31 December 2012

Our Next War? Mali...

Here's betting the next major US deployment is going to be to Mali. As detailed by the Miami Herald...

Deep inside caves, in remote desert bases, in the escarpments and cliff faces of northern Mali, Islamic fighters are burrowing into the earth, erecting a formidable set of defenses to protect what has essentially become al-Qaida's new country.

They have used the bulldozers, earth movers and Caterpillar machines left behind by fleeing construction crews to dig what residents and local officials describe as an elaborate network of tunnels, trenches, shafts and ramparts. In just one case, inside a cave large enough to drive trucks into, they have stored up to 100 drums of gasoline, guaranteeing their fuel supply in the face of a foreign intervention, according to experts.

Northern Mali is now the biggest territory held by al-Qaida and its allies. And as the world hesitates, delaying a military intervention, the extremists who seized control of the area earlier this year are preparing for a war they boast will be worse than the decade-old struggle in Afghanistan.

"Al-Qaida never owned Afghanistan," said former United Nations diplomat Robert Fowler, a Canadian kidnapped and held for 130 days by al-Qaida's local chapter, whose fighters now control the main cities in the north. "They do own northern Mali."

Al-Qaida's affiliate in Africa has been a shadowy presence for years in the forests and deserts of Mali, a country hobbled by poverty and a relentless cycle of hunger. In recent months, the terror syndicate and its allies have taken advantage of political instability within the country to push out of their hiding place and into the towns, taking over an enormous territory which they are using to stock arms, train forces and prepare for global jihad.

The catalyst for the Islamic fighters was a military coup nine months ago that transformed Mali from a once-stable nation to the failed state it is today. On March 21, disgruntled soldiers invaded the presidential palace. The fall of the nation's democratically elected government at the hands of junior officers destroyed the military's command-and-control structure, creating the vacuum which allowed a mix of rebel groups to move in.

With no clear instructions from their higher-ups, the humiliated soldiers left to defend those towns tore off their uniforms, piled into trucks and beat a retreat as far as Mopti, roughly in the center of Mali. They abandoned everything north of this town to the advancing rebels, handing them an area that stretches over more than 620,000 square kilometers (240,000 square miles). It's a territory larger than Texas or France - and it's almost exactly the size of Afghanistan.

Much more at the link. A long, well-written, and depressing, story.

By: Brant

28 December 2012

Retired Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf Passes On

The ground commander from Gulf I, the great bear whose press conference was the most entertaining moment of 1991, Retired Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf has died.

Retired Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf, who topped an illustrious military career by commanding the U.S.-led international coalition that drove Saddam Hussein's forces out of Kuwait in 1991 but kept a low public profile in controversies over the second Gulf War against Iraq, died Thursday. He was 78.
Schwarzkopf died in Tampa, Fla., where he had lived in retirement, according to a U.S. official, who was not authorized to release the information publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

"It doesn't take a hero to order men into battle. It takes a hero to be one of those men who goes into battle." General H. Norman Schwarzkopf
h/t Doctrine Man

By: Brant

27 December 2012

USAction! Battleships

Battleship Division Two: In line abreast formation, 7 June 1954, in the Virginia Capes operating area, on the only occasion that all four Iowa class battleships were photographed operating together. Ship closest to the camera is Iowa (BB-61). The others are (from near to far):Wisconsin (BB-64); Missouri (BB-63) and New Jersey (BB-62).

h/t Jim W on FaceBook. Text from FaceBook group on Iowa class battleships

By: Brant

25 December 2012

Merry Christmas

Now quit reading GrogNews and get back to Christmas!

By: Brant & The Staff

24 December 2012

US Army Refocus Toward Africa Starting Soon

The Army is planning to shift troops to AFRICOM.

U.S. Africa Command, the military’s newest regional force, will have more troops available early next year as the Pentagon winds down from two ground wars over the past decade, Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, Army chief of staff, told The Washington Times.
As part of Gen. Odierno’s Regionally Aligned Forces concept, about 1,200 soldiers will deploy to Africa as early as March in an effort to place troops strategically around the globe to respond quickly to sudden challenges in hot spots such as Libya and to develop ties with the people and officials in host countries.
“It’s about us moving towards a scalable, tailorable capability that helps them to shape the environment they’re working in, doing a variety of tasks from building partner capability to engagement, to multilateral training to bilateral training to actual deployment of forces, if necessary,” Gen. Odierno said in an interview.
Amid budget cuts and with President Obama’s new military strategy downplaying the chances of another major land war, the Army has sought to maintain its relevance among admirals and generals in the Pacific, the Middle East and North Africa — likely places for the next flash point. When terrorists attacked the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11, no U.S. troops were close enough to help.

Beginning in March, small teams of soldiers from the 2nd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, based in Fort Riley, Kan., will conduct at least 108 missions in at least 34 countries in Africa through mid-2014.
The missions could include humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, training host-nation forces in marksmanship, first aid and other skills, and conducting military exercises. To prepare for these missions, soldiers are studying the regions and cultures of countries where they will deploy, and learning Arabic, Swahili, French and Portuguese.
According to the Combat Team’s commander, Col. Jeff Broadwater, the brigade will not deploy as a whole, but as smaller units to carry out the missions, some of which will last as short as a week and others as long as a month.

By: Brant`

23 December 2012

Prince Harry Plinks Taliban Sub-Commandante

As an Apache gunner, he missile'd a Taliban "chief" on his way to Allah.

The 28-year-old gunship co-pilot was called on to unleash a missile strike to eliminate a senior terror leader.
Harry has proved a massive hit with comrades in Helmand, Afghanistan, who have nicknamed him Big H.
A defence insider said: "Big H is a legend.
“We were on patrol and the Apache helicopters were called in. We heard this posh voice come over the radio and knew it was Big H. They were tracking a Taliban leader — he was commander level.

By: Brant

Norks Working on Christmas Present Delivery System?

The South Koreans think that the Norks could have the US within missile range in the next few years.

This month's rocket launch by reclusive North Korea shows it has likely developed the technology, long suspected in the West, to fire a warhead more than 10,000 km (6,200 miles), South Korean officials said on Sunday, putting the U.S. West Coast in range.
North Korea said the December 12 launch put a weather satellite in orbit but critics say it was aimed at nurturing the kind of technology needed to mount a nuclear warhead on a long-range missile.
North Korea is banned from testing missile or nuclear technology under U.N. sanctions imposed after its 2006 and 2009 nuclear weapons tests and the U.N. Security Council condemned the launch.
South Korea retrieved and analyzed parts of the first-stage rocket that dropped in the waters off its west coast
"As a result of analyzing the material of Unha-3 (North Korea's rocket), we judged North Korea had secured a range of more than 10,000 km in case the warhead is 500-600 kg," a South Korean Defense Ministry official told a news briefing.

Or maybe they just want us to stick around to help keep protecting them.

By: Brant

22 December 2012

Anniversaries: NUTS! and "War is Hell"

Most folks who are casually acquainted with military history know that right now is the anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge. Today is actually the 65th anniversary of the famous reply to the German request to surrender - "NUTS!".

But it's also the day that Sherman took control of Savannah, thus ending the infamous "March to the Sea".

Which battle has better wargames? Not more mind you, but better. Sound off below!

By: Brant

How Accurate is 'Zero Dark Thirty'?

We all know of the "Hollywood effect" where movies don't quite reflect reality, but the CIA is challenging the 'accuracy' of Zero Dark Thirty, especially the parts about interrogations.

The CIA joined on Friday the chorus of those challenging the accuracy of a new movie on the Osama bin Laden raid that suggests that harsh interrogation techniques used on suspected terrorists helped the agency find the man considered behind the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States.

In an unusual move, the acting director of the CIA , Michael Morell, issued a statement to employees on Friday that emphasized that "Zero Dark Thirty" is not a historically accurate film.

Of particular concern are the harrowing scenes at the beginning of the movie that depict a suspected terrorist being interrogated at a secret CIA prison overseas with waterboarding and other so-called enhanced interrogation techniques. The suggestion in the movie is that those coercive techniques aided in identifying the courier who eventually led to the compound in Pakistan where bin Laden was living.

Morell acknowledged that the interrogations played a role but said that they were not as important as the movie implied. "That impression is false," Morell said. There were multiple streams of intelligence, according to Morell. "Some came from detainees subjected to enhanced techniques, but there were many other sources as well."

Morell also criticized the film for implying that just a few individuals were responsible for the successful operation when in fact hundreds were involved. He also took exception to the "liberties" the filmmakers took in depicting CIA officers, especially ones who had died. "We cannot allow a Hollywood film to cloud our memory of them," he said.

By: Brant

21 December 2012

Fighting AQ in Africa

For whatever the hell it might matter, the UN has authorized an African force to face off with al Qaeda in Mali.

The 15-nation U.N. Security Council on Thursday unanimously authorized the deployment of an African-led military force to help defeat al Qaeda and other Islamist militants in northern Mali.
The French-drafted resolution also authorized the 27-nation European Union and other U.N. member states to help rebuild the Malian security forces, who are to be assisted by the international African force during an operation in northern Mali that is not expected to begin before September 2013.
The adoption of the resolution was the result of a compromise that ended weeks of disagreements between the United States and France over how best to tackle the problem of Mali, where al Qaeda-linked insurgents seized vast swathes of territory in March.
The resolution authorizes the deployment for an initial period of one year of an African-led intervention force, to be known as AFISMA, to take "all necessary measures, in compliance with applicable international humanitarian law and human rights law."
The phrase "all necessary measures" is diplomatic code for military force. AFISMA is expected to have up to 3,300 troops and will assist the rebuilt Malian security forces "in recovering the areas in the north of its territory under the control of terrorist, extremist and armed groups."
The French text leaves open the question of how the international force will be funded. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has recommended against straight U.N. funding for the operation, suggesting that it be financed through voluntary contributions.

By: Brant

20 December 2012

$30-odd Billion in Carriers

right-click to save for yourself

By: Brant

A Familiar Name Appears in Syria...

A compelling reason not to arm the Syrian rebels: Al Qaeda walks among them.

Having seen its star wane in Iraq, al Qaeda has staged a comeback in neighbouring Syria, posing a dilemma for the opposition fighting to remove President Bashar al-Assad and making the West balk at military backing for the revolt.
The rise of al Qaeda's affiliate in Syria, al-Nusra Front, which the United States designated a terrorist organisation last week, could usher in a long and deadly confrontation with the West, and perhaps Israel.
Inside Syria, the group is exploiting a widening sectarian rift to recruit Sunnis who saw themselves as disenfranchised by Assad's Alawite minority, an offshoot of Shi'ite Islam that dominates Syria's power and security structures.
Al-Nusra appears to have gained popularity in a country that has turned more religious as the uprising, mainly among Sunni Muslims, has been met with increasing force by authorities.
It has claimed responsibility for spectacular and deadly bombings in Damascus and Aleppo, and its fighters have joined other rebel brigades in attacks on Assad's forces.
According to Site Intelligence group, Nusra claimed responsibility in one day alone last month for 45 attacks in Damascus, Deraa, Hama and Homs provinces that reportedly killed dozens, including 60 in a single suicide bombing.

By: Brant

18 December 2012

America Lost a Hero Today

Daniel Inouye, US Senator and recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor, passed away. Here's the MoH citation from WWII for Second Lieutenant INOUYE, DANIEL K., U.S. Army

Rank: Second Lieutenant
Organization: U.S. Army
Company: Company E
Division: 442nd Regimental Combat Team
Date of Issue: 06/21/2000
Place / Date: San Terenzo, Italy, April 21, 12945

Second Lieutenant Daniel K. Inouye distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action on 21 April 1945, in the vicinity of San Terenzo, Italy.

While attacking a defended ridge guarding an important road junction, Second Lieutenant Inouye skillfully directed his platoon through a hail of automatic weapon and small arms fire, in a swift enveloping movement that resulted in the capture of an artillery and mortar post and brought his men to within 40 yards of the hostile force. Emplaced in bunkers and rock formations, the enemy halted the advance with crossfire from three machine guns.

With complete disregard for his personal safety, Second Lieutenant Inouye crawled up the treacherous slope to within five yards of the nearest machine gun and hurled two grenades, destroying the emplacement. Before the enemy could retaliate, he stood up and neutralized a second machine gun nest.

Although wounded by a sniper's bullet, he continued to engage other hostile positions at close range until an exploding grenade shattered his right arm. Despite the intense pain, he refused evacuation and continued to direct his platoon until enemy resistance was broken and his men were again deployed in defensive positions.

In the attack, 25 enemy soldiers were killed and eight others captured. By his gallant, aggressive tactics and by his indomitable leadership, Second Lieutenant Inouye enabled his platoon to advance through formidable resistance, and was instrumental in the capture of the ridge.

Second Lieutenant Inouye's extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit on him, his unit, and the United States Army.

By: Brant

13 December 2012

Anniversary: "We Got Him"

Ladies and Gentlemen, "We got him."

Operation Red Dawn was the U.S. military operation conducted on 13 December 2003 in the town of ad-Dawr, Iraq, near Tikrit, that captured Iraq President Saddam Hussein, ending rumours of his death. The operation was named after the film Red Dawn, (1984) by Captain Geoffrey McMurray.[1] The mission was assigned to the 1st Brigade Combat Team of the 4th Infantry Division, commanded by Col. James Hickey of the 4th Infantry Division, with joint operations Task Force 121 - an elite and covert joint special operations team.

By: Brant

Bringing Out The Big Guns?

The Syrian government supposedly fired Scud missiles at the opposition.

Syrian government forces have fired Scud missiles at insurgents in recent days, escalating the 2-year-old conflict against rebels seeking to overthrow the regime, U.S. officials said Wednesday.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, two officials said forces of President Bashar Assad have fired the missiles from the Damascus area into northern Syria. These officials asked not to be named because they weren't authorized to discuss the matter publicly.
News of the missiles came on the same day that more than 100 countries, including the United States, recognized a new Syrian opposition coalition. That has further isolated Assad's regime and opened a way for greater humanitarian assistance to the forces battling to oust him.
One official said there was no indication that chemical weapons were aboard the missiles. Officials have said over the past week that they feared rebel advances were prompting Assad to consider using chemical weapons.
This official estimated that the number of Scuds fired was more than a half dozen, confirming details first reported by The New York Times.

By: Brant

What's Next for Norks? Nukes?

Is the next step for the Norks a nuclear test?

North Korea's next step after rattling the world by putting a satellite into orbit for the first time will likely be a nuclear test, the third conducted by the reclusive and unpredictable state.
A nuclear test would be the logical follow-up to Wednesday's successful rocket launch, analysts said. The North's 2009 test came on May 25, a month after a rocket launch.
For the North and its absolute ruler Kim Jong-un, the costs of the rocket program and its allied nuclear weapons efforts - estimated by South Korea's government at $2.8-$3.2 billion since 1998 - and the risk of additional U.N. or unilateral sanctions are simply not part of the calculation.
"North Korea will insist any sanctions are unjust, and if sanctions get toughened, the likelihood of North Korea carrying out a nuclear test is high," said Baek Seung-joo of the Korea Institute of Defense Analyses.
The United Nations Security Council is to discuss how to respond to the launch, which it says is a breach of sanctions imposed in 2006 and 2009 that banned the isolated and impoverished state from missile and nuclear developments in the wake of its two nuclear weapons tests.

By: Brant

11 December 2012

US Rescues Doctor in Afghanistan, 1 KIA

US forces rescued a kidnapped US doctor in Afghanistan on Sunday.
US soldiers killed seven Taliban insurgents in a successful pre-dawn raid to rescue a kidnapped American doctor in eastern Afghanistan on Sunday, the NATO force in the war-torn country said. The mission was launched when intelligence showed that Dr Dilip Joseph was in "imminent danger of injury or death", NATO's International Security Assistance Force said in a statement. Joseph was abducted on December 5 by Taliban insurgents in the Surobi district of Kabul province. "Today's mission exemplifies our unwavering commitment to defeating the Taliban," said General John Allen, the commander of US and ISAF forces in Afghanistan. "I'm proud of the American and Afghan forces that planned, rehearsed and successfully conducted this operation. Thanks to them, Dr Joseph will soon be rejoining his family and loved ones." Joseph was now "undergoing evaluations", the statement said, without giving further details. A security source told AFP that the doctor had been involved in building clinics in Afghanistan but details of his capture were not immediately available.

And Secretary Panetta's official Statement on Operations in Afghanistan
“I want to commend the U.S Special Operations team who rescued an American citizen captured by the Taliban in Afghanistan. I was deeply saddened to learn that a U.S. service member was killed in the operation, and I also want to extend my condolences to his family, teammates and friends. The special operators who conducted this raid knew they were putting their lives on the line to free a fellow American from the enemy's grip. They put the safety of another American ahead of their own, as so many of our brave warriors do every day and every night. In this fallen hero, and all of our special operators, Americans see the highest ideals of citizenship, sacrifice and service upheld. The torch of freedom burns brighter because of them.”

The US also lost one of their own in the raid.
An elite U.S. special forces team rescued an American doctor who had been abducted in Afghanistan, but lost one of their own members in the mission, officials said. Dr. Dilip Joseph was freed 11 hours after his captors released two other kidnapped staffers of his nonprofit agency, Morning Star Development, the organization said Sunday. Hours later, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced that "a U.S. service member was killed in the operation." A U.S. official said the man who was shot dead belonged to the Navy's Special Warfare Development Group, more commonly known as SEAL Team Six. The elite unit is the same one that took part in the raid that killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, but the official didn't know if the fallen service member was involved in that operation. While he did not delve into detail, Panetta said, "the special operators who conducted this raid knew they were putting their lives on the line to free a fellow American from the enemy's grip."

By: Brant

Sound Off! Social Networking

Many military units / commands have social networking presences, on Facebook, Twitter, etc.
Are these
--  a good thing!  Public engagement helps boost morale and the image of the military overall
-- a bad thing!  OPSEC magnets that invariably turn into rumor mills and bitch-fests

Sound off below!

By: Brant

09 December 2012

DOD Announces Recruiting and Retention Numbers for Fiscal 2012

The DoD has announced their recruiting and retention numbers for FY 2012

DOD Announces Recruiting and Retention Numbers for Fiscal 2012

The Department of Defense announced today recruiting and retention statistics for the active and reserve components for fiscal 2012.

Active Component
Recruiting. All four active services met or exceeded their numerical accession goals for fiscal 2012.

Army - 60,490 accessions, with a goal of 58,000; 104 percent
Navy - 36,329 accessions, with a goal of 36,275; 100 percent
Marine Corps - 30,514 accessions, with a goal of 30,500; 100 percent
Air Force - 29,037 accessions, with a goal of 29,037; 100 percent

Retention. The Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force all exhibited strong retention through fiscal 2012.

Reserve Component

Recruiting. Five of the six reserve components met or exceeded their numerical accession goals for fiscal 2012. The Army Reserve shortfall was the result of precision recruiting which was implemented in an effort to rebalance the force.

Army National Guard - 47,997 accessions, with a goal of 46,000; 104 percent
Army Reserve - 26,041 accessions, with a goal of 26,875; 97 percent
Navy Reserve - 8,269 accessions, with a goal of 8,255; 100 percent
Marine Corps Reserve - 8,910 accessions, with a goal of 8,910; 100 percent
Air National Guard - 9,437 accessions, with a goal of 8,210; 115 percent
Air Force Reserve - 8,116 accessions, with a goal of 8,031; 101 percent

Attrition - All reserve components are on target to achieve their fiscal attrition goals.

By: Brant

Leave No Man Behind: Vietnam War Edition

Another soldier from Vietnam is coming home.

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of a serviceman, killed in action during the Vietnam War, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.
Army Capt. James M. Johnstone, of Baton Rouge, La., will be buried Dec. 12, in Arlington National Cemetery. On Nov. 19, 1966, Johnstone was the pilot of an OV-1A Mohawk aircraft that crashed while conducting a daytime reconnaissance mission over Attapu Province, Laos. Nearby U.S. aircrews reported seeing the wing of Johnstone’s aircraft hit a tree during a climb to avoid a nearby ridgeline. No parachutes were seen exiting the aircraft. Heavy enemy presence in the area prevented recovery efforts.
From 1993 to 2009, joint U.S.-Lao People’s Democratic Republic (L.P.D.R.) teams, led by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), interviewed multiple witnesses, and conducted several investigations and excavations of the crash site in Attapu Province. The teams located human remains, military equipment, an identification card bearing Johnstone’s name, and aircraft wreckage of an OV-1A, which correlated with the last known location of Johnstone’s aircraft.
To identify the remains, scientists from JPAC analyzed circumstantial evidence and used forensic identification tools, such as dental comparisons.

By: Brant

New Commander for Syrian Rebels

There's a new commander as the Syrian rebels try unifying their chains of command.

Syrian rebel groups have chosen a former officer to head a new Islamist-dominated command, in a Western-backed effort to put the opposition's house in order as President Bashar al-Assad's army takes hits that could usher his downfall.
In Turkey, a newly formed joint command of Syrian rebel groups has chosen Brigadier Selim Idris, one of hundreds of officers who have defected from Assad's army, as its head, opposition sources said on Saturday.
Idris, whose home province of Homs has been at the forefront of the Sunni Muslim-led uprising, was elected by 30 military and civilian members of the joint military command after talks attended by Western and Arab security officials in the Turkish city of Antalya.
The unified command includes many with ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and to Salafists, who follow a puritanical interpretation of Islam. It excludes the most senior officers who have defected from Assad's military.

By: Brant

08 December 2012


By: Brant

Another Look at Petraeus

Another look at The Petraeus affair from The Economist

Of more abiding interest is what sort of legacy an extraordinary career has left. The general’s status as the epitome of the modern soldier-statesman-scholar was rooted in both real achievement and a myth of his own and others’ creation. Back home after two tours in Iraq, he used the time to digest the lessons he had learned to rewrite the army’s field manual on counterinsurgency (COIN). At the heart of what became known as “population-centric COIN” was the notion that the operational priority should be providing security for ordinary people and thus creating the conditions for a government under attack by an insurgency to earn legitimacy through the provision of goods and services.

By late 2006, faced with what looked like a descent into bloody civil war, most senior American officers were ready to give up on Iraq. However George W. Bush, desperate to try to find a less appalling denouement to the war, saw General Petraeus, supported by a controversial “surge” in troop numbers, as a possible lifeline for his reputation. How much of the (relative) success that followed was due to General Petraeus and how much the so-called “Anbar Awakening”—the rejection by Sunni tribal leaders of al-Qaeda’s ethnic slaughter that had begun shortly before the general’s return in January 2007—is still argued over. General Petraeus may have been lucky, but he worked with the grain of events to bend the history of the war around a narrative of narrowly averted disaster that was more or less true.

In June 2010, when Stanley McChrystal, his dedicated protégé, resigned as commander in Afghanistan after the reporting of remarks by his staff critical of the new administration, General Petraeus was sent for by Mr Obama to repeat his magic in Kabul. A time-limited troop surge was under way, but he knew official patience was running out and that the chances of applying a successful COIN strategy in a country as divided and poor as Afghanistan were slim. Even so, the speed with which he abandoned it in favour of a much more “kinetic” approach aimed at getting a quick improvement in security by killing as many Taliban as possible was breathtaking.

By the time General Petraeus handed over to his successor, General John Allen, 13 months later, a deadline for the withdrawal of foreign troops at the end of 2014 had been set. General Allen was bizarrely drawn into the Petraeus scandal on November 13th when the Pentagon revealed that he had exchanged thousands of e-mails over a four-year period with Jill Kelley. Ms Kelley, a Tampa-based socialite who knew both men, triggered the FBI inquiry into the CIA director last May after receiving threatening e-mails from an apparently jealous Ms Broadwell. General Allen’s confirmation hearing as the new supreme commander in Europe has been put on hold because of the “inappropriate” nature of some of the e-mails.

COIN required more time and money than war-weary, economically stressed voters would stomach. As Mr Obama reiterated during his re-election campaign, nation-building now needs to take place at home. Boots on the ground are out again; special forces and drones, used to seek out and kill America’s enemies, are back in. After becoming director of the CIA, which has become the lead agency in fighting the high-tech, intelligence-led campaign against al-Qaeda and its offshoots, General Petraeus had no compunction in helping strangle his own COIN baby when it had outlived its usefulness.

Much more at the link

By: Brant

07 December 2012

Anniversary: Pearl Harbor

Here in it's entirety, Franklin D. Roosevelt's Infamy Speech

Franklin D. Roosevelt's Infamy Speech

December 8, 1941

Yesterday, December 7, 1941 - a date which will live in infamy - the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.

The United States was at peace with that nation and, at the solicitation of Japan, was still in conversation with its Government and its Emperor looking toward the maintenance of peace in the Pacific. Indeed, one hour after Japanese air squadrons had commenced bombing in Oahu, the Japanese Ambassador to the United States and his colleague delivered to the Secretary of State a formal reply to a recent American message. While this reply stated that it seemed useless to continue the existing diplomatic negotiations, it contained no threat or hint of war or armed attack.

It will be recorded that the distance of Hawaii from Japan makes it obvious that the attack was deliberately planned many days or even weeks ago. During the intervening time the Japanese Government has deliberately sought to deceive the United States by false statements and expressions of hope for continued peace.

The attack yesterday on the Hawaiian Islands has caused severe damage to American naval and military forces. Very many American lives have been lost. In addition American ships have been reported torpedoed on the high seas between San Francisco and Honolulu.

Yesterday the Japanese Government also launched an attack against Malaya. Last night Japanese forces attacked Hong Kong. Last night Japanese forces attacked Guam. Last night Japanese forces attacked the Philippine Islands. Last night the Japanese attacked Wake Island. This morning the Japanese attacked Midway Island.

Japan has, therefore, undertaken a surprise offensive extending throughout the Pacific area. The facts of yesterday speak for themselves. The people of the United States have already formed their opinions and well understand the implications to the very life and safety of our nation.

As Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy, I have directed that all measures be taken for our defense.

Always will we remember the character of the onslaught against us. No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory.

I believe I interpret the will of the Congress and of the people when I assert that we will not only defend ourselves to the uttermost but will make very certain that this form of treachery shall never endanger us again.

Hostilities exist. There is no blinking at the fact that our people, our territory and our interests are in grave danger.

With confidence in our armed forces - with the unbounded determination of our people - we will gain the inevitable triumph - so help us God.

I ask that the Congress declare that since the unprovoked and dastardly attack by Japan on Sunday, December seventh, a state of war has existed between the United States and the Japanese Empire.

By: Brant

Canada Ditches F-35

Canada has decided to ditch the F-35 and go a different direction.

The F-35 jet fighter purchase, the most persistent thorn in the Harper government’s side and the subject of a devastating auditor-general’s report last spring, is dead.

Faced with the imminent release of an audit by accountants KPMG that will push the total projected life-cycle costs of the aircraft above $30-billion, the operations committee of cabinet decided Tuesday evening to scrap the controversial sole-source program and go back to the drawing board, a source familiar with the decision said.

This occurred after Chief of the Defence Staff Thomas Lawson, while en route overseas, was called back urgently to appear before the committee, the source said.

The decision is sure to have ripple effects around the world, as any reduction in the number of aircraft on order causes the price to go up for all the other buyers. Canada is one of nine F-35 consortium members, including the United States.

Defence Minister Peter MacKay is not a member of the cabinet operations committee. It remains unclear whether he was present at the meeting Tuesday. However, MacKay is a member of the cabinet Priorities and Planning committee, which is to discuss the F-35 decision Friday morning.

The F-18s currently flown by the RCAF are at the tail end of their life cycle and are not expected to be operable much beyond 2020, at the outside.

By: Brant

04 December 2012

Sound Off! Military Motorcycles

Motorcycles for military usage - good thing?  Or bat-shit crazy?  Sound off below!

By: Brant

03 December 2012

Anniversary: Battle of Tora Bora

Today marks the start of the Battle of Tora Bora.

On December 3, a group of 20 U.S. commandos was inserted by helicopter to support the operation. On December 5, Afghan militia wrested control of the low ground below the mountain caves from al-Qaeda fighters and set up tank positions to blast enemy forces. The al-Qaeda fighters withdrew with mortars, rocket launchers, and assault rifles to higher fortified positions and dug in for the battle

Were you there? Know anyone who was? Share your stories below.

By: Brant

02 December 2012

Navy’s Next Ford-Class Aircraft Carrier to be Named Enterprise

The DoD has announced that the US Navy’s next Ford-Class aircraft carrier to be named Enterprise.

Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus announced today via video message at the USS Enterprise (CVN 65) inactivation ceremony that the third Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carrier will be named Enterprise.

Mabus selected this name to honor USS Enterprise (CVN 65), the Navy’s first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, which was inactivated today in Norfolk, Va. Commissioned in 1961, CVN 65 served for more than five decades. It participated in the blockade of the Cuban Missile Crisis, launched strike operations in Vietnam, and conducted combat missions in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

“The USS Enterprise was the first of its kind, and for 51 years its name has been synonymous with boldness, readiness and an adventurous spirit,” said Mabus. “Rarely has our fleet been without a ship bearing the name. I chose to maintain this tradition not solely because of the legacy it invokes, but because the remarkable work of the name Enterprise is not done.”

The future USS Enterprise, designated CVN 80, will be the ninth ship to bear the name.

USS Enterprise and subsequent Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carriers will provide improved warfighting capability, quality of life improvements for Sailors and reduced life cycle costs.

The Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carrier will be 1,092 feet in length and have a beam of 134 feet. The flight deck will be 256 feet wide, and the ship will be able to operate at speeds in excess of 34 knots. Enterprise will be built by Huntington Ingalls Industries-Newport News Shipbuilding in Newport News, Va.

By: Brant

01 December 2012

DOD Identifies Units for Upcoming Afghanistan Rotation

The DoD has announced the next units deploying to Afghanistan.

The Department of Defense today identified three major units to deploy as part of the upcoming rotation of forces operating in Afghanistan. The scheduled rotation involves two infantry brigade combat teams – one with roughly 1,400 personnel, the other with roughly 2,800 personnel – and one division headquarters with roughly 620 personnel to rotate in winter 2012 and spring 2013. The deploying units include:

Brigade Combat Teams:
1st Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum, N.Y.
4th Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, Ky.

Division Headquarters:
101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, Ky.

By: Brant