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December 22, 2014

Posts in "Army"

December 19, 2014

Weekly Recap: Pakistan, Cuba, Russia

If you look carefully, you can see Gen. Ray Odierno and other national security/foreign policy figures joining in on a farewell “We’ll Meet Again” song for the Colbert Report. We’ll bid you our own farewell for the week with a recap of what we wrote about at Five By Five, and some highlights from elsewhere, too. Full story

December 17, 2014

Spy Blimp Opens New Front in Security Vs. Privacy Debate

The argument gets tiresome because it’s not necessarily either/or, of course, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t sometimes a conflict: “Security vs. privacy” is back at it with the media getting a peak Wednesday in Maryland at the new spy blimp (technically, aerostat) meant to detect incoming cruise missiles on the East Coast. Full story

December 16, 2014

The Army’s Future is in Leadership, Technology, McMaster Says

The Army of 10 years from now is, most of all, going to need leaders, according to any Army official charged with examining the future of the service. It’s going to need to be prepared for threats from countries, like Russia and North Korea, and non-state actors, like ISIS. It’s going to need to keep improving its technology and integrating it, and adjusting to the fact the enemy is getting better technologically, too.

Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster kept returning to the “leadership” part Tuesday at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. McMaster’s title is “Director, Army Capabilities and Integration Center and Deputy Commanding General, Futures, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command.” He also happens to be one of Time‘s 100 most influential people this year.

“What we’re working on, really, is ways we can develop in leaders naturalistic decision-making,” he said.

And: “Once you give up land force capability, it’s not super-easy to regenerate it,” he said. And: “To grow an Army, you can grow privates fast,” he said, but above that, would-be leaders get formative experiences in combat “that give them the knowledge and the confidence to lead soldiers into battle. You can’t have that overnight.”

On technology, McMaster said adversaries are learning to counter U.S. technological advantages with such tools as cyber attacks or GPS jamming. They’re also “emulating our capabilities,” such as by obtaining access to technology with cyber theft. That means the Army needs to keep innovating, and one area of potential, McMaster said, is the ongoing growth of “autonomous and semi-autonomous systems,” beyond just weapons and into things like logistics. (That said, he’s warned of over-reliance on tech before.)

December 15, 2014

Army’s Future, Syria, Defense Tech in the Week Ahead

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Crocker at his confirmation hearing to serve as U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan in 2011. (Scott J. Ferrell/Congressional Quarterly)

All the big ticket congressional items on the defense agenda are finished, and now it’s down to the Senate fighting over a number of nominees, most prominent among them in the national security sphere Antony Blinken, for deputy secretary of State. Elsewhere… Full story

November 17, 2014

Helicopters, ISR & NSA in the Week Ahead

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Ayotte on the campaign trail in August. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

It’s a week that’s loaded up in the middle even more than usual, with less happening on Monday and Friday than Washington, D.C.’s well-established tendency toward slow beginnings and sleepy endings.  Full story

November 6, 2014

In House, (As Many As) 16 New Members With Military Backgrounds

AZPOL14 049 080814 445x377 In House, (As Many As) 16 New Members With Military Backgrounds

Ruben Gallego speaks during a fundraiser at the Pizza People Pub in Phoenix on Aug. 8. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Following up on that tally of new senators with military records: Sixteen House incumbents with military backgrounds will depart as of the next Congress, and a nearly identical number of new House members with military backgrounds are set to replace them. Full story

November 5, 2014

Four* New Senators Have Military Backgrounds

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Joni Ernst during a campaign stop at the 2014 Iowa State Fair in Des Moines Aug. 8. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

For a while now, Congress has been losing military experience amongst its members. In the Senate, at least, there will be more lawmakers with military backgrounds than before Tuesday. Full story

November 3, 2014

Chemical Weapons, Cybersecurity & Clapper in the Week Ahead

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President Obama casts a ballot in early voting for the 2014 midterm elections on Oct. 20 in Chicago. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images)

Tuesday is election day, and CQ Roll Call is having its Post Election Impact Conference Thursday (check out this link for details and a discount code). Washington, D.C. isn’t standing still for the midterms, though. Full story

October 28, 2014

No Confusion Over Military, Civilian Quarantine Rules, Obama Says

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Obama makes a statement on his administration’s response to the Ebola crisis before departing the White House on Oct. 28. (Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images)

To some, the Pentagon has seemed to be at odds with the White House message over quarantines for those fighting Ebola in Africa; while the Defense Department is weighing an expanded quarantine like the one the Army has already used, the White House has emphasized that blanket quarantines for health workers is a bad policy.

On Tuesday, in brief remarks to the media, President Obama explained what he saw as the difference. Full story

By Tim Starks Posted at 3:48 p.m.
Army, Foreign Policy

October 27, 2014

Navy Birthday, IAEA & John Kerry in the Week Ahead

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John Negroponte in a 2012 file photo. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)

Iraq, Iran, ISIS — all of those are the subject of events in Washington, D.C., this week, along with the subjects in the headline, Ukraine and much more. Full story

October 22, 2014

Coburn Wastebook: Iron Man Suit, FEMA Golf Courses, Navy Magazines

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Sen. Tom Coburn on Jan. 14. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Retiring Sen. Tom Coburn (@tomcoburn) is out with his final edition of his annual Wastebook of government spending, and besides the massages for rabbits and money to watch grass grow, a variety of Defense Department projects and other national security-related programs get the Oklahoma Republican’s sardonic smack. Full story

October 17, 2014

Weekly Recap: Elections, Interrogations, Revolts

The holiday made it a shorter week at Five By Five, so this weekly recap won’t hit as many highlights as usual — and will spend a little more time on what others were up to. Full story

October 15, 2014

Chemical Weapons Might be Another Gift for Militants

The New York Times’ blockbuster story about how U.S. forces discovered chemical weapons in Iraq and suffered injuries due to chemical exposure — unbeknownst to the public — is almost sure to provoke congressional overseers of the armed forces and veterans’ affairs. But the story also contains some worrying information that has implications for future U.S. action against the militant group that calls itself the Islamic State or ISIL.

American troops found thousands of warheads after the 2003 invasion, and a large number remain in Iraq — in easy reach of ISIL, the Times reports. Many of the chemical incidents and discoveries took place around a chemical weapons plant known as the Muthanna State Establishment, which was operational in the 1980s.

“Since June, the compound has been held by the Islamic State, the world’s most radical and violent jihadist group,” the Times reported. “In a letter sent to the United Nations this summer, the Iraqi government said that about 2,500 corroded chemical rockets remained on the grounds, and that Iraqi officials had witnessed intruders looting equipment before militants shut down the surveillance cameras.”

The military contends those weapons are old and pose no threat, but the story notes that Iraqi chemical munitions have a habit of staying dangerous after their expiration dates.

The reporting could prove to be another black mark for the government of Nouri al-Maliki, prime minister until this year, that gave ISIL an advantage. The al-Maliki government was also in charge of maintaining the Iraqi armed forces that collapsed as ISIL advanced.

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October 14, 2014

The Army, Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan in the Week Ahead

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Levin on March 31. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

All the hot spots get some attention this week in Washington, D.C., and there is a pair of big multi-day conferences — one of which is already underway. Full story

October 10, 2014

Five By Five Friday Q&A: Dan Perez of America’s Impact

dan perez 240x224 Five By Five Friday Q&A: Dan Perez of Americas Impact

How foreign policy/national security is figuring into the midterm elections is something of a preoccupation around these parts. Dan Perez, executive director of America’s Impact, has his own interest in the matter — he’s part of an organization devoted to increasing the topic’s prominence in the 2014 races, and aiding Democrats on the subject.

This week, America’s Impact joined with several other similarly-minded groups as part of a “6 PAC” event to raise funds for a list of Democratic candidates, featuring Maryland Rep. Donna Edwards (@repdonnaedwards), who is heading up the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s “Red to Blue” program. Perez spoke with Five By Five about his group’s goals and how the 2014 elections have evolved with recent world events (and he just might’ve concluded with a less-than-subtle diss of John Bolton [@ambjohnbolton]). Full story

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