CENTCOM commander vows to keep the pressure on adversaries even after leaving Afghanistan: Exclusive interview - Lebanon news - أخبار لبنان
Connect with us
[adrotate group="1"]

Military News

CENTCOM commander vows to keep the pressure on adversaries even after leaving Afghanistan: Exclusive interview

For the past 20 years, U.S. Central Command has been the busiest of the U.S. military’s geographically arrayed headquarters. But even with the end of the American commitment of troops on the ground in Afghanistan, a reduced presence in Iraq and an overall U.S. shift to countering China and Russia, CENTCOM oversees a restive region…

Published

on

CENTCOM commander vows to keep the pressure on adversaries even after leaving Afghanistan: Exclusive interview

For the past 20 years, U.S. Central Command has been the busiest of the U.S. military’s geographically arrayed headquarters. But even with the end of the American commitment of troops on the ground in Afghanistan, a reduced presence in Iraq and an overall U.S. shift to countering China and Russia, CENTCOM oversees a restive region that will continue to warrant attention. Military Times conducted an exclusive June 11 phone interview with Marine Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr., the CENTCOM commander, who talked about the withdrawal, the plight of interpreters, a drone attack in Iraq and the future of the region. Some questions and answers have been edited for brevity and clarity. MT: Have you provided options yet to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on securing the embassy in Afghanistan and providing counterterrorism support from outside the country once the withdrawal is complete? If so, can you share what some of those plans and troop levels might look like? FM: So, I have been in consultation with the secretary, through [Army Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff] on providing those plans, and the secretary is still chewing over it. We’re in a back-and-forth process, refining them, so unfortunately right now, because of that, there’s not much more I can share with you about the development of those plans. MT: Do you foresee realistic threats to the homeland emanating from Afghanistan after withdrawal is completed and what worries you most about that? FM: We know, with a high degree of certainty, that al-Qaida and ISIS, and the version of ISIS that’s in Afghanistan — ISIS Khorasan is what we call it — they both have aspirations to attack the United States. Long-standing, very public track record of wanting to attack our homeland, and the homelands of our partners as well in Europe and in other places. So, this is well established and well-documented from their own mouths. We believe that what has prevented these attacks from being developed, both from Afghanistan and from Syria as well over the last few years, is the pressure that’s been put on these groups. And so in Syria, for example, we and our SDF partners work very hard to keep that pressure on them so they don’t have — particularly ISIS — the ability to generate those attack plans because they’re busy scrambling around for their own survival. Sort of the same thing occurs in Afghanistan. So, what would concern me the most in the long term would be a future situation in Afghanistan where there wasn’t adequate pressure kept on these groups, because we know left unmolested that they are certainly going to rebuild, restrengthen themselves, and we have no reason to doubt they don’t mean what they say when they say, repeatedly and earnestly over the past few years, that they want to attack us in our homeland. MT: A recent U.N. report warned that the Taliban appeared poised to take back control of Afghanistan for the first time since it was ousted from power by the United States. Do you believe that, why or why not? FM: So, we’re leaving. That fact is evident to everyone and the only thing that is going to remain, If we can protect it, will be our embassy platform — our diplomats that will be there. And we still intend to support the Afghan military from just over the horizon. We’re still going to support them with funding. We’re going to try very hard to support the Afghan air force over the horizon; some things will come out of the country to be worked on. We will do some televised remote advising with them as we go forward. All those things, we will continue to do that. I don’t want to minimize this, because I think they’re going to be tested, but we will continue to support them, just not in the way we are supporting them now. Sign up for the Early Bird Brief Get the military’s most comprehensive news and information every morning (please select a country)United StatesUnited KingdomAfghanistanAlbaniaAlgeriaAmerican SamoaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBoliviaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of TheCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’ivoireCroatiaCubaCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuamGuatemalaGuineaGuinea-bissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMarshall IslandsMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMicronesia, Federated States ofMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNetherlands AntillesNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorthern Mariana IslandsNorwayOmanPakistanPalauPalestinian Territory, OccupiedPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalPuerto RicoQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRwandaSaint HelenaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and The GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbia and MontenegroSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and The South Sandwich IslandsSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwan, Province of ChinaTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-lesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUnited States Minor Outlying IslandsUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuelaViet NamVirgin Islands, BritishVirgin Islands, U.S.Wallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabwe Subscribe × By giving us your email, you are opting in to the Early Bird Brief. Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr., commander of U.S. Central Command, speaks during a briefing at the Pentagon April 22. (Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP) MT: The Taliban seems to be gaining momentum on the battlefield. Do you think that Afghan security forces can hold them off militarily and, if so, specifically what do you base that judgment on? FM: The fighting is seesaw right now. You know we will do everything we can to help the Afghans going forward within the limits that we have, which is, of course, no boots on the ground. But it’s gonna be really on their shoulders now to stand or fall, and I think they have a fighting chance to do it. That’s what I’ve said before, and we’ll do everything we can to help them. One thing I probably need to emphasize is we will still do everything we can to keep pressure on ISIS and al-Qaida, from our over-the-horizon locations. That is a task I’ve been given. Those are plans I’m in discussion with now with the secretary of defense. How we will do that, I’ve said before, that will be a very difficult thing to do. But it is not an impossible thing to do, and we will work very hard to keep that pressure on. MT: That leads me to my next question. Can the U.S. provide any combat support to Afghan forces if they are under siege from the Taliban, or if major cities such as Kabul are at risk of being overrun or if they’re under siege from ISIS-K? And if so, what kind of combat support? Or would you rule that out because it doesn’t fall within the parameters set by President Biden? FM: Those are actually, as you will appreciate, policy decisions, not military decisions. I will tell you this. Right now what we’re planning to do after we withdraw is keep pressure on al-Qaida and ISIS, and that would be what we’d be doing, going back into Afghanistan. When those entities presented actionable threats against the United States, we’d be prepared to go in there and take action if our Afghan partners are unable to do that, and that will be the limit of our kinetic actions in Afghanistan. MT: So, you’re not ruling out that there still could be kinetic actions taken by the U.S. under certain circumstances? FM: I am completely silent on that. I would tell you that the only thing we’re planning for right now — the only thing we’re planning for right now — is the ability to continue operations against al-Qaida and ISIS. MT: Would you rule that out? FM: I’m probably not the right guy to ask. MT: Are you considering training Afghan troops in any locale in the region, say Jordan or someplace? FM: Those are options that are all under consideration right now as we go forward and that’s probably all I can say about it. MT: Given that the U.S military went to a virtual advising position in Afghanistan in early 2020 due to COVID, are you looking at the possibility of a dedicated, remote advising cell for Afghan security forces? FM: Our organization that provides advice to the Afghans will continue to do so, at a higher level. And we’ve been at a pretty high level here for a while anyway. For the last year or so, and even before coronavirus, our numbers were down in Afghanistan significantly from what they’ve been in the past. So, the Afghans are actually doing the vast majority of the fighting themselves without us being there with them, so not much is going to change in that regard. But without any people on the ground at all, any advising that would do at the very high level would have to be done remotely from outside of the country. That’s correct. MT: Can you give me more detail about how the U.S. could support Afghan aviation? Because that’s the one major advantage they have. FM: Sure it is. And I can tell you this: It will be done remotely; it will not be done in Afghanistan; and it will be a combination of remote advising — and you know that’s used sometimes in airlines now in the United States, where you provide advice from one work center to another work center. We will strive to do that in remote locations. We may examine the possibility of bringing aircraft out to work on — fly them out of the country to work on in a different location. That, too, is a possibility. So, there are a broad number of things we are going to do. Because I do believe, Howard, you captured an important point. One of the great advantages for the Afghans is their air force. The Afghan air force, which is doing a lot of good work for them over the past few months. MT: Do you have any more information about the suspected drone attack on the Baghdad Diplomatic Support Center? And if you confirm that it was a drone, how concerning is that? The place was damaged and some people had smoke inhalation, but it could have been worse. FM: It could be a lot worse. And the one thing I will point out is that the actual people who are responsible for defending us there is the government of Iraq. They do a pretty good job of trying to minimize these attacks, and they were not successful in this case. And, of course, we’ve always retained the ability to defend ourselves wherever we are under whatever circumstances we are. These attacks are troubling, going forward, and what they represent is — for well over the last year, year and a half — Iran has sought to force us to leave Iraq, And they sought to do that through political means. And so now that they recognize they’re not going to get there, politically, they’re shifting to a military approach, and that’s just where we are right now. And this UAV attack — and I can tell you it was a UAV attack, but I’m really not in a position today to give you much more information on it right now — is representative of that. What war with Iran could look like Military Times interviewed more than a dozen military experts, including current and former U.S. military officials, about how a conflict might begin and how it could play out. This is what they said could happen: MT: Do you anticipate the potential of kinetic action with Iran — in Iraq or elsewhere — as they ramp these attacks up? FM: So, that is a better question probably not for me. That’s really a high-level decision for the United States that would be well made well above the level of U.S. Central Command. MT: I imagine you have contingencies in case such a situation would arise. FM: Howard, we have contingencies for everything. MT: Have you presented plans to SECDEF for evacuating interpreters from Afghanistan if so tasked? Can you share those plans, and what is your message for those folks who are waiting? FM: So, we have workable plans to evacuate any scale of people that we would be directed to do. That’s one of the things that we have done. I’ve talked to the secretary about it. You know, the actual decision about who’s going to come out, whether they would come out and how that would work, is not the Department of Defense’s decision, that’s a Department of State decision and ultimately a level above the Department of State. I can tell you this. The Department of Defense is prepared to undertake any tasks that we would be required to do in coordination with a presidential decision. MT: What’s your message to those who worked with the U.S. and risked their lives and are now waiting? FM: I certainly value those Afghans I’ve worked with, and over the years I’ve had an opportunity to work with a lot of them. I would say this: Now is a time when it is incumbent upon Afghans to defend their country. And this is going to be a stern test for them. I think they’re going to enter a period of great risk now, but I think they can defend their country. It’s not going to be easy, but they can certainly do that. MT: Shifting a little bit to great power competition, with China and Russia stepping up efforts in Afghanistan, what level of concern do you have about Chinese and Russian efforts there and what, if anything, can be done? FM: So, the Chinese, I think they would like to get in for the mass mineral deposits that exist on the ground in Afghanistan and in other places, and that’s their interest. I think the Russians have concerns about the spread of terror north through the Stans into Russia. I think both are interested in it. None of them have been particularly supportive of us while we’ve been there, and if we leave, I think they will try to move in to fill what they perceive to be a vacuum. They may find that to be harder than they think, though, to actually accomplish. MT: Do you anticipate any situation where the U.S. could find itself having to go back to Afghanistan? FM: The simple answer is no, I don’t.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

code

Military News

Defense top line ‘will probably go up’: Key Dems see GOP boost as path to a deal

WASHINGTON ― Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Jack Reed says the defense top line “will probably go up” to win Republican support on the path to a budget deal for fiscal 2022 ― and some other key Democrats on defense matters are grudgingly saying the same. The comments came days after Reed’s panel unveiled plans…

Published

on

By

Defense top line ‘will probably go up’: Key Dems see GOP boost as path to a deal

WASHINGTON ― Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Jack Reed says the defense top line “will probably go up” to win Republican support on the path to a budget deal for fiscal 2022 ― and some other key Democrats on defense matters are grudgingly saying the same. The comments came days after Reed’s panel unveiled plans for a $740 billion defense authorization bill, which includes billions of dollars more in equipment purchases than President Joe Biden’s $716 billion Pentagon request, surprising outside observers. Reed, who is a senior appropriator, predicted that an added $25 billion eventually “will be part of the [Senate] approps bill.” “People are looking ahead at the final budget resolution, and the Republicans have made it clear that they’re not satisfied with the defense number and they would require more,” said Reed, D-R.I.. “What we’re presenting is what the Pentagon sent over and what they feel is necessary to do their mission.” On July 14, an FY22 defense appropriations bill that tracks with Biden’s budget advanced out of the House Appropriations Committee, but with weak support. Republicans on the panel, unified in opposition because of the top line, didn’t commit any votes to it ― and Democratic leaders have since held it back from the floor amid dissent from progressives. On July 22, the evenly divided SASC held a strong bipartisan vote, 23-3, to advance its $740 billion version of the annual National Defense Authorization Act. The panel had voted 25-1 to adopt the $25 billion increase as an amendment from the panel’s top Republican, Sen. Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma. Republican lawmakers in the House and Senate have lobbied against Biden’s figure for weeks, saying it would be insufficient to counter threats like a growing Chinese military and terrorist groups worldwide. In the narrowly divided House and the 50-50 Senate, Democrats will likely need Republicans to pass defense measures. Asked last week, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith, D-Wash., acknowledged it’s likely that his panel’s version of the National Defense Authorization Act will end up exceeding Biden’s top line. A progressive but also a pragmatist, Smith told Defense News he doesn’t agree with the increase but is open to the idea as a means of advancing the bill. “The people who want to spend more than the Biden number have built a lot of support, and yes, I think that [$25 billion increase] is a potential bipartisan pathway,” Smith said. “I don’t support it, I don’t think that’s where we should go, but at the end of the day, I have one vote.” Sign up for our Early Bird Brief Get the defense industry’s most comprehensive news and information straight to your inbox Subscribe Enter a valid email address (please select a country)United StatesUnited KingdomAfghanistanAlbaniaAlgeriaAmerican SamoaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBoliviaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of TheCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’ivoireCroatiaCubaCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuamGuatemalaGuineaGuinea-bissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMarshall IslandsMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMicronesia, Federated States ofMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNetherlands AntillesNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorthern Mariana IslandsNorwayOmanPakistanPalauPalestinian Territory, OccupiedPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalPuerto RicoQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRwandaSaint HelenaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and The GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbia and MontenegroSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and The South Sandwich IslandsSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwan, Province of ChinaTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-lesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUnited States Minor Outlying IslandsUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuelaViet NamVirgin Islands, BritishVirgin Islands, U.S.Wallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabwe Thanks for signing up! × By giving us your email, you are opting in to the Early Bird Brief. “The reality is, as we’ve seen with the defense appropriations bill, we do not have the votes to pass it with just Democrats, and that’s the worst kept secret in the building,” he added. “And it is very important to pass a defense bill; it has a lot of important policies that we’re trying to get done.” Along similar lines, the Senate Democrat in charge of funding the Pentagon, Sen. Jon Tester, said the way to avoid a budgetary impasse with Republicans ― and a stopgap continuing resolution at the Oct. 1 fiscal deadline ― is to agree to a plus-up. Like Reed, he foresees the Senate Appropriations Committee eventually mirroring SASC. “Hopefully what that’s going to do is allow us to get a defense bill through the process ― and by the way, there’s plenty of reasons, plenty of threats ― but get it through the process so we don’t end up with a CR,” said Tester, a centrist from Montana. Tester would like to begin work on the defense spending bill soon and have it over the finish line by mid-September, but the process is stuck. Senate Appropriations Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., has for months been calling for bipartisan, bicameral talks with the White House to establish top lines before his panel starts its work. Last week, Senate Appropriations Committee Vice Chairman Richard Shelby, R-Ala., called the SASC NDAA “a positive step,” but he stopped short of abandoning his months-old demand that any increases to nondefense discretionary spending be matched on the defense side. Compared with this fiscal year, Biden’s proposal would hike the nondefense budget up 16 percent and nudge the defense budget up 1.6 percent. “I thought that was a good sign for some of us who believe national security is very, very important,” Shelby said of the SASC NDAA. “Sometimes, and we all know it’s not what you want, it’s what you can get ― and that is a positive step. Would we like more? We would, but so does every agency.” Meanwhile, some key Democrats want to stick to Biden’s top line. Tester’s counterpart in the House, who shepherded a bill that matched Biden’s number, told Congressional Quarterly last week that she was not a fan of the heftier, SASC-approved defense budget. “The Senate can do what it chooses to do. So far I haven’t seen much action or anything ever come out of the Senate,” said Rep. Betty McCollum, D-Minn. “I support the number that I marked up to.” But even at the lower figure, the support of the House’s progressive bloc cannot be won. Progressives remain concerned over nuclear spending, the Pentagon’s lack of a complete audit and most of all the ever-increasing top line, according to Congressional Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal. “Chairwoman McCollum has done an amazing job. She has crafted a much better bill than ever before, but as you know, the critical issue for progressives has been the top-line number,” Jayapal, D-Calif., told Defense News. “It does not help that the Senate Democrats added $25 billion to the [administration’s] number. Because we feel like it’s, no matter what the number is, it has to go up.” Progressive Democrats may get the most headlines, but there’s another influential group who tends to agree with Republicans on the top line: The so-called national security Democrats, made up of former military or intelligence officers, most of whom have flipped red districts blue and should be facing tough re-election fights in 2022. One of them, House Armed Services Committee Vice Chair Elaine Luria has been outspoken that Biden’s proposed defense budget “does not meet the level” the military needs to keep pace with China. Luria, whose Virginia district includes the world’s largest naval base, is a 20-year naval veteran and nuclear-trained surface warfare officer. “We should match what the Senate has done, and I would clearly like to see 3-5 percent real growth,” she said of the top line during the HASC Readiness Subcommittee markup last Thursday. I will continue working to ensure our Armed Forces have the resources they need to outpace our near-peer adversaries in the Pacific. The House Defense Budget should match the $25 billion increase that the Senate approved on a bipartisan basis. pic.twitter.com/1wrP5KEdFB— Rep. Elaine Luria (@RepElaineLuria) July 29, 2021 On the Senate side, Sen. Tammy Duckworth, who’s running again in 2022 after reclaiming an Illinois Senate seat for Democrats in 2016, had a similar message. A combat-wounded Army helicopter pilot, Duckworth chairs the Senate Airland Subcommittee. “I think it’ll make it through,” Duckworth said of the $25 billion boost, noting that Congress routinely added to the defense top line while Donald Trump was president. “Why are people surprised when this is what we have always done?” she said. “And frankly, with the tempo that our military has been going through, they need this extra money so that they can maintain their readiness.” Amid the Democratic fractures, House Republicans are “totally united” against Biden’s defense top line, according to Rep. Ken Calvert, the top Republican on the House Appropriations Committee’s defense subpanel. To him, it’s inevitable that a final budget deal matches SASC’s hike to $740 billion. “At the end of the process, that number will be the number for defense appropriations,” Calvert told reporters at the Capitol last week. Smith, who long predicted an internal fight over the top line, argued a better course for Democrats than rejecting national security measures wholesale, as some progressives do. He said Democrats should take part in drafting them to make sure they hew to Democratic values. “I can say: ‘Look, you’re right, there’s some things we got to improve.’ But if it’s just a bright line in the sand, you’re just not voting, ‘we just don’t want to have any responsibility for that?’ That’s not a good message coming from the Democratic Party,” Smith said. If a top-line boost is unavoidable, it looks like the next fight will be about how to spend it. Smith was skeptical of SASC’s plus-up for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, among other longstanding programs ― and that’s on brand for him. With an eye on Russia and China, Smith has for months been calling for forward-leaning investments in information warfare, survivable platforms, command-and-control systems, cyberwarfare, and satellite technologies. “I’m not going to choose just killing the defense bill over being forced into a negotiation about how much money to spend, right? Let me say, where we spend that money matters,” Smith said. “I wasn’t overwhelmingly impressed by what I’ve read about where the Senate chose to spend the money. Just buying more platforms because you’ve got the money? How does that fit into the National Security Strategy?” Leo Shane III in Washington, D.C., contributed to this report.

Continue Reading

Military News

Gillibrand: UCMJ changes needed to ensure fairness for all troops

“Unbiased prosecutors will now decide” – Senator talks justice changes | Military Times Reports “A commander who knows both the accuser and the victim can not remove bias from decision-making,” Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand said on the floor of the Senate recently. Gillibrand, who has been a champion of changes to how major crimes are handled…

Published

on

By

Gillibrand: UCMJ changes needed to ensure fairness for all troops

“Unbiased prosecutors will now decide” – Senator talks justice changes | Military Times Reports “A commander who knows both the accuser and the victim can not remove bias from decision-making,” Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand said on the floor of the Senate recently. Gillibrand, who has been a champion of changes to how major crimes are handled in the military justice system, including sexual assault, spoke to military times about the alterations as they make their way through congress this summer. For the last eight years, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand has been arguing the military justice system is in need of massive overhaul to better address sexual assault and harassment cases. Next year, those changes may finally be put in place. Last month, during debate over the annual defense authorization bill, Senate Armed Services Committee members adopted Gillibrand’s proposal to remove serious crimes from the traditional military chain of command. House Armed Services Committee members are expected to follow suit when they mark up their draft of the bill next month. It’s potentially a massive change in how many military crimes are handled, one that goes against Pentagon recommendations that only sexual misconduct crimes be handled by independent military prosecutors. But Gillibrand, D-N.Y., argues it is long overdue and precisely what is needed to restore faith in military justice officials and other leaders. Military Times sat down with her last week to talk about the potential impact of the changes and the work still ahead. (Portions of this interview were edited for length and clarity) MT: If I’m an average soldier or sailor, why should I care about these military justice changes? Sign up for the Early Bird Brief Get the military’s most comprehensive news and information every morning (please select a country)United StatesUnited KingdomAfghanistanAlbaniaAlgeriaAmerican SamoaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBoliviaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of TheCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’ivoireCroatiaCubaCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuamGuatemalaGuineaGuinea-bissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMarshall IslandsMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMicronesia, Federated States ofMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNetherlands AntillesNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorthern Mariana IslandsNorwayOmanPakistanPalauPalestinian Territory, OccupiedPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalPuerto RicoQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRwandaSaint HelenaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and The GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbia and MontenegroSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and The South Sandwich IslandsSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwan, Province of ChinaTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-lesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUnited States Minor Outlying IslandsUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuelaViet NamVirgin Islands, BritishVirgin Islands, U.S.Wallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabwe Subscribe × By giving us your email, you are opting in to the Early Bird Brief. Gillibrand: These are reforms that honor the service of our men and women. The men and women of our military sacrifice so much, they deserve a military justice system that’s worthy of that sacrifice: one that’s fair, one that’s highly professionalized, and one that takes serious crime seriously. And I think this is a bill that helps the whole process. Whether you’re a plaintiff or a defendant, any serious crime is now going to be taken seriously with no bias. So instead of having the system where the commander decides which cases go to trial, trained military unbiased prosecutors outside the chain of command will now decide which serious crime should go to trial. That independence, that professionalized review, will strengthen our military justice system and make it a fair and better process for everyone. MT: You’ve talked a lot about just just how sweeping these changes are. But you’ve also said in the past that you don’t see this as a real upheaval to the justice system, you think this can be done in a relatively short time frame. Gillibrand: So today, we reserve the ability to make a decision on general courts martial to very senior commanders level, O-6 and above. There’s about 200 that currently make those decisions for all the military. So what our bill does is when the military police complete an investigation of a serious crime, instead of that case file going to the commander’s [judge advocate general], it’s going to go to a senior JAG outside of the chain of command to make a decision about whether or not there’s enough evidence to proceed to trial. If that trained, independent military prosecutor decides there’s not enough evidence, then the case file goes right back to the commander and the commander’s personal JAG who would normally handle the case. So it’s a very small change. We have more than enough senior lawyers, about the same number as we have of O-6 commanders and above who have the convening authority. So we have the same number of staff that are needed, the same seniority, they just are independent of the chain of command of the victim and the accused. MT: Do you worry at all that DoD may try and drag its feet on this change? Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has said that he’d like to see just the sexual misconduct crimes taken out, not all serious crimes. Gillibrand: Well, if they read the bill for what it is, and actually understand the change, it’s very simple. Which lawyer’s desk does the case file go to first? That’s all it is. And this independent military prosecutor will make a judgment. And if he chooses not to take this case to trial, it goes right back to the commander. So it changes very little. Second, yes, they may drag their feet. And to limit it just to sex crimes means that only one type of plaintiff and only one type of defendant is getting this professionalized, independent, unbiased review. If you’re going to reform the military justice system, why wouldn’t you reform it for all serious crimes? Why wouldn’t you reform it for all plaintiffs and all defendants in cases that are very complex? And if you only care about fixing this scourge of sexual assault, you also want the bright line at serious crimes because a lot of serious crimes that are often related, that have in a first blush review might not realize that they’re related … We’ve seen cases of fraud, where because the perpetrator is trying to dominate and control the victim, that one of the tools they use is financial. He may steal her money, steal her credit card, close out a bank account just to create more dominance. Because sexual assault and these these crimes are crimes of predation. They’re predators. And they’re usually crimes of dominance. It’s not about an affair or romance, it’s typically about control. And so we know in the domestic violence setting, all these tools are used. And so a service member may report that her bank accounts have been closed or her money’s been stolen. If that commander doesn’t understand the dynamics of sexual violence or domestic abuse, he may never investigate that case further, and just decide on a very small punishment to say “stop stealing money, this is absurd.” They’re not understanding that this is the tip of the iceberg for domestic violence or sexual assault case. MT: Portions of this that remind me of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” debate, where there was a lot of concern about making a change … and then within a few years, it was really accepted. Do you see this as the same? Gillibrand: I do. And the reason why I believe that is because it’s what happened with our allies. This change of a bright line and serious crimes was made in the United Kingdom over a decade ago. It was made in Israel over 40 years ago. Canada, Australia, Netherlands, Germany, almost every country that we are allied with has made this change. And we ask those countries, how did it go? Did you see a diminution in command control? Did you see a diminution in good order discipline? Every single one of them said no. And so we know this change, all it does is professionalize the system and make it stronger. And we believe that one change will help to end the scourge of of sexual assault in the military, and harassment. MT: I know a lot of this is technical changes. But there is obviously an emotional component for the victims that you’ve gotten to talk to, the folks who have been wronged by the system. What are you hearing from them? Gillibrand: They feel grateful that Congress is finally listening to them. This bill was written eight years ago, with the voices of survivors and veterans. This is something that is multigenerational and uniformly supported by our veterans advocacy groups and our sexual assault survivor groups, because they know that through professionalization, and through independence, that their chances at justice are higher. Unfortunately, over the last eight years, nothing has gotten better. The rate of sexual assault [in the military] still estimated at 20,000 [cases annually]. The rate of people coming forward, unfortunately, is declining. And the rate of conviction is declining over the last few years, and so it’s problematic. We need, again, a professionalized system where the review is not based on the whims or views or anecdotal view of any one commander. They’re based on evidence. And that’s all a survivor or defendant could ask for, an evidence based review. It’s the fairest system and I think it will help to convict more sexual predators, which will mean a message is sent that this crime actually isn’t tolerated and that you will be convicted. Every time you take out a predator, who often are recidivists, you’re going to tell other potential predators that this crime is not tolerated.

Continue Reading

Military News

How World War II led to the invention of super glue

Ah, super glue — the greatest-of-all-time fast-acting adhesive for all of your stuck-together needs. Chances are, you have a tube of this in that kitchen drawer, you know, the one with all the takeout menus, rubber bands and random keys to who knows what doors (you should probably clean that out by the way), because…

Published

on

By

How World War II led to the invention of super glue

Ah, super glue — the greatest-of-all-time fast-acting adhesive for all of your stuck-together needs. Chances are, you have a tube of this in that kitchen drawer, you know, the one with all the takeout menus, rubber bands and random keys to who knows what doors (you should probably clean that out by the way), because it’s an undeniable necessity. But before it occupied space in our junk drawers, and our hearts, it was accidentally developed for the U.S. military. Too sticky for Army weapons In 1942, companies across the country were looking to support the war effort, including the Eastman Kodak Company. One if its inventors, Dr. Harry Wesley Coover, accidentally created a new compound while attempting to make clear plastic gun sights for Allied soldiers. The compound, cyanoacrylate, was incredibly durable but way too sticky to use. (Imagine getting Krazy Glue anywhere near your eye. No thanks!) So Coover and his team abandoned the substance, not wanting to get stuck, literally or figuratively, on it. Over a decade later, Coover, who would become known as “Mr. Super Glue,” rediscovered the adhesive compound while researching heat-resistant polymers for jet canopies. Cyanoacrylate adhesives required no heat or pressure to stick items together and hold them permanently. Thus, in 1956, the patent for “Alcohol-Catalyzed Cyanoacrylate Adhesive Compositions/Superglue” was born. How’s that for a name? Coover and the Eastman team took the patent and repackaged it for commercial sale as “Eastman 910″ – which was later changed to “Super Glue.” This name stuck and still is used for a number of similarly adhesive products today. Sign up for the Army Times Daily News Roundup Don’t miss the top Army stories, delivered each afternoon (please select a country)United StatesUnited KingdomAfghanistanAlbaniaAlgeriaAmerican SamoaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBoliviaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of TheCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’ivoireCroatiaCubaCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuamGuatemalaGuineaGuinea-bissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMarshall IslandsMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMicronesia, Federated States ofMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNetherlands AntillesNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorthern Mariana IslandsNorwayOmanPakistanPalauPalestinian Territory, OccupiedPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalPuerto RicoQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRwandaSaint HelenaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and The GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbia and MontenegroSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and The South Sandwich IslandsSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwan, Province of ChinaTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-lesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUnited States Minor Outlying IslandsUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuelaViet NamVirgin Islands, BritishVirgin Islands, U.S.Wallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabwe Subscribe × By giving us your email, you are opting in to the Army Times Daily News Roundup. A savior for soldiers in sticky situations Even though the glue was discovered during World War II, military doctors during the Vietnam War capitalized on the product’s adhesive properties to save lives. Many soldiers suffered injuries off-base, often bleeding out before getting proper care. Thanks to Coover’s invention, medics were able to spray super glue directly on skin to stop bleeding until the patient could make it to a hospital for treatment. “This was very powerful. That’s something I’m very proud of – the number of lives that were saved,” Coover said in an interview with the Kingsport Times-News. At this time, the chemical was not yet approved by the Food and Drug Administration because it had the potential to cause skin irritation. A derivative from the same chemical (2-octyl-cyanoacrylate) was approved in 1998 and functioned as a liquid bandage. Marketed under the names Dermabond and Traumaseal, these products pose less danger of irritation and bacterial infection and are available for civilian use. So the next time you break your mom’s favorite vase and need to glue it back together, give thanks to Mr. Super Glue for finding something that was too sticky for the Army to use.

Continue Reading
error: Content is protected !!