Admiral Mullen Warns of Impact of Conflict on US Troops

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In a penetrating analysis reported by the  Department of Defense, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mullen warns of the long-term impact of the current conflict in Afghanistan and Iraq on US troops. 

Key Highlights:

  •  The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff today offered a warning of what to expect for veterans, the military services and the nation after a decade of war. “This decade of persistent conflict has had an impact that we are just beginning to come to terms with, … an impact of untold costs and an undetermined toll,” U.S. Navy Adm. Mike Mullen told an audience at the 2010 Association of the U.S. Army Annual Meeting and Exposition here.
  • Admiral Mullen called the Army and Marine Corps the “center of gravity” of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and said their “enormous adaptability and courage” have made them the best counterinsurgency force in the world – something they perfected in less than three years. But, Mullen said, the military and the nation as a whole should be prepared for the war’s costs: physical, mental, family and financial problems among veterans; diminished noncombat capabilities; expansion of the veterans health care system; high unemployment rates; and homelessness.
  • “There are many soldiers and veterans coming home for whom the battle hasn’t ended,” he said. “For many, it’s just the beginning.” Soldiers and Army veterans already are experiencing these problems, Mullen noted, and he added that “what we can see today is truly just the tip of the iceberg.”
  •  Soldiers and their families will benefit from increased “dwell time” at home between deployments, Mullen said, but he warned that some problems are more likely to arise with the reduced structure and leadership on the home front. The chairman called for the return of “good old-fashioned garrison leadership,” which he described as “engaged, focused, and in some cases, intrusive,” to deal with the profound operational shift following a decade of war.

Analysis:  

  • To be fair to Admiral Mullen, he has served as the military’s Cassandra these past few years harping on the long term impact of our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. But a shrill voice in the chamber is not enough. Statutory authority and obligations require more than raising the flag in public forums.
  • Dwell time for the Army has improved from 12-15 months to 15-18 months on average. 90 days. Still not enough time to recapture the essence of predictability and stability. Admiral Mullen and the Chiefs can do better.
  • Admiral Mullen claims the Army and the Marines are the best “counter-insurgency force in the world” and something that was “perfected” in three years. I think the jury is still out on that one.
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Body Armor and the NASA Connection

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April 29, 2010

President Barack H. Obama II

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW

Washington, DC 20500

President Barack H. Obama II:

Dear Mr. President,

I know what you’re thinking, it’s him again! Well, I’d like to say it wasn’t, however. The issue is Body Armor Design or should I say the lack of its advancement of lighter and better ballistics.

I have reached out many times to two Administrations of, Presidents, Senators, Congressmen and Military etc. and continue to hit a brick wall on the creation and establishment of one department within NASA. I believe this concept could be a straightforward one with the help of you, Mr. President, Secretary Robert M. Gates and Admiral Michael Mullen. With this partnership, you can make all of this happen.

Mr. President, you had once stated that “If someone has a better idea, I’m listening”. Well the concept is simple, to have NASA solely dedicated one department (assemble one) for the R&D of Body Armor, nothing more and nothing less than that. This would be their ONLY task to do at NASA and nothing else. It will not work by having meeting’s or studies with NASA, or forming committees on top of committees.

I will continue to reach out to you and your Administration on this issue. When you believe in something as strongly as I do, you press on no matter what, as you well know Mr. President. I realize you are a very busy man, and that there is never a good time for such a request. I feel that I must reach out for your help on my request. I’m hoping that you concur and push this forward. In closing, I am not a man of power or influence; however I’m a man of determination and conviction for all our troops.

I look forward to hearing from all of you, and thank you all for your time.

The probability that we may fail in the struggle ought not to deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just.

Abraham Lincoln

16th president of US (1809 – 1865)

Sincerely,

Michael J. F. Bucca Sr.

Hanover, Massachusetts

“Veteran and Father of a proud Marine”

Editor’s Note: We appreciate Mr. Bucca for sharing his letter to President Obama with SFTT. His letter reflects the views of many concerned parents  whose sons and daughters are serving in harm’s way.  SFTT and its members and volunteers pledge ourselves to continue our campaigns to make sure our troops have the best protective gear and combat equipment available.

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Does New War Doctrine Expose US Troops to greater danger?

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With a 2,600 page Health Reform Package, one doesn’t have time to read the fine print.  At other times, US government policy statements are often so broad in scope that one has difficulty piecing together the implications.

In a recent address that was not picked up by the press,  Admiral Michael G. Mullen, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, articulated what some consider to be a change in US War Doctrine.  In a fascinating article picked up by Fred Edwards in Crosshairs – Miltary Matters in Review, Mr. Edwards notes that Admiral Mullen may be laying out a new War Doctrine for the United States.  Mr. Edwards  notes that Admiral Mullen is suggesting/proposing the following:

  • In future wars, the United States must use measured and precise military strikes, and not overwhelming force. 
  • Policymakers should consider the use of military force not as a last resort solution in a crisis, but as part of an early response to a conflict or a natural disaster.
  • Military forces are some of the most flexible and adaptable tools available to policymakers. Before a shot is even fired, we can bolster a diplomatic argument, support a friend or deter an enemy.”

I certainly agree with Mr. Edwards, that under this doctrine, military commanders (and political leaders) certainly have a lot more leeway in determining what a “precise” rather than an “overwhelming” strike might be.   With military leaders now asking our troops to leave their protective gear behind to befriend civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan, it certainly appears that Admiral Mullen’s new War Doctrine is already in practice.

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