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Army Denies that Ranger School was Fixed
The U.S. Army issued a blistering denial late Friday that the recent Ranger school course was “fixed” to allow women to pass and earn the coveted Ranger tab.
In a statement, Brig. Gen. Malcom B. Frost, the Army’s chief of public affairs, said that a People Magazine article charging that Army Capt. Kristen Griest and 1st Lt. Shaye Haver were given special treatment was “flat-out wrong” and “pure fiction.”
The article by Susan Katz Keating was headlined: “Was It Fixed? Army General Told Subordinates: 'A Woman Will Graduate Ranger School,' Sources Say.”
 
The magazine’s report went on to cite the repercussions of the unnamed general’s influence on subordinates at Fort Benning, Ga., involved in conducting the first Ranger school course open to women that began earlier this year.
‘”It had a ripple effect’" at Fort Benning, where Ranger School is based, says a source with knowledge of events at the sprawling Georgia Army post,” the magazine article said.
 
"Even though this was supposed to be just an assessment, everyone knew. The results were planned in advance," the article quoted the source as saying.
 
In his statement for the Army, Frost ran through a list of allegations in the article that he said were untrue.
 
PTSD still may carry stigma

About 60 percent of men and 50 percent of women in the United States will experience at least one traumatic event in their lives. Of those, about 8 percent of the men and 20 percent of the women will develop post-traumatic stress disorder.

And the rates are higher for people who experience specific types of trauma such as combat or sexual assault, according to the National Center for PTSD.

It's estimated that about 25 percent of combat veterans from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars develop PTSD, Dr. Robert Bischoff said.

He is the chief of behavioral health at Munson Army Health Center at Fort Leavenworth. He also serves as the director of psychological health for the fort's garrison.

For some soldiers suffering from PTSD, there is a feeling they should be able to drive on. But they tend to drive on until they crash and burn, Bischoff said.

"There's a huge stigma, I think particularly in the military population, about seeking help," said Dr. Chalisa D. Gadt-Johnson.

Read more... 

 

 
DoD warns of possible government shutdown
The Pentagon officially warned troops and defense civilians Friday that the all-too-familiar gridlock on Capitol Hill is threatening a government-wide shutdown next week that would offer no immediate mechanism for continuing military pay.

Republicans and Democrats in Congress face an Oct. 1 deadline to reach a budget deal and are trying to negotiate a stopgap measure to stave off a shutdown that would grind to a halt many of the Defense Department's civilian-run operations and raise questions about troops' Oct. 15 paychecks.

"During a government shutdown, all military personnel would continue in a normal duty status; however, they would not be paid until Congress provides funding," Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work wrote in a memo sent to all Defense Department troops and civilian employees Friday morning.

"The uncertainty of the current circumstances puts our workforce in a difficult situation, and should a government shutdown occur, it could impose hardships on many employees as well as the people we serve every day," Work wrote.

In 2013, Congress passed legislation specifically to protect military pay during that year's government shutdown, but that measure has expired
 
DOD sets up cyber workforce council
Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work has set up an intra-department council to manage cyber workforce issues at the Defense Department.

Work’s directive, dated Aug. 11, tasks the council with ensuring the Pentagon takes a holistic, or “total force management,” perspective to filling out the department’s cyber workforce needs with civilian, military and contracting personnel. The idea is to avoid duplication and omissions in responding to all of the cyber-related skillsets demanded by DOD officials.

The new council will include members of the offices of the DOD CIO, the undersecretary of Defense for personnel and readiness, undersecretary of Defense for policy, the undersecretary of Defense for intelligence, and the director of the National Security Agency.
 
DoD Investigates Ashley Madison Data Breech
It’s not just your average Tom, Dick, and Harry whose information was leaked as part of the Ashley Madison hack. Thousands of military email addresses were also exposed by the data dump, and the Department of Defense (DoD) is concerned.

According to The Hill, U.S. defense secretary Ash Carter said in his daily briefing Thursday that the DoD is investigating the leak of at least 15,000 military and government email IDs as part of the hack.

Last month, it was revealed that hackers had breached AshleyMadison.com, a site catering to people in relationships looking for something on the side. The incident highlighted how difficult it is to scrub personal information from the Internet.

"I'm aware of it, of course it's an issue, because conduct is very important," Carter said in his briefing today, according to The Hill. "We expect good conduct on the part of our people."
 
Army kicking out Green Beret Who Reported Rape
The U.S. Army is kicking out a decorated Green Beret after an 11-year Special Forces career, after he got in trouble for shoving an Afghan police commander accused of raping a boy and beating up his mother when she reported the incident. 

The case of Sgt. 1st Class Charles Martland now has the attention of Congress, with Rep. Duncan Hunter writing to Defense Secretary Ash Carter challenging the decision. 

"I am once again dismayed by the Army's actions in this case," Hunter, R-Calif., wrote in a letter to Carter. 

Martland is described by many of his teammates as the finest soldier they have ever served alongside.
 
2 Graduating Rangers, Aware of Their Burden
First Lt. Shaye Haver, an Apache attack helicopter pilot who on Friday will be one of the first women to graduate from the Army’s elite Ranger School, wants to remain an aviator. But she takes away weighty lessons from her grueling Ranger training: “Your mind can take a whole lot more than your body,” she said.

“I think I would be crazy to say” that the thought of quitting never occurred, she said on Thursday in her first public appearance since completing the exhausting nine-week course of little sleep and constant hiking with backpacks, water, weapons and other gear that weighed more than 100 pounds. But, Lieutenant Haver said, “the ability to look around to my peers and see that they were sucking just as bad as I was kept me going.”
 
In mountains, women take step closer to earning Ranger tab
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.
 
Defense Department authorizes arms for military recruiters
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.

 
Iran nuclear deal makes US-Israeli defense cooperation more vital
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.
 
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