#Veterans Military

#Veterans Military

Navy SEAL Officer To Be Arraigned In Connection To Killing Of Unarmed ISIS Fighter

Posted: 17 Jan 2019 02:50 PM PST

Navy SEAL Lt. Jacob "Jake" Portier will be arraigned Tuesday in San Diego for allegedly failing to report war crimes committed by a fellow SEAL and other related offenses.

Portier is the second SEAL to be charged in connection with the death of a wounded ISIS fighter in 2017 during the battle of Mosul. Chief Edward Gallagher is accused of killing the young man with a knife and then holding a reenlistment ceremony next to the fighter's corpse.

The Navy SEAL officer is charged with dereliction of duty for allegedly failing to prevent Gallagher from wounding two non-combatants with a sniper rifle; failure to obey a lawful general order for not reporting an alleged war crime; obstruction of justice for allegedly destroying evidence; making false official statements for allegedly lying to his superior officers about Gallagher; and conduct unbecoming an officer for allegedly telling enlisted service members to pose for pictures with a human corpse.

Portier had also been accused of lying to cover up the death of the ISIS fighter, but a specification of misprision of a serious offense against him was dismissed.

At his Article 32 hearing in November, Portier's attorney Jeremiah Sullivan argued that his client did in fact tell his chain of command what he knew about the allegations against Gallagher.

Sullivan told Task & Purpose that Portier is "a highly decorated combat veteran who served our country on the battlefield," whom Sullivan looked forward to representing at trial.

Read the whole charge sheet here:

SEE ALSO: EXCLUSIVE: Video, Leaked Documents Cast Doubt On Navy SEAL Allegedly Stabbing ISIS Fighter

WATCH NEXT: A Navy Seal Is Accused Of Committing War Crimes In Iraq

Trump Cancels Pelosi's Trip To Afghanistan As Payback For State Of The Union Letter

Posted: 17 Jan 2019 01:30 PM PST

President Donald Trump hit back at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday with a letter saying he was "sorry to inform" her that her trip to Brussels, Belgium and Afghanistan would be canceled due to the government shutdown, just one day after Pelosi proposed cancelling the State of the Union address for similar reasons.

"We will reschedule this seven-day excursion when the Shutdown is over," Trump wrote. "In light of the 800,000 great American workers not receiving pay, I am sure you would agree that postponing this public relations event is totally appropriate."

Security concerns amid the government shutdown, currently in its 27th day, were cited as the reason for Pelosi's call to delay the president's address, which was scheduled for Jan. 29. Pelosi was supposed to depart on her trip on military aircraft at 3 p.m., according to Axios, about 30 minutes before Trump sent her the letter — which is dripping with sarcasm.

"Obviously, if you would like to make your journey by flying commercial, that would certainly be your prerogative," Trump wrote.

Drew Hammill, a spokesman for Pelosi, said in a statement that the congressional delegation was scheduled to meet in Brussels with NATO officials, U.S. military leaders, and allies to affirm the United States "ironclad commitment to the NATO alliance," before heading to Afghanistan.

"The purpose of the trip was to express appreciation and thanks to our men and women in uniform for their service and dedication, and to obtain critical national security and intelligence briefings from those on the front lines," Hammill continued. "The President traveled to Iraq during the Trump Shutdown as did a Republican CODEL led by Rep. Zeldin."

Meanwhile, Trump ally Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) released a statement which amounted to, hey grow up, both of you, will ya?

"One sophomoric response does not deserve another," Graham said, according to Axios. "Speaker Pelosi's threat to cancel the State of the Union is very irresponsible and blatantly political. President Trump denying Speaker Pelosi military travel to visit our troops in Afghanistan, our allies in Egypt and NATO is also inappropriate."

You can read the full letter from Trump below:

The White House

R. Lee Ermey, Marine Corps Drill Instructor Turned Iconic Actor, Will Be Buried At Arlington

Posted: 17 Jan 2019 11:35 AM PST

Retired Marine Staff Sgt. R. Lee Ermey, the legendary Marine drill instructor turned iconic Full Metal Jacket actor who died last year, will be formally laid to rest with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery at 10 a.m. on Jan. 18, according to the cemetery's web site.

  • Ermy, who rose to fame for his powerful performance turning recruits into killing machines as Gunnery Sergeant Hartman in Full Metal Jacket, died of complications from pneumonia on April 15, 2018.
  • "Gunnery Sergeant Hartman of Full Metal Jacket fame was a hard and principled man," Bill Rogin, Ermey's long-time agent, told Task & Purpose in a statement after news of his death broke. "The real R. Lee Ermey was a family man, and a kind and gentle soul. He was generous to everyone around him. And, he especially cared deeply for others in need."
  • We've reached out to Arlington National Cemetary for more information. You can learn more at the cemetery's website here.

SEE ALSO: 10 Things You Never Realized About 'Full Metal Jacket'

WATCH NEXT: In Memory of R. Lee Ermey

The Latest 'John Wick' Trailer Has War Dogs, Suave Super Assassins, And A Gunfight On Horseback

Posted: 17 Jan 2019 10:55 AM PST

John Wick doesn't give a fuck. He doesn't care about the rules of fancy hotels. He doesn't care about the odds, considering he's always outnumbered and always ends up the last man standing.

And he definitely doesn't give a damn about traffic laws, made apparent in the new trailer for John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum.

John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum (2019 Movie) Official Trailer – Keanu Reeves, Halle Berry www.youtube.com

Keanu Reeves returns as the titular assassin in the newly released trailer, galloping through a busy intersection on horseback and shooting bad guys in the face like some kind of immortal Custer whose last stand never ended, albeit with better facial hair and style.

Did someone call for the cavalry?John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum/IMDB

The story picks up immediately after the events of John Wick: Chapter 2, with our dapper gunslinger excommunicated from the Continental, a network of safe harbors masquerading as high-priced hotels for hired guns. The trailer doesn't give much away about what's in store for John Wick, just that everyone and their mother is out for his blood — or at least that $14 million dollar bounty on his head.

With nowhere to run, Wick will have to shoot, stab, and kick his way to safety as he tries to escape. Fortunately, this time he'll have some backup from fellow gunslinger Sofia (Halle Berry) and her two kitted out Belgian Malinois, who leap across furniture to mangle a pair of assassins in the short promo. For a franchise that started with a revenge rampage over a slain puppy, the scene — and the prospect of more canine carnage — feels almost poetic.

When John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum hits theaters on May 17, at least this time we know the dogs aren't in any danger, though anyone coming after Wick certainly is.

SEE ALSO: Keanu Reeves Prepares For War In 'John Wick 3: Parabellum'

WATCH NEXT: 5 Reasons To Watch 'The Expanse'

We're Not Sure Whether To Laugh Or Cry At This Display Of 'Powered Armor' In Ghana

Posted: 17 Jan 2019 10:51 AM PST

Ever since Robert Heinlein introduced the world to the fascist future of intergalactic warfare with 1959's Starship Troopers, the world has been fixated on seeing the powered armor he envisioned become a reality.

Heinlein's powered armor comes in many shapes and sizes. Call it an exoskeleton like the U.S. Army does or an 'Iron Man' suit like the minds behind U.S. Special Operations Command's Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit occasionally do. But everyone loves the idea of skimming enemy territory with jet-assisted leaps and bounds, your Y-rack firing out small H.E. bombs every couple hundred yards while looking like, in Heinlein's words "a big steel gorilla, armed with gorilla-sized weapons.

The bizarre garbage pile that the Ghanian military trotted out last month is the complete opposite of that.

During the 38th annual Technology Exhibition in the country's capital of Accra, a notoriously shady Ghanian auto magnate rolled out what appear to be, ostensibly, powered exoskeletons designed to give the warfighter of the future an edge. First spotted by The War Zone, the kits are apparently comprised of shoulder-mounted automatic rifle turrets (think War Machine), gauntlet-mounted arm cannons, and bright green armor panels held together by a latticework of hydraulic tubes.

At first glance, the rig almost —almost — looks like an up-armored version of the Interceptor Multi-Threat Body Armor System used by the U.S. armed forces in the 1990s.

But let's be real: This get-up actually looks like someone spray-painted a bunch of cardboard and a motorcycle helmet and slapped them on some poor idiot on parade. This isn't powered armor; it's a shitpile on par with Iran's latest stealth fighter.


Then again, why am I surprised? As The War Zone expertly points out, the man behind these contraptions appears completely batshit insane:

It certainly says something about the man behind these creations, The Apostle Dr. Kwadwo Safo Kantanka, founder of both the Kantanka Group of Companies and his Pentecostal Church, the Kristo Asafo Mission of Ghana. A 2016 Jalopnik profile on Katanka and his automotive interests, which is worth reading in full, makes it clear that its unclear why and when he dubbed himself an apostle or started referring to himself as a "doctor."


In addition to the automotive arm, Kantanka Group has a long history of producing similar military "innovations," including a wooden "attack helicopter" and something that defies description and has features that appear ripped from an airplane and a trailer-mounted anti-aircraft gun. Even the vehicles that look more realistic in their basic design have obviously fake weapons and other "advanced" features.

I respect the moxie it takes to trot out some military-industrial spectacle. But when it comes to actually making the powered armor of your dreams a reality, The Apostle Dr. Kwadwo Safo Kantanka is no Robert Heinlein. Hell, he's not even a Tony Stark; if anything, he's probably a Justin Hammer:

Iron Man 2 | 'You Want My Property,You Can't Have It' Scene | (2010) Movie Clip 2K youtu.be

SEE ALSO: This Powered Exoskeleton Is Here To Make Ruck Marching A Breeze

WATCH NEXT: You Can Finally Watch The Army's 'Third Arm' Exoskeleton In Action

Transitioning Home: One Vet's Journey From The Marine Corps To Cintas

Posted: 17 Jan 2019 10:50 AM PST

Military service takes people all over the globe and offers unique experiences. Those opportunities are invaluable. However, when military service is over, being able to return home is often top priority. For Thomas England, the end goal was to find a job back home in Kansas City so he could provide a stable life for his family. Through Cintas, he found an occasion to do just that and has thrived in the process.

For England, serving in the Marine Corps was second nature. He enlisted in the delayed entry program in 2000 prior to the start of his senior year in high school because it was the right thing to do. "I was willing and able and it was a good time to do it," he said. He was not excited to go straight to college after high school graduation and the Marine Corps provided him with a chance to gain valuable experience at a young age. It also led to opportunity. After his first year as an enlisted Marine in the Marine Corps Reserve, England was contacted by his recruiter notifying him that he had been selected for a full ride NROTC scholarship. England then choose to attend the University of Kansas. That call was the catalyst for England to further his education and after college graduation in 2006, England was commissioned as a 2ndLt spending the next 7 years as an Armor Officer. As an officer, England spent his first several years with 2nd Tank Battalion where he deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and was selected ahead of his peers for Company Command. His later years were spent as a Project Officer at the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory (MCWL) including a year as MCWL's Commanding General's Aide-de-Camp. England gained advanced tactical, operational, communication, problem solving, and leadership skills during his time in the Marine Corps, never realizing that these same skills would serve him for years to come.

In 2013, it was time for a change. England had proudly served his country and was now longing to return to Kansas. "One of my personal goals was to return to Kansas City," he said. "I wanted stability for my family and I wanted to be home." While accompanying his wife to a hiring fair, England came upon another opportunity when he learned about Cintas and all they had to offer him as a veteran.

Cintas, a Fortune 500 company, provides a multitude of specialized business services including custom uniform programs, cleaning supplies and services, promotional products, floor mats, first aid cabinets and supplies as well as fire protection services. The hard working, industrial aspect of the company appealed to England. He went on to explain that strong work ethic is at core of Cintas' culture. "It is a lot like working in the military," he said. Another aspect that England loved was the opportunity for career advancement with a rapidly growing corporation. "I was drawn to Cintas because they have three divisions in one location," England said. Cintas offered opportunities in everything from sales and marketing to operations, customer service and project management. He recognized early on that a career with Cintas presented an occasion to "change careers without changing companies," allowing him to settle down in Kansas City and still have possibilities for career growth.

Since he first began with Cintas in 2014, England quickly advanced within the company. He started as a Service Manager with their Rental Division before moving on to work in various sales positions, including a Market Development Rep, Uniform Sales, and his current position as a Market Sales Manager in the Fire Protection division. Each position presented new challenges none the less, England excelled as both a leader and as an individual contributor.

Thomas England

Like many veterans, England faced challenges as he transitioned out of the military and into the corporate world. "I never had experience in corporate America before the military," he explained. "I didn't know what to expect." But he was motivated by change and chose to view the challenges as a positive. The military taught him to not fear change but rather to accept these difficult moments head on. England had acquired a "challenge accepted" mentality that helped spur him forward in his transition.

One of the biggest challenges England recognized was the interview process. "It was very long," he explained. "I went through five or six levels of interviews before getting the job." England advised veteran job seekers to be prepared for each step of the process. "First impressions are important," he said. "Be ready with a new suit and tie and make sure you look professional." He recommended starting the job search early and identifying what specifically is important in an employer. "Conduct research on different companies and their culture so you can find a company that fits your goals instead of the other way around."

England advised all veteran job seekers create a comprehensive list of specific, personal attributes to offer a company. Leadership was number one for England so when beginning his job search he did just that and came up with a detailed list to articulate his leadership experience and philosophy to present to future employers. He explained, "I wrote down teambuilder, complex problem solver, positive mental attitude, operational planning skills, strong communicator, things that directly link back to my service in the Marine Corps." This helped him stay focused with how he marketed himself and aided him in his job search.

England also suggested veterans learn to leverage their advocates when seeking employment. "Letters of recommendation are extremely helpful," he said. Job seekers should have a list of solid references they can present to all potential employers. Further, England recommends veterans seek opportunities to do mock interviews. "Find a list of frequently used interview questions and rehearse with a friend or spouse. The more rehearsals, the better."

Veterans need to recognize the unique strengths they bring to the table, which often differ from those of a civilian counterpart. England's military service provided him with the specific skills he needed to land and succeed in his career with Cintas. "The culture at Cintas is very similar to the culture of the military," he explained. "Both focus on camaraderie, teamwork, professionalism, continual improvement, and competitiveness. Both encourage and expect hard work and workers are rewarded for that." This shared culture made the transition from the military to the corporate world much smoother for England. The recognizable values at Cintas have made it easier for the company to attract and retain veteran employees like England. Cintas' reputation for being a military-friendly employer has opened the door for veterans looking for a place to land after their service.

For England, a man who is not afraid of challenges, opportunities abound. He knows where to seek prospects and he knows how to accept them when they come knocking. That attitude propelled him through a successful career with the Marine Corps and continues to guide him in his career with Cintas. Working for a veteran-friendly company has provided England with unparalleled growth; being able to find success while living in his beloved hometown of Kansas City is the best opportunity available.

Pence Mentions ‘Wolf Pack Of Rogue States’ Which May Or May Not Be Roaming Vegas Searching For Cocaine

Posted: 17 Jan 2019 09:52 AM PST

Oh, honey, that Axis of Evil getup is so 2002. You need to get with the times and try on this little number called a Wolf Pack of Rogue States, designed by Mike Pence.

Yes, the Axis is Evil is out, and the Wolf Pack of Rogue States is so, so in.

The vice president mentioned the latest and greatest phrase to describe anti-American super-villain states during a conference in Washington on Wednesday, and clearly, they must all be running around the desert together looking for strippers and cocaine.

The Hangover! Alan's wolfpack speech in Vegas hahaha www.youtube.com

Enter Pence:

"Beyond our global competitors, the United States faces a wolf pack of rogue states. No shared ideology or objective unites our competitors and adversaries except this one: They seek to overturn the international order that the United States has upheld for more that half a century."

According to Pence, the Wolf Pack includes Iran, North Korea, Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela. Notably absent: China and Russia, the two states that actually have a shot at seeking "to overturn the international order."

As Daniel Larison notes at The American Conservative, the Wolf Pack crowd's "ability to 'overturn the international order' is practically nil, and it isn't even certain that most of them desire that outcome. If North Korea, Iran, Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua are our main adversaries, we are as secure as can be and we have very little to worry about."

Pence's wolf pack phrase follows another tried by National Security Advisor John Bolton back in November, when he labeled Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua as a "troika of tyranny" and a "triangle of terror," which make for interesting death metal band names, but seem kind of lame in comparison to the infamous 2002 "Axis of Evil" phrase from David Frum.

But perhaps they can consult with Stitch Jones, the Ayatollah of Rock-and-rolla, for some better branding.

Heartbreak Ridge - Stitch Jones meets Gunnery Sergeant Highway www.youtube.com

Army Moving Forward With Case Against Green Beret Charged With Killing Suspected Taliban Bomb-Maker

Posted: 17 Jan 2019 08:37 AM PST

Army Special Forces Maj. Matthew Golsteyn – whom President Donald Trump has called "a U.S. Military hero" – will face an Article 32 hearing in March after being charged with murder for allegedly killing a suspected Taliban bomb-maker.

On Dec. 18, the convening authority for Golestyn's case decided to hold the preliminary hearing in connection with the Feb. 28, 2010 incident, Army officials have announced. The proceedings are slated to start on March 14 at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

"This is an initial step towards determining whether Major Mathew Golsteyn violated Article 118 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, Premediated Murder," according to a U.S. Army Special Operations Command news release.

USASOC spokesman Lt. Col. Loren Bymer declined to comment further on Thursday.

Golsteyn first admitted to killing the unarmed Afghan man during a polygraph interview for a CIA job, but Army investigators did not find enough evidence to prosecute him. The investigation was re-opened after Golsteyn acknowledged in an October 2016 interview that he had killed the suspected bomb-maker.

He told Fox News' Bret Baier that he feared the man would kill an Afghan tribal leader, who had told Golsteyn that the man had built a bomb that killed two Marines.

"It is an inevitable outcome that people who are cooperating with the coalition forces, when identified, will suffer some terrible torture or be killed," Golsteyn said.

President Trump has voiced support for Golsteyn, tweeting on Dec. 16 that he would review the case.

"He could face the death penalty from our own government after he admitted to killing a Terrorist bomb maker while overseas," Trump tweeted.

Golsteyn's attorney Philip Stackhouse said the Article 32 hearing was scheduled to allow his defense team to analyze more than 1,000 pages of documents recently provided by the prosecution, organize more than a dozen witnesses for the proceedings, and attempt to interview witnesses from CIA and other agencies.

"This will be Matt's first opportunity to face witnesses who claim to have information that is incriminating against him," Stackhouse told Task & Purpose. "The additional time also allows Matt to complete obligations he had accepted with the International Association of Fire Fighters – where he has served as the chief operating officer for approximately two – years, until his status in the Army was unilaterally changed with no due process rights."

SEE ALSO: The Contractor Whose Mysterious Death Is Being Investigated Was A Decorated Green Beret

WATCH NEXT: A Navy SEAL Is Accused Of Committing War Crimes In Iraq

He Built A $24 Million T-Shirt Empire. Now He’s Building A Village For Homeless Vets

Posted: 17 Jan 2019 08:08 AM PST

In the city of Savannah, Georgia, an Army veteran and entrepreneur has a plan to end veteran homelessness in his community. It starts with building a village of tiny homes.

"The idea that any of us could be homeless at any given point in time, just one paycheck away, it resonates," Tyler Merritt, a former Apache pilot and special operations air mission commander, told Task & Purpose.

Merritt is behind the veterans village project, which is aiming to create as many as 24 single-occupant tiny homes in Savannah, Georgia. It's spearheaded by the Nine Line Foundation, a veterans charity he founded as an off-shoot from his company, Nine Line Apparel.

"I've been damn near bankrupt and upside down, one paycheck away, just like everyone else," said Merritt, the CEO of Nine Line Apparel. Founded in 2012, the popular veterans' clothing company has recorded approximately $24 million in sales since it began.

"If you lose your family and friends and hit rock bottom, there still has to be some organization out there that can give a hand up, not a hand out."

To date, they've raised roughly $300,000 to support the initiative and built 10 tiny homes, with the goal of moving in occupants within the next several months, and plan to construct the remaining buildings by year's end, Merritt told Task & Purpose.

The idea is to use the village as transitional housing where the participants can partner with counselors and career coaches, and eventually find gainful employment, before moving into a place of their own.

"If I provided 50 permanent structures, it puts a dent, but it doesn't cycle people through, it's not sustainable," he said. "There's something about earning that makes it so it's worthwhile. They'll find meaning in getting up in the day because they have a job."

A tiny home created by the Nine Line Foundation.Photo courtesy of Nine Line Foundation

In the past, the foundation has built custom homes for severely wounded veterans, focusing on helping one person at a time, "to help them return to some sense of normalcy," Merritt explained.

But the individuals they were helping in those cases already had a built-in support network of friends and family, Merritt said. "The individuals that we're dealing with now, have none."

"For us, the first step is getting an individual off the street," Merritt said, before adding that "it's housing first, not housing only."

Nine Line Foundation is partnering with Chatham-Savannah Authority for the Homeless on its veteran village initiative, along with Georgia Southern University, which will provide vocational training and career counseling, Merritt said.

Local nonprofits and businesses have rogered up to provide food and clothing to the program, and the initiative's sponsors include the Joe Marchese Commercial Construction & Development, The Josh Reddick Foundation, Coca-Cola, Blu Site Solutions, and Food Lion.

Tyler Merritt, CEO of Nine Line Apparel and the founder of the Nine Line Foundation.Photo courtesy of Nine Line Foundation

To make all this work, Merritt said he intends to pass on the federal funding typically set aside for homeless initiatives in favor of volunteer-work, donations, collaboration between charities, fundraisers, and sponsorship.

"The [Department of Housing and Urban Development] has its initiatives and there's other philanthropic organizations that mean well, but we're not a socialist country," Merritt said. "It doesn't work."

The plan to go at it without federal assistance is ambitious, and it's not without risk, especially when you consider the scope: It's not just housing. They intend to provide food, clothing, as well as job-training and counseling, and hope to have self-sustaining hydroponic and aquaponic farming on site.

"There's a lot of people who say this isn't a self-sustaining model," Merritt told Task & Purpose. "We don't know. This is a theory... What I believe, and what the government is starting to understand is that these issues have to be solved on a community level, specifically on a local level."

On the whole, veteran homelessness is on the decline. A Nov. 1, 2018 report from the Department of Housing and Urban Development found that the number of homeless veterans in the United States has dropped by 5.4% since 2017, and by nearly half since 2010.

Though the veterans village model is more expansive than the "one individual at a time" approach the foundation has taken in the past, there's a limit on how many people can participate in the program at a time, as well as who is eligible.

"We're going after the veteran population, one: because it resonates with me, and two: these individuals have proved themselves mentally and physically capable of holding a job," Merritt said. "There's a screening process to become a veteran."

Nine Line Foundation volunteers help construct a tiny home for the foundation's veterans village initiative in Savannah, Georgia.Photo courtesy of Nine Line Foundation

To live in the veterans village, participants will need proof of their military service in the form of a DD-214, and those with a Dishonorable Discharge will have their cases reviewed by the foundation's board, but Merritt stressed that "so long as they're not a threat to the population, or committed some egregious crime, then they'd be considered," adding "there's good people who have made bad choices."

When it comes to selecting who will participate in the program, Merritt said the approach is akin to triage.

"If we've got a hundred applicants for 10 spots then, the question becomes: Do you have the markers of success?" he asked. "If there's individuals who are enthusiastic, who have some abilities to allow them to transition through this program faster, then we're going to help them first."

"If I focus my attention on 10 individuals who I can get off the street in twelve months, and transition them to a job that affords them the ability to pay for an apartment, excellent," Merritt continued. "Then I can go get another person."

SEE ALSO: Steve Carell Is Making A Show About The Space Force Similar To 'The Office'

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The Military Has Started Issuing New Sneakers To Recruits At Boot Camp

Posted: 17 Jan 2019 07:26 AM PST

Editor's Note: This article by Hope Hodge Seck originally appeared on Military.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

Coming to recruit training near you: American-made standard-issue sneakers.

After a lengthy and sometimes divisive process, the Pentagon's Defense Logistics Agency has begun delivering athletic shoes made by three American manufacturers to the military services for issue during entry-level training.

The Air Force, the first to receive the new shoes, began issuing them to its recruits Jan. 2.

According to a DLA release, the Navy will be the next to get the shoes this spring, followed by the Army and Marine Corps at the end of the year.

Sneakers are becoming standard-issue for the first time across the Defense Department services following a provision in the 2017 defense budget requiring the military to provide American-made athletic shoes free of charge. Previously, throughout the years, a variety of arrangements were reached to get troops their go-fasters: services would issue the shoes individualls, or let troops buy them with a provided allowance or their own money.

A 2016 legislative fight erupted over bill language that would limit the service's footwear options to New Balance sneakers. The limitation was the result of wording that required all components of the shoes to be domestically made, a stipulation that it appeared only the Boston-based New Balance met.

Ultimately, however, three contracts were awarded. In addition to New Balance, San Antonio Shoemakers and Propper Footwear were tapped to provide the shoes.

DLA awarded the first contract to the Texas-based San Antonio Shoemakers in December 2017 for $34 million to deliver 206,000 pairs of shoes. Propper, based in Puerto Rico, got the next contract in February 2018 for $27 million, for 180,250 pairs of shoes. The final contract went to New Balance in March 2018 for $17 million, for 128,750 pairs of shoes. Each contract comes with an option that can be exercised to buy more shoes.

On average, the shoes, black with slightly different style features, cost just over $90 per pair.

Each company will make and deliver three different varieties of shoes, designed to military specification, DLA spokeswoman Mikia Muhammad told Military.com. The cushion/neutral variant is designed for troops with high arches; the stability shoe variant accommodates medium arches and moderate pronation; and the motion-control variant is best for those with low arches.

With the three variants and an array of 100 men's sizes and 40 women's sizes, according to releases, the distribution agency says troops should face no lack of choice to suit their needs.

"Recruits now have more variety in lengths and widths than any commercial athletic shoe in the world," Air Force Col. Melvin Maxwell, DLA's director of Clothing and Textiles, said in a statement.

Muhammad said the number of shoes each service receives will depend on their demand. According to a released distribution schedule, the Navy will get the new shoes delivered to the service's only boot camp in Great Lakes, Illinois, in April. The Army and Marine Corps will receive the shoes at all entry-level training facilities in October.

The Coast Guard, the only service that currently issues athletic shoes to troops, will phase in the new shoes as it depletes its current stock of sneakers, the DLA said. The phase-in will begin this month at boot camp in Cape May, New Jersey.

In all, some 250,000 go-fasters will be distributed to recruits every year going forward.

"The athletic footwear program is a positive development for the U.S. clothing industry, offering additional manufacturing opportunities," Army Brig. Gen. Mark Simerly, DLA Troop Support commander, said in a statement. "From the time the requirement was generated, to production of the shoes, to delivering to our troops, this has been an outstanding example of industry's responsiveness and support."

This article originally appeared on Military.com

More articles from Military.com:

SEE ALSO: The Army Is Finally Testing New Combat Boots After Thousands Of Soldiers Complained About Their Current Pair

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Disabled Navy Vet Turned Georgia Cop Caught In Online Child-Sex Sting At Robins Air Force Base

Posted: 17 Jan 2019 07:09 AM PST

A Middle Georgia man arrested last spring in an online child-sex sting set up by investigators at Robins Air Force Base will spend at least a decade in prison after pleading guilty in federal court here Tuesday.

Bryan Alan Asbell Sr., 56, pleaded guilty to attempted online enticement of a minor for arranging to meet a 14-year-old "girl" for sex last spring. The "girl" was actually a cop posing online as a teenager to catch potential sexual predators.

Asbell, of Chester in northern Dodge County, faces a mandatory minimum of 10 years behind bars. He will be sentenced in April.

In a Tuesday hearing in U.S. District Court here, Asbell's lawyer, Jared Scott Westbroek, said Asbell, who walks with the aid of a rolling walker, suffers from multiple sclerosis and has been medically disabled since 1996.

According to an affidavit filed in federal court by Brandyn Ball, an agent for the Air Force Office of Special Investigation, last year on March 15 a phony personal ad was posted by agents on Craigslist.

"Robins AFB is lonely," the ad began. "Nuthing 2 do after school, can you get on base? wanna hang out or chat? hit me up!"

The same day, Asbell, whose wife died in 2016, responded to the ad by email and described himself as a 55-year-old veteran. He also asked the age of the person who'd posted the ad, who it turned out was a federal agent posing as a 14-year-old girl who lived on the base with her parents.

Asbell soon began text-messaging the "girl" — identified as "S" in the affidavit.

According to the affidavit, "S stated her age was 14 at the onset of the conversation."

Investigators say Asbell told "S" that he was a disabled Navy veteran, and within a day or two he told her she was "special" and began referring to her in messages as "gf," or "girlfriend."

Behind the scenes, Air Force agents would comb Asbell's past, finding "no major legal issues," the affidavit noted, but learned that in the past he worked as a cop in Macon and while in the Navy he had been an intelligence specialist with a top-secret clearance.

On March 17, the authorities say that after "S" sent Asbell a picture of herself, Asbell emailed "S" a picture of himself along with a photo of his grandchildren.

He was later said to have told "S" that he "admired" her picture and that it made her "look older than ... she was" and that she was "a very lovely young lady." When "S" asked Asbell how pretty he thought she was, Asbell, according to the affidavit, replied, "pretty enough to call you my gf knowing I could go to jail for 10 years."

After Asbell mentioned to "S" in messages that some men at the air base had been arrested in an underage-sting involving "sexual pictures," Asbell messaged her saying, "I hope you are not trying to entice me for that."

By March 20 or so, the messages turned sexually explicit and graphic, the investigators say, and Asbell coached "S" about sex acts.

At one point, Asbell was said to have asked "S" to tell him "how much she loves" him.

"To Mars and back," she replied. Asbell told her that he loved her to "the moon and back."

The conversations evolved to the prospect of meeting in person, and how if they did, Asbell wrote, he would be in trouble "because of you being 14."

The investigators say that on March 30, Asbell emailed "S" three pictures of his penis.

On April 5, Asbell arranged to meet "S" at her house in a family housing area at Robins while her "parents" were away. The authorities say he stopped at Burger King on base and ordered "S" some food.

The investigators say Asbell then drove his 2007 Dodge pickup to the "girl's" house, where he was greeted by agents and arrested when he walked in, food in hand.

With him he had also brought a gift for "S" — a gold necklace. An inscription on it read: "I love you to the moon and back."


©2019 The Macon Telegraph (Macon, Ga.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

SEE ALSO: Army Special Forces NCO Slapped With $1 Million Bail Over Child Rape Charges

WATCH NEXT: The Call Of Booty

The Simple Way You Can Help Coast Guard Members During The Government Shutdown

Posted: 17 Jan 2019 06:30 AM PST

As the shutdown of the government drags on into its fourth week, federal employees are starting to feel the pain. Roughly 800,000 workers missed their paychecks last week, forcing many to turn to food banks and other public resources to get by. The shutdown is not longer a matter of political jousting over building a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border; it's officially a very real burden on the lives of public servants.

Those public servants includes more than 42,000 Coast Guard members who are currently going without pay. And while Coasties across the country are getting a helping hand from the communities they serve, there's an easy way that you can help.

The nonprofit Coast Guard Mutual Assistance created a GoFundme campaign on Dec. 22 to help support Coast Guard members and their families for as long as the shutdown lasts. The organization, which was started in 1924, is an official relief society for Coast Guardsmen.

"Coast Guard Mutual Assistance seeks to provide financial assistance as needed to families in the Coast Guard community," according to the campaign description. "Its mission is to promote financial stability and general well being for the people it serves through interest free loans, grants, and financial counseling as well as through education assistance programs."

You can learn more here or donate directly below. Seriously, if you could donate to that sketchy campaign to build a wall, you can donate to this.

SEE ALSO: Coast Guard Members Are Going Without Pay Due To The Shutdown. Here's How The Communities They Serve Are Keeping Them Afloat

WATCH NEXT: The Coast Guard Has Better Snipers Than The Freakin' Marine Corps

The Pentagon Believes China Is Likely Developing A Long-Range Nuclear Bomber

Posted: 17 Jan 2019 06:00 AM PST

WASHINGTON — China is likely developing a long-range bomber capable of delivering nuclear weapons and a space-based early warning system it could use to more quickly respond to an attack, according to a new report from the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency.

The development of the bomber, when combined with China's land-based nuclear weapons program and a deployed submarine with intercontinental ballistic missile technology, would give Beijing a "triad" of nuclear delivery systems similar to the U.S. and Russia, according to the report published Tuesday.

"China is building a robust, lethal force with capabilities spanning the air, maritime, space and information domains which will enable China to impose its will in the region," the report's author, Lt. Gen. Robert Ashley, said in the introduction.

The report comes as President Donald Trump's administration focuses on the potential for "great power" conflict with countries like China and Russia as part of its national defense strategy. It also comes amid heightened trade tensions between Washington and Beijing, and continuing disputes about China's posture in the South China Sea.

Beijing's development of a nuclear-capable bomber would provide China with "its first credible nuclear triad of delivery systems dispersed across land, sea, and air — a posture considered since the Cold War to improve survivability and strategic deterrence," according to the report.

Even without the bomber, China is progressing on its new Jin-class nuclear submarines which, armed with JL-2 ICBMs, are "poised to contribute to China's nuclear deterrent once they begin strategic patrols in the near future," DIA said.

The DIA assessment released Tuesday underscores that China maintains a "no first-use" nuclear policy but adds that there is "some ambiguity, however, over the conditions under which China's NFU policy would apply."

Despite a slew of disputes over Taiwan, the South China Sea and global trade, the review also says there is no indication in Chinese military strategic documents that Beijing views war with the U.S. as looming.

Moreover, while China's defense spending climbed an average of 10 percent per year from 2000 to 2016, total spending remains "significantly below" the U.S., the report said. Spending was about 1.3 percent of gross domestic product from 2014-2018, compared to more than 3 percent of GDP for the U.S. over the same period.

China is trying to strike a balance between expanding its capabilities and reach without "alarming the international community about China's rise or provoking the United States, its allies and partners, or others in the Asia-Pacific region into military conflict or an anti-China coalition," the report adds.

Underlying China's concerns are its view that the U.S.-led security architecture in Asia seeks to constrain its rise and interfere with its sovereignty, particularly in a Taiwan conflict scenario and in the East and South China Seas, said DIA.

The DIA's observations will likely be used by proponents of the Pentagon's drive to modernize the U.S. aging nuclear weapons infrastructure over 30 years, an effort that, when operations and support costs are included, could total about $1 trillion.

The report also gives credence — albeit in hedged judgments — to claims that China is developing a robust capability to disable U.S. satellites, an undertaking some officials have used to justify higher spending to harden spacecraft and create a separate "Space Force" supported by Trump but questioned by many at the Pentagon.

Chinese military strategists "regard the ability to use space-based systems and deny them to adversaries as central to enabling modern" information warfare," according to the report. "Space operations probably will form an integral component of other PLA campaigns," it added, using an acronym for the People's Liberation Army.

As such, China "continues to develop a variety of counterspace capabilities designed to limit or prevent an adversary's use of space-based assets during crisis or conflict" in addition to the research and "possible development of satellite jammers and directed-energy weapons," DIA said.


©2019 Bloomberg News. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Read the full report below:

SEE ALSO: China Has A New Hypersonic Anti-Ship Missile That It Claims Could Destroy A US Warship In One Hit

WATCH NEXT: China's Homegrown 'Mother Of All Bombs' Makes Its Debut

The Question No One Is Asking About Privatizing The VA

Posted: 17 Jan 2019 05:30 AM PST

The Trump administration wants to shift billions of dollars from government-run veterans' hospitals to private health care providers. That's true even though earlier this year the administration vehemently denied it would privatize any part of the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The privatization of essential government services is nothing new, of course. Over the years, countries have privatized dozens of services and activities that were once the sole domain of governments, such as the provision of electricity and water, road operations and prisons and even health care, with the ostensible aim of making them more efficient.

But before going down that road, the question needs to be asked whether privatizing essential human services such as those for military veterans serves the public interest. New research we recently published suggests that privatization may come at a social cost.

Economic incentives of privatization

Senior Airman Gabrielle Oaxaca takes retired veteran Barry Silva's blood pressure during his dialysis treatment Oct. 13, 2010, at the David Grant USAF Medical Center at Travis Air Force Base, Calif. (U.S. Air Force/Tech. Sgt. Bennie J. Davis III)

Privatization theory assumes that organizations, including those that deliver social services, thrive on competition and monetary gain.

Supporters of privatization argue that companies can perform government functions more efficiently. More competition and more choice for clients are expected to put pressure on providers to be more innovative and aware of financial costs.

In the public sector, however, competition is almost by definition absent, either because users of services cannot be excluded from the service – breathing clean air, for example – or because there is little monetary gain to be made – such as with services to the homeless.

So in situations where there is no real market, governments have attempted to mimic their conditions, such as by giving citizens the freedom to choose a public service provider or negotiating contracts that include certain performance incentives.

But this reliance on performance contracts can lead business providers to focus on short-term financial targets – such as the number of people processed per dollar spent – often at the expense of long-term outcomes for those served.

This gives business providers a strong incentive to concentrate on serving people who are most likely to help them achieve these goals by either focusing on those clients who are most likely to succeed or disregarding the ones that are harder to serve. By focusing on easier-to-serve clients and shunning the ones who are costly, service providers are more likely to make a profit.

However, it's often difficult to know in advance who's going to cost more than someone else. As a result, many service providers end up relying on imperfect, discriminatory cues to help them weed out potential cost burdens. Companies do something similar when they use stereotypes about race or ethnicity as discriminatory proxies for unobserved characteristics in job applicants.

Kenny and Mohammed

The seal affixed to the front of the Department of Veterans Affairs building in Washington (Associated Press/Charles Dharapak)

To learn more about whether for-profit service providers treat people of marginalized ethnic backgrounds differently, we ran a field experiment in the Belgian elderly care sector. We chose Belgium because the industry includes both public and private homes, and one of us is based there.

We sent basic information requests to all public and for-profit nursing homes in Flanders, the Dutch-speaking part of Belgium. Half of the requests, randomly assigned, appeared to come from a Belgian citizen (Kenny Maes), while the rest bore the signature of someone with a North African name (Mohammed El Makrini). The names were chosen based on the results of a separate survey we sent out to 2,000 Belgians asking them to rate several names on their perceived ethnicity, age, level of education and wealth.

In the requests, we asked nursing homes for advice on how to subscribe for a place in their facility. Withholding such information would make it harder for a prospective client to apply for a spot.

Of the 223 nursing homes we contacted, 71 percent responded, with public facilities being a little more likely than for-profit ones to get back to us. In general, each type of home responded to our two senders at similar rates. For example, 76 percent of public facilities replied to "Kenny," compared with 79 percent for "Mohammed." The response rate of for-profit homes was a bit more lopsided, but it was not what we'd consider a significant difference given the sample size: 66 percent for Kenny and 57 percent for Mohammed.

The really interesting finding was when we analyzed the actual responses. Upon closer inspection, we found that for-profit nursing homes were significantly less likely to provide information to Mohammed on how to enroll. Only about 43 percent of the for-profit homes that responded offered him the info, compared with 63 percent for Kenny. There was basically no difference among public facilities.

This is direct proof of for-profit providers discriminating against prospective clients based on their perceived ethnicity. But they're not doing it simply out of ethnic animus. If it was, we'd have seen the same discrimination at the public facilities as well.

Rather, the motivation seems to be primarily economic. This is what economists call "statistical discrimination." In other words, average characteristics of the minority group – such as language barriers and having different cultural needs and habits that make them more difficult to serve – are used to stereotype individuals who belong to that particular group.

Unintended consequences

The public debate about privatization tends to almost exclusively focus on its supposed financial and managerial advantages – which are hardly clear cut. Meanwhile, the potential social costs of privatization are commonly neglected.

Our research suggests that privatizing human services such as health care can result in less access for groups perceived as harder to serve because of language barriers and cultural differences.

Unfortunately, they also happen to be the groups that need such services the most.

Sebastian Jilke, Assistant Professor, Rutgers University Newark and Wouter Van Dooren, Professor of Public Administration, University of Antwerp. This article is originally appeared on the The Conversation

SEE ALSO: The Problem With The VA Isn't Just The Agency — It's Us

WATCH NEXT: Who Gets Paid During A Government Shutdown?

This Marine Veteran Was Investigated For Deportation. He Was Born In Michigan

Posted: 17 Jan 2019 04:15 AM PST

KENT COUNTY, MI – The ACLU is demanding an investigation after a Grand Rapids-born U.S Marine combat veteran was held for possible deportation.

The American Civil Liberties Union said the Kent County Sheriff's Department "delivered" Jilmar Ramos-Gomez to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, after his release from jail.

"It is incomprehensible that the Sheriff's Department turned a vulnerable, mentally ill United States citizen over to ICE so that he could be deported from his country – a country for which he fought on the battlefield," ACLU attorney Miriam Aukerman and others wrote in a statement.

The ACLU and Michigan Immigrant Rights Center sent a letter to Kent County officials demanding an investigation, and information, into Ramos-Gomez's case.

They plan a press conference later Wednesday, Jan. 16.

Kent County Sheriff Michelle Young said her agency did not deliver Ramos-Gomez to ICE – federal agents showed up with legal documents placing a hold on him as he was being released from jail.

She said that the jail, as required by law, provides state and federal governments fingerprint information after subjects are booked into the jail. She said that jail officials do not contact ICE about any inmates. She does not believe that Ramos-Gomez told jail officials that he had served in the military.

Ramos-Gomez spent three days in the Calhoun County immigration center before Grand Rapids attorney Richard Kessler, contacted by the Marine's family, got him out.

An ICE spokesman said in an auto-reply email that all public-affairs officers are out of the office because of the government shutdown.

Ramos-Gomez, a lance corporal and tank crewman, served in Afghanistan from 2011 to 2014.

"But when he returned home, he was a shell of his former self, suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder after he had seen," the ACLU said.

"His family reports that he is focused on returning for his marine brothers in Afghanistan. He has episodes where he disappears and when he is found again, he often has no recollection of where he has been."

He was arrested Nov. 21 after damaging a fire alarm at Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital. He also trespassed on the heliport, the ACLU said. He pleaded guilty to trespassing and was to be released on a personal-recognizance bond pending sentencing.

The ACLU says the jail should have released Ramos-Gomez immediately but instead "worked with ICE agents to enable his transfer to an immigration detention center in Calhoun County to start the deportation process.

Public jail records showed that he was subject to an ICE detainer, "and that the jail turned him over December 14, 2018. It is unclear how that was possible or why the jail believed it should hand Mr. Romas-Gomez over to ICE, rather than release him as required by the court order," the ACLU said.

Kent County's contract with ICE, which includes incarceration fees for ICE detainees, has come under fire.

Protesters demanded the contract be rescinded, arguing that the contract leads to racial profiling, with immigrants who are arrested for minor crimes being exposed to deportation.

"This is exactly the type of incident that advocates have warned could happen," the ACLU said.

In 2017, the county held 185 ICE detainees, according to jail records. In 2016, there were 90, preceded by 107 in 2015, 182 in 2014, and 151 in 2013.


©2019 The Grand Rapids Press, Mich. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

SEE ALSO: Deported To Mexico, US Veterans Are Pressed Into Service By Drug Cartels

WATCH NEXT: Meet The Men Of Deported Veterans Support House

Don't Expect (American) Lasers In Space Anytime Soon

Posted: 16 Jan 2019 06:07 PM PST

Ronald Reagan's dream of space-based lasers shielding the United States from ICBMs will not come to fruition in the near future, despite the Trump administration's focus on space.

President Donald Trump is expected to release the Defense Department's latest Missile Defense Review on Thursday at the Pentagon.

While the review looked into putting more sensors into space to provide early warnings of ballistic missiles launches, it does not include any recommendations about deploying space-based missiles or lasers that can destroy boost-phase missiles, a senior administration official told reporters on Wednesday.

"The MDR [Missile Defense Review] as far as interceptors or directed energy calls for further study on both of those concepts but does not direct that the fielding of them or the developing of anything specific," the official said. "That's an area that we are studying, but not one that we've made a concrete decision on whether or not to deploy yet."

When Task & Purpose asked if it was a distinct possibility that space-bases lasers could ultimately become part of the U.S. military's missile defenses, the official replied with a definite maybe.

"We're going to examine directed energy as well," the official said. "That's something we discussed in the Missile Defense Review. Another one of the advanced capabilities that we think is worth looking into, examining the feasibility of. Wherever it makes sense to deploy them, posture them, if that's in space, that's something we will study."

The official stressed that adding sensors into space is not automatically the first step toward deploying space-based weapons. The Defense Department still needs to look at the cost-effectiveness and feasibility of such a missile shield.

"I would reject the idea that there is a natural or inherent progression in any capabilities," the official said. "I don't think there is anything inherent in doing one that requires that we do the other."

SEE ALSO: Steve Carell Is Making A Show About The Space Force Similar To 'The Office'

WATCH NEXT: Air Force Experiments With Directed Energy

Zero Coasties Were Paid To Create These Memes About The Government Shutdown

Posted: 16 Jan 2019 03:14 PM PST

The Coast Guard is officially shit outta luck for a paycheck thanks to the government shutdown, which means that zero coasties have been paid to create some of the amazing memes being shared as a way to vent their frustration.

Often shared along with the hashtag #PayOurCoastGuard, the Facebook page Coast Guard Memes has been doing its part to lift the spirits of the Coast Guard's roughly 42,000 active duty members and about 8,000 civilians affected by the shutdown, among many others across the federal government.

Despite the lapse in CG funding — which comes from DHS instead of DoD, which is not affected by the shutdown — Coast Guardsman have been doing what they've been doing, rescuing fishermen, interdicting drug smugglers, and conducting patrols in the Arctic.

And, well, creating memes.

Like this one, which makes it pretty clear that the bills don't stop when the paycheck doesn't come.

And no one in the Coast Guard really cares who is to blame... as long as they get paid again.

Might want to hang onto that one.

This is a not so subtle dig at the letter shared on Tuesday from the Coast Guard Commandant, who said he was working to fix the problem (though he doesn't have much power here) while asking his people to "stay the course" and "serve with pride."

Although many of the Coast Guard memes are lighthearted and funny ...

... Some offer less-than-stellar advice for getting by.

This is in reference to a memo released by the Coast Guard Support Center telling families that they might want to try holding garage sales, walking the neighbor's dogs, or becoming a mystery shopper to earn a little extra income. Not surprisingly, that letter was taken down after The Washington Post reported on it.

But clearly, there are plenty of Coast Guardsmen who are not happy right now.

And many are sharing this serious image on Facebook and Instagram instead of memes.

SEE ALSO: Coast Guard Commandant: I Know You Haven't Been Paid But 'Stay The Course'

Mike Pence Says 'ISIS Has Been Defeated' Hours After ISIS Kills US Service Members In Syria

Posted: 16 Jan 2019 12:47 PM PST

Vice President Mike Pence repeated President Donald Trump's claim that "ISIS has been defeated" in Syria on Wednesday just hours after several U.S. service members were killed by an ISIS suicide bomber in Manbij, Syria.

  • The deadly attack in the strategically crucial city was carried out by a suicide bomber wearing an explosive vest. According to U.S. Central Command, two U.S. service members, one DoD civilian, and a DoD contractor were killed.
  • "The caliphate has crumbled and ISIS has been defeated," Pence stated during a visit to the said at the State Department on Wednesday, according to the Associated Press, despite the fact that his press secretary tweeted earlier that he and the commander-in-chief were "monitoring the situation."
  • His claim of ISIS "defeat" also came about an hour after Army Col. Sean Ryan, the spokesman for Operation Inherent Resolve, confirmed that American service members had been victims of the blast.
  • In a statement issued following his comments at the State Department, Pence appeared to walk back his language of "defeat," an about face not unlike Trump's hedging following his surprise Syria withdrawal announcement in December 2018.
  • "Thanks to the courage of our Armed Forces, we have crushed the ISIS caliphate and devastated its capabilities. As we begin to bring our troops home, the American people can be assured, for the sake of our soldiers, their families, and our nation, we will never allow the remnants of ISIS to reestablish their evil and murderous caliphate – not now, not ever," he added."

SEE ALSO: Sen. Lindsey Graham Suggests Trump's Abrupt Syria Withdrawal 'Set In Motion' Deadly ISIS Attack On US Troops

WATCH NEXT: Trump Justifies The US Withdrawal From Syria

Watch An Air Force F-35 Pull Off Some Insane Maneuvers In The Skies Above Arizona

Posted: 16 Jan 2019 11:11 AM PST

Recent commentary on the F-35 fifth-generation fighter has centered around its firepower and stealth capabilities, but a recently released demonstration video depicts the fighter jet in a pleasantly different light.

A clip from Capt. Capt. Andrew "Dojo" Olson's instagram page showcases the F-35A Lightning II in a series of dramatic aerial maneuvers, performed at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona.

The highly circulated video, posted last week, begins with Olson performing a pitch-up that seamlessly transitions into a tight loop. Olson proceeds to execute what he teased last month as a "controlled flat spin while falling out of the sky," essentially a controlled downward spiral. He then slowly resumed flight, ending with a playful left roll before zooming out of the shot.

This brief video, filmed last month, is what Olson — commander of the F-35 Demonstration Team — called an "appetizer" for the 2019 air show season. "What makes the fifth generation fighter so special in general is the slow-speed, high angle of attack maneuvering it can do," Olson went on to say in an Air Force press statement. "I'm really proud of what our team accomplished last year, but I'm also very excited about the upcoming season to finally get to show air show crowds around the world the full potential of the F-35A Lightning II."

Capt. Andrew "Dojo" Olson, F-35 Heritage Flight Team pilot and commander performs a vertical climb in an F-35A Lightning II during the Bell Fort Worth Alliance Air Show Oct. 14 in Fort Worth, Texas.(U.S. Air Force/Senior Airman Alexander Cook)

The F-35 Demonstration Team is a separate entity formed out of the Heritage Flight Foundation. The U.S. Air Force hopes that a dedicated team will have the additional freedom and expertise to bring out the F-35A's unique capabilities, so as to effectively distinguish it from F-line predecessors and competing foreign models in an air show format.

The Demonstration Team will have its first outing at the Melbourne Air and Space Show at Orlando Melbourne International Airport, Florida, from March 30-31.

The F-35A's portfolio is not exactly overflowing with past performances, with its only fully aerobatic demonstration taking place at the 2017 Paris Air Show. Whereas that performance was largely seen as Lockheed Martin's attempt to placate critics on the heels of prior engine and onboard systems issues, the U.S. Air Force hopes to retake the PR initiative in 2019 to argue a positive case for the F-35: "I'm really proud of what our team accomplished last year, but I'm also very excited about the upcoming season to finally get to show air show crowds around the world the full potential of the F-35A Lightning II," said Olson.

Notably, the U.S. has been busy negotiating several major F-35 export contracts over the past years. Their core NATO clientele remains exceedingly unlikely to purchase Chinese or Russian products, but Lockheed Martin has recently had to fend off market competition from the EU's indigenously produced Eurofighter Typhoon . While air show exhibitions are seldom used to reveal new technology, Lockheed Martin has proven adept at exploiting this medium to pitch the F-35 to foreign clients.

The U.S. Air Force's ambitious 2019 F-35 air show plans come at a time when when Russia and China are actively advertising the capabilities.

This article originally appeared on The National Interest.

More from The National Interest:

SEE ALSO: Trump's Acting Pentagon Chief Reportedly Said The $1 Trillion F-35 Is 'F*cked' And Never Should Have Been Made

WATCH NEXT: The F-35 Lightning II

Steve Carell Is Making A Show About The Space Force Similar To 'The Office'

Posted: 16 Jan 2019 10:28 AM PST

Comedian Steve Carell will be starring in an upcoming Netflix show about the new Space Force that's being described as a "workplace comedy."

Yeah, that's right. The Office, but in freaking space.

According to Variety, Carell has teamed up with Office producer Greg Daniels for the new series, which was teased in a short video from Netflix released Wednesday. The promo mentioned that it was "coming soon."

"The goal of the new branch is 'to defend satellites from attack' and 'perform other space-related tasks,'" the promo said. "Or something."

It added: "This is the story of the men and women who have to figure it out."


The White House directed the Pentagon to create a Space Command in December, which was billed by The Washington Post as a "significant step toward the administration's ultimate goal of establishing a department known as the Space Force that would become the first new branch of the Armed Services since the Air Force was created in 1947."

As Task & Purpose's Jeff Schogol previously reported:

Space Force would have a total of six bases in California, Colorado, and Florida, according to a draft of the Pentagon's plan for the service that was obtained by Defense One. The internal plan also delves into creating a Space National Guard and Space Force Reserve.

In the draft plan, Space Force would absorb some of the Army, Navy, and Air Force's space capabilities, but those services would still have people and equipment for their individual space needs, Defense One first reported on Monday.

Watch the teaser below:

Space Force | Announcement [HD] | Netflix www.youtube.com

A New Book Reveals The Secret Plot To Assassinate George Washington

Posted: 16 Jan 2019 10:20 AM PST

The First Conspiracy: The Secret Plot to Kill George Washington by Brad Meltzer and Josh Mensch; Flatiron Books (413 pages, $29.99)


New York City has seen dark times, but in the spring and early summer of 1776 the outlook was especially grim. The Revolutionary War was in its early, chaotic days, the British fleet sailed en masse toward the city, and in a desperate defensive measure, General George Washington ordered thousands of his Continental troops into lower Manhattan. Almost a third of the city's citizens fled, and Washington's filthy, untrained and undisciplined soldiers quartered themselves in the elegant houses left behind. They were hungry, cold and scared, and they numbed their fear with drink, gambling and prostitutes. They were about to face the greatest military force in the world, outgunned and outmanned, fighting for a country that hadn't been created yet.

In hindsight, America's victory against the British seems like one of history's inevitabilities, but in the beginning it was anything but. And had a small group of pro-British conspirators had their way, the Glorious Cause might have lost its essential leader — George Washington — to imprisonment, execution or assassination.

That's the piece of New York's revolutionary story told by Brad Meltzer and co-author Josh Mensch in their new book, The First Conspiracy: The Secret Plot Against George Washington. Meltzer and Mensch have taken an obscure chapter of U.S. history and retold it as a thriller, with a dark-and-stormy-night beginning, short chapters, staccato one-sentence paragraphs, ominous foreshadowings and cliffhanger chapter endings. They aim to make the past come alive for a modern audience, but readers who enter this literary wayback machine are in for a bumpy ride.

There's a great story in this material. The authors vividly portray Washington's multiple challenges as he tries to forge undisciplined recruits into a coordinated army, in a matter of weeks creating what for most countries took many years: the "Herculean task of organizing, feeding, supplying, transporting, paying and training the thousands of men who have arrived from every direction with only the clothes on their backs." Washington carries an immense burden on his shoulders, and to many he seems the only person who can shoulder it. For the colonists, he is the embodiment of the Revolution and the leader they hang their fragile hopes on, but for "oyalists and other opponents of the revolution, George Washington is now enemy number one."

Enter the villain in this piece, the British governor of New York, William Tryon. Tryon, an experienced military leader who made his fearsome reputation by hanging rebels in North Carolina, has fled from the Colonial army but remains close by, taking refuge on a British ship in New York Harbor and serving as a sort of "floating spymaster." He understands that many colonists are dubious about America's chances in this war, and he grasps Washington's strategic importance. He sets in motion a plot to bribe Continental soldiers with money and land to defect to the British side. Some of the targeted soldiers serve in the ranks of Washington's Life Guards, soldiers charged with keeping Washington safe, an early-days version of the Secret Service.

It's a dramatic story, and the authors try to make the most of it, but they are working with a limited palette. While there's abundant material on Colonial New York to draw on, proof of the extent of the actual conspiracy is patchy — as the plot unfolded, much of the investigation, discussion and response to it (the "counterintelligence") remained unrecorded. This shortage of facts may have impelled the authors to gin up the narrative using methods that Meltzer, a best-selling political thriller author, has mastered. The steady drumbeat of doom begins to feel strained, and the cliffhanger endings, frequent repetitions and constant reminders that George Washington is a very great man and William Tryon is a very, very bad man indeed begin to grate. It's as if the authors can't trust the reader to enjoy a complicated story with an ambiguous ending (Washington eventually withdrew from the city, and the British controlled it for seven years).

It's too bad. Americans need the lessons of our past as we navigate through our own tumultuous times, and we need versatile writer-historians to hold our attention. Perhaps Meltzer, an accomplished writer across many platforms (among other things, he's a producer for the History Channel), hoped to draw his huge audience further in to America's story. But history is a messy and ambivalent business. Maybe next time he will give his readers more credit for grasping that reality — we learn it anew, every day.


©2019 Newsday. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

SEE ALSO: 5 Little-Known Facts About Washington And That Winter In Valley Forge

WATCH NEXT: Jack Mandaville's History Of US Wars

Sen. Lindsey Graham Suggests Trump's Abrupt Syria Withdrawal 'Set In Motion' Deadly ISIS Attack On US Troops

Posted: 16 Jan 2019 09:44 AM PST

Sen. Lindsey Graham essentially laid the deaths of the unknown number of U.S. soldiers killed in a suicide bombing in Manbij, Syria, on Wednesday at the feet of President Donald Trump during a hearing on Capitol Hill, Bloomberg News reports.

  • The commander-in-chief's surprise Syria withdrawal announcement "set in motion enthusiasm by the enemy we're fighting," Graham said during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Wednesday.
  • "[Trump's statements] make people we're trying to help wonder about us, and as they get bolder, the people we're trying to help are going to get more uncertain," Graham said Wednesday, per Bloomberg News. "I saw this in Iraq. And I'm now seeing it in Syria."
  • Graham was among the most vocal Republican critics of Trump's Dec. 19 withdrawal announcement, warning that the abrupt decision to withdraw will "be viewed as a boost to ISIS desire to come back.
  • Graham subsequently met with Trump on in the closing days of 2018 in an effort to slow the withdrawal effort, telling reporters that the Trump administration was "in a pause situation where we are re-evaluating what's the best way to achieve the president's objective of having people pay more and do more."
  • "He promised to destroy ISIS. He's going to keep that promise," Graham added. "We're not there yet, but as I said today, we're inside the 10-yard line and the president understands the need to finish the job."

SEE ALSO: Trump's Syria Withdrawal Is Almost Certainly Not Happening Anymore, Sen. Lindsey Graham Says

WATCH NEXT: The Final Countdown In Syria?

US And British Warships Join Forces In The South China Sea For The First Time In A Clear Message To China

Posted: 16 Jan 2019 08:50 AM PST

U.S. and British warships have sailed together in the disputed South China Sea for the first time, in exercises likely to stoke anger in Beijing.

The guided-missile destroyer USS McCampbell and Royal Navy frigate HMS Argyll conducted the operations in the strategic waterway over a period of six days from Friday through Wednesday, the The U.S. Navy's 7th Fleet said in a statement.

The statement said the warships "conducted communication drills, division tactics, and a personnel exchange designed to address common maritime security priorities, enhance interoperability, and develop relationships that will benefit both navies for many years to come."

The joint exercises in the waters — the first since China built military bases there — come as the British Navy seeks to play a bigger role in the region and has dispatched the Argyll on a tour of Asia.

A U.S. Navy spokesman said there was "no record in recent history of operations together, specifically in the South China Sea," Reuters reported.

The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS McCampbell (DDG 85), the Military Sealift Command fleet replenishment oiler USNS Henry J. Kaiser (T-AO 187), and the Royal Navy Type 23 'Duke' Class guided-missile frigate HMS Argyll (F231) transit during a replenishment-at-sea. (U.S. Navy photo)

Beijing has constructed a series of military outposts throughout the waterway, which includes vital sea lanes through which about $3 trillion in global trade passes each year. The Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei have overlapping claims in the waters, where the U.S., Chinese, Japanese and some Southeast Asian navies also routinely operate.

China says its facilities in the waters are for defensive purposes, but some experts say this is part of a concerted bid to cement de facto control of the waters.

Cmdr. Toby Shaughnessy, the Argyll's commanding officer, touted the operation as "contributing to promoting regional security and prosperity." Meanwhile, the Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture-based McCampbell's commanding officer, Cmdr. Allison Christy, praised the joint exercises as "a rare opportunity" to work with the Royal Navy.

"Professional engagement with our British counterparts allows us the opportunity to build upon our existing strong relationships and learn from each other," she said.

The move comes on the heels of a trilateral anti-submarine warfare exercise between the U.S. Navy, Royal Navy and the Maritime Self Defense Force on Dec. 21-22 and after another British warship, the HMS Albion amphibious assault ship, conducted a so-called freedom of navigation operation near the contested Paracel island chain claimed by China in the South China Sea last August.

Beijing blasted London over that operation — the first in which Britain had directly confronted China over its claims in the waters, accusing it of engaging in "provocation."

Washington — which has led the charge in challenging what it says are excessive maritime claims in the waters — has long urged boosted participation in such operations.

Earlier this month, the McCampbell passed within 12 nautical miles (22 km) of the same island chain in the U.S. Navy's latest FONOP. Just a day after that operation, Chinese state-run media announced that Beijing's so-called carrier killer anti-ship missile had been deployed to the country's northwest. While the actual deployment date of the DF-26 ballistic missile, which reportedly has a range of 3,000-4,000 km, was not mentioned, the report alluded to the U.S. operation, quoting an unidentified expert as noting that it served as "a good reminder that China is capable of safeguarding its territory."

"Even when launched from deeper inland areas of China, the DF-26 has a range far-reaching enough to cover the South China Sea," the expert added.


©2019 the Japan Times (Tokyo). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

SEE ALSO: China Swallowed Islands In The South China Sea. Now It Wants To Eat Djibouti Like Groceries


Does Deadpool Promote Nazism? The Russian Government Seems To Think So

Posted: 16 Jan 2019 08:34 AM PST

Deadpool Max, a comic-book installment of the superhero saga that stormed the U.S. box office, includes a chapter about the bungling superhero's face-off with Zemo, a white supremacist hellbent on repeating the Holocaust. Deadpool's adversary spouts radical anti-Semitic conspiracy theories on his way to the grave.

David Lapham, the author, follows the chapter up with a note of caution to his readers, explaining that the historical figures and events praised by Zemo — the Holocaust, Hitler, and the KKK — are deplorable. "I know you're all savvy readers who get sarcasm and satire," Lapham writes.

The Russian censors, it seems, think otherwise.

On January 9, Russian comic-book publisher Komilfo said that it had removed the entire chapter from its Russian-language version of Deadpool Max, set for release on January 18, because Russia's consumer-protection agency concluded that it promotes extremism.

In a post on the Russian social network VK, Komilfo wrote that it was given two choices by the agency, Rospotrebnadzor: refrain from publishing the book in Russia, or accept the editorial changes proposed by the agency's experts.

On January 15, the daily Kommersant reported that psychologist Vali Engalichev had been commissioned by Rospotrebnadzor to assess Deadpool Max, and concluded that it advocates fascist and Nazi ideas and should be withheld from publication. The report was widely cited in the Russian media.

The problem is that Rospotrebnadzor, as it turns out, had nothing to do with the decision. According to Mikhail Bogdanov, Komilfo's director, the VK post from January 9 named the wrong agency: It was in fact Roskomnadzor, the media and communications watchdog, that had given the red light.

"It was a silly mistake," Bogdanov told RFE/RL in a phone interview. However, he spoke out against the agency's assessment, adding that Lapham's note to readers had been included in full in the Russian version of Deadpool Max.

"In Russian legal terms even satire can be treated as propaganda," Bogdanov said. "In our country there are certain legal lines that you can't cross."

But some people felt otherwise. In response to Komilfo's post, a heated debate broke out among VK users in the comments section. While most appeared to denounce what they saw as censorship, others argued that the references made in the release were excessive.

"Let me put it this way: this third chapter is full of racism and suppression of different races, and there's fascism there too," wrote Danya Korobov. "You're not missing out by not reading this chapter."

For his part, Yury Kanner of the Russian Jewish Congress dismissed the Deadpool comic as satire and ridiculed Roskomnadzor's decision. Jokes should be allowed about "all kinds of things," he told Kommersant. "We should not be prudes in the fine question of humor."

Roskomnadzor did not immediately respond to phone calls and an e-mailed request for comment.

SEE ALSO: Deadpool Was The Worst Army Special Forces Soldier Ever

WATCH NEXT: Seriously, Deadpool Was A Sh*t Special Forces Soldier

The Marine Corps' Most Expensive Helicopter Ever Is Still Riddled With Problems

Posted: 16 Jan 2019 07:33 AM PST

The Pentagon believes that the Marine Corps' new CH-53K King Stallion heavy-lift helicopter — which at, $144 million apiece, costs more than the notoriously expensive F-35A Lightning II joint strike fighter, is "the most powerful helicopter the United States has ever fielded."

Unfortunately, the pricey helo may not see action downrange anytime soon due to a growing list of worrying technical problems.

The King Stallion, which first landed in the hands of Marines back in May 2018, may not achieve initial operational capability (IOC) as soon as Navy officials originally expected, officials told Vertical Magazine in a Jan. 10 interview first noticed by our friends at The War Zone.

"Discovery of technical issues later than expected and [the] inadequate rate of their closure resulted in a flight test efficiency rate that was less than projected," Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) spokesman Greg Kuntz told the magazine in a statement "We are evaluating requirements to the program but have not yet made a formal determination on IOC [initial operational capability] or IOT&E [initial operational test and evaluation] dates."

The Sikorsky CH-53K King Stallion helicopter is revealed during the rollout ceremony at the Sikorsky headquarters in Jupiter, Florida, on 5 May 2014(Sikorsky/Wikimedia Commons)

While the CH-53K program has racked up an eye-popping $31 billion price tag since the start of development in 2006, the persistence of technical flaws revealed in operational testing are concerning to say the least.

A January 2018 report from the Pentagon's Operational Test & Evaluation office detailed numerous structural problems in the airframe, problems exacerbated by a lack of needed parts. In April 2018, Pentagon officials told Bloomberg News they were monitoring upwards of 1,000 current or projected "mission-impacting technical issues" that present "a high risk" to the airframe.

Those problems include major deficiencies in the main rotor gearbox, unreliable flight speed indications, overheating of essential propulsion elements, anomalies in the tail boom design, and, as Bloomberg News later noted, "exhaust gas sucked back into the engine" — all issues which pose major obstacles to the lifespan and survivability requirements that necessitated the CH-53K program in the first place.

And those issues aren't necessarily new. "Gearbox trouble was among the issues that pushed that timeline back to 2019 in the first place," The War Zone notes. "To add insult to injury, NAVAIR and Sikorsky had both indicated these long-standing issues had gotten resolved in 2016."

The CH-53K King Stallion flies at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland, January 18, 2018. The purpose of this exercise was to show the Capabilities of the CH-53K (U.S. Marine Corps/ Lance Cpl. Shannon Doherty)

While the Pentagon OT&E program listed a target IOC declaration date of December 2019, the Defense Contract Management agency told Bloomberg News that Navy likely won't finish likely won't finish the flight testing designed to uncover new kinks in the King Stallion's systems until May 2020, well after the initially milestone to declare the aircraft ready for action.

If the aircraft ever gets off the ground, it may just be worth it: As Task & Purpose previously reported, the Sikorsky designed the CH-53K to haul up to 27,000 pounds, three times the cargo of the Pentagon's current heavy-lift workhorse, without any significant changes in the airframe dimensions, a major boon for Marines increasingly in the fight downrange and the capability that earned the airframe the "most powerful" moniker.

"[This is] the most powerful helicopter the United States has ever fielded," CH-53K program chief Marine Col. Hank Vanderborght said at the annual Sea-Air-Space expo back in April 2018, per Military.com. "Not only the most powerful, the most modern and also the smartest."

He may be right. But unless Sikorsky and Pentagon engineers can work out the structural problems hindering the King Stallion, the expensive helo may never actually get off the ground.

SEE ALSO: The 'Most Powerful' Helicopter Ever Fielded By The US Is Also The Most Expensive

WATCH NEXT: The CH-53E King Stallion

ISIS Suicide Bomber Kills 4 Americans In Syria

Posted: 16 Jan 2019 06:45 AM PST

An ISIS suicide bomber killed four Americans in Manbij, Syria, on Wednesday.

The terror group claimed responsibility for the attack through its Amaq news agency, which it said was done by a suicide bomber wearing an explosive vest. Initial reports said more than a dozen people were killed in the blast.

Two American service members, one DoD civilian, and one DoD contractor were killed in the blast, according to U.S. Central Command. Three more service members were injured.

"An explosion hit near a restaurant, targeting the Americans, and there were some forces for the Manbij Military Council with them," one witness told Reuters.

Army Col. Sean Ryan, a spokesman for Operation Inherent Resolve, confirmed that U.S. troops were killed "during an explosion while conducting a routine patrol in Syria."

Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan read a statement about the attack during his meeting Wednesday with Japanese Defense Minister Takeshi Iwaya.

"Allow me to extend on behalf of the Department of Defense, our thoughts and prayers to the families and team members of those killed and wounded during today's attack in Manbij," Shanahan said. "Our fight against terrorism is ongoing and we will remain vigilant and committed to its destruction."

"Today is a stark reminder of the dangerous missions that men and women in uniform perform on our behalf each and every day."

Shanahan did not answer a question from Task & Purpose about whether the Manbij attack would affect the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria, which President Donald Trump announced in December – prompting former Defense Secretary James Mattis to resign the following day.

Vice President Mike Pence said on Wednesday that both he and President Trump condemn the attack against U.S. troops in Manbij.

"Our hearts are with the loved ones of the fallen," Pence said in a statement. "We honor their memory and we will never forget their service and sacrifice.

"Thanks to the courage of our armed forces, we have crushed the ISIS caliphate and devastated its capabilities. As we begin to bring our troops home, the American people can be assured, for the sake of our soldiers, their families, and our nation, we will never allow the remnants of ISIS to reestablish their evil and murderous caliphate – not now, not ever."

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders told reporters the president has been briefed on the attack and referred questions to the Pentagon. In a statement, Sanders said, "our deepest sympathies and love go out to the families of the brave American heroes who were killed today in Syria. We also pray for the soldiers who were wounded in the attack. Our service members and their families have all sacrificed so much for our country."

Master Sgt. Jonathan J. Dunbar – reportedly a member of the Army's elite Delta Force – and a British service member were killed on March 30, 2018 in Manbij. Dunbar was on a mission to capture or kill an ISIS member when an improvised explosive device went off.

"ISIS has a network of sleeper cells across formerly ISIS-held terrain and is activating them as part of a planned resurgence," Jennifer Cafarella, of the Institute for Understanding War think tank, told Task & Purpose. "ISIS's attack in Manbij demonstrates the threat ISIS poses in its insurgent form and foreshadows the resurgence that will occur as security gaps grow after an American withdrawal."

UPDATE: This story was updated at 2:45 p.m. on Jan. 16 with comments from Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan and Vice President Mike Pence.

This post will be updated as we learn more.

That’s All, Folks!

Posted: 16 Jan 2019 06:30 AM PST

This is the final Long March post. My best wishes to you all, and my thanks to all who contributed, both as writers and commenters.

Army Secretary: Contractors, Not Soldiers, May End Up Building Trump's Border Wall

Posted: 16 Jan 2019 05:30 AM PST

If President Trump orders the Army to build a wall along the southern U.S. border, don't expect to see soldiers and green bulldozers on the job.

"The Army Corps of Engineers is responsible for contracting for commercial builders to construct the wall," Secretary of the Army Mark Esper said in Alabama on Tuesday. "They've been doing it for years. That's ongoing. I'll just leave it at that."

Esper was asked after a visit to Huntsville's Redstone Arsenal if the Army is doing any planning to build the wall and what the challenges would be in building it. Trump has tweeted during the standoff with Congress over funding for the wall that the Army could build it if he declares a national emergency situation.

The Wall Street Journal reported today that, "The White House has asked the Army Corps of Engineers to examine potentially diverting money from other projects to pay for the wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, if Mr. Trump does decide to declare a national emergency."

The Corps of Engineers has a civil division that is responsible for military construction and projects like dams and ports across the country. The Corps' military functions include needed work at military installations including facilities and infrastructure construction.

The Washington Post reported Jan. 11 that the president also "is eyeing unused money in the Army Corps of Engineers budget, specifically a disaster spending bill passed by Congress last year that includes $13.9 billion that has been allocated but not actually spent for civil works projects." The Post reported that Trump has asked the Corps of Engineers to determine how quickly it could sign contracts and begin work.

Esper's visit to Alabama was to visit contractor Northrop Grumman and key military and civilian leaders at Redstone to monitor progress on the "Future Vertical Lift" vehicle, a new generation of helicopters that is one of the service's key priorities for the future.

Redstone is working on Future Vertical Lift, which will develop a new family of helicopters with shared hardware such as sensors, avionics and engines. Northrop Grumman has won an Army contract to upgrade Black Hawk helicopter cockpits with new open-architecture digital technology, and the contractor has a large presence in Huntsville.


©2019 Alabama Media Group, Birmingham. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

SEE ALSO: Trump May Raid Army Corps Of Engineers Puerto Rico Hurricane Recovery Funds To Build Border Wall

WATCH NEXT: US-Mexico Border Wall Time-Lapse

A Soldier’s Dog And A Dog’s Soldier

Posted: 16 Jan 2019 04:30 AM PST

One last dog photo before I go.

American-Born ISIS Member: Beheadings Are Basically The Same Thing They Do In Texas

Posted: 15 Jan 2019 02:29 PM PST

The American-born ISIS member recently captured by a Kurdish militia has bizarrely claimed that the brutal executions carried out by the terrorist group were basically the same thing as what they do back in his home state of Texas.

"I think, with the beheadings, okay that's execution," Warren Christopher Clark told NBC News' Richard Engel during a recent interview in Syria. "I'm from the United States, from Texas. They like to execute people too. So I really don't see any different. Maybe they might do it off camera, but it's the same."

Of course! A convicted criminal being injected with chemicals that slowly paralyze them until death is exactly the same as some masked dickhead sawing off the head of innocent journalists, aid workers, and random civilians.

Apparently, there's a whole lot more idiocy likely to come out of the 34-year-old's mouth, since NBC is promoting the full exclusive interview ahead of its Nightly News broadcast on Tuesday evening.

Clark, aka Abu Mohammad al-Ameriki, was among five foreigners the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces said it had nabbed as they were "trying to get out of the war zone" on Jan. 6. A document found in a house in Mosul, Iraq showed that Clark had sent a resume and cover letter to ISIS asking for a position "teaching English to students in the Islamic State," according to report from the Program on Extremism at George Washington University published in Feb. 2018.

In his interview with Engel, Clark said he witnessed executions and crucifixions during the three years he was with ISIS, but was never a fighter — which seems what just about anyone potentially facing federal terrorism charges and lengthy prison time back in the United States would likely say.

SEE ALSO: You Definitely Shouldn't Hire This American Who Reportedly Sent In A Resume To ISIS