This assessment by "an unofficial brain trust" within the Interagency was commissioned by Major General Nagata, Commander, US Special Operations Command Central.
Another piece by this Mattis guy. Once again, he seems to know what he's talking about.
A New American Grand Strategy by someone called "James Mattis." Sounds like he knows what he's talking about. He must have an interesting background.
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.
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.
Have some appropriate motivation. NSFW, unless your job is awesome.
David French in the National Review explains why our "moderate allies" seem especially prone to dropping their guns and fleeing.
All of this should be elementary, but the increasing lack of combat experience in the highest echelons of our government suggests it’s not. At the most elementary level, a soldier has to find the moral courage to overcome primal fear. And when fighting jihadists, the Iraqi soldier or Syrian moderate faces a sudden, terrifying reality.
They are coming, and they will not stop.
That is the reality of fighting disciplined armies, but it is also the reality of fighting fanatics — of people who give the impression that they don’t care whether they live or die, that the normal rules of human preservation have been utterly discarded, and they exist only to kill or be killed. In the face of such ferocity, there is but one response:
We shall not be moved.
This is the response of the American fighting man...
This is so fundamental that it explains why storied units like the 3rd Infantry Division go to such trouble to maintain their unit history, and teach it to new members. The sense of belonging to a tradition like this, and having a heritage to uphold or to shame, is one of the things that motivates young men to stand their ground. They know their predecessors went through terrors just as bad, and somehow managed to find the way. They know it can be done. They just have to do it too.
When you are fighting an army that literally believes that God is on its side, you are going to need a tremendous amount of moral courage. A force must be found, or made, that has such courage if this enemy is to be defeated. It will not be the forces supporting a corrupt government that has deserved little loyalty.
Wednesday I posted a piece indicating the need for NORTHCOM to coordinate any advanced response to the Ebola outbreak. Just a few short hours after that, Pres. Obama announces that he is ordering the National Guard and the Reserves to respond to Africa and assisting with Ebola efforts there.
This is interesting in many many ways, and many are a bit confused and concerned about this. I'm still mixed, not yet knowing which units will be selected and from where. My main concern is that a large group of these units have extensive deployments in their backgrounds already, and this just piles it on. But why these 'backup' units?
Several issues make this probably necessary- one, the Reserves now hold 67% of the Army's Combat Service Support units. Back in the late 1990's, Guard and Reserve units 'exchanged' roles; the Guard picked up more combat units, and the Reserves picked up CSS. Here in Colorado, the Guard ended up with a Field Artillery brigade, and the reserves have medical units and PsyOp units. The Guard also picked up a role supporting NORTHCOM headquarters- the first ones to have direct slots in a COCOM. The Reserves will have a huge role in providing MEDREP missions to Africa.
Another problem is that AFRICOM does not have any 'assigned' units like CENTCOM and EUCOM and NORTHCOM. One, it's too 'new', and two, its mission sets are not fully staffed out. While there are QRF units assigned out of Italy and Med areas, AFRICOM missions are usually supported from CONUS units, with fillers from CENTCOM and EUCOM; rarely PACOM might throw them a few bones. So, in order to fill out the mission planning, Reserve and Guard units are going to have to step in, for now.
Speaking of NORTHCOM, it looks more and more like they are going to have to step in to coordinate agencies with this preparedness in the U.S. As I mentioned, this is a fully-fleshed out role for NORTHCOM; we drilled responses to 'pandemic' situations on a weekly basis. Whether the pandemic situation was 'stand-alone' or part of a broader response (say, a terrorist attack occurs, and as a result of some mass movement, an outbreak occurs among that populace) we had to prepare to respond. We never knew whether the pandemic response was the 'key' event, or something else. Several times it was the only event; H1N1 was usually the trigger event, but the responses for Ebola and others would be very very similar. So NORTHCOM is quite prepared to coordinate this without going full-militia. So far, Texas (or any other state) hasn't declared any disaster response for Ebola, which would almost automatically flush NORTHCOM out and require response. (I must explain that Emergency Response Functions (ESFs) 6 and 8 were the main ones. This is in addition to the Defense Act of 2005 that allows the President powers in pandemic situations.)
One concern: how long of a lead is required to get the Reserves and Guard into theater? While they have response guys that can go within 72 hours or so, full units are going to take a minimum of 45 - 60 days to train-up for this. Do we have time for that?
One last consideration: dropping the 173d or the 18th ABN into the situation would NOT be likely; politically, sending our top-line first responders would look VERY bad. Not just for 'escalating' the situation, but, sending the message that Ebola is more of a concern than ISIS. Why would we send the 82d to Africa, but not Iraq to help?
This response to Ebola in Africa, as well as here, is going to get very interesting over the weekend.
BELOW POST UPDATE: 9:10am- President has named Ron Klain as the 'Ebola Czar.' I'm extremely curious why, since there are people in NORTHCOM, as well as those who have served there, that are eminently qualified and knowledgeable about this stuff. This is PURELY a political play to keep it off the headlines.
Buy This Book! "Violence of Action: The Untold Stories of the 75th Ranger Regiment in the War on Terror"
If you want to read accounts of American badasses with big hearts and even better senses of humor, then this is the book you should buy. It covers the history of the Rangers in the War on Terror - missions from the assaults into Iraq and Afghanistan, to Jessica Lynch, Rhino, Anaconda, Winter Strike, recovery missions, you name it. These are personal accounts, often humorous, that are all together for the first time, under one cover.
Here is a taste of Violence of Action...
...It was the night of November the 28th, and it was beginning to look like we would have a night off. Usually, if we didn’t have a mission by about seven in the evening, chances were we wouldn’t be going out at all that period of darkness. That night was a little different though, as the number one high value target in Iraq at the time came up on our radar. He was the leader of the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI), which was an Al-Qaeda front organization. This was one bad dude, and the intelligence that set this mission in motion was reporting that he and many other HVTs would be having a meeting at a wealthy Iraqi’s house in Al-Qaim, Iraq just outside of the Syrian border.
Since this mission came down so late in the evening, a lot more effort had to go into the planning process, especially since the target was a three-hour flight away. The decision was made that our platoon would be flying out in three MH-60 Blackhawk helicopters, and since we wouldn’t have time to walk in, we would be landing right on the ‘X’. The target building was rather large, so one squad would land to the front of the building just outside the courtyard walls, one squad (primary assault) would land right on the roof of the building, and the squad I was with would be landing to the rear of the building. This was a pretty big fish, and he reportedly always traveled with a well-armed security detail. The word was put out to expect a gunfight.
It was almost December, and as we stood on the flight line in Balad it became very clear to all of us that it would be a chilly ride out there. The birds started to spin up, and before long we were boarding the black special operations helicopters for the long journey west. Generally, the helicopters we ride to work on have the doors removed so that we can get off the bird faster, and also so we can fit more people in by having guys riding with their legs dangling out. In the wintertime it is too cold to fly without doors on though, but unfortunately for us the helicopter crews had not put them back on yet. This made for possibly one of the most miserable flights of my life. We had a three-hour flight ahead of us, and because of my position in the aircraft, I had the cold wind blowing directly into me the whole time. My hands were numb, my face was numb, I couldn’t move my legs, and I had snot frozen all over the right side of my face. I must have looked like a mess!
By the time we reached the refueling point that was the last (and only) stop on the way to the target building, I absolutely hated my life. Despite the miserable flight, I was still excited to be on this mission though, excited that we were going after public enemy number one in Iraq. This mission was the Ranger bread and butter – land on a high value targets house in the middle of the night to capture or, if he so chooses, kill him. Nowhere else in the military will you simultaneously love and hate your job as much as you do on any given day in a Ranger battalion.
After the brief stop to top off the gas tank, we were back in the air with just a short trip to the target building. I had checked and re-checked everything I was carrying, making sure I was ready for what would inevitably be a shootout when we landed. Before I knew it, the ‘sixty seconds’ call came, and we had the lights of Al-Qaim flashing by below us. My adrenaline began to pump ferociously and I prematurely located and grabbed onto the D-ring on the end of my safety line, which kept me safely inside the helicopter until I was ready to de-plane the aircraft. You don’t want to be frantically trying to un-hook when the bird is landing on the ‘X’ like we were tonight. My right hand on the pistol grip of my rifle and my left on the D-ring, the thirty-second call rang out. Here we go, I thought to myself, teeth beginning to grind together in anticipation. The bird began to flare and descend, and the brown out from the rotor wash that ensued was one of the worst I had ever seen. Suddenly and without warning, the helicopter jerked violently back up in the air just before landing. Fuck, I thought to myself, we must be taking fire! Maybe an RPG was shot at us? We were warned to expect them during the mission briefing. Shit just got real; please Lord, just let us get off this bird so we can fight!
Just as soon as we jerked back up in the air, we were coming down again what would be a block further away from the target building. I still had my left hand on the D-ring, and as I felt the helicopter jolt from landing, I pressed the gate of the D-ring open, releasing it from the floor and quickly shoved it in my left pocket while simultaneously jumping off the aircraft. Without missing a beat, we were in a full sprint towards the target building trying to cover the extra block we gained as fast as possible...
So, the Marine Corps has been running some tests. I know you've read about the top-line ones, such as women testing at the Infantry Officers' Course. But it's a much broader effort, and some of the results have begun to be analyzed by independent agencies.
Now, remember that these are women who have already succeeded in becoming Marines, and have further self-selected by volunteering to be tested as examples of female strength and endurance. They're the very best, in other words, and deserve a great deal of respect both for achieving the title of Marine and for putting themselves forward in this way.
So look at the results, and let's talk about whether this policy is the right one for the US military.