Military

Talking Syria raid on FOX & Friends

We executed a brilliant raid into Syria, ventilated a bunch of bad guys and got all our folks home safe. Bravo!.

But why did we tell the whole world about the raid before we even had a chance to catalogue the intel we picked up? This compromised our ability to exploit that  intel properly and seems like another example of Obama spiking the football on an extra point.

We also still have no strategy in Iraq and may as well be acting as the Iranian Air Force as they are the Iraqis main allies now. Not that the fight there is even going at all well, with Ramadi falling. So Yay for dead tangos, and Boo for all the rest.


New CJCS nominee Dunford - "Not a Cyber Expert"

President Obama has nominated current US Marine Corps Commandant General Joe "Fighting Joe" Dunford to be the next Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (CJCS).  As such he would be the President's top military advisor and would replace General Martin Dempsey.  The anecdotal reporting from multiple vectors is that General Dunford is the right pick and that the President should be lauded for this selection. #CreditWhereDue   

General Dunford's a "proven combat leader who had distinguished himself as commander of U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan in 2013-2014 as foreign forces shifted responsibility for fighting the Taliban to Afghan troops. Dunford also commanded a Marine regiment early in the Iraq war."  h/t:  Washington Post

With all the big ideas that the JCS has to wrestle with, I found this article on Dunford a particularly odd take on the nomination.  In it, The Hill's Cory Bennett opines that the President opted for a "strategist" rather than a "cyber expert" to execute the recently published DOD Cyber Strategy.  Apparently, despite all his other qualifications, including being the Deputy Secretary of Defense, the cyber zealot class things SecDef Ashton Carter was selected for his cyber expertise.  (He was a physicist, not a computer guy, but what do I know?)  The article presents a view point that a number of recent DOD appointments were "cyber" focused.  (Umm, ok..)

President Obama’s pick to become the nation’s next top military officer, Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford Jr., bucks a recent trend of cyber-focused appointments.

“He’s not a cyber expert,” said Peter Metzger, a former CIA intelligence officer and Marine who served with Dunford on four occasions. “But he doesn’t need to be.”
 
Cyber military specialists believe the Obama administration is seeking an operational expert and relationship builder, not a technological savant, to carry out Defense Secretary Ashton Carter’s recently unveiled cyber vision.
 
“They went with a strategist,” said Chris Finan, a former military intelligence officer and adviser to the Obama administration on cybersecurity policy. “An operational artisan.”

I agree with Metzgar and Finian that there is a need for a "strategist" in the role of CJCS.  I am amused at the degree to which Bennett rates the Cyber Strategy on the Chairman's agenda. 

While cyberspace in  undoubtedly important, apparently Mr Bennett is unaware that there are two able four-stars (USSTRATCOM's Commander as well as Commander of USCYBERCOM/DirNSA) that are more than capable of focusing on the the implementation of the cyber strategy.  And, if one understands the strategy, every Service Chief and all of the other Combatant Commands will also be keenly focused on this, particularly in terms of policy and resourcing.   The Chairman has much larger fish to fry, including the "pivot to Asia" (however that manifests itself), the continuing struggles with ISIS/AQ et al, and Iran's territorial ambitions - as well as a shrinking force, an aging fleet, and a recalcitrant air power Service insisting on going their own way.  

Cyberspace is important, but it isn't the Chairman's biggest issue.


 

 


Stock Photos - Sometimes Not So Cool

A recent piece making the rounds of the interwebs has a junior Naval Officer sharing her reasons why, in her frustration, she must resign from the US Navy.  In it she lays out her rationale, which has drawn both support and (significant) derision.  There have been a number of rebuttals, the most eloquent of which came from the Duffellblog.

At the top of the piece is the picture of a female Navy officer, saluting.  Here's the problem:  the woman pictured is NOT Anna Granville, the discontented officer and authoress.

Apparently the original publisher (Task and Purpose) opted to use stock DOD footage to headline the public resignation.  And many of us presumed the saluting woman was the writer.  

This was brought to my attention by a colleague, Ben Armstrong, who shared the following (emphasis added by me):

You know who I feel bad for? The saluting Lieutenant in the DoD stock photo which Task & Purpose decided to use to "illustrate" the most recent "why I'm leaving" article. The woman in the photo isn't the author of the uber-hyped article. But now Duffleblog used the same stock photo and her face is all over FB for something she hasn't done, said, or was even involved with. Maybe DoD's fair use policy is nice for pictures of ships and planes, but when it comes to people the Media can really hose somebody for no reason.

One would have to surmise that the pictured officer (still serving) is not very happy about this.   

As bloggers we use cool photos for our posts because, lets face it, it adds pizzazz.  And, as Ben notes above, while that's no issue with ships and planes, we ought to be much more careful when we use pictures of people - particularly where an association between pictures and content may be made.  

Shared for your consideration and comment.


"The Wall", "The Shield", "The Team" -The Latest Batch of Commercials Take a Queue from the USMC

While I appreciate that the Marines stopped using lava monsters in their commercials long ago, they always tend to have the best ones.  Here's the latest USMC commercial...and, as usual, no mention of benefits, jobs, or college, only being a part of something greater than yourself..."The Wall":

 And here the Army talks about sports...or do they? "The Team":

And the Navy, after foundering on a Global Force for Good campaign, has also followed suit with "To get to you, they have to go through us...". Here is "The Shield":

So Air Force, it's been a year since the "Its what we do" commercial...what you got?!


CMH Recipient Dakota Meyer to ISIS: "Hopefully, one of those assholes actually shows up."

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U.S. Marine Corps veteran and Congressional Medal of Honor recipient Dakota Meyer had this message for ISIS, via Scout.com:

Let me say what a lot of us are thinking...If ISIS is using social media to track me, that's a dream come true in my book. These guys are a bunch of bullies that just prey on the weak," says Meyer. "I can't travel over there anymore now that I'm out of the Marine Corps, so having them come to me would help out a lot. ISIS targeting the U.S. military is like a sheep targeting a lion. Hopefully one of these assholes actually shows up. They'll definitely get more than they want at my place!

Visit Scout.com to read the whole piece and see a hilarious photo of how worried he is...

My main problem with the ISIS threats is the federal government asking veterans to take down any online reference to their service.  This is an absolutely ridiculous request and one from the nanny state.  Let me get this straight...we are supposed to not be proud of our service, particularly against the evil that is Islamic Fanaticism?!  What?  Should I take down the flag in front of my residence, too?  What the @#$%?!

We should be aware of the threat.  We should not fear the threat.
We should know what ISIS is capable of.  We should end that capability.

Last, Dakota Meyer and RangerUp have teamed up to create a new shirt that says it all.

Unnamed


My Address to a Middle School Class on Veteran's Day 2014

Good morning, my name is Matt H and my daughter, is one of your 8th grade classmates.  Last December, I retired from the Navy after serving 23 years of combined active and reserve service as a Navy SEAL.  I am a combat veteran having served in the city of Ramadi, Iraq where I earned the Bronze Star Medal for Valor. 

I joined the military for a few reasons.  First of all, both of my parents are veterans. But more than just that, I wanted to become a Navy SEAL because of the adventure and noble purpose that it promised.  Through those years, I've jumped out of airplanes at night over the ocean, treated young children in Africa for malaria, spent five weeks living in the jungle along the Panama Canal, planted limpet mines on the bottom of an aircraft carrier in the middle of the night, and led the ambush of four suicide bombers. 

I also wanted to be able to look anyone in the eye and tell him, “Yes, I served my country.”  It may be difficult to understand now, but believe me when I tell you that you will absolutely derive more joy and personal satisfaction from doing something for someone else than you ever will by simply doing things for your own benefit.

Serving also means that you come to understand that you are not as important as the team or the platoon.  Recognizing that the goal of the unit is more important that your individual success, allows you to form very close bonds with those around you.  This also helps you to become the most important kind of person that there is in this world.  A reliable one.  No talent or skill will take you very far if you cannot be counted upon.  Becoming a reliable friend, student, employee, or even CEO starts with understanding your true value to an organization, not its value to you.   

Nearly every day as I face life and the many challenges that it involves, I look back on my SEAL training experience and know that nothing that I will ever do will be any more difficult than that.  This is a powerful source of self-confidence and resilience that I can draw from at any time.  This power is not limited to Navy SEALs either.  All of us Veterans have had to face extreme challenges during our duty, and they have made us stronger.  My service taught me not to fear challenge, but to embrace it because I know that each time I overcome something, I become stronger for it.

Last year when a local congressman spoke to you on Veteran’s Day I believe that there was a lot of confusion.  When my daughter came home that day, she told me that a few of her classmates asked her questions about me like, “Is your dad dead?” and “Does he have a job?”  Aside from the clear insensitivity of questions such as these, I felt that there surely are many more unanswered questions from last year. 

Before I left for Iraq, I thought long and hard about what could happen to me there that could change me in a way that would be harmful.  I thought that there were three things that could happen and that I had control over only two of them.  First, was that if I faced a dire combat situation and acted in a cowardly manner, the shame of that would never leave me.  Second, that if during combat, I was to shoot or be responsible for the death of someone innocent that would leave a lasting scar on my heart.  And third, that if I were to witness an especially gruesome situation where my comrades suffered or died painfully that those visions would haunt me.

So before I left, I prayed and I asked God to protect my heart from those things, and He did.  But where I was blessed, many of my comrades were not.  Many do suffer from one or more of those afflictions, and it can be difficult to recover from it.  This is why the one question that you should NEVER ask a Veteran is, “How many people have you killed?”  This is a deeply personal matter, and one that you have no right to the answer.  As Veterans, we are entitled to your respect, but I also ask you to give Veterans your compassion as well.  All of us have accepted the safety of America as a personal responsibility and have made sacrifices on your behalf.  Veterans are not victims, we are your protectors, and perhaps someday, some of you might step forward and accept that responsibility for yourselves.