Former Army Medic Receives Medal of Honor

VIEDO: https://dod.defense.gov/Videos/videoid/630249/
President Donald J. Trump presented former Army Staff Sgt. Ronald J. Shurer II with the Medal of Honor during a ceremony at the White House for his heroic actions in April 2008 as a Special Forces medic in Afghanistan.

Here are the Army’s newly crowned best Sapper and mortar teams

Soldiers from Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and Fort Campbell, Kentucky, took top honors this week in the Army’s searches to find both the best combat engineers and the best mortar crew in the service.

Two officers from the 39th Brigade Engineer Battalion were named best Sapper on Thursday, according to a release from Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, while four noncommissioned officers from the 82nd Airborne Division aced the Best Mortar competition at Fort Benning, Georgia.

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Top Army official to start wave three of Boston Marathon

HOPKINTON, Mass. (Tribune News Service) — Army Gen. James McConville, who has been nominated to become the next chief of staff of the U.S. Army by President Donald Trump, will start wave three of the Boston Marathon.

“Born and raised in Quincy, Massachusetts, it’s an honor to support the Boston Marathon,” McConville said in a statement. “It’s an even bigger honor to be the official starter of wave three. Boston is not just a place with a rich history, it’s also an attitude – a winning attitude. The men and women running on April 15th are all winners.”

The Hopkinton Marathon Committee picks the starters for waves two through four.

McConville, the 36th vice chief of staff of the Army, ran the 2017 Boston Marathon with his son and Gen. Joseph Dunford, joint chief of staff.

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Keep those Iraq War notes handy:

Small wars, not great power battles, still the most likely future fight
By: Kyle Rempfer

Great power competition has been the primary driver of the Pentagon over the past few years, but the Defense Department doesn’t get to pick the next war.

It is more likely that the U.S. military will be drawn into another conflict against an insurgent or proxy force, than it will end up fighting naval battles in the South China Sea or halting Russian armor in the Fulda Gap.

“While you’re going to have the larger force-on-force kind of engagements, at the same time, there’s going to be action in ‘gray zone’ … the space in between war and peace,” said retired Col. Frank Sobchak, co-author of the long-delayed Iraq War Study and a former Army Special Forces officer.

“We see this through proxies, we see militias, we see the involvement in democratic elections,” Sobchak said Tuesday at a Foundation for Defense of Democracies event in Washington. “All these are things that we saw in Iraq that we learned from, that same kind of gray space action is going to occur when we have conflict with a great power.”

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Camo netting, an age-old tool, is being re-engineered for the modern battlefield

Top Army brass are looking to what seems like a simple item, camouflage netting, to solve a very modern technological problem — electronic signals that give away soldier and unit positions.

A variety of camouflage being developed now is aimed at hiding electronic signatures and concealing soldiers and their equipment, masking them to the eye and hiding them from sensors in modern communications and targeting equipment.

The next-generation netting is expected to offer state-of-the-art signature concealment for “multispectral protection.”

The Army awarded contracts a year ago for engineering, manufacturing and developing the new Ultra-Lightweight Camouflage Net System, or ULCANS.

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The U.S. Army is building a giant VR battlefield to train soldiers virtually

In the 2014 sci-fi action movie Edge of Tomorrow (also known as Live. Die. Repeat), Tom Cruise plays William Cage, a public relations officer with no combat experience, who somehow gets stuck in a Groundhog Day-style time loop. Forced to participate in a battle against a seemingly unbeatable foe, the initially hopeless Cage becomes increasingly effective by reliving the day of the attack over and over. Each time he dies, Cage wakes up on the day preceding the attack takes place.

Being able to train in this way is a luxury that’s not afforded to today’s combat troops. As many drills as you run, as much strategic briefing takes place, the reality is that nothing can prepare you for being in a real combat zone. Suddenly things become a whole lot more unpredictable — and unpredictability is difficult to train for. Especially when one mistake could lead to serious injury or worse.

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More fire power: US Army sets out to develop new missiles in FY20

The U.S. Army is embarking on several new missile development programs while ramping up and accelerating other ongoing programs to deliver more fire power to the force at greater ranges, according to the service’s justification books for its fiscal 2020 budget request.

The service’s No. 1 modernization priority is Long-Range Precision Fires, or LRPF, because the Army believes it is central to future operations in environments where access to terrain may be difficult or entirely denied, or where soldiers lack the territorial advantage to counter threats.

And the LRPF capability plays an important role the service’s emerging doctrine — Multidomain Operations — where the Army and its sister services will work more in concert across sea, land, air, space and cyber domains to overtake the enemy.

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Plan would double artillery upgrades in Army arsenal over the next five years

The Army is about a third of the way toward its goal to acquire an upgraded fleet of nearly 700 tracked, mobile artillery cannons but will nearly double its inventory over the next five years if a recent budget request is approved.

More than six years ago, the Army began a program to improve the M109A6 Paladin self-propelled 155 mm artillery cannon, which was fielded in 1994.

Since the improvement program began then, they’ve been able to put more than 200 of the weapons into their arsenal and more than 200 more are on the way over the next five years, with an ultimate goal of having 689 Paladins in stock over the next decade, according to recently released Army budget request documents.

When the program started, initial goals were for 580 upgraded Paladins. Strategic concerns about Russian and Chinese fires modernization has pushed that number up by more than 100 in recent years.

Those improvements and procurement will keep the currently quarter-century-old mobile cannon blasting away until 2050.

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Former U.S. Army officer pleads guilty to spying for China

A former U.S. Army officer accused of spying for China has pleaded guilty.

Ron Rockwell Hansen, 58, admitted to transferring sensitive defense data to Chinese intelligence agents in exchange for hundreds of thousands of dollars, according to a Department of Justice press release on Friday.

“Hansen pleaded guilty to one count of attempting to gather or deliver national defense information to aid a foreign government. The plea agreement calls for an agreed-upon sentence of 15 years,” the DOJ release said.

Hansen, a Utah resident, previously served as a Warrant Officer in the U.S. Army from 2000 to 2006. He had a background involving signals intelligence and human intelligence, and learned fluency in Mandarin Chinese and Russian.

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US Army preparing for major changes to force structure

The Army is preparing to make what it deems as necessary, and major, organizational changes to its force structure within the next five years, according to the Futures and Concepts Center director.
“There is going to be a fundamental change in the organizational structure to fight the way we are describing,” Lt. Gen. Eric Wesley told an audience at the Center for a New American Security in Washington on March 4.
“The Army has relied on counterinsurgency operations over the past 15 years that depended greatly on the Brigade Combat Team. But now, with a new focus on large-scale ground combat operations anticipated in the future operating environment, “that will require echelons above brigade, all of which will solve unique and distinct problems that a given BCT can’t solve by itself,” Wesley said.