Soldier Killed During Iraq Hostage Rescue; Pentagon Insists U.S. Does 'Not Have Boots on the Ground'
Earlier this summer, we learned the Pentagon’s inspector general is investigating allegations that the intelligence on ISIS was manipulated. Analysts at U.S. Central Command in Tampa, Florida, formally complained to the IG that analysis contradicting the Obama administration’s narrative on ISIS was routinely challenged, rewritten, or disregarded. The administration was eager to sell the story that the campaign against ISIS was going well; much of the intelligence made clear it wasn’t. That intelligence was buried, and the happy talk continued.Read more
Disputes between the political appointees who run the Pentagon and the military officers who serve there are not unheard of, but the nastiness and public nature of the fight over women in combat being waged between Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus and the Marines who answer to him is unprecedented in recent memory.Read more
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) has released its latest statistics on the number of former Guantanamo detainees who are either confirmed or suspected of returning to the fight. As expected, there has been a slight increase in the number of ex-detainees who have rejoined the jihad.Read more
“We have already cut defense … about 30 percent over the last 10 years, and we’re still at war. We’re actively involved on multiple continents in real combat operations. We should not be drastically reducing our troop levels.”Read more
Buried deep in the House version of this year’s defense authorization is a brief provision that has great potential to improve and accelerate the way the armed services buy weapons—yes, an actual reform of Pentagon procurement. The irony is that this reform would mark a reversal of past “reforms” that helped make the current acquisition system such a mess.Read more
A DoD News story, published on Defense.gov, claims that the "Strategy to Defeat ISIL is Working, Military Official Says."
The report reads, "The coalition and Iraqi security forces strategy to defeat and dismantle the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant extremist group is clear and on track, the chief of staff of Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve said today."Read more
At an event today at Howard University in Washington, D.C., President Obama warned of the public health risks assocaited with global warming.
"[T]he discussion really centered around the fact that climate change is having a impact on our public health," Obama said at today's event.Read more
Lost in much of the reporting about CPAC is that almost all of the likely presidential candidates—really, all of them, with the exception of Rand Paul—seemed to place themselves at the Reaganite hawkish-internationalist end of the foreign policy spectrum. The much-heralded return of Republican isolationism or anti-interventionism wasn’t much in evidence, except during Rand Paul's half hour on the stage.Read more
President Obama's proposed defense budget is well below what former Secretary of Defense Bob Gates proposed.Read more
Pentagon press secretary Rear Admiral John Kirby, when askedabout the number of Islamic State (ISIL/ISIS) fighters killed in ongoing coalition strikes in Iraq and Syria, gave a rather colorful response: "[W]e don't have the ability to -Read more
In the last five years, the Department of Defense (DOD) has spent over $130 million to store unused satellites from eight different satellite programs, and plans to spend another $206 million on storage over the next five years. Storage costs for individual pieces of equipment range from $40,000 up to an estimated $120 million for one particular satellite. Costs vary depending on the amount of care needed for each satellite.Read more
General David M. Rodriguez of the U.S.Read more
So Chuck Hagel has been fired as defense secretary. We were critical of his appointment, and opposed his confirmation by the Senate. But let's be clear: Hagel has done what he was asked and what was expected of him at the Pentagon. To the degree he has deviated from the Obama White House line, he's been more right than wrong (e.g., on the threat the Islamic State poses).Read more
During the first Gulf War in the early 1990s, the U.S. military used a new generation of technological weapons that left the rest of the world far behind.Read more
The New York Times has a news article today that's ostensibly about concerns the Pentagon is engaged in historical revisionism in a recent attempt to honor Vietnam veterans. Any legitimate concerns, however, are outweighed by the fact the article gives a prominent megaphone to radical liberal activists whose opinions on how Vietnam vets should be honored are dubious at best. Here's how the article begins:Read more
Back in the day when it was fashionable for the press to criticize the president and senior military officials for mismanaging a war--that is, from 2003 to 2009--such stories often focused on the colonels, majors, and captains who saw firsthand the practical problems with their superiors' approach and who pushed hard to change policy based on that hard-fought experience.Read more
This week senior officials from the Pentagon will testify before Congress on their request for emergency appropriations, known as the Overseas Contingency Operations funding (OCO in military speak). A decision to maintain troop presence in Afghanistan, a resurgence of radical Sunni terrorism across the Middle east, and Russian expansionism in Europe all seem like good reasons for the administration to request the emergency funding. These events, however, haven’t prevented some proponents of defense cuts to question the validity of the request.Read more
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.Read more
It's been almost a year since THE WEEKLY STANDARD quoted Philip Larkin’s great 1969 poem, “Homage to a Government." Yesterday the Obama administration released its 2015 defense budget, shrinking the Army to its lowest size since 1940 and reducing base defense spending to less than 3 percent of GDP. It's time once again for Larkin.Read more
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."Read more
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.Read more
The WEEKLY STANDARD podcast, with senior writer Stephen Hayes on Bob Gates and his new book, Benghazi, and Hillary Clinton.Read more
Type in your email
address to get started:
Thank you for signing up for the Jonathan V. last newsletter! You should receive your first newsletter very soon.
We're sorry, there was an error processing your newsletter signup.