Tag: Department of Defense

US Military’s ‘Extremist Briefing’: An Inside Take

 

My daughter is active-duty Air Force and she is currently deployed overseas. She works in a direct mission career field which requires a top-secret clearance. Her work schedule on deployment is much more intense than it is when she is stateside. She works with all sorts of people: ages 19-50, all races, all genders, officers, NCOs, and enlisted. Her field is highly technical and competencies are more important in some aspects than how many stripes you may have. Her unit was tapped for the required “Extremist Briefing” recently and this is her report.

There was about 90 personnel in attendance. The briefing was two hours in length, despite their tight mission schedule. The briefing room required masks and chairs were positioned two feet apart. The briefing started with a video on the big screen with speeches from the SecDef, a four-star, the Chief MstSgt of the USAF, Commander of Air Combat Command, and on down the command structure until the video featured my daughter’s immediate command. She said that the way it drilled down to a face she knows made it feel very personal. The talking heads kept using the term “extremists” and “extremism” but the terms were not specifically defined, and that the terms were used very generally. (Kind of a “we all know it when we see it” kind of way). She said the video was creepy and made her feel uncomfortable. As a “Hunger Games” book fan in middle school, she said that she felt like it was a scene out of a Hunger Games book where the “Capital District” was telling everyone in other districts what the reality was, but that the ones out of touch with reality were on the screen.

After the video and some PowerPoint slides (can you have a briefing in the military without PP slides?), my daughter said they were broken up into smaller groups and a “facilitator” (another military person) then asked questions of the group members such as “Tell me about a time in your military career that you saw or experienced extremism.” The groups were told that the facilitators were required to write down their responses and would be sending them back into the SecDef. One group member tried to pin down the facilitator about what did they mean by “extremism?” (Still no clear definition.) One group member, a black airman, stated that he may have experienced a couple of jerks during his AF career who were racist, but when were they going to be asked about the thousand other incidents of his colleagues going out of their way to support him professionally and personally? Another group member wondered why they were not talking about extremism in the context of Antifa and Portland. Another black female airman said that the AF was a melting pot and, although she came from an all-black neighborhood, she had met and worked with great people of all walks of life. No one in the group offered any examples of “extremism” despite the lack of definition.

Did the ‘Deep State’ Deep Six Pentagon’s Lovinger Over Discovery of Shady Defense Department Contracts to FBI Trump Informant Stefan Halper?

 

For this week’s Big Ideas with Ben Weingarten podcast, I had Sean Bigley, a national security attorney who prosecutes intelligence community whistleblower retaliation cases, on to discuss the chilling alleged effort to destroy his client, Adam Lovinger, following his discovery of shady Defense Department contracts made out to among others, Trump campaign FBI informant Stefan Halper.

Lovinger, a highly regarded Pentagon analyst, has found his career ruined, allegedly due to whistleblower retaliation for raising the Halper issue and several others — first losing a prominent position in the Trump National Security Council (NSC), then having his security clearance revoked and finally being suspended without pay altogether while trying to litigate four separate cases against the officials who targeted him.

Can We Still Trust Our Military?

 

shutterstock_244390996Many of our Ricochetti are active in, or retired from, the military and I thank them with deep gratitude for their service. But this year, reports regarding our military’s abilities to manage effectively, operate efficiently, and take security seriously have shaken my faith in it. The latest report of the Department of Defense’s Inspector General included a mind-boggling finding: The US Army has so poorly managed its finances that it has had to make trillions of dollars in adjustments to “create an illusion that its books are balanced.” That’s right: trillions. From Reuters:

The Defense Department’s Inspector General, in a June report, said the Army made $2.8 trillion in wrongful adjustments to accounting entries in one quarter alone in 2015, and $6.5 trillion for the year. Yet the Army lacked receipts and invoices to support those numbers or simply made them up. As a result, the Army’s financial statements for 2015 were “materially misstated,” the report concluded. The “forced” adjustments rendered the statements useless because “DoD and Army managers could not rely on the data in their accounting systems when making management and resource decisions.”

It continues:

Member Post

 

Former Senator Jim Talent posted at NRO’s The Corner this afternoon a very interesting discussion of the Quadrennial Defense Review. He started it with the following: Those familiar with the Constitution know that the federal government is given certain enumerated powers but in general is not required to exercise them. For example, Congress has the power […]

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Member Post

 

The Call of Duty video game series has tens of millions of registered users. So you can bet that this promotion video for the next sequel is going to get plenty of attention. What does it get right? What does it get wrong? Where should debates about mercenary employment go from here? Preview Open

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