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Army Vet Lawmaker: Invoke Insurrection Act, Deploy Active-Duty Troops to Riots

Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Arkansas, called on President Donald Trump on Monday to invoke the Insurrection Act, then deploy active-duty combat units to “show no quarter” in putting down violence and looting in major cities, which he charged have been instigated by left-wing extremists.

State governors thus far have not asked for the help of active-duty troops. But Cotton said a massive show of force by the 101st Airborne Division, 10th Mountain Division, 82nd Airborne Division, 1st Cavalry Division and 3rd Infantry Division — “whatever it takes to restore order” — might be necessary.

“We always respect the rights of peaceful protesters,” said Cotton, a former Army captain and Iraq and Afghanistan veteran, but “we have zero tolerance for anarchy, rioting and looting.”

In a series of tweets and an appearance on the “Fox & Friends” program, Cotton echoed others in the Trump administration, including Attorney General William Barr, in blaming the violence on leftist extremists such as the antifa movement. He appeared to challenge antifa, the far-left militant group, to a fight.


Plans in place to safely welcome Class of 2020 back to West Point

WEST POINT, NY — After Lt. Gen. Darryl A. Williams, superintendent of the U.S. Military Academy, announced March 19 that the Corps of Cadets would not be returning from spring break as planned, academy leadership immediately began planning how and when cadets would arrive back at West Point.

That plan will go into effect Tuesday as the first members of the Class of 2020 return to West Point to begin outprocessing prior to their graduation ceremony June 13.

The cadets are currently spread throughout the country but they have to return to the academy before beginning their Army careers. At the bare-minimum, cadets need to move out of their rooms in the barracks and pickup their cars if they didn’t take them home for spring break. The future second lieutenants are also required to outprocess from the academy before moving on to the Army. Many of the outprocessing steps require cadets to be in person at West Point such as medical screenings, closing accounts and returning ID cards.

Because the return of the cadets was necessary, a planning group quickly began working out the details of how it would be accomplished in the middle of a pandemic. Lt. Col. George Mitroka, who oversaw the planning process, said the development of the plan to bring back the Class of 2020 began with representatives from throughout the academy coming together before a whiteboard. They then began brainstorming each step of the process that would be required for the cadets to return to the academy safely.


DOD Adopts ‘Zero Trust’ Approach to Buying Microelectronics

Microelectronics are in nearly everything, including the complex weapons systems the Defense Department buys, such as the F-35 joint strike fighter, the Pentagon’s director of defense research and engineering for modernization said.

“It is so ubiquitous and because it is … so fundamental to everything we do,” Mark J. Lewis said via video conference today as part of a forum sponsored by the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association.

Because of the importance of microelectronics, he said, the department is shifting the way it goes about buying microelectronics and ensuring they are secure to use.

“We want the Department of Defense to have access to state-of-the-art capabilities, which we do not have today,” he said. That’s because the department is not buying on the commercial curve, he explained.

In the mid-1990s, DOD adopted a “trusted foundry” model for procuring microelectronics, Lewis said.

“The idea [was] that in order to deliver parts that we could trust, we would enable foundries that would manufacture our microelectronics where we had control over every step of the process — or so we thought,” he said. “That model, we think, has failed.”

The department isn’t a large purchaser of microelectronics, Lewis said, so companies that adhered to the department’s “trusted foundry” model were unable to make a business case for following it.

“As a result, they haven’t been investing,” he said. “The chips that we buy, the microelectronic components that we buy from those trusted foundries, are in some cases two generations behind what’s available on commercial state-of-the-art.”


Women 28 Percent More Likely to Leave Military Service than Men

Family planning, lack of dependent care, sexism and sexual assault were among the top reasons more women leave the military than their male counterparts, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office.

While the percentage of females serving in the military increased slightly between 2004 and 2018, during the same period, female enlisted and officers were 28 percent more likely to leave the service than men, according to a May Government Accountability Office report about female active-duty personnel.

The Department of Defense has recognized for years that increasing the gender diversity of its force relies first on bringing more female recruits into the service. The GAO report states that efforts to retain women need to be treated as equally critical to maintaining a diverse force.

“DoD has identified that female recruitment and retention is important to diversity in the military, but the services do not have plans that include goals, performance measures, or timeframes to guide and monitor current or future efforts to recruit and retain female active-duty service members,” the report states.


Pentagon releases new rules for easing stay-at-home policies on bases

The Pentagon has issued new guidance for local commanders in states where stay-at-home orders are beginning to relax, according to a memo released Wednesday.

Since late March, all military installations globally have been in partial lockdown after Defense Secretary Mark Esper raised the Defense Department’s (DOD) global health protection level to its second-highest setting. The freeze — which prohibited nonessential travel for DOD personnel and families and limited access to bases — was intended to stem increasing coronavirus cases among service members.

A May 19 memo now lays out a guideline for local commanders to relax certain restrictions as COVID-19 cases decline in their areas.

“Commanders, in consultation with their medical leadership, shall exercise their authority by making deliberate, risk-based decisions to change [health protection] levels as conditions allow,” according to the memo signed by Esper.

Installations must still follow guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Trump administration’s coronavirus task force guidance and regulations.


Army researchers say this is the best material for a homemade face mask they’ve found so far

The best easy-to-find material for a homemade face covering to protect against coronavirus transmission is four-ply microfiber cloth, according to Army researchers at the service’s Combat Capabilities Development Command.

Researchers with the command’s Chemical Biological Center said in a Wednesday news release that the four-ply microfiber cloth, which can be found in the cleaning section of most big box stores, filters out more than 75 percent of particles.

An N-95 mask, the protective covering in short supply among hospital workers who need it most, is able to filter out 90 percent of particles, they said.

Layering a polyester bandanna can filter out about 40 percent of suspended particles, the release added. Officials from the command did not immediately respond to a request for comment asking how well the neck gaiters perform, which are commonly worn by soldiers.

The team made the determinations after testing more than 50 materials — with more tests ongoing — by spraying a salt aerosol at a piece of the chosen material.

The salt particles used to test the filter were 0.2-0.3 microns in size. Coronavirus is roughly 0.1 microns in size, but the virus floats around in droplets expelled by infected persons that are anywhere from 0.2 to a several microns in size or larger.


New Army artillery changes course to hit targets under bridges

Enemies of the U.S. Army are now deliberately hiding targets behind mountain ridges, under bridges, in rocky crevices and other locations intended to elude state-of-the art GPS-guided artillery round attacks — complicating U.S. efforts to pinpoint and destroy targets.

Existing guided artillery rounds, often using GPS, Inertial Measurement Systems and advanced seeker technology, have been effective in combat for years, giving ground attack commanders expanded attack options. A precision-guided 155m artillery round, called Excalibur, first emerged in warfare in 2007.

The advent of these kinds of guided rounds brought artillery into the modern warfare era; historically, artillery was used as an “area weapon” to blanket enemy locations with incoming fire, enabling forces to maneuver. Excalibur, which was used with great success in Iraq and Afghanistan, introduced a new level of precision attack into ground combat. This not only allowed for greater stand-off distance but offered new tactical advantages to commanders seeking to eliminate targets in otherwise congested, dangerous or complicated environments.

Now, following years of combat, U.S. adversaries have developed tactics intended to thwart, stop or avoid these kinds of precision-artillery attacks, by placing assets and potential targets in areas less vulnerable to destruction by guided rounds — such as on the other side of a mountain or beneath a bridge.


US Army offers $15,000 reward for info leading to whereabouts of missing Fort Hood Soldier

Authorities are searching for a missing soldier stationed at Fort Hood who hasn’t been seen since Wednesday.

Vanessa Guillen, 20, was last seen in the parking lot of her barracks at the Fort Hood Army post in Texas on April 22 around 1 p.m., according to a news release from the United States Army Criminal Investigation Command (CID).

A $15,000 reward for information leading to Guillen’s whereabouts is being offered by CID, a tweet from Fort Hood said Monday.

Keys to her car and room were found in the armory where she was working earlier in the day along with her identification card and wallet, the release said.

Guillen, a private first class, was last seen wearing a black T-shirt, according to the release.


Tips for maintaining physical readiness during COVID-19

As health protection measures around the world remain elevated due to the coronavirus outbreak, how does someone maintain physical readiness while adhering to social distancing guidelines?

“You need to perform functional-movement type of exercises,” said Mark Reiswig, the director of the Army Wellness Center at Landstuhl. “Really it’s anything you can do to increase your mobility while increasing your strength. You need to perform those types of exercises to have a good mobile lifestyle.”

Reiswig says he’s heard of creative ways folks are staying in shape as gyms continue to stay closed.

“There are things you can do with everyday items” he said. “For example, doing squats while holding a big bag of dog food. There are tire flips, there are pull-up bars, there are all types of things you can do six-feet apart from each other that don’t require going into a gym.”


Hearing loss prevention focus of Better Hearing and Speech Month

May is Better Hearing and Speech Month, which aims to raise awareness concerning disorders of speech, hearing, voice, and language. The Army Hearing Program is committed to hearing loss prevention and reducing noise hazards.

Roughly 40 million adults in the United States report difficulty hearing, and the most common cause of hearing loss is noise exposure.

“Hearing loss and tinnitus (ringing in the ears) are the top two service-connected injuries in the military,” said Capt. Theresa Galan, the Army hearing program manager at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center. “Noise-induced hearing loss is painless, progressive, permanent and nearly always preventable.”

The Army Hearing Program works to prevent hearing loss through unit and individual education, hearing protection devices, hearing monitoring services, and range and hazardous noise area inspections.


Army Defends Decision to Have West Point Graduation

The Army’s top leaders are defending their decision to bring 1,000 cadets back to the Military Academy at West Point for graduation, where President Donald Trump is slated to speak.

he Army’s top leaders on Thursday defended their decision to bring 1,000 cadets back to the Military Academy at West Point for graduation, where President Donald Trump is slated to speak, saying that despite the coronovirus risk students would have had to return anyway to prepare for their next duty assignment.

The announcement has been criticized as a political move to get Trump on stage at the academy, where he hasn’t yet given a graduation address. But Army officials said the students must return for final medical checks, equipment and training.

“We can’t telecommute to combat,” Gen. James McConville, the chief of staff of the Army, told Pentagon reporters when asked about the decision, which forces cadets spread out across the U.S. to travel, risking exposure on public transportation, and then land in New York, a coronavirus hot spot.

Cadets have been home since spring break in March, with their return to school delayed because of the outbreak. Only the seniors will return, and the graduation is set for June 13.