“Army officials will begin a public push for a new round of base closures that could take place as early as 2017, according to an Army spokesperson. Katherine Hammack, assistant secretary of the Army for installations, energy and environment, and other Army officials will make the case for a new round of base realignment and closures in line with the administration’s goals to create a more efficient Defense Department at the Association of Defense Communities Installation Innovation Forum Feb. 10.”
“Personnel, ships and fighter jets were all on the chopping block in the results of a defense budget cutting exercise, unveiled on Wednesday by teams from four think-tanks. Under constrained defense budget scenarios, the four teams all decided to cut non-stealthy fighters, shrink the number of the Army’s active duty and reserve infantry brigade combat teams, cut the number of active duty soldiers, reduce carriers and destroyers, downsize the number of civilians, and spend more money on space, cyber, and communications."
"Helmand province was a Taliban stronghold when U.S. Marines led a surge of U.S. forces into the region in 2010. Beginning in Marjah, a poppy-growing town in the Helmand River valley that had been controlled by the Taliban, Marines began securing one village after another in tough fighting. At its peak there were about 20,000 Marines in Regional Command Southwest, which includes the province. Today, about 4,500 American troops remain in the region and Helmand is noticeably less violent than it was about four years ago when the Afghan surge began"
“Good evening. General and Mrs. Caslen, General and Mrs. Clarke, General Trainor, Col Brazil, Command Sergeants Major Duane and Byers, distinguished guests and most importantly Class of 2015. I am truly honored to be here tonight to address the future leaders of the United States Army. But, as a graduate of a state school in Texas, who majored in journalism because I couldn’t do math, or science, or engineering or accounting, I am somewhat intimidated by the thought of giving any advice, to any cadet, on anything. Nevertheless, after almost 37 years in the service, much of that time with the Army, there may be something I can offer. So tonight, as you begin the final 500 days of your time at the United States Military Academy, I would like to give you a Sailor’s Perspective on the Army; not the Army of the Hudson, not the Army of the history books, not the Army portrayed in the countless murals across campus, but the Army you will enter in 500 days—the Army upon which the future of the Nation rests; the Army that you will shape and the Army that you will lead.”
“President Obama met Tuesday with the U.S. commander in Afghanistan, who was expected to press the White House to maintain a troop presence in the country beyond the end of the year. White House press secretary Jay Carney described the meeting with Gen. Joseph Dunford as "an important opportunity for President Obama to hear directly, in person, from his commander on the ground and other senior defense officials."
“The Army is assessing development plans for its battlefield intelligence network after Congress made it one of the largest budget-slashing victims in the new defense budget. The fiscal 2014 defense appropriations bill cut more than 60 percent of planned spending for the Distributed Common Ground System, or DCGS-A. It is designed as a multidimensional computer network that can collect, store and dispense data about the enemy. The Army has fiercely defended the more-than-decade-long development and procurement of DCGS-A amid poor test results and scolding from congressional committees. A report by Senate Committee on Armed Services last year said it had urged the Army to buy proven, commercially available systems, but the Army did not.”
“Lance Cpl. Dale Means, who deployed to Afghanistan in 2012 with Combat Logistics Battalion 2, was manning the turret on a 7-ton truck when a roadside bomb detonated. Three Marines inside the vehicle — its driver, vehicle commander and security team leader — suffered serious, but non-life threatening back injuries. Means, a 23-year-old from Jordan, Minn., was killed. His close friend, a lance corporal and fellow logistician, believes Means might be alive today if the Corps had followed the Army’s lead and purchased more remote weapons stations for its vehicles. The Common Remotely Operated Weapon Station II — or CROWS II — allows troops to engage the enemy from inside the relative safety of an armored vehicle, using a joystick and a computer screen instead of line-of-sight targeting from a vulnerable perch in a turret”
Fears of terrorism have dogged the 2014 Winter Olympics almost from the moment the International Olympic Committee announced that the games would be held in the Russian resort of Sochi. The Russian government has gone to extraordinary lengths to ensure the Games are safe, spending more than $2.5 billion just on security. Moscow has done everything from installing checkpoints along the roads into Sochi to requiring background checks for all attendees to dispatching reconnaissance drones overhead.
“U.S. soldiers had higher morale and suffered fewer mental health problems in Afghanistan last year as they handed off more duties to Afghans and saw less combat themselves, according to a report released Monday. The Army report was drawn from a battlefield survey and interviews in June and July. It was the ninth time since the practice started in 2003 in Iraq that the service had sent a team of mental health experts to the field of war to measure soldier mental health and assess available care. The report says rates of soldiers with depression, anxiety and acute stress — as well as tendencies toward suicide — were lower than in the most recent previous surveys.”
“Defense spending globally will increase this year for the first time since 2009 military budgets surge in Russia, Asia and the Middle East, according to an annual defense budget review by IHS Jane’s. Four of the five fastest-growing defense markets last year were in the Middle East, the study found, according to a statement by the company. The defense budgets of Russia and China combined will exceed total defense spending of the European Union by 2015.”
“More than 800 soldiers are under criminal investigation for gaming a National Guard program that paid hundreds of millions in bonuses to soldiers who persuaded friends to sign up during the darkest years of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, USA TODAY has learned. Fraudulent payments total in the "tens of millions," with one soldier allegedly pocketing $275,000 in illegal kickbacks, according to documents obtained by USA TODAY. At least four others made more than $100,000 each.”
“In what is likely the opening shot in a looming battle between Congress and the Army, Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., has introduced a bill that would freeze the Army’s plans to transfer all of the National Guard’s AH-64 Apache helicopters to the active-duty force and prevent most of the proposed Guard personnel cuts. Introduced on Jan. 27, the bill is meant to stop a repeat of the 1990s, when the Army’s active component, Guard and Reserve all had to compete for scarce resources, said Caroline Delleney, a spokeswoman for Wilson.”
“When an armored vehicle pulled down the statue of Saddam Hussein in an iconic moment of the Iraq War, it triggered a wave of pride here at the BAE Systems plant where that rig was built. The Marines who rolled to glory in it even showed up to pay their regards to the factory workers. That bond between the machinists and tradesmen supporting the war effort at home and those fighting on the front lines has held tight for generations — as long as the tank has served as a symbol of military might. Now that representation of U.S. power is rolling into another sort of morass: the emotional debates playing out as Congress, the military and the defense industry adapt to stark new realities in modern warfare and in the nation’s finances.”
“US Army leadership is betting that an 80 percent solution to its aerial scout needs will be good enough in the coming years, as it scraps its OH-58 Kiowa helicopter fleet in favor of a manned-unmanned mixture for peering over the next ridgeline. But according to internal Army budget documents, this hybrid concept could be running into a budgetary brick wall. At a Jan. 14 symposium in Washington, Maj. Gen. Kevin Mangum said the service expects the RQ-7 Shadow unmanned aerial system (UAS) and Apache attack helicopter will meet “about 80 percent” of the aerial scout requirement until the service decides how it will meet that mission full time in the coming years.”
“The Army is testing a fire control system that turns an average shooter into a deadly sniper in a matter of minutes. The service recently bought six XactSystem precision-guided firearm kits. Each will be calibrated to the XM-2010 sniper rifle and the M248 Mod 1 rounds, which are standard-issue .300 Winchester Magnum.”
“When Typhoon Haiyan cut a devastating swathe of destruction through the central Philippines last November, the U.S. military was among the first to respond. In a matter of weeks and days, the United Statesdelivered nearly 1,000 personnel, 50 ships and aircraft, and tens of millions of dollars of aid to the hardest hit areas. The relief effort was swift and substantial, but so too were the political maneuverings that followed.”
In this November 21, 2013 interview, Colonel Ingrid Gjerde, Commandant of the Norwegian Defense University College, argues that generally Norway addresses strategy in a similar manner to the U.S. She observers that Norway’s size necessitates close cooperation with allies when addressing global problems. Within this context, COL Gjerde comments on tools other than military force as important elements of national power.
In this November 21, 2013 interview, Colonel Ingrid Gjerde, Commandant of the Norwegian Defense University College, states that considering gender is crucial for operational success. She cautions that we must incorporate this lesson throughout the entire life of an operation from planning to execution. During counterinsurgency operations such as Afghanistan, considering gender is vital as understanding the population is paramount in achieving success.
In this November 21, 2013 interview, Colonel Ingrid Gjerde, Commandant of the Norwegian Defense University College, talks about the lessons learned over a career encompassing deployments in Lebanon, Bosnia, and Afghanistan. She argues that cultural understanding is critical for mission success and that this lesson is already being incorporated into military education. She also warns against setting development goals that may be too high in places such as Afghanistan.
In this November 21, 2013 interview, Colonel Ingrid Gjerde, Commandant of the Norwegian Defense University College, talks about the debate between high-end and low-end capabilities and argues that, to a certain degree, a balance is needed. COL Gjerde argues that there will remain a need for specialists such as anthropologists and human terrain experts. In Norway, they have changed their military education to focus more on “intercultural communication.”