Category Archives: Military

Stories about the US or other militaries and their soldiers, civilians and equipment or policies

The NY Times Situation Report on the Niger firefight that resulted on 4 Oct. 2017….

Several different agencies , including Congress, are conducting post action investigations to find out what actually happened several weeks ago and why one Green Beret wasn’t found for 48 hours….

Bear in mind that the ‘fog of war’ is a real phenomenon that happens and that most civilians do not understand….

Things have NOT  been going good between President Trump and the family of  the last solider to be brough home for burial…

The Pentagon is trying to determine whether American forces involved in a deadly ambush in Niger this month diverted from their routine patrol to embark on an unapproved mission, military officials said on Friday.

The questions have come up because the American and Nigerien soldiers on the patrol have given conflicting accounts about whether they were simply ambushed or were attacked after trying to chase Islamic insurgents, according to military officials from both countries.

The episode has engulfed the White House in crisis and prompted demands from members of Congress for answers about what the soldiers were doing before the attack on Oct. 4.

In interviews with both the Defense Department and The New York Times, Nigerien military officials said that a lightly armed convoy of about 50 Nigerien and American soldiers gave chase to Islamic insurgents on motorcycles until the men crossed the border into Mali, then returned later to ambush the troops.

American service members, by contrast, insisted that they did not chase the insurgents but simply “noticed” them in the vicinity of the village of Tongo Tongo, Defense Department officials said. It was not until the troops interviewed village leaders and were on their way to their base, by the American account, that the insurgents ambushed the convoy, overwhelming them.

The inconsistencies are at the heart of why the Pentagon has not been forthcoming with details about what happened in Niger, according to American military officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a continuing investigation. Four Americans were killed in the attack, including three Green Berets, as well as four Nigerien soldiers. Two Americans and six Nigeriens were wounded.

The contradictions added to the major questions emerging about the attack: Had the soldiers acted beyond their planned mission without first gaining approval? And if they were given permission, who granted it?

Military officials have said that the troops were on a reconnaissance patrol, which means they almost certainly were out to collect information on the Qaeda and Islamic State groups operating in the area; the American military has a list of Islamic State leaders they are targeting. For that mission, the commander of the American team would have needed approval from at least one or two higher levels — a subcommand in Chad and a task force commander in Germany, where the United States Africa Command is based….

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The question of why American troops are operating in Africa is only asked by those who have little knowledge of the American military efforts in Africa to search for ISIS or other militain groups their…

American Special Forces units , acting undet the US Africa Command, and the Specail Operation Command have been expanding their roles since President Obama signed off on the mission..

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New Air Force One Update…Options..Saving A Billion Dollars?

The Present Air Force Boing 747-200 series jets (two of them) are more than 20 years old….

Donald Trump came into office pledging to cut One Billion dollars from the price tag the taxpayers will pay for the President of the United States new primary aircraft an Boeing 747-8 ….

Image result for air force one B-747-8 a/c

Saving what he wants isn’t gonna be THAT easy ….

These sort of things tend to have mission creep….

But the White House Military Office , The Air Force and the Defense Sec are working the project….And trying to come up with the cost savings Trump announced on his own from figures he didn’t actually understand….

Two weeks after Donald Trump threatened to kill the plan to replace aging Air Force One jets, Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg walked into Mar-a-Lago with some ideas for slashing its estimated $4.4 billion cost. In a Dec. 21 meeting with the president-elect, Muilenburg laid out four proposals. One of them would have cut about $1 billion, and Trump was soon boasting that he had saved that very amount.

But the Air Force — which oversees the jets’ acquisition and operation — rejected all of the proposals, saying that they would have produced a plane unsuited to the uniquely demanding requirements of flying the commander in chief in peace and war.

Since then, Air Force and White House officials have sought other ways to lower the cost of the aircraft, service spokeswoman Ann Stefanek said in an email. Added to some changes already in the works before Trump’s criticism, these are expected to save significant money.

It has yet to be seen whether those savings will equal the $1 billion touted by Trump; the final price tag won’t be known until next summer, Stefanek said. Air Force and industry sources have said they don’t know why Trump gave that figure.

Among the cost-cutting moves: the next Air Force Ones won’t be able to refuel in flight, Stefanek said. That’s not necessarily a big deal; the current aircraft have never made use of that capability, Air Force sources said. And unrefueled, the 747-8 variant can fly nearly 1,800 nautical miles farther than the 1990s jets it will replace, enough to go nonstop from Washington, D.C., to “all of Europe, the Middle East, South America, Africa, and the majority of Asia,” according to Muilenburg’s three-page briefing. (Defense One has seen a copy of the briefing.)

The new planes will also have largely commercial — not custom — interior furnishings…..

Of course, some operational savings will arrive simply by replacing worn-out aircraft with brand-new ones. Compared to the outgoing Air Force Ones, the jet engines on the 747-8 are both more powerful and fuel-efficient, and they emit less noise and carbon dioxide. Boeing estimates that the new planes will save $1.9 billion in operations and support costs over their expected two- to three-decade service lives.

But the acquisition cost of the next Air Force One won’t be known until sometime next year. Even with the purchase deal done for the two 747-8s, the customization work to ready them for presidential transport won’t start until 2019,…

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Ironically?

The two aircraft that will be delivered for service in about six years were built for a Russian airline in 2015,  that couldn’t pay for them…

image of a B-747-8 in Air Force VIP colors…defense-blog

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The US NAVY is looking for a Two Aircraft Carrier buy…..

To be built at the SAME Time…..

 President Donald Trump has ordered the USS Ronald Reagan to the Korean peninsula

Navy Secretary Richard V. Spencer said he asked companies to develop plans to reduce the cost of buying warships. The companies suggested that buying two aircraft carriers at the same time could yield savings, and the proposal is starting to look attractive enough for the Navy to back the plan, Mr. Spencer told the Wall Street Journal.

Congress typically allows the Pentagon to buy only one carrier at a time. Carriers can cost as much as $13 billion each.

The Navy is hoping that providing clearer requirements to industry and working with companies to improve efficiency will translate into cost savings.

Mr. Spencer would not say how much savings defense contractors are offering on the carrier deal, but said it could be significant. Getting Congress to commit in advance to an additional carrier could be difficult because it strips lawmaker of some control over funding.

“They are right at the cusp of making it worth heavy, heavy lifting,” Mr. Spencer said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal.

President Donald Trump has pledged to push for lower costs as he backs expansion of the Navy to a 350-ship fleet, more less than 300 vessels…..

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image of The strike groups of USS Carl Vinson and USS Ronald Reagan j..scout.com

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The American public is largely unaware of the price its military pays to fight the United States’ distant conflicts

Donald Trump has been taken to task for NOT acknowledging the loss of four US Special Ops Green Berets in Niger….

He addressed the issue causally yesterday…

Few people know that John Kelly, Trump’s Chief  of Staff has lost a son in Afghanistan due to land mine…

Kelly, and all the general’s surrounding President Donald Trump have had the job of sending letters and speaking the families of soldiers they commanded in combat….

While the media was HEAVLY focused on the military and war in Viet Nam, and the Middle East…That focus is gone….

Trump flexing about North Korea has American military bosses adamantly AGAINST any actually military engagement against the Korea’s…The general’s KNOW that the American public despite the media showing polls that say Americans’s are FOR the military action that Trump threatens ?

The sacrifices made by the men and women warriors are simply NOT KNOWN by average Americans….

Kelly is the most senior U.S. military officer to lose a son or daughter in Iraq or Afghanistan. He was giving voice to a growing concern among soldiers and Marines: The American public is largely unaware of the price its military pays to fight the United States’ distant conflicts. Less than 1 percent of the population serves in uniform at a time when the country is engaged in one of the longest periods of sustained combat in its history.

President Obama devoted only six sentences to the war in Afghanistan in his State of the Union address in January. The 25-second standing ovation that lawmakers lavished on the troops lasted almost as long as the president’s war remarks.

Kelly has largely shunned public attention since his speech and his son’s death. He discussed his speech and his son to provide insight into the lives and the burdens of military families.

“We are only one of 5,500 American families who have suffered the loss of a child in this war,” he said in an e-mail. “The death of my boy simply cannot be made to seem any more tragic than the others.”

…from the Washington Post March 2, 2011….

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Iraqi troop’s reclaim Kirkuk from Kurds….

American military advisors have supported , trained and worked with both the Iraqi’s and the Kurds..Relying on the Kurds when the Iraqi military was on crutches….

The Kurds in Iraq have always wanted autonomy from the rest of the country…

But among themselves…The Kurds have divisions ….

But the area involved is rich in oil field and the Kurdish group there has NOT surrendered it’s control…

The take back of Kirkuk was peaceful….

Local officials said Arab and Turkmen residents of Kirkuk, a city of about one million, fired weapons into the air as national forces drove through the city. Iraqi troops took over the provincial governor’s compound, the military command in Baghdad said.

The operation came as divisions within the Kurdish command broke into the open on Monday, with officials from a Kurdish opposition party, the Patriotic Union or Kurdistan, or P.U.K., saying that its fighters had agreed to make way for the advancing Iraqi forces even as other fighters loyal to the governing Kuristan Democratic Party, or K.D.P., continued to battle.

The government forces moved in after pesh merga fighters for the P.U.K. withdrew from Kirkuk under an agreement reached with the Iraqi military.

The regional Kurdish leader, Massoud Barzani of the K.D.P., spearheaded the referendum and included areas whose legal status is constitutionally fraught, among them Kirkuk Province and its oil fields.

Kurdish security forces loyal to his main political rival control many of the strategic points in Kirkuk, and in recent days emissaries from Baghdad had worked to negotiate their withdrawal.

Officials in Baghdad said the provincial governor, Najmaldin O. Karim, had left Kirkuk for Erbil, the capital of the autonomous region. Mr. Karim could not be reached for comment. He had been fired by Baghdad earlier this year, but remained in office because Kurdish fighters controlled the city…..

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image…Iraqis welcomed government forces advancing toward Kirkuk on Monday. CreditReuters

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Speaker Ryan…Feds MUST help Puerto Rico…But…

The Repulican Speaker of the House is backing cutrrent effort to provide disaster assistance to the American island and will visist ther tomorrow…

But because he KNOWS Trump is ever listening made sure to back Trump’s comment that the island’s people will have to work to reconstruct their island when some of the Federal help leaves…

We ALL KNOW that help rushed to the islnad will have to ramp down…

But this cerainly isn’t the time to use that comment as a foil against the mayor of San Juan ( and outspoken woman)  which Trump seems to be doing….

Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said Thursday that Puerto Rico is facing a “humanitarian crisis” and argued that the federal government has a responsibility to provide personnel and aid to the hurricane-ravaged island territory.

But Ryan also appeared to defend controversial remarks by President Trump that federal resources cannot remain in Puerto Rico “forever,” saying the territory needs to get back “on its own two feet.” The president did not make similar comments about two other regions that have been slammed by hurricanes, Houston and south Florida.

“Yes, we need to make sure that Puerto Rico can begin to stand on its own two feet,” Ryan told reporters at his weekly news conference. “They’ve already had tough fiscal problems to begin with. … We’ve got to do more to help Puerto Rico rebuild its own economy so that it can be self-sufficient.”

The speaker visited the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) headquarters last week and is leading a bipartisan congressional delegation to Puerto Rico on Friday to see firsthand the damage and recovery effort. Thousands of Puerto Ricans are still without power, water and health care, according to news reports….

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Update….

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) affirmed Thursday that it would continue to support Puerto Rico after President Trump suggested the agency may be pulled from the hurricane-ravaged island.

FEMA “will be w/Puerto Rico, [U.S. Virgin Islands], every state, territory impacted by a disaster every day, supporting throughout their response & recovery,” the agency’s deputy director of public affairs Eileen Lainez wrote on Twitter….

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The House easily passed legislation on Thursday to provide $36.5 billion in aid for communities affected by recent hurricanes and wildfires, despite concerns from some conservatives about the growing cost of disaster aid.

All of the votes in opposition were from Republicans in the 353-69 vote.

The package includes $18.7 billion for the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) disaster relief fund — including $4.9 billion for a disaster relief loan account — $16 billion to address national flood insurance program debt and $576.5 million for wildfire recovery efforts. It also provided $1.27 billion for disaster food assistance for Puerto Rico….

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Trump warns he may leave Puerto Rico to fend for its own….

Instead of trying to fix problems from the Hurricane and address problem the island, part of the US, has hand for a while?

Donald Trump, as usual?

Deals with his own ego….

And Isn’t sympathic to those who would complain about him….

He is talking about cutting and running from the island’s plight….

President Trump served notice Thursday that he may pull back federal relief workers from Puerto Rico, effectively threatening to abandon the U.S. territory amid a staggering humanitarian crisis in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.

Declaring the U.S. territory’s electrical grid and infrastructure to have been a “disaster before hurricanes,” Trump wrote Thursday that it will be up to Congress how much federal money to appropriate to the island for its recovery efforts and that relief workers will not stay “forever.”

In a trio of tweets, Trump wrote” “We cannot keep FEMA, the Military & the First Responders, who have been amazing (under the most difficult circumstances) in P.R. forever!”

Three weeks since Maria made landfall, much of Puerto Rico, an island of 3.4 million people, remains without power. Residents struggle to find clean water, hospitals are running short on medicine and commerce is slow with many businesses closed.

Trump on Thursday sought to shame the territory for its own plight. He tweeted, “Electric and all infrastructure was disaster before hurricanes.” And he quoted Sharyl Attkisson, a television journalist, as saying, “Puerto Rico survived the Hurricanes, now a financial crisis looms largely of their own making.”….

Note….

In a visit to the island last week, Vice President Pence vowed that the administration will be with Puerto Rico “every step of the way.”

“I say to all of you gathered here today to the people of Puerto Rico:  We are with you, we stand with you, and we will be with you every single day until Puerto Rico is restored bigger and better than ever before,” he said.

Trump himself made a similar promise, saying in a Sept. 29 speech, “We will not rest, however, until the people of Puerto Rico are safe.” He added, “These are great people. We want them to be safe and sound and secure. And we will be there every day until that happens.”

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Huh?

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FEMA: “Not our job to deliver water and food” to Puerto Ricans. Think I am making this up? Wrong!

That was the response Rachel got when FEMA was asked why it has been almost 3 weeks since the last hurricane hit Aibonito, a small town high in the mountains about an hour south of San Juan, and FEMA has yet to deliver a single bottle of water.

FEMA claims the roads aren’t passable,   For the record, when I say “about an hour south” I mean Google Maps puts the drive — right now — at 1 hour and 5 minutes if I take the autopista (highway).  BUT it also says there are portions of the road that are closed.  Soooo you have to take route 173 and that takes 1 hour and 24 minutes.  Maybe Google is wrong, right?  It would be nice if someone on the ground could actually make the trip…. oh wait… what’s that?  The MSNBC film crew already made the trip and it took them “about an hour and a half.”

As the MSNBC video shows, they got there no problem because the road was clear. No bridges out, no trees in the way, no mudslides, no raging rivers.  Not even bad hombres. I realize the last menace would be Mexicans and there shouldn’t be any Mexicans clogging up the roads in Puerto Rico right now. But we all know to the Trump Klan, Puerto Ricans are just Island Mexicans, so they probably worry about that sort of thing.

Presented with the fact of Maddow’s team having video evidence directly contradicting their claims,  FEMA then dropped this bombshell: Apparently, FEMA says it is the mayor’s job to distribute food and water. They are just there to help people fill out paperwork….

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White House staff nervously watch their boss who seems to be in over his head….

We ALL KNOW that Donald J. Trump IS having problems with being President of the United States…

He has little idea of what the office of the Presidency entails….

He only seems to care about being the center of attention and how he can be the winner in all things….

Image result for Trump

Vanity Fair does its piece on the situation that Trump’s staff,  the people of the county , Congress and the rest of the world are going thru with a New York Real Estate and Entertainment guy, who shouldn’t have won last November’s election , but did…..

One former official even speculated that Kelly and Secretary of Defense James Mattis have discussed what they would do in the event Trump ordered a nuclear first strike. “Would they tackle him?” the person said. Even Trump’s most loyal backers are sowing public doubts. This morning, The Washington Post quoted longtime Trump friend Tom Barrack saying he has been “shocked” and “stunned” by Trump’s behavior.

While Kelly can’t control Trump’s tweets, he is doing his best to physically sequester the president—much to Trump’s frustration. One major G.O.P. donor told me access to Trump has been cut off, and his outside calls to the White House switchboard aren’t put through to the Oval Office. Earlier this week, I reported on Kelly’s plans to prevent Trump from mingling with guests at Mar-a-Lago later this month. And, according to two sources, Keith Schiller quit last month after Kelly told Schiller he needed permission to speak to the president and wanted written reports of their conversations.

Even before Corker’s remarks, some West Wing advisers were worried that Trump’s behavior could cause the Cabinet to take extraordinary Constitutional measures to remove him from office. Several months ago, according to two sources with knowledge of the conversation, former chief strategist Steve Bannon told Trump that the risk to his presidency wasn’t impeachment, but the 25th Amendment—the provision by which a majority of the Cabinet can vote to remove the president. When Bannon mentioned the 25th Amendment, Trump said, “What’s that?” According to a source, Bannon has told people he thinks Trump has only a 30 percent chance of making it the full term….

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Allies see signs that Trump is frustrated with Kelly and increasingly unwilling to be managed, even just a little. The person close to the White House said the two men had engaged in “shouting matches” in recent days. (Hannity declined to comment about his role in advising the president on immigration policy.)

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image…abcnews.go.com

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Trump threatens NBC’s right to broadcast over leaked Nuke story….

Today’s leak of a meeting in which Donald Trump asked his national security team for more nuclear weapons and was talked down has not fit into Trump view that HE can do what he wants and ‘win’….

So he is going after the messenger

Image result for Trump mad

NBC….

Trump and others have criticized the media continually….

Most of us accept the First Amendment idea that there is ‘Free Speech’ in this country….But?

Donald Trump is now the President…

And when he makes off the cuff remarks?

They get a different view then when he was an another New York Real Estate guy….

The mention of going after NBC’s broadcast licenses as an ay for Trump to beat down stories he doesn’t like isn’t gonna make the media back down…..

President Donald Trump on Wednesday suggested that NBC’s broadcast license should be pulled as punishment after NBC News published a report stating that the president sought a dramatic increase in the nation’s nuclear arsenal.

“Fake @NBCNews made up a story that I wanted a ‘tenfold’ increase in our U.S. nuclear arsenal. Pure fiction, made up to demean. NBC = CNN!” Trump wrote on Twitter Wednesday morning, equating the two TV news outlets he has most often lashed out against. “With all of the Fake News coming out of NBC and the Networks, at what point is it appropriate to challenge their License? Bad for country!”

It is the second time in as many weeks that Trump has felt compelled to attack NBC News, which reported last week that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson came close to resigning last summer and called the president a “moron” following a meeting with members of the national security team and members of the cabinet. It was at that meeting, NBC News reported Wednesday, that Trump said he wanted a nearly tenfold increase in the U.S. nuclear stockpile…..

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image…politicususa.com

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Tillerson called Donald Trump a ‘fucking moron’ because he wanted MORE US Nukes….

Continuing the narrative that the President of the United States of America thinks he’s a Master of an Alternate Universe it is now reported that during a July meeting of his National Security Advisors Trump told them he wanted to increase the countries nuclear arsenal TEN FOLD…..

Image result for Trump national security team

The president’s comments during the Pentagon meeting in July came in response to a chart shown during the meeting on the history of the U.S. and Russia’s nuclear capabilities that showed America’s stockpile at its peak in the late 1960s, the officials said. Some officials present said they did not take Trump’s desire for more nuclear weapons to be literally instructing the military to increase the actual numbers. But his comments raised questions about his familiarity with the nuclear posture and other issues, officials said.

Two officials present said that at multiple points in the discussion, the president expressed a desire not just for more nuclear weapons, but for additional U.S. troops and military equipment.

Any increase in America’s nuclear arsenal would not only break with decades of U.S. nuclear doctrine but also violate international disarmament treaties signed by every president since Ronald Reagan. Nonproliferation experts warned that such a move could set off a global arms race.

“If he were to increase the numbers, the Russians would match him, and the Chinese” would ramp up their nuclear ambitions, Joe Cirincione, a nuclear expert and MSNBC contributor, said, referring to the president.

“There hasn’t been a military mission that’s required a nuclear weapon in 71 years,” Cirincione said.

Details of the July 20 meeting, which have not been previously reported, shed additional light on tensions among the commander-in-chief, members of his Cabinet and the uniformed leadership of the Pentagon stemming from vastly different world views, experiences and knowledge bases.

The men at the table it is reported where at first flabbergasted…Then spend some time explaining how doing such a thing was legally difficult and practically difficult ….

The meeting was a roller coaster.*….After which Tillerson expressed his view of his boss out loud….

Trump is pressing his advisors to do something they DO NOT want to do….Present military options to deal with North Korea….They KNOW there are few that do NOT result in possible HUGE casualties and deaths for South Korean civilians and American soldiers…

The American military and national security leaders are so worried the Dog believes that this story has been leaked to warn members of Congress and the public of what they are dealing with in a Commander-in-Chief….

Some officials in the Pentagon meeting were rattled by the president’s desire for more nuclear weapons and his understanding of other national security issues from the Korean peninsula to Iraq and Afghanistan, the officials said.

Trump , of course has become aware of the leaked story and is attacking it….

At some point people HAVE to become afraid of who and what they have in the American White House….

Our very lives and well being may depend on it….

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The Pentagon [July 20, 2017] meeting was also attended by Vice President Mike Pence, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Defense Secretary James Mattis, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs General Joseph Dunford, Vice Chairman Gen. Paul Selva, Undersecretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan, Stephen Bannon, who served then as Trump’s chief strategist, Jared Kushner who is a senior adviser to the president and Reince Preibus who was then chief of staff. Sean Spicer who was then White House spokesman, and Keith Schiller who was Director of Oval Office Operations at the time, also accompanied Trump to the Pentagon that day…..

From above link….

Image….BBC.com …(7 April 2017)

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Defense Sec Mattis wants his General’s to speak up…

Mattis has told his top uniformed general staff to become more vocal with good reason…

He wants them to tell the Congress what they want and need…

Image result for Mattis and the Joint Chiefs of staffThat’;s the way it has been done in the past…But…Mattis HIMSELF spends little time asking for stuff and most of the time cleaning up behind his boss Donald Trump…

General’s, who are political animals and solders have to be wary about getting on the wrong side of a Commander-in-Chief who campaigned with a slogan that he ‘knew more’ then the general’s….

They don’t have the luxury of Mattis, who it appears is the only staff member that Trump will let counter his tweeter comments….

On Friday, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis instructed top commanders to speak to the media more freely, Defense Onehas learned.

The secretary is hoping to end a misperception among some senior leaders that they should keep quiet, in part because he wants them to speak up on the looming budget battle in Congress, according to a senior defense official.

Mattis gave his guidance at Friday’s closed-door Senior Leadership Conference, a Pentagon gathering of generals and admirals that includes the combatant commanders, or COCOMs, who are the senior officers in the U.S. military chain of command.

“Communications is the job of the commander, not just the PAO,” Mattis told a roomful of 4-stars, according to a description of the meeting by Pentagon press secretary Dana White. She offered that description in an email sent Friday to the top public affairs officers of the U.S. military’s combatant commands, including at NATO, in Brussels; Central Command, in Tampa; and Pacific Command, in Hawaii.

“I realize there may be a perception that we have been keeping the media at arm’s length, but that is not the case and we’re doing our best to dispel that rumor and continue to be transparent with our press corps,” White said in the email. “Please communicate to your respective senior leaders that we want them to feel free, even obligated, to speak, in their lane, about their efforts and to use our OSD PA [Office of the Secretary of Defense Public Affairs] team resources to help along the way.”….

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image..stripes.com

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The last of ISIS fighters in Iraq surrender….

The number involved numbers over 1,000…..

President Obama started a campaign to get rid of the terrorist group that at one time controlled 1/3 of Iraq and Syria and committed atrocities against the defenseless ….In defeat?….Those left seem to be a shadow of the organization it once was….

The Trump admin is finishing the job mounted by American and others nations troops….

There are more of them though, spread around the planet in small groups who have fled the Middle East….

For an extremist group that has made its reputation on its ferociousness, with fighters who would always choose suicide over surrender, the fall of Hawija has been a notable turning point. The group has suffered a string of humiliating defeats in Iraq and Syria, but the number of its shock troops who turned themselves in to Kurdish officials at the center in Dibis was unusually large, more than 1,000 since last Sunday.

The fight for Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, took nine months, and by comparison, relatively few Islamic State fighters surrendered. Tal Afar fell next, and more quickly, in only 11 days. Some 500 fighters surrendered there.

The Iraqi military ousted the Islamic State, also known as ISIS and ISIL, from Hawija in 15 days, saying it had taken its forces only three days of actual heavy fighting before most of the extremists grabbed their families and ran. According to Kurdish officials, they put up no fight at all, other than planting bombs and booby traps.

Seen up close, the fighters’ pretense of bravado soon disappears.

Their shoes were taken from them, their pockets emptied and their belts discarded, and, as they stood facing the wall, the backs of their dishdashas were stained with the evidence that some of them had not been to a toilet in days….

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More US soldiers going to Puerto Rico to help…

The island needs serious help…..

And the military is the only organization that is capable to handle the task….

The United States plans to have 17,000 military personnel in Puerto Rico to aid disaster recovery efforts after Hurricane Maria, a Democratic senator briefed on the plan told reporters on Saturday.

Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal, speaking to news media after a bipartisan Congressional visit to the island, said Brigadier General Jose Reyes, Assistant Adjutant General of the Puerto Rico National Guard, told Blumenthal that “there will be 17,000 military personnel,” including 8,600 National Guard troops from 13 U.S. states.

“That’s a tremendous ramp-up,” Blumenthal said.

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis testified in Congress on Tuesday that there are “over 10,000 troops” in Puerto Rico.

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Trump disses his generals….

In a story NOT widely reported, but talked about by John King on CNN this afternoon?

Donald Trump scolds his cadre of retired general’s who form his national security team for NOT giving him ‘timely’ military options to problems….

Huh?

As far as this Dog can see?

There are NOT military options to be given in the two biggest hot spots today….North Korea and Iran….

The generals under Sec of Defense Mattis have had to go around calming people down from thinking that a military option is the solution to diplomatic problems….

Despite Trump (or whoever wanted to throw down against Mattis) whose last job was selling Real Estate ….. things should stay exactly the way they have been…

Trump can go play golf while the professionals handle the problems…

President Trump told senior military leaders Thursday night that he wants them to give him military options “at a much faster pace” when national-security emergencies erupt around the world.

“I know that government bureaucracy is slow, but I am depending on you to overcome the obstacles of bureaucracy,” Mr. Trump said at a White House meeting with Defense Secretary James Mattis, Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr. and others.

The president, gesturing to the military chiefs around a table, told reporters, “Maybe it’s the calm before the storm.”

He didn’t elaborate.

Their agenda included denuclearizing North Korea, putting an end to Iran’s “continued aggression and nuclear ambitions,” and ridding the world of terrorism “as much as it can be done,” Mr. Trump said…..

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House Republicans finish a $4.1 trillion fiscal 2018 Budget blueprint….

They have a plan and are trying to reach for enacting a HUGE Tax Cut….

They had a plan TWICE on healthcare….

You KNOW what happened with THAT….

Image result for paul ryan

The party’s struggles have extended well beyond its failure to repeal the Affordable Care Act, jeopardizing an annual congressional responsibility that the GOP once relished: passing a budget. House Republicans finally approved their $4.1 trillion fiscal 2018 blueprint on Thursday—nearly six months late and over the defections of 18 of their members.

Unlike past years, the importance of the House GOP budget is not its proposed overhaul of Medicare and Medicaid, or even the trillions of dollars in cuts it envisions for federal spending. Those ideas likely won’t make their way into law. But by clearing the resolution on a party-line 219-206 vote, Republicans took the first necessary step toward their ultimate goal of enacting an ambitious tax-reform plan by the end of the year. The budget again unlocks the procedure known as reconciliation that could allow the GOP to rewrite the tax code without having to overcome a Democratic filibuster in the Senate. It’s the same process Republicans have tried—without success so far—to use to repeal and replace Obamacare.

“We haven’t reformed this tax system since 1986,” Speaker Paul Ryan said shortly before the vote. “We need to pass this budget so we can help bring more jobs, fairer taxes, and bigger paychecks for people across this country…..

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image…washingtonpost.com

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