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Thread: The Leftist Plot to Destroy the US Military

  1. #121
    Creepy Ass Cracka & Site Owner Ryan Ruck's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Leftist Plot to Destroy the US Military


    Bill Gertz - Inside The Ring: Cultural Divide

    October 1, 2014
    By Bill Gertz

    The massive compromise of classified documents to WikiLeaks revealed a cultural divide between Army leaders and soldiers of a largely unpatriotic and valueless millennial generation, according to a recently released Army report.

    An investigative report on the case of Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, who is serving a 35-year prison term for espionage, identifies several lapses in Army security and personnel procedures that allowed Manning to remain in the service and gain access to classified documents.

    Manning, 26, who now calls himself Chelsea, illegally downloaded hundreds of thousands of secret documents on Iraq and Afghanistan, along with State Department cables. After copying the documents on rewritable digital media, he turned them over to the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks, which posted them online.

    It was the largest leak of classified documents in U.S. history before last year’s disclosure of secrets by renegade NSA contractor Edward Snowden. The magnitude of that compromise is still unfolding.

    “Over the course of this investigation, it became apparent that there is currently a cultural gap between the first-line and mid-level leaders and the soldiers they lead,” wrote Army Lt. Gen. Robert L. Caslen Jr., the report’s investigating officer and author. “The soldiers they lead are, in major part, of the so-called Millennial Generation.”

    An Army spokesman had no comment. A spokesman for Gen. Caslen, now superintendent of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York, had no immediate comment.

    According to the report, which is dated Feb. 14, 2011, but was released Sept. 26 on an Army website, Manning, as a millennial, is part of a youth cohort generally marked by narcissism and technological savvy, but “isolated from the physical world,” resulting in “strong loyalties in the virtual world.”

    Millennials’ values often clash with traditional values and loyalties in the physical world as a result of playing games online and using social media, the report says.

    “In their virtual world — comprised of online gaming and blogging — Millennials believe it acceptable to act in any way one wishes — their actions generate no perceived consequences for which they may be held to account,” the report states.

    As an example, the report cites emails sent by Manning to former hacker Adrian Lamo revealing his pilfering of classified documents.

    For the military, many millennials’ favoring of transparency over secrecy is troubling since the survival of soldiers and their units often depends on keeping the enemy from gaining access to sensitive intelligence.

    Millennials “must begin to understand that service as a soldier entails adherence to standards and values,” the report says.

    “Loyalty to nation, obedience to orders of the chain of command, and commitment to the welfare of the small unit are non-negotiable,” the report states.

    Trustworthiness of soldiers must be monitored and granting soldiers’ access to secrets requires careful scrutiny.

    In the case of Manning, the Army missed signs of behavioral problems that could have prevented him from gaining access to the documents he leaked, the report says. They included several physical assaults, “tantrum fits of rage,” lying to investigators about past behavior, and comments made to colleagues. In 2009, the report said, Manning told a colleague he had “no loyalty” to the United States and the American flag patch on his uniform “meant nothing” to him.

    The report suggests Manning is a “bellwether” of the cultural divide between Army leaders and young soldiers. Mid-level commanders are comfortable with Army hierarchy while millennials are not.

    Because the Army’s success demands small unit cohesion, “a young soldier who is familiar with, and most comfortable in, the virtual world of the Internet — where the self is praised and individuality as well as transparency are glorified — may be unable to adapt to the military’s focus on teamwork and operational and information security,” the report says.

    Additionally, an erosion of leadership skills in the Army is exacerbating problems caused by the millennial generation gap.

    Army leaders are “proficient in combat,” but are challenged in leading troops in peace time, the report says.

    The Army needs to better educate young soldiers on the need for secrecy and security, and teach them that a failure to protect sensitive information can put them at risk, it says.

    “We must undertake an educated and concerted effort to identify and understand the attributes associated with Millennials if we hope ever to bridge the gap fully,” the report states.

  2. #122
    Creepy Ass Cracka & Site Owner Ryan Ruck's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Leftist Plot to Destroy the US Military

    Looks like their plan is coming right along...

    Caution: This is a very long piece.



    AMERICA'S MILITARY: A Force Adrift

    How the nation is failing today's troops and veterans

    December 7, 2014

    Chapter 1
    A worsening morale crisis


    After 13 years of war, troops feel burned out and without a sense of mission. More doubt their leaders and their job security.

    For many of the war-weary troops who deployed to combat zones over and over again for 13 years, the end of an era of war in Iraq and Afghanistan is good news.

    But for Marine Sgt. Zack Cantu and other service members, it's a total morale killer. For many of them, particularly the young grunts and others in combat arms specialties, it's the realization that they may never go into battle for their country and their comrades.

    "Most people in [the Marine Corps] are in because of the wars," said the 25-year-old Cantu, a former infantryman at Camp Pendleton, California. Cantu has retrained as a telephone system and computer repairer, a specialty more likely to survive as the service downsizes.

    "Now, everyone's coming to the realization, 'It's probably not going to happen for me,'" he said.

    The wars against America's enemies gave troops like Cantu a noble purpose. Their training had focus, their sacrifices were appreciated by a largely grateful nation. That gratitude was reflected from the White House to the citizen in the street, all of whom heaped praise upon military members for their service.

    Congress lavished generous pay increases and expanded benefits on them while spending deeply to provide the gear and weapons they needed. Recruiters raced to grow the size of the services, and society vowed to never again undervalue the 1 percent of the country who stepped forward to keep them safe.

    Today, however, that gratitude seems to be dwindling. The services have weathered several years of deep cuts in funding and tens of thousands of troops have been unceremoniously given the boot. Many still in uniform and seeking to retire from the military fear the same fate, as those cuts are not yet complete.

    A Military Times survey of 2,300 active-duty troops found morale indicators on the decline in nearly every aspect of military life. Troops report significantly lower overall job satisfaction, diminished respect for their superiors, and a declining interest in re-enlistment now compared to just five years ago.

    Today's service members say they feel underpaid, under-equipped and under-appreciated, the survey data show. After 13 years of war, the all-volunteer military is entering an era fraught with uncertainty and a growing sense that the force has been left adrift.

    One trend to emerge from the annual Military Times survey is "that the mission mattered more to the military than to the civilian," said Peter Feaver, a political science professor at Duke University who studies the military. "For the civilian world, it might have been easier to psychologically move on and say, 'Well, we are cutting our losses.' But the military feels very differently. Those losses have names and faces attached to [them]."

    Growing dissatisfaction
    Troops say morale has sharply declined over the last five years, and most of those in uniform today believe their quality of life will only get worse. Compared to 2009, more are unhappy with their pay and health care, and very few trust that senior leaders fully support them. A closer look at what's driving this trend:





    'Bare necessities'

    According to the Military Times survey, active-duty troops reported a stunning drop in how they rated their overall quality of life: Just 56 percent call it good or excellent, down from 91 percent in 2009. The survey, conducted in July and August, found that 73 percent of troops would recommend a military career to others, down from 85 percent in 2009. And troops reported a significant decline in their desire to re-enlist, with 63 percent citing an intention to do so, compared with 72 percent a few years ago.

    Army Spc. David Potocnik is one of the troops who has seen morale in his unit take a hit, though he can't really put a finger on why. A Black Hawk mechanic with 2nd Battalion, 4th Aviation Regiment, 4th Combat Aviation Brigade, at Fort Carson, Colorado, Potocnik said stress levels in his unit seem to be on the rise, despite a softening deployment tempo. Fellow soldiers, he said, struggle to connect what feel like excessive training and additional duties in garrison with operational readiness and the overall mission.

    "There are people who are really motivated, really high-speed ... but they don't seem to be a majority," he said. "You'd think garrison would be more relaxed, but it's frantic — for no reason."

    Troops said more stress is created by long-term budget cuts imposed on the force through sequestration — the much-despised but apparently inexorable automatic spending reductions over a decade approved by Congress — and drawdown measures designed to shrink the force. An Air Force captain working in security forces said the fiscal insecurity is taking its toll, causing more workplace exhaustion and frustration. And personal career uncertainty, he said, is driving many of his colleagues out of the service, perhaps earlier than they otherwise would have departed.

    "It makes it really hard for folks to build strong résumés for themselves if we can't provide the opportunities for them, both in and out of the service," he said. "If they see us pinching pennies, and we can't afford to send them to school, there's no long-term stability for them. So at that point, they start to look for a job outside, where you don't have the additional strain on their family."

    A Navy aviation machinist's mate first class based in El Centro, California, said operational budget cuts left him and fellow sailors cannibalizing working parts from other aircraft entering phased maintenance so they could repair higher-priority broken jets. Even uniforms are in short supply, he said, as the Navy embarks on what could be a decade of scrimping under sequestration.

    "We are on the bare necessities and sometimes not even that. For example, I need new boots but they'll ask me, 'How long can you stretch that?'" he said.

    Dismal outlook

    Survey data show that service members are also feeling pain in their own wallets. Congress this year capped the military pay raise at 1 percent, rather than the 1.8 percent that would have kept pace with average annual growth in private-sector wages. It was the first military pay raise since 1999 that did not at least keep pace with private-sector wages, and it was also the lowest annual military pay raise in 40 years.

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    To save money, the Pentagon had sought to roll back the tax-free housing benefit provided to troops by, in effect, making troops pay 5 percent of their housing with out-of-pocket cash. The new deal on Capitol Hill will result in next year's housing allowance covering 99 percent of estimated costs and troops themselves covering the 1 percent shortfall. Service members are unlikely to see an outright reduction in their housing allowance unless they change duty stations, but rates for troops moving into new areas will be set slightly lower when compared to projected housing costs.

    Several services also have cut pay for special duty assignments — such as recruiters, divers, drill sergeants and others — while promotions in some fields slow as competition for jobs during a drawdown heats up. And of course, those troops who have frequently collected hazardous duty and deployment pay over the last decade may now have fewer opportunities to do so.

    In 2009, 87 percent of active-duty troops who participated in Military Times' survey rated their pay and allowances "good" or "excellent." This year, the figure was just 44 percent. When asked how quality of life might change over the next several years, 70 percent of respondents predicted it would decline further.

    A Navy fire controlman chief with 10 deployments said budget fears are contributing to a feeling of distrust and abandonment. "If sailors are worried about not getting paid, how am I supposed to do my job?" he said. "I'm not an effective warfighter if I don't have the backing of my government at home."

    A pervasive sense of pessimism about the post-9/11 wars may also contribute to the overall feeling of dissatisfaction among troops and a feeling of detachment from the decision-makers who sent them to those fights. Of those surveyed, 52 percent said they had become more pessimistic about the war in Afghanistan in recent years. Nearly 60 percent felt the war in Iraq was somewhat unsuccessful or not at all successful.

    Keeping a wary watch

    Despite the cloudy outlook, Pentagon officials report recruiting figures are as high as ever across the services. Data for the first quarter of fiscal 2014 showed all the services except the Army Reserve had achieved 100 percent of their recruiting goal or better. Predictably, retention also remains high, officials say, as most services look to natural attrition to meet mandated reductions in force size, and many troops fight to save their place on active duty, in spite of the quality-of-life and budget troubles.

    Many of them hang on only because prospects for good civilian jobs have been dismal for many years. And often those who do land good jobs on the outside are those the military can least afford to lose.

    Last year, retired Army Lt. Gen. David Barno joined a small chorus of military experts who decry a perceived "brain drain." Barno wrote for the website Foreign Policy that the services are losing their most talented junior officers and enlisted leaders to opportunities in the civilian sector because military leadership wasn't providing them with the right opportunities or fighting hard enough to keep them.

    Departing Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said all military leaders are watching morale very closely, and for the most part he believes it is holding up.

    "The reality is that every day I'm sure is not jolly," Hagel told the Military Times on Nov. 14. "But morale is critically important for any of us, and any institution to do our jobs right. And we watch it. We are concerned all the time about it, but I think, overall … the morale of our men and women in uniform, our civilians, is high. I know there are different dimensions of that, depending on the force."

    When Hagel made those comments, he was on a visit to Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota — where he was trying to buck up the morale of airmen in the intercontinental ballistic missile community. Over the past year, repeated scandals in ICBM units — drug use, cheating on tests, failing a safety inspection — have forced the Pentagon's top leadership to focus attention on the community. That included firing several nuclear commanders, finding more money and manpower for ICBM units and taking dozens of measures to improve quality of life for those airmen.

    This morale crisis is prompting Air Force officers to give new thought to how procedures and policies can improve or erode morale. For example, Lt. Col David Rickards, the 91st Operations Group deputy commander at Minot, believes commanders should resist the urge to aggressively micromanage from the top down.

    "What seems to impact morale the most is empowerment," Rickards said. "We're trying to take the decision-making and push it down, so that you're still accountable, but you also have the authority to do it."

    Just 10 days after his visit to Minot, Hagel resigned under pressure from the White House. The given reasons were vague, leaving many to believe the move only reinforced the impression that the Obama administration had no clear vision for the post-war role for the military.

    That's anything but reassuring to a force that, according to survey results, widely believe the Defense Department, Congress and the president do not have the troops' best interests at heart.

    Tackling intangibles

    When it comes to long-term retention, good leadership actually matters more than pay and benefits, said retired Brig. Gen. Thomas Kolditz, a professor and director of the Leadership Development Program at Yale School of Management.

    "The traditional wisdom holds [that] what brings people into the service are the tangibles" such as benefits and bonuses, Kolditz said. "But what keeps them in the service are the intangibles: the feeling that service matters, good leadership. Retention is more about meaning, leadership and pride."

    Morale is often lower among the lower ranks. One prior enlisted Marine officer, Capt. Micah Hudson, recalls being disgruntled as a young lance corporal in the late 1990s. But that changed as he moved up in rank.

    "Lance Corporal Hudson could not wait to get out of the Marine Corps," the captain said, referring to himself years ago. "He didn't like sitting around and cleaning his rifle and having the gunnery sergeant yell at him all day. So that is part of it."

    "Me, Capt. Hudson, my morale is really high," he said.

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    That means training aggressively and strategically, he said, and finding ways to make troops understand they are valued and their jobs are significant. At the same time, he said, leaders should steer clear of overemphasizing minor discipline issues — a common tendency during peacetime. Recent controversy in multiple services over appropriate women's hairstyles, and the Army's tightening of its tattoo policy this year, are evidence of that trend, he said.

    Leaders also should be conscious of troops who negatively impact morale by denigrating the service of others, particularly those who have not had the opportunity to deploy to a combat zone, he added.

    In the Army, some soldiers say sinking morale stems from the Army's reduced recruiting standards at the peak of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, especially six and seven years ago, when the service granted waivers for people with criminal records and filled the ranks with not-so-highly-motivated soldiers.

    "What you have right now is just a retroactive action of what the Army did by letting in the influx of soldiers when it was quantity, not quality," said Sgt. 1st Class Jose Fernandez, a 17-year soldier at Fort Drum, New York.

    "And now we have a whole bunch of people and they can't wait to get out. They hate the Army. There's a lot of negativity," he said.

    Embracing the challenge

    Amid the doubt and frustration, there are leaders embracing the challenge of inspiring a postwar force during these lean times.

    Capt. Samuel Baumer, the active-duty adjutant for the 4th Marine Logistics Group, a Marine Corps Reserve unit in New Orleans, said morale in his section was at its highest level in months — the result, he said, of new initiatives in which he and enlisted leaders worked to build unit rapport through weekend barbecues and even group community service at organizations like Habitat for Humanity. It all worked to inspire troops to succeed in their own careers, regardless of whether Marines were deploying to combat zones, he said.

    "You get meritoriously promoted. You get to go to school. You get to do those things that the Marine Corps is all about," he said. "Whatever me and my gunny have to do to make sure that [the unit's Marines] do well and get promoted, that's what we're going to do."

    For Cantu, the Marine sergeant at Camp Pendleton, he's choosing to make the best of a career, even as many colleagues choose to bail. With few deployments in the offing, Cantu will try to land a special duty assignment in an effort, he said, "to be a little more adaptable."

    When it comes to leading Marines through a lean era and what appears to be a nadir in morale, he suggested taking advantage of institutional knowledge from prior eras of war and peacetime.

    "You go back to the super senior staff [noncommissioned officers] and officers that were around pre-war time, and you ask them, 'Hey, how did you guys do it?' A lot of them said, 'We had stories, war stories that we would tell,'" Cantu said. "We're going to have to survive with stories and traditions until the next time we go to war."


    Chapter 2
    Civilian support subsides


    The days of fat bonuses, big pay raises and extra combat cash are over -- and troops fear the worst is yet to come.

    The height of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were fat times for military pay and benefits. Troops were flush with combat cash and other special pays, tax breaks and sometimes six-figure re-enlistment bonuses.

    Those who wore the uniform were confident that the nation appreciated their sacrifices. Citizens thanked them for their service in word as politicians did in deed, generously raising military pay and other compensation, year after year.

    And the payoff was sky-high morale even though it was a time when troops pulled repeated war tours that separated them from family and friends for long stretches.

    Five years ago, a full 87 percent of active-duty respondents to the annual Military Times poll rated their pay and benefits as "good" or "excellent."

    But that's all changed. Several years of steep cuts in defense spending, troop layoffs and diminished pay raises has left those in uniform shaken, worried whether the military remains a viable career path and whether they can get ahead while in uniform.



    In the most recent Military Times poll, just 44 percent of 2,300 active-duty respondents rated their pay and benefits as "good" or "excellent" — a new low.

    More than 10 percent say they struggle to pay monthly bills, and at least once during the past year resorted to a high-interest payday loan service to make ends meet.

    "I can't tell you how many sailors and Marines I know who have been in a few years but are still barely making it," said a Navy hospital corpsman second class stationed at Camp Pendleton in Southern California, where the cost of living is among the highest in the nation.

    "They're still living paycheck to paycheck," said the sailor, who asked to remain anonymous. "It's really only after you've been in 10 or 12 years when you actually start making money."

    Money spigot tightens


    Troops today are pocketing far smaller annual pay raises. The 2014 bump of just 1 percent was the smallest in the 41-year history of the all-volunteer force. That compares with 3.9 percent in 2009 — and 6.9 percent in 2002. Congress may well vote to authorize just another 1 percent in 2015. In the best-case scenario, that might go to 1.8 percent.

    On top of that, the once-vast pool of cash that flowed directly into service members' pockets in the form of combat pays and re-enlistment bonuses has dried up. In 2014, troops received $3.8 billion in special pays and incentive pays, down from $6.1 billion, adjusted for inflation, in 2003, according to VisualDoD, a company that tracks Pentagon spending. For 2015, that budget is expected to fall to $3.5 billion.

    And looking ahead, many military families see a future filled with uncertainty. They worry about the Defense Department's new plan to cut housing allowance rates, which would amount to a direct pay cut for most troops who live off post. The newly minted 2015 defense authorization bill mandates that future allowance rates cover an average of only 99 percent of troops' housing costs, not the traditional 100 percent. Service members would have to cover that 1 percent shortfall out of pocket.

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    That's better than what the Pentagon originally wanted — to reduce the subsidy to 95 percent — but it's yet another worrisome sign that lawmakers on Capitol Hill are not nearly as staunch in their support of military pay and benefits as they were just a few years ago.

    In addition, troops worry they might not have a job in a few years. And if they do, they wonder if they'll see the same retirement package provided to previous generations.

    Moreover, the survey shows about half of troops say they are "very worried" or "somewhat worried" about their household finances.

    An Air Force security forces captain, who asked that his name not be used, said the airmen he works with are stressed because they don't know if they'll be cut next as the services draw down in light of shrinking budgets. The airmen also are working longer hours to make up for colleagues who have already been cut.

    "You don't know if you will have a full-time job in a year or three or five because the Air Force keeps cutting bodies," said the captain, who has 13 years of service. "It adds to family stress. There's stress across the board for our folks."

    The uncertainty is noticeable in the workplace, the captain said.

    "When you're looking at trying to plan for your kids and their education and being able to provide for your family in the near and the long term, you can definitely see with some of our folks that it's wearing on them a little bit," he said. "Folks are more stressed at work, a little more tired at work."

    Managing expectations

    Even troops who have had long careers and planned well are feeling the pain and are making sacrifices on the home front to ride out the downturn in military compensation.

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    Army Capt. Jerry Wolford has given up bullets for arrows, movie theaters for DVDs, and bookstores for libraries as he and his family work to save money and cut expenses.

    For Washington, D.C., the military's basic allowance for housing for his rank "is not bad," he said. "It covers rent and utilities."

    To make that happen, however, "I have to live an hour away."

    Wolford, a prior-enlisted soldier with 19 years of service and three deployments under his belt, works at the Pentagon. He and his family — wife, Victoria, a first sergeant in the Army Reserve, and four kids, two of them still at home — live in Stafford, Virginia, 40 miles south of the Pentagon.

    To save money while Victoria finishes her master's degree to become a teacher, the family relies on coupons and visits the library, and holds off on new movies until they hit DVD.

    Wolford, an infantry officer, also has found a way to practice shooting without spending money on ammo.

    "We live out in the country now, so we've got a crossbow. I don't have to spend $50 a day on ammo if I want to go shooting," he said. "I can just walk out into the backyard with a handful of arrows and we can shoot all day."

    The Wolford family is hardly unique.

    A staff sergeant who serves as a Chinook mechanic with the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment at Hunter Army Airfield, Georgia, said he's living a minimal lifestyle.

    "I don't have to go without food or anything like that, but I don't like to live paycheck to paycheck," said the noncommissioned officer, who asked that his name not be used. "Basically everything I do from one month to the next is all covered, but by the end of the month the paycheck is gone."

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    The staff sergeant, who has deployed multiple times to Iraq and Afghanistan, is twice divorced and has four kids.

    "You're always waiting for the second week to hit so you can get more money, whether it's providing something for the children, or right now I'm trying to buy a house," he said. "It's hard to put money in the bank and anticipate those [unexpected expenses] when there are already bills. There's nothing left at the end of the day for savings. It's all going somewhere."

    The staff sergeant said he sometimes has to use installment loans to make ends meet.

    "I still use them, unfortunately. So far, my credit score is still bouncing around, but it's climbing," he said. "I'm not a financial genius. [Balancing the budget] is usually a combination of robbing Peter to pay Paul, and planning."

    Spouse income suffers

    For the Wolfords, part of the reason for their scrimping goes back to the many moves the family has made for Jerry Wolford's career — moves that put dents in his wife's civilian career, he said.

    "Before we got married, she lived in Pennsylvania, and she had a career ... as an insurance agent," Jerry Wolford said.

    When they married and he got assigned to Fort Hood, she found herself jobless in Texas.

    Victoria Wolford eventually landed a job managing the fitness programs on Fort Hood.

    Her husband got orders for the Pentagon, and she was uprooted again. "She had to quit Fort Hood, and when we moved up here to Virginia, she began substitute teaching," Jerry Wolford said.



    It's one of the main reasons Victoria Wolford is now working on her master's degree in teaching, Jerry Wolford said.

    "One factor for her going back to school to teach is because it's portable," Wolford said. "My wife will finish the first half of her program in December, and she's doing a career switcher's program, so she'll finish the first half and she'll be able to teach the second half of the year in order to get her provisional license."

    Meanwhile, the family still has a house in the Fort Hood area, and both parents' cars are paid off — a 2010 sedan and a 1994 Jeep.

    They also moved to their current house from one that was closer to work in order to save $1,000 a month in rent, Jerry Wolford said. But that means less time with his family and more time spent slogging through the relentless traffic in northern Virginia.

    His wife is the real money-saver, "big into coupons," Jerry Wolford said.

    She's also in a circle of friends who help each other save, he said.

    "You don't need to buy every movie that comes out. Somebody's going to buy it. Borrow stuff. Go to the library," he said. "We have friends who go to the movies every week, and that's insanely expensive."

    The family also gets creative at home.

    "That's something my wife and I were able to work with the kids, to find stuff around the house and use that to entertain yourself," he said. "And all of their old toys and stuff like that, we've encouraged them to donate to the thrift stores, and we go to thrift stores. When I was younger, you got made fun of when you went to thrift stores. Now, nobody cares."


    Chapter 3
    A big promise unfulfilled


    Trouble getting a medical appointment is troops' chief complaint. And the Pentagon wants to squeeze the system more.



    Army Spc. Zach Stafford has a family history of cancer. So when the 28-year-old infantryman first noticed a painful tumor growing in one of testicles in August 2013, he wanted to see a doctor immediately.

    No way — that wasn't possible, in spite of the medical urgency. Why not? Simply because he was not at his home duty station; rather, he was at Fort Polk, Louisiana, in the field on a monthlong training exercise.

    "They just didn't want to deal with me down there because I wasn't stationed there," Stafford recalled in a recent interview. "And my unit didn't want to send me back. ... I was like 'That's great, I'll be in pain the entire month.' "

    One of the most well-known selling points of military service is its health care system. Legions enlist in large part because of that benefit. Many, like Stafford, learn the military's health-care system sometimes falls short of its reputation. Complaints continually surface in surveys, Pentagon studies and anecdotal conversations: Getting an appointment is very difficult.

    In part, that's due to staffing shortages, especially at smaller military treatment facilities. In town hall meetings that were part of a massive Defense Department review of its health system, 27 percent of all negative comments involved understaffing, coupled with a focus on efficiency and quantity of visits, that put quality at risk. In addition, some treatment facilities have let contracted physicians and nurses go because their military counterparts have returned from deployments or combat.

    The most recent annual Military Times readers' survey of 2,300 active-duty troops shows Stafford is one of many frustrated with the military health system appointment process. Nearly one in four are dissatisfied with getting an appointment at a military hospital or clinic.

    Nearly 70 percent said they are "very satisfied" or "somewhat satisfied" with the military health program, called Tricare — yet about the same amount said that given a choice, they would rather find health care at private-sector or civilian facilities.

    After getting back home to Fort Bragg, North Carolina, in September, Stafford waited about a month to see a doctor, who promptly slotted him for surgery a few weeks later in October.

    The good news: the tumor was benign.

    The bad news: When they sewed him back together, they damaged a nerve bundle in his groin, he said.

    Enduring "excruciating" shooting pains that sometimes made walking tough, Stafford spent about eight months trying to get the military health system to fix its screwup.

    He tried calling for an appointment to see a doctor at Womack Army Medical Center, but that proved all but useless, he said.

    "They don't always answer the phone. It was easier to just to go up there and wait and hope there's not a long line of people waiting to schedule an appointment."

    He eventually got one, but his unit's training demands forced him to reschedule several times.

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    "As soon as I canceled an appointment, it would be another month before the next opening ... that was the best-case scenario," he said.

    In June, he finally got a procedure — a "radio frequency ablation" — that ended the pain.

    "Once I got in to see an actual doctor, it was OK. But there are so many people here and so few health professionals ... it takes a month to see anybody," he said.

    "They'll just throw pills at you until they can get you in."

    Getting on the calendar

    A Pentagon review of the military health system published in October found most military hospitals and clinics meet Defense Department standards for appointment wait times — 24 hours for an urgent care visit, a week for routine care and four weeks for a specialty appointment. But DoD patient surveys, as well as the Military Times poll, tell a different story: Patients don't think they can get timely appointments, even if they're on active duty and have access to sick call.

    "The bottom line is the Army health care system is broken and ineffective," said one Army noncommissioned officer who asked not to be identified. He said he can't go to sick call because of his work hours and can't get an appointment with his primary care doctor, who is the most popular physician at the Presidio of Monterey clinic in California.

    "I have gone to urgent care more in the last six months than I have [to] my own provider, and I almost consider them my new primary care physician," the Army NCO said.

    Frustration abounds

    Navy Lt. Nathan Deunk described the doctors and corpsmen he sees at Portsmouth Naval Hospital in Virginia as "dedicated professionals who do their best to care for their military patients." But their patient load, he said, is overwhelming, and trying to get an appointment is "frustrating." Deunk has spent 23 months trying to get treatment for a tumor in his foot.

    "Three weeks to get an appointment, two more weeks to get a referral and then two more weeks to get the first procedure approved. And in the case of my foot, I've had to go see different specialists. And every time you see a new guy, add another month onto that," Deunk said.

    Military leaders acknowledge the problem. In response to the military health review earlier this year, departing Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has ordered military treatment facilities that don't meet DoD access standards to draft a plan to fix that.

    The service surgeons general have said they are investigating disparities between the facilities' reported wait times and negative feedback from patients.

    Some leaders wonder whether the official data on wait times reflect the reality experienced by military patients.

    "In many cases where we believe we are meeting access standards, we have beneficiaries who think we're not," Navy Surgeon General Vice Adm. Matthew Nathan said in October. "So we're telling our hospitals, 'OK, you've told us 95 percent of your people are getting seen, based on Tricare standards, yet when we survey the people, they are not happy.' We have to figure out where that disconnect is."

    Hagel ordered the health system review in May after Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki resigned his post amid an unfolding scandal at VA hospitals over delays in patient care and appointment wait times. Those problems were related largely to pressure applied by administrators on schedulers to game the appointment system to meet VA access standards. Allegations also swirled that excessive treatment delays may have lead to patient deaths.

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    The Pentagon-level review found no evidence of systemwide problems in Army, Navy and Air Force facilities regarding appointment scheduling and wait times. The report concluded that the system provides care equal to that of similar private health care companies such as Kaiser Permanente and Intermountain Healthcare.

    But service members who answered Military Times' survey poll think the system's scheduling processes need improvement.

    Not 'gaming the system'


    Some describe a system that prevents schedulers from booking appointments more than a month in advance. For those dates, schedulers often jot down names using pencil and paper and call the patient when the calendar opens. Or they tell beneficiaries to call back on a certain day.

    "They are not necessarily gaming the system, but with the appointment books not being open, they write down your name and email you when the window opens. Then you end up with an appointment that looks like it meets the standards, but it really doesn't because you've already waited days to make it," said Air Force Master Sgt. James Alverson.

    Years ago, Alverson was diagnosed with a rare spine disorder, but it took eight years bouncing from doctor to doctor, and being told the excruciating pain was "all in his head," before he found out what was wrong.

    The time he spent among primary care visits, neurologists, spine experts, chiropractors, lab tests and rescheduled appointments at various military facilities, and finally at Portsmouth Naval Hospital, added up to more than 18 months, from diagnosis to final treatment.

    "Civilian docs have told me they could have gotten me in, done the procedure and had me back at work within 30 days. But that doesn't happen at military facilities, and it's cost me my career," said Alverson, a former Marine combat engineer now serving as an Air Force imagery analyst.

    Deunk agrees that the Navy and Marine Corps health system is not ideal.

    "The paper scheduling system probably isn't the most efficient way to manage appointments," Deunk said. "It's better than it was years ago, when they would only open up the appointment books for only two to three days. But it's still not great."

    Although they had complaints about the system, many troops said they wouldn't want to spend more money to see a civilian provider, for themselves or their families. In the reader survey, 49 percent of respondents said they would not pay more to go outside the military system.

    Creating a backup

    Some service members report no major problems. "In El Paso, the hospital here seems to be better than others I've been to," said Army Capt. Eric Hatch, who is stationed at Fort Bliss in Texas. "My wife had the baby here [at Beaumont, the Army hospital], and it was top notch."

    But some personnel think the Defense Health Agency could design a system that would allow service members and families enrolled in Tricare Prime at military treatment facilities to see a civilian doctor if their own physician is booked.

    "Relying on civilian physicians to provide surge capacity is a good idea ... VA is doing it," Deunk said.

    Other improvements proposed by these troop patients include fixing electronic health records to ensure they can be viewed by primary care doctors and specialists regardless of their duty station, overhauling the scheduling system and freeing up specialists from tasks other than seeing patients in their specialty.

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    Some respondents said DoD also should outsource care for military dependents and retirees — a proposal unlikely to sit well with those groups or the Pentagon, which is working to rein in the amount of money it spends on health care.

    "I feel like since spouses have been allowed to be seen at the Presidio of Monterey clinic, it has become nearly impossible to get an appointment," said the California-based Army officer who uses urgent care.

    The scheduling crunch makes some troops wonder whether the millions of dependents and retirees lining up for appointments are overloading the system.

    "Active-duty personnel are supposed to have priority, but I don't see a lot of evidence of that," Alverson said. "We should cut out care for retirees and dependents, unless there really is room. They can go to a network doctor. And I say this even though I'm going to be a retiree soon."


    How we did it
    Surveying the military


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    From July 8 through Aug. 7, 2014, Military Times conducted a voluntary, confidential survey of readers who include active-duty, National Guard and reserve component service members as well as military veterans, retirees and spouses.

    About 70,000 subscribers received e-mail invitations to participate. Others were recruited via social media. In total, about 10,000 respondents completed the survey, including 2,299 who identified themselves as current active-duty personnel.

    The sample is not a perfect representation of the military as a whole; it over-represents soldiers, officers and noncommissioned officers, and under-represents junior enlisted personnel. However, it is representative of the more senior and career-oriented members of the force who run the military's day-to-day operations and carry out its policies.

    After the survey's completion, Military Times reporters spent several months interviewing dozens of active-duty survey respondents, speaking with them in detail about their views on military life today. In some instances, service members asked not to be identified so they could speak more candidly about military policy, senior leaders and political views.

    Military Times has conducted a similar survey routinely for the past 10 years. Survey data cited from years prior to 2014 are based on those survey results. This is the only long-term, independent tracking survey of its kind.

    The voluntary nature of the survey, the dependence on e-mail and the characteristics of Military Times readers may affect the results. Statistical margins of error commonly reported in opinion surveys that use random sampling can't be calculated for this survey.

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    Default Re: The Leftist Plot to Destroy the US Military

    Sounds like a bunch of trumped up, PC, bullshit.


    Captain Of San Diego-Based Warship Relieved Of Duty

    November 23, 2014


    Capt. Wayne Brown was relieved as commander of the San Diego-based amphibious assault ship Boxer after an investigation concluded that he had "lost the respect, trust and confidence of his subordinates."

    The captain of one of the Navy's premier warships has been relieved of command after an investigation found that he routinely used foul and abusive language toward crew members and engaged in inappropriate touching and questioning of women.

    Capt. Wayne Brown was relieved as commander of the San Diego-based amphibious assault ship Boxer after an investigation concluded that he had "lost the respect, trust and confidence of his subordinates" because of his temper and his behavior toward female crew members, according to the investigative report. His behavior included touching and asking crew members whether they were using birth control with their husbands or boyfriends.

    (God forbid the Captain not want attrition through pregnancy on his ship!)

    Brown created a "hostile, offensive and intimidating work environment," according to the investigation that was undertaken after complaints from enlisted personnel and junior officers.

    The recommendation to relieve him of command was endorsed by Rear Adm. Frank Ponds in late September.

    A heavily-redacted copy of the investigative report was provided last week to The Times through a request under the Freedom of Information Act. News of Brown's ouster, and the conclusions of the investigation, were first reported in the U-T San Diego.

    Brown joined the Navy as an enlisted sailor in 1986 and became an officer in 1989. After being relieved, Brown was reassigned to a desk job in San Diego.

    The report quotes one sailor - whose name and rank are redacted - saying that, "Capt. Brown's leadership style is caustic and intimidating and is something he would consider 'old school' or from the '80s."

    The Boxer is designed to take combat Marines and heavy equipment to war zones. It deployed in support of the U.S. war in Iraq in 2003, 2004 and 2007. It also deployed to a humanitarian mission off Central and South America. Earlier this year it completed an eight-month deployment in the Western Pacific.

    Brown was executive officer on the Boxer before becoming the commanding officer in June. He is the 12th commanding officer of a Navy ship to be relieved this year, according to the Navy Times.

    The investigative report includes allegations that Brown put his hand on the back () and hip of female sailors. Some incidents occurred aboard ship, some while the crew was on liberty in Bahrain and Subic Bay.

    Brown was concerned about female sailors and junior officers using birth control because the ship had lost several crew members who became pregnant and could not deploy, the report says. But the women were unnerved by the questioning and thought it was inappropriate, according to the report.

    Another incident involved Brown's alleged outburst after finding that a dance class and an academic skills class were scheduled aboard ship at the same time. He did not want to reschedule the dance class because he attended the class, the report says.

    "He had a tirade for approximately 30 minutes during which time he yelled and pounded his fist on the desk," the report says. Another display of anger came when he was angry at a sailor for well-deck operations: "Capt. Brown proceeded to yell and curse at him and tell him how stupid his plan was." ( )

    The report concluded that Brown had violated Navy regulations against sexual harassment and conduct unbecoming an officer and gentleman. Along with ordering Brown relieved, Ponds also ordered an immediate investigation to determine if Brown's "caustic relationship with the port engineer" had undercut the Boxer's readiness to deploy.

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    Default Re: The Leftist Plot to Destroy the US Military


    AMERICA'S MILITARY: A Conservative Institution's Uneasy Cultural Evolution

    December 21, 2014

    Chapter 1
    Obama’s mark on the military
    A deeply unpopular commander in chief is forcing profound change inside the ranks.

    In his first term, President Obama oversaw repeal of the controversial "don't ask, don't tell" policy.

    Then he broke with one of the military's most deeply rooted traditions and vowed to lift the ban on women serving in combat.

    And the commander in chief has aggressively sought to change military culture by cracking down on sexual assault and sexual harassment, problems that for years were underreported or overlooked.

    Obama is an unpopular president in the eyes of the men and women in uniform. Yet his two-term administration is etching a deep imprint on the culture inside the armed forces. As commander in chief, he will leave behind a legacy that will shape the Pentagon's personnel policies and the social customs of rank-and-file troops for decades to come.

    For Obama's supporters, the cultural changes he's overseeing are on a level with President Truman's 1948 order that desegregated the military and put it at the forefront of the national push for racial equality.

    But to his critics, his moves amount to heavy-handed social engineering that erode deep-seated traditions and potentially undermine good order and discipline.



    And for the troops in today's career force, the wave of changes to deep-seated policies and attitudes can be jarring.

    "It's a very different Army than the one I came in to," said Sgt. 1st Class Eric Rexilius, who joined the Army 21 years ago and is now a helicopter repairman at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state.

    "I personally don't think it's a bad change," he said — while acknowledging that among his cohort of older career soldiers, "I'm probably a minority."

    "For most of my peers," Rexilius said, "it makes them uncomfortable because it's not what they are used to."

    The long-term effects of Obama's social policies on the military remain unknown. But one thing is clear: He is a deeper unpopular commander in chief among the troops.

    According to a Military Times survey of almost 2,300 active-duty service members, Obama's popularity — never high to begin with — has crumbled, falling from 35 percent in 2009 to just 15 percent this year, while his disapproval ratings have increased to 55 percent from 40 percent over that time.

    But despite their misgivings about him personally, evidence suggests some quiet acceptance, and even support, for his policy changes.


    'Don't ask, don't tell'


    The greatest cultural shift under Obama may well be the swiftly-growing acceptance of homosexuality in the ranks following the official change in law that took effect in September 2011.

    A Military Times poll in 2009 found 35 percent of troops felt that gays and lesbians should be allowed to serve in uniform. Five years later, that figure has jumped to 60 percent.

    Similarly, open opposition to homosexuality in the military has collapsed. In 2009, 49 percent of troops felt gays, lesbians and bisexuals should not be allowed to serve. In 2014, such disapproval fell to just 19 percent.

    It is "the biggest change in the military's culture that happened on [Obama's] watch," said Richard Kohn, professor emeritus of history and peace, war and defense at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

    During years of intense political debate about gays in the military, the military's top brass repeatedly voiced firm opposition and warned that such a sweeping change could create a serious morale crisis. But in the three years since the law changed, military leaders have seen virtually no problems.

    "We have heard no reporting of the kinds of disruptions that were predicted," Kohn said. "It has been unsurprisingly smooth. It's not surprising because military people have always known of gay people and lesbians in their units, and have either accepted them, or abused them based on the quality of their leadership. There's been a change of public opinion, and the fact that the force is made up largely of young people," who tend to be more tolerant of homosexuality."



    Petty Officer 2nd Class Nate Bates, a Navy hospital corpsman who is gay, said his co-workers essentially shrugged when they found out.

    "It was like no big deal: ... 'Oh, OK, I didn't know, but we're still cool,' " he said.

    The nonchalant reaction was a tremendous relief to Bates, who came out in January because he was about to marry his husband, Wayne, an Army soldier.

    "I was nervous, but it had gotten to the point where, 'I'm getting ready to get married, but I'm not going to hide this person I love,' " Bates said. "I just didn't care what anybody else thinks about it."

    And it's provided opportunities to increase understanding, Bates said. He cited one friendship with another sailor whom he didn't think had ever previously had a close friendship with a gay or lesbian person.

    Now, "We ask him to hang out, he knows about my husband, he has a girlfriend and is thinking about getting married," Bates said. "He was asking us, 'Have you ever thought about adopting?' It's normal conversations like that."

    But not every experience has been so positive.

    Bates said his Army husband has encountered hostility from his commanders and fellow soldiers since coming out. He said his husband has heard senior noncommissioned officers use homophobic slurs.

    His husband, who is in Kuwait on his fourth deployment overseas, hasn't been picked to go on missions he asked for, he believes because he is gay. And the Bates' request to be co-located as a legally married couple has been approved by the Navy but held up by the Army.

    The final straw came in April, Bates said, when he contracted an unknown illness and ended up in an induced coma. His husband asked his supervisors for permission to come home to help care for Nate, but his request was denied. Particularly aggravating, Bates said, was the fact that other soldiers in his husband's unit were allowed to come home for less-urgent events like graduations.

    "I was in the hospital seven days, and on convalescent leave another seven days at home," Bates said. "There was nobody by my bedside that whole time. Because of actions like that, he's leaving [the Army] within the next year and a half."

    Some gay troops say lingering homophobia in the military still compels them to hide their sexuality while in uniform. And some don't think they'll ever be able to come out of the closet as long as they are in the uniform.

    "Nothing's really changed for me" since the don't-ask-don't-tell policy was repealed, said a gay master sergeant in the Air Force who asked to remain anonymous. "I think [coming out] would ruin my career."

    The master sergeant said that the end of DADT helped younger troops, who feel more comfortable coming out. But for senior noncommissioned officers, he said, it's a different story.

    "For SNCOs, it's word of mouth for promotions," the master sergeant said. "We've still got some crusty old chiefs … on the promotion board, making decisions. It'll take a few years to get them out."

    He said he's heard some Air Force chief master sergeants make derogatory, homophobic comments — sometimes including slurs — about younger airmen who have come out. And if those chiefs knew he was gay, he said, he could kiss goodbye any chances of making senior master sergeant.


    Women in combat

    Another major cultural shift under Obama can be seen in the evolving policies on women serving in combat units.

    In 2012, the Pentagon set in motion a plan to carefully lift all gender-based restrictions on all military jobs. But the four services have until 2016 to fully end the ban on women in combat units or seek exemptions for specific jobs such as infantry and special operations. It will be at least several years, maybe more, until the full impact of that policy becomes clear.

    Yet already the force is slowly coming to accept the change.

    From 2011 to 2014, the percentage of survey respondents who felt that all jobs in combat arms units should be opened to women remained unchanged at 24 percent.



    But the percentage of troops who felt some combat-arms jobs should be opened up to women — while allowing the military to continue to place some jobs off-limits — increased from 34 percent to 41 percent, while the percentage of respondents who felt the military should not change its policies excluding women from combat arms units fell from 43 percent in 2011 to 28 percent in 2014.

    "I grew up with five sisters, and I know they're as capable as any man," said an Army staff sergeant who asked for his name not be used. He is a CH-47 helicopter mechanic who has deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan multiple times and supports having women in combat-arms units. "Women are in harm's way to start with. It would just change the location of where they're in harm's way."

    But others said they see problems — both operationally and culturally.

    An Army captain, an infantry officer who deployed to Iraq three times, said he saw morale and unit cohesion problems emerge on his last tour when female soldiers from the forward support company embedded in his infantry unit.

    "They didn't realize you didn't need to protect" a female soldier, he said. "The chivalry factor is always there. There's always going to be, out of every 10 guys, five guys who will want to protect her because she's their little sister. There are three guys who are trying to hook up with her, and there are two guys who hate her and treat her like crap because she won't hook up with them."

    "For good or for bad, all-male units like the infantry and artillery and tankers, it's like a seventh-grade locker room," the captain said. "Some guys, the maturity isn't there yet."

    He said introducing women into previously all-male units also can cause trouble at home.

    "Another problem is the wives," he said. "Everybody's OK with an all-male unit until the wives see there's a fit, ambitious young lady, and you're going to go overseas with 15 dudes, and I'm supposed to trust that situation? That creates a lot of stress family-wise. No matter what the soldier may or may not be doing, his spouse might be convicting him either way."

    Over time, he believes the military will adjust. But "until it all works itself out, which eventually it will, there's going to be growing pains," the captain said.

    Marine 2nd Lt. Christopher Fox, a student naval aviator who was a radio operator during his prior enlistment, believes putting women in combat jobs is just a bad idea.

    "There are a lot of accommodations that have to be made where females are present," he said. "It changes the whole dynamic of a unit. I cannot explain to you the drama that centered on females. I had a sergeant that was not only dating one of the females [at his old communications squadron], they were living together. It caused a lot of tension in the shop."



    Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel visited female Marines on an infantry training range at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, in November. Afterward, he spoke to about 200 mostly male Marines and told them this change reflects the nation's history.

    Hagel noted that the U.S. is a country "that believes strongly that every individual deserves the same opportunities, if you're capable, if you can qualify, if you can do the job. And we are doing that."


    Dealing with sex assault

    A third cultural shift under Obama is in how the military approaches and deals with the pervasive problem of sexual assault in the ranks.

    "They've just started to get more successful by establishing programs, getting senior leadership to speak out on it, and enforcing bans," Kohn said. "It's going to take a lot of time and effort, and we're not going to know for a while the extent to which we're successful."

    Combatting sexual assault is not only the moral thing to do, Kohn said. As the economy improves and potential recruits have more job opportunities open for them, the military can't afford to be viewed as a place that does not take sexual assault seriously.



    "The military knows it needs to attract the best," Kohn said. "And if women aren't going to enlist because they fear assault, it's going to hurt recruiting."

    Yet the Military Times survey showed some dissatisfaction with the service's focus on sexual assault. Only about half of respondents believe sexual assault to be a "serious or significant" problem in the military. About 18 percent had no opinion and 31 percent said they they do not believe it's a significant or serious problem.

    Nearly all troops said their unit recently conducted some form of sexual assault training, yet only 48 percent said they believed it was effective. About 31 percent of troops surveyed were "not sure" whether the training was effective, and 21 percent said it was not effective.

    And 16 percent — about one in every six or seven troops — believe sexual assault training is having a negative effect on military culture.

    Army Staff Sgt. Alexander VanArsdall said the military's sexual harassment and assault prevention training has been "one-sided," and overly focused on painting men as aggressors and women as victims.

    "A common thing among male service members, when they head into the training, is to say, 'It's time to learn what a racist, sexist, intolerant bastard I am,' " VanArsdall said. "That's what it feels like. We start to get a little indignant and upset, and feel persecuted in our own right."

    Not only does this create a divisive command climate and leave male troops feeling defensive, he said, but it may be backfiring, and result in some troops not putting their training to use when they have an opportunity to intervene and stop a potential sexual assault.

    "The more you beat somebody down on something, the more likely they are to say, 'Screw this,' and toss it aside," VanArsdall said. "The less likely they are to be conscious about something — check their buddy out, and make sure he's doing the right thing. They get sick of being browbeat over something they're not doing."

    He acknowledged that the military has problems with sexual assault and sexual harassment, and that training is needed. But the training has been inadequate in many ways.

    "Is there a culture problem in the military? Absolutely," VanArsdall said. "Yes, this is a discussion we need to have, but the military and the Army's approach is wrong."

    He noted that sexual assault prevention and response training has almost entirely portrayed sexual assault as a male-on-female crime. The military's classes should also recognize male-on-male, female-on-female, and — although it's rarely acknowledged — female-on-male sexual harassment and sexual assault.

    VanArsdall also said that after the military began seriously acknowledging its sexual assault problem about two years ago, units began requiring troops to attend multiple, redundant courses. First it was twice-yearly, then quarterly, then monthly, or even more frequently than that, which he also thinks prompted some troops to reject the message.

    "We literally were having sexual assault prevention and response classes every single week … for a good two or three months," VanArsdall said. "It was the exact same training, the exact same words. After a while, people start to tune it out. It was in one ear and out the other, just checking a block."

    Things have improved lately, he said. His new unit has one annual block of training, as well as additional quarterly training sessions, which he said seems about right.



    And the training classes are starting to become more interactive. He said the sessions used to amount to little more than watching a basic video or PowerPoint presentation. Now, he said, the classes feature interactive videos that walk troops through different scenarios, pause along the way, and give troops several options to choose from.

    Former Army Sgt. Ralph Demaree, who recently retirerd, thinks the increased focus on sexual assault has created a double standard where accusations against enlisted troops are punished more swiftly than those against officers — a phenomenon often described as "different spanks for different ranks."

    "If there's an accusation against an enlisted soldier … everyone beats down on him," Demaree said. "Some form of action will be taken against him before any investigation is completed. If it's an officer, everything's hush-hush."

    Demaree said he feels strongly that the military needs to treat all accusations equally.

    "Regardless of how high they go up, it needs to be exactly the same, whether it's a private just coming in or a general."

    VanArsdall said it's important to have strong, effective sexual assault and prevention training not only for young male troops, but also for young female troops. He said he has intervened in some situations where a female troop didn't recognize she was being harassed or assaulted.

    He intervened in one encounter in 2013 during a joint training environment, where a young male Marine on a break began telling a young female sailor that he had a stain in the groin area of his uniform. The male Marine began essentially straddling the female sailor on a bench while she laughed, at which point VanArsdall intervened and told them that wasn't appropriate.

    "Her reaction was, 'No big deal, he's just playing,' " VanArsdall said. "I was kind of shocked by her response, especially after the training we try to give them. But that was just the one time I saw it. How often does that go down when I'm not around? How often did he do this, and [a female troop] thought, 'He's just playing?' That's the culture we need to stamp out."



    Chapter 2
    Troops fed up with politics
    After decades of fierce loyalty to the GOP, today’s warfighters wonder who really represents their interests in Washington.


    Army Sgt. 1st Class Gregory Pettigrew said before November's midterm election that he felt like he should vote, but that he was completely dissatisfied with the ballot options.

    "I just feel like all politics goes back to money," the 32-year-old soldier said. "It seems like all the [congressional] debate now is completely disconnected from reality. They don't really seem to care about how their decisions impact us."

    He's not alone in that opinion. Results of the most recent annual Military Times Poll of more than 2,200 active-duty troops show growing frustration with gridlocked congressional politics, mirroring low approval ratings for national lawmakers in recent polls.

    More than one-third of readers who responded to the Military Times Poll said that neither Democrats nor Republicans have been a strong advocate for the military, and 44 percent think both major political parties have become less supportive of military issues in recent years.

    Only 12 percent believe both parties have the armed forces' best interests at heart.



    But unlike many dissatisfied voters who decry the disconnect in Washington politics, most Military Times readers say decisions made by congressional lawmakers have a direct impact on their readiness and morale.

    That makes rhetoric on pay raises, training policies and budget cuts even more personal for service members like Pettigrew, a 13-year veteran stationed at Fort Sill, Oklahoma.

    "Congress is responsible for keeping us at reasonable pay and funding levels so we can do our job," he said. "But from their comments, I don't know if they have any regard for the things we do every day."

    One Air Force lieutenant colonel who responded to the poll but did not want to be identified said field combat and medical training exercises have dropped sharply because of funding trims, leading to worries among his airmen about their readiness for future missions.

    And a Navy master-at-arms stationed in Europe who also asked to remain anonymous, said his sailors often don't have the spare parts readily available to repair the harbor security vessels they man.

    Both blamed congressional infighting for the shortfalls.


    Shifting loyalties

    The loss of faith in lawmakers comes at a time when troops are less likely to identify with either major political party.

    In the last nine years of the Military Times Poll, the percentage of respondents who consider themselves Republican has slowly dropped, from nearly half of those surveyed in the late 2000s to just 32 percent this year. Increasingly, readers are more likely to describe themselves as libertarian (7 percent) or independent (28 percent).

    Likewise, readers who described themselves as "very conservative" have remained steady over the years, but "conservative" respondents have dwindled as well — down to 29 percent from a high of 41 percent in 2011.

    Democrats and liberal readers make up about 8 percent of the poll respondents.

    National polls of veterans have shown a strong preference for Republican candidates over Democratic hopefuls, although not as wide a gap as shown in the Military Times Poll. But they have also shown the same strong affinity for the "independent" label, more so than voters without military experience.

    Duke University political science professor Peter Feaver, a former George W. Bush National Security Council adviser, said the rise in popularity for independent and libertarian positions among troops comes as little surprise to him.

    "The military follows national trends but lags and skews conservative," he said. "The libertarians' sensibility fits with some of the military's profile more naturally, particularly the 'don't tread on me' kind of mentality."

    Army Maj. Wayne Lacy describes himself as a libertarian but said he has seen some of his fellow soldiers gravitate away from the Republican Party line and toward tea party candidates.

    But the 45-year-old staff officer at North American Aerospace Defense Command in Colorado Springs, Colorado, sees that as a subtle shift more than a philosophical change in troops' politics.

    "After 25 years, I think it's fair to say most of the force remains fairly conservative in their values," he said.

    Feaver concurred, saying he doesn't see "a tidal wave of libertarianism" in the military. Instead, it's a reflection of the same political frustration nationwide, indicated in a recent Gallup Poll that had fewer than one in five Americans approving of Congress' job performance.


    Politics as usual

    When the new Congress is seated in January, lawmakers will immediately face a host of military issues: sequestration, Islamic militants in Iraq and Syria, lingering Veterans Affairs Department access problems, military pay and retirement reform.

    All are issues that the current Congress has struggled to deal with, despite repeated promises of supporting the troops and keeping the nation secure.

    Marine Lt. Col. Amy McGrath, a political science instructor at the Naval Academy, said she thinks the political infighting doesn't affect most troops' ability to do their jobs, but it does weigh on their minds, especially those of her students.

    "They don't have a framework of reference because they haven't seen it yet," she said. "I spent a year on Capitol Hill as a congressional fellow. ... The fact that they can't come together, it's all politics. It's not one side wanting to cut."

    Pettigrew said the October 2013 government shutdown and preceding shutdown threats caused major concern among his fellow soldiers, especially amid rampant rumors of paycheck delays. That only increased his dissatisfaction with the state of national politics.

    President Obama gets similar low support from Military Times Poll respondents, with 55 percent disapproving of his performance as commander in chief.

    Even support for the tea party was spotty, with just 13 percent of readers saying they back nearly all tea party candidates and 34 percent saying they never back the conservative offshoot.

    Despite mixed feelings about national candidates, military voters in recent years have been more engaged than their civilian peers. According to statistics from the Federal Voting Assistance Program, the number of troops voting in recent presidential elections has stayed around 55 percent, just below national rates, and around 45 percent in midterm elections, about 8 percentage points above civilian rates.

    Despite his misgivings, Pettigrew said before the midterm election that he probably would be one of those participating military voters.

    "I don't particularly like my choices," the self-proclaimed independent voter said. "But I still really need to vote."



    Chapter 3
    Our view: America’s military deserves better
    Don’t revisit past mistakes

    Morale in the military is swiftly sinking, with the troops losing both their sense of mission and their faith that their superiors, political leaders — and the nation — still have their best interests at heart.

    Those are among the key conclusions of our special report on America's military, "A force adrift: How the nation is failing its troops and veterans." This series was built upon an exclusive survey of almost 2,300 active-duty troops. Included are firsthand accounts from soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines on how they're coping with a relentless operational tempo, deep cuts in end strength, a growing workload and shrinking compensation.



    The series reflects a stunning reversal of fortune for troops who only a few years ago were regularly rewarded with big pay raises, new benefits and well-deserved public adulation for their service.

    Yet for all the flag waving and political grandstanding while the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan raged at full tilt, this latest postwar period seems to be bringing an awkward and uncomfortable reprise to the fore.

    As in past post-war periods, the troops now are being regarded as a budgetary burden rather than the national security backbone that must be continuously maintained at robust levels of manpower, training, readiness and compensation. Time and again, the nation has had to endure the painful lesson that it is far more costly, and dangerous, to adopt a "boom and bust" model in which the military is allowed to degrade between conflicts.

    The morale crisis revealed by Military Times' survey sounds a warning that we are seeing this scenario yet again, as lawmakers and the nation renege on their wartime vows of support for the 1 percent of our citizenry who volunteer to serve in uniform.



    "When nearly every category surveyed reveals a significant dip from 2009 to today, we must all take notice and ask, why is morale so low and what can we do to fix it," said Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., in response to the survey.

    McCain, likely to lead the Senate Armed Services Committee in the new Republican-controlled Congress, said the situation "requires immediate attention and action" by the White House, Pentagon and Congress.

    In the near term, two festering issues loom if Pentagon leaders hope to thwart a worsening internal crisis: the legacy of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the future of military compensation.

    Military Times' survey indicates top officials will find it a big challenge to address the enormous cynicism and pessimism among troops about the wars in which they were asked to sweat and bleed for more than a decade.

    The percentage of troops who feel the war in Afghanistan ultimately will be viewed as a success has taken a nosedive since 2007. Similarly, only 30 percent of respondents feel the eight-year Iraq War was a success. And when we asked whether the U.S. should send a large force of combat troops back to Iraq to fight Islamic State militants, 70 percent of survey respondents said no.

    The pessimism about Iraq is especially understandable; troops have spent years listening to senior leaders tell them Iraq was emerging as a stable democracy, its army a reliable ally in the fight against Islamic extremism. Just a few years later, both notions turned out to be spectacularly wrong.

    "The junior folks have a right to question their leaders and say, 'Hey, you told me to do this U.S.-led counterinsurgency, and it didn't work. What the heck?' They want to know why they were told to do all the dumb stuff they were told do," said retired Army Lt. Gen. Daniel Bolger, who commanded troops in both Iraq and Afghanistan — and who took a stab at addressing those questions in his controversial new book titled "Why We Lost."



    Indeed, Congress just approved, at the request of the Pentagon and the White House, a 1 percent basic pay raise the for the troops next year — the second straight year of such a raise, constituting the two smallest annual increases in the 41-year history of the all-volunteer force. And for icing on the cake, they also approved a cut in housing allowance rates for troops who live off base.

    In February, more earthquakes may come with the arrival of the final report and recommendations from the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission.

    The last time the Pentagon and Congress allowed the value of military compensation to erode significantly, troops responded with their feet, creating a major recruiting and retention crisis in the late 1990s that took years to reverse.

    In this latest postwar era — even as new threats spark around the world — the nation simply cannot afford to watch its military get taken over that cliff again. And with all that's asked of it, America's military certainly deserves better.



    How we did it
    Surveying the military



    From July 8 through Aug. 7, Military Times conducted a voluntary, confidential survey of readers, including active-duty, National Guard and reserve component service members as well as military veterans, retirees and spouses.

    About 70,000 subscribers received email invitations to participate. Others were recruited via social media. In total, about 10,000 respondents completed the survey, including 2,299 who identified themselves as current active-duty personnel.

    The sample is not a perfect representation of the military as a whole; it over-represents soldiers, officers and noncommissioned officers, and under-represents junior enlisted personnel. However, it is representative of the more senior and career-oriented members of the force who run the military's day-to-day operations and carry out its policies.

    After the survey's completion, Military Times reporters spent several months interviewing dozens of active-duty survey respondents, speaking with them in detail about their views on military life today. In some instances, service members asked not to be identified so they could speak more candidly about military policy, senior leaders and political views.

    Military Times has conducted a similar survey routinely for the past 10 years. Survey data cited from years prior to 2014 are based on those survey results. This is the only long-term, independent tracking survey of its kind.

    The voluntary nature of the survey, the dependence on e-mail and the characteristics of Military Times readers may affect the results. Statistical margins of error commonly reported in opinion surveys that use random sampling can't be calculated for this survey.

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    Default Re: The Leftist Plot to Destroy the US Military

    Looks like the military is quickly becoming the "Everybody Gets A Ribbon" military. Pathetic...

    1SG Katrina Moerk Gets ARCOM For Trolling

    December 27, 2014



    No this is NOT satire, it’s not the Duffel Blog, it’s Military.com and it is about 1SG Katrina Moerk who got an Army Commendation Medal for scolding other soldiers in a social media chat room;

    First Sgt. Katrina Moerk, now the first sergeant of Charlie Company, 741st Military Intelligence Battalion, was browsing a social media network’s community page earlier this year, when she came upon a video that she found offensive and sexist. When she commented as much, several respondents attacked her with insults. Some of these respondents were wearing uniforms in their profile photos, the first sergeant said, so she wrote to them directly.

    “I looked them up, introduced myself and explained to them why they were stupid. And I [copied] the director of the Army SHARP program to help their units improve their SHARP training, because it was obviously lacking. And it’s kind of blown up from there,” Moerk said.

    […]

    “I tried to explain why I didn’t care for it,” she added, “and [said], ‘If you don’t know who you’re talking to, be careful what you say in an open public forum on the Internet,’ and it just made it worse. When I started calling them by rank, they figured I was in the military and made jokes about calling people out on the Internet, or [that] pulling rank on the Internet is like calling somebody out in a bar.”

    Things died down online, she said, but Dr. Christine Altendorf, the SHARP director, brought Moerk’s email to the attention of Lt. Gen. Howard Bromberg, then the Army’s deputy chief of staff for personnel. Shortly thereafter, the Army launched three administrative investigations, because Soldiers from three separate major commands were involved, either through producing the video or making inappropriate comments.

    Her sergeant major called her the epitome of what an NCO should be. () Lucky for her, an Army First Sergeant didn’t have more important things to do than to troll the internet looking for trouble. I come across things on the internet that offend me and I click away, I personally boycott that website, I don’t turn into a nosy scold. Lucky for her she clicked into something that the Army leadership is focusing on these days.

    I have three ARCOMs from my two decades of service – I earned mine by doing my job and working towards the successful completion of the unit’s mission. Silly me.

    ADDED: Here’s how she trolled the social media. She trolled me looking for me to grunt and call her names;



    More commentary from another source...

    An ARCOM For That? (With THREE Updates)

    December 27, 2014

    Jonn at This Ain’t Hell brought this to my attention. Apparently an Army 1SG received an ARCOM for issuing what amounts to an on-the-spot correction to a bunch of immature punks in uniform for acting unprofessionally on social media.

    First Sgt. Katrina Moerk, now the first sergeant of Charlie Company, 741st Military Intelligence Battalion, was browsing a social media network’s community page earlier this year, when she came upon a video that she found offensive and sexist. When she commented as much, several respondents attacked her with insults. Some of these respondents were wearing uniforms in their profile photos, the first sergeant said, so she wrote to them directly.

    “I looked them up, introduced myself and explained to them why they were stupid. And I [copied] the director of the Army SHARP program to help their units improve their SHARP training, because it was obviously lacking. And it’s kind of blown up from there,” Moerk said.

    The problem to me is not that she addressed an “offensive and sexist” video on social media (I haven’t seen the video, but from what I understand it actually had individuals in uniform in it, and was in bad taste. If anyone has a link, please let me know). Nor do I mind that after being insulted and ostensibly called names by individuals in uniform she issued a reprimand. She was doing her job as a senior NCO. More power to her.

    I do have a problem with her bringing this issue to national level attention by pulling in the director of the Army’s SHARP (sexual harassment / assault response) program. I always thought that as NCOs we were supposed to be mature enough to handle disciplinary infractions ourselves. Address the individual. Address the individual’s chain of command. But bring national level attention to what should amount to an on-the-spot correction and then receive an ARCOM for it? Really?

    After Jonn posted his thoughts on this, 1SG Moerk decided to add “victim” to her impressive resume, in a post where she reminds us that 1) she has reached her rank in less than 20 years, that 2) she has apparently been called names her entire Army career and 3) she holds that victimhood as a badge of honor, and she will “heroically” stand up to those meanies.

    This is my lesson to my Soldiers. THIS is what the hard right looks like. This is what it looks like when you are retaliated against for doing the right thing. Break the internet with my name. Tell everybody ALL about me. I am showing my Soldiers what it means to lead by example, in word AND deed… My Soldiers have my respect, and I have their loyalty. That is earned. Your petty shit, just makes my point. You can’t bully me into believing that your actions are right. You can’t bully me into believing that because I am a female I should be okay with this. You don’t know ME. But… if this is what it takes to keep you from attacking other people trying to do the right thing… Bring it on.

    She’s a real hero, this one.

    For the record, I respect the fact that she did her job by correcting social media idiot troops. I think she did the right thing. But the fact that she essentially pulled the Pentagon into the drama, instead of handling it at the NCO level, and then received an ARCOM for essentially running to big daddy instead of handling the issue as a senior NCO would is a little ridiculous.

    I did post a comment on her blog. Respectfully. Without the usual mouth you all are accustomed to. It’s currently in moderation. Let’s see if she has the balls to approve it. But in case she doesn’t, here it is in its entirety.

    Interesting. A few observations here.

    1) Maybe I missed it, but no one on This Ain’t Hell called you a “whore,” but it’s instructive that you use this implication to paint yourself as a victim.

    2) The vast majority of us in the NCO corps simply issue an on the spot correction and move on with our lives. In the event that the on the spot correction doesn’t do the trick, most of us would bring the issue up with the Soldier’s chain of command. You chose to bring the Army director of SHARP into it? REALLY? Somehow in light of this, your claim that you received an award you weren’t “looking for” rings a little hollow.

    3) I commend you for doing your job. There’s no excuse for acting like an asshat, especially in uniform. I commend you for defending Army values. I DON’T commend you for bringing what amounts to a bunch of idiots acting like idiots to national level attention.

    4) Giving you an ARCOM for doing what is essentially your job – correcting junior troops – is akin to awarding a Bronze Star for a squared away barracks room. This may not have been your intent. I would hope you didn’t bring Big Army into what is essentially a bunch of ignorant joes being immature with the intention of getting yourself an atta girl from the SECDEF. But that is what happened. I would submit that THIS is what most people really have a problem with.

    You imply that people have called you names your entire career. I find this interesting. I certainly didn’t spend as much time in the Army as you have, but I can tell you I NEVER experienced sexual harassment, name-calling or other “offensive” behavior you describe. Never. Maybe I was just lucky. Maybe I just give off the “don’t mess with me” vibe, so no one saw it fit to treat me with disrespect. I was an NCO. I issued plenty of on the spot corrections and negative counselings. I participated in 15-6 investigations. And yet, I never dealt with the type of harassment you describe. Not from my infantry brothers, not from my junior enlisted folks, not from officers with whom I served. I’m sure it happens, but I have my doubts that it’s as endemic as you seem to imply.

    By the way, This Ain’t Hell deals with all sorts of military issues – not just Stolen Valor. Do you even understand what Stolen Valor is? Because if you did, there is no way you could glean a stolen valor accusation out of Jonn’s post.

    And finally, “the hard right”? Really? This bit makes me believe your beef is political and nothing else. The “hard right” doesn’t generally harass women any more than the “hard left” does. Harassment isn’t endemic to one side of the political aisle or the other. But from your writing, it certainly appears that you not only believe so, but that you have a political axe to grind.

    UPDATE:
    So she did publish my comment on her blog. Props to her for that. I honestly didn’t think she was going to do it.

    Also, some folks seem to think that by “hard right” she was referring to taking the hard road, rather than political issues. I re-read her words. To me, it sounds like she was referring to This Ain’t Hell as a “hard right” site politically. Hard to say. I will admit there’s a possibility I misconstrued it, although I really don’t think so.

    Third, here’s a video where the 1SG explains the incident and what happened.



    In the video she describes the incident in which she was offended by a clip produced by some Soldiers that depicted a new troop in the barracks being shown around by two Soldiers, who stop in front of what is ostensibly a female’s room and refer to her as “Suzie Rottencrotch” – the barracks ho.

    I will absolutely agree that making such a video is unacceptable. These idiots were acting like horny 16 year olds in a brothel. They are the reason the Military Social Media Idiots Facebook page was created, frankly. The image of these troglodytes gathered in front of the barracks whore’s door, giggling like puerile dolts makes me want to bitch slap the fuck out of them. Why the hell would you embarrass the uniform in this manner?

    I think this new generation of Soldiers – much like the rest of the dumbass generation of newly-minted “adults” don’t understand that the Internet is forever, and that social media is a public venue. They live their lives online, publishing every bowel movement on Twitter and Instagram, Snapchatting their body parts, not thinking about the consequences.

    The idiot troops need to learn better. There’s no denying that.

    But what really appalled me, and I said as much on TAH, I find it instructive that 1SG Moerk appears more “offended” that they made this video rather than by the fact that there are still females in the barracks who act like doorknobs (everyone gets a turn) for every Joe.

    Fact of the matter is that there ARE those women in the barracks. In every barracks I’ve been in!

    Every. Single. One.

    I remember the day I arrived at DINFOS. I walked up to the third floor of our barracks to drop off my stuff, and there was this couple making out in the stairwell. The female was Air Force, and the male was Army. I walked past them, dropped off my stuff in my room, and changed. When I came back out and walked downstairs, the same Air Force female was in the stairwell, making out… with a different guy!

    Moerk doesn’t seem offended by the fact that Suzie Rottencrotches still exist, and that women somehow feel this is the only way to exist in the military.

    She’s more offended by the fact that the Soldiers were openly acknowledging it.

    She didn’t seem upset that there are female Soldiers whose MO is to gobble every cock in the barracks.

    She seemed upset that horny 19 year old guys would openly admit to taking advantage of it.

    Do the male Soldiers need some extra… ahem.. instruction? Sure they do. And I guarantee you that SHARP PowerPoint slides aren’t an effective tool to teach them right from wrong. Soporific slides will likely give them a good opportunity for a nap, nothing more.

    But to paint these barracks whores as “victims” of these guys? They’re not victims. They should be mature enough not to act like a cum dumpster for every pimple-faced, fresh out of AIT dumbass. They’re just as much at fault as the guys are, and they certainly shouldn’t be treated like poor, innocent victims. I’ve known enough of them to know better.

    Stop acting like every man is a rapist, and every woman who chooses to debase herself is a victim.

    Start acting like every Soldier matters. Every Soldier can be taught right from wrong. Every Soldier deserves equal treatment.

    And by equal, I mean equal – not coddling females and making excuses for their poor behavior, while painting every male as a rapist.

    UPDATE #2:
    It appears I was too kind to 1SG Moerk. After getting a slew of criticism, she decided to simply ban everyone and make her blog private, ostensibly visible only to those who kiss her lily white ass. Guess she’s a coward after all. How embarrassing.



    UPDATE #3:
    I guess the good MSG decided that making her blog private after starting a shitstorm was bad form. It’s no longer private, for those of you who want to read what she’s written. I do encourage you to be respectful – especially if you’re currently serving. As I said above, nothing excuses acting like a disrespectful shitbag in uniform.

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    Default Re: The Leftist Plot to Destroy the US Military

    I got three AF Commendation medals in my time.

    None of them were for trolling, or I'd have gotten 30.
    Libertatem Prius!


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  7. #127
    Creepy Ass Cracka & Site Owner Ryan Ruck's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Leftist Plot to Destroy the US Military

    At least 30! With V Devices!

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    Default Re: The Leftist Plot to Destroy the US Military

    ok... fine 32
    Libertatem Prius!


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    Default Re: The Leftist Plot to Destroy the US Military

    Pentagon Official Literally Joke About Lowering Standards for Women in Combat

    BY: Aaron MacLean



    Pentagon official Juliet Beyler / Screen Shot, Defense News

    Even among those who disagree about the issue of opening ground combat arms jobs to women in the military, I have found that there is a general consensus on one key point: That physical standards should not be lowered in pursuit of gender integration. Weakening standards in the pursuit of social justice would endanger troops and render meaningless the accomplishment of those women who would potentially serve in ground combat units. In a way, this consensus is very American: Equality of opportunity and a fair shot for all. Keep the standards high, as they’ve always been, and let the chips fall where they may.

    The Department of Defense disagrees.

    This may seem shocking, but consider the following Defense News interview with Juliet Beyler, director of officer and enlisted personnel management for the DOD and a retired Marine officer. Beyler is described as the “point person” of the Pentagon’s effort to open jobs to women and, in the middle of the interview, without any apparent shame or concern about what she is describing, details a systematic and elaborate effort to weaken standards in order to ensure that more women will be able to serve in ground combat arms jobs.

    Of course, this is not the language that she uses. Her dialect—heartbreakingly, considering that she was a Marine for 23 years—is a dense bureaucratese that could not be improved upon by the villains of George Orwell’s Animal Farm. It is a mix of euphemism and circumlocution, with grace notes of outright dishonesty.

    According to Beyler, standards are not being lowered. Not at all! Instead, the services have been directed by the secretary of defense to “make sure that [standards] are correct and relevant.” The services were told to “validate” their standards in order to “make sure that they’re current” and “reflective of what we do today” and “operationally relevant.”

    In practice, this means lowering the standards. Indeed, Beyler goes as far as to joke that the traditional standard that an airborne infantryman needs to be able to carry a 45-pound pack has nothing to do with being a soldier, and agrees with her interviewer that it is a mere “historical quirk.”



    It is a tribute to how thick the bubble in the Obama administration’s Pentagon is, that Beyler believes that her answer is anything other than a shocking and disturbing line of thought. The notion that the 45-pound pack is simply a historical anachronism to do with parachute technology is self-evident nonsense. If anything, 45 pounds is an alarmingly low standard for airborne infantrymen in training, inasmuch as the average infantryman in Afghanistan carried substantially more weight than that on a daily patrol, not to mention encountering emergency circumstances like having to rescue wounded comrades who, with gear, can weigh well in excess of 200 pounds (this in addition to what the rescuing soldier is already carrying—which must still be worn during the rescue!) Granted, not every graduate of the school goes into the infantry, but training such servicemen is the institution’s primary task.

    Virtually overnight, the political leadership of the military has gutted the basic premise of ground combat training from the time of the Roman legions on.

    Considering the cruel and unforgiving realities of the battlefield, combat units have designed their training according to the following principle: How tough can we make it, while still filling our ranks with the required numbers? Now this has been replaced by the current administration with a different principle: How weak can we make it, so as to achieve a goal of social inclusivity, while still standing a chance on the battlefield?

    The Pentagon knows that if historical standards are maintained, then very few women will be able to meet them. Thus this review, which has nothing to do with producing the most effective military units possible, and everything to do with figuring out ways to shoehorn physically unqualified women into ground combat units.

    But the DOD can’t say publicly that this is what they are doing. Hence the nonsense language about “validating” standards, as though there was a need for such a review absent the political demand to introduce women into these units. For those that protest that the review is fair, we should all be interested in hearing them describe which standards the study reveals are too low and ought to be raised. In response: Crickets.

    Beyler graduates from euphemism to—depending on your level of generosity—total error or outright dishonesty when asked about the differences between dedicated ground combat units and support units that do, from time to time, find themselves in contact with the enemy. Women have been serving honorably in these support units for some time, as did Beyler—after service as a Korean linguist and intelligence analyst, she got a commission and became a combat engineer.

    Beyler’s biography does not reveal whether or not she personally saw combat as a mid-grade engineering officer during her tours in Iraq, though she implies that she did by allowing her interviewer’s statement that she has “that experience” to stand. Regardless, she believes that the differences between support units—say, logistics convoys—and units like the infantry have largely disappeared.



    That there are “no clear front and rear lines” is a rhetorical dodge of enormous proportions. It is true that in counterinsurgencies like Iraq and Afghanistan support units were more likely to find themselves in contact with the enemy than in a conventional campaign. But what does a (for example) supply convoy do when it—from time to time—gets attacked? It looks to break contact and continue with its mission. Killing the enemy is not its primary concern. Getting the supplies to their destination is. The mindset, and requirements, of that unit are entirely different from (for example) a light infantry platoon, which wakes up every morning, straps on up way more than 45 pounds per man, and goes—often on foot—in search of the enemy, to kill them by fire and, if necessary, close combat. Consider the following passage from Jim Webb’s classic Vietnam novel Fields of Fire about an infantry company setting out on a movement:

    They poured in trickles from the tents until, in minutes, the road became a teeming teenage wasteland. They were fully burdened. Packs bulged on each back as if every man carried a fat, hidden papoose. Men were strapped with three and four bandoleers of ammunition, and counterstrapped with thin cylinders of LAAWs. One in four carried a heavy square bag containing a claymore mine. Machine-gun teams sported boxes upon boxes of ammo on long green straps. Mortarmen carried tubes and base plates and packboards laced with ominous, dull-green mortar rounds, looking like small, fin-tailed bombs.


    I can report that, as of my last year in the infantry—2011—virtually nothing about the above had changed, right down to the claymores and the LAAW rockets (which have in many cases been replaced by a larger, heavier rocket called the AT-4). Moreover, the mindset of such units has not changed. They are heading into an inherently uncertain enterprise—trying to take the lives of other well-trained, well-armed, serious men who are working just as hard to kill them first. If they are to survive, their training needs to be physically and mentally crushing. It needs to be unfair, because the battlefield is unfair.

    It is profoundly depressing that it needs to be said, as though there were a dispute, that their training must be designed with higher-than-necessary standards—not lower standards masquerading as “updated” norms—if these servicemen are going to win and stay alive.

    The services owe their final recommendations to the secretary of defense on this issue by the end of 2015. Watch Beyler’s full interview below, and you will see that it is quite clear what they are expected to recommend. This is a matter of the utmost seriousness for anyone who cares about those who serve in the military. If they are allowed to lower standards, politically motivated bureaucrats like Beyler are quite literally going to get a lot of American servicemen killed.


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    Nikita Khrushchev: "We will bury you"
    "Your grandchildren will live under communism."
    “You Americans are so gullible.
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    Default Re: The Leftist Plot to Destroy the US Military

    The Left tirelessly ripens America's last line of defense for her enemies...


    The Marine Corps is getting pressure to lower the standards for women officers because they cannot pass the Infantry officer course. The problem is lowering of standards will result in dead Marines.

    Via Washington Free Beacon:
    Two female Marine officers who volunteered to attempt the Corps’ challenging Infantry Officer Course did not proceed beyond the first day of the course, a Marine Corps spokesperson confirms to the Free Beacon. The two were the only female officers attempting the course in the current cycle, which began Thursday in Quantico, Virginia.

    With the two most recent drops, there have been 29 attempts by female officers to pass the course since women have been allowed to volunteer, with none making it to graduation. (At least one woman has attempted the course more than once.) Only four female officers have made it beyond the initial day of training, a grueling evaluation known as the Combat Endurance Test, or CET. Male officers also regularly fail to pass the CET, and the overall course has a substantial attrition rate for males.

    The Marine Corps spokesperson, Captain Maureen Krebs, told the Free Beacon that the two officers, “did not meet the standards required of them on day one in order to continue on with the course.” Fifteen male officers also did not meet the standards. Of the 118 officers who began the course, 101 proceeded to the second day. The Marine Corps, along with the other services, has been evaluating how to comply with the order to gender-integrate its combat arms specialties by the end of this year, or apply for special exemptions.

    The results of the Marine Corps’ experimentation thus far has revealed a pattern: Female enlisted Marines have been able to graduate from the enlisted School of Infantry’s Infantry Training Battalion in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, though at a lower rate than male enlisted Marines, while female officers have faced great difficulty in graduating from the course in Quantico.

    This situation has led some involved with the policy debate in Washington, D.C., to suggest that the standards at the officer’s course in Quantico–which are substantially higher than for the enlisted course–are unrealistically challenging, and need to be lowered.
    Business Insider has more:
    In a recent Washington Post column, Santangelo attributes these failures to a double standard women face during their entire time in the Marine Corps.

    From the beginning of training in Officer Candidates Schools, women have few chances to compete against men. The schools are segregated based on sex and women are held to a lower set of standards, according to Santangelo.

    Santangelo, in The Washington Post, notes: In the Physical Fitness Test, for example, a male perfect score is achieved by an 18-minute three-mile run, 20 pull-ups and 100 sit-ups in two minutes. A female perfect score is a 21-minute three-mile run, a 70-second flexed-arm hang and 100 sit-ups in two minutes. There was a move to shift from arm hangs to pull-ups for women last year. Yet 55 percent of female recruits were unable to meet the minimum of three, and the plan was put on hold.

    This difference in passable criteria sets the tone that women can’t compete on a similar level as men, according to Santangelo.


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    General: Praising the A-10 to Lawmakers is ‘Treason’

    A top U.S. Air Force general warned officers that praising the A-10 attack plane to lawmakers amounts to “treason,” according to a news report.

    Maj. Gen. James Post, vice commander of Air Combat Command, was quoted as saying, “If anyone accuses me of saying this, I will deny it … anyone who is passing information to Congress about A-10 capabilities is committing treason,” in a report published Thursday on The Arizona Daily Independent.

    In a response to the news outlet, a spokesman at the command, based at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, described the comments to attendees of a recent Tactics Review Board at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada as “hyperbole.”

    In an e-mail to Military​.com, spokeswoman Maj. Genieve David said, “The intent of his comments were to communicate the Air Force’s position and decision on recommended actions and strategic choices faced for the current constrained fiscal environment.”

    She added, “Our role as individual military members is not to engage in public debate or advocacy for policy.”

    The Air Force is seeking to retire its fleet of almost 300 of the Cold War-era gunships, known as the Thunderbolt II and nicknamed the Warthog, even as pilots fly the aircraft — whose snub-nose packs a 30mm cannon — in the Middle East to attack targets affiliated with the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

    Congress rejected the service’s requests to begin the process of divesting the low, slow-flying aircraft this year and included about $337 million in the budget to keep it in the inventory. While they did allow the Air Force to move as many as 36 of the planes to back-up status, they blocked the service from sending any of them to the bone yard.

    Air Force officials say they’ll renew the effort as part of the fiscal 2016 budget request, which is expected to be released in a couple of weeks.

    In a briefing Thursday at the Pentagon, Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James said the service’s use of A-10 in U.S.-led air strikes against ISIS isn’t inconsistent with its strategy to eventually retire the plane.

    “There are a number of strike platforms that are engaged” in the operation against ISIS, including the F-15 and F-16, she said. The A-10 is “a great contributor, but so are the other aircraft,” she said.

    Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh, himself a former Warthog pilot, said the proposed retirement of the gunship is “an emotional issue inside the Air Force.” Pilots “love their airplane — they should love their airplane,” he said.

    “For the Air Force … it’s a sequestration-driven decision,” Welsh said, referring to automatic, across-the-board budget cuts Congress and the White House agreed to in 2011 as part of deficit-reduction legislation. The cuts are slated to return with greater effect in fiscal 2016 unless lawmakers agree on an alternative plan.

    “We don’t have enough money to fund all the things that we currently have in our force structure,” Welsh said.

    Even if the service’s request to retire the A-10 was approved as part of the fiscal 2015 budget, he added, the aircraft would have remained in service until 2019.

    Sen. John McCain, the longtime Republican from Arizona and new chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, was part of a group of lawmakers who worked to preserve funding for the A-10.

    ““We are going to do away with the finest close-air-support weapon in history?” he questioned during a press conference last year on Capitol Hill.

    The senator, a longtime critic of the F-35 fighter jet – the Pentagon’s most expensive weapons acquisition program designed to replace the A-10 and other aircraft – questioned why the Air Force would begin to get rid of the Warthog before it has started operational flights of the stealthy, radar-evading jet. The F-35A is scheduled to reach initial operating capability, or IOC, in 2016 but only by employing a less lethal version of software.

    “And we are then going to have some kind of nebulous idea of a replacement with an airplane that costs at least 10 times as much — and the cost is still growing — with the F-35?” McCain said at the news conference. “That’s ridiculous.”


    http://www.dodbuzz.com/2015/01/16/ge...rs-is-treason/




    Air Force Launches New Campaign to Quell A-10 Firestorm

    By Sandra I. Erwin
    3/8/2015



    As it faces yet more political backlash over the mothballing of the A-10 warplane, the Air Force is launching a new effort to prove that it truly cares about the mission of supporting ground troops with massive firepower.

    In an unprecedented move, top Air Force leaders last week convened a “Close Air Support Summit” at the Pentagon with senior officials from the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, National Guard Bureau and Special Operations Command.

    For the Air Force, one of the takeaway messages from the summit was that it needs to explain more clearly how it will support ground troops if the A-10 is taken out of service. Another is that it has to consider the possibility that it might need a new strike aircraft to fill the gap between the A-10 and its intended replacement, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

    In a briefing with reporters March 6, on the final day of the summit, Air Combat Command chief Gen. Herbert J. “Hawk” Carlisle said the central aim of the week-long gathering was to “assess the current state of close-air support and work with the Joint Staff, Special Operations Command and sister services to gain enhanced understanding of mission requirements against the backdrop of fiscal and operational challenges.”

    Carlisle insisted that the summit was not about A-10 politics or damage control. He suggested there is big misunderstanding about the Air Force’s commitment to close-air support and about what it will take to operate in enemy airspace in future wars. “This week was about taking everything we've learned and continue to get better so we can operate in contested environments.”

    The Air Force has been in a tough spot trying to defend the scrapping the A-10 Thunderbolt attack plane at a time when the aircraft has been in high demand in Afghanistan and in the war against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. A group of powerful lawmakers last year, led by Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., blocked the proposed A-10 retirement. Critics have blasted Air Force leaders for discarding an aging but proven weapon system to save $3.7 billion over five years and shift funding to the more glamorous F-35 Joint Strike Fighter that will not be ready for combat for several years.

    A-10 supporters argue that troops are best served with a close-support airplane armed with a weapon like the 30mm Gatling gun that can get up close with the enemy and loiter over the battlefield, whereas high-flying jets like the F-35 are too far from the action.

    The problem with the 40-year-old A-10 — nicknamed the Warthog for its ungainly appearance — is not its performance today but its future inability to fly in defended airspace, Carlisle said. “In a permissive environment and some level of contested environment, the A-10 operates extremely well,” he said. In highly defended airspace, the A-10 is “going to have a challenge, so the F-35 is the next step.”

    There is simply not enough money in the Pentagon’s budget to keep every fleet in the inventory, he added. The Air Force has had to downsize dramatically. It had 160 fighter squadrons in the 1990s and it is down to about 50. “If your capacity is down, you take out the platform that is going to have a harder time operating in the future,” said Carlisle, although he recognized that Congress will have the final word. “Congress knows, everyone knows, we will eventually phase out the A-10 because of the environments we'll operate in.”

    The decision to host a CAS summit and bring in the Pentagon’s top brass speaks to the bruising political fight that Air Force leaders have waged since the retirement of the A-10 was first proposed two years ago. More recently, the service came under fire when it was reported that Air Force Maj. Gen. James Post told officers in a private meeting that “anyone who is passing information to Congress about A-10 capabilities is committing treason.” The Project on Government Oversight and other watchdog groups also pounded on the Air Force for starting an alleged smear campaign against the A-10 by releasing data showing that the aircraft is responsible for more incidents of fratricide and civilian deaths than any U.S. military aircraft since 2001.

    Air Force Chief of Staff Mark Welsh conceived the summit as a forum to discuss “where we are with CAS, what we’ve learned and where we are headed in the future,” said Carlisle. “This is not necessarily in response to anything other than the changing world environment we're living in and the fiscal constraints” that have compelled the Air Force to make tough decisions about investments in new weapons. Carlisle also noted that friendly fire deaths are a concern. “We want precision, weapons where we can control the yield,” he said.

    Carlisle unveiled a number of new Air Force initiatives that are aimed at bolstering the close-air support mission. “We need to maintain the culture,” he said. But the A-10 is not the only aircraft that can do this mission, he insisted. “As long as it's in the inventory I'm going to use it, it's a fantastic platform,” but so are other aircraft, he said. “Based on congressional guidance, over time we will divest our A-10 fleet. We will have predominantly CAS squadrons of F-16s and F-15s and eventually F-35s. We want the CAS expertise to keep that knowledge base and culture alive.”
    A third of the first F-35 squadron at Nellis Air Force, Nevada, are A-10 pilots. The F-35, however, will not be ready for CAS mission until its Block 4 upgrade scheduled to happen in the next several years.

    The Air Force intends to create a “CAS integration group” probably at Nellis, with representatives from all the military services and special operations forces, Carlisle said. “The idea is to continue to advance CAS understanding.” There is consideration of assigning 12 F-16s to the CAS integration group for pilot and ground-controller training. “We need resources to build up the organization, build exercises. It'll evolve over time.”

    The Air Force’s fiscal year 2016 budget request seeks to retire all 164 A-10s by 2019. The Warthog is on its last legs, Carlisle said. The aircraft already have been modernized with new wings, engines and cockpits. “There's only so much you can get out of that airplane. We could keep it in the inventory for 10 years but they'll wear out. They've been worked very hard. It will eventually age out.” In the next decade, the F-35 will be the “primary CAS platform” although he did not rule out the possibility of seeking a lower cost airplane as an alternative to the F-35. “We'll continue to look at this. We're not going to start developing a new platform but we have to be open to what transition points we may face.” A commercially developed military plane like Textron’s Scorpion is not inconceivable in CAS missions, he said. “We have looked at other platforms to meet the low end CAS mission at lower cost.”

    Air Force leaders know that the battle over the A-10 is far from over, said retired Air Force Lt. Gen. David Deptula. Everyone was surprised by how emotional and contentious the issue became, Deptula told National Defense. Last week’s Close Air Support Summit is unlikely to have occurred were it not for the A-10 controversy. “Big summits on individual mission areas are unusual,” he said. “This clearly was driven by the attention.”

    The Air Force is making the right decision on the A-10, he said. “What you read about the Air Force not caring about CAS is nonsense. I’m surprised there is this much backlash. The facts do not support the accusations.”

    Some people attach too much importance to one aircraft, he said. “They forget that the A-10 was not designed for CAS.” The 30mm gun that fires uranium depleted rounds was intended to kill tanks in the Fulda Gap in Central Europe. “That’s direct attack of armor and interdiction and not CAS.”

    The Air Force to some degree created its own problem because “we like to label things,” said Deptula. “We call B-52s strategic bombers, but we have used B-52s for CAS. I had A-10s doing road reconnaissance, airfield attacks, Scud hunting and interdiction.” Then there is the budget argument. “The Air Force has done a thorough analysis. What else does Congress want? Unfortunately this has taken up a lot of the leadership’s time and attention.”





    Navy Refurbishing F-18s 1 Per Week; Buying F-35s 1 per Quarter | Keel of Virginia-Class Colorado Laid in Rhode Island

    Mar 10, 2015 03:56 UTC by Defense Industry Daily staff

    Americas

    Much tut-tutting external link is heard in the trade press now that the Air Force is stating openly that the F-35 will not be prepared to take on the close air support (CAS) role for which it is, in small part, slated. This has not slowed down the Air Force’s ardor for retiring the current CAS airframe, the A-10. It is certainly handy for the Air Force to shift a few billion dollars over to the needful F-35 project in the interim.

    In related news, Senate Armed Services Committee Chair John McCain is promising to reverse external link what he sees as dunderheaded Air Force moves to mothball the A-10s. He has vocal congressional support, including that from fellow Arizonan Martha McSally (R-AZ) who herself was a warthog pilot supporting Operation Southern Watch over Iraq and Kuwait.

    The U.S. Navy is pumping out newly refurbished F/A-18s external link at a much faster clip than Lockheed is producing the F-35s, guaranteeing the Navy’s primary strike capacity will be its F-18s for the next decade at least. Plans are to extend the Super Hornet’s hours capacity from 6,000 to 10,000. The Navy hasn’t been terribly gung-ho on F-35 procurement, averaging about four per year for first seven years, and planning to order four more for 2016. The Navy intends to refurbish another 50 F-18s in the coming year, up from 40 the year before.

    The keel of the Colorado, the 15th and newest of the Virginia class fast attack submarine was laid external link in a ceremony in Rhode Island. The subs, at about $2.5 billion a piece, were designed in the Clinton era specifically to be more cost-efficient than the Seawolf class, which topped out at about $3.5 billion per boat by the time the third and last was finished. The Seawolf was one of the first major weapons systems in the modern era that was extinguished by the politically unsupportable weight of its costs in what would later be termed a “cost death spiral.” Reduced numbers of units caused a cost-per-unit rise that then fed additionally into the pressure to cut future units.

    Middle East

    The profusion of new sensors on the battlefield brings the command and control elements virtually closer to the action, but this can cut both ways. More people seeing more information does not quicken the decision making process, and pilots loitering over ISIS targets are starting to complain external link.

    Sikorski is about to start the upgrading process external link for UAE’s Black Hawks.

    Iran’s newly announced Soumar missile external link could carry a 410 kg warhead more than a thousand miles, or perhaps a bit less then that, in good part depending on whether or not the Iranians have access to the Russian TRDD-30 or Ukrainian R95 engines. The Russian version of this – the Kh55 – carries a roughly 200 kiloton nuclear warhead.

    Saudi Arabia beat out India this past year in defense imports to become the worlds largest importer external link by value.

    Asia

    Yonhap is reporting external link that China’s President Xi Jinping directly appealed to South Korean President Park Geun-hye, entreating her to reject the American effort to install THAAD on the Korean Peninsula. The THAAD system, directed at the undeniable North Korean missile threat, could theoretically also cork up some of China’s capacity to lob missiles eastward toward Pacific targets. China is reportedly willing to give South Korea unspecified trade benefits, which seems a poor bargain versus an existential threat. The Chinese may be expecting to win only a limited assurance or a type of system limitation. Seoul’s strategy to date appears to have been reaffirmed in another Yonhap report external link, with the government repeatedly stressing it has no plans to purchase a THAAD system and shrugging at the suggestion that the U.S. would install its own to protect the 28,500 U.S. troops hosted by South Korea.

    Today’s Video

    Iran’s Soumar missile is unveiled. Here is a test flight…






    The U.S. Air Force has moved more A-10 Thunderbolt attack planes to the “Arabian Gulf”

    Mar 09 2015 - 0 Comments
    By David Cenciotti

    U.S. A-10s have arrived in Qatar to take part in regional exercises.



    Six A-10 Thunderbolts and more than 120 personnel assigned to the 190th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron have arrived to Al Udeid airbase, in Qatar to take part in three major exercises in the region.

    The Thunderbolts and accompanying servicemen are from the 190th Fighter Squadron, 124th Fighter Wing, at Gowen Field Air National Guard Base, Boise, Idaho.

    Noteworthy, even though several platforms will participate in the drills, the focus of these exercises will be more heavily on the A-10 and aimed at sharing pilots expertise in several areas mastered by the Warthog: close air support, forward air patrol, and combat search and rescue.

    Usually, combat planes already in theater support these exercises; however, as explained by the Air Force Central Command: “because of the increased operations tempo required to support real-world operations like Operation Inherent Resolve, the Air Force has tasked units not currently engaged in the combat operations to participate in the regional exercises.”

    According to the Air Force, the Air National Guard Thunderbolts have already taken part in one exercise but exact locations for the remaining two exercises are not released “due to host-nation sensitivities.”

    For sure, some local nation, possibly one of those already involved in the air war on ISIS in Syria and Iraq is due to attend the exercises. Worth of note is the way the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy have started to refer to the Persian Gulf.

    Here is an excerpt from the official USAF press release (highlight mine):

    “We want to give our young pilots the experience of flying in the Arabian Gulf and allow them to see what it’s like operating with different procedures in different countries.”

    Although the name of the body of water between the Arabian peninsula and Iran is historically and internationally known as the Persian Gulf after the land of Persia (Iran), some Arab countries have disputed the naming convention since the 1960s. The U.S. military is frequently using the term Arabian Gulf instead of Persian Gulf, most probably as a sign of the Washington armed forces’ will to follow local conventions or laws that ban the use of “Persian Gulf”.

    For instance, the caption of the photos that showed a French Navy Rafale operate from the USS Carl Vinson in the Persian Gulf, referred to the waters of the Persian Gulf as “Arabian Gulf”.

    Anyway, the A-10s are still heavily employed in theaters across the world in spite of their planned withdrawal.





    March 15, 2015
    The A-10 Warthog: Too Old to Keep Fighting?
    By Joseph Trevithick

    After failing to convince the public that A-10s are a threat to friendly troops, the U.S. Air Force now wants you to believe that the ground attack planes are simply too old to keep fighting.

    Earlier in March, Air Force officials hosted a summit to discuss the future of close air-support — the critical air strikes that help out troops on the ground.

    After the gathering wrapped up, Air Combat Command—which controls the bulk of the service’s combat aircraft—kept up its media blitz against the A-10 by zeroing in on the aircraft’s age.

    “There’s only so much you can get out of that airplane,” ACC chief Gen. Herbert Carlisle told reporters, referring to the A-10. “Those airplanes are gonna wear out.”

    Carlisle offered these comments while the low- and slow-flying A-10s attack Islamic State in Iraq and Syria — and stare down the Russians from NATO bases in Europe. His statements also came despite upgrades that should keep the Warthogs combat-ready for decades, according to the flying branch’s own internal documents.

    “They’ve been worked very, very hard,” Carlisle said. “But eventually that platform is going to age out.”

    It’s fairness, it’s technically true the A-10 will eventually age out. But any actual problems are at best a self-fulfilling prophecy — and at worst — tantamount to willful sabotage.

    Practically since the first squadrons got their Warthogs in 1977, the flying branch has continually tried to cancel or limit any improvement programs and even routine maintenance on the aircraft.

    Carlisle’s statements were “at a minimum a mendacious spin,” A-10 designer Pierre Sprey told War Is Boring. In reality, the Air Force has made a “deliberate choice” to retire the Warthogs, Sprey added.

    The flying branch already has a storied history of stonewalling against any serious efforts to keep the A-10 fleet going.

    “The A-10 and the close air support mission have always been seen as lower priorities that take money away from favored programs,” said Mandy Smithberger, director of the Straus Military Reform Project at the Center for Defense Information — part of the Project On Government Oversight.

    Here’s another thing. Often due to pressure from Congress, the Warthogs today are significantly more capable — and longer-lived — than the original design.

    Most notably, the Air Force hired Boeing to install new wings on more than 200 of the blunt-nosed attackers in 2007. The Air Force itself declared these new, reinforced spans would keep the A-10s airworthy for at least another three decades.

    But having already expected to get rid of the straight-winged planes, the Air Force effectively waited until the last possible moment to approve the upgrade.

    “The A-10 fleet received no money for major modifications or programmed depot maintenance during the 1990s,” the Government Accountability Office reported a month before the work started. “As a result, the Air Force is now faced with a very large backlog of maintenance, structural repairs and extensive modifications.”

    The next year, the problems became particularly evident. Cracks in the wings from “fatigue and corrosion” sprouted up across the A-10 fleet, according to an Air Force history we received through the Freedom of Information Act.

    “Of 144 aircraft inspected, 138 had cracks,” Air Combat Command’s 2008 historical review explained. “A planned A-10 deployment for the spring of 2009 to Korea was shifted to other systems, ACC cancelled at least one upcoming exercise due to lack of A-10s and one training course was ‘effectively grounded.’”

    Even with these self-inflicted problems, the Air Force conceded that it expected to save more than a billion dollars in future maintenance costs with the improvements. On top of that, Boeing designed the new wings for a grand total of $1.1 billion. This final bill was around a fifth of what the Pentagon spends today to operate a single A-10 for a year.

    And at the same time the aircraft were getting their improved wings, the service began overhauling older A-10As into modernized C models. The upgraded variants got brand new flight computers and other advanced systems.

    “The A-10 offered an example of how ACC sought to sustain its existing fighter force while giving priority to the new systems it wanted,” the command touted in its 2007 internal history, which we also obtained through FOIA.

    Since 2009, Lockheed has uploaded regular software updates into the A-10Cs to make sure the extra gear stays up-to-date and working. But four years after the first batch of new code, Air Force officials tried to stop buying these patches.

    Without the updates, the planes’ wouldn’t be able to fully make use their systems to find the enemy, drop smart bombs and communicate with troops, other aircraft and command centers.

    After getting an earful from the A-10’s supporters in Congress, Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James caved and put the funds—a paltry $22 million—back into the service’s budget request.

    With all these improvements, the Warthogs aren’t nearly as dangerously worn out as Carlisle said.

    In addition, the aircraft now carry the same targeting pods as F-15 and F-16 fighters, and can drop the same laser- and GPS-guided bombs. On top of that, the aircraft still have their unique and devastating 30-millimeter Gatling gun, and the ability to loiter in the skies above the battlefield for hours on end.

    Compared to the A-10 with its multiple radios, “there is no other aircraft with that capability to talk to [troops on] the ground,” Sprey added.

    But as the A-10s keep on flying, the Air Force has tried to paint the upgrade programs as a problem.

    The flying branch complained the projects—especially extensive because of a lack of regular improvements—were overly onerous and kept too many Warthogs out of action for too long.

    “The Warthog was a workhorse,” ACC’s 2011 historical narrative stated. “The down side of this was a heavy modification schedule resulting in below Air Force aircraft availability standards.”

    That year, the Air Force blamed congressionally-mandated budget cuts—rather than the service’s desire to shift money to other aircraft, namely the Joint Strike Fighter—for causing a shortage of new wing assemblies and threatening the upgrade program.

    Maj. Gen. Jim Martin — the Air Force’s deputy assistant secretary for budget — told reporters that the service could save $500 million if it shut down the rewing project entirely. That amount is equivalent to around three F-35As, which the flying branch wants to eventually replace the Warthogs with.

    Of course, “this is a classic game played by all of the services to prematurely retire platforms to make way for the shiny new toy,” Smithberger said.

    But Air Force leaders also appear to have something of a “special vendetta” against the Warthog, and their approach has become “quite confrontational,” Smithberger added.

    “Anyone who is passing information to Congress about A-10 capabilities is committing treason,” Maj. Gen. James Post—Air Combat Command’s number two officer—reportedly told airmen under his command in January.

    But that sort of language — which Air Force spokespersons have described as “hyperbole,” isn’t new. The flying branch treated Lt. Gen. Elwood “Pete” Quesada with the same disdain, Sprey noted. Quesada was a pioneer of close air-support tactics during World War II, and went on to become the first commander of the service’s brand new Tactical Air Command in 1947.

    “Pete Quesada? I wouldn’t talk to that traitor!” is how Sprey described the attitude of bomber-focused Air Force senior leaders in the late 1940s.

    And the Warthogs specifically have prompted this sort of anger, too. In 2003, then-ACC deputy chief Lt. Gen. Bruce Wright warned his subordinates against talking to reporters about the A-10 in a memo.

    The command’s officers needed to “look hard at themselves, their individual professionalism, and their personal commitment to telling the complete story,” Wright wrote.

    Journalist Robert Coram had just reported that the flying branch was secretly trying to ditch the A-10 as early as 2004 in an op-ed for the New York Times. “This is a serious mistake,” Coram argued.

    “The cheap, effective A-10 is a symbol and counterpoint for how broken today’s acquisition system for expensive systems like the F-35 is,” Smithberger said.

    Unfortunately, the service is insistent on sending the A-10s to the Boneyard. If this happens, Sprey has a pretty good idea what will happen to American servicemembers serving overseas if these plans go ahead. “Many more will die,” he said.

    But with this media blitz in full effect, the Air Force isn’t looking back. And given the way they’ve clumsily spinned the facts, the service clearly hopes no one else will, either.

    This piece first appeared in War Is Boring here.




    Now the U.S. Air Force Wants to Replace A-10s With F-16s



    An old idea — and a terrible one

    By Joseph Trevithick
    on Mar 19·11 min

    Eventually, the U.S. Air Force wants to replace the low and slow-flying A-10 Warthog with the fast-moving F-35 stealth fighter. But it’ll take years before the troubled jet fighters are ready for duty.

    In the meantime, the Air Force still needs a plane for dedicated close air support missions — something the A-10 excels at. So what does the flying branch propose? Not keeping the Warthog.

    Instead, the Air Force wants to replace the Warthog with a modified F-16 fighter jet — an old concept that failed to live up to expectations decades ago. The F-16s would fill in temporarily until the F-35s can take over.

    We have a hard time believing it — but yes, this is a serious proposal.

    Air Force leaders pitched the plan during a March summit focused on how close air support missions—the complex and often dangerous air strikes that help out troops on the ground—would work in a world without the A-10.

    The conclusion? With the Joint Strike Fighter not yet ready, and saving the Warthogs completely off the table, the only option is to have existing fighter jets do the A-10’s job.

    “We want to take those [A-10] aviators, and have designated, predominantly close air support squadrons in F-15s and F-16s,” Gen. Herbert Carlisle, head of Air Combat Command, told reporters after the gathering. “We will always do close air support.”

    Carlisle oversees most of the Air Force’s active-duty combat jets and spy planes. But beyond taking advantage of the Warthog crews’ experience, the general offered very few specifics.

    “The findings of the summit … can be summed up by the phrase ‘we have a plan,’” retired Air Force officer Tony Carr wrote. Carr has diligently followed the A-10 debate on his blog John Q. Public.

    The meetings were “a PR briefing, not how to fix close air support,” former Pentagon analyst and A-10 designer Pierre Sprey told War Is Boring.

    Before the Air Force creates or converts any of these new squadrons, the flying branch will first build an organization tentatively called the “CAS integration group” to make sure everything works. CAS is the common abbreviation for close air support operations.

    The new group could get up to a dozen F-16s to run its experiments. Tactical air controllers—troops who coordinate bombing and strafing runs from the ground—would also take part in the tests.

    “We need resources to build up the organization [and] build exercises,” Carlisle said. “It’ll evolve over time.”

    Above—F-15s and F-16s fly past burning Kuwaiti oil fields in 1991. At top—an F-16 prepares for a mission during Operation Desert Storm. Air Force photos

    But in 1985, the service proposed essentially the same plan as an alternative to the A-10 … and for many of the same reasons.

    It didn’t work out.

    At the time, the flying branch concluded that the Warthogs would soon be too vulnerable to survive above the battlefield without major improvements. Modern radars and powerful anti-aircraft missiles were emerging as a growing threat to the slow-moving A-10s.

    The Air Force told the Pentagon and Congress that former A-10 pilots flying modified F-16s—also known as F/A-16s or simply A-16s—would be the most sensible option.

    With a GPU-5 gun pod strapped on, Air Force officials believed the fast-moving F-16s could attack enemy troops just as well as A-10s — while avoiding enemy missiles. The GPU-5 contained a 30-millimeter Gatling gun derived from the Warthog’s monstrous main cannon. Both guns fired the same massive shells.

    The Air Force had already tested A-10s against A-7 strike planes armed with the GPU-5. But during the flight tests, the Warthog proved to be the more effective aircraft.

    Aviation firm Piper Aircraft also expected its PA-48 Enforcer — an unlikely challenger derived from the World War II P-51 Mustang — would carry these weapons, as well.

    Three years later, the Government Accountability Office examined the Air Force’s plan. The federal watchdog was … skeptical.

    “The GAO observed that the tactical aircraft development priority is the Advanced Tactical Fighter,” the report noted, referring to what would become the F-22 stealth fighter. “The Air Force cannot afford to fund two development projects concurrently.”

    Meanwhile, the Pentagon was worried they would be on the hook for three different aircraft. Since the Air Force hadn’t yet converted any F-16s, the Warthogs would still have to keep flying — for at least some amount of time.

    “The [Defense] Department was concerned that the Air Force may not have sufficiently considered all viable aircraft alternatives or adequately emphasized the close air support mission,” the GAO reported.

    But by the time Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990, the Air Force had prevailed and begun implementing its plan. When the American-led coalition unleashed its aerial blitzkrieg against Iraq, the flying branch had F-16s with GPU-5s ready to go.

    The results were a mess.

    An A-10 sits on the tarmac after a mission against Islamic State. Air Force photo

    “The F-16 … did not live up to the expectations,” the RAND Corporation concluded in a study ordered by the Air Force afterwards. “The GPU-5, 30-millimeter gun pod, was tried for one day.”

    The biggest problem for the add-on guns was recoil. Attached to the centerline pylon under the F-16’s fuselage by two relatively small hoops, the pods wobbled around violently as they fired the huge shells.

    Shooting straight was practically impossible. The F-16’s “weapon releases were so inaccurate they couldn’t hit a dinner plate with a spoon,” Sprey said, relating an anecdote he’d heard from a veteran of the conflict.

    The abortive GPU-5s are now long gone. The Air Force has no current plans to buy any other similar weapons.

    Over Iraq and Kuwait, the aircraft’s only saving grace had been the sheer amount of them. “The F-16 force provided the numbers to keep constant pressure on the Iraqi army,” RAND noted.

    To be fair, the Air Force didn’t give many smart bombs to units flying the Falcons — which would have improved their accuracy. The flying branch believed the F-16’s computer gear was sophisticated enough for pilots to lob unguided bombs onto enemy formations.

    “Although this accuracy is satisfactory for buildings and large targets, it is not an effective way to engage hard point targets such as tanks, unless the weapon has a large lethal radius,” RAND’s researchers stated.

    Not bad for waves of F-16s bombing entrenched Iraqi positions. But this sort of “accuracy” would have been wholly insufficient, if not downright dangerous, if the Iraqis came especially close to friendly troops.

    As a result, “most of their sorties were flown against Iraqi forces … in the kill boxes centered in the northern half of Kuwait, and in southern Iraq,” well away from coalition forces, RAND’s report stated.

    F-16s now regularly lob all sorts of guided missiles and bombs at hostile targets. But today’s much improved version—lovingly referred to as Vipers—still don’t have anything that can match the Warthog’s devastating gun.

    And after a series of upgrades, A-10s now carry the exact same precision weapons as the Vipers.

    Make way for the F-35

    Of course, the Air Force wouldn’t have to worry about finding a quick fix at all if the F-35 performed as expected. But with mounting delays and cost overruns, the flying branch is desperate to keep the way open for its new stealth jet.

    Unfortunately, the Air Force only expects the first combat units to start getting the F-35—which the Air Force hopes will eventually replace both the F-16 and the A-10—next year. In the meantime, something has to be in the skies to support American ground forces.

    And while the Air Force called its recent summit the “Future of CAS Focus Week,” the flying branch only seemed to have a good idea of what it didn’t want.

    Participants went in understanding that there is no future for the Warthog, according to Sprey. “One other huge lie was that this was a joint enterprise,” the A-10 designer added.

    Air Force officials effectively briefed members of the other services and U.S. Special Operations Command on a decision they had already made, rather than truly soliciting their advice, Sprey explained.

    The gathering came right as the Air Force and members of Congress find themselves locked in an increasingly public battle over the branch’s rigid timeline for retiring the Warthog. For one, the Air Force is dead set on getting rid of the aircraft before the F-35s even arrive.

    Lawmakers are especially concerned about the fact that the F-35 won’t be ready to take on close air support missions for at least another seven years. That’s how long it will take to write the software the F-35 needs for the Small Diameter Bomb II, according to the Pentagon.

    The Air Force expects this new guided bomb to become its main tool for hitting enemy troops on the ground. For Lockheed’s part, the company still has to figure out how to fit the weapon inside the F-35B’s internal bomb bay.

    A U.S. Air Force F-35A drops a practice version of the GPS-guided Joint Direct Attack Munition, or JDAM, during tests. Air Force photo

    The B model — which is the Marine Corps version of the F-35 — has less space to play with because of a large and complex lift fan, which allows the aircraft to land and take off like a helicopter. The Marines expect the SDB II to be an important weapon in their future aerial arsenal.

    On top of that, the Air Force’s A variant will have a 25-millimeter Gatling gun and only 180 rounds of ammunition. The pilot will be able to fire one three-second burst, or three one-second bursts.

    By comparison, the Warthog carries a normal load of almost 1,200 30-millimeter rounds, each one about the size of a milk bottle. The A-10 can make at least five three-second strafing runs on enemy positions. The blunt-nosed attackers can carry up to eight tons of missiles and bombs, too.

    Not that these comparisons matter much. The F-35A’s internal gun also needs a new software package—currently slated to arrive in 2019—to work effectively, according to The Daily Beast.

    All of this has raised question about whether the F-35 is really an adequate replacement for the A-10. If the Air Force succeeds in retiring the Warthogs, there will be no reason to hold any actual competition between the two types.

    “Platforms like the A-10 amplify the deficiencies in the F-35 program, and the Air Force doesn’t want the A-10 there to serve as a direct competitor,” said Mandy Smithberger, director of the Straus Military Reform Project at the Center for Defense Information—part of the Project On Government Oversight.

    “Keeping the A-10 around makes the [F-35’s] CAS shortfalls particularly pronounced, and creates an opportunity for fly offs.”

    Still, Air Force officials have left the door open for a new purpose-built, ground attack plane. But just how serious the service is about finding a true successor to the A-10 isn’t clear.

    When talking to reporters, Carlisle suggested that an aircraft like the Textron Airland Scorpion might fit the bill. First revealed to the public two years ago, this significantly smaller plane is cheap and nimble, but can’t carry nearly as many weapons as the upgraded Warthog.

    “It could,” Carlisle responded when quizzed about whether the Scorpion had what it took to join the Air Force’s inventory. “That’s not something that’s outside the realm.”

    “We have gone out and looked at other platforms to see if they could meet the low-end CAS capacity at a reasonable cost-per-flying-hour,” Carlisle stressed. “We’re keeping our eyes open.”

    But the idea that the flying branch has been looking at “A-X” contenders—a common term for any potential new attack plane—is “another big fat lie,” Sprey said.

    Because with the steadily increasing costs of the F-35, the Air Force doesn’t have enough money for a new plane. The flying branch has likewise insisted that it must retire the A-10 to free up funds for the Joint Strike Fighter program.

    As was the case 30 years ago, the Pentagon probably isn’t interested in shelling out more cash for yet another new airplane.

    The F/A-16 idea definitely hasn’t aged any better. Under the current proposal, the Air Force doesn’t appear to be suggesting any modifications to the Vipers to make them more suitable for close air support strikes.

    Plus, if the flying branch had actually been looking for a dedicated A-10 replacement, the service would probably have held their summit before drawing up its newest budget proposal, Smithberger noted.

    The Air Force’s most recent budget request didn’t ask for any funds for a new plane designed specifically to hit targets on the ground.

    If nothing else, Gen. Carlisle’s comments could be “hugely demoralizing” to the Warthog’s pilots, Sprey said.

    Smithberger agreed. With this attitude from the highest levels of the Air Force, “How do you keep a good close air support culture?” she asked.

    Not with F-16s that didn’t make the cut … decades ago. The Air Force brass will hopefully be honest with themselves—and everyone else—before they have to learn this lesson all over again.

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    Obama supports reduction in military retirement pay





    By Dave Boyer - The Washington Times - Monday, March 30, 2015

    President Obama said Monday he supports the recommendations of a military commission that would reduce the size of traditional military retirement pay by about 20 percent and offer a new defined-contribution benefit for troops who leave before 20 years of service.

    In a letter to congressional leaders, Mr. Obama said the proposals are “an important step forward in protecting the long-term viability of the all-volunteer force, improving quality-of-life for service members and their families, and ensuring the fiscal sustainability of the military compensation and retirement systems.”

    Mr. Obama said he has directed his advisers to refine some recommendations, and that the White House will report to Congress on any proposed changes by April 30.

    Under the recommendations, the plan would continue to offer full retirement benefits to anyone who has served 20 years or more.

    The Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission issued a report in January report calling for shrinking the size of traditional military retirement pay by about 20 percent and offering a defined-contribution benefit for troops who separate before 20 years of service. Lawmakers of both parties raised sharp questions about the panel’s stated belief that the changes will satisfy service members while also saving money for the Treasury.

    The commission’s proposal include decreasing the “multiplier” that the Pentagon uses to calculate traditional retirement pensions from 2.5 to 2.0, lowering the initial value of retirement checks by 20 percent.

    Under the new plan, the Defense Department also would contribute up to 6 percent of basic pay into individual troops’ retirement savings accounts. The Pentagon already contributes 1 percent automatically, and the added contribution would go to all troops who serve more than two years, whether or not they chose to separate before 20 years of service.

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  14. #134
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    I don't recall anyone getting benefits if they don't stay 20 years. When did that change????

    Unless they were medically retired - there's no "retirement pay" for anyone.

    ?????
    Libertatem Prius!


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    Default Re: The Leftist Plot to Destroy the US Military

    Air Force Removes General For Intimidating Airmen To Stop Talking About To Congress About A-10 Warthog

    So the Obama regime trying to cut the Warthog which has been successful against ISIS, and this guy just happened to say what he said to stop the officers from talking to Congress? No problem there…



    Via Daily Caller:

    Air Force Maj. Gen. James Post III has just been removed from his position for telling troops that testifying to Congress regarding the positive capabilities of the A-10 aircraft would be tantamount to treason.

    Post, a two-star vice commander at Air Combat Command, informed over 300 airmen in Nevada back in January that they shouldn’t be speaking to Congress about the aircraft. After major public outcry, the Air Force announced that it was beginning an investigation into exactly what occurred at the event.

    This investigation was undertaken by the Air Force inspector general and was strongly supported by Republican Sens. John McCain of Arizona and Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, who urged the process on when it appeared to be stalling.

    Gen. Hawk Carlisle made the final determination over Post’s removal after reviewing Post’s response to the initial complaint.

    The inspector general found that regardless of Post’s intentions, his speech was interpreted as an attempt to silence lawful communication with Congress and produced a chilling effect among the airmen in the audience. This counts as a clear violation of U.S. Code and Department of Defense directives.

    “The objective of my comment was simply meant to focus the attention of the audience on working within the command’s constraints. It was sincerely never my intention to discourage anyone’s access to their elected officials,” Post stated in response to his removal, according to The Hill.

    “I now understand how my poor choice of words may have led a few attendees to draw this conclusion and I offer my humble apology for causing any undue strain on the command and its mission.”

    The Air Force has been aggressively trying to sideline the A-10 from service, citing a crucial $4 billion dollars in savings, as well as the need to transition maintenance crews to the F-35 program. Post’s comments were just one of the examples pointed to by critics of the move, who prefer the A-10 because of its ability to deliver superior close-air support for ground troops. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have sided with servicemembers against the Air Force. (RELATED: Air Force Continues Smear Campaign Against A-10 Jets)

    Keep reading…

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  16. #136
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    Default Re: The Leftist Plot to Destroy the US Military

    Hey, it's OBAMA that wants to shut that program down. Not the airmen. They want shit fixed. The general is correct, it's treason in this day and age to shut down any viable, working military defensive program that can brace the US military against Russian aggression.
    Libertatem Prius!


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    Army Morale Low Despite 6-Year, $287M Optimism Program

    April 16, 2015

    More than half of some 770,000 soldiers are pessimistic about their future in the military and nearly as many are unhappy in their jobs, despite a six-year, $287 million campaign to make troops more optimistic and resilient, findings obtained by USA TODAY show.

    Twelve months of data through early 2015 show that 403,564 soldiers, or 52%, scored badly in the area of optimism, agreeing with statements such as "I rarely count on good things happening to me." Forty-eight percent have little satisfaction in or commitment to their jobs.

    The results stem from resiliency assessments that soldiers are required to take every year. In 2014, for the first time, the Army pulled data from those assessments to help commanders gauge the psychological and physical health of their troops.

    The effort produced startlingly negative results. In addition to low optimism and job satisfaction, more than half reported poor nutrition and sleep, and only 14% said they are eating right and getting enough rest.

    The Army began a program of positive psychology in 2009 in the midst of two wars and as suicide and mental illness were on the rise. To measure resiliency the Army created a confidential, online questionnaire that all soldiers, including the National Guard and Reserve, must fill out once a year.

    Last year, Army scientists applied formulas to gauge service-wide morale based on the assessments. The results demonstrate that positive psychology "has not had much impact in terms of overall health," says David Rudd, president of the University of Memphis who served on a scientific panel critical of the resiliency program.

    The Army offered contradictory responses to the findings obtained by USA TODAY. Sharyn Saunders, chief of the Army Resiliency Directorate that produced the data, initially disavowed the results. "I've sat and looked at your numbers for quite some time and our team can't figure out how your numbers came about," she said in an interview in March.

    However, when USA TODAY provided her the supporting Army documents this week, her office acknowledged the data but said the formulas used to produce them were obsolete. "We stand by our previous responses," it said in a statement.

    Subsequent to USA TODAY's inquiry, the Army calculated new findings but lowered the threshold for a score to be a positive result. As a consequence, for example, only 9% of 704,000 score poorly in optimism.

    The Army said the effort to use the questionnaire results to gauge morale Army-wide is experimental. "We continue to refine our methodologies and threshold values to get the most accurate results possible," it said in the statement.

    The Army's effort to use positive psychology to make soldiers more resilient has been controversial since its inception in 2009. A blue-ribbon panel of scientists from the Institute of Medicine, part of the National Academy of Sciences, concluded last year that there is little or no evidence the program prevents mental illness. It argued there was no effort to test its efficacy before the Army embraced it . The panel cited research arguing that, in fact, the program could be harmful if it leaves soldiers with a false sense of resiliency.

    The Army disputed the findings, pushing ahead with its positive psychology program that now costs more than $50 million a year. At least 2.45 million soldiers have taken a self-assessment test that is a crucial part of the resiliency training, and 28,000 GIs have been instructed on how to teach other soldiers the curriculum.

    "The Army funds this program because the Army values the lives of soldiers and wants to instill skills and competencies that will enhance their connections, relationships and ability to mitigate stressors and exercise help seeking behaviors through their life," says an Army statement released last month.

    But the internal data obtained by USA TODAY shows most soldiers today trending in the wrong direction. Two-thirds were borderline or worse for an area called "catastrophic thinking," where poor scores mean the soldier has trouble adapting to change or dwells on the worst possible things happening.

    Other results:

    -- Forty-eight percent or about 370,000 soldiers showed a lack of commitment to their job or would have chosen another if they had it to do over again. Only 28% felt good about what they do.

    -- About 300,000 soldiers or nearly 40% didn't trust their immediate supervisor or fellow soldiers in their unit or didn't feel respected or valued. Thirty-two percent felt good about about bosses and peers.

    -- In one positive trend, more than 400,000 soldiers or 53% said they were satisfied or extremely satisfied with their marriage, personal relationship or family. About 240,000 expressed dissatisfaction.

    -- For physical fitness, nearly 40% were in good shape, 28% were borderline, and 33% did poorly.

    Retired vice admiral Norb Ryan, head of the Military Officers Association of America, and Joyce Raezer, executive of the National Military Family Association, said the results are not surprising. Fourteen years of war and recent decisions to downsize or cut funding for the military have left morale low, they said.

    A recent survey by the Military Times and a Navy Retention Study also show troops increasingly unhappy.

    Saunders defended the Army resiliency program, known officially as Comprehensive Soldier and Family Fitness, as an effort that has resonated with soldiers."When we talk to soldiers, soldiers tell us about the life changes they've had," she says.


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    Pressure Grows On Marines To Consider Lowering Combat Standards For Women

    April 19, 2015

    Two years ago, Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, the nation’s top military officer, laid down an edict on the Obama administration’s plan to open direct land combat jobs to women: If women cannot meet a standard, senior commanders better have a good reason why it should not be lowered.

    Today, the “Dempsey rule” appears to have its first test case.

    The Marine Corps just finished research to see if female officers could successfully complete its rigorous Infantry Officer Course.

    A IOC diploma is a must to earn the designation of infantry officer. Of 29 women who tried, none graduated; only four made it through the first day’s combat endurance test.

    Corps public affairs said it did not have the data on which tasks proved the toughest for women. But one particularly demanding upper-body strength test is climbing a 25-foot rope with a backpack full of gear. A candidate who cannot crawl to the top fails the test.

    Traditionalists see the 0-29 performance as a call to arms by those inside the Pentagon who are determined to have significant numbers of women in the infantry. They are on the lookout for standards they believe are no longer relevant in today’s battlefield.

    “The pressure is on the services from the White House’s politically correct crowd vis-a-vis Obama’s Pentagon appointees, who will force the services to accept degraded standards,” said Robert Maginnis, a retired Army officer and author of the book “Deadly Consequences: How Cowards Are Pushing Women Into Combat.”

    In January 2013, then-Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta and Gen. Dempsey, the Joint Chiefs chairman, appeared in the Pentagon press room to make a historic announcement. They had lifted the rule that prevented women from serving in direct ground combat, such as infantry, special operations, artillery and armor.

    The cancellation began a far-reaching process by each military branch to evaluate female candidates and the standards they must meet. The giant study is scheduled to end in January, when Defense Secretary Ashton Carter will decide which, if not all, occupations will be opened. If a service — the Marine Corps, for example — decides infantry should remain closed, it must prove why its standards cannot be lowered.

    Gen. Dempsey laid down the law this way: “If we do decide that a particular standard is so high that a woman couldn’t make it, the burden is now on the service to come back and explain to the secretary, why is it that high? Does it really have to be that high?”

    On its face, the Corps might encounter stiff opposition to maintaining its officer standards in light of the fact women have passed enlisted infantry school, albeit a less-demanding course.

    Gender Neutrality

    Dakota Wood, a retired Marine Corps officer and an analyst at The Heritage Foundation, said the Corps has to be prepared for a bureaucratic fight.

    “I personally think there will be people in the administration, both in the executive and appointees in DOD, who will pressure the Corps, seeking the opening of all occupational fields to women,” Mr. Wood said. “My hope is that Marine Corps leadership are able to rationally justify current standards and hold to them.

    “If the standards are arbitrary, they won’t hold up to scrutiny. But I believe the Corps has decades of experience on which to base requirements.”

    He added: “It certainly hasn’t been an issue to have high failure rates for men all these years. Any argument to lower the standards just to accommodate women would have to be justified based on how such a change improves combat effectiveness in the infantry.”

    In the last Marine IOC class, nine of 90 male candidates failed to finish.

    Elaine Donnelly, who directs the Center for Military Readiness and has issued papers arguing against women in direct land combat, said all standards for special operations, Army infantry and the Marines are “very much in jeopardy.”

    “Over time, and it wouldn’t be long, the ‘Dempsey rule’ would apply, meaning, ‘If it’s too hard for women, it’s probably too hard,’” she said.

    Capt. Maureen Krebs, a Marine Corps spokeswoman, said the ongoing review of standards is a double-check to make sure each one is specific to a particular job, is relevant to the operation and is “gender-neutral” — meaning each one must be the same for men and women.

    “We’re looking at all of our standards for the ground combat arms right now to ensure that they hit all three of those requirements,” she said.

    ‘Different Expectations’

    The Corps is just not looking at officers. It also sent 350 enlisted women, fresh from boot camp, through the Infantry Training Battalion Course at the School of Infantry in North Carolina. Of those, about 120 completed the course, meaning that if the infantry were now open to women, they would be on that career path.

    The fact that so many women could pass the enlisted program points out the difficulty of the Infantry Officer Course.

    “The main reason enlisted women made it through has to do with the ITB course itself,” Mrs. Donnelly said. “It is not the equal of the IOC. Not even close. There has to be a big difference, because officers have the responsibility to lead others into battle.”

    The Marine Corps says the ITB women did the same tasks as the men. But Mrs. Donnelly is skeptical. She points to documents the Corps submitted to Congress in 2013 that said women are allowed to do fewer pullups than men in the basic physical fitness tests. It’s called “gender norming” to account for male-female physiological differences.

    Capt. Krebs said the basic physical fitness tests are separate from standards that must be met for a particular occupation, such as infantry, where women must achieve the same as men.

    As for why enlisted women could pass the ITB, she said, “There is a significant difference between the Infantry Training Battalion Course and the Infantry Officer Course,” noting that IOC is 86 days, about 30 more than the enlisted class.

    “There are different expectations on Day One of our infantry officers versus that basic rifleman who is out there who is supposed to know his job and his job only, whereas the officer must know every single job and be the physical, mental and moral leader of that unit,” she said.

    She added: “The women and the men in all of our courses we have had women go through with men — the women are [held] to the same exact standard as men. [In] the Infantry Training Battalion they’re held to the same exact standard as the men. [In] the IOC they’re held to the same exact standard as the men.”

    Reluctant Points Of View

    CBS News’ “60 Minutes” followed one female Marine on the 14-hour Combat Endurance Test at Quantico, Virginia. On the hottest day of the summer, she struggled through the obstacle course until it was time for the rope climb. She tried three times but never reached the top.

    Brig. Gen. George Smith, who is overseeing the Corps’ women-in-combat integration process, told “60 Minutes” that the Corps sees no reason to lower the standards.

    “The realities of combat aren’t going to change based on gender,” he said.

    Gen. Smith’s candor is striking in an institution that conservatives say is increasingly politically correct under the Obama administration.

    Anna Simons, a professor of defense analysis at the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, said she recently met with a group of officers reluctant to share their women-in-combat views.

    “Officers who balk at the idea of women serving in ground infantry units or on Special Forces Operational Detachments Alpha (ODAs) won’t publicly say so, let alone publicly explain why,” she wrote April 15 at WarOnTheRocks.com, a forum for national security commentary. “They worry about retaliation that could hurt their careers. In contrast, those who have no reservations — usually because they won’t be the ones who have to deal with the fallout from integration at the small unit level — slough off the challenge as just another minor problem or ‘ankle biter.’”

    The Marine Corps had hoped to attract about 90 to 100 female volunteers to the IOC. It found 27, plus two women who, as prospective ground intelligence officers, were required to pass the infantry course.

    Though the research phase is done, the course will remain open to intelligence officers who need to fulfill the requirements of that MOS, or military occupational specialty.

    “Maybe a woman could pass the Infantry Officer Course,” Capt. Krebs said. “She may not have come along yet.”

  19. #139
    Creepy Ass Cracka & Site Owner Ryan Ruck's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Leftist Plot to Destroy the US Military


    The Footwear Cadets Were Allegedly Forced to Wear During Political Event March Has Sparked an Uproar

    April 20, 2015

    Making the general public aware about tough issues that need addressing is obviously a good thing. But there’s a right way and a wrong way to go about doing it.

    A Reddit post supposedly containing a message from the cellphone of a cadet has raised questions concerning an allegedly mandatory ROTC event.


    Cadets and cadre put on their favorite pair of high heels and marched in Temple's Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event to raise awareness of sexual assault against women. #TUWAM15

    Posted by Temple University Army ROTC on Wednesday, April 1, 2015



    In the “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” event, cadets were required to wear high heels and march to “raise awareness of sexual assault against women.”



    Comments on the Reddit discussion thread were overwhelmingly critical of the initiative:

    “I just don’t understand why Combs would court political controversy like this. Isn’t the military supposed to avoid faddish political movement and religious issues.

    Anyways cross dressing violates several of our nation’s largest religions. That alone should have caused the Cadet Command to steer clear of this bullshit. Not to mention Army’s own fucking policy.”

    “To quote from someone over on /r/TumblrInAction:

    Under this administration, the military in general has been turned into a petri dish for social experimentation.”


    Cadets and cadre put on their favorite pair of high heels and marched in Temple's Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event to raise awareness of sexual assault against women. #TUWAM15
    Posted by Temple University Army ROTC on Wednesday, April 1, 2015



    Other commenters chimed in, confirming the legitimacy of the cadet’s experience:

    “Its a Cadet Command wide thing, pretty much every battalion in Cadet Command has had to, or will have to do it. GEN Combs has picked it up as a CC initiative.”

    “This is sadly legit. Did it at my school this semester, along with something called “Take Back the Night,” both of which made me uncomfortable just being a man and being there, let alone in uniform. This is supposed to be Cadet Command’s directive, that ROTC is to be involved in sexual harassment prevention on campus as part of SHARP stuff, but really none of these events are relevant or even well thought out. The “speeches” people give are either geared towards women or poorly constructed, and we are all sitting in uniform (men and women, both) listening and wondering how it is at all relevant.

    I’m all for equality, but it is really poorly thought out to have us involved in this.”

    Another commenter posted a link to Temple University Army ROTC’s Facebook page, which contained photos of an event in which cadets wore high heels in support of raising sexual assault awareness:


    Cadets and cadre put on their favorite pair of high heels and marched in Temple's Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event to raise awareness of sexual assault against women. #TUWAM15
    Posted by Temple University Army ROTC on Wednesday, April 1, 2015



    Many Facebook commenters were also critical:

    “They were threatened with negative counselling statements and OERs if they didn’t participate. It was pretty much ‘do this or we’ll kill your career before it even starts.'”

    “Someone head to IG with this? Pretty sure this was a forced activity.”

    “Worthless ROTC commanders need to get booted for this incompetence.

    As a combat vet this sickens me and is a setback for women in the military.”


    Cadets and cadre put on their favorite pair of high heels and marched in Temple's Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event to raise awareness of sexual assault against women. #TUWAM15
    Posted by Temple University Army ROTC on Wednesday, April 1, 2015




    The pictures I embedded from the Facebook posts aren't showing up.

    Here they are in order of the posts from above:








  20. #140
    Expatriate American Patriot's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Leftist Plot to Destroy the US Military

    I saw the images. Stupid. (though the heels were hot... too bad they were on guys) lol
    Libertatem Prius!


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