Tag Archives: Defense

Will the Pentagon do it’s required review of its finances ?

The American military budget is up around  $500 Billion…..

But NO one has ever let the bean counters find where ALL the money is spent….

What has prevented the Pentagon from being examined this way before? The answer lies somewhere “between lethargy and complexity,” said Gordon Adams, a distinguished fellow at the Stimson Center who was the top budget official for national security in the Clinton White House. “It hasn’t been done ever,” he told me, “partly because it’s incredibly complicated to do and also because there’s not a great, powerful will in the building to do it.”

The complexity of the project dates back to the Civil War, Adams said, when the Army and the Navy set up their own separate accounting systems. The Air Force also went its own way after its creation following World War II, and the military build-ups of the last four decades scrambled the department’s financial records many times over. The explosion of military contractors since 9/11 has made scrubbing the books harder still. Adams estimated that an audit would have to account for 15 million to 20 million contracting transactions each year. The Pentagon has spent several billion dollars over the last seven years just trying to consolidate its accounting systems in preparation for a potential audit.

Despite the ramp-up costs, the project has never risen to be a top priority; the Pentagon has simply been too busy fighting wars. “The military has repeatedly argued that they need to focus on the war effort and accountability can come later,” said Kori Schake, a fellow at the Hoover Institution who previously served in a variety of national-security positions in the government. That excuse carried more weight with lawmakers in the years when the United States had hundreds of thousands of troops fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.


The US and Israel agree to $3.8 Billion in annual Military Aid for 10 Years…

President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu may not get along personally…

But the United States STILL gives Israeli’s more money than ANY country for its Defense…..

Israel and the United States have reached an agreement that will provide Israel an unprecedented amount of military aid over a decade.

The State Department said the agreement, known as a memo of understanding, will be signed Wednesday afternoon. Jacob Nagel, Israel’s acting national security adviser, arrived in Washington on Tuesday morning to sign on behalf of his country.

The agreement is expected to give Israel as much as $3.8 billion a year over 10 years, more aid than the United States has ever provided to any country. That represents a significant increase over the $3.1 billion the United States gives annually now, a figure that increases to about $3.5 billion a year with aid supplements approved by Congress. That is also much lower than the $4 billion to $5 billion a year that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sought.

Netanyahu appears to have agreed to some other major concessions. The newspaper Haaretz reported that he agreed to limit Israel’s ability to lobby Congress for more aid, unless it is at war. The Israeli leader also agreed that Israel will not ask Congress for more aid to develop missile defense systems.

In another concession that was controversial in Israel’s ­defense industry, Netanyahu agreed to phase out a special arrangement that for decades has allowed Israel to spend 26 percent of U.S. aid on defense research, development and procurement. No other country receiving U.S. funding is allowed to do so. But Israel was granted that exception in the 1980s so it could build up its nascent defense infrastructure. With Israel’s defense industry now thriving, the Obama administration wanted U.S. aid directed to American companies providing goods and services….


Some in the the US House want to stop cuts to the Army and Marines numbers

While the Congress has passed legislation manadating cuts in the countries budget….

Actions by ISIS and terrorist attacks have pushed some in Congress to ask for moreAmerican troops to go BACK to the Midddle East….

As the cuts in service members begin to take hold….

Those memebers of Congress are getting second thoughts….

Defense hawks are planning to introduce legislation on Thursday that would end troop cuts for the Army and Marine Corps.

The bill, to be introduced by Rep. Chris Gibson (R-N.Y.) and supported by Rep. Mike Turner (R-Ohio), comes two days after the administration released its 2017 budget request that includes reducing the Army to 460,000 active duty forces by the end of next year.

That number is slated to shrink further, to 450,000, by the end of 2018. The Marine Corps is slated to be reduced from 184,000 to 182,000 by the end of 2018.

Turner and Gibson say those numbers are too low, and they want to halt the action so that the next president will have more flexibility for dealing with future threats.

“To put it into perspective, when you look at land forces, the day before the 11th of September, 2001, you were looking at essentially for the active component, 480,000, almost 481,000,” Gibson said, referring to the Army’s levels.

“But these plans, the administration right now plans to take it all the way down to 450,000 in the active component and 335,000 in the National Guard, and the same with the Army Reserve, I think they’re taking it down too low,” he added…


2 Democratic Senator’s express support for US Combat Air Controllers on the frontline against ISIL…

I’ve be going back and forth with Jack a regular here @ the PDog on combat troops….

I have pointed out that the Commander-in-Chief has been adamant that NO combat troops engage in DIRECT combat against the Islamic State forces…..

Jack has said that American and Allied troops WILL be needed….

Well, it seems that we have a few (2) DEMOCRATIC Senators who want to walk the combat troops fight thing half way….

With US and Allied air strikes being carried out…These guys are now suggesting that Special Operators that are Combat Air Controllers be allowed to be inserted with local’s in their fight against  ISIL….In Iraq and Syria…..AND, in addition, they are talking about specific language that Ok’s OTHER special operators , that act as advisor’s , to go into combat operations with the troops from Iraq…..

This would NOT be an Ok for full combat operation by American troops in the tens of thousands…..

But it could be a move in that direction….

As the piece below points out….

President Obama will probably NOT fight this since it will give Congress some of the ownership on the ‘War on Terror’…..

Two key Congressional Democrats leading the debate for a Congressional resolution authorizing the ISIL campaign said on Sunday that they favor giving Obama permission to deploy specialized soldiers, including so-called “spotters” who can call in highly specific coordinates for airstrikes.
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“Congress may be willing to endure small numbers of spotters or Special Forces” fighting alongside Iraqi and Kurdish troops, said Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.). “I’m open to that.”
“I’ve become convinced that this notion of having folks to help with spotting and targeting is probably appropriate,” said Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.).

Kaine and Schiff spoke to POLITICO on the sidelines of the Halifax International Security Forum held in Canada over the weekend, which was attended by a large Congressional delegation and where the emerging U.S. strategy toward ISIL was a central theme.

The two Democrats’ comments echoed recent suggestions by current and former Obama administration officials, including former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who have said that the next phase in the fight against ISIL may require a more active American presence on the ground in Iraq and Syria.

Earlier this month, Joints Chiefs of Staff chairman Martin Dempsey said that “we’re certainly considering” the idea of a specialized ground contingent, although Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said a week ago that he has not received such a recommendation from Dempsey.


US supplies Kurds in fight for Kobani with small arms and ammo…

Turkey may not be happy with this…

But the US has cast it faith against with ISIS with the Kurds , and wants to not be just standing by while the battle for Kobani goes on ….

American cargo aircraft dropped weapons and supplies on Sunday to the embattled Syrian town of Kobani, but Washington isn’t sure how much longer the Kurdish fighters there can hold out against terrorists of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

“Obviously there are no guarantees in what is a very difficult fight on the ground,” a senior administration official told reporters on Sunday night.

Even so, President Barack Obama ordered the Air Force to drop small arms, ammunition and medical supplies drawn from the stockpiles of Iraq’s Kurdish forces, officials said. Kobani is just inside Syria’s border with Turkey; Obama phoned his


Benghazi Update 7/10/14…Two attacks…The ‘Fog of War’ in the American Response…..

The Associated Press by way of Politico does a summary of things and updates that the US Military (Not State Department) NOW believes that there was TWO attacks on the Consulate in Benghazi, Libya the day US Ambassador Steven died along with 3 others….

The report from retired General Ham , who did the after action report, points to misdirections, secret operations, communications failures and lack backup assets available on the day the situation developed….

It is a ‘fog of war’ scenario , and it was NOT the US at its best….

But the situation was fluid and seems to involve a spontaneous part and well planned out follow up action ……

Newly revealed testimony from top military commanders involved in the U.S. response to the Benghazi attacks suggests that the perpetrators of a second, dawn attack on a CIA complex probably were different from those who penetrated the U.S. diplomatic mission the evening before and set it ablaze, killing Ambassador Chris Stevens and another American.

The second attack, which killed two security contractors, showed clear military training, retired Gen. Carter Ham told Congress in closed-door testimony released late Wednesday. The assault probably was the work of a new team of militants, seizing on reports of violence at the diplomatic mission the night before and hitting the Americans while they were most vulnerable.

The testimony, which The Associated Press was able to read ahead of its release, could clarify for the first time the events of Sept. 11, 2012, that have stirred bitter recriminations in the U.S., including Republican-led congressional investigations and campaign-season denunciations of the Obama administration, which made inaccurate statements about the Libyan attacks. The testimony underscores a key detail that sometimes has been lost in the debate: that the attacks were two distinct events over two days on two different buildings, perhaps by unrelated groups.

The U.S. government still has not fully characterized the first attack in which, according to Ham and eight other military officers, men who seemed familiar with the lightly protected diplomatic compound breached it and set it on fire, killing Stevens and communications specialist Sean Smith. A disorganized mob of looters then overran the facility.

In testimony to two House panels earlier this year, the officers said that commanders didn’t have the information they needed to understand the nature of the attack, that they were unaware of the extent of the U.S. presence in Benghazi at the time and they were convinced erroneously for a time that they were facing a hostage crisis without the ability to move military assets into place that would be of any use.

The testimony reveals how little information the military had on which to base an urgent response.


Can President Obama switch to the Asian theatre?








A bit more than a year ago the White House and Pentagon came out with this grand move to switch up their Foreign Policy and Defense focus from the Middle East to Asia…..

The West was downsizing in the Middle East, The Russian’s where our friends and China was flexing in the South China Sea….


Things haven’t gone quite that way have they?

President Barack Obama is heading to Asia this week with a simple message: The pivot is real.
The Marine Corps is beefing up its deployments to Guam and Australia. The Navy is sending more ships to Japan. And Obama, who leaves Tuesday, could use his stop in the Philippines to announce that Manila and Washington have finally agreed on new U.S. military rotations there, more than 20 years after the last American troops left. He’s also visiting Japan, South Korea and Malaysia.

The White House’s problem is that even after years of talking about the strategic “rebalance” to the western Pacific, the president and his administration still face a wall of skepticism from regional governments and critics inside Washington. Obama and his top officials love to talk about focusing on Asia, the argument goes, but they do not walk the walk.

The Pentagon’s budget is projected to remain flat at best. The military services that were supposed to enforce Washington’s commitment to Asian security are shrinking. Their ships, aircraft and equipment are aging. Meanwhile, neither Republicans nor Democrats in Congress appear to seriously expect anything to stop the resumption of sequestration in fiscal 2016.

China and the major Asian powers, meanwhile, have begun a regional arms buildup on their own.
“The Asia-Pacific shift is going to happen. The question is whether we will be ready for it, whether we will be prepared for it,” said Virginia Republican Rep. Randy Forbes, an outspoken critic of the administration’s defense policies. “What was wrong was for them to cut all the resources out so they couldn’t actually make that pivot.”

And it’s about more than money, said Robert Hathaway, director of the Wilson Center’s Asia Program — America’s Asian allies worry about its ability to keep its eye on the ball.



Conservatives don’t even want to Ok undocumented illegals serving in the Military…

It’s alright for them to take a bullet for THIS country…

But the Conservatives don’t want to give them citizenship?

The view is NOT shared by a lot of other Republicans though….

The effort is led by Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.), one of the most vocal critics of immigration reform that would include a pathway to legal status or citizenship for current undocumented immigrants. It comes after Breitbart News reported an effort from Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Calif.) to include a legalization proposal for so-called Dreamers who serve in the military in the annual defense authorization bill.

“I oppose using the NDAA to push any immigration agenda,” Brooks wrote in the letter asking colleagues to join his effort. “That is why I ask you to sign a letter to House leadership informing them that you oppose using the NDAA to push an immigration agenda of any kind.

“If immigration legislation is addressed by the House, it should be done so via the proper process, not by attaching it to must pass legislation,” the letter continues.

Denham has been a vocal backer of allowing young undocumented immigrants to eventually obtain legal status through military service. He drafted the so-called ENLIST Act – which stands for “Encourage New Legalized Immigrants to Start Training” – that allows immigrants who came here illegally before the age of 15 and who are able to enlist in the military to qualify for permanent residency in the United States.

Despite the fierce pushback from the hard-right lawmakers in the House Republican Conference over Denham’s push, the policy itself is generally non-controversial. Denham’s legislation currently has 42 co-sponsors, including pro-reform Republicans such as Mario Diaz-Balart of Florida and Devin Nunes of California, as well as conservatives in the conference like South Carolina Reps. Trey Gowdy and Mick Mulvaney…..


The FAA and the Drone Wars….


The word ‘Drone’ is what the media has used too describe all sized unmanned motorized flying things…..

There is HUGE difference in those whatever’s….

The Military uses unmanned aircraft the size of your sofa to the size of a bus…..

THOSE Aircraft operate by pilots or sophisticated guidance systems that talk to satellites….

They are  flown by points that can see FROM the aircraft…..

The Politico piece below is addressing the use of small, miniature drones that mimic the one’s you can get at a toy or hobby store….

The small drone’s are NEVER gonna be a serious problem for the FAA or manned aircraft….

Even a Piper Cub would just fly thru the small ones or their wake would down them…They  weight a couple of pounds at most….

But medium to big unmanned aircraft really do NOT belong in the nation’s crowded airways at this time……

Thanks to falling prices, spotty enforcement and the fact that it’s almost impossible to spot the devices being used, the FAA is often powerless to halt the growing drone swarm. Retailers freely sell the tiny planes, quadcopters and hexacopters for as little as a few hundred dollars, and entrepreneurs continually come up with creative uses like wedding photography and crop monitoring — along with delivering beer and dropping off dry-cleaning.

The result, observers and drone users warn, could be a Wild, Wild West in the nation’s skies. As small drone operators grow used to flying them without the FAA’s permission, they could become less inclined to obey any rules the agency puts in place. And with the cost of the technology continuing to drop, the drones could eventually become far too ubiquitous for the agency to police.

Meanwhile, the FAA is lagging in meeting a congressional mandate to allow commercial drones to share the skies legally.

“Most people want to comply with the FAA rules,” said Ted Ellett, a former FAA general counsel who is now a partner specializing in aviation at the law firm Hogan Levells. “But the more the FAA acts like a big daddy, behemoth government agency that is imposing excessive restrictions, the more the feeling of ‘I’m an American, they can’t tell me what to do’ kicks in. And that’s a real danger for the FAA.”

Plenty of drone users are going ahead without waiting for the agency.

“A lot of our members would like to start businesses using this technology,” said Timothy Reuter, the founder of the Drone User Group Network in Washington. “Some of them are waiting for the regulations to open up. Others, honestly, aren’t.”

The FAA says it’s committed to ensuring that its drone regulations protect public safety.

“The rulemaking process is deliberative and comprehensive,” the agency said in a statement Friday that referred to drones by the FAA’s preferred term, “Unmanned Aircraft Systems.”



The cost of medium to big unmanned aircraft have kept them in the hands of the military and other government organizations , who DO work the FAA in their usage….

And while the piece points to fun and freedom of using drones….NO ONE wants to see a manned aircraft have an incident with a drone that could harm people…..

photo of a Global Hawk UAV…..golbalsecurity.org

Reports of sexual assault in the military are up 50%….

Seems like all the noise and attention on the subject has embolden solider ‘s to come forward and report more incidents….

According to early data obtained by The Associated Press, there were more than 5,000 reports of sexual assault filed during the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, compared to the 3,374 in 2012. Of those 2013 reports, about 10 percent involved incidents that occurred before the victim got into the military, up from just 4 percent only a year ago. That increase, officials said, suggests that confidence in the system is growing and that victims are more willing to come forward.

Asked about the preliminary data, defense officials were cautious in their conclusions. But they said surveys, focus groups and repeated meetings with service members throughout the year suggest that the number of actual incidents — from unwanted sexual contact and harassment to violent assaults — has remained largely steady.

“Given the multiple data points, we assess that this is more reporting,” said Col. Alan R. Metzler, deputy director of the Pentagon’s sexual assault prevention and response office. He also noted that more victims are agreeing to make official complaints, rather than simply seeking medical care without filing formal accusations.

The military has long struggled to get victims to report sexual harassment and assault in a stern military culture that emphasizes rank, loyalty and toughness. Too often, victims have complained that they were afraid to report assaults to ranking officers, or that their initial complaints were rebuffed or ignored…..


The Shut Down is getting smaller everyday….

Department heads are bringing people back to work across the government….(NOT ALL)

Some because lawyers tweak how they interpret words on paper….

In some cases private money is being infused to bring program backs….

And some worker are being asked to return for no pay right now….

Make no mistake: The shutdown lives on. Nearly a half million federal workers remain furloughed — although the White House would not give precise numbers — national parks are closed and veterans may soon be without their benefits.

But there’s another reality emerging from a steadily shrinking shutdown, one that has scrambled Washington’s political calculus in the name of good government.

Emergencies involving food, weather and transportation have prompted government lawyers over the last two weeks to constantly redefine an “essential” employee, leading to more and more recalled workers whose mission involves protecting public safety or government property.

Even the insult of being told to work without pay is on the verge of disappearing. The Senate is expected to pass a House-approved bill promising back pay to all federal employees, including the “non-essential” workers stuck at home since Oct. 1. Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki said Wednesday that with that bill near the finish line, he sees no reason why he shouldn’t call back his thousands of furloughed workers — even as the shutdown remains unresolved.

“I feel like I’m living in a [Joseph] Heller novel. This is just crazy,” said Sen. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.).“I didn’t get it from the beginning, and it makes less sense day by day.”



If the Senate approves the House back pay bill ?

There is NO reason why ALL Federal Employees can’t be brought back….

I’ll bet that is exactly what WQILL happen making a short term Debt Ceiling agreement easier for the GOP to try the President to agree to…

Syria’s Chemical Weapons being destroyed…..

While all the US budget stuff is in the news ….

We’d like to report that the Syrian Chemical Weapons stockpiles ARE being destroyed…..

President Obama ….

In his own sloppy way HAS gotten his goal of ridding Syria of those weapons so they cannot be used on the countries population….

Sloppy but effective…..

Good Job Mr President…..

The inspectors from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons have about nine months to purge President Bashar Assad’s regime of its chemical program. The mission, endorsed by the U.N. Security Council, faces the tightest deadline in the watchdog group’s history and must simultaneously navigate Syria’s bloody civil war.

Sunday marked the fifth day that an advance team of around 20 inspectors have been in the country and the first day that involved actually disabling and destroying weapons and machinery, an official on the joint OPCW-U.N. mission said.

The production equipment included filling and mixing machinery, some of it mobile, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.

The Syrians are responsible for the actual physical demolition of the materials, while OPCW inspectors monitor the process and verify what is being destroyed, the official said. He declined to provide details or say where the work took place.

This is just the beginning of a complicated process to eliminate Syria’s estimated 1,000-ton chemical weapons stockpile and the facilities that created it…



One hopes that the job is complete and accounts for ALL of the weapons….