7:36 AM, Feb 26, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
News broke this week that under a plan released by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, the United States Army will be reduced to its smallest force since before World War II. Though not directly related to that plan, another announcement this week by the Defense Department gives, perhaps, a taste of what those cuts may look like. Plans are underway for massive cuts to the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization (JIEDDO), the organization that has led military's efforts to combat a weapon of choice among insurgents and terrorists in Iraq, Afghanistan, and around the world. JIEDDO's current staff of 3,000 will be reduced to 1,000 by the end of this fiscal year, and further plans could see the number fall as low as 400 down the road.
Army Lt. Gen. John D. Johnson, the director of JIEDDO, said guidance from then-Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter called on him to "scale JIEDDO down" and draw up plans for what "an 'enduring' JIEDDO might look like in the future." The Army News Service reports:
"There is a full appreciation that JIEDDO functions should endure. The key is that it be scaled to what the nation can afford," Johnson said. "And we have to be smart as to how we structure it so it can be rapidly expanded as necessary based on the nature of the threat and the challenges we are going to face in the future."...
Johnson said he will spell out to the deputy secretary what could be done with 400 personnel, and what risks are associated with it.
"There are certain parts of an organization like this that if you reduce it beyond a point, it could take six months, a year, even longer to re-establish it," he said. "And in that time period, our soldiers and Marines in the field are suffering from the effects of IEDs, and it ends up costing us more to try to fix the problem without necessarily having the sophistication of understanding the entire system of systems."
Lt. Gen. Johnson expressed some concerns:
Some parts of JIEDDO can't be easily scaled. One of the areas he's looking to protect, Johnson said, is the intelligence integration functions of JIEDDO.
"My concern is, right now, we have a fairly persistent look at the organizations that most commonly use IEDs," he said. "If we were to take our eyes off, what are the chances that there would be an adaptation or permutation in the way they use IEDs that we didn't anticipate, and how long for us to catch up?"
JIEDDO has worked with other countries, such as Pakistan and Colombia, to help then deal with their own threats from IEDs, and was even involved in discussions after the Boston Marathon bombing to see what lessons could be learned from that domestic attack.
News of the reductions first surfaced in October 2013. At the time, Johnson was also positive about adjusting the size and scope of the organization, but was adamant about its continuing mission:
The future is important because the IED fight is far from over, he said.
“In the last 12 months, there were more than 14,000 IED-related events outside of Afghanistan causing more than 32,000 casualties,” he said. “These weapons have been used by threat networks and criminal entities around the world and even here at home as we saw recently in the Boston Marathon bombings.”
“The inevitable next fight is somewhere in our future,” he said. “We must be able to rapidly posture for that fight. We must continue to lean forward and stay abreast of how our enemies are using IEDs and what new tactics and technologies they are employing. This will allow us to develop the capabilities to defeat the IED, the tactics to attack enemy networks and train our forces so they are prepared for the IED environments we will face in the future.”
3:04 PM, Feb 24, 2014 • By MICHAEL WARREN
The Republican chairman of the House Budget committee criticized the Obama administration's plans to shrink the defense budget in a statement.
“The House Republican budgets have consistently met the needs of our military leadership," said Paul Ryan, the Wisconsin Republican. "It’s disappointing that the President continues to use these vital funds as bargaining chips for higher taxes and more domestic spending."
7:01 AM, Feb 19, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
The Department of Defense (DOD) has just announced that the public will be invited to vote in a video competition called "Fight the Enemy." In this case, the enemy is tobacco. The innovation office of the military's assistant secretary of defense for health affairs is sponsoring the competition among U.S. service members around the world who were invited to film and submit "tobacco countermarketing" videos.
Hosted by Michael Graham4:10 PM, Jan 8, 2014 • By TWS PODCAST
The WEEKLY STANDARD podcast, with senior writer Stephen Hayes on Bob Gates and his new book, Benghazi, and Hillary Clinton.
The administration’s move to silence a Pentagon strategist.Nov 18, 2013, Vol. 19, No. 10 • By REUBEN F. JOHNSON
Andrew Marshall, the longtime director of the Pentagon’s Office of Net Assessment, has had a number of titles conferred on him over the years. A 1999 profile in Washingtonian magazine dubbed him “the most influential policy maker you have never heard of.” Others of us who have known him over the years have christened him “the Jedi Master” because, like the enigmatic Yoda from the George Lucas Star Wars saga, he has an uncanny ability to see ahead and to grasp the strengths and weaknesses of the nation’s adversaries.
12:21 PM, Aug 26, 2013 • By SETH CROPSEY
The British launched the opening attack of the 3rd battle of Ypres on July 31, 1917. The objective was to destroy a rail junction on which the German army depended for Western Front supplies. The plan included British naval as well as amphibious assaults on the nearby Belgian coast. The naval action was to have loosened Germany’s grip on continental ports whose danger to England—in the hands of an enemy—hearkened back to Napoleon and foreshadowed Hitler’s Operation Sea Lion both of which British dominance at sea decisively turned back.
7:04 AM, Aug 26, 2013 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
The Department of Defense is looking at some serious cutbacks in its civilian workforce, as Tony Capaccio of Bloomberg writes:
10:39 AM, Aug 9, 2013 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
"When word of a crisis breaks out in Washington, it's no accident that
the first question that comes to everyone's lips is: 'Where's the nearest carrier?'"
(President Bill Clinton, March 12, 1993, aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt)
Twenty years later, it appears that the answer to that question will soon be, "The carriers are in mothballs." Rusting away. We can't afford them any longer."
1:17 PM, Jul 30, 2013 • By JERYL BIER
While furloughs of civilian employees of the Defense Department have not lived up to the pre-sequester billing, the Pentagon is doing what it can to ease the pain for those who will be taking involuntary time off. The American Forces Press Service is reporting that the director of the Pentagon's Morale, Welfare and Recreation (WMR) program is urging furloughed civilians to tap into "fitness, recreational and educational services, often at no charge or for significantly less than one might pay just outside an installation’s gates." The list of "free or low-cost" offerings is extensive:
8:39 AM, Jul 30, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
When Congress was debating implementation of the sequester, the Pentagon released a report saying that if the cuts were to kick in, civilian personnel could be furloughed for 22 days -- nearly a month's worth of work. But now that the sequester has kicked in, those furlough days appear to have been inflated.
10:55 AM, May 8, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
House Armed Services Committee chair Buck McKeon asks the Department of Defense to release more Benghazi-related details:
Contract awarded to Northeastern University in Boston.1:41 PM, Apr 18, 2013 • By JERYL BIER
In what may be just an eerie coincidence, the Defense Department posted a contract award notice today to Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts for research into "Methods for Explosive Detection at Standoff." Of particular concern are Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) that have become a favorite among terrorists and gained widespread attention during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.