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5 NatSec Things - 03 Apr 2018

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Today's things:You're cool, but your spouse? Not so muchUS/ROK kick off w-word gamesTaliban gots the
 
April 2 · Issue #40 · View online
5 NatSec Things
Today’s things:
  • You’re cool, but your spouse? Not so much
  • US/ROK kick off w-word games
  • Taliban gots the NVGs, so why not Afghan forces?
  • Saudis do a BBD (Big Boeing Deal)
  • Cops regifting those MRAPs

Quote of the Day
“The MRAP we got from the military, but you can’t go down to the auto parts store and get spare parts for it. As things break down or as there’s issues with it, it becomes more and more challenging to keep it up and running and maintain it.” – Madison Assistant Police Chief Victor Wahl on why his agency just returned their MRAP
1. An immigration thing
Group has no idea how many military families have immigration problems, publish number anyway
It’s not just veterans anymore
“It used to be veterans we’d see more frequently. We’re now seeing an uptick in active-duty people.” – Nancy Kuznetsov, of American Families United
So it’s how many families with this problem?
According to American Families United, threats of deportation or other separation might affect as many as 11,800 active duty military families. I, for one, have never seen a dartboard with that high a number, but based on the AFU’s methodology, that’s about as accurate a depiction of how they got that figure as anything else. 
So we need to do something about this
Agreed. And that “something” probably should have been something like the US military making sure that folks were married to folks that were married to other folks who were allowed to remain in the country. 
Which would be one take if we’re all going to be assholes about this. 
Another take? A lot of the people affected were here legally under DACA, which Donald Trump thinks sucks and therefore someone who was brought here as a baby should have by now done all the things they should do to be a citizen. And so no more opportunities for them to remain.
Takeaway
Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, so I can deport ‘em. 
For some reason, despite rampant xenophobia, there are people who were born other places who want to stay in the United States. Some of those people married other people who volunteered to go into harm’s way to defend other people’s right to be assholes. 
The USG needs to…fix…this. Because if you’re deploying, you shouldn’t have to worry about whether or not your spouse is going to be waiting for you at home, or back in the country of their birth just because our current Commander-in-Chief has no empathy.
2. Another apocalypse thing
US, South Korea want everyone to just be cool and exercise US, South Korea want everyone to just be cool and exercise
Dear Rocket Man: please don’t take this personally
“Our combined exercises are defense-oriented and there is no reason for North Korea to view them as a provocation.”  – Lieutenant Colonel Christopher Logan, a Pentagon spokesman, on this year’s joint US/ROK exercises
This is just a drill
Annual w-word games starring US and South Korean forces are happening in the Republic of Korea, and the Americans are taking great pains to point out that this is all about defense. And is totally not a preview of how the US and South Korean forces would deal with North Korea. Even though a lot of the “defense” is focused on The Korea That Does Not Start With An ’S’. 
Be vewwy vewwy quiet - we’re hunting peace
There’s a reason the US especially is tiptoeing around this year’s exercises, and that’s because there are a couple of summits coming up with everyone: the North, the South, and the Koreas sitting down together to try and not start the world to end the world. Of course, the most volatile person around that table still has a Twitter account, so everyone’s kinda holding their breath until then.
Takeaway
The games were delayed because of the other games this past winter in South Korea. Might have been prudent to cancel them altogether as a gesture that the Americans are feeling less belligerent toward the DPRK. But there’s no way Trump wants to be seen as giving any quarter to Kim Jong Un. So let’s hope he can lay off the personal insults until the summits are over. 
3. A Taliban thing
Taliban get night vision before Afghan forces
Nope, no idea how they got ‘em
“No case of night vision sold by our soldiers to the Taliban has been reported.“ – Gen. Dawlat Waziri, former Afghan MoD spox
We no longer rule the night
Taliban rank-and-file have been showing up on nighttime attacks on Afghan security forces wearing night vision devices. This has led to an increase in successful after-dark attacks on Afghan forces. The problem? The US won’t let those same Afghan forces have their own night vision devices. Because the Americans are afraid they’ll sell ‘em.
So this changes things
Battlefield dominance after dark used to be a foregone conclusion for US forces in Afghanistan. Now, with an increase in night vision devices in the hands of the Taliban, even the Americans are having to rethink how they operate at night. And rethink what kind of equipment they give their Afghan counterparts. 
Because until now, only Afghan special operations troops received the night vision devices. Why? The US was worried that your average Afghan soldier/cop on the ground would probably sell 'em to the Taliban. Or at least into the black market where they’d end up with the Taliban.
It’s a matter of trust
Per the Times, the US has been running a few pilot programs with some Afghan units, letting some of them have night vision devices for a period of time, then collecting them back again. And yes, some of those went "missing” in the interim.
Not giving all Afghan forces the tools they’d need to defend themselves against Taliban attacks is some pretty colonialist bullshit. Sure, some are going to end up on the other side. But if this is about being shoulder-to-shoulder, then giving the Afghans a fighting chance to, well, fight? Let’s try that. 
4. A Saudi thing
Saudi visits Boeing, inks $450m deal
There will be (Yemeni) blood
“It is disheartening that many U.S. businesses are turning a blind eye to his atrocities as long as he pays. His money blinds people.” – Aisha Jumaan, founder of the Yemen Relief and Reconstruction Foundation
450 million reasons to look the other way
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is interested in making it look like Saudi Arabia is turning into a country that hates women less and might think about maybe toning down things like public executions. Boeing is interested in his money. So the two found common ground recently as they signed off on a memorandum of understanding for $450m that would have Boeing completing maintenance and repairs of KSA military aircraft.
Turns out they can’t pencil you in
Seems like pretty standard PR fare, until you start getting into the backstory on this, which included both the governor of the state and Seattle’s mayor being too busy to meet with the crown prince. That would be the same governor Jay Inslee who told Trump, to his face, back in February that “we need a little less tweeting here and a little more listening.” He was talking about Trump’s plan to arm teachers, but that’s not the sort of thing you say if you’re a fan.
Then there’s the 97 page magazine on the shelves of Walmart in places like New Hampshire, detailing how great the crown prince is.
So the Kingdom has some work to do in the United States, and the crown prince seems to think that doing so by rebooting Tiger Beat or whatever is a way to go about that. Since that might help people forget that a Saudi-led coalition keeps bombing the shit out of civilians in Yemen.
No word on upcoming tours of NYC
What no one wants to bring up, like, ever, is the origin story of the 9/11 hijackers and their Saudi connections. Or that there’s a war in Yemen that’s killing civilians in droves and that’s being led by the Saudis. 
Which the US will overlook, since the crown prince feels the same way about Iran as the White House does. 
And companies like Boeing will make sure that happens.
5. A cop thing
Suck it, Walmart returns counter: here's an MRAP
But it looks cool AF
“Stuff that civilian police use armored vehicles for, it needs a lot more capacity to carry people, easier access to get in and out. It needs to be a little bit more nimble and flexible for maneuverability.” – Madison Assistant Police Chief Victor Wahl
Summary
Surplus military equipment has made its way into the hands and driveways of local law enforcement agencies. Now, in Wisconsin, some of that equipment is going back, specifically the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles. Because it turns out what works in a war zone doesn’t work so great in the neighborhood.
Why does a cop need an MRAP?
Because folks are all kinds of enamored with militarizing the shit out of tools traditionally used for law enforcement, someone somewhere thought that having MRAPs rolling around the town was a good idea. 
It is not. 
Both from an optics and logistics perspective, they have problems. Because no one wants to see a tank-on-wheels called out for a civil disturbance, and the dudes in the garage have a hella hard time getting parts for the damn things.
Officer Friendly needs to dismount more
Shrinking budgets mean that there are fewer cops on the streets. And those cops are poorly equipped from a training and gear perspective to deal with what’s happening on the streets. So until we reverse that trend, agencies will continue to think they need better armoring while they’re on patrol.
My shenanigans elsewhere
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