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5 NatSec Things: 01 Feb 2018

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Today's things: #MeToo and the DoD; pricey fridges; Votelmort says hello to the SFAB; flamethrower re
 
February 1 · Issue #25 · View online
5 NatSec Things
Today’s things: #MeToo and the DoD; pricey fridges; Votelmort says hello to the SFAB; flamethrower revival?; runners suck at opsec.
Issue #25: that kinda snuck up on me. 
Having a blast so far, hope you are, too.


#MeToo needs to be a DoD thing
Because men are generally awful, this extends to men in uniform. No sarcasm there: your average straight dude is a bipedal porcine creature with all the sensitivities required to find truffles in the woods. Spoiler: not much. 
Except pigs are cleaner. And maybe less rape-y. Dunno. Not a zoologist. 
It’s the rape-y bit that should make things difficult for the Department of Defense. Because the way the judicial system is set up in the military, the list of choices for a victim of sexual harassment or assault is short and awful. 
Recommend the link click on this one to get smarter on the challenges. 
Most interesting bit to me? Some commanders are so worried about being seen as exerting Undue Command Influence (UCI - means influencing some judicial proceeding one way or the other) that they’re concerned about consequences if they tell their formations during the safety brief, “If you ride a motorcycle, wear a helmet. Buckle your seatbelts. And don’t rape anybody.”
Humans: we have failed the women around us. Military types: you done good on fixing things in the world. How about you fix #ThisToo.
Air Force One needs repairs, journos lose their minds Air Force One needs repairs, journos lose their minds
I hesitated before dropping this in here. Call it market forces: this story’s got some traction, mainly because some idiots think this is another example of Trump extravagance. Slightly more level heads blame defense spending. Non-dimwits know that if you make bespoke jets for presidents, things are expensive. 
And covering stories like this distracts us from how much the US is spending on fighting wars, near-wars, and non-wars around the world. Sure, the Americans have dialed back in Afghanistan, but bombing the bejeezus out of people instead of boots on the ground still costs money.
And that while His Orangeness is flying above ‘murca, below him is a whole lot of infrastructure that could use some of the cash the US is currently using to turn terrorists and their associates into fine red mist. So ease up on the refrigerator coverage and start asking why we’re still trying to build a damn wall. 
Nothing to worry about, just CENTCOM commander saying "hi"
The idea of brigades dedicated to advising and assisting troops of US partner nations is a good one. It’s a key task that Special Forces do, but not at scale. Which, if you’re trying to fix all things broken at a national army level, you need to do. 
The conventional army’s tried it in Afghanistan through a series of ad hoc initiatives only slightly better planned than that time Travis convinced all of you that beer pong before finals was the way to go because how much are you going to learn tonight anyway?
Following the multi-year walk of shame since 2014’s ending of combat operations, the US military showered up, found a hoodie that didn’t smell too bad, and came up with the Security Force Assistance Brigades. The problem is, their first big date in Afghanistan has been moved up. That means shortening training. Which has the commander, Col. Jackson, less than enthused. 
Which isn’t what this article’s about. But anytime a mission like this with a LOT of visibility might be going off the rails before it lurches out of the station, Big Army’s gonna Army. So CENTCOM Commander and ranking Voldemort cosplayer in the Tampa area Gen. Votel dropped in. You know, just to say hi. 
Because what the world needs is more flamethrowers
Because I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said, “Why don’t they bring back the flamethrower? It’s the ultimate in retro murder tech: you get all the thrills of snuffing someone’s life out by taking their air away, coupled with the delightful scent of charring human flesh.”
The question facing DoD planners regarding the weapon’s return to the battlefield is meshing tactical practicality with international law surrounding incendiary weapons. Though flamethrowers offer an edge over conventional small arms when going up against a fortified structure like a building or bunker rather than the tunnels of Iwo Jima or caves of Afghanistan, the potential for uncontrollable and indiscriminate collateral damage makes them less-than-ideal for prolonged operations in urban terror strongholds like, say Mosul or Raqqa. As Krohn put it: “That flame is not the primary killing device. Suffocation is.”
Because what the world needs more of is visions of burning civilians choking to death because they were too stupid to get out of town before you unleashed napalm in all its glory. In a world where our news cycle is punctuated by ISIS burning prisoners alive, let’s kick war up a notch. 
Bam! 
Flamethrower!
What we learned from Strava: Running can kill you
Fun little read about analysts looking at heat map data for a fitness app popular with mommy bloggers and special operators: Strava. And since the latter group thinks that running before someone’s chasing you is fun, those crazy kids are outlining their locations in places the US is choosing not to disclose as housing US personnel.
Also a few other partner nations have troops using the app. So now terrorist organizations have a little better idea where their enemies are. And that they’re jogging.
Which is the biggest takeaway here: insurgents don’t use the Strava. And also, run fewer laps. Lift more weights. Enjoy your donut. 
And for crying out loud, turn off the location information on your apps, high speed. 
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