Monday, December 30, 2013

Air MEDEVACs for Africa Enhanced with TCCET-E

Photo by SSG Eric Harris (12 Jan 2011)
Africa is a huge continent and the U.S. keeps a number of military and other personnel working in many of the countries throughout the continent. Most are engaged in peaceful activities such as development projects, educational enterprises, and military training events. However, every once in a while something bad happens and a crisis develops. Many times there are U.S. citizens or military members who are hurt, wounded, sick, or injured and the military has the best resources to evacuate these personnel. The U.S. Air Force in Europe has recently established the Tactical Critical Care Evacuation Team or TCCET-E. Read more about the TCCET-E in "New Air Force concept for aeromedical evacuation to meet challenges in Africa", Stars and Stripes, December 26, 2013.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Piracy and Vessels Seized in Horn of Africa Down Significantly in 2013 Due to Many Factors

Piracy in the area of the Horn of Africa (HOA) - principally coming from Somalia - has decreased remarkably over the past year. In fact, according to the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) in a recent report published in December 2013 there were no incidents of vessels hijacked in the HOA area during 2013. At one time piracy in the HOA was a rewarding and sophisticated business. There are many reasons for this sharp decline to include armed guards of vessels transiting the waters near Somalia, naval task forces provided by many nations to patrol the waters, military rescue attempts, a newly established government in Somalia, and the occasional private sector endeavor (see the trailer for a documentary entitled The Project).

Friday, December 27, 2013

Those Who Serve - And Those Who Don't

The vast majority of U.S. citizens don't serve in the military. Most military service is done by members of families who have a tradition of serving. If you meet a member of the military more than likely you will find that his father, brothers, and uncles also served. There are exceptions of course; but really, you know the deal. Some families will endure the hardship and make the sacrifices and others - not so much. Read more in a blog post entitled "The Other 99% (1% Serve in the Military)" on the Afghan War News blog.

Defense Clandestine Service Worries Congress

The Defense Clandestine Service (DCS) was created in April 2012 by the Pentagon. It will see its two-year anniversary in April 2014. The purpose of the service is to recruit and manage sources (usually called HUMINT for Human Intelligence) around the world to support Department of Defense intelligence requirements. Some in Congress believe this is a duplication of effort; mirroring the HUMINT efforts of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). As a result of this line of questioning by Congress the new National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) is withholding 50% of the operating funds the DCS needs to do its job until DoD Secretary Hagel can justify the DCS. Unfortunately, what many in Congress do not recognize is that the DCS is a relatively new organization going through some growing pains, that it takes time to train up HUMINT operators and then put them into an environment where they can recruit sources, and it takes time to train up and develop sources so they can be effective. In addition, Congress probably does not recognize the original reason the DCS was created - to provide a robust HUMINT capability that was lacking at the start of the Afghan and Iraq wars and with the evolution of the War on Terror into a world-wide global threat. The CIA simply does not collect HUMINT in the areas needed by the Defense Department. "Congress skeptical of new Pentagon spy agency", Los Angeles Times, December 23, 2013.


Thursday, December 26, 2013

Case Made for Female SEALs

A recent article in The Atlantic states that based on the success of a few females recently graduating from Marine Corps infantry training the special operations community should integrate women into their ranks as well. The premise is if the women perform well as the team leader of a Special Forces Operational Detachment then they would be accepted as equals by the conventional infantry squad leader in the 82nd Airborne Division. See the article entitled "The Case for Female SEALs" published on December 24, 2013.

As a former member of the Special Operations community I can tell you that while this is an idea has been considered for decades it certainly isn't realistic or practical. Women have a long history of participating in Special Operations but only as specialists in a specific area where they add value. Certainly an intelligence officer serving in a unit's Intel section can perform her duties and responsibilities without the worry of physical limitations; and this applies to quite a few of the jobs in the Special Operations support and staff sections. Some of these other jobs might also require the presence of women on missions - as in linguists, interrogators, female searchers, or members of Cultural Support Teams.

However, it is on the teams (whether Special Forces or SEALs) where the physical differences are most noted. There are too many cases in the military where women have been integrated into male only training (not yet into Special Operations training) but only after the relaxation of physical standards to the point where the great majority of women could pass. This, of course, waters down the standards to the point where almost ALL men pass (not really good thing). It gives me chills thinking of how much the U.S. Army Special Forces training would have to be watered down so that women could pass this demanding course.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Civilian Cyber Militia?

Is it possible that the Department of Defense (DoD) will hire part-time employees to help the National Guard thwart cyberattacks? According to a recent news release this could happen (see "Defense to Weigh Civilian Cyber Militia", NextGov.com, December 23, 2013). The concept was outlined in the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act which calls for an assessment of the plan. An earlier proposal from Congress considered the standing up of state "Cyber and Computer Network Incident Response Teams".

Monday, December 23, 2013

Army Cyber Command to be at Fort Gordon, GA

The Army's Cyber Command will be collected into a central headquarters located at Fort Gordon, Georgia. Fort Gordon is also home to the service's Signal Center and Signal Corps. Many of the Cyber Command elements are spread across the United States to include the D.C. area and Fort Meade, Maryland. While the move might make sense from an Army standpoint of co-locating communications and cyber capabilities the Army's Cyber Command will move away from the nation's historical center of the intelligence world (Washington, DC) and from the embattled National Security Agency (NSA) located at Fort Meade, Maryland. Read more in a recent news article entitled "Army Settles on Augusta for Cyber Forces Headquarters", NextGov.com, December 21, 2013.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Precheck Air Travel Program Extended to Military

It is about time! The Transportation Security Agency (TSA) is extending the "Precheck Air Travel Program" to members of the military. More than 30 million passengers have experienced the TSA Precheck since it launched in October 2011 and now our military members will get this preferred treatment as well (finally). Learn more in "TSA Expands Precheck Air Travel Program", American Forces Press Service, December 19, 2013.

Monday, December 16, 2013

JP 3-24 Counterinsurgency 22 Nov 2013

The Department of Defense (DoD) has published Joint Publication 3-24, Counterinsurgency, dated November 22, 2013. A description of the publication is provided below:
"It sets forth joint doctrine to govern the activities and performance of the Armed Forces of the United States in joint operations and provides the doctrinal basis for interagency coordination and for US military involvement in multinational operations. It provides military guidance for the exercise of authority by combatant commanders and other joint force commanders (JFCs) and prescribes joint doctrine for operations, education, and training. It provides military guidance for use by the Armed Forces in preparing their appropriate plans. It is not the intent of this publication to restrict the authority of the JFC from organizing the force and executing the mission in a manner the JFC deems most appropriate to ensure unity of effort in the accomplishment of the overall objective."
You can read the pub online or download it at the link below:

 Joint Publication 3-24, Counterinsurgency, 22 November 2013.
www.dtic.mil/doctrine/new_pubs/jointpub_operations.htm

For more information about Counterinsurgency click on the link below: