25 July 2014

Crowdsourced OSINT

There's a very cool online map of the unrest in Ukraine that allows for crowdsourced updates to current events.

24 July 2014

Units for Upcoming Afghanistan Rotation

DoD releases the units for upcoming Afghanistan rotation

DOD Identifies Units for Upcoming Afghanistan Rotation

The Department of Defense today identified three units to deploy as part of the upcoming rotation of forces operating in Afghanistan.
The scheduled rotation involves elements of one infantry brigade combat team (IBCT) with roughly 1,000 personnel (1st Brigade, 101st Airborne Division); elements of one infantry brigade combat team with roughly 900 personnel (3rd Brigade, 101st Airborne Division); and elements of one combat aviation brigade with roughly 1,725 personnel (82nd Combat Aviation Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division) to rotate in fall 2014 in support of the combatant commander’s mission requirements. The deploying units include:
Brigade Combat Teams/Combat Aviation Brigades:

1st Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, Kentucky.

3rd Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, Kentucky.

82nd Combat Aviation Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

18 July 2014

Ukraine 7/18: Russians (or their proxies) Shoot Down Civilian Airliner

The Russians are going into their kabuki dance of obfuscation, but it's obvious that either they pulled the trigger, or their kid-brother lapdogs in Eastern Ukraine did.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk on Friday blasted the "terrorists" he blamed for shooting down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over eastern Ukraine a day earlier, with 298 people aboard.
He called on all governments to back the investigation and "to support the Ukrainian government to bring to justice all these bastards who committed this international crime."
Since the Malaysia Airlines jet fell from the sky above eastern Ukraine on Thursday, Russia and Ukraine -- which routinely uses the word "terrorists" to describe pro-Russian separatists -- have traded blame and accusations.
"Terrorists have killed almost 300 persons with one shot," Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said Thursday. "Among them are women, children, citizens of different countries of the world."Russian President Vladimir Putin pointed the finger back at Ukraine, blaming its recent tough military operations against separatists for the volatility in the region.
Yatsenyuk called for a U.N. Security Council meeting to be held and for all nations to do everything they could to stop what he said was not now just a war in Ukraine or Europe, but a "war against the world."
Meanwhile, international inspectors headed to the crash site Friday to undertake the grim search for the plane's flight data recorders amid the human remains and debris strewn across fields near the town of Torez.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged a cease-fire to allow a swift, independent investigation into what happened, adding that "there are many indications that it was a shot or rocket fired at the plane."

Here's a good list of links of as-it-was-happening news releases, too.

17 July 2014

Ukraine 7/17: Russian Anti-Air Support?

Now it looks like the Russians are shooting at Ukrainian aircraft, too.

An Air Force fighter jet has been shot down by an air-to-air missile fired from a Russian plane, a spokesman for Ukraine's Security Council said Thursday.

Andrei Lysenko also said Ukrainian troops had been fired upon by missiles from a village just inside Russia.

Officials in Kiev have recently accused Russia's armed forces of being directly implicated in attacks on Ukrainian troops battling an insurgency near the border.

Lysenko said in a televised briefing that the pilot of the Sukhoi-25 jet that was hit on Wednesday evening was forced to bail out after his jet was shot down. He provided no further details.

Pro-Russia rebels, meanwhile, claimed responsibility for strikes Wednesday on two Ukrainian Sukhoi-25 jets.

The Defense Ministry said the second jet was hit by a portable surface-to-air missile, but added the pilot was unscathed and managed to land his plane safely.

16 July 2014

Comments from MG H.R. McMaster

In a long-ish interview with the local newspaper in Columbus GA (home of Ft Benning), MG H.R. McMaster had these rather interesting quotes, among many other bits worth reading.

I think one of the reasons we had this lopsided outcome in the Battle of 73 Easting of Desert Storm had a lot to do with our confidence, but also had a lot to do with the enemy.

There are two ways to fight the U.S. Army -- asymmetrically, which means you try to avoid our strengths, or stupid. And the Iraqis in 1991 chose stupid. They tried to meet us on our own terms so we could bring to bear all of our tremendous advantages. Now, what we have seen in the very difficult fights and long fights in Afghanistan and Iraq is that we are continuously interacting with an adaptive, determined -- and in these cases, a brutal -- enemy that is going to try and do everything they can to evade our strengths and attack what they perceive is our weaknesses.

So, that means we have to adapt faster. We have to innovate faster. We really have to understand these complex situations and understand how we operate to get to that sustainable outcome consistent with our interest and consistent with the risk our soldiers take, and worthy of the sacrifices the soldiers make.

So, in many ways the Gulf War was certainly easy compared with what we have encountered in Iraq and Afghanistan for a number of reasons. First of all, as I mentioned, the enemy met us on our own terms, but also we had a very narrow circumscribed political objective -- give Kuwait back to the Kuwaitis, and then we went into a long-term of detainment of Saddam. Obviously, the demands of the situations in both Iraq and Afghanistan were much different and much more difficult, and we had to face an enemy that had adapted to us over time -- multiple enemies, actually.

15 July 2014

USAF Reorganizing High Level Headquarters

Defense.gov News Release: Air Force Announces Changes to Headquarters Organization

Air Force Announces Changes to Headquarters Organization

Air Force leaders announced changes to headquarters staff manning and organization today.
The Air Force will create efficiencies by deactivating and realigning organizations at headquarters Air Force, major commands (MAJCOMs), numbered air forces and field operating agencies, resulting in savings of $1.6 billion across the Air Force in the next five years.
"I will work to ensure the world's best Air Force is the most capable at the lowest possible cost to the taxpayer," said Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James. "Everyone knows our economy is still not where it should be; we have a responsibility to ensure that every dollar adds value to the taxpayers and our national defense."
The changes are a result of a comprehensive effort to reduce overhead costs, increase efficiencies, eliminate redundant activities and improve effectiveness and business processes (also known as Air Force Management Headquarters Review). The efficiencies created through the reorganization will also help meet the Department of Defense's directive to reduce costs and staff levels by at least 20 percent, eliminating 3,459 positions at headquarters across the Air Force, both in country and at overseas locations. As part of ongoing cost savings initiatives, the Air Force will also continue to reduce contract spending, operating budgets and travel expenditures.
To minimize the effect on civilian personnel, the Air Force will initiate Voluntary Early Retirement Authority programs and Voluntary Separation Incentive Pay to foster voluntary reductions before pursuing involuntary measures. As part of ongoing efforts to responsibly shape the force, military members were offered a variety of voluntary incentive programs.
"We are aggressively pursuing reductions within the first year, rather than spread them out over five years as allowed by DoD," said James. "It's better for airmen because it provides them predictability and allows us to re-stabilize our workforce sooner. It also allows us to harvest the savings earlier so that we can plow it back into readiness and some of our key modernization programs."
The Air Force's goal is to go beyond the 20 percent reduction mandated by the DoD so any additional savings can be achieved from staff functions above the wing level, and set to provide additional combat capability to the combatant commanders.
"The Air Force has been making incremental changes in our business practices for the last several years, but we must change the way we are doing business if we are to meet the Air Force's goal to reduce staffing functions by more than 20 percent," explained Bill Booth, Air Force acting deputy chief management officer. "Reducing higher headquarters' staffs means we can save money that can be re-invested in getting ready for combat missions at the wing level."
The largest initiative will include centralizing policy and oversight of installation and mission support activities within a newly created Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center (AFIMSC), which will report to Air Force Materiel Command. Execution will remain at the local level.
"The current and projected fiscal climate make it essential to centralize management and streamline support to the maximum extent possible in order to improve efficiency and effectiveness, as well as deliver more standardized levels of service across the Air Force," Booth said. Support functions currently spread across the MAJCOMs' staffs will be centralized at the AFIMSC.
The Air Force will also make changes to the headquarters Air Force staff organization by splitting Operations, Plans and Requirements (A3/5) and Strategic Plans and Programs (A8) and reorganizing them into the new Operations (A3) organization which will stand alone and merge the planning staffs into the new A5/8 organization.
Also, the current programming functions from A8 will be merged into the service's financial management organization (FM).
"We will now have an organization, A5/8, that is responsible for developing, managing and constantly assessing an Air Force strategy that is bounded by long-range resource projections and another organization, FM, that deals primarily with the day-to-day budget activities involved in running the Air Force," Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III explained. "Keeping organizations aligned will ensure we keep moving towards our long-range strategic goals despite the short-term budget upheaval we face regularly."
The Air Force will also realign several functions that currently report to the headquarters in an effort to better support combatant commanders and realign some field operating agencies to operational MAJCOMs, merge FOAs with similar missions and deactivate others.
The Air Force Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance Agency is also being realigned from headquarters Air Force as a FOA to become part of a new operational numbered air force under Air Combat Command.
Realigning the Air Force ISR Agency into the new 25th Air Force within ACC ensures warfighting commands will have the best possible intelligence from integrated national and tactical ISR capabilities, while appropriately realigning operational activities and "organize, train and equip" responsibilities of the AF ISR Agency from execution by Headquarters AF to a MAJCOM.

Ukraine 7/15: Russian Air Support?

Are the Russians providing air support of the rebels?

At least six Ukrainian soldiers were killed in renewed attacks on government military posts and checkpoints by pro-Moscow separatists near the border with Russia, the Ukrainian military said on Tuesday.

There were also reports of an air strike killing four civilians in the small town of Snizhne, for which Kiev denied responsibility and appeared to point a finger at Russia - two days after Moscow threatened retaliation for the death of man when a shell landed on the Russian side of the border.

"Today at 7 a.m. (0400 GMT) an unknown plane carried out a bombing attack on Snizhne. The flight can be described only as a cynical provocation," Andriy Lysenko, a spokesman for Ukraine's National Defence and Security Council, told reporters.

His remarks appeared to be an accusation against Russia, since the rebels have not used aircraft in the conflict.

11 July 2014

Ukraine 7/11: Rebels Firing Back, in a big way

One wonders exactly where the Ukrainian rebels got ahold of Grad rockets...

Pro-Russian separatists have fired a big barrage of Grad rockets at Ukrainian troops in the eastern region of Luhansk, killing as many as 30, Ukrainian officials say.

Russian Grad rockets are classed as heavy artillery weapons, fired in batches from trucks.

Unconfirmed reports put the Ukrainian death toll as high as 30, with dozens more wounded, near Zelenopillya.

Last night rebels also shelled Ukrainian troops at Donetsk airport.

The rebels have regrouped in Donetsk as the Ukrainian military has retaken territory in the country's east. The rebels have not yet broken through to the airport.

A report by the human rights group Amnesty International has accused separatists of abuses in the three-month conflict.

06 July 2014

Nigerian Soldiers Heroically Repel Certain Death From All Sides!

Yes, it's an article that's officially from the AP. But you get the feeling from reading it that there were a few "government sources" involved in stringing it together.

Nigerian soldiers say they have killed at least 50 insurgents who stormed a northeast Nigerian military base.

The Defense Ministry said six soldiers including the commanding officer died while repelling the attack on the military base Friday, which witnesses say involved hundreds of extremists. The insurgents also attacked police station in Damboa, a town in Borno state.

The daring move appeared to be a reprisal attack after a punishing air raid 24 hours earlier caused Boko Haram Islamic extremists to suffer heavy casualties, according to an officer who requested anonymity because he is not allowed to give information to reporters.

05 July 2014

Ukraine 7/5: Government Ejecting Rebels From Strongholds

The 'rebels' have abandoned their Sloviansk stronghold.

Pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine say they have evacuated their eastern stronghold of Sloviansk amid a large-scale offensive by the military.

Defence Minister Valeriy Heletey said the Ukrainian flag was flying over the city council building.

Separatist leaders said fighters had relocated in the face of the army's "overwhelming numerical superiority".

Ukrainian forces launched an offensive against the separatists this week after a 10-day ceasefire broke down.

The BBC's David Stern in Kiev says the military's capture of Sloviansk - where the eastern insurgency began in April - is a major victory for the government.

04 July 2014

The Declaration of Independence

When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. --Such has been the patient sufferance of these colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former systems of government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his assent to laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his governors to pass laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of representation in the legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved representative houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the legislative powers, incapable of annihilation, have returned to the people at large for their exercise; the state remaining in the meantime exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavored to prevent the population of these states; for that purpose obstructing the laws for naturalization of foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migration hither, and raising the conditions of new appropriations of lands.

He has obstructed the administration of justice, by refusing his assent to laws for establishing judiciary powers.

He has made judges dependent on his will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, standing armies without the consent of our legislature.

He has affected to render the military independent of and superior to civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his assent to their acts of pretended legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by mock trial, from punishment for any murders which they should commit on the inhabitants of these states:

For cutting off our trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing taxes on us without our consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of trial by jury:

For transporting us beyond seas to be tried for pretended offenses:

For abolishing the free system of English laws in a neighboring province, establishing therein an arbitrary government, and enlarging its boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule in these colonies:

For taking away our charters, abolishing our most valuable laws, and altering fundamentally the forms of our governments:

For suspending our own legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated government here, by declaring us out of his protection and waging war against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burned our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large armies of foreign mercenaries to complete the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow citizens taken captive on the high seas to bear arms against their country, to become the executioners of their friends and brethren, or to fall themselves by their hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare, is undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these oppressions we have petitioned for redress in the most humble terms: our repeated petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have we been wanting in attention to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, enemies in war, in peace friends.

We, therefore, the representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name, and by the authority of the good people of these colonies, solemnly publish and declare, that these united colonies are, and of right ought to be free and independent states; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as free and independent states, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent states may of right do. And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.

New Hampshire: Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton

Massachusetts: John Hancock, Samual Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry

Rhode Island: Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery

Connecticut: Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott

New York: William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris

New Jersey: Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark

Pennsylvania: Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross

Delaware: Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean

Maryland: Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton

Virginia: George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton

North Carolina: William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn

South Carolina: Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton

Georgia: Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton


By: Brant