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US Army establishes first manned-unmanned unit
The US Army has established its first manned-unmanned teaming (MUM-T) squadron, combining Boeing AH-64D/E Apache helicopters with Textron Systems RQ-7B Shadow unmanned air vehicles in one heavy attack-reconnaissance unit.

The Fort Bliss, Texas-based 1/501st Aviation Battalion of the 1st Armoured Division’s Combat Aviation Brigade on 16 March became the first unit to combine manned and unmanned aircraft, reflagging to become the 3rd Squadron, 6th Cavalry Regiment.

Although the Apache and Shadow have previously demonstrated MUM-T interoperability, having the two types fall under the same chain of command is the result of “years’ worth of planning”, the army says.

The Shadow is equipped with the new tactical common datalink, which will allow it to be operated alongside Apaches to fulfil the army’s armed aerial scout role previously provided by Bell Helicopter OH-58D Kiowa Warrior helicopters, which are due to enter retirement.
 
Statement on March 12 Airstrike in Somalia
DOD news release
 
On March 12 at approximately 7:30 a.m. Eastern Time, working from actionable intelligence, U.S. forces using unmanned aircraft struck a vehicle carrying Adan Garar, a member of al-Shabaab's intelligence and security wing, in the vicinity of Diinsoor, Somalia. The attack was a success and resulted in the death of Garar.
 
Garar was a key operative responsible for coordinating al-Shabaab's external operations, which target U.S. persons and other Western interests in order to further al-Qaida's goals and objectives. He posed a major threat to the region and the international community and was connected to the West Gate Mall attack in Nairobi, Kenya. His death has dealt another significant blow to the al Shabaab terrorist organization in Somalia.
 
Continuing Global Tensions Call for Prepared U.S. Military
Peace in our time, which is what Neville Chamberlain called for in a 1938 speech, remains as elusive today as it did after World War I. While the Army has been getting smaller as large-scale combat operations ended in Iraq and Afghanistan, the world is not close to peace at all.

Defense Secretary Ashton Carter made this clear in a message to the entire Defense Department on the day he was sworn into office. “We confront a turbulent and dangerous world: continuing turmoil in the Middle East and North Africa, and the malignant and savage terrorism emanating from it; an ongoing conflict in Afghanistan; a reversion to archaic security thinking in parts of Europe; tensions in the Asia-Pacific; the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction; and intensifying threats in cyberspace,” Carter said.
 
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USMA barracks to honor Tuskegee Airmen leader
The newest barracks at the U.S. Military Academy will honor a graduate who never had a roommate while at West Point.

The building will bear the name of Benjamin O. Davis Jr., the Air Force's first black general and a member of Class of 1936, the school announced Monday. Davis, the fourth black graduate from the school and the first in the 20th century, was shunned by the West Point community during his time on campus, with no roommates and no interactions outside official business.
 
 "Living as a prisoner in solitary confinement for four years had not destroyed my personality, nor poisoned my attitude toward other people," he would write in his autobiography, according to his New York Times obituary from 2002.
 
 
New assignments for 10 general officers

The Army on Tuesday announced new assignments for the following general officers:

CLICK HERE FOR LIST 

 
US army ends Ebola mission in Liberia
he United States military officially ended a mission to build treatment facilities to combat an Ebola outbreak in Liberia on Thursday, months earlier than expected, in the latest indication that a year-long epidemic in West Africa is waning.

Washington launched the mission five months ago and the force peaked at over 2 800 troops at a time when Liberia was at the epicentre of the worst Ebola epidemic on record.

Nearly 10 000 people have died in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea over the past year. More than 4,000 of those deaths were in Liberia, but the number of new cases has plummeted in recent months, leaving many treatment centres empty and the mission has already begun winding down.

“While our large scale military mission is ending...the fight to get to zero cases will continue and the (Joint Force Command) has ensured capabilities were brought that will be sustained in the future,” said US Army Major General Gary Volesky.
 
 
US Army deserter’s asylum bid
An American soldier who claimed asylum in Germany after deserting the Army to avoid the Iraq war will have to prove he would have been forced to take part in war crimes in Iraq to win refugee status, Europe’s highest court has ruled.

The ruling also said “it does not appear” that the possible court charge and punitive discharge that former helicopter mechanic Andre Shepherd would face if denied asylum amounts to “persecution,” the European court of Justice in Luxembourg ruled Thursday.

A German court in Munich requested the ruling more than a year ago. The Munich court is expected to continue hearing Shepherd’s asylum appeal.

The Luxembourg ruling appears to back Germany’s earlier rejection of Shepherd’s asylum request, which was turned down in 2011. Germany’s Interior Ministry then said the soldier’s fear of persecution for deserting was not substantial enough to merit refugee status under European law.
 
 
The Army’s Future in Cyberspace
By Lt. Col. James Jay Carafano, U.S. Army retired

There is a good deal of energy and a fair amount of chaos in the Army’s approach to developing the resources needed for seizing the high ground in cyber warfare. That’s a good thing. What the military needs to succeed in this effort is even more energy and more chaos. That’s because it is currently operating within a very large void.

In 2013, The Heritage Foundation, a think tank in Washington, D.C., began a unique research project: developing an independent, objective measure of U.S. military power that would enable analysts to assess the strength of the armed forces relative to threats and mission. The first edition of the Index of U.S. Military Strength comes out this year. Subsequent editions, published annually, will track year-to-year changes in strength, threats and mission, allowing us to mark whether the relative power of the armed forces rises or falls.

Unlike episodic assessments of military capabilities such as the Quadrennial Defense Review and National Defense Panels, the index uses consistent metrics to evaluate forces, threats and the operational environment. Further, in contrast to indices such as the International Institute for Strategic Studies’ The Military Balance, The Heritage Foundation’s index includes both standardized quantitative and qualitative assessments that incorporate more than just the numbers of planes, ships and people. It provides context for determining the force structure’s relevance to military requirements.
 
 
V.A. Secretary Apologizes for Embellishing Military Record
Robert A. McDonald, the secretary of the Veterans Affairs Department, apologized on Monday for falsely claiming last month that he had served in the Special Forces.
Mr. McDonald, a 1975 graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, served in the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division, where he completed jungle, arctic, desert warfare and Ranger training, according to his official biography.

But his assertion to a homeless veteran in Los Angeles that he was in the Special Forces — captured on camera for a CBS News report — was false, he acknowledged on Monday. His initial claim was first reported by The Huffington Post.

Mr. McDonald said in a statement that his claim “was inaccurate, and I apologize to anyone that was offended by my misstatement.”
“I have great respect for those who have served our nation in Special Forces,” Mr. McDonald said. “They, and all veterans, deserve a Department of Veterans Affairs that provides them the care and benefits they have earned.”

He said he would “remain committed” to improving veterans’ services and overhauling the department.
White House officials said they accepted Mr. McDonald’s explanation.

“Secretary McDonald has apologized for the misstatement and noted that he never intended to misrepresent his military service,” the White House said. “We take him at his word and expect that this will not impact the important work he’s doing to promote the health and well-being of our nation’s veterans.”

 
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