Military News Hightlights: January 12, 2011

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Bombs targeting Afghan intelligence service kill 6

How ironic that intelligence officials can be targeted so readily in Kabul by a suicide bomber.  That kind of intelligence is supposed to be secret. You know, the fact that there are intelligence service employees and a top intelligence official in a specific vehicle in downtown Kabul.  Coincidence?  Nah.  Inside information of a personnel manifest in a vehicle on a specific route at a certain time was passed along.  That’s pretty good intelligence if you ask me.

And weren’t we recently told how safe and secure Kabul is and that Haqqani network operations were hobbled and not capable of direct action in the capital?

US military chief: Enemy in Afghanistan is losing

Out of one end, Admiral “Happy Talk” Mullen chortles that the enemy in Afghanistan is losing and “will continue to lose”.  And out of the other end, chortles how severe the difficult task of winning is.   And for certain victory, all roads lead to Pakistan, specifically that success in Afghanistan requires Pakistan to shut down “safe havens.”

So how exactly are US/NATO COIN and the surge shutting down “safe havens” in Pakistan?  And since the threat emanates from these safe havens with impunity, how is it exactly that they are losing?  More happy talk.  Plain and simple.

Adm. Mike Mullen observes disconnect between U.S. military and broader public

Admiral Mullen, the senior US military officer, lamented yesterday that “America doesn’t know its military and the United States military doesn’t know America.”

What America does or doesn’t know about its military is an open question, but to say that the US military “doesn’t know America” is flat out ridiculous.

Give the burden and sacrifice that one-percent of the uniform wearing populace bears, I’m pretty sure that on a daily basis servicemembers, world-wide, look on their right sleeve and see the stars and stripes.  They know.  They don’t forget.


Military News Highlights: January 7, 2011

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Gates Recommends Dempsey as Next Army Chief of Staff

Secretary of Defense Gates has recommended General Martin E. Dempsey to be the next Chief of Staff of the Army.

An armor officer General Dempsey previously served as commander of the 1st Armored Division in OIF, Commander of the Multinational Security Transition Command in Iraq, acting commander of U.S. Central Command, and is currently serving as Commander, Training and Doctrine Command.

Highlights from the Gates-Mullens DoD efficiencies briefing

In summary, the scorecard for cuts and spending announced by Secretary Gates:

  • A five year plan to achieve approximately $154 billion in overhead savings over a 5-year period.
  • The USMC Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle gets axed.
  • The F-35B (STOVL) is placed on a two-year probation.
  • $70 billion on procurement including:  Reapers; satellite launchers; F-15 radars; M1/M2/Stryker/Amtrac upgrades; tactical communications equipment; increased funding for mental health treatment; one new DDG and Littoral Combat Ship.
  • Cutting the end-strength of the Army by 27,000 and the Marines by 20,000 scheduled by 2015.
  • Increasing the Tricare premium for working age retirees

No mention or discussion of upgrading or funding individual force protection or small arms. And a plan to reduce boots when the happy talk continues to peddle COIN as the end-all-doctrinal-solution for the wars and conflicts the US will be involved in for another generation.  The math does not add up.  And get this, if say, a service-member retires after 20 years of perpetual deployments and combat, he/she can expect to pay a higher premium for Tricare health insurance; lip service.

NATO forces ahead of schedule: Petraeus

General Happy Talk continues to espouse progress.  No mention that NATO requires a quick infusion of 1,400 additional US Marines.  No mention of the throw-away money (+$10 Billion) being spent on Afghan security forces.  No mention of coordinated efforts and operations of the Haqqani Network, the Quetta Shura Taliban, the Hekmatyer group, and AQ.  No mention of the record smashing civilian casualty rates.  No mention of the record smashing US/NATO casualty rates.  Just “We are heading in the exactly right direction.”

Air Force tweaks new fitness policy

Just pointing this out…


Secretary Gates & Adm. Mullen Discuss Wikileaks

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In a Department of Defense (“DoD”) News Briefing at the Pentagon, Secretary Gates and Admiral Mullen discussed the latest release of classified documents on Wikileaks.

Secretary of Defense Gates’ answer to a Wiki-dump related question was in fact an artful dodge.  There were in fact significant differences on what the US public was informed of and what the stark reality of events in Iraq were and the same type of misinformation is bleeding out of Afghanistan.  Does it rise to the level of the Pentagon Papers?  Probably not, but misinformation and damage control nevertheless.

You can decide for yourself.

“First of all, I would say unlike the Pentagon Papers, one of the things that is important, I think, in all of these releases, whether it’s Afghanistan, Iraq or the releases this week, is the lack of any significant difference between what the U.S. government says publicly and what these things show privately, whereas the Pentagon Papers showed that many in the government were not only lying to the American people, they were lying to themselves.”