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CLEVELAND, Ga. -- The woman stood at the front of the formation Tuesday morning, toting a 50-pound rucksack and holding an M4 rifle.
In front of her was Mount Yonah. Behind her were about 50 soldiers of Charlie Company. The mission was to march up a trail 1.8 miles long and more than 1,000 feet in elevation.
About 45 minutes later, the soldiers, breathing heavily and sweating under their loads, emerged from the woods, found a road and finished the march.
Still near the front of that line was the same female soldier.
She is one of three women -- all West Point graduates -- trying to become the first females to earn the U.S. Army Ranger tab. They have moved to the Ranger School mountain phase, arguably the most difficult piece of the most difficult training the Army offers.
A new report says the U.S. military is authorizing service members who are at remote locations – such as a recruitment center – to be armed, even if they’re not in law enforcement.
In fact, a military spokesman said commanders already had the authority to “arm qualified troops at recruiting and other off-base sites.”
Whether that’s a clarification of existing authority or an expansion, the protocol certainly now is being emphasized that the U.S. military needs to be aware of “the continuing threat to DoD personnel in the U.S. homeland posed by Homegrown Violent Extremists.”
According to a report at The Hill, Defense Secretary Ash Carter has signed a new memo specifying that qualified troops can be armed, on orders from their commanders, at locations such as the off-base reserve center in Chattanooga, Tennessee, that was attacked by a lone gunman.
Despite the deep and genuine divisions over the Vienna agreement on Iran’s nuclear program, a paradox continues to define relations between the US and Israel. While diplomatic relations between the allies are at an all-time low, bilateral defense cooperation has reached an all-time high.
This means that there is no reason to let the perpetual crisis that defines relations between US President Barack Obama’s administration and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government get in the way of tightening defense cooperation even further, which would only benefit both countries, and curb the destructive Iranian weapons trafficking to the Islamic Republic’s clients and partners.
The US-led agreement with Iran over its nuclear program is, in the long-run, deeply harmful to Israeli strategic standing and national security.
From a Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve News Release
SOUTHWEST ASIA, Aug. 2, 2015 – U.S. and coalition military forces have continued to attack Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant terrorists in Syria and Iraq, Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve officials reported today.
Officials reported details of the latest strikes, which took place yesterday, noting that assessments of results are based on initial reports.
Airstrikes in Syria
Fighter-attack, bomber and remotely piloted aircraft conducted six airstrikes in Syria:
-- Near Al Hasakah, one airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL vehicle-borne improvised explosive device.
-- Near Dayr Az Zawr, one airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL guard shack.
-- Near Kobani, four airstrikes struck two ISIL large tactical units and two ISIL small tactical units and destroyed three ISIL fighting positions and an ISIL command and control center.
On July 22, 2015, the Department of Defense (DOD) published sweeping changes to its rules that implement the Military Lending Act (MLA). The amended rules significantly expand the scope of the MLA provisions by covering both new types of creditors and new credit products, including installment loans and other closed-end credit products and credit cards and other open-end credit accounts. The rules become effective on October 1, 2015, with compliance required by October 3, 2016. However, compliance with the rules for credit cards is delayed until October 3, 2017, unless extended for an additional year until October 3, 2018.
The Department of Defense says it is taking modest steps to better protect military facilities after a shooter killed four Marines and fatally wounded a Navy petty officer outside a recruiting center in Chattanooga, Tennessee
The Marine Corps closed recruiting stations within 40 miles of the Thursday shooting, and has told workers there not to wear military uniforms, Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said.
Cook said other military branches are also moving to increase security, at least temporarily. Navy recruiting stations will increase their coordination with law enforcement in the southeastern U.S., and the Army has bulked up security at certain recruiting stations.
"The Department of Defense continues to gather information on the circumstances surrounding the tragedy in Tennessee, including the specific security measures in place at the two facilities," Cook said.
Secretary of Defense Ash Carter has asked for more recommendations on how to better protect service members by the end of the week, Cook added
The killing of four Marines at a Navy installation in Tennessee has sparked a debate about how to protect service members from extremist attacks. A recent Government Accountability Office report found that the Defense Department needs to do a better job protecting against insider threats.
Published in July, the report looked at what actions the Defense Department has taken since the November 2009 shooting at Fort Hood, Texas, when Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan killed 13 people and wounded 32 others.
The report found some Defense Department policies do not adequately cover insider threats.
For example, the department has no policy for when service members and contractors should report to base security officials that they have seen someone taking a gun onto base — especially into work.
Another issue is that the Defense Department’s instruction for military bases’ emergency management programs does not include any provisions about car bombs or person-borne bombs, which could be used as part of an insider attack, the report said.
The Defense Department plans to address those issues, according to the report.
ecause it takes a network to defeat a network, the Defense Department today debuts its newest agency to stay at the forefront of improvised threats.
DoD’s Joint Improvised-Threat Defeat Agency, or JIDA, is built from what had been the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization. It is a combat support agency in the office of the undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, Army Maj. Gen. Julie A. Bentz, the agency’s vice director, told DoD News. JIDA has a new, expanded mission to reflect the new name, she said.
JIDA Has Broader Mission
“DoD broadened JIEDDO’s mission set to include the improvised threat,” Bentz explained. “Our job was always to counter the improvised explosive device, and this new mission set asks us to look at the next IED.” The nation’s adversary is an adaptive one, Bentz said, adding that the next generation of IED will be an improvised threat. “The department has given us an increased latitude to go after those innovative networks, because it takes a network to defeat a network,” she said.
he US Army announced a plan to cut 40,000 troops that would impact nearly every Army installation, warning that the reductions could grow if Congress cannot reach a deal to avert sequestration budget cuts.
The Army detailed plans to cut the active-duty force from 490,000 to 450,000 within two years. The end-strength target was made public months ago, but members of Congress were briefed Thursday on the specific bases and units impacted.
Army Director of Force Management Brig. Gen. Randy George, at a press conference Thursday, attributed the decision to fiscal constraints resulting from the Budget Control Act of 2011 and sequestration.
"As you know, these are incredibly difficult choices," he said.
The cuts land hardest in Georgia, Alaska and Hawaii, though George said they affect troops ranging from the infantry, signal, logistics, civil affairs, and military police and trainees.
Big cuts come from restructuring the 3rd Brigade Combat Team (BCT), 3rd Infantry Division, at Fort Benning Georgia, followed by the 4th BCT (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska. Each would each shrink from a 4,000-person brigade to a 1,000-person task force.
The 2nd Stryker BCT, 25th Infantry Division, at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, will convert to an infantry BCT, and the 81st BCT, a National Guard unit on the West Coast, would take over the Stryker equipment.
Last year the Army eliminated the 10th Mountain Division's 3rd Briagde and 1,500 active duty positions with it.
Shortly after the Army announced it would look into future cuts, another 40,000 nationwide. It studied Fort Drum to see what effect cutting another 16,000 or 80% of it's soldiers jobs would have.
Efforts to convince the Army it would be devastating culminated in March. A rally at JCC was held to show Washington what Fort Drum means to the North Country and vise versa.
The rally was followed up by testimonials. In all, some 2,000 people showed up.
Ten days later, Defense Secretary Ash Carter visited Drum and let everyone know it wasn't going anywhere.
"Fort Drum isn't going anywhere. You guys are in the middle of everything," he said.
But what Carter didn't do, was clarify just how many soldiers Fort Drum would lose. Anything less than last year would be okay but anything more and there'd be problems.
But the partnership between Fort Drum and the Community paid off Thursday in a big way. It was announced Fort Drum will only lose 28 positions and as Rep. Elise Stefanik put it, everyone can breathe a sigh of relief.
"It is an incredible day for Fort Drum and it is a testament to the unique role that Fort Drum plays in our military readiness," Stefanik said.
If you compare Fort Drum's numbers to the overall number of cuts nationwide announced Thursday, clearly Army leaders agreed with all those who supported Fort Drum's and the 10th Mountain Division's importance.
"This reduction amounts to an accumulative cut of 120,000 from the regular Army or 21% since 2012," Army Director of Force Management Brig. General Randy George said Thursday.
But as the community takes that breath, there's more trouble ahead. If the 2016 fiscal year starts and sequestration, those automatic spending cuts triggered by a lack of a budget agreement, is still in play, the Army could be looking at another reduction of 20,000 - 30,000 troops and Fort Drum could once again have a big target.
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