Posted tagged ‘Department of Defense’

Leadership Lessons from Gen. James Mattis (Ret.)

December 3, 2016

Leadership Lessons from Gen. James Mattis (Ret.), Marines via YouTube, October 13, 2016

Humor | Military frantically Googling where Defense Secretary is in presidential order of succession

December 2, 2016

Military frantically Googling where Defense Secretary is in presidential order of succession, Duffel Blog, , December 2, 2016

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WASHINGTON — Millions of members of the U.S. military are frantically Googling where the Secretary of Defense sits in the line of succession to President of the United States, sources confirmed today.

The more than two million Google searches for terms such as “where is SecDef in succession order” and “can SecDef be promoted to president” came just hours after it was learned that retired Marine Gen. James Mattis would be named to lead the Department of Defense.

Mattis, 66, has been tapped by President-elect Donald Trump to head the department, which has been plagued by low morale and expensive cluster-fuck weapons systems, such as the F-35. He’s expected to easily boost morale, but attempting to fix DoD bureaucracy may be beyond even Mattis’ abilities.

When asked how Pentagon procurement could be fixed, for example, even God declined to answer. Instead, the Almighty referred all further questions to Lockheed Martin, Boeing, and General Dynamics.

If confirmed, Mattis would need to simultaneously take out the Treasury Secretary, Secretary of State, President pro tempore of the Senate, the Speaker of the House, the Vice President, and the President, in order to assume the highest office in the land.

According to sources, he already has a plan to do just that, which he wrote in 2003. He later stashed the plan in the drawer of his nightstand, on which his concubine places a breakfast shake mix of Jack Daniels and Creatine each morning. A person familiar with the plan said that Mattis mostly uses his bare hands, though he often carries multiple guns, knives, and sharp sticks on his person.

Experts say that Mattis dropping six people who have no military training would be a “walk in the park,” compared to his usual average of 12 kills per day. They went on to say that Mattis exterminating a bunch of tubby civilians would be roughly equivalent to him taking a bath or making toast, in terms of difficulty.

Survivors of Mattis’ wrath are expected to write about what he does to Washington, D.C. for the next 10,000 years.

 

Krauthammer’s Take: It’s Good to Have a Defense Secretary Called ‘Mad Dog’

December 2, 2016

Krauthammer’s Take: It’s Good to Have a Defense Secretary Called ‘Mad Dog’, Fox News via YouTube, December 1, 2016

Trump Selects James Mattis for Defense Secretary

December 1, 2016

Trump Selects James Mattis for Defense Secretary, Washington Free Beacon, December 1, 2016

Marine Gen. James Mattis, commander, U.S. Central Command, testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, March 5, 2013, before the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing to review of the Defense Authorization Request for Fiscal Year 2014 and the Future Years Defense Program. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Marine Gen. James Mattis, commander, U.S. Central Command (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

President-elect Donald Trump’s selection of Gen. James Mattis as the next secretary of defense is sending shockwaves through the defense community, where insiders are praising the retired Marine Corps general as a plain spoken realist who has the leadership ability to rebuild America’s military, according to conversations with multiple sources.

Mattis, former commander of U.S. Central Command, is known for being outspoken about combat and America’s need to reassert authority across the globe to challenge threats from extremism and radical rogue regimes.

Trump’s selection of Mattis follows those of Rep. Mike Pompeo (R., Kan.) as the next CIA director and retired Gen. Michael Flynn as national security adviser, picks that have won plaudits from observers and mark a clear ideological shift from the Obama administration.

Foreign policy insiders and congressional sources told the Washington Free Beacon that Mattis has proven himself on the battlefield and earned respect among his peers.

“Mattis is not someone who is going to prioritize wishful thinking over the reality of the world we face,” said Michael Rubin, a former Pentagon adviser and expert on rogue regimes.

Rubin said Mattis has the experience necessary to implement tough reform while keeping America’s fighting force nimble and well equipped.

“But it’s not enough for the next defense secretary to face down our enemies. He must also face down the huge bloated bureaucracy which the Pentagon has become,” Rubin said. “His predecessors have all taken the easy way out–enjoying the perks of office without carrying out substantive reform. The United States needs the most powerful military in the world capable of projecting force globally. It does not need the most bloated bureaucracy, capable of projecting powerpoints for hours a day.”

Michael Ledeen, a onetime consultant to the National Security Council and State and Defense Departments, as well as a former special adviser at the State Department, also had high praise for Mattis, who he described as a consummate Washington outsider.

“He hates Washington, really hates it,” Ledeen said, describing this as a positive trait for a defense secretary. “He’s the best possible. The choices [by Trump] have been pretty good, I must say.”

The selection of Mattis also earned praise in Congress from Republican sources who work on foreign policy issues.

“General Mattis is exactly the type of leader we need after eight years of failed leadership under President Obama,” said one senior GOP aide. “He would serve our country well by reaffirming fractured alliances and pushing back against our enemies. I am encouraged to see President-elect Trump considering him to run the Pentagon.”

Another senior Republican Senate staffer who handles Middle East issues said that Mattis’ extensive combat experience makes him a perfect fit for the role.

“As a Marine, General Mattis served our nation honorably and fearlessly,” the source said. “We should expect no less if Mattis, as a civilian, is now asked to serve as secretary of defense.”

Raheem Kassam, editor of Breitbart London and a Trump world insider, said that the selection of Mattis sends a positive sign to America’s closest allies, including Britain.

“Mattis is revered the world over,” said Kassam, who had speculated about Mattis getting picked weeks before his name emerged in the running. “This is one appointment that even British liberal and conservatives agree upon. And frankly, it is about time America projected the ‘don’t f— with us’ attitude that he so well embodies.”

How James Mattis As Defense Secretary Could Bust Our Deathly Political Correctness About Islam

November 30, 2016

How James Mattis As Defense Secretary Could Bust Our Deathly Political Correctness About Islam, The Federalist, November 31, 2016

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Is political Islam in America’s best interests? This question should be central to our strategy of fighting ISIS and Islamist terrorism in general. Yet it’s one that many political leaders would rather not answer, because of our politically correct climate. But since Trump’s transition team announced last week that it’s considering retired Gen. James Mattis for secretary of defense, this reluctance might fade.

In a speech given at the Heritage Foundation last year, Mattis spoke about America’s position vis à vis political Islam. Rather than equivocating on the matter in order to avoid saying something uncomfortable or politically incorrect, Mattis simply pointed out that America needs to make a decision about its stance toward this ideology.

Recall that political Islam, or Islamism, is a movement within Islam: it works toward the increasing implementation of Islamic law and values in all areas of life—usually via state control—in order to make Islam a dominant force in the world.

Why We Don’t Talk About Islamism

Mattis’ suggestion—which sounds like a basic element of defense strategy—has been surprisingly neglected in the years since 9/11. The U.S. tends to deal with Islamism on a case-by-case basis. And so long as any particular group or political entity doesn’t have a direct and obvious link to terrorism, we tend to give them a pass. Even then, this is sometimes too high of a bar, as is the case with the Muslim Brotherhood and associated groups.

No one wants to delve into the question of Islamism because it has become a politically charged issue, one that often leads to accusations of bigotry and Islamaphobia. As Islam is increasingly treated as a protected class by America’s progressive Left, any scrutiny of any faction within Islam is considered off limits. This is done in the name of tolerance, but is in fact a highly intolerant position. But it’s successfully scared off politicians and military personnel, who tend to make vague and noncommittal statements on the topic.

This makes Mattis’ statements all the more notable. He’s simply urging the U.S. to make a decision. And what’s more, he’s arguing that this decision ought to be based on what we believe is in our best interest:

“Is political Islam in the best interest of the United States?…If we won’t even ask the question then how do we even get to the point of recognizing which is our side in the fight? And if we don’t take our own side in this fight we’re leaving others adrift.”

What Is In The Country’s Best Interests?

This is a surprisingly unpopular question to ask in general, and specifically when it comes to Islam. The concept itself—asking what is in America’s best interest—has largely been ignored as of late. Under Obama, America has pursued a policy of “leading from behind,” and more or less disregarding America’s interests abroad. The Obama administration has done this based on the notion, central to the progressive narrative of history, that America is a de facto colonialist power, whose influence in the world is malign and ought to recede of our own volition.

But if the U.S. can’t identify what is in its best interests, or refuses to pursue those interests out of an oversized sense of political correctness, there’s no way to forge a comprehensive global defense strategy. As Mattis points out, if we won’t even talk about political Islam with a critical eye, how can we figure out which side we’re on, and make decisions from that point? Neglecting the question not only hurts our interests—it leaves our allies unsure of where we stand and how we will proceed when Islamist movements gain traction in their countries.

Mattis also points out that ISIS is counting on Americans not having a debate on whether political Islam is good for America. If we don’t examine this question, we can’t create a cohesive strategy, and our fight against ISIS’s self-proclaimed Caliphate (or other groups like them) will ultimately fail.

This is the opposite of what some Islamist apologists and those on the left insist, which is that ISIS wants us to talk about the connections between Islam and violence, in order to make Muslims feel like the West is at war with their entire religion. Then, so the thinking goes, Muslims will turn on the West.

Mattis Would Change Our Reputation

As it is, ISIS has largely won this battle. Any serious strategic discussion about the relationship between political Islam and American national interests has been deemed illegitimate and offensive by the political Left. See, for example, the scrubbing of terms related to Islam from Department of Homeland Security training materials.

Mattis’ appointment as Defense Secretary would be a marked change not only from the Obama administration, but also from the Bush years. Both administrations were reluctant to substantively engage in a debate on the merits or threats of political Islam.

Since giving this speech at Heritage, ISIS has experienced significant territorial losses. But the question Mattis raises has not lost its relevance. It will be central to many of the Trump administration’s foreign policy challenges. Political Islam remains, and will remain, a problem for the West both in terms of domestic security and global strategy. Whether it’s the Muslim Brotherhood’s activities in the U.S., or political Islam in a post-Arab Spring Middle East, the U.S. needs to know where it stands on this issue.

Mattis concludes that political Islam is not, in the end, good for America. But he acknowledges that what’s most important is that we have a discussion about it—so that we can develop a broader strategy for how to deal with Islamism in the world. Without a cohesive strategy, there is little hope of checking the destructive influences of political Islam both at home and abroad.

Humor | Pentagon recalls Thanksgiving MREs that were contaminated with real turkey

November 24, 2016

Pentagon recalls Thanksgiving MREs that were contaminated with real turkey, Duffel Blog, November 24, 2016

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QUANTICO, VA – The Pentagon on Wednesday issued an emergency recall of more than 750,000 Meals, Ready to Eat, after it was discovered the rations had been contaminated with real turkey.

“Shredded Tryptophan-Induced Poultry Product in Gravy Sauce,” which was deemed item 12 in the latest batch of MRE’s shipped across the globe last week, was found to contain “an almost 100% contamination rate” among the boxes shipped out across the military.

“We can’t just allow our service men and women to be exposed to such harmful substances,” Army Col. James McDoughery said. “I mean it’s one thing to inhale a cubic pound of 7 ton exhaust every day, or to have abnormal amounts of diesel fuel in a unit’s water supply from time to time. But the kind of damage it would cause if troops suddenly started eating actual food in the field could be catastrophic.”

He added: “They might find they have morale. And if they ever found it, they would realize just how low it’s been all these years.”

The recall for Thanksgiving MREs is not a first for the DoD. It previously had to recall humanitarian rations containing pork over concerns for the Islamic religion in 2006, and its “Country Captain Chicken” MRE was phased out after most troops complained of it actually tasting more like urban lieutenant dogshit.

Most troops were unfazed by the recall decision.

“Look sometimes I just put the hot sauce on the cardboard box and eat that because it tastes better than the meal inside of it.” Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Jonathan Eckerd said. “Plus, the fiber helps keep you regular, and after a week of MRE’s you use all the help you can get.”

Still, at least one Marine managed to get his hands on the dangerous MRE in question. Lance Cpl. Anthony Smith found a box that was untouched while on a field exercise in Camp Lejeune.

“Inside was the brand new Thanksgiving MRE with all the bowel-clogging trimmings; garlic mashed potatoes, wheat snack bread, peanut butter,” Smith said. “And then there it was: The Shredded Tryptophan-Induced Poultry Product in Gravy Sauce main meal. I took about three bites and was really surprised by how unplasticky it tasted.”

“It was right then that my company gunny suddenly returned. By the time my ass-chewing was over, someone had stolen it. The only thing that was left was the Cornbread Stuffing, and there’s not enough Copenhagen dip in the world to be bribed with to make me eat that.”

The Pentagon promised that it would never again make the mistake of having real food contaminate MREs again.

RIGHT ANGLE: Mattis for SECDEF?

November 23, 2016

RIGHT ANGLE: Mattis for SECDEF? Bill Whittle Channel via YouTube, November 22, 2016

Satire | Pentagon scraps Osprey program due to rising fuel costs

October 30, 2016

Pentagon scraps Osprey program due to rising fuel costs, Duffel Blog, October 30, 2016

osprey-1000x600Photo by Eve A. Baker

QUANTICO, Va. – With the massive cost overruns of the F-35 forcing the Department of Defense to look to save money in other areas, the military has decided to scrap the Osprey program across all services, Duffel Blog has learned.

“We have decided that the coolness of the F-35 far outweighs its cost and will support it until Lockheed Martin comes up with something even more overblown, so we have decided to terminate the osprey bird tethering program to conserve funds,” said Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter.

“Further, while ospreys are based on every continent but Antarctica and truly offer global reach, they were crapping all over the flightline, and the uppity pilots were demanding organic herring, which is astronomically expensive,” Carter added.

Given their ability to hover over the water and lack of need for maintenance or man-made housing, neither of which the Marine Corps could afford anyway, ospreys were particularly attractive to the Corps. The Corps decided that tethering hundreds of birds together to carry troops made as much sense as anything else it had done over the past 200 years.

“The Osprey program, code name Pandion haliaetus, was a huge success initially,” said Brig. Gen. Julian Alford, head of the Marine Corps Warfighting Lab. “Their talons had great grip, and they were far more aerodynamic than anything we could have developed. We were just beginning to explore their underwater diving ability when the program was scrapped.”

Widespread reports of fighting and feather plucking between the osprey, harrier, and falcon communities were largely ignored by the DoD in favor of retaining a program that it had already sunk billions of dollars into.

When asked to comment on the termination, one osprey replied, “Whatever, man. I was getting sick of carrying those fat losers around anyway. Plus, being tied to a couple hundred other dudes was cramping my style.”

As of press time, a working party was busy scrubbing osprey droppings off the roof and hood of Carter’s limousine.

 

Tehran will fight Turkey’s role in Mosul operation

October 24, 2016

Tehran will fight Turkey’s role in Mosul operation, DEBKAfile, October 24, 2016

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The involvement of Turkish special operations, armored and artillery forces in support of the Kurdish Peshmerga battle to drive ISIS out of Bashiqa, 12 south of Mosul, marks a pivotal moment in the US-led coalition’s anti-ISIS offensive to free Iraq’s second city. The entire Mosul operation hangs in the balance since Turkey stepped into the fighting in Iraq, at the initiative of the US. Instead of fighting ISIS, the coalition’s partners are squaring off to fight each other.

DEBKAfile’s military sources report that Turkey was allowed to gatecrash the fighting around Mosul after US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter visited the KRG capital of Irbil Sunday, Oct. 23. He urged Kurdish leaders to bow to President Tayyip Erdogan’s demands for a role in the battle.

The Kurdish leaders succumbed to the pressure with the proviso that Turkey cease its air and artillery assaults on Syrian Kurdish militias in northern Syria.

When Ankara accepted this condition, Ashton set out for the Bashiqa arena, becoming the first US defense secretary to come that close to a battlefront against ISIS in Iraq.

He visited the Turkish military encampment outside Bashiqa and was given a briefing by their commanders. As soon as he departed, Turkish units entered the fray in support of the Peshmerga fighters

According to Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildrim, this involvement was limited to tank and artillery support for the Kurdish forces. Our military sources report, however, that it went much further and included Turkish special operations forces and tanks. By Monday, Oct. 24, Turkish troops were still backing up the Kurdish effort to purge Bashiqa of ISIS fighters.

Tehran’s reaction to this change on the game board was extreme. Our sources report that the pro-Iranian Iraqi Shiite militias assigned to subordinate tasks in the Mosul operation were immediately put on a state of readiness. Commanders of the Bader Brigades, the Population Mobilization Force and the Hashd eal-Shaabi reported that they were standing ready to attack the Turkish forces operating at Bashiqa, whom they termed “gangs of terrorists no less dangerous than ISIS.”

The Iranian government leaned hard on Iraq’s Shiite Prime Minister Haidar Al-Abadi to make him redirect Iraqi government forces from the Mosul arena to join the Shiite forces preparing to strike the Turkish troops at Bashiqa.

Al-Abadi had in the past week demanded the removal of Turkish troops from Iraqi soil, a demand Ankara just as steadily rebuffed.

Building up at present is an imminent head-to-head fight between Turkish and Kurdish forces on the one hand and Iraqi Shiites on the other.

In an effort to prevent the long-awaited Mosul operation degenerating into an all-out conflagration among US allies, with the Islamist State no doubt cheering on, the Obama administration Monday turned to Tehran, Baghdad, Ankara and Irbil and asked them back off lest they wreck their primary mission of evicting ISIS from Mosul.

Tehran may decide to give ground on this but the price it exacts will be steep: an overhaul of the Iraqi Shiite militias’ rear position and permission for their direct intervention in the battle for Mosul, including their entry into the city. This permission the US commanders have hitherto withheld.

This would be a big prize. Mosul has been coveted by Iranian strategists as a major transit point on the land bridge they have designed to link the Islamic Republic to Syria and the Mediterranean. This prize would go by the board if the Turks and Kurds were first in the liberated city first and assumed control.

Russia & Turkey carve anti-US enclaves in Syria

October 15, 2016

Russia & Turkey carve anti-US enclaves in Syria, DEBKAfile, October 15, 2016

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US President Barack Obama told Pentagon and military chiefs he met Friday, Oct. on Oct. 14, that instead of arming anti-Assad rebel groups in Syria, Washington was going back to negotiations with Moscow for cooperation in achieving a cessation of hostilities in the Syrian war.

US Secretary of State John Kerry therefore scheduled his umpteenth meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov for Saturday in Lausanne. This time, the foreign ministers of Turkey, Turkey, Iran, Saudi Arabia and possibly Qatar, tagged along.

Beyond the high words, recriminations and the unspeakable horrors attending the battle for Aleppo, Obama never seriously considered providing the anti-Syrian rebels holed up in Aleppo with the anti-air weapons they need to shoot down the Russian and Syrian warplanes blitzing them – any more than UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson’s statement that it was time for British military involvement in the Syrian war was for real

Above all, Britain is short of the military heft for backing up hypothetical intentions.

The options for serious Western intervention in the Syrian war are constantly diminishing for the reasons outlined here by DEBKAfile’s military sources:

1.  American missiles have no way of reaching Syrian rebel groups, certainly not those still fighting in eastern Aleppo. Neither Russia, nor Turkey, whose army now controls 5,000 sq. km of northern Syria, would let them through to that destination.

2. Had Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan chosen to do so, he could have simply ordered his army to open up a route for the supply of missiles to the rebels who are hemmed in in Aleppo by Russia, Syrian, Iranian and Hizballah forces. He is withholding that order because the military deals he concluded with President Vladimir Putin last week in Istanbul override any concerns he may have for the fate of those rebels or Aleppo’s population.

3. Those deals in a word sanctify the Turkish “security zone” in northern Syria which is covered by a no-fly zone for all but Russian and Turkish flights. They also provide for the Syrian rebels retreating from the various Syrian war zones, including Aleppo, to be taken in and absorbed in the Turkish enclave. Erdogan would thus become the senior patron of the Syrian opposition rebel movement, barring only the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front and other Islamic extremist groups. This would enable him to steal from the United States, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Qatar their sponsorship roles and their influence in the anti-Assad movement.

4. Ankara’s military alliance with Moscow is steadily eroding Turkey’s ties with the United States as well as NATO. Matters have gone so far that the two capitals or in advanced discussion of the supply of Russian air defense missiles to the Turkish army.

DEBKAfile’s intelligence sources reveal that under discussion is the installation in Turkey of a system of advanced Russian missiles linked to the Russian anti-air missile shield under construction in Syria.

Turkey would thus become the first member of NATO to arm itself with a Russian anti-air missile shield.

How was this allowed to happen?

According to our sources, Putin and Erdogan are moving fast to cash in on President Obama’s repugnance for military intervention in Syria and his waning powers at the tail end of his presidency.

Furthermore –

a) Neither is configuring Syrian President Bashar Assad into their calculations. They are going forward with their plans while ignoring him and his drastically diminished army as factors worth consideration.

b)  Their objectives are similar and interlocking:  Both are intent on developing their respective enclaves in northern Syria, Moscow for a long-term military presence in the country: likewise, Ankara.

Up until now, the Obama administration stood firm against the two goals, which is why Washington and Moscow were unable to achieve any real cooperation over a secession of hostilities in the war-torn country;  even when Kerry and Lavrov struck a truce accord on Sept 9, it never held up beyond a few hours.

Most recently, Putin and Erdogan tried signaling the US president that their sole ambitions with regard to Syria’s future lie in the two military enclaves now under construction.

Obama saw this as a sufficient basis to continue withholding advanced arms from Syrian rebel groups and to go for another round of diplomacy with Russia – with Turkey hitching a ride this time on the opposite side of the table..