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1
Some exciting related news:

NRC Certifies First U.S. Small Modular Reactor Design
January 20, 2023

Quote
The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) issued its final rule

in the Federal Register to certify NuScale Power’s small modular reactor.

The company’s power module becomes the first SMR design certified by the NRC and just the seventh reactor design cleared for use in the United States.

The rule takes effects February 21, 2023 and equips the nation with a new clean power source to help drive down emissions across the country.
Historic Rule Making

The published final rule making allows utilities to reference NuScale’s SMR design

when applying for a combined license to build and operate a reactor.

The design is an advanced light-water SMR with each power module capable of generating 50 megawatts of emissions-free electricity.

NuScale’s VOYGR™ SMR power plant can house up to 12 factory-built power modules that are about a third of the size of a large-scale reactor. Each power module leverages natural processes, such as convection and gravity, to passively cool the reactor without additional water, power, or even operator action.

The NRC accepted NuScale’s SMR design certification application back in March 2018 and issued its final technical review in August 2020. The NRC Commission later voted to certify the design on July 29, 2022—making it the first SMR approved by the NRC for use in the United States.

2
United States of America / Re: 11 Jan 2023 - U.S. NOTAM Outage
« on: January 23, 2023, 04:32:46 PM »
A corrupt file led to the FAA ground stoppage. It was also found in the backup system
Updated 2:53 AM EST, Thu January 12, 2023

Quote
Officials are still trying to figure out exactly what led to the Federal Aviation Administration system outage on Wednesday but have traced it to a corrupt file, which was first reported by CNN.

In a statement late Wednesday, the FAA said it was continuing to investigate the outage and “take all needed steps to prevent this kind of disruption from happening again.”

“Our preliminary work has traced the outage to a damaged database file. At this time, there is no evidence of a cyberattack,” the FAA said.

The FAA is still trying to determine whether any one person or “routine entry” into the database is responsible for the corrupted file, a government official familiar with the investigation into the NOTAM system outage told CNN.

Another source familiar with the Federal Aviation Administration operation described exclusively to CNN on Wednesday how the outage played out.

When air traffic control officials realized they had a computer issue late Tuesday, they came up with a plan, the source said, to reboot the system when it would least disrupt air travel, early on Wednesday morning.

But ultimately that plan and the outage led to massive flight delays and an unprecedented order to stop all aircraft departures nationwide.

The computer system that failed was the central database for all NOTAMs (Notice to Air Missions) nationwide. Those notices advise pilots of issues along their route and at their destination. It has a backup, which officials switched to when problems with the main system emerged, according to the source.

 FAA officials told reporters early Wednesday that the issues developed in the 3 p.m. ET hour on Tuesday.

Officials ultimately found a corrupt file in the main NOTAM system, the source told CNN. A corrupt file was also found in the backup system.

In the overnight hours of Tuesday into Wednesday, FAA officials decided to shut down and reboot the main NOTAM system – a significant decision, because the reboot can take about 90 minutes, according to the source.

They decided to perform the reboot early Wednesday, before air traffic began flying on the East Coast, to minimize disruption to flights.

“They thought they’d be ahead of the rush,” the source said.

During this early morning process, the FAA told reporters that the system was “beginning to come back online,” but said it would take time to resolve.

The system, according to the source, “did come back up, but it wasn’t completely pushing out the pertinent information that it needed for safe flight, and it appeared that it was taking longer to do that.”

That’s when the FAA issued a nationwide ground stop at around 7:30 a.m. ET, halting all domestic departures.

Aircraft in line for takeoff were held before entering runways. Flights already in the air were advised verbally of the safety notices by air traffic controllers, who keep a static electronic or paper record at their desks of the active notices.

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg ordered an after-action review and also said there was “no direct evidence or indication” that the issue was a cyberattack.

The source said the NOTAM system is an example of aging infrastructure due for an overhaul.

 “Because of budgetary concerns and flexibility of budget, this tech refresh has been pushed off,” the source said. “I assume now they’re going to actually find money to do it.”

“The FAA’s infrastructure is a lot more than just brick and mortar.”

Investment in the agency is set to be addressed this year by Congress when the five-year FAA Reauthorization Act signed in 2018 expires.

3
United States of America / 11 Jan 2023 - U.S. NOTAM Outage
« on: January 23, 2023, 04:30:18 PM »
FAA NOTAM System Outage Causes Major Shut Down Of U.S. Flights
January 11, 2023
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WASHINGTON—The FAA held all U.S. domestic departures on Jan. 11 from 6:29 a.m. EDT after the Notice to Air Mission (NOTAM) system went down before lifting the nationwide order more than two hours later.

[Video] Chaos all across U.S. after FAA System Outage | Thousands of Flights Canceled


4
Self-Reliant Defense Posture / Anos Research Manufacturing Liberato
« on: January 21, 2023, 11:01:02 PM »
https://www.facebook.com/anosfiretruck/posts/663571512229062

Update on the company's previously mentioned armored light tactical vehicle concept.










5
China / Re: [Book] Overreach: How China Derailed Its Peaceful Rise
« on: January 21, 2023, 08:01:48 PM »
Susan Shirk touches on many the same political developments that Carl Minzner discusses in his own book.

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Carl Minzner On The End Of China's Reform Era

Minzner is a lawyer who takes a heterodox approach to examining China in his book, looking at economics, ideology and politics to argue his point. To sum up the proposition of his book: he argues that recent trends in China are putting an end to the major features of the post-1978 reform era.
 
Specifically he argues that there were three major characteristics of the Reform Era (cultivated with the ruling elite):
1.   Rapid Economic Growth (particularly the inclusive growth)
2.   Outward-looking Ideological Openness and Pragmatism
3.   Political stability and normalization
 
He argues that recent trends are in confluence to end these pillars of the reform era and are threatening China’s rise:
1.   Slowdown of Economic Growth
2.   Ideologically: A turn inwards towards Chinese nativism (to fill the gap left behind, because socialism is too dangerously anti-establishment to bring up again)
3.   Breaking of Political Norms
a.   Targeting of older members of the elite
b.   Failure to appoint a successor to Xi Jinping
c.   Constitutional revisions
d.   Re-politicization of the bureaucracy (under the Party)
e.   Targeting and repression of groups that are not in accordance with the state ideology. (Hong Kong, Xinjiang, Tibet)
 
Minzner argues that the core issue that led to these trends and the increase of authoritarianism was the failure to create alternative governance institutions during the reform era, particularly because political liberalization was off the table.

Shirk suggests that checks and balances against authoritarian overreach might be indeed possible under the Chinese communist system without necessarily going all the way to electoral democracy (ala Vietnam).

6
China / Re: Academic Discussions on China
« on: January 21, 2023, 07:57:48 PM »
Book Event - Overreach: How China Derailed its Peaceful Rise  @ Center for Strategic & International Studies

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For decades, China’s leadership sought to reassure the international community that its rise would be peaceful – but today, China is increasingly willing to threaten neighbors, utilize coercion, and stoke tensions with the United States and its allies. Now, as Xi Jinping prepares for a third term, he is expected to continuing charting an assertive course for China’s foreign policy that is only likely to stoke further global backlash. What changes in China’s domestic politics led to this shift from caution to combativeness?

https://ucsdnews-new.ucsd.edu/story/overreach-how-china-derailed-its-peaceful-rise

Quote
By definition, “overreach” means taking things too far by doing too much or trying to gain too much – ultimately defeating oneself in the process.

And a new book from Susan Shirk, director of the 21st Century China Center and research professor at the UC San Diego School of Global Policy and Strategy (GPS), explores the concept of overreach in China’s politics and the country’s evolving role on the world’s stage since 2008.

She first visited China in 1971 and has been teaching, researching and engaging with China diplomatically ever since. Beyond the classroom, Shirk was the former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the East Asia and Pacific Bureau during the administration of President Bill Clinton.

She sat down recently to discuss the concept for “Overreach: How China Derailed Its Peaceful Rise” and the worldwide implications of the country’s actions over the past 15 years.

Overreach: An Interview with Susan Shirk @ UC San Diego School of Global Policy and Strategy

7
China / [Book] Overreach: How China Derailed Its Peaceful Rise
« on: January 21, 2023, 07:55:56 PM »
Book Event - Overreach: How China Derailed its Peaceful Rise  @ Center for Strategic & International Studies

Quote
For decades, China’s leadership sought to reassure the international community that its rise would be peaceful – but today, China is increasingly willing to threaten neighbors, utilize coercion, and stoke tensions with the United States and its allies. Now, as Xi Jinping prepares for a third term, he is expected to continuing charting an assertive course for China’s foreign policy that is only likely to stoke further global backlash. What changes in China’s domestic politics led to this shift from caution to combativeness?

https://ucsdnews-new.ucsd.edu/story/overreach-how-china-derailed-its-peaceful-rise

Quote
By definition, “overreach” means taking things too far by doing too much or trying to gain too much – ultimately defeating oneself in the process.

And a new book from Susan Shirk, director of the 21st Century China Center and research professor at the UC San Diego School of Global Policy and Strategy (GPS), explores the concept of overreach in China’s politics and the country’s evolving role on the world’s stage since 2008.

She first visited China in 1971 and has been teaching, researching and engaging with China diplomatically ever since. Beyond the classroom, Shirk was the former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the East Asia and Pacific Bureau during the administration of President Bill Clinton.

She sat down recently to discuss the concept for “Overreach: How China Derailed Its Peaceful Rise” and the worldwide implications of the country’s actions over the past 15 years.

Overreach: An Interview with Susan Shirk @ UC San Diego School of Global Policy and Strategy

Amazon listing

8
From: https://www.airport-technology.com/projects/diosdadomacapagal/

Quote
Runways at CIA

The CIA has two 4km runways. Runway 02R/20L is 3,200m-long and 61m-wide, while runway 02L/20R is of the same length but 45m-wide.

The primary runway has a Category 1 rating for precision approach and is equipped with navigational aids and lighting facilities. The secondary runway was decommissioned as it is not fully equipped and not compliant with Visual Flight Rules (VFR).


Next in Line: Control Tower, Ground Lighting, Second Runway


Quote
Included in the pipeline for CIAC are four vital components of the agency’s infrastructure expansion with a total budget of Php1.7-billion. These projects include the new Air Traffic Control Tower for Php375 million, the upgrading of the Airfield Ground Lighting (AGL) System at Php500 million, a new radar system amounting to Php645 million, and the Php200-million detailed engineering design of the second runway in conformity with the CRK Master Plan—all fairly sensible economic investments approved via the General Appropriations Act of 2020 under the account of the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA).

...

The second runway is also positioned to allow simultaneous take-offs and landings, a longtime proposition by CIAC as a quick answer to address runway congestion or closure in Manila especially in times of emergencies.

9
[Video] Indo-Pacific Forecast 2023 (Streamed live on Jan 12, 2023)

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What is the outlook for U.S.-China relations?  Which of the U.S. alliance networks in the Indo-Pacific is most promising?  Will IPEF thrive?  Join CSIS experts to explore these and other questions during our annual preview of political, security, and economic developments across the Indo-Pacific region.

Agenda
8:00-8:05 AM - Welcoming Remarks
Victor Cha
Senior Vice President for Asia and Korea Chair
 
8:05-8:45 AM -  Roundtable Discussion: Networking in the Indo-Pacific     
Kurt Campbell
Deputy Assistant to the President and Coordinator for Indo-Pacific Affairs, National Security Council

Taeyong Cho
Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to the United States

Jose Manuel G. Romualdez
Ambassador of the Philippines to the United States
 
Moderated by
Nicholas Szechenyi
Senior Fellow, Japan Chair and Deputy Director for Asia, CSIS
 
8:45-9:30 AM - Panel I: China
Jude Blanchette
Freeman Chair in China Studies, CSIS

Scott Kennedy
Senior Adviser and Trustee Chair in Chinese Business and Economics, CSIS

Bonny Lin
Director, China Power Project and Senior Fellow, Asian Security, CSIS

Lily McElwee
Fellow, Freeman Chair in China Studies and CSIS-Chumir Global Dialogue, CSIS
 
Moderated by
Nicholas Szechenyi
Senior Fellow, Japan Chair and Deputy Director for Asia, CSIS
                       
9:30-10:15 AM - Panel II: Allies and Partners
Charles Edel
Australia Chair and Senior Adviser, CSIS

Christopher Johnstone
Senior Adviser and Japan Chair, CSIS

Ellen Kim
Deputy Director and Senior Fellow, Korea Chair, CSIS

Yuko Nakano
Fellow, Japan Chair, and Associate Director, U.S.-Japan Strategic Leadership Program, CSIS

Greg Poling
Senior Fellow and Director, Southeast Asia Program and Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative, CSIS
 
Moderated by
Victor Cha
Senior Vice President for Asia and Korea Chair, CSIS
 
10:15-11:00 AM - Panel III: Economics and Trade
William A. Reinsch
Senior Adviser and Scholl Chair in International Business, CSIS

Matthew Goodman
Senior Vice President for Economics, CSIS

Erin Murphy
Deputy Director and Senior Fellow, Economics Program, CSIS

Raymond Vickery
Senior Associate (Non-Resident), Wadhwani Chair in U.S.-India Policy Studies, CSIS
 
Moderated by
Emily Benson
Senior Fellow, Scholl Chair in International Business, CSIS
 
11:00 AM - Adjourn

10
The First Battle of the Next War: Wargaming a Chinese Invasion of Taiwan
January 9, 2023
Quote
CSIS developed a wargame for a Chinese amphibious invasion of Taiwan and ran it 24 times. In most scenarios, the United States/Taiwan/Japan defeated a conventional amphibious invasion by China and maintained an autonomous Taiwan. However, this defense came at high cost. The United States and its allies lost dozens of ships, hundreds of aircraft, and tens of thousands of servicemembers. Taiwan saw its economy devastated. Further, the high losses damaged the U.S. global position for many years. China also lost heavily, and failure to occupy Taiwan might destabilize Chinese Communist Party rule. Victory is therefore not enough. The United States needs to strengthen deterrence immediately.

This project was funded by a grant from the Smith Richardson Foundation.

Videos:

The First Battle of the Next War: A US-China Conflict over Taiwan

Report Launch―The First Battle of the Next War: Wargaming a Chinese Invasion of Taiwan

Related Links:

Murray, W.S. (2008). Revisiting Taiwan’s Defense Strategy. Naval War College Review. Volume 61, Number 3.

11
Politics and Government / Re: The Philippines votes Right
« on: January 07, 2023, 09:02:03 PM »
I had to add another postscript as I had recently re-read one of Jovito R. Salonga's lectures from the collection Ethics in politics (1994).

On the matter of the misusing of the image of People Power, one actually need not look further from the original event than when the then incumbent President Cory Aquino's attempted to invoke it to call a rally on Tuesday, 10th September 1991 in support of the passing of the treaty for the renewal of the lease of the U.S. bases.

In Mr. Salonga's own words:

Quote
It occurred to me that this would be a horrible perversion of "people power."
(pg. 58)

So best to push my previously mentioned timeline a decade further back.

12
MFR56 Selected For Philippine Marine Corps’ New SAW
Jul 12, 2022

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The Philippine Marine Corps (PMC) is expecting a delivery of MFR56 5.56 mm caliber Squad Automatic Weapons (SAW) made by System Defence of Turkiye in the next few weeks. The contract for 160 units was signed last week on Monday (4 July) although its value has yet to be revealed.

In 2021, the Philippine Navy (PN) outlined its requirements for a new SAW to replace older FN Minimi and M60E3/E4 light machine guns in the PMC inventory. Notable among the required specifications are the 5.56 mm x 45 mm caliber, a dual-feed system with a 30-round standard magazine or a high capacity 200-round box magazine, a quick-change barrel, and an overall weight not exceeding 8.16 kg.

Aside from the offer by the Turkish company, the Israel Weapon Industries (IWI) Negev NG5 and Singapore’s ST Kinetic Ultimax 100 were also listed among the candidates in the acquisition program.

I doubt the Marines will be replacing the M60E4/E6 GPMGs in service, but the Minimis were always too few in number to properly equip the PMC.

13
[IDEF 2021] Turkish Company System Defence Presents New MFR 56 Light Machine Gun
September 3, 2021
Quote
At the IDEF 2021, System Defence showcased the family of light machine guns, based on the AR-15 lower receiver. Their new dual-feed LMG is called MFR 56 (MFR stands for Multi Funtional Rifle). MFR 56 is chambered in 5.56 and feeds from an M27 belt (used in FN Minimi/M249, HK21, and the Negev machineguns among others) or STANAG magazines. It weighs just 4.2 kg (9.35 lbs), unloaded, and 4.8 kg (10.5) loaded, which makes it significantly lighter, compared to most light machine guns on the market.

There are three versions of MFR 56 LMG. The first one is a classic open bolt design, typical for belt-fed machineguns (pictured above). This version has controls similar to M249, with a cross-bolt safety.

The second one is closed-bolt, since certain countries restrict open-bolt weapons, and also closed bolt machineguns are generally considered to be slightly more accurate. This version has a standard M16 selector, with safe, semi, and full-auto positions.

The third version is closed bolt and semi-automatic in order to comply with the various restrictions for civilian market sales.

All versions feature a quick-change barrel – the lever used to detach the barrel is located on the top of the receiver. According to the information provided by the manufacturer, the 16.2 inches (412 mm) barrel is hammer forged and has a 1/7 twist rate. The charging handle is on the right side of the receiver.

The company also offers an upper receiver that is compatible with standard AR-15 lowers.

15
General Discussion / Re: Japanese military pledges helicopters for PH Army
« on: December 20, 2022, 11:47:37 PM »
Japan defense force pledges to donate Huey choppers to PH Army
Published December 19, 2022, 11:48 AM
by Martin Sadongdong


Quote
The Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF) committed to transfer UH-1J Huey multi-role helicopters to the Philippine Army (PA) through a government grant to improve the latter’s disaster response capabilities.

Col. Xerxes Trinidad, PA spokesperson, said the Army expects to receive the air assets “two to three years from now.”

“The utility helicopters will significantly boost the capabilities of the Army Aviation ‘Hiraya’ Regiment especially in the field of humanitarian assistance and disaster response (HADR), medical evacuation, transport of personnel and supplies, and for damage assessment flights in times of national emergencies and calamities,” Trinidad said on Monday, Dec. 19.

The UH-1J helicopter is an improved version of the Bell UH-1H helicopter and is produced by Fuji Heavy Industries. Among its features include a vibration reduction system, an infrared exhaust suppressor, and a night-vision-goggle-compatible cockpit.

It is powered by a single Kawasaki T53-K-703 turboshaft engine with 1,800 horsepower, two bladed main and tail rotors.

The JGSDF made the commitment during the first-ever Japan-Philippine-US Trilateral Key Leaders’ Engagement at Camp Asaka in Tokyo, Japan last week.

Lt. Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr., PA commanding general, discussed potential areas of military cooperation with JGSDF during his meeting with Gen. Yoshida Yoshihide, JGSDF Chief of Staff, including capability development, trainings and exercises, and defense materiel assistance.

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