While the US Army has announced it is deploying the 498th Engineering Battalion to Afghanistan to assist in the dismantling of scores of US bases still spread out among the mountains and deserts of that country, an International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) spokesman has confirmed that NATO troops have already vacated more than 700 bases in preparation for the final withdrawal in 2014.
Last September, the US Army shipped 80 MRAPs from Kuwait to the 2nd Infantry Division in South Korea so the unit could begin a six-month evaluation of how the hulking vehicles might be integrated into the brigade combat teams there.
Turns out, not so well. More
In another attempt walk the line between expressing his administration’s concern with the violence that the military-led government in Egypt has launched upon protesters in Cairo without taking any concrete punitive steps, President Obama announced today that the United States was pulling out of a biennial joint military exercise with the Egyptian military.
The thirty year-old event scheduled for next month would have included thousands of US and Egyptian troops as well as hundreds of ground vehicles, along with allies form Africa, Europe and the Middle East. More
The Army, probably more than the other services, is currently lurching toward some serious changes in how it does business, especially if Congress and the White House remain unable to reach some sort of “grand bargain” that would reverse sequestration.
But it’s not all bad news—unless you’re the Marine Corps as we’ll see in a second—and two seemingly small recent events really highlight some of the biggest postwar operational changes the service is going through. More
Do you prefer an Android operating system to iOS? Do you have a Motorola Atrix smartphone in your pocket?
If so, you have something in common with the soldiers of the 4th Brigade, 10th Mountain Division currently serving in Afghanistan. More
At 2pm today the Pentagon will release its latest set of metrics on how the nation-building effort tin Afghanistan is going, the first such Congressionally-mandated update since December 2012.
The “1230” report—named after section 1230 of the 2008 National Defense Authorization Act that calls for the update—is the one bit of official reporting we get each year about the hard numbers for recruitment and retention of the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF), and the progress in standing up a working governing and security apparatus in Kabul.
From 2009 through 2012 the Pentagon actually issued two reports a year, with one coming out in the spring and another in the fall, but this is the first for 2013 meaning that we’ll finally see the numbers for everything since October 2012 — which is critical for a post-surge Afghanistan that is supposed to be on a glide path to acting independently in preparation for the NATO pullout by December 2014. More
The big sequestration-related news of the day came late this morning when the Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Ray Odierno reiterated that the Army is worried about the funding stream for several of its biggest developmental programs.
When asked about the Ground Combat Vehicle during a Q&A session at the American Enterprise Institute, he replied that “because of the sequestration cuts, we have to consider everything. We have to look very hard at all our modernization programs; I’m very concerned about it.”
Since the GCV is the Army’s second-highest acquisition priority after the WIN-T communications network and is being billed as the centerpiece of its armored formations of the future—replacing the Bradley Fighting Vehicle—Odierno told the audience that “we need the Ground Combat vehicle and we have to have it. Now, we might have to delay it because of budget cuts. I don’t know; we haven’t made the decision yet.” More
Two top Pentagon officials are set to appear before House lawmakers next week to discuss the findings of the Strategic Choices and Management Review, an effort that will help determine how the US Defense Department operates amid budget cuts.
Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter and Adm. Sandy Winnefeld, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, are scheduled to appear before the House Armed Services Committee on Aug. 1. Pentagon officials have yet to give a detailed look inside SCMR, which defense insiders have nicknamed the “skimmer” or “scammer.” More
While Congress debates the merits of spending tens of millions of dollars to add missile interceptors on the East Coast while increasing the number already in place out West, a long-running developmental Army radar system is packing up and heading for Maryland.
From May 4 to June 14, Raytheon’s JLENS, or Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor System, was put through its paces by about 100 soldiers during user assessment tests out in Utah, but the company announced today that the 74-foot-high tethered airship is now headed to the Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland for a more ambitious operational assessment run by the US Northern Command. More
The big news coming out of the first day of the annual Aspen Security Summit held in the bucolic mountain resort town on July 18 was the sweeping changes in how the Pentagon continues to form its cybersecurity policy and procedures.
Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter, dressed in his outside the beltway best in an open collar shirt and jeans, described the formation of 40 cyber “teams” operating in the Department of Defense that work “in addition to the NSA’s existing cyber workforce, which is mostly oriented towards cyber intelligence collection.”
The teams are comprised of roughly 4,000 DoD staffers who have already been tasked to the cyber mission and are focused first and foremost of defending the government’s own networks, since Carter bemoaned the “market failure in the cybersecurity field” that has undervalued the need for protecting networks.
Part of the idea when it comes to safeguarding information and discouraging leaks from within is to treat networks like service members treat the nuclear mission.
“You know, we have no-alone zones” around nuclear systems, he explained. “We have two-man rule. You go out to, you know, Barksdale and walk around the Apron, and you’ll see a red line. And it says you cross that red line, you can get shot, because there are areas where you’re simply not to be, because proximity to nuclear weapons is too sensitive and momentous a thing to be allowed for individuals.” More