Welcome to the Dawn Patrol, our daily roundup of information on the War on Terror and other topics - from the MilBlogs and various sources around the world. If you're a blogger, you can join the conversation. If you link to any of these stories, add a link to the Dawn Patrol too and your trackback will be added to the list. Hat Tips to the Dawn Patrol are greatly appreciated.Refresh for updates.
No Mochaccinos, No Problem for Marines of Echo Company -- [Danger Room - Noah Shachtman in Afghanistan]
By any rational measure, the Marines of Echo company should be miserable. During the day, they trudge through the mud until they got shot at and endure temperatures that regularly spike above 110 degrees. At night, they sleep in holes in the dirt, next to mortar tubes. Dinner for the last three evenings has been something brown called "beef burgundy." With enough hot sauce, you can keep it form tasting too much like cigarettes.
Yet morale here at this converted school compound that serves at Echo company's headquarters is uncannily high. The things most people would find intolerable - the danger, the Third World living conditions - are exactly what makes Echo company thrive, these troops say. "Marines don't miss what they don't get," Staff Sgt. Timothy Funke tells me.
How to Lose in Afghanistan -- [Washington Post]
The United States cannot win the war in Afghanistan in the next three months -- any form of even limited victory will take years of further effort. It can, however, easily lose the war.
...". . .Yet they can win only if they are allowed to manage both the civil and military sides of the conflict without constant micromanagement from Washington or traveling envoys. They must be given both the time to act and the resources and authority they feel they need. No other path offers a chance of a secure and stable Afghanistan free of terrorist and jihadist control and sanctuaries. . ."
US general: New strategy needed to defeat Taliban -- [AP]
KABUL (AP) - The top commander of U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan said Monday the situation in the country is "serious" and a new strategy is needed to defeat the Taliban. Gen. Stanley McChrystal sent his strategic review of the Afghan war to the Pentagon on Monday.
Afghanistan strategy must change, US commander McChrystal says -- [The Guardian]
...McChrystal has been working on the review since Obama put him in charge of the war in June after firing his predecessor, David McKiernan. The document has been sent to the US military's central command (CentCom), responsible for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and to Nato headquarters in Brussels.
The review has not been published yet, but according to reports leaked to the BBC McChrystal likens the US military to a bull charging at the matador-like Taliban and slightly weakened with each "cut" it receives. The review is also expected to confirm that protecting the Afghan people against the Taliban must be the top priority.
International Security Assistance Force Commander Submits Strategic Assessment -- [USFOR]
General Stanley McChrystal, the Commander of NATO's International Security Assistance Force and U.S. Forces Afghanistan forwarded his strategic assessment today to the Commander, U.S. Central Command, General David Petraeus, and the Commander, Joint Force Command Brunssum, General Egon Ramms, who will comment and forward through their respective chains of command to the U.S. Secretary of Defense and NATO Secretary General.
"The situation in Afghanistan is serious, but success is achievable and demands a revised implementation strategy, commitment and resolve, and increased unity of effort," said McChrystal.
Strategic Communication: Getting Back to Basics -- [Adm. Mike Mullen - Joint Chiefs of Staff]
It is time for us to take a harder look at "strategic communication."
Frankly, I don't care for the term. We get too hung up on that word, strategic. If we've learned nothing else these past 8 years, it should be that the lines between strategic, operational, and tactical are blurred beyond distinction. This is particularly true in the world of communication, where videos and images plastered on the Web--or even the idea of their being so posted--can and often do drive national security decisionmaking.
But beyond the term itself, I believe we have walked away from the original intent.
Actions Speak Louder, But What Do You Hear? -- [The Quatto Zone - in Afghanistan]
From the volume of advance press it has generated, you would think Admiral Michael Mullen's upcoming critique of strategic communication in Joint Forces Quarterly was something on the order of a new Harry Potter novel. It's not, although there's lots of good common sense in it. Actions matter more than words. Words unsupported by actions are meaningless. Creating additional bureaucracy to deal with problems tends to aggravate those problems. Just because such ideas are trite doesn't mean they're not true.
Actions Speak Louder That Words -- [Free Range International - in Afghanistan]
There is no shortage of news flowing out of Afghanistan concerning election mischief and a ton of low to mid grade mayhem. Just tonight we received a report about a BBIED who walked into the Pakistani Khasadar (Tribal) Guard mess and detonated his rig killing 22 and wounding another 15. This is probably connected to the recent killing of Baitullah Meshud in an excellent drone strike which should help keep Pakistan in the game. Stupid move by the Taliban to target tribal security organizations which are the low hanging fruit in the tribal areas but this area is full of stupid people so it is no surprise. We have been spending an inordinate amount of time investigating the increased number of Anti Government Element (AGE) incidents on the main roads and in Jalalabad City because we need to be thinking and operating in real time so separating criminal from AGE activity is important.
Late last week we had what sounded to be a fairly large firefight in downtown Jalalabad but upon investigation it looks to us to be a Badal (pashto for vengeance) act - the third targeting the ANP post in district one in as many weeks. This was a new tactic though ...
NATO's Rasmussen Urges Allies to Stay Committed to Afghanistan -- [Bloomberg]
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen urged members of the alliance to remain committed to the efforts in Afghanistan.
"We need to do what it takes to secure the country because it's about our own security," Rasmussen said in a Bloomberg Television interview from North Atlantic Treaty Organization headquarters in Brussels today. "We cannot afford that Afghanistan becomes again a safe haven for terrorists."
Brown pledges extra troop support -- [BBC]
Gordon Brown has promised more support for UK troops in Afghanistan, during a surprise visit to the country.
88 Lbs -- [Doc H's International Adventure - in Afghanistan]
Today we went out on a Mounted Patrol so that I could visit with my Afghan counterpart in addition to many other tasks. Thankfully the movement there and back was uneventful. Like our previous meetings we had a productive and cordial time. We are working towards a combined training class similiar to the Combat Life Saver program that the US Army has used for several years. We both look forward to Afghan personnel taking over the teaching of this type of class for the benefit of the Police in the Northern Region. We also made progress on several other more mundane topics.
Marine Lieutenant Colonel Eleazer Omar Sanchez -- [Afghanistan My Last Tour - in Afghanistan]
...While out on Village Medical Operations (VMO) I saw LTC Sanchez in action. Since he usually was the senior ranking officer, he would conduct the tribal meetings with the assistance of his interpreter "Outback". LTC Sanchez would give the tribal elders an opportunity to air their grievances and listen empathetically about their requests for new schools, medical clinics, wells, roads, etc. Then he would address the group. At times he was firm and scolded the elders about the frequent insurgent attacks and planting of IEDs. But then he would switch gears and speak powerfully from his heart on how it felt to lose troops in battle. Often the elders would hang their heads or gaze at him with sympathetic eyes. It takes a special person to conduct these meetings, because if it's perceived you are not authentic, they will never meet with you again.
ANA Library Update -- [Afghanistan My Last Tour - in Afghanistan]
Judging by the grins on their faces, you would have thought we were celebrating a holiday or someone's birthday. Instead my ANA SGM just recently stocked the empty book shelves with some new books. If you have been following my blog, you will recognize this facility as a former mosque converted into a library to benefit the ANA soldiers.
The transformation process is just about complete except for a few outside enhancements.
Mission Number Five -- [Sgt Danger - in Afghanistan]
...We rolled out a few hours later. Our route took us on some familiar roads and some unfamiliar ones, past Afghan mountains and Afghan electronics stores, through dense markets and wide open spans of dirt. We had our colonel in my truck, who worked just like one of the crew. (A welcome surprise to have a senior officer who will get her hands dirty.) We had some navigation issues - don't worry, no Jessica Lynch type stuff - and got some help from the Afghan National Army through our interpreter. AGAIN, I was impressed with the ANA's ability to work alongside us. When one of our trucks got stuck in six inches of moondust, a local civilian even got into the act and helped get it out.
Goodbye Dutch, Hello Dutch -- [There's sand in my... - in Afghanistan]
...There was a coordinated suicide vehicle bomber attack this week in Kandahar. There were 5 cars loaded with explosives that hit a Japanese construction company that employs Pakistani engineers. According to the Stars and Stripes article, the blast killed at least 41 people and injured 66. Fortunately we only received one patient from the blast, we were expecting a very large mass casualty.
On the road again... -- [3rd Time, New Country - in Afghanistan]
Now that we are past the elections, we are able to travel throughout Kabul and revisit many of the places we have been to before. During the past week, I had the opportunity to drive to ISAF for a little NATO medical get together similar to the one I went to several weeks ago, but no BBQ this time. I was the driver for the lead vehicle and it was sobering to survey the damage from the SVBIED.
I also drove when we went to NDS Hospital one day this past week. We continue to establish a small mentoring role
Life in Helmand, Afghanistan -- [Belfast Telegraph] HT: Helmand Blog
"My soldiers have fought with resilience... When the Taliban have tried to take them on we have won every time"
...Speaking during a rarely given media briefing, the Thiepval-based Brigadier said: "The soldiers in my brigade have worked extremely hard over a hard summer and they have fought with resilience and fortitude at every turn. And when the Taliban have tried to take them on with force we have won every time.
"I think what's really important is how they have done it in terms of the judgement and measure they have shown on the ground during very trying conditions."
Precision Voting -- [Michael Yon - in Afghanistan]
The latest media wave splashed into the main voting centers in places like Kabul, Kandahar, Jalalabad, Herat and Lashkar Gah. The larger cities only account for perhaps 20% of the Afghan population. Whereas the easy and obvious stories are in the cities, a crucial and larger dimension--the other 80%--would unfold in the boonies. Most Afghans would have no chance to vote.
Karzai Using Rift With U.S. to Gain Favor -- [NY Times]
A little over 24 hours after the polls closed, President Obama stepped out on the White House South Lawn last week to pronounce the Afghanistan presidential elections something of a success.
"This was an important step forward in the Afghan people's effort to take control of their future, even as violent extremists are trying to stand in their way," Mr. Obama said. "I want to congratulate the Afghanistan people on carrying out this historic election."
Major Fraud Allegations Top 550 in Afghan Election -- [Voice of America]
Independent Afghan election monitors say allegations of major fraud have more than doubled in the past two days and that investigators are now looking into more than 550 reported incidents. Investigations into the latest fraud allegations, reported by the Electoral Complaints Commission, could further delay a vote counting process that has been much slower than officials predicted.
US Walks Fine Line in Afghan Vote -- [Wall Street Journal]
The US and its allies are walking a thin line by trying to monitor the count in Afghanistan's presidential vote without influencing the outcome, as results from the election trickle into public view. Rampant allegations of electoral fraud, combative statements from candidates, and popular speculation about the US's role as kingmaker have made the balancing act more difficult. According to the latest results, released Saturday, President Hamid Karzai's lead has widened, with votes from a third of the polling stations counted.
Long hair and hiking boots = Taliban? -- [A World of Troubles - in Afghanistan]
He was caught the day after the election, as he passed a checkpoint. The Afghan Army thought he looked suspicious. He had long hair, he'd come from five villages deep into the mountain valley. He had long hair and wore hiking boots.
He said his name was Turgul, that he was 20 years old and that he didn't read or write.
Pakistan army kills 45 Taliban; border reopens -- [AP]
Pakistani soldiers killed at least 45 Taliban militants in scattered gunbattles across the northwestern Swat Valley after a suicide bombing on a police station killed 17 cadets, the army said Monday. Hundreds of miles (kilometers) away, a southwestern border crossing with Afghanistan reopened after an administrative dispute culminated in an attack on a line of waiting NATO fuel tankers. One driver was killed and 16 trucks destroyed when the fuel caught fire.
Standing Back And Hoping For The Best -- [Strategy Page]
As police expand their search of Pakistan's Swat valley, looking for any remaining Taliban, they are finding that local tribal militias, who have openly declared war on pro-Taliban tribesmen, have been there first. Over two hundred bodies, of pro-Taliban men, have been found so far. Many local men in Swat sided with the Taliban, and participated in the brutal Taliban rule. These guys have not been able to get transport out of the area, because of all the army roadblocks, and the difficulty of going cross country for long distances. So the tribal militias are hunting down and killing known Taliban thugs.
Organized Crime in Pakistan Feeds Taliban -- [NY Times]
The police here say the Taliban, working with criminal groups, are using Mafia-style networks to kidnap, rob banks and extort, generating millions of dollars for the militant insurgency in northwestern Pakistan.
"There is overwhelming evidence that it's an organized policy," said Dost Ali Baloch, assistant inspector general of the Karachi police.
Jihadi-linked crime has surfaced in other Pakistani cities, like Lahore. But Karachi, the central nervous system of Pakistan's economy, and home to its richest businessmen, is the hub.
Endex -- [Embedded in Afghanistan... - in Afghanistan]
Well, it's all over now, except the good times and celebrating together when we get home. From the very beginning it was easy to see we had a stellar group of young men in this unit, top to bottom far superior to other units I've been in. Today, I feel more proud than ever to have been a part of what we did. And I'm ecstatic to say we're taking everyone back home with us. We were not without some close calls
Commander: US on the road out of Iraq -- [Stars & Stripes]
The U.S. military is packing up to leave Iraq in what has been deemed the largest movement of manpower and equipment in modern military history -- shipping out more than 1.5 million pieces of equipment from tanks to antennas along with a force the size of a small city. The massive operation already under way a year ahead of the Aug. 31, 2010 deadline to remove all U.S. combat troops from Iraq shows the U.S. military has picked up the pace of a planned exit from Iraq that could cost billions.
The goal is to withdraw tens of thousands of troops and about 60 percent of equipment out of Iraq by the end of next March, Brig. Gen. Heidi Brown, a deputy commander charged with overseeing the withdrawal, told The Associated Press in one of the first detailed accounts of how the U.S. military plans to leave Iraq.
Buried Treasure in Iraq -- [Iron Camel - in Iraq]
Several days ago, our General received information that there might be something buried under a building. So once again we mounted up and headed out.
...What followed was one of the weirdest things I have been part of since I have been to Iraq. The General that hosted us reached into his desk and grabbed a small aerosol bottle of cologne. He walked around the room standing in front of each of the dozen or so guests and sprayed us with the cologne. It was a heavy, flowery scent, typical of the perfumes and colognes worn in Iraq. Everyone got a good 2-3 second burst. So weird.
Two hours after arriving and smelling good, we began our mission: ...
Tim James' journey from NBA to Iraq -- [Miami Herald]
"The phone rings at 1 a.m. It is Tim James. The connection is tinny and echoing. How are you, Tim? 'It was 125 degrees yesterday,' he says. 'I've never felt anything like that. It was like working inside an oven. It was 121 in the shade.' James is in Iraq, in a suffocating desert 105 miles north of Baghdad, but he isn't making one of those celebrity visits to cheer up the troops. No, he is the troops. The former University of Miami basketball star and former Miami Heat first-round pick enlisted in the Army a year ago, at the age of 31, and now he finds himself in the dusty, dirty center of a war. ...
Iraq's Ambivalence About the American Military -- [NY Times]
Iraqi military officials often refer to their American counterparts as "the friends," a circumlocution full of Eastern subtlety that is often lost on the friends themselves. Add some more quotation marks, and it comes closer to the sense intended, "the 'friends.' " Not sarcastic, exactly, but rather colored with mixed emotions, as in the sentence, "The 'friends' came by yesterday to complain again about payroll skimming."
...They are grateful, many of them, but gratitude is a drink with a bitter aftertaste. They also chafe at the thousands of daily humiliations they endure from a mostly well-meaning but often clueless American military. An Iraqi politician who wishes to remain nameless ("I have to deal with the friends," he explains) tells of traveling with the Iraqi Army's chief of staff, a general in uniform, epaulets bristling with eagles, stars and swords. They were at the Baghdad airport, about to get on one of the few Iraqi military planes, when an American sergeant stopped him and refused to allow him to board. Despite the general's remonstrations of rank and privilege, the sergeant made sure the plane took off without him.
Arms Finds In Hitherto Quiet South Iraq Ring Alarms -- [NY Times]
Iraqi security forces say they have found numerous caches of new weapons in the Shi'ite south, raising the possibility that an area which has been peaceful could relapse into violence before elections next year.
..."We are always finding large amounts of ammunition, including rockets, IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices) and sticky bombs. The last one was a week ago," Major Aziz al-Amarah, commander of a rapid response police force in the southern province of Wasit, told Reuters.
Amarah believed some of the weapons were made in Iran.
"Sometimes they try to remove labels that refer to Iran but we can make out the words from what is left," he said.
Tehran denies arming Iraqi militias from across its long and porous border with Iraq.
Syria's Assad slams Iraq over "immoral" charges -- [Reuters]
DAMASCUS, Aug 31 (Reuters) - Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Monday described as "immoral" Iraq's accusation that Damascus was responsible for attacks ...
Security developments in Iraq -- [Reuters]
Following are security developments in Iraq at 5 a.m. EDT on Monday.
BAGHDAD - A roadside bomb targeting a U.S. military patrol wounded five civilians in southeast Baghdad's Rustumiya district, police said.
US military: Number of Iraqi detainees below 9000 -- [AP]
BAGHDAD -- The US military says the number of Iraqi detainees has dropped below 9000 from a high of 27000 in 2007. The Americans have been releasing .
Remnants of Iraq Air Force Are Found -- [New York Times]
Iraqi officials have discovered that they may have a real air force, after all. The Defense Ministry revealed Sunday that it had recently learned that Iraq owns 19 MIG-21 and MIG-23 jet fighters, which are in storage in Serbia. Ministry officials are negotiating with the Serbs to restore and return the aircraft. The Serbian government has tentatively promised to make two of the aircraft available "for immediate use," according to a news release from the ministry. The rest would be restored on a rush basis, the ministry said. An Iraqi delegation went to Serbia as part of an effort by the government to locate assets stashed abroad by Saddam Hussein to evade sanctions. Serbia had had friendly relations with Mr. Hussein's government.
Musings on a Friday Night -- [Ramblings from a painter - in Iraq]
Things at work are settling down a little bit. Some decisions are being made but the politicking is still ongoing. I've got a pretty good idea of what my little group will be doing and it looks fine with me. Some other decisions, well, would've been a lot better had they gone a different way ...
A sign that it is time for me to leave Iraq... -- [Castra Praetoria - in Iraq]
Occasionally you have a premonition that it is time to move on. That what you've been doing is now concluded and your work here is actually done.
Recently I received the below notice on the all hands e-mail here in scenic Al Assad.
Iran Claims Report 'Vindicated' Nuclear Program -- [Voice of America]
A top Iranian nuclear official says a UN report has "vindicated" his country's nuclear program as a peaceful one. The semi-official Iranian news agency Fars quotes Ali Asghar Soltanieh Saturday as saying Iran will resist political pressure to give up its nuclear goals. The International Atomic Energy Agency released a report Friday saying Iran has allowed its inspectors greater access to its main nuclear complex in the city of Natanz. But the report said Iran failed to reveal if its nuclear program includes a military component. Soltanieh, Iran's envoy to the UN nuclear agency, said Iran will cooperate with inspections but not beyond its legal obligation.
Legal Check on ANL Arms Ship -- [The Australian]
The Rudd government will investigate whether an Australian-registered ship carrying an undeclared cargo of weapons from North Korea, bound for Iran, may have broken Australian laws and violated sanctions. United Arab Emirates authorities reportedly seized up to 10 container loads of weapons, including rocket-propelled grenades and trigger mechanisms, from the vessel, ANL Australia, when it berthed at Abu Dhabi in mid-July.
Israel, Iran and Obama -- [Wall Street Journal]
The International Atomic Energy Agency has produced another alarming report on Iran's nuclear programs, though it hasn't released it publicly, only to governments that would also rather not disclose more details of Iran's progress toward becoming a nuclear theocracy. Meanwhile, Iran intends to introduce a resolution, backed by more than 100 members of the so-called Non-Aligned Movement, that would ban military attacks on nuclear facilities. No actual mention of Israel, of course. The mullahs understand that the only real challenge to their nuclear ambitions is likely to come from Israel.
Playing Rough To Keep The Americans Away -- [Strategy Page]
As China develops more powerful electronic devices, it has become determined to keep the details secret (so their electronic wonders will not be easily defeated in wartime.) To that end, they have requested that the United States eliminate the use of aircraft and ships to monitor activity along the Chinese coast. Most of this is electronic surveillance. Some is simply keeping an eye on what the Chinese are building (in the way of military facilities along their coast.) The U.S. recon operations take place in international air and sea space, but the Chinese know that this does not stop the Americans from picking up lots of useful information. China has implied that if the U.S. does not cease this snooping, there will be more confrontations with Chinese aircraft and ships.
NEFA Foundation: Transcript of New Zawahiri Video, "The Path of Doom" -- [Counterterrorism Blog]
The NEFA Foundation has obtained a new video recording produced by Al-Qaida's As-Sahab Media Foundation featuring Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri and titled, "The Path of Doom." During his sermon, Dr. al-Zawahiri sharply condemned the Pakistani military campaign to restore control over restive regions in the northwest near the Afghan border -- particularly in Waziristan and Swat. According to al-Zawahiri, "the war in the tribal areas and Swat is an inseparable part of the Crusaders' assault on the Muslims the length and breadth of the Islamic world." As a result, "the Pakistan Army is acting as a fundamental element of the Crusade against Islam and Muslims, and has become a tool in the hands of the global Crusade." Dr. al-Zawahiri suggested that there is only one means available "to get out of this predicament which Pakistan has gotten itself into: it is through Jihad, and there is no way other than Jihad."
Al-Qaeda's "Islamic State of Iraq" Calls on Muslims to Join Uighur Jihad against China -- [MEMRI Blog]
On August 22, 2009, the media division of Al-Qaeda's "Islamic State of Iraq" organization (ISI) released the sixth video in its "Knights of Martyrdom" series, which celebrates jihadists killed in the war in Iraq.
This time, the video was dedicated to the Muslims of East Turkestan, i.e. the Uighurs of China's Xinjiang Province.
Ex-Homeland Security Chief Michael Chertoff Sees Riisk in Current Anti-terror Policies -- [Los Angeles Times]
Former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, who has a new book out this week, warned in an interview that national security will suffer if counter-terrorism warriors fear that bosses will second-guess their front-line actions after the fact. Chertoff said his book, "Homeland Security: Assessing the First Five Years," lays out an architecture for defending the nation against the threats of the 21st century. As Homeland Security chief from 2005 through the end of the Bush administration, Chertoff oversaw 218,000 employees and a $50-billion budget. He was head of the Justice Department's criminal division from 2001 to 2003, during which time he led the investigation of the Sept. 11 attacks and prosecutions of cases including the Enron scandal.
Cheney: Interrogations Probe Is a 'Political Act' -- [Washington Post]
Former vice president Richard B. Cheney on Sunday condemned the Justice Department's decision to investigate suspected CIA prisoner abuses, reiterated his assertion that enhanced interrogation techniques worked in revealing terror plots, and indicated that he may not cooperate with the prosecutor assigned to the case. Cheney accused President Obama of setting a "terrible precedent" by allowing an "intensely partisan, politicized look back at the prior administration." Asked whether he would talk to John Durham, the veteran prosecutor appointed by Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. to examine allegations that the CIA abused Sept. 11 terror suspects, Cheney said: "It will depend on the circumstances and what I think their activities are really involved in." Holder announced the investigation last Monday, the same day that a long-awaited inspector general's review of the agency's interrogation methods was released.
1,493 Heroes Waiting To Be Adopted -- [Soldiers Angels Network]
We have way too many heroes needing to be adopted. If you can't afford to adopt one
on your own - partner with someone from work, school, neighbor, friend, and family.
We need to work as a team to get the word out these troops need to be adopted.
For first time adopters: www.SoldiersAngels.org
The Care & Feeding of the Military Chaplain -- [OPFOR - Lt Col P in Afghanistan]
...All hands, no matter what denomination or inclination, need to pitch in to take care of the chaplain. That guy bears the weight of the battalion on his shoulders; he carries people's confidences, their most-guarded secrets, and most serious problems. Most of the bad stuff and not too much of the good stuff gets dumped on him. Put another way, who goes to the chaplain and says, Hey-- I'd like to grab a half-hour with you to tell you in detail how great things are, and how problem-free I am??
Take care of your chaplain. He's worth his weight in gold.
School grant aimed at helping military kids -- [Savannah Now]
"The premise (of the grant) is that the military kids move around so much, by the time you get them in and get them settled and get them identified, often they're gone before you really have time to work with them," said Carver fifth-grade teacher Sheri Hundley.
"Maybe where they left, they hadn't taught something yet. And when they got here, we had already taught it," she explained. "They just end up with some gaps in their skills."
"This grant allows us to use some software and some additional paraprofessionals to work with those children that just need those gaps filled in,"
Name Muffy, Assemble the Guard! -- [Castle Argghhh!!!]
As I've noted before, we can't honor them all, but we'll honor the ones we can. Another veteran of two tours in Iraq passes...
...Now is the time at Castle Argghhh! when we dance sing a soul to the Great Hunting Ground and Tennis Ball Chasing Facility at Piddler's Green
Woman works to adopt out retired military dogs -- [The Durango Herald]
Benny, a retired military working dog, is a happy-go-lucky German shepherd who will do anything his master commands.
Officials outline adoption process for military working dogs -- [Air Force Link]
Military working dogs have come a long way since the days of ancient Persia and Assyria, where they donned
MAIL CALL -- [Doc H's International Adventure - in Afghanistan]
One thing that has not diminished in twenty years since my first long deployment is the power of mail on morale. Imagine my suprise when I went to the mail room and came out hauling 3 boxes and a post card! Every day with mail like this is Christmas.
Military terminates Rendon contract -- [Stars & Stripes]
The U.S. military is canceling its contract with a controversial private firm that was producing background profiles of journalists seeking to cover the war that graded their past work as "positive," "negative" or "neutral," Stars and Stripes has learned.
"The Bagram Regional Contracting Center intends to execute a termination of the Media Analyst contract," belonging to The Rendon Group, said Col. Wayne Shanks, chief of public affairs for International Security Assistance Forces-Afghanistan.
Whither Thou Goest, I Shall Be There -- [You Served]
...The military kids today have a whole wealth of issues to deal with that I cannot even fathom. When my dad left for "exercises," it was for a short time and really, he just went to some other base in the US. The Guard and Reserve kids have it the worst, I think. Yeah, they don't have to move, but they also don't have the support network around them that active duty brats do. Just being on base with kids like yourself is a huge relief. And that goes for schools too. But one common theme is being the New Kid. Man, that just sucked. Especially if it was right in the middle of the school year. Not only were there social issues, there were academic ones, trying to mesh the previous school's curriculum into the new school's requirements and format. Ugh. Sometimes, you end up covering the same material and sometimes you end up being totally lost as to what was going on. That does not help to adjust at all.
Top Officer Criticizes US Military 'Strategic Communications' -- [Global Security]
The top U.S. military officer has written a sharp critique of the Defense Department's efforts to communicate with people around the world. In an article for a military journal, Admiral Mike Mullen says the U.S. military too often launches its messages like rockets, rather than engaging with its audiences and demonstrating its intentions through actions, rather than words.
Admiral Mullen writes that the Pentagon's "biggest problem is credibility," which he says comes in part from building trust and relationships, and delivering on promises. In a column for Joint Forces Quarterly, the admiral derides the popular new concept called Strategic Communications, saying there is too much attention put on message formulation, coordination and transmission, and not enough on actual policies and their impact. He writes, "To put it simply, we need to worry a lot less about how to communicate our actions and much more about what our actions communicate." He also says, "...most strategic communication problems are not communication problems at all. They are policy and execution problems."
Must Have More Big Bombs, NOW! -- [Strategy Page]
Earlier this year, the U.S. Air Force asked Congress for money to buy four 15 ton Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP) bombs. Now it wants ten, and preferably twelve. The likely targets are North Korea or Iran, and apparently the air force has developed some new information on targets that would require more MOPs, and as soon as possible.
Smoking in the military: An old habit dies hard -- [AP]
Now a proposal to make the forces smoke-free is drawing strong reactions from troops who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan, even though the Pentagon itself says any ban is a long way off.
Homecoming -- [Short Timers - home from Iraq]
The team arrived home safely last night on Northwest Flight 405. We were met by our loved ones at the airport. Even UAF Chancellor Brian Rogers and his wife Sherry Modrow showed up to welcome us back, which was really nice of the two of them. Jenny rushed to catch a flight back to Anchorage - after all of our traveling, she still had one leg to go. We caught up with our families as we waited for our checked bags. After we had all our things, we said goodbye to one another and stepped out into the darkening Fairbanks night. A temperate 50-degree Interior night never felt so cool before. I can only hope that every soldier with the 1/25th Stryker Brigade Combat Team has an equally happy homecoming.
40,000 pack downtown Springs to thank the military -- [The Colorado Spring Gazette]
It wasn't "Welcome Home" versus "War No More."
It was just "Welcome Home."
Thanking the troops ruled at Saturday's Red White and Brave Welcome Home Parade in downtown Colorado Springs that drew more than 40,000 supporters and only about a dozen protesters.
Bush daughter Jenna Hager becomes 'Today' reporter -- [AP]
NBC's "Today" show has hired someone with White House experience as a new correspondent - former first daughter Jenna Hager. The daughter of former President George W. Bush will contribute stories about once a month on issues like education to television's top-rated morning news show, said Jim Bell, its executive producer.
American Royalty -- [Jules Crittenden]
The lefty sockpuppet also known as Glenn Greenwald is right. This nation might as well embrace royalty and be done with it. The only part I don't get, is how he can get snarky about the fact that Jenna Bush just got a part-time TV gig, without once mentioning ...
Live from U.S. Army Europe -- [Army Live]
Good morning! I'm joining you LIVE this morning from the U.S. Army Europe Public Affairs Conference in Berlin, Germany. Today is the final day of the conference and guess what the focus is on - emerging media and social networking. All day we're hearing from speakers discussing the latest social media initiatives in Europe and the challenges we're seeing across the military. Access to social networking sites is actually more restricted in areas outside of the United States, and the security concerns are more significant. People remain "all-ears" awaiting the results of the DoD policy review and decision on social networking. This morning's agenda included a social media 101 presentation followed by a presentation by a representative from the U.S. Army Europe G-6, technology and security. The central debate surrounding social networking is the issue of whether or not access to social networking should broadly include every Soldier and every computer, or whether it should be restricted to public affairs officers or those with a clear workplace justification.
An Army Wife's View: OPSEC and Social Media -- [Army Live]
The Department of Defense has been constantly working to create blanket policies surrounding OPSEC and Social Media. They have created a forum, asking Soldiers and their Families to submit their thoughts and concerns on the issue. Below is a blog post from an Army Wife expressing her concerns and how they relate to the families of those deployed/being deployed.
For the last couple weeks, the soldiers from 4th ID 2nd Brigade have been coming home. I'm so happy to see these soldiers coming home safe and sound to their families. (For me - it's also a bit depressing LOL We have a LONG way to go)
On Facebook, Twitter and several other social networking sites, I've been seen LOTS of OPSEC (operational security) violations recently. Quite frankly - it worries me!
Ridge: Talk of terror-alert politics exaggerated -- [AP]
WASHINGTON -- Former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge said Monday people "are hyperventilating" about his assertion that politics played a role in talk
Obama faces growing anger on the left -- [Washington Times]
Gays wait for policy repeal
By the time this year's tally for gay service members discharged under the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy had hit 250, Rep. Alcee L. Hastings said he could wait no longer.
The Florida Democrat decided in June to send a letter to President Obama demanding that the policy be repealed. Mr. Hastings said he was surprised when 76 other members - most of them fellow Democrats - agreed to add their signatures, and even more surprised when the letter went unanswered for the next two months.
"We're being ignored," he said.
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