit to a front-line military unit on Wednesday.

“Given the fact that North Korea has an irrational decision-making system under a one-man dictatorship,” Ms. Park said, “and that Kim Jong-un is an unpredictable character, there is a high possibility that this threat could become a reality.”
The latest North Korean provocation comes at a time when Japan, under the leadership of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, is debating its military future after roughly 70 years of pacifism mandated by a postwar Constitution that was largely written by American occupiers.
Already last year, Mr. Abe pushed through a series of security laws that permit Japan’s self-defense forces to participate in overseas combat.
On Wednesday, as Mr. Abe denounced the North Korean missile launch as an “an unforgivable act of violence,” his newly appointed defense minister, Tomomi Inada, said Japanese forces would begin training for overseas missions, including rescuing captured troops from peacekeeping missions.
Setsu Kobayashi, a law professor emeritus at Keio University and the leader of a group that opposes the security bills passed last year, called the new training drills a “historic turning point” and a violation of the country’s Constitution.
“Now people outside of Japan will question if Japan can become a country that can wage war,” Mr. Kobayashi said.
But other analysts said that the Japanese, who mostly opposed the security laws passed after a parliamentary struggle last year, might start to accept the incremental escalation of military activity that Mr. Abe is pushing.
“The more that there are dangers in the neighborhood – a rising China, a threatening North Korea – that puts wind in Abe’s sails,” said Jeff Kingston, the director of Asian Studies at Temple University in Tokyo.
Ultimately, Mr. Abe wants to revise the pacifist clause in the Constitution. But the public – as well as members of Parliament, including some in Mr. Abe’s governing coalition – would most likely oppose him.
“Even with this more threatening environment, it’s not going to be easy at all,” Mr. Kingston said. “There is a deeply embedded attachment to the peace Constitution as part of Japanese national identity.”
Mr. Abe, Mr. Kingston added, “understands that he has a deep hole to climb out of to try to convince the public that that is necessary.”
Public reaction in Japan to the North Korean missile test was relatively subdued, although several politicians strongly protested it..
Hideaki Omura, the governor of Aichi Prefecture in central Japan, which includes the city of Nagoya, said on Twitter that the missile launch was a “grave provocation.” Renho Murata, a member of the upper house of Parliament and a candidate to lead the opposition Democratic Party, said she “firmly protested” North Korea’s action.
The significance of North Korea’s missile launch may take some time to sink in, as the Japanese have become somewhat accustomed to the missile tests.
“For Japanese people, the picture of the Chinese vessels surrounding the Senkakus is more shocking,” said Tsuneo Watanabe, a senior fellow at the Tokyo Foundation, a research group, referring to the Chinese incursions around the disputed islands in the East China Sea.
The North Korean missile launches, Mr. Watanabe said, sometimes “look like animation.”
Makiko Inoue and Hisako Ueno contributed reporting from Tokyo; Choe Sang-Hun from Seoul, South Korea; and Javier Hernandez from Beijing.

North Korea's Kim Declares Sub Missile Launch 'Greatest Success'

Jack Kim, Reuters
25 August 2016

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un supervised the test-firing of a submarine-launched ballistic missile and declared it "the greatest success," which puts the country in the "front rank" of nuclear military powers, official media reported on Thursday.
North Korea fired a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) on Wednesday which flew about 500 km (300 miles) towards Japan. The South Korean government and experts said the launch showed technical progress in the North's SLBM program. 
"A test-fire of strategic submarine-launched ballistic missile was successfully conducted under the guidance of supreme commander of the Korean People's Army Kim Jong Un," the North's official KCNA news agency said.
"He appreciated the test-fire as the greatest success and victory," KCNA said. 
"He noted with pride that the results of the test-fire proved in actuality that the DPRK joined the front rank of the military powers fully equipped with nuclear attack capability."
DPRK, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, is North Korea's formal name.
North Korea has conducted a spate of military technology tests this year, including a fourth nuclear test in January and numerous ballistic missile launches, in defiance of U.N. Security Council sanctions that were tightened in March. 
North Korea said this year it had miniaturized a nuclear warhead to fit on a ballistic missile but outside experts have said there is yet no firm evidence to back up that claim or show it had mastered the technology to bring a live warhead back into the atmosphere and guide it to strike a target.
North Korean state television on Thursday showed video clips of the launch of a missile from underwater at dawn, and still photographs of Kim on the dock at a port as a large crane unloaded an object onto a submarine.
 Kim is also seen jubilantly celebrating with military aides in photographs carried by the official Rodong Sinmun newspaper. 

Reached Japan Defence Zone

The Washington-based 38 North project said in a report that the missile was launched from the North's sole experimental missile submarine and a satellite photograph taken on Monday showed final preparations, likely after the missile had already been loaded onto the submarine using a heavy construction crane.
The test showed the solid-fuel missile's control and guidance system as well as the atmospheric re-entry of the warhead all met operational requirements, KCNA said.
The South Korean and U.S. militaries said the missile was fired from near the coastal city of Sinpo, where a submarine base is located. Japan said the missile reached its air defense identification zone, the first time by a North Korean missile.
The UN Security Council met behind closed doors on Wednesday at the request of the United States and Japan to discuss the launch. Deputy Russian U.N. Ambassador Petr Iliichev said the United States would circulate a draft press statement.
The meeting comes after the Security Council was unable to condemn a missile launch by the North earlier this month that landed near Japan because China wanted the statement to also oppose the planned deployment of a U.S. missile defense system in South Korea.
China said on Wednesday that it opposes the North's nuclear and missile programs. It had been angered by what it views as provocative moves by the United States and South Korea on the decision to deploy the THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defence) anti-missile system in South Korea.