|18,000 US Troops to Saudi Arabia
The Pentagon is sending an additional 1,800 troops to Saudi Arabia, senior defense officials said, a modest increase in the US military’s presence in the Middle East meant to deter Iranian aggression.
Calling Saudi Arabia a “long-standing security partner,” Defense Secretary Mark Esper said he had spoken with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman about the kingdom’s defensive capabilities and US efforts to protect partners in the region.
President Trump, who often praises Saudi Arabia as a partner and a prolific buyer of American arms, said that the kingdom “has agreed to pay us for everything we’re doing to help them.”
The deployments include two fighter squadrons, two Patriot missile batteries, an advanced air defense system, or THAAD, and an aviation headquarters unit. The Pentagon said last month that some of the units were preparing to deploy after an attack on Saudi oil facilities that US officials blamed on Iran. Iranian officials have denied responsibility.
Brian Hook, a senior State Department official, said Iran’s actions have created a “new security crisis.” He acknowledged that Saudi Arabia has purchased billions of dollars in weapons from the United States and said the new US deployments are “entirely defensive” in nature.
“We would very much like to see Iran stop attacking countries in the region,” he said. “That would be the easiest way for us to reduce our troop levels in the region, but this is very much focused around defensive, and it will continue to be defensive. We are not looking for a fight.”
Americans Seem to want Real Change
Now that Sen. Bernie Sanders is surging and a populist-left Sanders versus populist-right Trump race looks more and more likely, it might finally be time for America’s leadership class to start looking inward and asking what’s going on.
People don’t throw out all their normal political leaders for a TV-host billionaire and a socialist who honeymooned in the Soviet Union when they are satisfied with the state of affairs in their country. Something’s going wrong for the American people.
They are desperately searching for new political leaders who will shake things up.
You would think the first question our leaders would ask would be, “Why is this happening?” What is going so wrong for people that they throw out all the establishment political leaders? There is perhaps no greater sign of how out of touch our political establishment is than its failure to seriously discuss this question, three-plus years into the Trump presidency.
Our country was led for decades by a centrist group of corporate-minded Republicans and Democrats. These people had different views on issues of social policy and national security. When it came to economics, though, the differences over the past few decades have been more a matter of degree.
Both parties have had generally pro-corporate mindsets with differences over things like a few points in the top tax rate. We make a huge deal over it, but in reality, the ideological divide in our country has been pretty narrow. The difference between Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump is not narrow. It’s massive. Sanders wants to fundamentally transform our country. Trump is pretty transformational himself, but in a much less politically radical way when it comes to economics.
At Washington’s think tanks and trade associations, a lot of time is spent lamenting the “whackos” who are taking over the political system. It’s true that a lot of those in office right now don’t understand the inner workings of our system the way most politicians traditionally have. The point to understand is that’s precisely what voters increasingly want. Voters are not in the mood for status quo. They want radical change from outsiders or, in Sanders’ case, from an insider who’s always been outside the political mainstream.
What’s Scary About the Virus—What we don’t know
The recent spread of the coronavirus is causing a global panic. Our shared terror arises not so much from the death toll of the new flu-like disease — more than 3,000 people have died worldwide — but from what we don’t know about it.
Experts at least agree that the virus originated in China. But Beijing’s authoritarian government hid information about its origins, spread and severity for weeks.
Such duplicity only fanned the fears of a global plague — a hysteria not seen since the groundless fears of a YK2 global computer meltdown in the year 2000, or the political feeding frenzy during the Hurricane Katrina relief effort.
Wild speculation followed that the coronavirus was a virulent or mutated superbug. Had it arisen naturally or escaped from a nearby military lab? Did it originate from a sick lab animal? A conspiracy theory arose that it was a manufactured virus that had escaped from scientists’ botched efforts to create either a vaccine or a biological weapon.
“When you know what you are willing to die for, then you will know what to live for.”
— Jewish saying
The New Way to Select Battalion Commanders
Our Army has initiated the biggest shift since the Vietnam War era in how it selects a key class of officers, drawing on the hiring practices of private-sector organizations and corporations such as the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Google. The aim is to move away from techniques used for over 50 years that rely on past military jobs, physical fitness scores and the recommendations of generals to promote officers to the job of battalion commander.
The new system includes surveys by subordinates, writing tests, psychological assessments, cognitive evaluations and a series of simulated military like scenarios in a wooded area on base to gauge leadership and problem-solving abilities. It stresses anonymity to eliminate any possible bias. As soon as candidates arrive, they are assigned a number and aren’t known by their names. At an interview, candidates are seated behind a black curtain, and a five-member selection panel is unable to see a candidate’s uniform, with its career-defining ribbons and patches. In the process, officials hope to generate more information, weed out unqualified applicants and reduce or eliminate gender, racial and other biases. “The legacy system for selecting battalion commanders in our Army was good, but in today’s world, good enough is no longer enough,” said Maj. Gen. J.P. McGee, head of the Battalion Commander Assessment Program.
“For the Army to win in future conflicts, we need the world’s best battalion commander selection process.” The post of battalion commander, with the rank of lieutenant colonel, is considered the Army’s keystone mid-level management job. More than 90% of Army generals first served as battalion commanders, according to Army statistics.
More About The Virus
Here is a very factual article on COVID 19 as well as other “pandemic”viruses we have experienced in about the past 25 years. It also addresses our Government Funding (incorrectly says $1B instead of $2.5B) to address the coronavirus. It also tells us what the Company actually sent for evaluation.
US Intelligence Agencies & the 2020 Election
This article makes me wonder what is going on in our intelligence services.
Recently the intelligence community made clear it will be a player in the 2020 presidential election. No one should be surprised.
On February 13, the House Intelligence Committee held a meeting at which intel officials briefed lawmakers on foreign efforts to influence US elections. By several accounts, the officials told the committee that Russia is working to re-elect President Trump.
A number of Republican committee members were deeply skeptical. What the officials said was classified, so they cannot discuss it publicly, but in conversations later, GOP lawmakers made it clear that the intel officials did not have the evidence to support their assertion.
“How should reporting take place?” one member said later. “You would say, ‘We believe X is true based on A, B, C and D.’ When that doesn’t happen, it’s very suspect.”
“If you’re going to make an accusation like that, you darn well better be ready to answer questions and have evidence to support it,” said another member. When pressed, the member added, officials gave “very vague and unsatisfying answers.”
Foreign Troops accessing Marine Bases
International troops will soon face new restrictions in how they access Marine Corps installations as the service tightens security following a terrorist attack on a Navy base that killed three sailors.
Marine Corps commands have until Feb. 25 to complete rosters of all foreign troops assigned to their units, schools or training courses in the US.
International troops are currently allowed to access all Marine Corps installations. The new rosters will soon limit their base access to only those for which they have explicit orders.
The same will apply to any dependents the foreign troops may bring, according to the new rules, which were announced in a service-wide message.
The new policy isn’t meant to impede foreign troops’ training, said Capt. Joe Butterfield, a Marine spokesman at the Pentagon. The Defense Department ordered each service to limit international military students’ access to facilities across the force after a Saudi officer training in Pensacola, Florida, opened fire in a building there, killing three and injuring several others.
The Dec. 6 attack, the FBI found, was inspired by a terrorist organization. Al-Qaida’s leader in Yemen recently took credit for the deadly shooting.
The attack prompted a military-wide review of its vetting and security protocol for international troops training at US bases. But military leaders have stressed that it’s important to continue hosting partner nations’ troops at US schoolhouses and other facilities.
US Atty General Barr on Our Nation’s Values
AG Bill Barr does a lot to clarify what is going on with the Government, Diversity, Liberal and Progressive Politics, our Media and Religion. This speech is for everyone interested in the fabric of our country and what is tearing it apart. I highly recommend it.
Space Force Job Specialties
The US Space Force is just a couple of months old, but it has already narrowed down a tight list of 16 military job specialties that it will own, the director of Space Force Planning said.
Maj. Gen. Clinton Crosier said Space Force now has built a staff of about 110 in its headquarters element, of about 200 that it needs. Space Force will build to a strength of roughly 15,000, he said, working to stay focused by avoiding duplication of infrastructure and support functions already provided by other services.
Rather, he said, the members of the nation’s newest military branch will focus on five key technical areas: space operations, space engineering, space intelligence, space acquisition and science, and space cyber.
His remarks offered vital insights to the function of a fledgling service that has been largely shrouded in mystery. Still unknown is what the rank and command structure will be; how new recruits can join the Space Force; and even what members of the service will call themselves. Space Force, which is under the purview of the Department of the Air Force, just as the Marine Corps is within the Department of the Navy, will adopt 16 different specialty codes from the Air Force that all fall within the five main functions.
According to Crosier’s presentation, they include the following:
· 13S Space Ops
· 1C6 Space Systems Ops
· 14N Intel
· 17C Cyber Ops Officer
· 17D Cyber Ops
· 1N0 All Source Intel
· 1N1 Geospatial Intel
· 1N2 Signals Intel
· 3D1N4 Fusion Analysis
· 3D0 Cyber Ops
· 3D1 Cyber Support
· 62E Development Engineer
· 62S Materiel Leader
· 63A Acquisition Manager
· 63G Senior Materiel Ldr-Upper Ech
· 63S Materiel Leader
Eighty percent of the common support the space force needs … is going to come from the Air Force. So we can really focus on the things we were told to do. If it’s a Space Force-specific function, Space Force will execute,” Crosier said.
That said, the service will draw specialists from all services to make up its ranks, he added. The headquarters element already includes 14 sailors, 26 soldiers and two Marines, as well as airmen, he said.
At least initially, infrastructure borrowed from the services will include initial training for enlisted members and officers.
The New F-35 Demo Team
Capt. Kristin “BEO” Wolfe is the new F-35A Demonstration Team pilot for the 2020 Season.
Exercise Native Fury 2020
U.S. Marine Forces, Central Command and I Marine Expeditionary Force (I MEF), in coordination with the United Arab Emirates Armed Forces, began Exercise Native Fury 2020 on March 8. Native Fury is a bi-annual exercise that has been occurring in the region since 2008, and this is the 7th iteration of the exercise. Native Fury 20 is a joint exercise involving thousands of forces demonstrating the ability to respond to contingencies, natural disasters and other possible crises in the region. The exercise is designed to train I Marine Expeditionary Force (I MEF) Marines and Sailors in Maritime Prepositioning Force operations and aimed to increase proficiency, expand levels of cooperation, enhance maritime capabilities, validate joint logistics over the shore capabilities in coordination with the US Army, and promote long-term regional stability and inter-operability between the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the US. In the course of the exercise, units from I Marine Expeditionary Force will employ a variety of different techniques to accomplish several training objectives. This exercise involves live fire and maneuver training, skill development and exchange with the armed forces of the UAE, ship-to-shore offloads of personnel, equipment and humanitarian resources, as well as a logistics convoy movements across the UAE.
Saudi Pilot Training Resumed by Our Navy
Service members from Saudi Arabia are back to conducting flight training in the U.S. nearly three months after it was halted following a fatal terror attack on a Florida military base. Saudi international military students resumed flight training Tuesday, Navy officials announced. The move follows a host of new restrictions placed on foreign troops, limiting their access to Navy and Marine Corps bases and banning them from having personal firearms while they’re in the U.S.
The Navy will continue reviewing its policies for training foreign troops, Lt. Cmdr. Megan Isaac, a Navy spokeswoman at the Pentagon, said in a statement Wednesday.
“The Navy is making every effort to minimize disruptions to our foreign national partners while implementing the revised security initiatives,” she added. The Pentagon announced it would pause all operational training for 850 Saudi troops on Dec. 10, four days after the attack. Since then, Saudi troops have participated only in classroom training.
WWII Vets at the WWII Museum
Gary Sinise and Connie Stevens hosted a luncheon in Studio City for a large group of endorsed Combat Veterans For Congress. Gary is a friend of the Combat Veterans For Congress, and Connie has been on the Board of Directors of the Combat Veterans For Congress PAC for 10 years. We wanted to bring attention to Gary’s selfless and continuing effort to Honor members of the Greatest Generation who are WWII Veterans.
God Loves Us
Scott McChrystal is a retired Army Colonel, Chaplain. Here are some of his insights that I think you’ll find appropriate.
Peace During Times of Crisis
You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you. Isaiah 26:3 (NIV)
The world is fixated on the corona virus. People’s responses range from panic and hysteria to calm, measured actions toward assessing the problem and providing solutions.
To our natural minds, this situation is scary. The virus is spreading around the world and some have died. Fear is rampant among large segments of our nation and around the world. Media reports vary widely, and if we’re not careful we can let our minds run wild as we imagine a doomsday scenario.
Certainly, we should be concerned. At every level our country needs to respond appropriately – from the average citizen all the way to top government leaders. Stress caused by fear can do damaging things: to our health, to our faith, and to our ability to decide the right actions to take.
Without doubt, we need to pray. As you pray, I suggest five things to pray about in addition to other concerns you may have.
· Pray for God to halt the spread of the coronavirus and to heal those who have contracted this virus.
· Pray that at all levels, the Lord will help us to do our part to help this situation – from the individual citizen-level all the way to the Office of President, the Cabinet, Congress, and the many health agencies and other organizations leading the effort to get this situation under control.
· Pray that every nation around the world will act transparently, honestly, and collaboratively to defeat the coronavirus.
· Pray that the Lord will help us stay united in our efforts and not allow division to limit our efforts to work together to meet this enormous challenge.
· Pray and ask the Lord to help every person focus on His love, mercy, and sovereign power to help us in our battle against this virus. Pray for God to help us control our thoughts, remembering that the “battle is the Lord’s” (2 Chronicles 20:15).
Despite circumstances, God can and will help us find peace as we keep our minds on Him.
From the Officers Christian Fellowship:
March Questions to Ponder
How do you understand the difference between purpose, calling, and even vocation? It’s been said that your purpose is to glorify God, and your calling is the means by which you do that. Christian businessman and entrepreneur Brian Sooy refined that even further by separating calling from vocation in this way: Our calling is always to Christ, and God uses our vocation to invite us to where He is already at work. Where those two paths cross is where we find our purpose. As you seek to live out your calling, and help others live out their unique calling, here are 8 questions centered on the OCF Pillars to consider this month:
1. What does the Bible say about our purpose and calling?
2. If my purpose is to glorify God wherever I’ve been called, what is the importance of fellowship as I seek to live out my calling?
3. Have I made (or How can I make) prayer such a priority that I can be certain of God’s voice? Where am I seeing Him answer prayer in my life?
4. What are some ways I can get involved with OCF and join God where He’s already at work?
5. How do I integrate my faith and profession in such a way that I can make the most impact for God’s glory?
6. How can I help my family discover their calling and how God has uniquely gifted them for His purposes?
7. How can I live out my calling through godly service and outreach to the military?
8. How can I support and encourage chaplains as they help others live out their calling to Christ?
Civil War History
Here are some questions on the Civil War; we’ll post the answers in the next newsletter.
Here are the answers to the last issue’s questions:
1.In what major battle were two Confederate generals killed who were buried in the same cemetery? Chancellorsville.
2. Who were they? LTG Thomas J. Jackson & BG Elisha Frank Paxton 3. In what cemetery are they buried? Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery in Lexington, VA.
Here are the new questions:
1. What was the standard manual on infantry tactics, used by both Confederate and Union armies, written at the request of the Secretary of War, Jefferson Davis?
2. Most of the senior general officers of both the Union and CSA had experience in Mexico during the Mexican War. One very successful senior USA general, who commanded the Western Theater under LTG Grant and went on after the war to hold senior positions, did not serve in Mexico. Who was he?
3. Who is the only Union commander credited with defeating two of these three CSA commanders (Lee, Jackson, Longstreet)?
You’re a Grand Old Flag by James Cagney
Frontlines of Freedom Gear
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Two quotes to consider.
Word to the Nation: Guard zealously your right to serve in the Armed Forces, for without them, there will be no other rights to guard.
President John F. Kennedy
I will never quit. My nation expects me to be physically harder and mentally stronger than my enemies. If knocked down I will get back up, every time. I will draw on every remaining ounce of strength to protect my teammates and to accomplish our mission. I am never out of the fight.
Marcus Luttrell, Lone Survivor
Programming: You’ll want to tune into the show (live or by podcast).
14-20 March: Nate Anderson from Concerned Veterans for America will discuss the withdrawal of US forces from the Middle East. Matt Pinkster will discuss his book, Crisis on the Border. And we’ll learn of the excellent discounts that Sprint offers to all veterans and their families.
21-27 March: This is our Service Academy show. Two students who want to attend a Service Academy will be briefed by and interview recruiters from the US Military, Naval, Air Force, Coast Guard, and Merchant Marine Academies.
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Given the season, a little political humor seems appropriate:
If God wanted us to vote, he would have given us candidates.
The problem with political jokes is they get elected.
~Henry Cate, VII~
We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office
If we got one-tenth of what was promised to us in these State of the Union speeches, there wouldn’t be any inducement to go to heaven.
Politicians are the same all over.? They promise to build a bridge even where there is no river.
When I was a boy I was told that anybody could become President; I’m beginning to believe it.
Why pay money to have your family tree traced; go into politics and your opponents will do it for you.
Politicians are people who, when they see light at the end of the tunnel, go out and buy some more tunnel.
Politics is the gentle art of getting votes from the poor and campaign funds from the rich, by promising to protect each from the other.
I offer my opponents a bargain: if they will stop telling lies about us, I will stop telling the truth about them.
~Adlai Stevenson, campaign speech, 1952~
A politician is a fellow who will lay down your life for his country.
~ Tex Guinan~
I have come to the conclusion that politics is too serious a matter to be left to the politicians.
~Charles de Gaulle~
Instead of giving a politician the keys to the city, it might be better to change the locks.
There ought to be one day — just one — when there is open season on senators.