Posted tagged ‘Department of Defense’

Not Satire | President Obama Awards Himself Distinguished Public Service Medal

January 5, 2017

President Obama Awards Himself Distinguished Public Service Medal, Breitbart, Warner Todd Huston, January 4, 2017

obama-distinguished-public-service-medal-getty-640x480Getty Images

On Wednesday, President Obama added another prestigious medal to his Nobel Prize collection when he had Defense Secretary Ash Carter award him with the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service.

Secretary Carter awarded his boss with the medal on January 4 during the Armed Forces Full Honor Farewell Review for the President held at Conmy Hall, Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall in Virginia.

Carter insisted that the medal was a token of appreciation for Obama’s service as commander in chief, the Associated Press reported.

After spending the last few weeks throwing roadblocks in the path of President-elect Donald Trump and his transition team, Obama nonetheless claimed in his remarks to the members of the military in attendance that “We’ve got to make sure that during this transition period that there is a seamless passing of the baton, that there’s continuity.”

Along with the AP, CBS News White House correspondent Mark Knoller also marked the ceremony with a Tweet to his followers.

View image on TwitterView image on Twitter

Defense Secy Carter presents Pres Obama with Dept of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service.

Many commenters on Knoller’s Twitter feed were incredulous at the award. Some likened the award to a much maligned “participation medal” and others were skeptical of Obama’s underling giving his own boss a medal.

Defense Secy Carter presents Pres Obama with Dept of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service. pic.twitter.com/a5DihpPRnA

@markknoller so Carter whom was picked for Secretary of Defense by Obama gives him an award! I wonder who’s idea that was EGO & CHIEF?

@markknoller @redsteeze Now he can wear it with that tan suit like any other aging 3rd world dictator.

Just needs the sash & epaulettes.

Green Berets in Islamic State fight frustrated with top brass micromanagement

December 5, 2016

Green Berets in Islamic State fight frustrated with top brass micromanagement, Washington Times

(Perhaps the new Secretary of Defense will do something useful. — DM)

124_2016_berets8201_c0-0-3488-2033_s885x516Colonel Kevin C. Leahy is receptive to the complaints of his soldiers about the command structure’s micromanagement, but said he allows his forces to figure out how to do the job. (U.S. Army)

The secretive teams of Green Berets guiding rebels in northeast Syria have expressed frustration with the amount of micromanagement they receive from a top-heavy headquarters in Iraq and the United States.

Special Forces sources tell of support staff watching the free-spirited Green Berets on reconnaissance aircraft and then criticizing their performance as they conduct the mission officially described as “train, advise and assist” the multi-ethnic Syrian Democratic Forces. The Americans and SDF are fighting their way toward Raqqa, the Islamic State terrorist army’s home base in Syria. Some of the “assisting” has drawn the Americans into firefights.

One officer chalked up the complaints to the sensitive political situation of U.S. troops on the ground in a chaotic country amid competing groups of Arab, Kurdish and Turkish forces, all converging with different objectives. The Green Berets, known officially as Army Special Forces, must act under strict combat rules after President Obama approved their insertion one year ago.

“Based on the very high-level approval required to conduct operations, it can be extremely frustrating for the teams,” the officer told The Washington Times. “We just don’t have the latitude we had during our years in Iraq, and that can be frustrating for the teams. The progress over the last year has been slow. Each team may not see it during their rotation, but cumulatively we’ve made significant progress against Daesh while maintaining relationships with Turkey and Jordan. In my many years in Special Forces, I’ve never been involved with a more complex mission.”

The Islamic State is also called Daesh, ISIL and ISIS.

The officer said that any foreign assistance operation governed by Section 1209 of the annual National Defense Authorization Act, as is Syria, “comes with lots of rules and scrutiny from Congress and the Defense Department, so we had to be very deliberate on how we execute this program.”

A second Special Forces source told of Green Berets in Syria being criticized for not immediately answering a phone call from overseers in Iraq. Others get critiqued back at their forward operating base in Syria after supervisors watched their actions on surveillance drones.

Said the source: “They sometimes take risk and do stuff, and when they get back to camp, they get a phone call. ‘What the [expletive] were you doing?’”

Pentagon press officials have provided scant information on operations by Green Berets in Syria.

The second Special Forces source told The Times of a recent incident: A group of Green Berets and their partner rebels were taking sporadic long-range fire. Tired of waiting for permission to return fire, they killed the sniper. That, in turn, brought more fire from Islamic State fighters. The Americans found themselves in a firefight and then evaded the enemy.

“Why even have the guys out there?” the second Special Forces source said. “It’s literally that they are watching you and watching you, and they’ll call you, and if you don’t answer — it’s kind of like having parents. As an organization, we have become incredibly risk-averse.”

The second source said the number of watchers versus the number of Green Berets in Syria is 50-50.

“For every guy you’ve got on the ground there, there’s some staff guy that hasn’t ever deployed,” the source said. “Or some colonel who wants to be involved, and he’s the assist to the assistant to the assistant.”

The first Green Berets to go into Syria were from the 5th Special Forces Group, based at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. The 5th Group is the go-to Green Beret unit for fighting radical Islam in the Middle East and North Africa. They were the first to enter Afghanistan, and rode horseback over rocky terrain with allied Afghans.

This source said that many Special Forces soldiers believe the entire cadre has become more careerist as the war on terror continues in its second decade. “Too many officers worried about promotions,” the source said.

‘Careerism and compromise’

The Washington Times asked Col. Kevin C. Leahy, 5th Group commander, about his soldiers’ complaints.

“No one knows how to work with rebels better than our Green Berets,” Col. Leahy said in an email. “We provide lots of latitude on how guys work with various groups. Of course to accomplish goals we have to tell them what we want done, but we let them figure out how to do it. I can only discuss Syria, but can firmly say I and my subordinate leaders do not micromanage.”

He added: “They are right on top-heavy. There is a sizable amount of people required to provide intel, fires, logistics and vetting of rebels/groups, liaison with host nation partners, U.S. country teams, etc. The teams really are the tip of an inverse triangle of support/Hq needed to enable the mission. Unfortunately, whether you have one team or ten in the field, you still need all of the support.”

Rep. Ryan K. Zinke, Montana Republican, is Congress’ lone former Navy SEAL. The retired commander says part of the problem with the Syrian troop mission is that commandos do not have sufficient firepower support if they get pinned down.

“I can tell you with zero doubt about the level of frustration from our forward deployed troops because they feel like they are micromanaged,” he said. “They feel like they don’t have the appropriate decision authority to make decisions and, even in contact, if you have a supporting asset, that supporting asset doesn’t have the authority to target opposition forces without going through a series of assessments by an armchair quarterback.”

A belief by some Green Berets that careerism has overtaken the officer corps was bolstered by a Special Forces soldier fighting in Kunduz, Afghanistan, on the night an AC-130 gunship mistakenly pummeled a Doctors Without Borders trauma center.

This soldier’s Operation Detachment Alpha (ODA) was assigned the task of fighting with Afghan security forces to repel a flash Taliban invasion.

In his sworn statement to investigators, the Special Forces veteran said: “There is a fine line between not conducting operations to keep people out of harm’s way and not conducting operations in such a fashion that it actually increases overall risk to force and risk to mission.”

He said the special operations commanders back in Kabul abandoned the “A-Team.”

“When an ODA’s mission runs headlong into national strategy, and the detachment asks for guidance on the level of commitment and receives nothing back over a 96-hour period, that’s an abject failure of leadership,” the Green Beret said.

When the team asked Kabul for guidance, the response was, “How far do you want to go?”

Said the Green Beret in his statement: “It’s not a strategy, and in fact it’s a recipe for disaster in that kinetic of an environment. How have we, as a force, as a group of officers, become so lost from the good lessons that our mentors taught us? I will tell you how. It is a decrepit state that grows out of the expansion of moral cowardice, careerism and compromise devoid of principle, exchanged for cheap personal gain.”

Trump Sec of Defense Pick: Enemy of Islamism and Iran

December 4, 2016

Trump Sec of Defense Pick: Enemy of Islamism and Iran, Clarion ProjectRyan Mauro, December 4, 2016

united-states-general-james-mattis-640-320-getty-drew-angerer_0General James Mattis with President-elect Trump (Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

General Mattis completely and utterly rejects the romanticized interpretation of the Iranian regime as “moderate” or part of the solution to Sunni terrorism. In April, he described the Iranian regime as the “single most enduring threat to stability and peace in the Middle East;” one greater than Al-Qaeda or ISIS.

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President-Elect Trump has chosen Marine Corps General James “Mad Dog” Mattis for secretary of defense, eliciting widespread enthusiasm focusing on his status as the “most revered Marine in a generation” and factory of quotable quotes.

Deserving of more positive attention is his emphasis on confronting Political Islam and the Iranian regime.

General Mattis has advocated for significant changes in both the military fight against the specific Islamist terrorist groups like ISIS and Al-Qaeda, as well as the fight against the Islamist ideology that births them. Although ISIS’ caliphate is on the decline, General Mattis doesn’t settle for an encouraging positive trend. He wants to win quickly and decisively, yet humanely with care for civilians.

In August, he said the strategy still is “unguided by a sustained policy or sound strategy [and is] replete with half measures.”

Mattis was one of the chief architects of the counter-insurgency campaign that turned Iraq around so rapidly that it even surprises many of its supporters.

In testimony to the Senate in 2015, he said, “The fundamental question I believe is, ‘Is political Islam in our best interest?’ If not, what is our policy to authoritatively support the countervailing forces?”

In another speech, General Mattis said that the fundamental flaw in our strategy has been a failure to define Political Islam as the enemy of U.S. interests. He made the correct observation that such a delineation between friend and foe would allow us to identify supportable Muslim allies.

“If we won’t even ask the question [if Political Islam is in U.S. interests], then how do we ever 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 are leaving others adrift,” he said.

He then referenced his recent trip to Egypt and the widespread perception that the U.S. actually intends to empower the Muslim Brotherhood. The failure to base policy around a rejection of Political Islam inevitably leads to a tolerance or even an embrace of Islamists who surpass the low bar of condemning Al-Qaeda and ISIS.

The Muslims who oppose Islamists are, as Mattis put it, left adrift.

Countless articles have been written claiming that a policy based on fighting “radical Islam,” “Political Islam,” “Islamism” and similar terms will inflame the Muslim world. Islamists and allied institutions will undoubtedly cry foul, as they always have at every minor slight, but the delineation will separate the wheat from the chaff.

Overlooked allies amongst Muslims and non-Muslim minorities will surface as U.S. policy forces the Muslim world to take stances on Islamism and its adhering organizations. New allies will be born as the discussion of Islamism leads to rejections of it. If messaged correctly, the U.S. will end up with more Muslim allies of better quality.

This view of Islamism as the adversary, rather than just specific terrorist groups targeting the U.S. homeland, is why General Mattis rejects the notion of a “moderate” Iranian regime. He was fired by the Obama Administration for his tough questions about the ramifications of current U.S. policy towards Iran.

General Mattis completely and utterly rejects the romanticized interpretation of the Iranian regime as “moderate” or part of the solution to Sunni terrorism. In April, he described the Iranian regime as the “single most enduring threat to stability and peace in the Middle East;” one greater than Al-Qaeda or ISIS.

We recently pointed out that four of Trump’s picks want to designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a Foreign Terrorist Organization and wage a long overdue ideological offensive against Islamism, also known as Political Islam.

Trump then chose K.T. McFarland as deputy national security adviser and Katharine Gorka as part of his Department of Homeland security “landing team” to manage the transition between administrations. Both are strong advocates of an ideological war against Islamism and Gorka has advocated for the Muslim Brotherhood Terrorist Designation Act.

The U.S. war against Islamist extremism now enters a new, decisive phase, but let not our enthusiasm for this strategy blind us from the risks.

The successful implementation of the anti-Islamism strategy is not solely dependent upon Trump’s national security team. It’s dependent upon him.

If his decisions prevent demonstrable success, the ideological strategy will be considered a failed concept. Its advocates will have their credibility tarnished, perhaps unfairly, and the Western response to Islamism will be put on an indefinite hold as the ideology marches on.

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

mattisdeploy-900x600

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.”