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November 28, 2014

Posts in "Army"

November 17, 2014

Helicopters, ISR & NSA in the Week Ahead

NHPOL14 189 081814 445x334 Helicopters, ISR & NSA in the Week Ahead

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

457996674 2 445x293 No Confusion Over Military, Civilian Quarantine Rules, Obama Says

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

coburn 067 011414 445x279 Coburn Wastebook: Iron Man Suit, FEMA Golf Courses, Navy Magazines

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

October 7, 2014

Northrop Grumman Pitches a Modernized Humvee

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A military Humvee drives by as people cross 16th Street NW in front of the White House after a February winter storm. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images)

Figuring out how to make U.S. military ground vehicles more maneuverable and cheaper while maintaining armor is a big dilemma these days. And the military has been, specifically, looking to upgrade the Humvee for a while. Northrop Grumman wants to tackle some of those issues, a company official said Tuesday, with a new Humvee chassis it plans to show off next week. Full story

September 22, 2014

Congress Vs. ISIS, National Security and the Elections in the Week Ahead

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Kaine speaks with a reporter by the Ohio Clock Corridor in the Capitol in July. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A United Nations climate change summit that President Obama is scheduled to visit this week gives the White House a chance to push its fight against the Islamic State group before other countries. And a U.S. visit next week by new Indian prime minister Narenda Modi is giving think tanks and organizations a lot of reasons to hold India-related events in advance.

Then there are the subjects in the headline. Full story

September 17, 2014

Obama Reaffirms No Boots On The Ground But Chatter Continues

A day after the U.S. military’s top officer raised the possibility of boots on the ground in Iraq and Syria, President Barack Obama clarified the administration’s plans during an address to troops at U.S. Central Command.

“As your Commander-in-Chief, I will not commit you and the rest of our Armed Forces to fighting another ground war in Iraq,” Obama said on Wednesday, the day after Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the Senate Armed Services Committee that there could be circumstances under which he’d recommend the president use combat troops to fight the Islamic State.

Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates seemed inclined to agree with Dempsey, telling CBS This Morning: “The reality is, they’re not gonna be able to be successful against ISIS strictly from the air, or strictly depending on the Iraqi forces, or the Peshmerga, or the Sunni tribes acting on their own.”

“So there will be boots on the ground if there’s to be any hope of success in the strategy,” he added, noting that to say otherwise “traps” the president.

See below for more commentary and analysis on the issue:

Film Review: What War Feels Like For Soldiers

 Film Review: What War Feels Like For Soldiers

Movie poster for “Korengal: This Is What War Feels Like”

After finishing a deployment at a notoriously dangerous outpost in northeastern Afghanistan, Capt. Dan Kearney recalled what it was like to be stationed there.

“Bad guys come to you so you can kill them,” Kearney says in the film, “Korengal: This is What War Feels Like,” a documentary released in May from the Academy Award-nominated director of “Restrepo.”

Five by Five attended a screening of the film along with a panel discussion, sponsored by New America and featuring the film’s director, Sebastian Junger, Navy veteran Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wash., Command Sgt. Maj. La Monta Caldwell  and Blayne Smith of the veterans group, Team Red, White & Blue.

In the film, soldiers described themselves as “bait” for members of Al-Qaida and the Taliban when they were on patrol. “I pretty much never thought I’d make it out of the valley alive,” says Spec. Misha Pemble-Belkin.

Over the course of five years, 42 American soldiers lost their lives while deployed to the outpost, which the U.S. shuttered in 2010 after unsuccessful attempts to gain the trust of the locals and to drive off the Taliban and Al Qaida.

“What I want is for viewers to understand the experience of combat by soldiers,” Junger told Five by Five. “Soldiers really don’t debate the merits of the war, the morality of the way, the strategy of the war, they really are focused on the mission that they are given.”

Indeed, your blogger found “Korengal” to be a more personal look into the lives of soldiers than 2010′s “Restrepo.” The film included intricate details like soldiers describing the sound of bullets flying as well as how tedious the terrain was to traverse.

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