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Snarge: What is it and why is it so dangerous?

(CNN) — Ten years after what came to be known as the “Miracle on the Hudson,” it’s still amazing that everyone aboard US Airways Flight 1549 survived. This week marks the 10th anniversary of arguably the most famous emergency landing in modern aviation history. Shortly after pilot Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger took off from New York’s…

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Snarge: What is it and why is it so dangerous?

(CNN) — Ten years after what came to be known as the “Miracle on the Hudson,” it’s still amazing that everyone aboard US Airways Flight 1549 survived.
This week marks the 10th anniversary of arguably the most famous emergency landing in modern aviation history.

Shortly after pilot Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger took off from New York’s LaGuardia Airport on January 15, 2009, with 154 passengers and crew, two 8-pound geese flew into each of the plane’s twin engines. Suddenly both engines weren’t working, and Sullenberger faced a gut-wrenching decision.
He had to choose between trying to reach an airport runway, or attempting a daring water landing. As we now know, Sullenberger aimed for the Hudson River, which investigators eventually said was the only choice he could have made that would have saved the plane.
Flight 1549 reminds us that we’re not the only creatures that travel in the sky.
It raised awareness about aircraft bird strikes and prompted National Transportation Safety Board investigators to warn airports “to take action to mitigate wildlife hazards before a dangerous event occurs.”
Despite the heightened concern, stats tracking annual US bird strikes show they have skyrocketed.

The estimated cost of all aviation bird strikes, according to the European Space Agency, is more than $1 billion a year.
If you need more evidence that birds crashing into airplanes is a relatively common part of modern air travel, just look at the headlines.
Just last Friday, a United Airlines flight from Spokane to Denver was diverted to Seattle-Tacoma airport because of a bird strike.
In April 2016, a bird slammed into an Airbus A321 carrying 174 passengers taking off from Las Vegas, cracking its windshield.
Even the vice president of the United States has been affected.

Birds + planes = ‘snarge’
When airplanes and birds collide, you often get “snarge.”
Scientists at the Smithsonian Institution came up with the term to describe tissue and gooey remains that are still attached to aircraft after a collision, said bird strike expert Mike Begier, who took part in the investigation of Flight 1549.

In 2016, Begier, who is national coordinator of the Airport Wildlife Hazards Program at the US Department of Agriculture, told CNN that he’ll never forget looking closely at the blades of Flight 1549’s engines. In addition to snarge, “you could see the feather remains,” Begier said. The engine was hot at the time of impact, “so a lot of this stuff was sort of baked — if you will. It had gotten hard.”

Mike Begier, national coordinator of the USDA Airport Wildlife Hazards Program investigates bird strike remains inside a damaged engine of US Airways Flight 1549 in 2009.
USDA

Begier and his colleagues had been fearing something like this since 1995, when a large US Air Force surveillance jet hit birds on takeoff, killing all 24 crew members. That crash made experts worry that a similar disaster could happen to a large civilian airplane.
The big lesson learned from Flight 1549, Begier said, was, “It can happen. It was no longer an abstraction. We almost had that catastrophic event with the Miracle on the Hudson, but obviously there was a highly skilled crew on that plane and that did not happen.”
Now, with heightened awareness and better airport management of wildlife, Begier said another bird strike as terrifying as Flight 1549 is perhaps a little less likely.

There aren’t necessarily that many more strikes occurring, he said. The number of reported bird strikes went up in part because the aviation community is paying more attention. People are reporting strikes more often.
Also, bird strikes that resulted in damaged aircraft are decreasing at larger airports.

Preventative strategies
The most effective way to force birds away from airports is to take away their habitat, Dickey said in 2016.
“Wildlife is going to come in for three reasons: food, water or shelter,” he explained. Remove those and you’ll force birds to go elsewhere.

Emerging technology may provide other tools. The FAA has spent more than 10 years trying to perfect special radar that detects birds. It has struggled to track birds because they’re fairly small, but experts said the FAA has been improving it.
Jet engine manufacturers have tried to design screens to protect engine intakes from birds, but so far, experts say nothing has worked well enough to be practical due to air-flow and excessive weight issues.

Industry lobby organization Airlines for America said in a 2016 statement that pilots for its members “undergo extensive flight training” which includes “preventative strategies.”
Sullenberger’s former employer US Airways has merged with American Airlines, which said in a statement this week that “bird strike preparation for our pilots is an important and standard component of training.”
Achieving zero bird strikes at airports would be difficult, if not impossible, but the goal would be trying to get as close to zero as possible, said Begier. “We can set benchmarks — and that’s actually a discussion that’s going on in the airport community right now.”
Experts say focusing on effective wildlife management and pilot training will go a long way toward preventing future incidents like Flight 1549. The outcome of the next bird strike emergency may not be as miraculous.
CNN’s Aaron Cooper contributed to this report.

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Secretary of defense orders review of US airstrike that killed civilians in Syria in 2019

The review will be conducted by Gen. Michael Garrett, the commander of US Army Forces Command. Garrett will review “reports of investigation already conducted” but will also “conduct further inquiry into the facts and circumstances” related to the incident, Kirby said. Garrett has 90 days to complete the review, which will cover “civilian casualties that…

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Secretary of defense orders review of US airstrike that killed civilians in Syria in 2019

The review will be conducted by Gen. Michael Garrett, the commander of US Army Forces Command. Garrett will review “reports of investigation already conducted” but will also “conduct further inquiry into the facts and circumstances” related to the incident, Kirby said. Garrett has 90 days to complete the review, which will cover “civilian casualties that resulted from the incident, compliance with the law of war” and “whether accountability measures would be appropriate,” Kirby added. Austin ordered the review after The New York Times published an extensive investigation into the airstrike earlier this month. Shortly after the investigation published, US Central Command, the part of the US military that oversees forces in the Middle East, publicly acknowledged that civilians, including women and children, had been killed in the 2019 airstrike.The number of civilians killed is unknown but US Central Command acknowledged it was “multiple civilians.”On March 18, 2019, the US-allied Syrian Democratic Forces called for air support when they came under attack from ISIS forces, Capt. Bill Urban, spokesman for US Central Command, said in a statement. US and coalition forces surrounded the last ISIS holdout in Baghouz, Syria, but in the final days of fighting ISIS launched a counterattack, using small arms, rocket-propelled grenades and suicide bombings.The only aircraft on location capable of carrying out the strikes was an F-15, Urban said. At the same time, the only unmanned aerial vehicle overhead was capable of recording only standard-definition video. Other aircraft and UAVs capable of recording high-definition video, which would have provided a clearer picture of the battlefield, had left the area after hours of fighting.Syrian Democratic Forces fighters, the nearest US special operations forces and the UAV flying above the battlefield reported or observed no civilians in the area before the airstrike was conducted, Urban said. The F-15 then dropped three 500-pound precision-guided bombs, potentially killing dozens of people.Several hours after the strikes, the UAV operator reported possible civilians in the area when the bombs had been dropped, Urban said.The acknowledgment of the civilian casualties was the first time the Defense Department had publicly disclosed that civilians may have been killed as a result of the 2019 airstrike.The revelation comes as the Department of Defense is facing increased scrutiny over its handling of civilian casualties following a drone strike in Afghanistan in late August that killed 10 civilians, including seven children. A review of the botched strike in Kabul found that “execution errors” led to what Pentagon officials had called a “tragic mistake” and that the killings did not violate the law of war, but it left the question of accountability up to the combatant commands.CNN’s Oren Liebermann contributed to this report.

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Pentagon to build up US bases in Guam and Australia to meet China challenge

The moves have been prompted by the Department of Defense’s global posture review, which President Joe Biden ordered Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin to undertake shortly after taking office in February. Austin started the global posture review in March. The review is classified, but a senior defense official provided some details about the review’s findings.Biden…

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Pentagon to build up US bases in Guam and Australia to meet China challenge

The moves have been prompted by the Department of Defense’s global posture review, which President Joe Biden ordered Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin to undertake shortly after taking office in February. Austin started the global posture review in March. The review is classified, but a senior defense official provided some details about the review’s findings.Biden “recently approved” Austin’s findings and recommendations from the global posture review, Dr. Mara Karlin, performing the duties of deputy under secretary for policy, said at a briefing on Monday.The Indo-Pacific region was a major focus, because of Secretary Austin’s emphasis on “China as the pacing challenge,” for the Department, the senior defense official said. The Biden administration has made countering China its main foreign policy priority as tensions have increased with Beijing, particularly over the issue of Taiwan and senior Pentagon officials have publicly expressed alarm about China’s efforts to upgrade and modernize its military. Last month Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said China had successfully tested a hypersonic missile in what was “very close” to a Sputnik moment.To counter China, the review directs the Department to enhance “infrastructure in Guam and Australia,” and to prioritize “military construction across the Pacific Islands,” the official said, as well as “seeking greater regional access for military partnership activities.” “In Australia, you’ll see new rotational fighter and bomber aircraft deployments, you’ll see ground forces training and increased logistics cooperation, and more broadly across the Indo-Pacific, you’ll see a range of infrastructure improvements, in Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and Australia,” Karlin said during the briefing.The global posture review also directs the Department to focus more on the Indo-Pacific region by “reducing” the number of troops and equipment in other areas of the world, “to enable improved warfighting readiness and increased activities” in the Indo-Pacific, the official said.On Russia, the Department declined to provide specific information about how the global posture review is directing the US military to prepare to counter threats from Moscow. Broadly speaking, one of the goals of the review is to “re-establish readiness standards,” so that the US military is “agile and responsive to crises as they emerge,” the official said.The US military is working to “re-establish readiness” in Eastern Europe “with the goal of strengthening a combat credible deterrent vis a vis Russia and the specific requirements of that region,” the official said when pressed on the issue, but they would not go into more detail on how the US military is preparing to counter Russia. In the Middle East, the review directed the Department to “continue to support the defeat ISIS campaign,” with the current US military presence in Iraq and Syria, as well as continuing to work on building up “the capacity of partner forces,” in those countries. But overall, the review directs Austin to “conduct additional analysis on enduring posture requirements in the Middle East,” the official said. Afghanistan was not officially included in the global posture review, because there is a “separate” National Security Council-led “process” that is “reviewing the way ahead for US presence there,” the official said.Overall, the US had “something like 75 consultations,” with allies and partners when putting together the review, among them “NATO allies, Australia, Japan, the Republic of Korea, and over a dozen partners across the Middle East and Africa,” Karlin said.The review also did not include “functional capabilities” like nuclear, space and cyber, because those are being addressed in other Department specific reviews, the official said.CNN’s Barbara Starr contributed reporting.

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Opinion: Boris Johnson and Emmanuel Macron are locked in a post-Brexit duel

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Opinion: Boris Johnson and Emmanuel Macron are locked in a post-Brexit duel

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