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#Veterans Military

#Veterans Military

The Trump Military Buildup Has Begun With DOD’s Proposed Budget

Posted: 12 Feb 2018 02:24 PM PST

For years, the U.S. military has had to do more with less, but the Defense Department's proposed budget for fiscal 2019 would add nearly 26,000 service members across the active-duty force, National Guard and reserves.

The Army would see the biggest jump, growing by 11,500 active-duty soldiers, 500 National Guardsmen and 500 reservists, budget documents show. The Navy would grow by 7,500 active-duty sailors and 100 reservists; the Air Force would add 4,000 active-duty airmen, 500 reservists and 200 National Guardsmen; and the Marine Corps would increase by 1,100 active-duty Marines, officials said.

The plus-up reflects the National Security Strategy's requirements that the Defense Department reverse the post-Iraq and Afghanistan drawdowns that led to the U.S. military in 2016 being the smallest it had been before World War II, said Defense Department Comptroller David Norquist.

By fiscal 2023, the U.S. military expects to add a total of 56,600 service members, Norquist said Monday at a Pentagon briefing. The additional troops will allow the Defense Department to add units such as the Army's Security Force Assistance Brigades as well as recruit pilots, maintainers, and cyber security experts, he said.

Under current plans, the Marine Corps would only grow by 1,400 active-duty Marines over the next five years, despite the Corps' internal force structure review, which recommended that the service increase its active-duty end strength from 185,000 to at least 194,000 Marines.

"Each of the services took a look at what it takes to improve their readiness and their capability," Norquist said. "In some cases, it's additional end strength and in some cases it's additional training. In other cases, it's moving more things to maintenance for readiness. You'll see some variation between them. It's not a matter of emphasizing one service over the other. It's a recognition on their part of what they need to be effective."

The extra active-duty Marines would be assigned to information and electronic warfare missions, and a small contingent would be added to U.S. Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command, said Marine Corps spokesman Capt. Christopher Harrison.

The proposed budget would allow the Army to grow to 487,500 active-duty soldiers, budget documents show. The service is authorized to increase its active-duty end strength from 476,000 to 483,500 in fiscal 2018, but Congress has yet to pass appropriations legislation that would fund an increase for this fiscal year.

Between fiscal 2012 and 2016, the Army's budget shrank, forcing senior leaders to "manage more risk" in terms of being ready to fight a conventional war, Maj. Gen. Paul Chamberlain, the Army's budget director, said on Monday.

If Congress funds the end strength increase, the extra soldiers will "reconstitute lost capability that resulted from a smaller force designed to face a different threat," Chamberlain said.

"These forces will be used to increase the Army's lethality and capacity by resourcing specific units such as fires, air defense, logistics and others," he said.

Meanwhile, the Navy plans to "eliminate gaps at sea" by increasing its active-duty end strength by 7,500 billets through a combination of recruiting and retention, said Rear Adm. Brian E. Luther, deputy assistant secretary of the Navy for budget. That would increase the Navy's active force to 335,400 sailors, he said.

In order to compete with the private sector, the Navy Department's proposed budget would "substantially increase both enlistment and retention bonuses," said Luther, who did not have details on individual bonuses and incentives.

For the Air Force, the extra 4,700 airmen would be used for intelligence, drone operations, cyber missions and other squadron needs, officials told Task & Purpose.

While the proposed budget promises to make the U.S. military bigger, there is no guarantee that Congress will approve the required funding on time. The Defense Department is currently being funded by a temporary spending measure that is set to expire in March — six months into the current fiscal year.

Congress recently reached an agreement for overall spending levels in fiscals 2018 and 2019, but appropriators still need to pass legislation for both fiscal years.

The two-year agreement does not guarantee that the proposed defense budgets will pass as submitted. Lawmakers are responsible for reviewing and approving each line item in both requests — and making changes where they deem necessary.

For the past decade, the U.S. military has been grappling with budget instability as Congress has started each fiscal year with temporary spending measures instead of appropriations legislation. The fact that lawmakers have agreed to a dollar figure for the fiscal 2019 defense appropriations makes it less likely that Congress will once again pass a temporary spending measure in October — but since this is an election year, it is entirely possible that Congress will wait until after the midterm elections to vote on the defense budget.

Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, said on Monday that she is taking a close look at whether the proposed budget meets the U.S. military's current and future needs.

"With any budget, it's critical that we determine how to effectively and efficiently use our dollars to strengthen and modernize the force so we're prepared to not only counter aggression by adversaries, such as North Korea or Iran, but also near peer competitors, such as Russia and China," Ernst said in a statement. "I look forward to reviewing the president's proposal further and continuing discussions with my colleagues on how we can protect our interests at home and abroad, all while being better stewards of taxpayer dollars."

While the proposed troop increases are a step in the right direction, the U.S. military remains too small to fight two wars at the same time, said retired Marine Lt. Col. Dakota Wood of the Heritage Foundation think tank in Washington.

At the height of the Iraq war, the Army wanted to grow to 48 brigade combat teams, but it stopped growing when it reached 45 brigade combat teams, said Wood, primary author of a study that recommended drastically increasing the size of the U.S. military, which President Trump has endorsed.

"So that right there was a signal that they needed more capacity in the Army, just to sustain those operations against an irregular opponent — no opposing air, no artillery, no armor, no meaningful logistical capabilities, as you would expect in a large-scale conventional fight," Wood told Task & Purpose.

Since 2012, the Army has shrunk to 31 brigade combat teams and the Marine has contracted from 27 to 23 active-duty battalions, he said. The extra 1,100 Marines called for in the fiscal 2019 budget would allow the Corps to add cyber operators and aircraft maintainers, but it wouldn't increase the number of operational units.

Wood has advocated for the U.S. military to be large enough to fight a major conflict while having the capacity to respond to another emergency.

"It doesn't mean that we plan to be in two wars simultaneously, but if you have enough to handle one major contingency and not much left over, you don't have much deterrent value," Wood said.


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The post The Trump Military Buildup Has Begun With DOD's Proposed Budget appeared first on Task & Purpose.

Trump’s 2019 Budget Would Grow VA By $12 Billion

Posted: 12 Feb 2018 02:13 PM PST

For the second year in a row, President Donald Trump's budget proposal will include an increase in spending for the Department of Veterans Affairs, bringing the department's allowance to $198.6 billion in fiscal 2019 — roughly $12.1 billion more than this year.

If approved, the increase would mark a significant boost for the VA's budget at a time when federal agencies that don't wage wars or cover vets are facing historic cuts.

When the war in Afghanistan began in 2001, the department's budget was $49 billion, according to Military Times. In fiscal year 2009, it was still just $93.7 billion — less than half of President Trump's new proposal. Here's what the budget proposal, released publicly Feb. 12, means for the VA.

Here's where additional funds would be headed.

The budget proposal includes $88.9 billion in discretionary funding — roughly 8.3% more than this year. It also includes $109.7 billion for mandatory benefit program funding, a 5.1% increase over fiscal year 2018.

The budget for medical care comes out to roughly $76.5 billion and includes: a $1.8 billion increase in funds for homeless and at-risk veterans; $727 million for medical and prosthetic research — $87 million more than this year's budget — to support roughly 2,200 projects; $511 million for gender-specific healthcare services for female veterans; $382 million for opioid treatment and pain management. Additionally, $8.6 billion will be allotted for mental health services, and President Trump's January 2018 executive order to provide transitioning service members with a year of mental health care services through the VA.

Related: 2017 Was Tough For Veterans Nonprofits. Here's How To Weather 2018 »

Other increases in the budget include provisions for $14.2 billion for the VA's Community Care program — roughly 9.1% more than this year — as well as $1.2 billion for electronic health record modernization.

Costs are still being cut in VA, however.

The new budget proposal also comes with some cost-cutting measures — some of which are likely to be controversial among veterans and advocates alike, such as a rounding-down of cost-of-living increases. The decision would cut the annual increases in vets' cost-of-living benefits by rounding the number down to the nearest whole dollar.

The cut is estimated to cost individual vets no more than $12 a year, Military Times' Leo Shane reported Feb. 12. But when tallied up, that decision could save the VA $34 million next year alone, and $2.3 billion over the next decade. That said, some veteran service organizations remain opposed to the idea.

"Frankly, we just don't believe it's fair to nickel and dime veterans, and to pay for other benefits that way. It's not something that we agree with," Carlos Fuentes, the national legislative service director for Veterans of Foreign Wars told Task & Purpose.

The proposal also includes simplifying net-worth calculations for disability compensation and lowering the threshold for some medical evaluations, which could save some $1.2 billion over the next decade, Military Times reports. One change involves spending a little more in the short term — roughly $72 million — on VA Vocational Rehabilitation services to increase them from 18 months to two years. But over the next decade, the move would save the department $206 million overall.

Another cost-cutting measure involves placing a cap on GI Bill tuition payments for flight training at public schools, which would save the department $500 million over the next 10 years. The use of GI Bill bennies to pay for flight school has come under fire in recent years, due to concerns over graft and overcharges.

"There are some flight schools that have just charged astronomical fees and tuition for veterans," Fuentes told T&P. "There's essentially a loophole where they partner with public institutions and aren’t limited on how much they can charge, and changing that is something we support."


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The post Trump’s 2019 Budget Would Grow VA By $12 Billion appeared first on Task & Purpose.

Troops Would Get Largest Pay Raise In 9 Years Under Proposed Trump Budget

Posted: 12 Feb 2018 11:26 AM PST

Editor's Note: This article by Richard Sisk originally appeared on Military.com, the premier source of information for the military and veteran community.

The Defense Department proposed Monday a 2.6 percent military pay raise for 2019 that would come on top of the 2.4 percent increase this year.

“In support of the department’s effort to continue to build a bigger, more lethal and ready force, the FY2019 budget proposes a 2.6 percent increase in military basic pay,” the Pentagon said in releasing its budget request.

The proposed raise, which would have to be approved by Congress and the White House, would amount to the largest military pay raise in nine years, the department said in the supporting papers for the budget request.

Officials said pay and benefits for uniformed personnel make up about a third of the Pentagon’s budget and amount to the single largest expense category for the department. When civilian personnel are counted, total compensation funding consumes nearly half of the Pentagon’s budget, they said.

The 2.6 percent pay increase proposal is aimed at ensuring the military “remains appropriately positioned to compete with the private-sector marketplace for new recruits and to retain a well-trained and quality force,” the department said.

The request also reflects the expectation within the department that “moderate and manageable increase in basic pay will continue in the near term and will match the growth in private-sector wages,” it said.

In December, President Donald Trump by executive order approved a 2.4 percent military pay increase for fiscal 2018.

Trump acted, as previous presidents have, to approve the pay increase while Congress remained at an impasse on the overall budget.

More from Military.com:

The post Troops Would Get Largest Pay Raise In 9 Years Under Proposed Trump Budget appeared first on Task & Purpose.

2017 Was Tough For Veterans Nonprofits. Here’s How To Weather 2018

Posted: 12 Feb 2018 10:39 AM PST

According to Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin, demand for services by veterans peaks about four decades after a conflict ends. The year 1978 was relatively quiet for active American military personnel, besides a brief Air Force involvement in South Zaire. Yet today, in 2018, the demand for veteran services is as high as many observers can remember it ever being.

Statistically speaking, veteran service organizations (VSOs) should be in a period of regeneration, as they prepare for the growing needs of military families and veterans. The millions of veterans involved in the myriad conflicts that came after 1978 — including the wars and conflicts in the Persian Gulf, Bosnia, Kosovo, Syria, Libya, Yemen, and of course Afghanistan and Iraq — will continue to need support today and into the future.

Yet, on the whole, these military-serving organizations aren't growing; quite the opposite, Despite 16 straight years of war and no end in sight, giving to VSOs was down last year for the 15th year in a row — from .18% of all philanthropic giving to .13%. Similarly, the number of nonprofit organizations focused on veterans and military families continued to decline in 2017, to around 41,000 from a high of 48,000 less than a decade ago.

Additionally, there were noteworthy turnovers in leadership in the VSO community that will have significant impacts on service consistency and organizational sustainment. For example, the executive director at San Diego based non-profit zero8hundred left after three years, and the leadership at a leading women-focused veteran nonprofit has turned over for the third year in a row. One NAVSO member and partner, R4 Alliance, had to close its doors despite years of hard work to build a sustainable model. Other organizations that have served broader populations for decades defunded their programs focused on veteran reintegration.

Why the shift? Money. Years of hard work failed to develop enough sustainable revenue to keep the organizations or veteran-focused programs alive. Many fundraising campaigns that organizations relied upon experienced significant year-over-year decline, with annual corporate sponsor campaigns yielding only a fraction of the donations and many individual donors moving on to other cause areas.

Given NAVSO's work with such a large number and wide variety of veteran-focused nonprofits, government agencies, and funders, we have a unique bird's eye view of trends. This broad, holistic view of the marketplace is why I don't despair. There was, and is good news. While the 2017 statistics and trends for VSOs may seem bleak, I believe there are larger forces at work.

'Right-sizing' veterans' services

One of those forces may be a natural right-sizing of the veterans' services marketplace. Many nonprofit organizations, once founded on a passion for helping our military families, simply failed to offer practical and necessary services, were duplicative, or just plain didn't understand how to sustain a tax-advantaged business. And yes, there should be an emphasis on the word "business." While they are nonprofits and do receive a tax advantage, a solid business-minded strategy and team must be in place along with excellent fiscal discipline in order to keep the doors open.

Passion gives energy and a sense of purpose, but it is not a strategy. As the deployments have slowed, the visibility and sense of urgency in local communities have waned. While failure is disappointing for the organizations' founders, I submit that it is likely better for the veterans and their families to have, in some cases, fewer higher-quality options.

Working with and through the VA

Political change has put a different lens on veterans and military families, with a renewed focus on improving the VA from the inside out. Only time will tell how these policy changes impact the veteran community, but in the short term, they are a direct reflection on how Americans, not directly affiliated with military service, feel about our community and decide to invest their charitable dollars in veteran causes.

In the last congressional session and early on in this new one, Congress introduced legislation aimed at helping veterans and military families get the care and support they need. However, if history has taught us anything, it's that the VA can't go it alone. Veterans, their families, and the nonprofits that support them rely heavily on their communities to help. No discussion of 2017 would be complete without acknowledging the funders who helped bridge the gap or even doubled down on their efforts last year, to support veterans and military families.

Succeeding under tough conditions

I believe that the community writ large is still engaged and moving in the right direction. NAVSO, like many other organizations, had their best year yet. Resources earned, veterans served, outcomes measured: Many were solidly up. Our exclusive grant prospecting tool, Grant Map, helped members find new sources of diverse and sustainable revenue and our relationships with funders hoping to get a better return on their grants helped several NAVSO members garner an additional $325,000 in Q4 of 2017 alone. For VSO sustainability and ultimately impact, the bottom line is about the bottom line.

Implementing 'lessons learned'

One more piece of encouraging news: There is now a playbook. The Military Family Research Institute (MFRI) at Purdue University and NAVSO member, directed by Dr. Shelley MacDermid Wadsworth, and the Center for Deployment Psychology, directed by Dr. David Riggs, just published a groundbreaking book, A Battle Plan for Supporting Military Families. In this book, leaders from a wide variety of sectors and organizations reflect on the lessons they learned as they worked successfully to support military and veteran families since 2001.

This research will help current and future leaders examine their organizations and put mechanisms in place before they are needed. Dr. MacDermid Wadsworth and her colleagues posit that with better "battle planning," there can be faster responses, better coordination, fewer missteps, and — most important — more effective support for families. Being able to measure an organization's impact will increase funding, as evidence, metrics, and measurement always trump passion.  

I remain not just hopeful but optimistic about the future of veteran service organizations. Still, as much as I hate to say it, I agree with the experts that we haven't fought our last war. If Dr. Shulkin is right, we can expect a dramatic uptick in demand for veterans' services in a few years, and that demand will continue for the foreseeable future. If you're part of a nonprofit that serves veterans and their families, your resources are probably already stretched thin. You may be wondering how in the world you'll cope when demand increases again.

The time to strategize is now. By learning from those who are surviving and thriving under difficult conditions — and from those who have failed, and leveraging modern tools and technology, I am confident that an organization can continue to meet today's needs — and build a strong foundation that will allow well-meaning VSOs and funders to meet the needs of tomorrow's veterans and their families.

The post 2017 Was Tough For Veterans Nonprofits. Here’s How To Weather 2018 appeared first on Task & Purpose.

Female Vets Talk Abut Dating Civilian Men After Getting Out

Posted: 12 Feb 2018 08:20 AM PST

Dating after the military can be a very eye-opening experience, especially for women. Sometimes they encounter the all-too-well-known Fan Boy. This is someone who really should have just joined the military, but instead he fetishizes the uniform. Is it harmless that he likes to wear your uniform to bed? Yes. It is still weird? Yes.

The Fan-Boy

The Background Checker

The “I would have served but…”

The post Female Vets Talk Abut Dating Civilian Men After Getting Out appeared first on Task & Purpose.

SpaceX Could Pave The Way For Drop Ships

Posted: 12 Feb 2018 07:27 AM PST

  • SpaceX successfully landed two rockets vertically at the same time.
  • This could lead to endless advancement in space exploration.
  • We couldn’t help but wonder what this could mean for our military.

The post SpaceX Could Pave The Way For Drop Ships appeared first on Task & Purpose.

Much Of What You May Think You Know About Korean ‘Comfort Women’ Is Wrong

Posted: 12 Feb 2018 07:00 AM PST

The comfort women issue exploded in 1992 when Japanese historian Yoshimi Yoshiaki announced the discovery of documents linking the Japanese government to the wartime brothel network in the 1930s and '40s. Japan was accused of abducting hundreds of thousands of women as sex slaves, and then of massacring them in droves once the Fifteen-Year War in Asia had been all but lost. The main victims were said to be Koreans. Japanese politicians made endless apologies, and the anti-establishment Japanese press had a field day. Even the United Nations got involved, releasing the infamous Coomaraswamy Report on the comfort women issue in 1996.

For South Korea, where anti-Japanism is a perennial centerpiece of statecraft, the comfort women issue would seem to be a diplomatic slam dunk. And yet, the more South Korea presses the topic, the more it loses ground.

There are two main reasons for this.

First, the key comfort women claims are not true. Apart from rare war crimes (wherein offenders were later tried and punished), there was no systematized "forced abduction." There were nowhere near "200,000 comfort women". Many of the comfort women were not Korean. Much of this fantasy flowed from the pen of a communist named Yoshida Seiji, whose 1982 work of fiction, Watashi no senso hanzai ("My war crimes"), was treated as fact by the Asahi Shimbun newspaper. Today's comfort women partisans continue to recycle Yoshida's points, even if they do not cite him by name. Indeed, even the Coomaraswamy Report is essentially a rehashing of Yoshida's book.

The second reason is that the closer one examines the comfort women issue, the worse other countries (including South Korea) begin to look.

From the ancient Greeks to the American Civil War to Bordels Mobile de Campagne, prostitutes have always followed the columns. German researcher Magnus Hirschfeld was the first to investigate the inseparability of war and sex. During the Great War, Hirschfeld found, there was heavy traffic at brothels arranged by combatant governments. Business boomed.

World War II was different, with men stationed in far-flung garrisons surrounded by potentially hostile locals. Americans, with the largest military-run brothel system in the world, had the luxury of locating their comfort stations along Hotel Street in Honolulu, far from enemy lines. For security reasons, Japanese field commanders forbade patronizing local prostitutes in order to stem information leaks.

Also fearing reprisals by Chinese civilians, high-ranking Japanese officials, in imitation of Western models, set up "comfort stations" (iansho) in an attempt to reduce the scourge of rapes bedeviling operations. The recruitment of women for these iansho was often subcontracted to madams in Japan and pimps in Korea. (This was made much easier because the Korean peninsula, under the yangban system, had centuries of experience in buying and selling young women — another inconvenient fact for comfort women diplomacy.)

While the Japanese military strove to end wartime rapes, some other combatant countries actually encouraged it. The worst offender during World War II was surely the Soviet Union, whose troops went on a rape rampage at the end of the war. In Manchuria, countless Japanese women committed suicide after being brutalized by advancing Soviet troops. (Although not encouraged by commanding officers, U.S. GIs raped French women by the thousands after liberating Normandy.)

Controlling venereal disease was the other calculus in a commander's decision to provide his men with prostitutes. U.S. Gen. Claire Chennault's Flying Tigers, for example, were often grounded by syphilis and gonorrhea. Although forbidden to visit Kunming's notorious red-light district, where the VD infection rate was said to be 100%, GIs kept going anyway. Exasperated, Chennault flew in prostitutes from India until Gen. Joseph Stilwell intervened.

Surprisingly, the comfort women system did not end in 1945. The Korean War brought comfort stations for troops from the United States. Indeed, the South Korean government supported this peninsular comfort women system. Former president Park Chung-hee personally signed an order in 1977 to clean up the "camptowns" where "Western princesses" serviced U.S. troops. The aim? To keep the American military in South Korea and U.S. dollars flowing into the economy. South Korean women who work at the brothels thronging U.S. bases are still stuck in an endless cycle of sex work and societal discrimination.

The hard truth is that South Korea is also guilty of heinous war crimes. In 1966 and 1968, for example, South Korean troops savagely raped and butchered dozens of defenseless Vietnamese peasant women in Binh Tai, Phong Nhi, and Phong Nhat. There is also the record of Korean cruelty against Allied POWs in World War II, and the sad legacy of the Lai Dai Han, the tens of thousands of abandoned, illegitimate children of South Korean soldiers born during the Vietnam War. It is a losing diplomatic gambit for any nation to bring up the history of wartime violence against women.

However, there is something much more sinister afoot with the comfort women issue than just shortsighted diplomacy. Today, the United States is home to several comfort women statues, most recently in San Francisco. (The mayor of Osaka, San Francisco's sister city, cut ties after the city council approved the statue.) Comfort women statues can be found throughout South Korea, as well, most notably in front of the Japanese consulate in Busan. A comfort woman statue went up late last year in Manila, and in Sydney in 2016.

What do all these locations have in common? They are all key American allies in Asia. And the country with the biggest interest in breaking up American alliances with Asian nations is, of course, the People's Republic of China. The comfort women controversy is a Chinese weapon to destabilize American relations with Asia and weaken Japan's standing around the world. This is the overriding reason why South Korea must cease pressing the comfort women issue: it is now a subsidiary of the Chinese information war.

Jason Morgan is assistant professor at Reitaku University in Chiba, Japan, and a research fellow at the Japan Forum for Strategic Studies. He holds a PhD in Japanese history from the University of Wisconsin, and an MA in Chinese Studies from the University of Hawai'i, Mānoa. From 2014 to 2015 Morgan was a Fulbright scholar at Waseda University in Tokyo. He has written for Japan Review, Michigan Historical Review, JAPAN Forward, the Journal of American-East Asian Relations, the Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics, the Journal of Asian History, and Inter-Asia Cultural Studies, among other publications. His best-selling book, "Amerika wa naze Nihon wo mikudasu ka?" ("Why does America look down on Japan?"), was published by Wani Books in 2016. Morgan is also the translator of Hata Ikuhiko's 1999 book on the comfort women, available from Hamilton Books this year.


The post Much Of What You May Think You Know About Korean ‘Comfort Women’ Is Wrong appeared first on Task & Purpose.

Here’s How To Do Trump’s Parade

Posted: 12 Feb 2018 04:00 AM PST

President Trump wants a parade. I say, let him have it. But let's do it American style. He's suggesting an Independence Day event. Terrific idea, but, to avoid the punishing afternoon heat, let's do the march down Pennsylvania Avenue at about nine in the morning. At the end of the march have the tanks, infantry carriers, and artillery pieces do a right flank march onto the National Mall and join their active-duty and veteran comrades in a "Grand Encampment." 

The precedent for a Grand Encampment in Washington dates back to post-Civil War America when veterans of the "Grand Army of the Republic" celebrated their service by conducting a review down Pennsylvania Avenue. These yearly reviews and encampments lasted well into the 20th century. 

Why do this now? It's simple. Even though the military is our most respected institution very few Americans really know us. In my Vietnam generation virtually every household had a relative or neighbor who served. Today less than one half of one percent of our citizens serve in on active-duty today. No surprise then that very few Americans have even spoken to a soldier. 

A Grand Encampment would reintroduce America to its military. It would turn a muscled display of military might into a celebration of our best. Think of the Mall festooned with displays depicting the military's involvement in global and domestic disaster relief. Military medical personnel would be able to showcase their successful treatment of wounded veterans and highlight our military's intervention in regions threatened by drought and pandemics. 

Our citizens would be allowed to climb on cool military stuff while hanging out and talking shop with young tank and helicopter crewmen. I would invite reenactors from all our wars to camp out on the Mall in period uniforms and teach students a bit about their wartime heritage. Visitors would be invited to play inside state-of-the-art virtual simulators and perhaps experience the thrill of jumping out of an airborne "mock parachute tower" or perhaps fly down a Ranger School "slide for life."

A flyover would likely culminate Trump's morning parade. After the flyover, let's invite aircraft from all the services to land at nearby Joint Base Andrews and join a huge celebration of American airpower past and present. The air services would entertain by conducting mock air battles with legacy and modern combat aircraft. Perhaps the Army could join in with a tactical parachute jump over the airbase. 

Protesters would show up in droves of course. After all this is Washington. But instead of sending in the Capitol Police, let's invite all peaceful protest groups to join in and engage with soldiers and veterans inside the encampment. What could be more American? 

Lest our citizens forget I'd recommend the day end with three candlelight military "tattoos," one each at the World War II, Korean and Vietnam memorials. Imagine a solemn gathering of soldiers, veterans, and Joe America (with his family) standing together in the twilight to honor those who died to protect America. 

MG (Ret) Bob Scales is a former commandant of the Army War College. He spent 18 of his 35 years of service in military education. He earned his Ph.D. in history from Duke University and was president of Walden University after retirement.

The post Here's How To Do Trump's Parade appeared first on Task & Purpose.