29 September 2012

US Treated Benghazi Attack as Terrorism From The Start

As soon as word of the attack came in, the US responded as thought it was a terror attack.
When gunmen struck the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11 of this year, the response from American officials was almost simultaneous: They immediately set about collecting information about the attackers, some of whom were quickly identified as foreigners, and tracing links from them to known extremist groups, a knowledgeable source has told Yahoo News.
The source's description came as fresh news accounts cast doubt on the White House's insistence that it has been forthright all along about what it knew about the attack. (I tweeted on Sept. 21 that this same source informed Yahoo News that the administration privately labeled the attack as terrorism on "Day One.")
"Friendly Libyans were saying almost immediately that the organized attackers (not the protesters) seemed to be mostly foreigners. By the 13th, people were beginning to be identified and rolled up," the source, who has been critical of the administration in the past, told Yahoo News. One early asset: Social media, where videos and photos of the attack gave intelligence officials early clues to what really happened.
"In this case, the intel has been spot-on from the beginning," the source said. American intelligence reached the conclusion that the assault on the consulate was terrorism "on Day One" and "the Brits, the French, Italians all said the same thing … within 48 hours." The source agreed to detail the American response to the tragedy on condition of anonymity.
The day after the attack, President Barack Obama used his first public remarks on the tragedy to declare that "no acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation, alter that character, or eclipse the light of the values that we stand for." That contradicts Republican charges that the president has refused to label the attack as "terrorism."
The issue is not merely an inside-the-Beltway word game. A formal finding of terrorism enabled the U.S. government to respond with more military and intelligence assets than if the attack had been judged to be merely a criminal act.

By: Brant

Leave No Man Behind: Multiple Conflict Edition

The DoD has announce the identification of a Marine that's been missing in action since the Korean War

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of a serviceman, missing in action from the Korean War, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.
Marine Pfc. Richard S. Gzik, of Toledo, Ohio, will be buried today, at Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, DC. On Dec. 2, 1950, Gzik and the other Marines of M Battery, 11th Artillery Regiment, 1st Marine Division, came under attack on the west side of the Chosin Reservoir in North Korea. It was during this battle that Gzik was killed in action and his remains were buried alongside the road leading to Hagaru-ri. Later that month, the withdrawal of U.N. forces from the Chosin Reservoir region made it impossible to recover Gzik’s remains.
In 1954, United Nations and Communist Forces exchanged the remains of war dead in what came to be called “Operation Glory.” All remains recovered in Operation Glory were turned over to the Army Central Identification Unit for analysis. Those which were unable to be identified, given the technology of that time, were interred as unknowns at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Hawaii -- the “Punchbowl.”
In 2012, analysts from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) re-examined the case records and determined that advances in technology could likely aid in the identification of the unknown remains as Gzik. Once the remains were exhumed, scientists from JPAC used circumstantial evidence and forensic identification tools, including dental records and radiographs, to validate Gzik’s identification.
Using modern technology, identifications continue to be made from remains that were previously buried as unknown. Today, 7,947 Americans remain unaccounted for from the Korean War.

They've also recovered an Airman missing since WWII
The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of a serviceman, missing in action from World War II, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.
Army Air Forces 2nd Lt. Samuel E. Lunday, of Marianna, Fla., will be buried today, at Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, DC. On April 24, 1943, Lunday and four other U.S. servicemen were flying a C-87 Liberator Express aircraft over the Himalayan Mountains, from Yangkai, China, to their home base in Chabua, India. After losing radio communications following take-off, the crew was never heard from again. Eleven aerial search missions were unable to locate the aircraft or crew due to intense snows on the mountains at high altitudes, and dense jungle growth at lower altitudes.
As part of the war effort against the Japanese, U.S. Army Air Forces cargo planes based in India continually airlifted critical supplies over the high mountain ranges that comprise the Himalayas -- known as “The Hump” -- in support of American airbases in China. The amount of materiel flown over the Himalayas was a logistical achievement unparalleled at the time.
Almost 60 years later, in 2003, an American citizen discovered the wreckage of the C-87 aircraft while trekking in the mountains, approximately 100 miles from Chabua, near the Burmese border. He recovered the aircraft’s identification plate, military equipment and human remains. The artifacts and remains were turned over to U.S. officials for analysis. Attempts to excavate the site are being negotiated with the Indian government.
To determine the identity of the remains, scientists from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory used circumstantial evidence and mitochondrial DNA -- which matched that of Lunday’s nephews.
Of the 16 million Americans who served in World War II, more than 400,000 died. Today, more than 73,000 are unaccounted-for from the conflict.

By: Brant

AU Troops Rolling Back Somalia Islamists

An amphibious assault has forced Somalia Islamists to abandon Kismayo. The BBC reports:

Islamist militants in Somalia say they have withdrawn from their southern stronghold of Kismayo, following an African Union (AU) military attack.

Kenyan and Somali forces launched a beach assault on al-Shabab's last major bastion on Friday but encountered fierce resistance.

A Somali commander told the BBC that AU forces were not yet in the city.

Kenyan troops are part of a force trying to wrest control of the country for the new UN-backed president.

Al-Shabab spokesman Ali Mohamud Rage told AFP news agency: "The military command of Shabab mujahideen ordered a tactical retreat at midnight."

Speaking to Reuters, the same spokesman confirmed the withdrawal, but added: "The enemies have not yet entered the town. Let them enter Kismayo, which will soon turn into a battlefield."

Al-Shabab commander Sheikh Mohamed Abu-Fatma confirmed the withdrawal orders to AFP: "We got orders from our superiors to withdraw from the city... this is part of broader military tactics we have set for the enemy."

Kenyan military spokesman Col Cyrus Oguna said the AU forces were in control of the northern parts of the city and were preparing to move to southern districts.

Kenya's Defence Minister Yusuf Haji told the BBC that al-Shabab had not yet vacated the area and it would "not be difficult for people who know the area well to sneak out without being detected".

But he said the people of Kismayo were "very happy and were welcoming Kenyan and Somali troops with both arms".

By: Brant

27 September 2012

BULLETS! - Deliberate Defense

-- quick and dirty words of wisdom collected over the years --

RESEED THE BREACH! Expect that the OPFOR will make a hole in your obstacle, just be prepared to fix it. FASCAM is not the only answer. Dismounted infantry with smoke pots screening
their work can repair a lane in the wire within 10 minutes, but nobody ever prestages infantry forward of the the fighting positions. Which leads into our next point:
Use FRAGOs during the attack to re-synch the fight. Tell people to speed up or slow down; change the SBF location; dismount grunts to key terrain; change priority of fires.
Don't stick to the plan "just because it's the plan" but when you make a change, make it formal and issue a FRAGO on the command net, and O&I/A&L if possible.

your thoughts always welcome in the comments below!

By: Brant

New Landpower Analysis Group Being Set Up

The Army and SOCOM are setting up a new "landpower" group at the Pentagon.

The Army and Special Operations Command are starting a new strategic land power cell. The brand-new initiative, known only to a small group of planners thus far, is the brainchild of Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno and will take shape over the next few months. The group, which will also include the Marines, is designed to fuse the military's land cultures, from the conventional land power of "Big Army" to the people-oriented skills of Special Forces to technology and cyber efforts. Ultimately, the planning cell could include general officers from each of the major land components, Situation Report is told.

By creating a group focused on integrating those pieces, military strategists believe they can make more effective use of land power -- especially at a time when ground forces, after more than 10 years of war, are perceived to have fallen out of fashion in the hallways of the Pentagon. Ultimately, the effort could have implications for military doctrine, for the integration of conventional and specialized forces, and even for acquisition, according to an individual familiar with the nascent group.

The group's formation is bound to be controversial for the perception it will create at a time of a major budget crunch and the move to Asia - in effect, that the land forces are looking to lobby for more resources and influence But the individual familiar with the group pushes back on the notion that this is anything more than the ground forces taking a strategic approach to working better together.

"The Strategic Landpower initiative is intended to harness the lessons learned over the past decade of population-centric warfare, retain what worked, and then determine what that means for land forces going forward," the person told Situation Report. "Understanding the relationship between people, technology and the environment will improve our efforts to shape the environment in positive ways that prevent war, just as it should allow us to make lasting process in future conflicts if we have to fight."

By: Brant

26 September 2012

GameTalk - Weather (or not)

At what level of game do weather changes matter? If you're playing a tactical firefight game, are you really expecting a meaningful weather change during the engagement? What about seasonal cycles during an operational level conflict? How much weather is too much fiddliness in the rules?

By: Brant

Syrian Military HQ Targeted in Damascus

Large blasts were heard in Damascus as bombers attack Syria military HQ.

Rebels have targeted Syria's army headquarters with two large bomb blasts in the centre of Damascus.

Military officials said one of the bombs had caused damage to the main building of the General Staff.

The anti-regime Free Syrian Army said they had carried out the attack and claimed dozens had been killed. The army said no-one had died.

A BBC reporter in the city said gunfire could still be heard, amid reports that a fierce gun battle had broken out.

Syrian state TV quoted a military source saying no senior personnel were harmed by the explosions, but some of the building's guards were wounded.

It said "terrorist attackers" had opened fire inside the perimeter of the compound and in nearby streets, and security forces had confronted them.

The blasts happened just before 07:00 local time (04:00 GMT) in an area dominated by government buildings.

By: Brant

25 September 2012

Sound Off! Cav vs Airborne

The more obnoxious branch in self-promoting their obvious superiority to the rest of the Army:

-- CAV! "If you ain't cav, you ain't shit!"

-- AIRBORNE! "There's only two kinds of people in this Army: legs and men!"

your obnoxious self-promoting opinions below!

By: Brant

Navy Announces New Research Vessel to be Named in Honor of Neil Armstrong

The US Navy is naming a new research vessel in honor of Neil Armstrong.

Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus announced today that the first Armstrong-class Auxiliary General Oceanographic Research (AGOR) ship will be named Neil Armstrong.

Mabus named the future R/V Neil Armstrong (AGOR 27) to honor the memory of Neil Armstrong, best known for being the first man to walk on the moon. Armstrong was an aeronautics pioneer and explorer for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) serving as an engineer, test pilot, astronaut and administrator. Armstrong also served as a naval aviator flying nearly 80 combat missions during the Korean War.

"Neil Armstrong rightly belongs to the ages as the man who first walked on the moon. While he was a true pioneer of space exploration and science, he was also a combat-proven naval aviator," said Mabus. “Naming this class of ships and this vessel after Neil Armstrong honors the memory of an extraordinary individual, but more importantly, it reminds us all to embrace the challenges of exploration and to never stop discovering.”

Armstrong’s widow, Carol, will serve as the ship’s sponsor.

The Armstrong-class AGOR ship will be a modern oceanographic research platform equipped with acoustic equipment capable of mapping the deepest parts of the oceans, and modular on-board laboratories that will provide the flexibility to meet a wide variety of oceanographic research challenges. These make them capable of supporting a wide range of oceanographic research activities conducted by academic institutions and national laboratories. Additionally, the research vessel will be outfitted with multi-drive, low-voltage diesel electric propulsion systems. This upgraded system will maintain engine efficiency while lowering maintenance and fuel costs.

Armstrong-class AGOR ships will be 238 feet in length, have a beam length of 50 feet, and operate at more than 12 knots. AGOR 27 is currently under construction by Dakota Creek Industries, Inc. in Anacortes, Wash.

By: Brant

Chinese Carrier Goes into Service

And anyone who thinks the timing of the launch of the carrier has nothing to do with the current maritime disputes with Japan isn't paying attention...

China sent its first aircraft carrier into formal service on Tuesday amid a tense maritime dispute with Japan in a show of force that could worry its neighbors.
China's Ministry of Defense said the newly named Liaoning aircraft carrier would "raise the overall operational strength of the Chinese navy" and help Beijing to "effectively protect national sovereignty, security and development interests".
In fact, the aircraft carrier, refitted from a ship bought from Ukraine, will have a limited role, mostly for training and testing ahead of the possible launch of China's first domestically built carriers after 2015, analysts say.
China cast the formal handing over of the carrier to its navy -- attended by President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao -- as a triumphant show of national strength at a time of tensions with Japan over islands claimed by both sides.
"The smooth commissioning of the first aircraft carrier has important and profound meaning for modernizing our navy and for enhancing national defensive power and the country's overall strength," Xinhua news agency cited Wen as saying at the commissioning ceremony in the northern port of Dalian.

By: Brant

22 September 2012

Jet Shot Down By Rebels in Syria

In addition to all the ground equipment destroyed or captured, the rebels have now shot down a fighter jet in northern Syria.

Rebel fighters trying to oust President Bashar al-Assad shot down a fighter jet as it flew over the northern Syrian town of Atarib in Idlib province, a witness said.
The witness, an independent journalist who asked to remain anonymous, said rebel fighters were attacking a military base near the town when the jet flew over and rebels shot it down with anti-aircraft guns.
Vastly outgunned, rebels say they need surface-to-air missiles to take down planes and helicopters used by the Syrian military to bombard opposition strongholds.
Fighters use outdated anti-aircraft machine guns that are welded to pickup trucks but they are inaccurate and useless if the military aircraft fly above a certain altitude.
On August 27 fighters shot down a helicopter on the outskirts of Damascus and three days later rebels said they had brought down a jet in Idlib, near the Turkish border.

By: Brant

Best News Out of Libya in a Few Weeks

Protestors have stormed and over-run the Islamist militia HQ in Benghazi for the group suspected of killing the US Ambassador.

The militia suspected of killing the US ambassador to Libya nearly two weeks ago has been driven out of its base in the eastern city of Benghazi.

Police and protesters stormed the HQ of the Islamist group Ansar al-Sharia.

The HQ of the Sahaty Brigade, said to have official backing, was also stormed. At least nine people were killed there, another died elsewhere.

The attack on the US consulate was triggered by an amateur video made in the US which mocks Islam.

Protests against the film have been held across the Muslim world. At least 19 people died in Pakistan on Friday alone, in clashes with police trying to stop protesters attacking US diplomatic buildings.

US citizens have been urged not to travel to Pakistan and the US embassy has paid for adverts on Pakistani TV showing President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton condemning the film.

By: Brant

21 September 2012

Random Friday Wargaming - You Make The Call!

What games are you planning to play this weekend?

By: Brant

Current ISAF Placemat

As of 10 September 2012

By: Brant

Surge in Afghanistan? Not Anymore!

As per the DoD, the surge is over. Secretary Panetta states:

“This week, the ongoing effort in Afghanistan marked an important milestone: the United States military has completed drawing down the surge forces President Obama committed in December of 2009, reducing our presence by 33,000 troops on schedule. As we reflect on this moment, it is an opportunity to recognize that the surge accomplished its objectives of reversing Taliban momentum on the battlefield, and dramatically increased the size and capability of the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF). This growth has allowed us and our ISAF Coalition partners to begin the process of transition to Afghan security lead, which will soon extend across every province and more than 75 percent of the Afghan population. At the same time, we have struck enormous blows against al Qaeda's leadership, consistent with our core goal of disrupting, dismantling and defeating al Qaeda and denying it a safe-haven.

“It is important to underscore that even as our surge troops return home, there are roughly 68,000 Americans who remain in a tough fight in Afghanistan, alongside their NATO and Afghan partners. We are a nation at war. But the international community is also strongly united behind our shared strategy to transition to Afghan security control, which will be completed by the end of 2014.”

Many of the troops are working their way out of Afghanistan.
Just days ago, Pentagon figures showed there were 70,000 American troops in Afghanistan. On Wednesday, Australian Brig. Gen. Roger Noble, the deputy operations chief for NATO in Afghanistan, refused to pinpoint for Pentagon reporters when exactly the "surge recovery" would be completed. Noble said "not many more" surge troops remained to leave Afghanistan and that the goal of reaching 68,000 by Oct. 1 was "very, very close." He added that the timing was "very dependent on strategic lift, weather - and they change daily by sort of hundreds, if you know what I mean. " Noble was referring to the last remaining troops that were still awaiting their flights out of Afghanistan, U.S. officials said. There has also been a significant reduction in military equipment that matches the reduction in troops. Lt. Gen. John Terry, the commander of ISAF Joint Command, told Pentagon reporters that half of the 60,000 pieces of rolling stock and another 30,000 containers had already been shipped out of Afghanistan. Many of the surge troops were sent to southern Afghanistan to fight the Taliban in its strongholds. As troops pushed into areas long controlled by the Taliban, the number of U.S. and NATO casualties began to rise.

By: Brant

"Day of Love" Indeed

Pakistan declared a "Day of Love"... How's that working out for you, anyway?

Pakistan has declared Friday a "Day of Love for the Prophet Mohammad". Critics of the unpopular government said it was pandering to Islamist parties.
Protesters took to the streets of the Pakistani city of Peshawar, an old frontier town on the main road to Afghanistan, and torched two cinemas and clashed with riot police who tried to disperse them with teargas.
At least five protesters were hurt, a doctor at the city's main hospital said. The ARY television station said an employee had been killed.
Near the capital, Islamabad, protesters set fire to a motorway toll booth. The previous day, about 1,000 stone-throwing protesters clashed with police as they tried to force their way to the U.S. embassy.

By: Brant

Palantir and the Acquisitions System

Did 3MECH try to sneak their way around the system?

The issue that alarmed Shyu was that the unit said it couldn’t pay for the system, and the company offered its technology on a cost-free basis, as opposed to normal contracting methods. Shyu wrote that “these circumstances warrant immediate corrective action by the Army to ensure that we comply with fundamental rules relating to how the government obtains goods and services from industry.”
The memos, addressed to the Combating Terrorism Technical Support Office and the Technical Support Working Group; and to intelligence contractor Praescient Analytics and Palantir, asked for a “temporary training/reach-back server” from Palantir before the 3rd ID’s deployment to Afghanistan to assume command of Regional Command-South. The unit deployed in August.
The 3rd ID’s memo said that the unit’s budget “will not support the purchase of Palantir. Operational Needs Statement (ONS) was considered, but standard length of timeline for ONS cannot be tolerated. This requirement needs to be filled immediately.” The memos obtained by Defense News show that the 3rd ID considered the 82nd Airborne’s use of Palantir in Afghanistan in 2012 critical in helping to fill “major capability gaps” in the division’s existing intelligence software, and that Palantir is “the only platform capable of filling their advanced analytic requirements.” Because the unit planned on using the software on its upcoming deployment, the memo states that “3rd ID needs a rapid fielding of this system to quickly fill critical capability/training gap prior to our pending deployment.”

One has to wonder whether or not all this bullshit would have happened if CIDNE hadn't fucked CENTCOM, and the Army as a whole, with all their political machinations surrounding the shutdown of FusionNET. There's nothing that we've heard that Palantir can do that FusionNET couldn't do 7 years ago, and it was already in the Army inventory, bought and paid for by the government.
CIDNE ramped up their political whining machine instead of improving their software, and got FusionNET shut down. As far as CIDNE was concerned, their problem was solved.
But the ground forces' problems were not, and thus Palantir was born to try to help unfuck the gaps in capability that CIDNE continued to have. The difference this time is that Palantir has better political cover than FusionNET did.
However, we're now paying for another system to do what CIDNE claimed they could do all along, when we'd already paid for one back in '04-'07. The US taxpayer is sucking up the cost of CIDNE's political dick-dancing by being forced to pay for the same capabilities all over again.

By: Brant

20 September 2012

BULLETS! - Supervision?

-- quick and dirty words of wisdom collected over the years --

Did you ever notice that the same people that bitch about the length of a meeting are the same ones dragging it out? Why does an O-4 need to know which soldier is teaching his crew for Sergeants' Time?

your thoughts always welcome in the comments below!

By: Brant

Military Appreciation Day at NC State Football Game

A lot of teams do this, but not a lot of teams have a safety who has most of his family in the military.

His mother is currently on deployment in Kuwait, but Wolff makes a point of it to talk to her everyday.


Wolff's mother is not the only family member of Wolff's in the armed forces.

"I have a brother, who just got married this past weekend in the Navy, and another brother that lives in Miami that is a Marine," said Wolff. "My family has a very strong military background. Basically on Saturday, I'm going to be playing for all of them.

Among the events planned at the game...

Saturday Afternoon
• Wolfpack Club members are hosting 100 military personnel at their tailgates and athletics is providing them with tickets.
• Coke is sponsoring a pregame tailgate for the Wounded Warriors
• The Fanzone will feature many military themed activities as well as a Navy Rock Band
• At 5 p.m., there will be a REAL Walk of Champions, as the Wounded Warriors enter at the North Gates

• A C130 flyover
• General Raymond T. Odierno, 38th Chief of Staff for the United State Army will perform the coin toss. He will also speak to the football team earlier in the day on Saturday.

In Game
• Wounded Warriors, ROTC members, and all current and former military in attendance will be honored
• An Army re-enlistment ceremony will take place on the field
• Videoboard "shoutouts" from military personnel overseas

• Military Tribute by NC State Marching Band and special bagpipers
• Full-field sized Flag presented by Coca Cola
• Parachute Team

Now the C130 flyover is pretty weak, especially after previous years have featured F15s and a B2, but overall, that's not a bad afternoon.

By: Brant


A birth in a warzone, unexpectedly.

A British soldier who did not realize she was pregnant has given birth to a baby boy at the Camp Bastion field hospital in Afghanistan.
The Ministry of Defence (MOD) in London said mother and baby were in stable condition and a specialist "Paediatric Retrieval Team" would fly out from Britain to care for them during the long flight home.
"It is not military policy to allow servicewomen to deploy on operations if they are pregnant. In this instance, the MOD was unaware of her pregnancy," the ministry said.
The Daily Mail newspaper, which first reported on the birth, said the woman herself was unaware of the pregnancy.
The Mail said the Royal Artillery gunner had conceived before her six-month stint in Afghanistan began. Her pre-deployment training included an eight mile march and five mile run. Her job in the field involved providing covering fire for troops fighting insurgents.
She was taken to the field hospital after complaining of stomach pains and was informed by doctors that she was about to give birth, the Mail said, citing military sources.

By: Brant

GEN Rodriguez to AFRICOM?

What would his potential assignment to AFRICOM do to how the US approaches missions on the continent?

Gen. David M. Rodriguez, a former top Army commander in Afghanistan, has been chosen by the Pentagon to take charge of the military’s Africa Command, which in the wake of the Arab Spring has become one of the Defense Department’s most challenging theaters of operation.

Under plans that still need formal approval from the White House and confirmation by the Senate, General Rodriguez, who is now head of the Army’s Forces Command, which trains and equips troops, would take over early next year from Gen. Carter Ham in what two American officials said was a routine change of command.

Because of the presidential election and the need to get the necessary paperwork ready, General Rodriguez’s expected nomination would probably not go to the Senate for confirmation until the postelection session, the officials said. In his current job, General Rodriguez, whose troops call him General Rod, is responsible for training and equipping 265,000 active-duty soldiers, as well as training and overseeing the readiness of 560,000 soldiers in the Army Reserve and Army National Guard.

But the general, a West Point graduate, also has extensive combat experience. He served two tours in Iraq and two tours in Afghanistan, including a stint in eastern Afghanistan as commander of the 82nd Airborne Division and later as deputy commander of allied forces there with responsibility for the day-to-day management of the war.

General Rodriguez was one of the architects of the operation in which President Obama ordered an additional 30,000 troops to Afghanistan in late 2009.

By: Brant

19 September 2012

GameTalk - The Political Dimension

How do you incorporate the effects that political engagements have on games at the operational level and below?

By: Brant

US Army Does WH40K

Slate has a great article about US soldiers and Warhammer 40K.

As an Army officer, Maj. Stephen D. Carey has served tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. In his spare time, he fights a different kind of battle, one that rages in the apocalyptic 41st millennium. The distant future would be a terrifying realm for a mere mortal, what with all the Necrons, Tyranids, and Tau on the loose. To survive the war-torn galaxy, Carey enlists the help of marauding, green-skinned Orks. He also presides over an Imperial Guard army, because some days, defending mankind is more fun than trying to destroy it.
This is the intricate, intense world of Warhammer 40,000, a tabletop war game played with hand-painted, miniature figurines. Warhammer 40,000, which its devotees call 40K, first hit shelves in 1987 and is the product of Games Workshop, a British corporation whose influence extends far beyond the United Kingdom. Around 70 percent of the company’s sales come from abroad, and the retailer has 86 official stores in North America alone.
What kind of people stage make-believe wars with armloads of Space Marines? A lot of the time, it’s real Marines. Games Workshop’s U.S.-based outreach manager estimates that 20 to 25 percent of Games Workshop’s American customers are active members of the military. If you include veterans, she says, that number jumps to about 40 percent. “The bottom line is, there are nerds everywhere,” Carey explains. “I’ve been an infantryman for 20 years. I’m no stranger to fighting. But I’m a total nerd.”

Much more at the link

By: Brant

18 September 2012

Sound Off! 7.62 vs 5.56

You're rocking the automatic fire, laying down suppressive support for your buddies, who are closing in to destroy your enemies... Are you pumping out

-- 7.62 - heavy lead for making big holes

-- 5.56 - fast-flying rounds, and carrying more in your pack

tell us all about it below!

By: Brant

Suspension of Joint NATO-Afghan Ops Only Temporary... for now

NATO announced that the suspension of joint NATO-Afghan operations could be "temporary".

A cutback on NATO military operations alongside Afghan forces in response to a surge of insider attacks that have left more than 50 foreign troops dead is a "temporary" response to current threats, a coalition spokesman said on Tuesday.
"To be honest, we see this as a temporary and prudent response to current threat levels from the U.S. film and insider attacks," said Colonel Tom Collins, a senior spokesman for NATO-led forces in Afghanistan.

By: Brant

16 September 2012

Another Quip on "Offended" Muslims

WaPo's op-ed page asked over the weekend, "Why is the Muslim world so easily offended?"

Modernity requires the willingness to be offended. And as anti-American violence across the Middle East and beyond shows, that willingness is something the Arab world, the heartland of Islam, still lacks.

By: Brant

USAF Appoint Female Commander to Training Unit Rocked by Scandals

The USAF is trying to clean up Randolph by putting a woman in charge of Air Force basic training after the sex scandal there.

The Air Force chose a woman Saturday to lead its basic training unit at a Texas base where dozens of female recruits have alleged they were sexually assaulted or harassed by male instructors within the past year.
Col. Deborah Liddick is taking command of the 737th Training Group, bringing a distinctly new face of authority to Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio. Six male instructors have been charged with crimes ranging from rape to adultery, and there are others still under investigation.
The Air Force announced Liddick's appointment in a statement that didn't mention the sex scandal or highlight choosing a woman to lead a unit where the number of women identified by military investigators as potential victims is approaching 40.
About one in five recruits at Lackland are women, while most instructors are men.
"I look forward to and have the utmost confidence in having Col. Liddick take the reins of basic military training," Col. Mark Camerer, commander of the 37th Training Wing at Lackland, said in the statement.
Lackland is where every new American airman reports for basic training, graduating about 35,000 each year.
Liddick is already stationed in San Antonio, where she serves as chief of the maintenance division at the former Randolph Air Force Base. She is scheduled to take command Friday.

By: Brant

15 September 2012

Double Speak from the MoBro

It's always amusing when Doonesbury points out your hypocrisy.

"Egyptians rise up to support Muhammad in front of the American Embassy."
-- Brotherhood Arabic tweet

"We're relieved none of @USEmbassyCairo staff were harmed and hope Eg relations will sustain turbulence of Tuesday's events."
-- Brotherhood English tweet

"Thanks. By the way, have you checked out your own Arabic feeds? I hope you know we read those too."
-- U.S. Embassy tweet

By: Brant

US Navy to Christen Second Joint High Speed Vessel

The US Navy is going to launch the USS Choctaw County.

The Navy will christen the Joint High Speed Vessel (JHSV) Choctaw County, named for three U.S. counties, located in Mississippi, Alabama and Oklahoma, which share the county’s name, during a ceremony in Mobile, Ala., Sept. 15, at 10 a.m. CDT.

Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus will deliver the ceremony’s principal address. Women from Ackerman High School’s class of 1966, 29 in all, will serve as the ship’s sponsors, with Theresa Pitts designated as the lead sponsor for the classmates. Ackerman High School is located in Choctaw County’s town of Ackerman, Miss.

“I chose to name this joint high speed vessel after Choctaw County where core American values of hard work, putting family first, and giving back to your community are on constant display,” said Mabus. “I could think of no better representatives of these values than the women of Ackerman High School’s class of 1966. Each represents the best of the American spirit and our enduring American values. I am honored they accepted the invitation to serve as sponsors for this fine ship.”

The 338 foot-long aluminum catamaran is being constructed by Austal USA in Mobile, Ala. Choctaw County and the eight other JHSVs under contract enable fast, intra-theater transportation of troops, military vehicles, supplies and equipment. Military commanders will have the flexibility to use the JHSV in a variety of roles, including supporting overseas contingency operations, conducting humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, supporting special operations forces and supporting emerging joint sea-basing concepts.

They can transport 600 short tons 1,200 nautical miles at an average speed of 35 knots and can operate in shallow-draft ports and waterways, providing U.S. forces added mobility and flexibility. The JHSVs also have an aviation flight deck to support day and night air vehicle launch and recovery operations. JHSVs have berthing space for up to 146 personnel and airline-style seating for up to 312.

Upon delivery to the U.S. Navy’s Military Sealift Command (MSC), Choctaw County will be designated as a U.S. Naval Ship and will have a core crew of 21 civilian mariners who will operate and navigate the ship. The first four JHSVs, including Choctaw County, will be crewed by federally employed civil service mariners. The remaining six will be crewed by civilian contract mariners working for private shipping companies under contract to MSC. Military mission personnel will embark, as required, by the mission sponsors.

By: Brant

14 September 2012

Secretary Clinton Addresses Religion & Riots

Once again proving she's the adult in the global room, Secretary Clinton lays the verbal hammer down after the MidEast riots.

In her remarks, Clinton repeated much of what she's said in the last two days. Namely that the Benghazi attack was carried out by a "small and savage group," and that the United States completely rejects what she called the "inflammable and despicable" anti-Muslim film circulating the Internet. However, Clinton pointed out all religions have faced insults and denigration, but that's no justification for violence. The response to such insults is what separates people of true faith from those who would use religion as an excuse to commit violent acts, she said.
"When Christians are subject to insults to their faith, and that certainly happens, we expect them not to resort to violence. When Hindus or Buddhists are subjected to insults to their faiths, and that also certainly happens, we expect them not to resort to violence," said Clinton. "The same goes for all faiths, including Islam."
She spoke movingly about her own personal beliefs as a way of re-enforcing her point.
"I so strongly believe that the great religions of the world are stronger than any insults. They have withstood offense for centuries," said Clinton."Refraining from violence, then, is not a sign of weakness in one's faith; it is absolutely the opposite, a sign that one's faith is unshakable."
She asked the crowd to work towards building a world where if one person commits a violent religious act, millions of people will stand up and condemn it

By: Brant

Random Friday Wargaming: 4th Reich

Task Force Games dropped the obscure 4th Reich on us back in the 80s. Talk about some weirdness. Apparently it was inspired by an alt-history novel. Anyone seen this one?

Master links/images from Boardgamegeek.com; message boards linked to Consimworld. Other links to the actual game pages...

By: Brant

CNN Notes that "Arab Spring nations don't yet grasp freedom of dissent "

Trying to get across the point I was making earlier, CNN notes that the Arab Spring nations are very immature societies, and although my term of "savages" might be harsh, characterizing this behavior as "savage" hardly inaccurate.

These are people who were born and raised in dictatorships. They are accustomed to thinking that a government controls its citizens -- that a film or documentary cannot be produced without government approval. For decades, this has been the reality of their lives, and they strongly believe that the Western world and its citizens have a similarly controlling relationship between individuals and government.
In light of this assumption, they hold the U.S. government responsible for the tacky and distasteful film produced by a right-wing Muslimphobe.
Little wonder, then, that Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy has called for the prosecution by the U.S government of the filmmakers, and Egypt's top cleric, Mufti Ali Goma, has called on the United Nations to forbid denigration of faiths. Morsy studied in the United States and Ali Goma regularly visits the West on the interfaith circuit, yet both men don't yet grasp that religious freedom and the freedom of expression are inextricably linked in America.
It is hard for younger Arabs not born into freedom to understand how individual liberty works in real life.
The freedom to proselytize also guarantees the right to apostatize. Heresy and blasphemy are essential parts of free and democratic societies. Arab activists cannot seek to emulate the West's political and social achievements by looking at the United States and Europe today, but must observe and learn from the religious battles of 17th-century Europe, the smashing of the tyranny of the Roman Catholic Church, the ending of burning witches and the forbidding of hanging heretics.
It is this history of unbolting the doors of dissent that led to the conditions in which John Locke and John Stuart Mill could write and think freely and then influence Thomas Jefferson and the other U.S. Founding Fathers. There are no shortcuts to freedom, except to learn from the mistakes of the West in the past.

The wrap-up line?

Freedom is not only about majority rule, but ensuring that women, religious minorities and intellectual dissenters are able to flourish without fear.

By: Brant

Arrests in Libyan Embassy Attack

The Libyans have arrested four men in connection with the attack on the US consulate in Libya.

Four people have been arrested in connection with the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi that left U.S. Ambassador to Libya J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans dead, the president of the parliament's top aide said Friday.

Those arrested were not directly tied to the attacks that resulted in the deaths, Monem Elyasser, the chief aide to Prime Minister Mustafa Abushagur, told CNN by telephone.

The announcement came as the United States is struggling to determine whether a militant group planned the attack that killed the four Americans.

Elyasser did not release the identities of the suspects nor did he detail the allegations against the four people in custody.

By: Brant

13 September 2012

BULLETS! - Punched

-- quick and dirty words of wisdom collected over the years --

Ticket-punchers should get more than their tickets punched.

your thoughts always welcome in the comments below!

By: Brant

UK In Action: Firing Range

A soldier with A Company, 1 Royal Anglian is pictured on the firing range during the final day of Reception, Staging, Onward Movement and Integration (RSOI) in readiness for their move forward.
img from UK MoD By: Widow 6-7

The Arab Summer... of Riots

The bottom line is that we are dealing with a backwards society of savages who violently riot at the slightest provocation and show no desire to join a modern, tolerant, free-thinking and open-minded world in which a variety of viewpoints are met and engaged with reason and discussion instead of RPGs and Molotov cocktails. Until the societies themselves want to change, these sorts of flare-ups will continue to happen, and the societies that engender them will continue to trail the rest of the world in economic, social, scientific, and intellectual development. And it will be completely their own fault.

By: Brant

12 September 2012

Just To Start To Tease You

By: Brant

A Walking Wargame Analysis of the World

Up in the DC area, there's a giant walkable map of the world that General Dempsey uses with other staffers to work out visualizations of real-world challenges facing the military.

“Strategic seminar” is the name Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has chosen for these daylong sessions, which were not exactly a war game more than a tabletop military exercise, and unlike anything the Pentagon has done to plan its future.

Shortly after being sworn in as chairman last October, a decade after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, General Dempsey said the military was confronting “a strategic inflection point, where the institution fundamentally re-examines itself.” The seminar project he started fits his goal: to try to build the right military force for five years from now — and not be driven by the budget cycle into a series of year-by-year decisions.

The overarching question is whether the Pentagon’s war plans need to be rewritten to take into account how the military has been affected by a decade of fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, and now by orders to shrink to fit mandated budget cuts. While the list of potential adversaries and the rising threats remain classified, the assessments from the sessions already are reshaping military planning. Initial findings have been presented to President Obama by General Dempsey, officials said.

One realization is that under any situation in which the United States is in an armed conflict within five years, American territory most likely would be attacked as part of an adversary’s actions, regardless of where the major fighting was focused overseas. That attack might be direct, by missile, or more asymmetrical, as in terrorism or via a computer-network cyberattack.

“In the future, our homeland will not be the sanctuary it has been,” General Dempsey told a recent military conference, during which he pulled back the curtain — a bit — on the strategic seminar project.

As a result of that seminar, General Dempsey said, the military’s Northern Command, responsible for defending United States territory, has begun work with the Department of Homeland Security, the F.B.I. and other domestic agencies to assess how potential demands for military forces overseas might affect security at home, and how any shortfalls could be resolved.

Another lesson from the seminars is that the Pentagon might have to organize and deploy forces in a different way than war plans now dictate if there is another major conflict overseas and simultaneously a significant attack at home, or the need to manage a catastrophic, domestic natural disaster.

“We assumed a conflict someplace, and we flowed the forces required to that conflict,” General Dempsey said.

By: Brant

US Ambassador to Libya Killed When Mob Storms Embassy

I guess our support for their revolution was swiftly forgotten when the rumor of an insult to their religion started to spread.

The US ambassador to Libya has died after an attack by militiamen on the US consulate in the eastern city of Benghazi, Libyan officials say.

Ambassador Christopher Stevens is said to be among four US officials killed in a protest over a US-produced film that is said to insult the Prophet Muhammad.

US media quote US officials confirming the ambassador's death. But there is no comment from the state department.

Protesters have also attacked the US embassy in Cairo over the film.

In the attack in Benghazi, unidentified armed men stormed the grounds, shooting at buildings and throwing handmade bombs into the compound.

Security forces returned fire but Libyan officials say they were overwhelmed.

A Libyan official has said Ambassador Stevens died from suffocation as a result of the attack.

The death was confirmed by the Deputy Prime Minister Mustafa Abu Shagur.

"I condemn these barbaric acts in the strongest possible terms. This is an attack on America, Libya and free people everywhere," he said on the social networking site Twitter.

By: Brant

11 September 2012

Sound Off! Anniversary: 9-11

What are your key memories of 9-11?

Tell us below

By: Brant

10 September 2012

GrogHeads is Down, Thanks to Anonymous

GoDaddy, the online host for GrogHeads, is down right now and Anonymous is claiming responsibility.

GoDaddy, the domain registrar and Web hosting company, is down, perhaps taking millions of websites down as a result.

"Status Alert: Hey, all. We're aware of the trouble people are having with our site. We're working on it," @GoDaddy tweeted Monday.

While GoDaddy.com's site is up and running, websites hosted by the company are still experiencing outages.

TechCrunch reports that GoDaddy email addresses are down, as well. The blog suggests customers concerned with that their site has been affected can check online status at Down For Everyone Or Just Me.

A quick call to the company's customer service line resulted in a voice message stating that the company is aware of issues involving several services, including web hosting and emails. The company suggest following its Twitter page for updates.

Twitter accounts claiming to be associated with the hacking group Anonymous claimed responsibility for the attack.

"Basically, every GoDaddy site on the planet just crashed," @TibitXimer tweeted.

"#TangoDown - godaddy.com," @AnonOpsLegion tweeted Monday, claiming that the Twitter account @AnonymousOwn3r was responsible for the breach. "TangoDown" is the term that Anonymous generally uses to signify that a website is down.

By: Brant

09 September 2012

Is the Plan to Split Afghanistan Legit?

There's a controversial plan to split up Afghanistan being floated in England. How serious is it?

"Isaf may be confident that its revised security strategy is finally working, but the insurgent threat will not be removed by force alone," he said in the report, seen by The Independent on Sunday. "The Taliban will not enter into a meaningful dialogue if there is no feasible political strategy within which they can participate... An alternative solution [offers] a less centralised political structure that better reflects the ethnic make-up of the country, the already established economic hubs and the regional interest of the Taliban, who might then be encouraged towards a political settlement."

The plan divides Afghanistan into eight zones, based around the "economic hubs" of Kabul, Kandahar, Herat, Mazar-i-Sharif, Kunduz, Jalalabad, Khost and Bamyan. The areas would be administered by a council representing different ethnic groups and overseen by one or more foreign countries. Mr Ellwood also claims that creating a post of prime minister, with many of the "disproportionate" powers currently held by the President, would help allay concerns over the man who has been in charge of the country for almost eight years.

But Thomas Ruttig, co-director of the Afghanistan Analysts Network, said: "Splitting the country into such regions will result in the empowerment of what we have started calling 'local (or regional) power brokers' and what was known as 'warlords' before, whose misrule between 1992 and 1996 caused the rise of the Taliban in the first place."

By: Brant

08 September 2012

DoD Statement on the Haqqani Network

The DoD has released a statement on the Haqqani Network.

Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs George Little provided the following statement:

“We welcome Secretary Clinton's announcement that the Haqqani Network meets the statutory criteria for designation as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO), and as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist entity under Executive Order 13224.

The Haqqani Network represents a significant threat to U.S. national security and we will continue our aggressive military action against this threat. These new group designations will build on our efforts to degrade the Network's capacity to carry out attacks, including affecting fundraising abilities, targeting them with our military and intelligence resources, and pressing Pakistan to take action. We will continue these efforts, reinforced by today's new designations. By strengthening our whole-of-government approach against the Haqqanis, we are supporting our campaign efforts in Afghanistan and further limiting the organization's capacity to destabilize the region.”

By: Brant

07 September 2012

Random Friday Wargaming: Mission Grenada

Ah yes, Reagan's only real ground war... Go invade in Mission Grenada!

Man, are those some ugly components or what?

Master links/images from Boardgamegeek.com; message boards linked to Consimworld. Other links to the actual game pages...

By: Brant

06 September 2012

BULLETS! - Commo

-- quick and dirty words of wisdom collected over the years --

Without commo, you're just local security for your vehicle.

your thoughts always welcome in the comments below!

By: Brant

UK In Action: Challenger Go BOOM

Video screengrab of Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank live firing of main armament.
img from UK MoD By: Widow 6-7

05 September 2012

NORAD Exercise Planned for National Capital Region

The DOD has announce that NORAD has an exercise planned for the "National Capital Region".

The North American Aerospace Defense Command and its geographical component, the Continental United States NORAD Region, will conduct exercise Falcon Virgo 12-12 beginning tonight, in the National Capital Region (NCR), Washington, D.C. The exercise will conclude early Friday morning, Sept. 7.

Flights in the NCR are scheduled to take place during two different time periods each day: 11:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. EDT and 3:30 to 5:30 a.m. EDT.

The exercise is comprised of a series of training flights held in coordination with the Federal Aviation Administration, the NCR Coordination Center, the Joint Air Defense Operations Center, Civil Air Patrol, U.S. Coast Guard and CONR’s Eastern and Western Air Defense Sectors.

Exercise Falcon Virgo is designed to hone NORAD’s intercept and identification operations as well as operationally test the NCR Visual Warning System and certify newly assigned Command and Control personnel at the JADOC. Civil Air Patrol aircraft and a U.S. Coast Guard HH-65 Dolphin helicopter will participate in the exercise.

By: Brant

Rebels Attack Army HQ in Damascus

Syrian rebels have managed to attack the army headquarters in Damascus.

Syrian rebels said they planted bombs inside the Syrian army's General Staff headquarters in central Damascus on Sunday as President Bashar al-Assad's forces bulldozed buildings to the ground in parts of the capital that have backed the uprising.
Syrian state television said four people were wounded in what it called a terrorist attack on the General Staff compound in the highly guarded Abu Rummaneh district, where another bomb attack killed four of Assad's top lieutenants two months ago.
"The operation targeted officers in the Assad army who have been planning and giving the go ahead for the massacres against the Syrian people," said a video statement by the Grandsons of the Prophet brigade, a division of the Free Syrian Army.
"Bombs were planted inside the army headquarters," said the video statement, which was broadcast on Arab satellite channels.
But as the rebels demonstrated they could strike at the heart of the security apparatus, residents said army bulldozers moved on al-Zayat and Farouk neighborhoods to the west, and destroyed at least 20 buildings in the Sunni Muslim areas that have sheltered the insurgents.
In the eastern Damascus neighborhood of Hazza, footage taken by activists on Sunday showed several buildings on fire. Opposition sources said the army had earlier stormed the area and executed 27 young men.
"Any youth of fighting age seems to have been captured and killed," said activist Obadah al-Haj, who had fled the area.

By: Brant

04 September 2012

India-China Military Exercises?

India and China may be restarting joint military exercises.

Joint military exercises between India and China will be resumed after a four-year gap, Indian Defence Minister A.K. Antony announced Tuesday after talks in New Delhi with his Beijing counterpart.
The two emerging Asian nations have had an often fractious relationship over their shared border, and they halted joint military exercises after 2008 due to a series of diplomatic spats including over visa issues.
"We have decided that (to restart military exercises)," Antony told reporters following talks with General Liang Guanglie, the first Chinese defence minister to visit Delhi in eight years.
"We covered a lot about the situation in the South Asia, Asia-Pacific region," Antony said. "We had a very frank and heart-to-heart discussion on all the issues... including in the border areas."
The disputed border between India and China has been the subject of 14 rounds of fruitless talks since 1962, when the two nations fought a brief, bloody war over the northeastern Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh.

By: Brant

Sound Off! Foreign Legions

Many countries have formed "foreign legions" of citizens from other nations, serving someone else in the military.

Are these thinly-veiled mercenary forces? Or noble guardians of another nation?

Should use of foreign legions be widened? Or should it be discontinued altogether?

Lots of possibilities for you to sound off on in the comments!

By: Brant

03 September 2012

Syrian Civil War Changing Dimensions

As Assad has lost control of more ground, his forces are operating above it more and more. And the Syrian rebels have started countering this threat.

Rebels seized an air defense facility and attacked a military airport in eastern Syria on Saturday, a monitoring group said, hitting back at an air force which President Bashar al-Assad is increasingly relying on to crush his opponents.
The attacks in eastern oil-producing Deir al-Zor province follow rebel strikes against military airports in the Aleppo and Idlib areas, close to the border with Turkey.
Assad, battling a 17-month-old uprising in which 20,000 people have been killed, has lost control of rural areas in northern, eastern and southern regions and has resorted to helicopter gunships and fighter jets to subdue his foes.

By: Brant

02 September 2012

Anti-Bush Hyperbole Just Won't Subside

Now Bishop Tutu is piling on, calling for Bush & Blair to be tried at The Hague.

Tutu, the retired Anglican Church's archbishop of South Africa, wrote in an op-ed piece for The Observer newspaper that the ex-leaders of Britain and the United States should be made to "answer for their actions."
The Iraq war "has destabilized and polarized the world to a greater extent than any other conflict in history," wrote Tutu, who was awarded the Nobel prize in 1984.

Hmmmm... somehow I suspect WWII destabilized and polarized the world to a slightly greater extent than the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Probably followed closely by WWI, the Seven Years' War, the Thirty Years' War, and the 1948 Israeli War of Independence (which *still* has the world polarized).
Hyperbole in the pursuit of personal grudges is pretty silly.

By: Brant