May 21 marked the understated birthday celebration of Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, already the longest serving in the post since the dissolution of the Soviet Union. But the occasion also unexpectedly provided a public forum for a discussion of the current direction of the Armed Forces.Following his appointment in November 2012, Shoigu has mirrored the overall aim of the commander-in-chief, President Vladimir Putin, to provide stability to the Russian military and enhance its status, while simultaneously building up hard-power capabilities through the constant attention to modernization. Much of the progress made during Shoigu’s term of office reflects decisions and ideas dating back to his predecessor; though the current defense minister’s survivability clearly reflects his close friendship with Putin (see EDM, February 5). One recent commentary in Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye, published in conjunction with Shoigu’s birthday, specifically highlights his achievements (Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye, May 22).While the defense minister’s birthday was officially downplayed, the public discussion on the image of the Armed Forces was encapsulated in the phrase mobilnaya, sovremennaya, effektivnaya (mobile, modern, efficient). The main accomplishment shepherded by Shoigu is the near-attainment of 70 percent new or modern weapons and equipment in the Armed Forces by the end of this year; the current official figure is 68.2 percent, and the defense ministry expresses confidence that the target is genuinely within reach. Many promised procurement systems are absent, including the much-publicized T-14 Armata tank (see EDM, May 6) and the Su-57 fifth-generation stealth fighter (see EDM, May 20), and there are numerous delays to submarine building, among many other platforms. Nevertheless, the real achievement since Shoigu’s appointment is the extent to which the military has successfully digitized the force structure with the procurement of modern radars, communications equipment, electronic warfare systems, robotics, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), and high-precision strike assets (Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye, May 22; see EDM, February 26, March 4, 13, April 29).In this context, Shoigu believes that the Russian military needs to “develop and implement new, more effective ways of using troops in combat-training programs,” as well as to “continue to work to increase social security and maintain a decent standard of living for military personnel.” Prior to the COVID-19 coronavirus global pandemic, which has since been impacting Russia and its military, Shoigu stated that the main efforts in combat training this year would focus on conducting joint activities of the Ground Forces, Aerospace Forces, Military-Maritime Fleet (navy) and Airborne Forces in various regions, including in the Arctic. The emphasis was on improving training units staffed by contract soldiers (kontraktniki), teaching them how to counter cruise missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles, as well as tactical air, sea landing, reconnaissance and sabotage groups; protect against precision weapons; handle electronic warfare equipment; and organize joint training for UAV units and the crews of operational-tactical and army aviation. The overall message was on force integration. Yet, Shoigu and the defense ministry are now largely silent on how much of this can be done during the ongoing pandemic, raising the question as to whether 2020 will be a lost year for the Russian military (Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye, May 22).In terms of the practical results achieved under Shoigu’s tenure at the head of the defense ministry, the commentary highlights the bloodless seizure of Crimea in 2014 and entry into the conflict in Syria the following year; it additionally asserts that the military helped stem the spread of COVID-19 in Russia, despite the ongoing crisis within the country, and that the Armed Forces aided Italy and Serbia during the pandemic (Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye, May 22). However, the figures for the spread of the virus within the Armed Forces are less than reliable, while efforts to keep up the business-as-usual appearance by staging smaller tactical-level training exercises offer no insight into how these are being safely carried out in line with the health restrictions to contain the spread of COVID-19 (see EDM, April 15).While President Putin supports the message of his defense minister, even recently wrongly claiming that Russia is now a global leader in combat aviation, there are critical unanswered questions about the modernization of the submarine fleet. In a detailed analysis of the challenges facing the modernization of the Russian sub-surface fleet, retired 1st rank Captain (submariner) Vadim Kulinchenko highlights historical errors in maritime policy. Writing for Voyenno Promyshlennyy Kuryer, Kulinchenko notes, “In accordance with our defense doctrine, we need to maintain dominance in the near-sea zone—the Barents, Kara, Okhotsk, Japanese and Bering seas. First of all, it is extremely necessary to ensure the combat stability of the SSBN [nuclear ballistic missile submarine]. In simple terms, you need to save them from destruction. Black Sea and Baltic theaters without submarine forces are unthinkable. As the People’s Commissar of the USSR Nikolai Kuznetsov said, answering [Joseph] Stalin’s question whether we needed submarines in the Black Sea: “If we have 15–20 submarines in the Black Sea, we will gain dominance at sea!” (Voyenno Promyshlennyy Kuryer, May 26).Kulinchenko suggests the focus of the defense ministry’s effort to modernize the submarine fleet should cover strategic nuclear submarines, nuclear- and diesel-powered models, as well as the ultra-small versions for protecting underwater pipelines, drilling platforms and other offshore facilities. Kulinchenko concludes, “To this end, it is advisable to separately review the development program of the Russian navy in order to strengthen underwater shipbuilding in light of the new military doctrine [as well as] to develop measures to prevent the reduction of the combat potential of the Russian submarine fleet. Unfortunately, the existing shipbuilding program does not reflect the needs of submarine forces.” If his assessment is correct, the existing Russian submarine modernization is progressing in the wrong direction (Voyenno Promyshlennyy Kuryer, May 26).One area where Russian submarine development is offsetting other deficiencies is the effort to develop and introduce the Poseidon unmanned underwater vehicle, to be carried by nuclear-powered submarines as part of an “ocean multipurpose system.” The Poseidon was mentioned in Putin’s address to the Federal Assembly on March 1, 2018; it will carry both conventional and nuclear warheads, capable of destroying enemy infrastructure, aircraft carrier groups and other targets. The unmanned vehicle will reportedly have an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) range and an operational depth of up to one kilometer; its nuclear warhead will yield up to two megatons. The first test launch of the Poseidon is scheduled for September, from the Belgorod nuclear submarine (Rossyiskaya Gazeta, May 26; Lenta.ru, May 16). Such efforts lie at the heart of Shoigu’s vision for Russian military development.
Continental Tire the Americas LLC (CTA) has named Joerg Burfien as the new president of Hoosier Racing Tire Corp., as of Jan. 1. Burfien succeeds John DeSalle, who announced his retirement from the business in November after nearly 31 years with the company.AdvertisementClick Here to Read MoreAdvertisement “I am very much looking forward to joining the Hoosier team and being part of one of the largest racing tire organizations in the world,” said Joerg Burfien, president of Hoosier. “I’ve had the privilege of working with Hoosier in 2009, and then again during my role as the key account executive for Continental’s car dealer business in Europe. Having a history with Hoosier and clear understanding of what drives the organization is a great starting point for taking on this new role. The Hoosier team has a great spirit and I look forward to working together during this exciting time in our industry as technology continues to take the art of racing tire development to another level.” Joerg Burfien, president of Hoosier Racing Tire Corporation Burfien holds a master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering and began his career with Continental in 1998 when he joined the company’s International Trainee Program. In his first role with Continental, Burfien worked as a development engineer and technical project manager in Hannover, Germany. Since then, Burfien has held several positions across the organization, including two prior assignments in the U.S.; one as the head of platform development tires in 2002, and then later he led the research and development organization for Continental Tire the Americas from 2006 to 2010. Most recently, Burfien has served as the head of global Standards and Regulations for Continental’s Tire Division worldwide. “Not only does Joerg bring the technical expertise and leadership qualities required to lead Hoosier into their next chapter, but he also has a good understanding of the tire market from the variety of positions he’s held over the years,” said Dr. Jochen Etzel, CEO of Continental Tire the Americas LLC and Hoosier Racing Tire Corp. “Whether working in product development, R&D, or as a key account manager directly with our customers, Joerg’s industry knowledge, and passion for technology and racing presents the perfect combination to lead a technical-driven organization such as Hoosier.”Advertisement Burfien’s passion for racing started at a young age and followed him on his assignments to the U.S., where he participated in amateur level racing across the country, tasting success with victories in a 24-hour circuit race series in 2013. Based in Lakeville, Indiana, Hoosier supplies tires for racing applications throughout the world, with an emphasis on high performance and quality. The company was acquired by the international technology company and manufacturer of premium tires, Continental in 2016.
iStock/Thinkstock(PARKLAND, Fla.) — A Florida police officer was overcome with emotion as he described responding to last week’s mass shooting at a high school, where his wife and son were on lockdown inside.“It was surreal,” Coral Springs police Sgt. Jeff Heinrich said at a news conference this morning, telling his story through tears.Heinrich was off duty on Valentine’s Day but happened to be watering the baseball field at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where his wife is an assistant athletic director and his son is a student, when the shooting happened.Heinrich said he heard the fire alarm go off and then gunshots, but at first he thought it was fireworks. He noticed students walking to the parking lot were relaxed as if was a usual fire drill.Then, the children started to run and scream and he heard a round of five or six shots, Heinrich said.Heinrich said he ran toward the parking lot where the students were and found a student named Kyle who had a gunshot wound to his ankle. Heinrich grabbed Kyle and took him to the baseball area, where he said he used a first-aid kit at the clubhouse to treat him.Kyle, while seriously injured, managed to give Heinrich a great description of what was going on and what the shooter was wearing, which Heinrich then relayed to the dispatcher, he said.Kyle survived and remains in the hospital, Heinrich said.Heinrich, emotional and holding back tears told reporters, “I called my wife. Luckily I was able to get ahold of her. By the grace of God my wife and my son who are on opposite ends of the school … they both heard the fire alarm and decided to evacuate.”His wife and son found each other and were able to shelter in place together with other teachers and students, Heinrich said, crying.Heinrich said he continued to work the rest of the day and didn’t reunite with his family until 10 p.m.Officer Chris Crawford, a former Marine, was also among the officers sharing their stories.Crawford said he rescued a 14-year-old boy who had been shot several times. He was trying to get the teen to where the fire department was, but the boy told him he couldn’t breathe or walk, he said. When Crawford put him down, he said he found injuries to his back, shoulder, thigh and arm.“It’s awful,” Crawford said. “It’s as bad as you can imagine — times 10.”Crawford also said when he knocked on one class door and identified himself, the students pushed desks up against the door and refused to let him in. Crawford said the students made him pass his ID to them and read off his ID number to provide his identity.Crawford said his wife is a detective and he’s a father of a 2-year-old.“I don’t want to send him to school,” Crawford said.Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.Powered by WPeMatico Related
“Leisure tourism to Philadelphia is a big part of our tourism economy, and first-time visitors want to see our iconic historic sites,” Guaracino said. “We felt that it was important during this very busy holiday week to make our historic sites available to our visitors and residents.” (Photo by D. Cruz for Visit Philadelphia)The week between Christmas and New Year’s Day is a very busy time of year for INHP, and city and tourism officials said they feel it’s important to keep these sites open. An estimated 25,000 visitors typically visit the Bell and the Hall during this long weekend, and the Independence Visitor Center expects to see between 70,000 and 100,000 visitors between Christmas and New Year’s Day in the Historic District.Tourism generates $31.5 million per day in economic impact to Philadelphia.The following historic sites and attractions on or around Independence Mall are not affected by the government shutdown and remain open:Independence Visitor CenterNational Constitution CenterNational Museum of American Jewish HistoryAfrican American Museum in PhiladelphiaMuseum of the American RevolutionNational Liberty MuseumBetsy Ross HouseFranklin SquareChrist Church and Burial GroundsBlue Cross RiverRink WinterfestIndependence Seaport MuseumValley Forge National Historical Park has also reopened through December 31, with the Valley Forge Tourism & Convention Board funding the reopening of the visitor center (9 a.m.-5 p.m.), and the Encampment Store’s operators funding its opening. Park gates are opening and closing according to their regular schedule to give visitors access to park grounds, roads and trails.Follow #OpeninPHL on Twitter for news from the attractions. Go to visitphilly.com for additional visitor information. Visit Philadelphia Inc. has signed an agreement with the National Park Service to provide the necessary funding to open Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell Center from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Friday, 12/28, Saturday, 12/29 and Sunday, 12/30. No tickets required.— INDEPENDENCENPS 🇺🇸 (@INDEPENDENCENHP) December 27, 2018 Liberty Bell Center, Independence Hall Open Friday To Sunday During Federal Government ShutdownWhen:December 28-30, 2018 Where:Various locations including The Liberty Bell Center, 526 Market Street Cost:Free People spending the weekend in the United States’ birthplace can visit Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell Center, despite a federal government shutdown.Philadelphia Mayor James F. Kenney, VISIT PHILADELPHIA President and CEO Jeff Guaracino and Superintendent of Independence National Historical Park Cynthia MacLeod announced today that the iconic attractions in Philadelphia’s Historic District are open Friday, December 28 through Sunday, December 30, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. National Park rangers are on site to provide interpretation.All other Independence National Historical Park (INHP) attractions will remain closed during the shutdown.FAST FACTSThe Liberty Bell Center and Independence Hall are open Friday, December 28 through Sunday, December 30.No tickets are required for entry to the Liberty Bell Center and Independence Hall for these three days.All other Independence National Historical Park sites remain closed during the partial federal government shutdown.VISIT PHILADELPHIA covered the cost as a donation to the National Park Service to keep the sites open this weekend.Since the federal government shutdown began on December 22, visitors to the sites have been able to view Independence Hall from the outside only, and the Liberty Bell through a window. Now, both sites will be fully open this weekend — and no tickets are required.VISIT PHILADELPHIA has covered the cost, approximately $32,000, as a donation to the National Park Service in order for INHP to keep Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell Center open for three days.
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