Marines have changed Helmand province dramatically and should be proud of the work they have done here, Commandant Gen. James Amos said Tuesday in a town hall meeting here. When Marines leave at the end of this year, he said, “We’ll have done every single thing we’ve set out to do as a Marine Corps,” he said. “We’re not cutting and running … Marines don’t cut and run. We complete the mission.” Amos and Sgt. Maj. of the Marine Corps Micheal Barrett spoke to several hundred Marines in two large group events Tuesday. He noted that just a few years ago, there was only one battalion of Marines in Helmand province, and just a small British base."
“There was a singular moment late last year during a briefing for senior US Army leaders on the service’s just-concluded yearly war game when one general laid out the future challenges facing the force. “Let’s assume we’re not going to get a significant investment in joint strategic power projection,” he said, interrupting two officers who were explaining how they intended to move troops to future battlefields. While the briefers shifted in their seats and their presentation hovered in PowerPoint limbo on a large projection screen, the general explained that the Army has no control over how the Navy and Air Force spend their money.”
“The approved 2014 Defense Department budget contained mostly good news and few surprises for Army aviation, but this may be the calm before the storm. The fiscal year 2015 budget is likely to spur a massive brawl between the Army and its National Guard component. Army aviation leaders in January announced a proposal to mothball two of its helicopter fleets, replacing them with aircraft from the Army National Guard. The initiative has yet to be approved by President Barack Obama for inclusion in the Pentagon’s 2015 budget, but Congress and advocacy organizations for the National Guard are already formulating ways to block it. Army officials are considering the complete divestment of the OH-58 Kiowa Warrior and TH-67 training helicopter, announced Maj. Gen. Kevin Mangum, commanding general of the Aviation Center of Excellence and Fort Rucker.”
“The Pentagon and the US Congress have begun the tedious effort of reviewing decades of antiquated, cumbersome defense acquisition policies to speed up the defense procurement process and get more bang for the buck. Unlike previous acquisition improvement projects, which in some cases made the process more complicated, those leading this effort are optimistic because lawmakers and Defense Department officials are tackling this review together. These officials also believe that the decline in US defense spending provides incentives to make the project successful.”
“Ten out of every 100 Army helicopter pilots are women — but they account for only 3 out of every 100 accidents. That’s the bottom line in an Army report that, in an effort to study the impact of women on the front lines, compares accident rates of men and women flying Army helicopters from 2002 to 2013. The revelation is included in Army Major Seneca Peña-Collazo’s report, Women in Combat Arms: A Study of the Global War on Terror, which he published in May while a student at the School of Advanced Military Studies at the Army’s Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kan.”
“Imagine you’re a military supply officer, weary but proud as you watch the train you’ve laboriously loaded with gear roll out of the depot towards the front. And then you realize:You packed the wrong tank. Now you need to get that vehicle off and the right vehicle on — while the train’s already leaving the station. Stressed yet? That’s how the Marines must feel right now as they scramble to shift funding in a fiscal 2015 budget request that’s due out March 4. Specifically, they need to reallocate, repurpose, or at least rename funds currently budgeted for their ambitious Amphibious Combat Vehicle, which they’ve had to postpone, and transfer them to a more modest Marine Personnel Carrier designed to meet the service’s immediate needs.”
“During the visit of the Second Line of Defense team to Second Marine Air Wing in mid-February 2014, we sat down with the Commanding Officer of VMX-22 to discuss the approach to innovation being fostered by USMC aviation in support of the evolution of the MAGTF.”
“The evacuation of several hundred Westerners from South Sudan in early January, after the country slowly collapsed into warring factions, was a success, judged on at least three criteria: decide and act quickly; prepare and train appropriately alone and with allies; work with and rely on regional partners. The decision to secure the embassy and do evacuations was taken on December 15 and on December 22. Some 160 Marines and sailors from the Special-Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force-Crisis Response were flown in two KC-130s and four MV-22B Ospreys from their temporary base in Spain to Djibouti and on to Uganda. At 3,400 nautical miles (a distance equivalent to Anchorage to Miami), this was the longest range insert ever performed by this force. (Readers will remember that three AFSOC MV-22s were fired on when they tried to land at the South Sudanese town of Bor. Four on board were wounded. The Editor.)”
“As U.S. Special Operations forces draw down in Afghanistan, they “absolutely” will restore their close relations with deployed Navy-Marine Corps amphibious and expeditionary units, the commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command said Feb. 11. The idea is to return to the Maritime Special Purpose Force (MSPF) concept that was active in the 1990s, before the intense and prolonged military involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan, Adm. William H. McRaven said.”
“Adm. William McRaven, the commander of U.S. Special Operations Command, expects special operators to be wearing Tactical Assault Light Operator Suits by 2018, he told attendees of a National Defense Industrial Association symposium Tuesday. The TALOS, dubbed the ‘Iron Man’ suit, is the brainchild of McRaven. It is designed to enhance the survivability of personnel in the line of fire, and to enhance their physical capabilities.”
“Conventional wisdom holds that the past decade-plus of combat has forged a group of Army leaders as good as any our country has ever produced. Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates went further in 2010, calling today’s Army “the most professional, the best educated, the most capable force this country has ever sent into battle.” Can this be true? Or is it hubris? In fact, the military conditions under which we’ve operated for the past two decades have been historically atypical. They have allowed too many in uniform to believe the hype. What happens when men whose whole professional life has known only success meet real challenges and the threat of defeat?”
“An internal memo from the U.S. command in Afghanistan says soldiers are voicing strong complaints about the Army’s battlefield intelligence network, for which Congress just slashed spending by 60 percent. The $28 billion Distributed Common Ground System is too slow and unstable and hurts operations in some cases, say intelligence officers who rely on the computer network to collect and quickly dispense data on hard-to-find insurgents and the homemade bombs they plant.”
“Despite the violence and instability that captures headlines, the long-held perception that Africa is a “hopeless continent” is rapidly changing, said Marine Lt. Gen. Steven Hummer, deputy to the commander for military operations at AFRICOM. Steady economic growth has sparked strong interest among industry and business leaders around the world, Hummer said, with some experts likening it to the boom of Asian markets in recent decades.”
In this October 31, 2013 interview, Ben FitzGerald, Senior Fellow at the Center for a New American Security discusses how urbanization and rapid technological change will pose unique challenges for ground forces in the future.
In this October 31, 2013 interview, Ben FitzGerald, Senior Fellow at the Center for a New American Security observes that national level cyber assets may have utility at tactical levels but there is a lack of willingness by higher authorities to do so.
In this October 31, 2013 interview, Ben FitzGerald, Senior Fellow at the Center for a New American Security argues that the use of unmanned platforms is only going to grow. He is particularly concerned about questions of attribution and the potential implications for crisis management, escalation, and sovereignty.
In this October 31, 2013 interview, Ben FitzGerald, Senior Fellow at the Center for a New American Security, suggests that the primary challenge in identifying important technologies is understanding what will clear critical developmental hurdles. He also states that technological superiority is a strategic choice , not a given, and must be deliberately pursued. He notes that trends in manufacturing and biology show great future promise but also will be challenging in some ways to adopt.
In this October 31, 2013 interview, Ben FitzGerald, Senior Fellow at the Center for a New American Security argues that the Army is on the right course with this concept but it needs more development work. He argues that the Army is casting about for the best way forward, but should refine their ideas soon. He endorses the idea of a convergence of the human, land, and cyber domains, but warns against assuming perfect situational awareness.