Tag: Pentagon

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.

Join Jim and Greg as they react to Andrew Yang considering a run for mayor of New York City. They also groan as former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe – a longtime Clinton ally – officially wants his old job back. And they discuss several Senate Democrats announcing they will not support a waiver need to confirm Joe Biden’s choice for Secretary of Defense.

Nice Jewish Boy Talks About America

 

Gene Simmons spoke at the Pentagon yesterday (yeah, that Gene Simmons). I heard some people mock the event because … well, because he normally wears makeup and dragon boots, but his speech is worth listening to. He talks about his mother and what America meant to her and his family. Touching stuff . . . really.

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.

My Kid Remembers 9/11

 

I am very proud of my oldest daughter. She is everything a Catholic father would hope for in a child: A strong and wise mother, a devoted wife, a burgeoning theologian, and a veteran. The latter came as a bit of a shock. After a couple months of post-high school aimlessness she called me at work to announce that she’d joined the Navy–something I’d never expected. A few weeks later my wife and I, along with my two younger daughters, drove Constance to Butte, the location of the Montana military induction center. Frankly, we weren’t quite sure she would take the final step of raising her hand and swearing to defend her country. But that morning, amid streaming tears and urgent hugs, she walked through the center doors and assumed her duties as a recruit. 

I’m not much given to strong displays of emotion, but as we drove back to Billings, I had to stop from time to time as I was unable to see the road through my wet eyes. 

Member Post

 

A former State/Defense Dept. official who was responsible for sending military aid–equipment that was selected more for the congressional district it was produced in than for in-country conditions–to U.S. allies in the Middle East recaps the past five years. He concludes,  Upon my return to the states, I was dejected, and my desire to continue […]

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Member Post

 

Only a fool would expect President Obama or his administration to be honest with the public after his many years in office. But one might hope that the President’s advisers are at least honest among themselves. According to Shane Harris at The Daily Beast, that too is wishful thinking.  Two senior analysts at CENTCOM signed […]

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I’ve come across a number of items for potential Ricochet discussion, but I’ve been too busy (or lazy — pick one) to post lately. Here are some links that may be of interest. Please feel free to steal them for real posts. “Anti-Violence Activists Charged in Vicious Attack” Nikole Ardeno and Emanuel Velez, both 30, […]

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