~ So what is the military doing for New Yorkers and others hit by hurricane Sandy (and yes, I refuse to call it a "superstorm". It was a freakin' hurricane). From DoD:
The USS Wasp, an amphibious assault ship, was due to arrive off the coast of New York yesterday, and the USS San Antonio and the USS Carter Hall are set to arrive today (Nov 2). The three vessels will provide refueling and helicopter support, according to a Pentagon news release. In addition:
-- The military is "currently moving 120 high-flow water pumps with more than 400 qualified personnel to New York and New Jersey," according to DoD.
-- Eight active-duty helicopters are at Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., to help with search and rescue.
-- The Defense Logistics Agency has shipped 1.5 million meals - 55 truckloads - to New York.
-- The agency has also sent 60 fuel trucks, carrying about 200,000 gallons of fuel, to Westover Air Force Base, Mass., and McGuire Air Force Base, N.J.
Then, of course, there's the National Guard in each state which has been involved from the get go.
~ Meanwhile at the Air Force Academy, uh, let me say that again - the Air Force Academy:
Twenty-seven Air Force Academy cadets were injured last Thursday after a traditional hazing event left some with concussions, broken collar bones and cuts and bruises.
Someone told me it was all really a result of an argument about who's wrist watch was the biggest, but they could be wrong. Sounds like a few advanced pugilism classes might settle that down a bit.
~ After calling for answers from the White House, David Ignatius caves on Benghazi:
"A detailed CIA timeline of the assault on U.S. facilities in Benghazi paints an anguishing picture of embattled Americans waiting for Libyan security forces who didn't come and courageous CIA officers who died on a rooftop without the heavy weapons they needed, trying to protect their colleagues below. ... While there were multiple errors that led to the final tragedy, there's no evidence that the White House or CIA leadership deliberately delayed or impeded rescue efforts."
Really? Where was the Cross Border Authorization that only the Presdent can issue? Why didn't the Counterterrorism Security Group meet? The media is willing to take anything dished out by this administration concerning this debacle. Ignatius is typical of those who pretend to want to know answers but really don't.
~ China flies its second 5th generation fighter, the J-31. It is one of the reasons why Japan chose the F-35. Of course, no one knows whether or not the Chinese fighters have the same sort of advanced capabilities as our 5th gen fightes (other than stealth), but it seems rather foolish to assume otherwise and contend that upgraded 4th gen fighters older than the pilots who fly them will be adequate in the future.
~ You've just got to love "think tanks". The Center for American Progress (charitably described as a "left of center" think tank, says sequestration cuts are "doable" for the military (apparently no comment on the rest of government). How? Well how do you think:
The report also endorsed the Pentagon's 2012 budget plan to begin reducing military pay increases – which it says have pushed military salaries thousands of dollars above civilian equivalents -- starting in 2015. The change would save $16.5 billion over five years, the report says.
An additional $15 billion could be saved during that time by raising Tricare fees for working-age retirees, as well as other changes. Reform of the retirement system by replacing the current plan with a 401k style arrangement could save $13 billion over five years, and $70 billion by 2042, the report said.
Because, earned and promised benefits such as Tricare are something government reserves the right to change drastically or, even, do away with if it so chooses. You try getting out of a contract with government and see how that goes.
~ The "Pacific Pivot" and budget reality (or why we need to do more with less and pretend we've got everything covered):
That ballyhooed “pivot“ to Asia at the core of the entire White House defense strategy has been taking hits of late as an underfunded and overhyped slow turn to nowhere.
To silence the critics, the Defense Department commissioned an independent study of the proposed Pacific buildup by the Center for Strategic and International Studies and then gave its own rave review to the results.
Of course it gave rave reviews. Why wouldn't it? If you think I'm the least bit cynical, you'd be right. We're going to "pivot" to the Pacific with the smallest Navy we've had in a century and somehow our alleged technological superiority will give us a qualitative edge that doesn't require an increase in quantity. Because, you see, "we have these things called aircraft carriers and apparently they're magic.
~ Green on green? Apparently. This doesn't surprise me in the least:
Four Afghan police officers were shot dead Friday in southern Helmand province in an insider attack by their colleagues, officials said.
Mohammad Toryali, police chief of Grish district, said the shooting occurred at a police outpost during a shift change.
The officers on duty were killed by four of their colleagues who had arrived to replace them, Toryali said. The killers fled.
Why am I not surprised?
Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction John Sopko's regular report to Congress, released yesterday, describes in painstaking detail how after more than a decade of war and $90 billion in mostly U.S. funding for reconstruction costs, efforts to turn the country over to Afghan security forces remain plagued by corruption, mismanagement and a troubling increase in "insider attacks."
Hope you enjoy your weekend. Make sure to set your clocks back one hour tonight and get out and vote on Tuesday.